Current Affairs in Short: 23 November 2018
Popular Indian singer Nahid Afrin of Assam has been appointed as the first 'Youth Advocate' of the north-eastern region by the UNICEF to fight for child rights. The UNICEF engages 'Youth Advocates' to harness their voice as agents of change in society.
UNICEF appoints singer Nahid Afrin as first 'Youth Advocate' of north-eastern region
• Popular Indian singer Nahid Afrin of Assam has been appointed as the first 'Youth Advocate' of the north-eastern region by the UNICEF to fight for child rights.
• The UNICEF engages 'Youth Advocates' to harness their voice as agents of change in society.
• Nahid made her playback debut in the 2016 Bollywood film 'Akira' starring Sonakshi Sinha in the lead.
• She received the best female playback singer award at the Assam state Film Award 2018.
Madras HC for restricting free rice to BPL families alone
• The Madras High Court has observed that free PDS rice given to ration card holders should be restricted only to families below the poverty line, noting that doling out freebies to all sections of people have made people "lazy".
• While it was obligatory on the part of the government to provide bare necessities like rice and other groceries to the needy and poor people, successive governments had extended such benefits to all people for political benefits.
• A bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose stated that consequently, people began to expect everything for free from the government. “As a result, they have become lazy, and migrant workers were being brought for even menial works," the bench observed.
• It made the observations on a petition challenging detention under the Goondas Act of a person accused of smuggling and selling PDS rice while taking note of the government's submission that free rice was given to all holders of ration cards, irrespective of their economic status.
Justice Kothari sworn in as Judge of Madras High Court
• Justice Vineet Kothari was sworn in as a judge of the Madras High Court in Chennai on November 23, 2018. He was administered the oath by the Chief Justice of Madras High Court VK Tahilramani.
• With Justice Kothari taking oath, the number of judges in the Madras High Court has gone up to 61 as against the sanctioned strength of 75.
• He will be second in the seniority list after the transfer of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
• Prior to his transfer to the Madras High Court, Kothari was a judge in the Karnataka High Court. He had previously been a judge in the Rajasthan High Court for 11 years.
• As a lawyer, Kothari had practised tax and other commercial and constitutional laws, arbitration and company law for 20 years.
80-feet Buddha statue planned in Gujarat
• After the 182-meter tall `Statue of Unity' of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Gujarat may get a gigantic Buddha statue.
• Sanghakaya Foundation, a non-profit Buddhist organisation, said on November 22, 2018 that it has demanded land from the government for installing an 80-feet high statue of Lord Buddha in Gandhinagar district.
• It has roped in Ram Sutar, the sculptor behind the Statue of Unity, for the project.
• The Statue of Unity, inaugurated in Narmada district of the state on October 31, is the tallest statue in the world.
Nepal's largest exhibition 'ConMac 2018' starts in Bhaktapur
• Nepal's largest exhibition on construction equipment and technology "ConMac 2018" started in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu on November 22, 2018.
• Development is the main agenda of the present government and it is committed to infrastructure development in Nepal and machines and technology are very essential to achieve this goal.
• The Nepal government plans to construct 6,000 to 8,000 KM roads and prepare Detail Project Report (DPR) for 2,800 KM railway lines in the next four years.
• Overall, the construction industry in Nepal has grown by 11 per cent and it has become one of the fastest growing sector contributing to the GDP of Nepal.
• The 3-day mega event is organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Embassy of India.
• More than 150 business exhibitors and companies from India including JCB, L&T, Hyundai, Caterpillar and Tata Hitachi have showcased their products and services at the exhibition.
MP: EC allows pregnant women to vote without standing in queue
• In Madhya Pradesh, pregnant women will not have to stand in a queue to vote in the assembly election.
• Understanding the physical problems of such women, the election commission is allowing them to vote without standing in line.
• According to Chief Election Officer of Madhya Pradesh, the women will have to register themselves in the Sugamya portal designed by state election commission. After registration, they will be given a special pass to vote without standing in line.
• The election commission is also establishing 500 pinks booths in the state for the assembly election.
• These polling booths will run by only women officers and workers. The election will be held in the state on November 28 and counting will be held on December 11.
India-UAE Strategic Conclave to be held in Abu Dhabi
• The second edition of the India-UAE Strategic Conclave will be held in the capital city of Abu Dhabi on November 27, 2018.
• The day-long conclave will initiate a dialogue to widen the scope of bilateral investments.
• It will see key business leaders and senior government officials come together to lay the blueprint for greater economic cooperation between the two countries and explore the economic gains through boosting the status of both countries as major trade hubs and key gateways to regional and international markets.
• Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri will inaugurate the conclave.
UN's atomic watchdog calls on North Korea to re-admit nuclear inspectors
• The head of the UN's atomic watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on North Korea to allow inspectors back into the country to monitor its nuclear program.
• Speaking at a board meeting of the IAEA, Director General Yukiya Amano noted that Pyongyang had in September talked about denuclearization measures including the permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon a reactor where it produces plutonium.
• Amano said there has been activity observed at Yongbyon, but without access, the agency cannot confirm the nature and purpose of these activities.
• IAEA inspectors were expelled from North Korea in 2009 but Amano said the agency continues to prepare for their possible re-admittance.
Noted Indian classical musician Ustad Imrat Khan passes away
• Indian classical music stalwart Ustad Imrat Khan, who dedicated his life to propagating the Sitar and the surbahar worldwide, passed in the United States on November 22, 2018 after a brief illness. He was 83.
• Imrat Khan famously turned down the Padma Shri last year saying the recognition had come too late and diminished his achievements.
• He belonged to the illustrious Etawa Gharana, or the Imdadkhani Gharana, named after his grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan.
• His elder brother was Ustad Vilayat Khan. The Gharana, one of the oldest in India with a musical legacy of over 400 years, traces its roots to Agra. The family later moved to Etawa before finally settling down in Kolkata with Ustad Inayat Khan, Imrat Khan's father.
• The family is credited with developing the musical instrument surbahar, a stringed instrument that is sometimes called the "bass sitar".
Britain, EU agree on draft text of Brexit
• Britain and the European Union have agreed on a draft text setting out a close post-Brexit relationship.
• However, wrangling with Spain over control of Gibraltar must still be settled before EU leaders meet on November 25 in order to rubber-stamp the pact.
• British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament that people want Brexit to be settled. They want a good deal that sets us on a course for a brighter future. She said that the deal that will enable Britain to do this is now within their grasp.
• Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said that Spain will proceed with its promise to vote down the provisional UK-EU agreement on the UK withdrawal from the bloc at the upcoming meeting of EU-27 leaders unless Madrid's interests are taken into account in the document.
• Madrid has been threatening to veto the deal unless it is amended to incorporate provisions for direct UK-Spanish talks on the issue of the disputed Gibraltar Peninsula.
Beijing's Population falls for the first time in 2 Decades
• The population of China’s capital, Beijing, declined for the first time in two decades in 2017.
• The number of permanent residents reached 21.707 million in 2017 which is 22,000 fewer than 2016. The number of people in the city’s six urban districts has also declined by 3 percent.
• The authorities in Beijing have been making efforts to curb population growth as part of their efforts to ease traffic congestion, resource shortages and house price inflation.