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Important Current Affairs 27th January 2020

National 


GeM Signs MoU with Uttar Pradesh to Set Up Project Management Unit
•    The Uttar Pradesh government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government eMarketplace (GeM), under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry,to set up a GeM Organizational Transformation Team (GOTT) Project Management Unit (PMU) in the state.
•    Uttar Pradesh government is the second state after Punjab to establish a GOTT-PMU for inclusive, efficient and transparent procurement system.


Government of India to sell 100% stake in Air India
•    The government of India announced a sale of 100% stake in debt-laden Air India. As part of the strategic disinvestment and has set March 17, as the deadline for submitting an expression of interest (EoI). 
•    Air India would also sell 100% stake in low-cost airline Air India Express and 50 per cent shareholding in joint venture AISATS.
•    The financial position of Air India is very fragile and the Government has limited resources. Air India is under a debt trap and the private sector can bring required capital to the Airline. 
•    Air India staff will be offered three per cent of the airline’s total shares in the government’s disinvestment process.

Indian Railway’s First Waste-To-Energy Plant Commissioned In Bhubaneswar
•    The first waste-to-energy plant of the Indian Railways, has been commissioned at Carriage Repair Workshop, Mancheswar, in Bhubaneswar by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) zone.
•    The plant is the first Government of India initiative in waste to energy plant and fourth such plant in the country.
•    It has been built at a cost of Rs 1.79 crore and has the capacity to dispose 500 kg waste, including plastic and e-waste.
•    This waste-to-energy plant uses a patented technology called ‘Polycrack’, which is world’s first patented heterogeneous catalytic process to convert multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.
•    This process will produce energy in the form of light diesel oil which is used to light furnaces.

Kerala Partners MIT To Unveil India’s First ‘Super Fab Lab’ in Kochi
•    Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated India’s first Super Fab Lab at the Integrated Startup Complex of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in Kochi on 25 January 2020, that will give India’s hardware industry a huge leap.

•    Fab Labs are fabrication laboratories offering digital fabrication and computation.A Fab Lab lets you make almost anything; make the products you can consume.

•    A Super Lab lets you make a Fab Lab. It is an amazing facility that has the tools not just to make anything, but make the tools that make things.


Govt signs ‘Historic’ Bodo Accord 2020

•    The central government on January 27, 2020 signed the historic Bodo Accord 2020 with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and All Bodo Students Union (ABSU). The NDFB is one of the dangerous militant groups of Assam and the ABSU is the influential student union of Assam. 
•    The peace agreement provides political as well as economic benefits to the tribal areas of Assam without a separate Bodoland.

Andhra Pradesh Cabinet passes resolution to abolish State Legislative Council


•    The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on January 27, 2020 passed a resolution to abolish the Legislative Council. The ruling Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress in the state has a minority representation in the Legislative Council. Out of total 58 members, the YSR Congress has only 9 members.

International


International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust
•    International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on 27 January to commemorate the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War due to the genocide that resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews and 11 million others, by the Nazi regime and its collaborators
•    Theme 2020: “75 years after Auschwitz – Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice”

Awards


Padma Awards 2020: Arun Jaitley, Kangana Ranaut among 118 Padma Awardees


•    Padma Awards — one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz. art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
•    ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
•    This year the President has approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards including 4 duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one) as per list below. The list comprises 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards.
•    33 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 18 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 12 Posthumous awardees.

Grammy 2020 winners: List of Winners

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards announced on January 26, 2020. The Awards ceremony was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show was hosted by Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. It recognized the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, running from October 1, 2018, to August 31, 2019.
Here is the complete list of winners of Grammy Awards 2020: 

Sl. No.

Category

Winner

1.

Album Of The Year

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Billie Eilish)

2.

Record Of The Year

Bad Guy (Billie Eilish)

3.

Best New Artist

Billie Eilish

4.

Best Rap Album

Igor (Tyler, The Creator)

5.

Best R&B Album Winner

Ventura (Anderson .Paak)

6.

Best Rap Song

A Lot 

7.

Best Country Album

While I’m Livin’ (Tanya Tucker)

8.

Song Of The Year

Bad Guy ( Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell)

9.

Best Rock Album

Social Cues (Cage The Elephant)

10.

Best Rock Song

This Land (Gary Clark Jr.)

11.

Best Dance/Electronic Album

No Geography (The Chemical Brothers)

12.

Producer Of The Year, Classical

Blanton Alspaugh

13.

Best Music Video

Old Town Road

14.

Best Country Song

Bring My Flowers Now

15.

Best Folk Album

Patty Griffin

16.

