Current Affairs in Short: 23 January 2019
India will surpass China to become the second largest oil demand growth centre globally in 2019 on back of buoyant auto fuel and LPG consumption, as per a report by research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie that released on January 22, 2019.
India to surpass China to become 2nd largest oil demand centre in 2019
• India will surpass China to become the second largest oil demand growth centre globally in 2019 on back of buoyant auto fuel and LPG consumption, as per a report by research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie that released on January 22, 2019.
• In the report, Wood Mackenzie said that India's oil demand growth recovered strongly in 2018, overcoming the aftermath of the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation and contributed 14 per cent of the global demand growth or 2,45,000 barrels per day.
• The group forecasts the oil demand to grow at the same level in 2019. This will result in India becoming the second largest demand growth centre globally in 2019, behind the US but ahead of China. Transport fuels gasoline and diesel and residential LPG will continue to be the two main drivers of oil demand growth.
• According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), India is currently ranked behind the United States and China as the world's third-largest oil consumer. It consumed 206.2 million tonnes (over 4 million bpd) in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Priyanka Gandhi appointed AICC general secretary for UP East
• Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was on January 23, 2019 appointed AICC general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East by her brother and party chief Rahul Gandhi.
• Jyotiraditya Scindia was appointed AICC general secretary for UP West. The party also replaced Ashok Gehlot as AICC general secretary Organisation with K C Venugopal.
• The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad was appointed AICC general secretary in charge of Haryana.
• Priyanka Gandhi is scheduled to take over as AICC general secretary for UP East in the first week of February.
Maharashtra Government approves Rs 253 cr Nirbhaya scheme for Mumbai
• The Maharashtra cabinet on January 22, 2019 approved the implementation of the Centre's Nirbhaya scheme, which seeks to curb crimes against women, for Mumbai.
• The Nirbhaya Fund was initiated in 2013 by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to implement initiatives aimed at enhancing safety and security of women across India.
• It is a non-lapsable fund and the corpus stands at Rs 3,600 crore up to 2018-19. As per the scheme approved by the state cabinet on January 22, the centre will provide Rs 152.20 crore and the Maharashtra government will provide Rs 100.80 crore for the scheme.
• The Centre will provide financial help for the first three years and later all mechanisms like installation of CCTVs at 500 public places will be maintained by the state.
• The Maharashtra state government is also planning to come up with a panic button in a mobile-based application that can be downloaded by women for security.
Former India hockey player Raghbir Bhola passes away
• Former India hockey player Raghbir Singh Bhola, a two-time Olympic medallist, passed away on January 21, 2019 at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife Kamla Bhola, three daughters and three grandsons.
• Bhola had represented India in the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome Olympics, winning a gold and silver medal respectively for the country.
• The former player’s dedication and passion for field hockey continued in various aspects throughout his life and he served in diverse roles such as member of the IHF selection committee, FIH international umpire, manager of the Indian hockey team, TV commentator and government observer at the Olympic Games.
WhatsApp limits message forwarding to fight 'fake news'
• Facebook-owned mobile messaging platform WhatsApp has announced it was restricting how many times any given message can be forwarded in an effort to boost privacy and security.
• In July, WhatsApp rolled out safeguards in India that included limiting the number of users to whom a message can be forwarded. It also ran newspaper ads to raise awareness about fake news.
• That decision followed threats by the Indian government to take action after crazed mobs butchered more than 20 people accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in viral, widely-circulated WhatsApp messages.
• WhatsApp said its latest move to extend the restrictions to all users came after a six-month review of user feedback.
Thai king signs decree approving first election since coup
• Thailand's king has issued a royal decree endorsing the first general election since a 2014 coup, the palace announced on January 23, 2019, with the date of the long-delayed poll expected to be announced imminently.
• The decree, published in the Royal Gazette, called for a general "election of members of parliament" and gives the kingdom's Election Commission five days to announce when it will hold the much-anticipated poll.
• The election will be the first since the junta toppled the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra nearly five years ago, rewriting the constitution, muzzling dissent and appointing key military allies across the bureaucracy.
• The junta announced that polls would be held no later than the end of February, but the late signing by 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn may mean elections are put back for several weeks.
Israel, US successfully test ballistic missile interceptors
• The Israeli and US defence ministries announced on January 22, 2019 that they have successfully tested ballistic missile interceptors deployed at Israeli airbases.
• The tests came a day after the latest deadly exchange of fire between Israel and Iranian forces operating in Syria.
• The Arrow 3 interceptor system, designed to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was deployed at air force bases across Israel two years ago.
• The system launched toward the target and successfully completed its mission. It is intended to serve as Israel's highest-altitude missile interception system.
• The test is a major milestone in the operational capabilities of Israel and its ability to defend itself against current and future threats in the region.