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Current Affairs in Short: 9 January 2019

The Supreme Court has set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case. The bench will be headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprise of Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.

Jan 9, 2019 17:04 IST
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Five -Judge Constitution bench led by CJI Gogoi to hear Ayodhya land dispute case

• The Supreme Court on January 8, 2019 set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case.
• The bench will be headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprise of Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.
• The Constitution Bench is scheduled to hear the matter on January 10. On January 4, the top court had said that further orders in the matter would be passed on January 10 by “the appropriate bench, as may be constituted”.

CJI Gogoi withdraws from panel meet headed by PM Modi on Alok Verma fate

• Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has dropped out of the high-powered selection panel that is to decide Alok Verma’s case as he was a member of the Supreme Court bench that reinstated Verma as CBI director on January 8, 2019.
• Instead, the CJI has nominated Justice A.K. Sikri to replace him on the panel, which also includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leader of the largest opposition party – Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
• The panel, beyond deciding Verma’s future, is also expected to deliberate and select the next CBI chief to succeed Verma as he is due to retire on January 31.

Malaysia's new head of state to be appointed soon

• In Malaysia, members of the royal families met on January 7, 2019 to set dates to choose a new king after the resignation of Sultan Muhammad -5 as the country's head of state.
• Sultans of Malaysia's states decided to set January 24 as the date on which they would convene to discuss the appointment of a new king, while Jan 31 as the date on which the new king will be sworn in, according to a statement by the Conference of Rulers.
• Muhammad - 5 became the first head of state to resign on Sunday, after just over two years of his mandated five-year term.
• Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with nine sultans serving as head of their respective state and the religious leader.

ISRO plans to set up Space Galleries

• Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO has planned to set up Space Galleries in various locations in the country.
• The Space Galleries are expected to disseminate the knowledge about space science and technology amongst the citizens of the country.
• Initially, Space Galleries are planned to be established at Birla Science Centre at Hyderabad, Nehru Science Centre at Mumbai and National Science Centre at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
• The Gallery will consist of interactive methods and models describing the principles of Space science and technology.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to step down on Feb 1

• In a surprise move, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced that he will step down from his position on February 1, 2019, much before the end of his term in 2022. Kim, 58, has been in this position for over six years now.
• In a statement, the World Bank said he will join a firm and focus on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries.
• Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, will assume the role of interim President effective February 1, 2019.
• The president of the Washington-based World Bank has always been an American citizen nominated by the United States, which is the largest shareholder of this multilateral financial institution.

Gautemala to withdraw from UN-backed anti-corruption commission

• Guatemala has said it is withdrawing from a UN-backed anti-corruption commission. It has given the UN body's staff 24 hours to leave the country.
• President Jimmy Morales accused the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, commonly known as CICIG, of polarising the country and putting its security at risk.
• He said that the commission has violated human rights and is allied with criminal structures and terrorists. His government had waited 16 months for the UN to respond to their complaints.
• Guatemalan foreign minister said they have informed UN chief Antonio Guterres of their decision. The move has drawn criticism from human rights groups and constitutional lawyers.
• The CICIG was formed in 2006 upon the request of the Guatemalan government to combat high rates of impunity for crimes.

ICC Announces USA Cricket as 105th Member

• The International Cricket Council (ICC) on January 8, 2019 announced USA Cricket as its 105th member.
• The development is a historical milestone for the governing body established in 2017 to unify and develop the cricket community in the United States following the expulsion of USACA.
• USA Cricket's application to become the 93rd Associate Member in accordance with the ICC Constitution was approved by ICC Members following the Membership Committee's recommendation to the ICC Board late last year and is implemented with immediate effect.
• As a member of the ICC, USA Cricket is now eligible to receive funding in accordance with the ICC Development Funding Policy and can sanction domestic and international cricket in the United States.
• A transition plan has been agreed for the governing body, which has, to date, been managed by the ICC Americas regional support programme.

Egypt to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

• Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations between June 15 and July 13, 2019. Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement in Senegalese capital Dakar on January 8, 2019.
• The CAF executive committee preferred Egypt to South Africa as replacement for original hosts Cameroon, who were dropped due to delays in preparations and concerns over security.
• Egypt will stage the biennial showpiece of African football for the fifth time. Egypt only entered the running to host the Cup of Nations when fellow North African country Morocco announced they would not bid to do so.
• Morocco were the hot media favourites to replace Cameroon as hosts and Egypt said they did not want to compete against a fellow Arab nation.

Japan tops list of most powerful passports, India ranks 79th

• Japan, for the second time in a row, has topped a global index for the world's most powerful passport in 2019, while India ranked at the 79th position.
• According to the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords, Japan retained its top spot as the world's most travel-friendly passport due to the document's access to 190 countries.
• India jumped two positions from 81st in 2018 to 79th this year. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal ranked further low at 104, 102 and 94 respectively.
• South Korea edged up the ranking from October's index to join Singapore, offering access to 189 jurisdictions.
• Elsewhere in Asia, China jumped almost 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th in 2019.

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