Best Comedy Album

Sticks & Stones (Dave Chappelle)

Obituary


NBA legend Kobe Bryant passes away
•    Veteran American professional basketball player Kobe Bean Bryant, has passed away in a helicopter crash on 26 January 2020. He was 41.
•    The National Basketball Association (NBA) legend died when a helicopter he was riding in crashed and burst into flames in thick fog, killing all nine people on board including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
•    Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist

Appointment


Sunil Mehta Sworn in as IBA Chief Executive
•    Former MD & CEO of Punjab National Bank, Sunil Mehta, has taken charge as the chief executive of the Indian Bank’s Association (IBA) from 27 January 2020.
•    He succeeds VG Kannan, who demitted office as chief executive of IBA on December 31, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 26th January 2020

National

Republic Day 2020: India celebrates its 71st Republic Day – 

• This year's Republic Day was unique for India in many different ways as compared to the previous years. Starting from the military might that was displayed through indigenously developed artillery gun system 'Dhanush' or with first woman parade adjutant for the Republic Day with Captain Tania Shergill leading the parade; there were many ‘firsts’ that marked India’s 71st Republic Day Celebrations.

• Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at India's 71st Republic Day Parade on January 26.

• At the 71st Republic Parade, for the first time, newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat attended the Republic Day parade. General Rawat welcomed PM Modi for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National War Memorial along with the service chiefs for all the three armed forces i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force.

• Continuing the theme of women power, the day also saw an all-woman biker contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) make its debut as a part of the 71st Republic Day Parade. The contingent was commanded by Inspector Seema Nag, who is posted with the Rapid Action Force (RAF).

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) also participated in the Republic Day Parade with its tableau showcasing scaled system of the five-fighter system. The models on display during Parade included Rafale Fighter Jet and Tejas Aircraft.

Nitin Gadkari Launches Web Portal “GATI” to Monitor Road & Highways Projects

• The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari has launched an online Web Portal ‘GATI’ on the pattern of ‘PRAGATI’, the portal used by the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) for monitoring projects.

• The GATI portal has been created by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and can be accessed from NHAI Website.

• The portal was launched by the minister during the two-days long review meeting of NHAI-Ministry projects in Haryana’s Manesar on 23 & 24 January 2020.

• A total of 500 projects (including delayed ones) costing around Rs 3 lakh crore were taken up for review during the meeting.

Inaugural Ganga-Volga Dialogue of Civilizations between India and Russia held in New Delhi

• The maiden Ganga Volga Dialogue of Civilization took place in New Delhi on 22 January 2020, to provide a platform for enhancing the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.

• The idea of the Dialogue was conceptualized during the October 2018 India-Russia Summit between President Putin and Prime Minister Modi.

• The event was inaugurated by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan.

• The Dialogue was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

International

Global Unemployment to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020: ILO Report

• The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released a report titled “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020” which predicts that unemployment is likelt to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020.

• However, the report also revealed that after nine years in decline, the rate of global unemployment remained unchanged in 2019, at 5.4%, and is expected to stay the same for the next two years, due to fluctuations in the population seeking work.

Researchers discovered a new species of Allosaurus in Utah

• Paleontologists have unveiled a remarkable new species of the meat-eating dinosaur at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

• It is suspected that the species must have evolved at least 5 million years earlier than fragilis.

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP to grow at 5.0% in FY20 & 5.5% in FY21: India Ratings

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has projected India’s GDP growth rate for fiscal 2019-2020 at 5 percent, which is a multi-year low.

• Ind-Ra expects gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 5.5 percent in FY21.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India signs 15 MoU with Brazil including Cyber Security

• India and Brazil on Saturday signed 15 MoUs in various fields including cybersecurity, bioenergy and health and medicine among others, following the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

• An MoU on bioenergy cooperation, investment cooperation and facilitation treaty, agreement on cooperation in the field of health and medicine, cultural exchange programme for the period 2020-2024 were exchanged between the two sides.

Appointment

EU Appoints Joao Vale De Almeida As First Ambassador To Post-brexit UK

EU named Joao Vale de Almeida its first ambassador to the post-Brexit United Kingdom after PM Boris Johnson on Friday signed the agreement to leave the bloc.

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Important Current Affairs 25th January 2020

National

India’s First War Memorial for Service Animals to come up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

•The Government of India has planned to set up a first-of-its-kind war memorial for service animals in Meerut city of Uttar Pradesh.

•The memorial will be set up at the army’s specialized breeding, rearing and training centre for animals: the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre and College in Meerut.

•It will be similar to the National War Memorial in Delhi, but on smaller scale.

•India’s first war memorial for animals including dogs, horses and mules will be dedicated to the contributions and heroics of animals who lost their lives in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and in the battlefield during the Kargil War, while helping the Army.

