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Current Affairs in Short: 5 February 2019

The Supreme Court has directed the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available before CBI and faithfully cooperate with the agency in the investigation of cases arising out of the Sarada chit fund scam probe.

Feb 5, 2019 17:52 IST
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SC directs Kolkata Police Commissioner to appear before CBI

• The Supreme Court on February 5, 2019 directed the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available before CBI and faithfully cooperate with the agency in the investigation of cases arising out of the Sarada chit fund scam probe.
• The apex court said Kumar will appear before the CBI for investigation at Shillong in Meghalaya. The apex court also said no coercive steps, including the arrest of the Kolkata Police chief, will take place during the course of the investigation.
• A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also issued a notice to Kumar and sought his response before February 20, the next date of hearing on the allegations by the CBI that he was tampering with electronic evidence and that the SIT headed by him provided the agency with doctored materials.
• The apex court also directed the West Bengal chief secretary, Director General of Police and the Kolkata Police Commissioner to file replies on the contempt pleas filed against them by the CBI on or before February 18.

EU Countries endorse Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido

• More than a dozen European Union countries have endorsed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim President.
• Putting the pressure on embattled President Nicolas Maduro to resign and clear the way for a new Presidential election, Germany, France and Britain and Spain publicly supported Guaido after the deadline to call a presidential election passed without action.
• Other European nations, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal also lined up behind Guaido, who last month declared himself interim President with the support of the United States and many South American nations.
• However, Maduro showed no signs of caving in and lashed out at the European Union, accusing it of taking orders from the Trump administration.

Iran to pardon 50,000 convicts on 40th Islamic revolution anniversary

• The Iranian Judiciary Chief Amoli Larijani on February 4, 2019 said that 50,000 convicts will receive pardons from Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
• The 50,000 convicts will be pardoned or their sentences will be reduced on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution.
• The tradition is in line with implementing Paragraph 11 of Article 110 of Iran's Constitution in a bid to reduce the adverse effects of imprisonment on the families of convicts and facilitate the process of the convicts' rehabilitation.

Nayib Bukele claims victory in El Salvador's presidential election

• Former mayor of San Salvador, Nayib Bukele has claimed victory in the El Salvador's presidential election.
• With most votes counted, the former mayor of the capital city had nearly 53 per cent of the vote with his closest rival, Carlos Calleja garnering 32 per cent votes.
• Bukele's primary opponents, Carlos Calleja of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), and Hugo Martinez of the leftist Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), recognised his win.
• The politics in El Salvador has been dominated over the past three decades by two main parties, the incumbent left-wing FMLN and the conservative ARENA.

Trump nominates acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary

• The United States President Donald Trump has nominated acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as the new Interior Secretary.
• Bernhardt will replace Ryan Zinke, if the Senate approves his nomination. Trump tweeted that Bernhardt has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived.
• Ryan Zinke resigned in December 2018 amid ethics investigations.

Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting fast, getting weaker

• Scientists have found that Earth's north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation.
• The magnetic north pole is wandering about 55 kms a year. It crossed the International Date Line in 2017 and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.
• According to the lead author of the newly issued World Magnetic Model, University of Colorado geophysicist Arnaud Chulliat, the constant shift is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics.
• The military depends on where magnetic north is for navigation and parachute drops, while NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and US Forest Service also use it. Airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north, usually as backup navigation. However, GPS isn't affected because it's satellite-based.
• The magnetic south pole has been found to be moving far slower than the north. In general Earth's magnetic field is getting weaker, which has lead the scientists to predict that it will eventually flip, where north and south pole change polarity, like a bar magnet flipping over.
• It has happened numerous times in Earth's past, but not in the last 780,000 years.

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