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Current Affairs in Short: 2 January 2019

Two women of menstruating age group made history on January 2, 2019 when they stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition defying dire threats from the Hindu right.

Jan 2, 2019 17:03 IST
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Current Affairs in Short: 2 January 2019

Two women script history by entering Sabarimala shrine

• Cloaked in black veils and shrouded in early morning darkness, two women of menstruating age group made history on January 2, 2019 when they stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition defying dire threats from the Hindu right.
• The women--Kanakadurga and Bindu--aged 44 and 42, stepped into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the Supreme Court's historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its "eternally celibate" deity.
• The women, draped in black and faces covered in veils, entered the temple at 3:38 am, a day after over 35 lakh women stood shoulder-to-shoulder across the national highways in Kerala, creating a 620 km-long human 'wall' from the northern end of Kasaragod to the southern tip in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the state-sponsored initiative to uphold gender equality.
• Following the news, protests erupted at several places, with Hindu right-wing activists blocking highways and forcing closure of shops and markets.

P K Singh appointed CCI secretary

• The Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced on January 1, 2019 that it has appointed Pramod Kumar Singh as its secretary. Prior to this, P K Singh was adviser (law) to the competition watchdog.
• In September, the fair trade regulator had invited applications for appointment to the post of secretary from eligible candidates.
• The secretary would act as the nodal officer for the Commission for making or receiving all statutory information and entering into the any formal relationships including signing of memorandums with any foreign agency or other agency with prior approval from Commission and government, CCI said.
• The Commission was established in 2003 to replace the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission. It draws its power from the Competition Act, 2002, and has been empowered to check anti-competitive behaviour and regulate mergers and acquisitions.

Pakistan shares list of nuclear installations with India

• Pakistan on January 1, 2019 shared with India a list of its nuclear installations and facilities as per the provisions of a bilateral agreement.
• The list was handed over in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India, signed on December 31, 1988.
• The list was officially handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following which, the Union Ministry of External Affairs handed over the list of Indian Nuclear Installations and Facilities to a representative of the High Commission of Pakistan.
• The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991, provides that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year. This has been done consecutively since January 1, 1992.

Qatar will cease to be a member of OPEC

• Qatar ceased to be a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries from January 1, 2019.
• The country had sent an official notification to the OPEC expressing its wish to pull out and to focus on its liquefied natural gas production in December.
• The decision came amid the ongoing diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on the country by its Persian Gulf neighbours and several Arab states.
• These countries accuse Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Qatar has strongly refuted these allegations.

Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro, takes office

• Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office on January 1, 2019 and used his inaugural speech to promise to build a "society without discrimination or division".
• The former army captain told Congress he wanted a "national pact" to free Brazil of corruption, crime and economic mismanagement.
• The 63-year-old Bolsonaro is seen as a deeply divisive figure whose racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks have angered many.
• He won the presidential election by a wide margin against Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers' Party on October 28.

Australian government closes major immigration detention facilities

• The Australian government has announced the closure of two onshore immigration detention facilities.
• There are approximately 1,250 people currently in Australia's eight remaining immigration detention centers, down from 10,200 in mid-2013.
• Stopping asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat was one of the key pillars of the Liberal National Party's 2013 election campaign where it won power from the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
• Under the previous Labor government, 50,000 people ¬arrived on 800 boats, 1,200 people tragically drowned at sea and 8,000 children were put in detention. At its peak in July 2013, there were more than 10,000 people held in immigration detention facilities in Australia, including 2,000 children.
• Every single one of those children who were in detention in 2013 have now been removed.