India & Brazil Signs 15 Pacts to Boost Strategic Ties

• President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro arrived in New Delhi on 24 January 2020 on four-day state visit to India.

• He is also the chief guest at the 2020 Republic Day of India celebrations.

• Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Narendra Modi inked 15 agreements on 25 January to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two countries.

• List of MoUs Signed Include

CJI S.A. Bobde Inaugurates All India Members’ Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi

• The Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde, inaugurated the All India Members’ Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in New Delhi on 24 January 2020.

• The two day event was held as a part of the 79th Foundation Day Celebrations of ITAT.

• India’s Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) was set up on 25 January 1941.

• ITAT functions under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Banking and Economy

World Bank Approves USD 210 Million Loan for Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project

• The Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra has signed a USD 210 million loan agreement with the World Bank. The loan agreement has been signed for Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project.

• The USD 210 million loan will be funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), having a 6-year grace period with a maturity period of 13.5 years.

Switzerland Mints World’s Smallest Gold Coin; Features Albert Einstein

• In Switzerland, State-owned Swissmint has minted world’s smallest gold coin measuring 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches).

• The coin features the image of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue.

• Swissmint has minted just 999 such coins.

• The size of the coin is 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches).It weighs 0.063 grams (1/500th of an ounce).

• The coin has a nominal value of 1/4 Swiss francs (USD 0.26).

• It will be sold for 199 francs, along with a special magnifying glass so that owners can see the famous physicist on its face.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Election Commission of India to sign MoU with EC of Tunisia and Papua New Guinea

• The Election Commission of India has received the approval from the Union Cabinet to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission and Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia. The MoU aims to enhance the cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also approved the agreements in the field of mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, cooperation in the field of early childhood care, oil and natural gas, and Geology and Mineral Resources between India and Brazil.

Ranking

India celebrates National Voters’ Day on 25th January

• In India, the National Voters’ Day is celebrated on 25 January every year in a bid to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process.

• The day is being observed since 2011 to mark the foundation day of Election Commission of India (ECI), formed on 25 January 1950, to overlook the smooth running of elections in India

• The theme of National Voters’ Day 2020 is ‘Electoral Literacy for a Stronger Democracy.’

National Tourism Day: 25 January

• The National Tourism Day is celebrated on 25th January in India every year to raise awareness about the importance of tourism for the country’s economy.

• The Indian government established the National Tourism Day to cultivate awareness among the global community on the importance of tourism and to demonstrate how it affects social, political, financial, cultural worth and economic values worldwide.

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Important Current Affairs 24th January 2020

National


National Girl Child Day 2020

•    India observed the National Girl Child Day 2020 on January 24, 2020 with an aim to raise awareness about the importance of girl child and create facilities for them. 
•    The Day is utilised as a platform to share about the atrocities and inequalities faced by girls in their lives.

India's first e-waste clinic opens in Bhopal

• The first e-waste clinic of the country has been recently opened in Bhopal. This clinic will segregate and process e-waste from household and commercial units.
• The clinic will process all types of e-Waste materials like computers, mobile, chargers, etc. The clinic will run a campaign ‘junk to jugaad’ for those e-waste materials which will not be possible to process.
• The e-waste clinic has been prepared in a junk low floor bus. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) are providing technical support to this clinic.

India, Bangladesh signed agreement to upgrade a road into 4-lane highway

• India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to upgrade Ashuganj-Akhaura road (50.58-kilometer) into a four-lane highway.
• A stretch of 39 kilometers between Ashuganj river port to Dharhar area will be developed by Indian Company, Afcons Infrastructure Limited and Roads and Highways Department (RHD) of Bangladesh.
• This road up-gradation project is a part of two billion second line credit extended by India to Bangladesh. Apart from that, 46 other projects have been identified in Bangladesh that would improve connectivity within and outside of Bangladesh.

International


US amends visa rules to restrict 'birth tourism'

•    The United States recently announced new visa rules to restrict ‘birth tourism’ wherein no temporary visitor visas (B-1/B-2) will be issued to foreigners seeking birth tourism.
•    As per the US White House, the move is aimed at boosting national security and public safety on the whole

International day of education 2020 observed
•    
• International Education Day is observed every year on January 24. The United Nations passed a resolution on December 3, 2018, and decided to declare January 24 as International Education Day.
• Its purpose is to underline the role of education in peace and development. The proposal for International Education Day was prepared by 58 countries including Nigeria. 
•  In India, National Education Day is observed on November 11 every year. It is the second year of the International Day of Education.

Banking and Economy


RBI cancels certificate of authorisation of Vodafone m-pesa
•    The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday said it has cancelled the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of Vodafone m-pesa on account of voluntary surrender of authorisation.
•    Following the cancellation of the CoA, the company cannot transact the business of issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments, the central bank said.
•    Vodafone m-pesa was one of the 11 firms that was given payments bank licence by the RBI in 2015.

