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Current Affairs in Short: 18 February 2019

The Central Reserve Police Force has decided to add new security features to its convoy movement in Jammu and Kashmir making its passage more safe and secured. The movement of civilian vehicles during the movement of the force has been totally stopped in the state.

Feb 18, 2019 17:10 IST
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CRPF to add more security features to its convoy movement in J&K to make its passage safer

• The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to add new security features to its convoy movement in Jammu and Kashmir making its passage more safe and secured.
• The new features in the Standard Operative Procedure for the movement of the force will soon be added.
• Apart from traffic control, the timing of the convoy movement and their midway halts and other procedures will be added and some of them will be recalibrated.
• The movement of civilian vehicles during the movement of the force has been totally stopped in the state. The decision follows a terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

Afghanistan lodges strong complaint with UNSC against Pakistan for its engagement with Taliban

• Afghanistan has lodged a strong complaint with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against Pakistan for its engagement with the Taliban.
• In a letter written to the UNSC, Afghanistan's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Nazifullah Salarzai said, Pakistan's invitation to the Taliban amounted to a violation of Afghanistan's national sovereignty.
• The letter said, as there is no co-ordination with the Afghan government, it poses a serious threat to the country's security.
• According to Afghanistan, Pakistan's move not only undermines the ongoing peace efforts but also falls in violation of UNSC Resolution 1988.
• India's official policy on the Afghan peace process has been that it should be Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled.

UAE funded US military hospital to be built in Abu Dhabi

• A US military hospital funded by the United Arab Emirates will be built in Abu Dhabi to treat Emirati soldiers and regionally based American troops.
• The US would deploy medical military personnel in support of a facility very similar to the one in Germany, the biggest American hospital outside the US.
• The US has a number of military bases across the Gulf, the largest in Qatar with about ten thousand troops.
• The UAE is a key regional ally of the United States and maintains close ties with the administration of President Donald Trump.

Drones, balloons banned in Bengaluru for Aero India show

• Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, unmanned aircraft systems and balloons have been banned in Bengaluru for security reasons during the five-day Aero India show, starting on February 20.
• The flying of aerial platforms have been banned over the city to maintain law and order under the prevailing security scenario.
• The Bangalore International Airport Ltd has rescheduled departures and arrivals of domestic and international flights to facilitate flying display of military and civil aircraft at the air show.

Rajnikanth announces that his party will not contest forthcoming General Elections

• Tamil superstar Rajnikanth has announced that his political party, “Rajini Makkal Mantram,” will not be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.
• The actor said in a statement that he will not support any party in the election either.
• He has clarified that his focus is not the impending Lok Sabha polls, but the state Assembly elections.
• The 68-year old actor has not yet registered his party, though he hinted recently that he would take a plunge into politics.

Iran launches 'cruise missile capable' submarine amid heightening tension with US

• Iran has launched 'cruise missile capable' submarine amid heightening tension with the United States.
• The new submarine is Iran's first in the semi-heavy category, filling a gap between the light Ghadir class and the heavy Kilo class submarines that the country possesses.
• The launch ceremony, led by President Hassan Rouhani, took place in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.
• The locally-made 600-tonne underwater vessel is capable of firing cruise missile. It is equipped with torpedoes and naval mines in addition to cruise missiles and can operate more than 200 metres below sea level for up to 35 days.
• The US withdrew from a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and re-imposed biting unilateral sanctions later last year.

Russia, Franch agree to continue coordination in order to facilitate peace settlement in Syria

• Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have agreed to continue coordination of the two countries in order to facilitate the peace settlement in Syria.
• Putin and Macron discussed the developments in northeastern Syria and the Idlib de-escalation zone, and Putin warned that militants are preparing chemical weapon provocations, citing available data.
• The leaders reaffirmed mutual commitment to continue Russia-France contacts for the sake of assisting Syria's return to peace.
• They also agreed on further cooperation to accelerate the settlement of the Ukrainian internal conflict, including in the Normandy format.

Heather Nauert withdraws her nomination for US new UN ambassador

• US President Donald Trump's pick to be America's new UN ambassador, Heather Nauert, has withdrawn her nomination for the post.
• US State Department Deputy Spokesperson said that President Trump will make an announcement about a new nominee soon.
• Nauert, a former anchor for Fox News, issued a statement citing family reasons for her decision. Donald Trump had announced Nauert as his choice for the UN role in December 2018.
• Current US ambassador to the United Nations, Indian-American Nikki Haley had announced her resignation from the post on October 9, 2018.

Nigeria postpones presidential election for one week

• Nigeria's electoral watchdog on February 16, 2019 postponed the Presidential and Parliamentary elections for one week, hours before the polls were due to open.
• The polling was due to start at nearly 1 lakh 20,000 polling units, with a record 73 candidates in the fray.
• President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term of office, but is facing a stiff challenge from the main opposition candidate, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.
• After late night emergency talks, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said the timetable was no longer feasible. He said that the Commission has decided to reschedule the polls to February 23.
• While, the parliamentary elections for 360 seats in the lower House of Representatives and 109 seats in the Senate will be held on the same day, the governorship and state assembly elections will be pushed to March 9.

NITI Aayog, SCISP agree to provide continuing momentum to India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership

• NITI Aayog and Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnerships (SCISP) have agreed to provide continuing momentum to the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership.
• A high-level delegation, led by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, held extensive discussions with SCISP in Riyadh. Talks were also held with senior representatives from 12 Saudi ministries during the two-day visit which concluded on February 17.
• The visit assumes significance as Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is scheduled to arrive in India on February 19, 2019.

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