Investment limit for FPIs in government & corporate bonds increased to 30%

•    The investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in government and corporate bonds have been raised by the Reserve Bank of India. The decision aims to bring in more foreign funds into the market. 
•    The investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have been raised from 20% to 30% in government & corporate bonds.
•    Along with increase in the investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors, the RBI has also announced relaxations in the voluntary retention route (VRR) for FPI investments in debt. 
•    According to the RBI circular, the investment cap through VRR has been increased to Rs 1.5 lakh crore from Rs 0.75 lakh crore. The central bank has also permitted the FPIs to invest in exchange-traded funds that invest only in debt instruments.
Awards

Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020 winners announced

•    The Union Home Ministry on January 23, 2020 announced the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020. 
•    The Ministry will confer the award upon Kumar Munnan Singh in Individual Category and  Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre, Uttarakhand in Institution Category. 
•    The award is announced on the occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.


Sports

India successfully chased the biggest T20 target abroad

• Team India has completed its biggest run chase overseas by achieving a target of 204 against New Zealand in the first T20I in Auckland on January 24, 2020. 
• India completed its last biggest run chase abroad on July 8, 2018, by achieving the target of 199 runs given by England in Bristol. 
• In this match, Shreyas Iyer (58) and KL Rahul (56) smashed rapid 50s whit captain Virat Kohli scored 45 runs.

Ranking


Corruption Perception Index 2019: India slips two positions to 80th rank

•    The Transparency International on January 23, 2020 launched the Corruption Perception Index 2019 during the ongoing World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos. India’s rank slipped to 80th place on the index from 78th position in the year 2018. 
•    Denmark and New Zealand have been ranked as the most honest countries on the index.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2020

National 


Cabinet approves closure of Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd

• The Union Cabinet recently approved the closure of public sector Hindustan Fluorocarbon Ltd (HFL). Only 88 employees are working in this company.
• HFL has been at a loss since 2013-14 and its net worth has come down to a negative mark. As on March 31, 2019, the company incurred a cumulative loss of Rs 62.81 crore and its net worth is Rs 43.20 crore.
• NBCC (India) will be a land management agency for facilitating the disposal of land assets. Hindustan Fluorocarbon Ltd is a subsidiary company of Hindustan Organic Chemicals.

Jaipur Literature Festival begins

• Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 on January 23, 2019. Litterateurs of the country participate in the festival.
• It is the 13th year of the Jaipur Literature Festival. This time more than 550 speakers are joining the festival from different parts of the country and the world.
• Some issues like NRC, CAA and Delhi's JNU can also be discussed during the festival. Although the organizers have not listed these issues in the list of discussions.

ECI to conduct first Sukumar Sen Memorial lecture

• Election Commission of India (ECI) has organized an annual lecture as a tribute to Sukumar Sen, the first Chief Election Commissioner of India.
• Sukumar Sen (1898–1963) admirably conducted the first two general elections for the Lok Sabha and the state legislatures. Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee delivered a lecture on this occasion.
• Sukumar Sen was born on January 02, 1898. He completed his education from Presidency College, Kolkata and University College, London. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1922.

S Jaishankar inaugurates Gandhi Convention Center in Niger

• Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou jointly inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Center. 
• It is the first convention center that started in Africa on the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
• This convention center was designed as a spacious, modern and environmentally friendly facility. S Jaishankar is the first foreign minister of India to visit Niger.


Banking and Economy

ICICI Bank introduces cardless cash withdrawal facility through ATMs
•    ICICI Bank has rolled out “Cardless Cash Withdrawal” service through ATM. The “Cardless Cash Withdrawal” service can be used for cash withdrawal having a per day transaction limit of Rs 20,000. 
•    The service will enable the ICICI customers to withdraw cash from the ATM by putting a request on ICICI Internet Banking App “iMobile”.

UN lowers India’s GDP growth rate to 5.7% for FY 2019-20
•    The United Nations has lowered India’s GDP growth rate to 5.7% for the Fiscal Year 2019-20 in its World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020 report. 
•    UN has lowered the growth rate to 5.7% from 7.6% which it projected in its WESP 2019 report.
•    UN has also projected India’s growth rate at 6.6% for FY 2020-21 and 6.3% for FY 2021-22. According to the UN, India’s growth rate for FY 2018-19 was 6.8%.

Awards

Priya Prakash wins Cisco Youth Leadership Award 2019

•    The founder and CEO of India based HealthSetGo, Priya Prakash, has won the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award for 2019. The award was given for her school health program that provides healthcare support to children.

•    HealthSetGo is a healthcare organisation that supports the UN’s (United Nation) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to improve the health & lives of children.

Sports

Indian shooter Divyansh & Apurvi wins gold medal at Meyton Cup
•    Indian shooters Divyansh Singh Pawar and Apurvi Chandela have clinched a gold medal each in Meyton Cup, a private tournament in Innsbruck, Austria. 
•    While Divyansh won the gold in the men's 10m air rifle event with an effort of 249.7, Apurvi bagged the yellow metal in the 10m air rifle women's category with a 251.4.


Appointment


Challa Sreenivasulu Setty becomes SBI MD

• Challa Sreenivasulu Setty has been appointed as the new Managing Director (MD) of the State Bank of India (SBI). He will remain on this post for the next three years.
• Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved his name proposed by the Department of the Financial Services.
• Challa is currently working as the deputy managing director of the SBI. This post is extendable by two years or until any other orders. However, such orders come only after reviewing performance.

BOB, BOI and Canara Bank get new MD & CEOs
•    The government on Monday appointed heads of three large public sector banks - Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Canara bank for a period of three years. Sanjiv Chadha has been appointed as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of Baroda (BoB) by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). He succeeds P S Jayakumar, whose term ended in October last year.

•    The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed Lingam Venkat Prabhakar as MD & CEO of Canara Bank and Atanu Kumar Das as MD & CEO of Bank of India. Prabhakar was the executive director of Punjab National Bank and he will be replacing RA Sankara Narayanan who will retire end of this month.

•    Atanu Kumar Das has been appointed as the MD and CEO in Bank of India. He will head the bank for three years from date of assuming office. He is at present working as the Executive Director in the same bank.


Ranking

Greenpeace India Report: Jharia most polluted city in India

•    The coal-belching town of Jharia in Jharkhand to be the most polluted city in India according to a Greenpeace India Report. Jharkhand’s Dhanbad, known for its rich coal reserves and industries, is the second-most polluted city in India.

•    Delhi is the 10th-most polluted city in India, according to the report.  As per the report, 6 of the top-10 polluted cities are in Uttar Pradesh comprising of Noida, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Allahabad, Moradabad and Firozabad. 
•    Lunglei in Mizoram is the least polluted city in the country. The report is based on analysis of PM10 data from 287 cities across the country.
 

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Important Current Affairs 22nd January 2020

National 


Supreme Court forms committee to draft mediation law

•    The Supreme Court has set up a committee to firm up draft legislation to give legal sanctity to disputes settled through mediation. The panel, to be headed by mediator Niranjan Bhat.
•    The other members of the panel, appointed by the Mediation and Project Conciliation Committee (MCPC) of the Supreme Court, included Justice K Kanan, former ASGs AS Chandok and PS Narsimha, senior advocates Sriram Panchu and JP Singh, and senior mediators Susheela S, Sadhna Ramchandran, Laila Ollapally, and Anil Xavier.
•    Chief Justice of India: Sharad Arvind Bobde; Founded: 28th January 1950.

UP Govt launches Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana
•    Uttar Pradesh Government has launched Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana. This scheme will provide financial assistance to the family of farmers who die or become handicapped while working in fields.
•    government has also decided to implement Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana to boost tourism in state. under Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana one tourist point will be developed with a fund of 50 lakh rupees in each and every assembly segment of the state.

Coronavirus Triggers Fear in India: All You Need to Know
•    
The deadly spread of Coronavirus in China has caused panic in surrounding countries including India and Bangladesh. 
•    The Indian government has issued an advisory to people travelling to and from China.
•    Proper checking is being undertaken for those coming from China. The deadly virus was first detected in Wuhan, China.


International


Greece elects Katerina Sakellaropoulou as first female President
•    
Katerina Sakellaropoulou has been elected as the first woman President of Greece. She received majority votes cutting across party lines. 
•    She will succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos and will be the first President who does not belong to any party. 
•    She has also Greece’s traditional norm of men mostly taking senior government positions. 


World Economic Forum 2020: US joins One Trillion Trees initiative, Greta Thunberg says emissions have to stop
•    
US President Donald Trump affirmed during the first day of the 50th World Economic Forum that the United States harbours the cleanest air and drinking water on Earth.
•    He also announced that the US will be joining the One Billion Trees initiative and continue to work towards restoring and growing forests and trees. 


Banking and Economy

Telecom department approves FDI limit in Bharti Airtel to 100%

•    The Telecom department of India has approved the Bharti Airtel Ltd to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the company to 100%. 
•    The approval from the Telecom department will enable Singtel or Singapore Telecommunications Ltd to increase its stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd currently owns 35% stake in Bharti Airtel.
•    Bharti Telecom is the single-largest shareholder in Bharti Airtel with about a 41% stake while Singtel owns 48% in Bharti Telecom, which provides it a 35% stake in Bharti Airtel.

RBI ranked 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad;China’s central bank tops
•    On January 15, 2020 India’s central bank i.e., the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been ranked 6th largest buyer of sovereign gold abroad after it purchased 25.2 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2019 according to World Gold Council(WGC) report titled “Outlook 2020: Global economic trends and their impact on gold”. 
•    The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Poland have purchased more gold than India in 2019.

Sports

Celebrated wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Paralympian Deepa Malik inducted in AlCS

•    Celebrated wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Paralympian Deepa Malik are among the new inductees in the government's All India Council of Sports (AICS).
•    It is an advisory body to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which was formed in 2015 by the  then Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
•    Its term has also been extended by three years and it will continue to be led by veteran sports administrator V K Malhotra as President.
•    Some other renowned new entrants in the Council are former shooter Anjali Bhagwat, footballer Renedy Singh, and mountaineer Bachendri Pal. Senior India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has also been inducted in the council. 


 

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Important Current Affairs 21st January 2020

National 


Brazil President Bolsonaro to be chief guest at 71st Republic Day

• Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro will be the Chief Guest at the 71st Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26, 2020. 
• President Bolsonaro will be on a four-day visit to India and will be leading a delegation of 7 Ministers and the Chairman of Brazil-India Friendship Group. 
• President Bolsonaro will also hold talks with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

50th Annual Meeting of WEF begins in Davos
•    The 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum begins in Davos, Switzerland. On the Indian side, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will lead the delegation to the WEF. 
•    This year programme will focus on achieving the maximum impact on the Forum’s platform for public-private cooperation. This year 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum theme will be “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”.

Madhya Pradesh to observe National Girl Child Day on January 24

• Madhya Pradesh will observe the National Girl Child Day on January 24, 2020 on the theme “Aware girl child-able Madhya Pradesh" under Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao scheme. 
• On the occasion, the state government will examine the health of girls and will create awareness about the rights of girls & daughters.


PM to chair 32nd PRAGATI meeting 

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on January 22, 2020 chair the 32nd PRAGATI meeting. 
• PRAGATI is an ICT-based multi-modal platform for effective governance and timely implementation of projects.
• In previous 31 PRAGATI interactions, PM Modi has approved projects worth over Rs 12 lakh crore.


Banking and Economy


Rs 70,000 crore loan amount has been disbursed till Jan 13 under MSMEs scheme: Govt
•    The Finance Ministry has stated that a loan amount of nearly seventy thousand crore rupees has been disbursed till 13th of this month under the scheme of providing loan to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises – MSMEs within 59 minutes.
•    Out of the 2.73 lakh applications received, 2.19 lakh applications have been approved.
•    For  ease of access to credit for MSMEs, the government has introduced loan provision to MSMEs through a dedicated online portal- psbloansin59 minutes.com.
•    The portal acts as a single interface portal which facilitates in principal approval of bank loans to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises upto five crore rupees within 59 minutes.


BEL commissions real time train info system for Railways
•    Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), the Bengaluru-based defence PSU, has commissioned Phase I of the Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) for the Railways.
•    RTIS provides real-time train information to the Railways thereby increasing its operational efficiency, in addition to enhancing passenger safety.
•    The system has been commissioned through the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), under the technical guidance of Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO.

India among top 10 FDI recipients, attracts $49 billion inflows in 2019: UN report
•    India was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in 2019, attracting $49 billion in inflows, a 16 per cent increase from the previous year, driving the FDI growth in South Asia, according to a UN report.
•    The Global Investment Trend Monitor report compiled by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that the global foreign direct investment remained flat in 2019 at $1.39 trillion, a one per cent decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in
•    This is against the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions.


Sports

India wins Diplomat Cup Cricket Championship 2020

•    The team of the Indian Consulate has won the Diplomat Cup Cricket Championship of 2020 held in Sharjah. The team of the Indian Consulate defeated the Pakistan Consulate to win the trophy which was organized by Skyline University College in Sharjah. 
•    The Consulate team of 8 countries participated in the tournament. The participating Consulates were: India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh , Afghanistan, South Africa, Pakistan and the US.


ACQUISITION AND MERGERS


Zomato acquires UberEats India for nearly Rs 2,500 crore in all-stock deal
•    Zomato announced that it has acquired Uber’s Food Delivery Business in India in an all-stock deal and Uber will have 9.99 per cent stake in the Deepinder Goyal-led food delivery platform.
•    It is in the range of over USD 350 million or nearly Rs 2,500 crore. Uber Eats in India will discontinue operations and direct restaurants, delivery partners, and users of the Uber Eats apps to the Zomato platform.
•    We are proud to have pioneered restaurant discovery and to have created a leading food delivery business across more than 500 cities in India. This acquisition significantly strengthens our position in the category stated Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato.
 

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Important Current Affairs 20th January 2020

National 


Printing process for Union Budget 2020-21 begins

• The Printing process for the Union Budget 2020-21 began with the Halwa ceremony in North Block on January 20, 2020.
• The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 on February 1, 2020. 
• At present, all the officials involved in the preparation of Union Budget 2020 have been subject to “Lock-in” to avoid any prospective leak of information. 

PM Modi interacts with students at Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020

• The 3rd Edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha was held on January 20, 2020 at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi. 
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with over 2000 students who would appear for the Board Exams 2020. 
• PM Modi shared interesting tips for exam preparations and also talked about the ways to handle stress and anxiety.

First squadron of Sukhoi-30 aircraft inducted into Indian Air Force

• The first squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft was inducted into the Indian Air Force at its Thanjavur base, Tamil Nadu on January 20, 2020. 
• The Sukhoi-30 aircraft has been integrated with the supersonic BrahMos missiles.
• This 222-squadron known as the Tigersharks will serve as a platform for conducting aerial and maritime missions in the Indian Ocean Region.

NDRF Celebrates its 15th Raising Day

•    The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrated its 15th Raising Day on 19th January. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), a specialized multi-skilled, humanitarian force of the country, came into existence on January 19th, 2006 has been playing a vital role in Disaster Management and Community awareness for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the country.
•    The NDRF has earned good name and fame nationally and internationally with its selfless service and unmatched professionalism in disaster management. NDRF has saved more than One lakh lives in its 3100 operations and rescued/evacuated over 6.7 lakh people during disasters. A workshop was also be conducted on ‘Urban flooding & challenges’ and ‘Biological Emergencies & New Technology in Disaster Management’.

International

Coronavirus in China: 139 new cases reported so far

• The outbreak of deadly novel coronavirus has now spread to Beijing and Shenzhen cities of China.
• So far, the authorities have reported a total of 198 confirmed cases of coronavirus containment and death of 3 people.
• A few cases of coronavirus infection have been reported from Thailand and Japan as well. 

Awards

‘Castle of Dreams’ gets Best Film Award at DIFF
•    The Iranian film ‘Castle of Dreams’ directed by Reza Mirakarimi won the Best Film Award in Asian Competition section of the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF). The film also won the Best Director Award.
•    Indian film ‘Finally Love’ directed by Anjan Dutt bagged Best Audience Award in Cinema of the World Category. Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage’s film ‘Children of the Sun’ won Special Jury Award.

SAG Awards 2020 winners list


The winners of the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards were awarded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, the US on 19 January. The award honours the biggest achievements in TV and film for the year 2019.

Winners' List:
Television Awards:
Television Movie/Miniseries (Male): Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon 
Television Movie/Miniseries (Female): Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Drama Series (Male): Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Drama Series (Female): Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Comedy Series (Male): Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Comedy Series (Female): Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Ensemble in a Drama Series: The Crown
Ensemble in a Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series: Game of Thrones

Motion Picture Awards:
Leading Role (Male): Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Leading Role (Female): Renée Zellweger, Judy
Supporting Role(Male): Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Supporting Role (Female): Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Cast in a Motion Picture: Parasite
Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Avengers: Endgame

Science & Technology

APEDA sets up 186 Agri products testing laboratories

•    20 January 2020 Current Affairs:Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has added 135 laboratories to existing 51 recognized laboratories. With this addition of laboratories, APEDA recognition of laboratories has reached 186 laboratories in India. 
•    The move is significant as the Laboratory testing requirements are crucial in the Agri export supply chain. The number of laboratories added includes 35 in Maharashtra, 23 in Gujarat, 10 in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, 23 in Tamil Nadu 17 in and Karnataka. 

•    APEDA introduced a policy decision for the simplification of APEDA recognition of laboratories to increase the laboratory network further. It has been decided that the laboratories which are National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited will be recognized by APEDA. These laboratories will be added in the network of APEDA recognition laboratories.

Appointment


Union Minister Arjun Munda was elected as the President of AAI

•    Union Minister Arjun Munda was elected as the President of the Archery Association of India (AAI) elections. Arjun Munda defeated his rival BVP Rao by a margin of 34-18 votes. 
•    Munda was elected for a full tenure of four years. The AAI elections were held according to the Delhi High Court order. 
•    The election was held in the presence of an observer each from World Archery (WA), Sports Ministry and Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

GoI appoints Nripendra Misra as chairman of NMML

•    Nripendra Misra has been appointed chairperson of the executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML). The Executive Council of the NMML has been reconstituted and it will be now chaired by Mr Misra. Dr A Surya Prakash, chairperson of the Prasar Bharati board, will be the council’s vice-chairperson.

•    The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) established in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

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Important Current Affairs 19th January 2020

National 


Piyush Goyal to lead Indian Delegation to World Economic Forum 2020
•    The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, will lead the Indian delegation to the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting at Davos from January 20 to 24, 2020.
•    The theme of the 2020 meeting is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World“.

National Immunization Day 2020
In India, the National Immunization Day was observed on 19 January 2020.
•    As a part of the celebrations, Pulse Polio Immunization programme 2020 was launched where President Ram Nath Kovind administered Polio drops to children below five years at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
•    Under this programme, approximately 17.4 crore children of less than five years of age across the country will be administered polio drops as a part of the immunization drive of the Central Government to sustain polio eradication from the country.

International


New Disease Outbreak: Novel corona virus Grips China’s Wuhan City
•    The Wuhan City of China is in a grip of a new disease outbreak caused by new respiratory virus called Novel corona virus, codenamed as 2019-nCoV.
•    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
•    2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
•    The outbreak has so far killed two people in China and sickened at least 45 persons including overseas cases with some new cases being detected in the city.
•    It is believed to have contracted through exposure to animals market that sells seafood and meat in Wuhan.


Banking and Economy


Mastercard to invest $1 bn in India over 5 years towards tech development
•    Global payments company Mastercard planned to invest nearly $1 billion in India over the next five years. The proposed investment will be made over five years in our India operations includes an R&D facility at Pune and another center at Vadodara.
•    The company is also working closely with technology and financial startups in the country by focusing on the innovation and digital payments matrices under its flagship Start Path program,

Half of World’s GDP Moderately or Highly Dependent on Nature: WEF study
•    The World Economic Forum released The New Nature Economy Report titled ‘Nature Risk Rising’ on 19 January 2020.
•    The report has been published by WEF in collaboration with PwC, UK.

RBI Ranks 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad in 2019: WGC Report
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was the sixth largest gold buyer abroad in the year 2019, as per the World Gold Council (WGC) report titled, “World Gold Outlook 2020”.
•    The RBI currently holds 625.2 tonnes of gold, which is 6.6 percent of its forex reserves.
•    RBI bought 7.5 tonnes of gold in October 2019, to increase its foreign exchange reserves to $450 billion.
•    The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland bought more than India in 2019 respectively.

NPCI Launches Blockchain-based ‘Vajra Platform’ to Secure Online Payment
•    The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a blockchain-technology based payment system ‘Vajra Platform’ for automating payment clearing and settlement processes.
•    Vajra platform is based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), to provide highly secure and tamper-evident transactions stored in a distributed and immutable database.
•    Vajra is a permissioned network that will be set up so that only the parties who have been approved by the Network Administrator can be a part of the network.
•    The platform has three types of nodes: Clearing House node (CHN) for NPCI, UIDAI node for Aadhaar authentication, and Participant node (PN) for all banks/ASP/PPI/PSP

Ranking

Gujarat ranked top for water efficiency Delhi among worst performing states

•    Gujarat ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets in the review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti.
•    Rajasthan is the third-best, and Delhi is among the worst-performing states, according to the ranking for 2019 circulated to different state governments recently. 
•    The seven Central departments reviewed, the Survey of India, got the top billing followed by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Water Commission.


 

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Important Current Affairs 18th January 2020

National 


Conference on Census 2021 held in New Delhi
•    A Conference of the Chief Secretaries and Administrator State and Union Territories on Census 2021 and updating of National Population Register, NPR was held in New Delhi today.
•    Inaugurating it, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai laid emphasis on the need of conducting Census 2021 and the role of the States in doing the same.
•    He also said that the data collected in the Census helps us in framing policies for the welfare of the people of the country. Mr Rai also inaugurated the Official Mascot for Census 2021.

International


Russia to deliver S-400 air defence systems to India by 2025
Russia started the production of S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile systems for India. The five units will be delivered to India by 2025.
S-400 air defence missile systems
•    The S-400 air defence missile systems are among the best in the world. This will significantly bolster India’s air defence mechanism. In October 2018, India signed a USD 5 billion deal to buy the air defence missile systems.
•    The S-400, an upgraded version of the S-300 previously been available to the Russian defence forces. It is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in service in Russia since 2007


Oleksiy Honcharuk Resigns as Prime Minister of Ukraine
•    The incumbent Prime Minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Honcharuk submitted his resignation to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy .The resignation is however still to be confirmed by the President.
•    Oleksiy Honcharuk has been the Prime Minister of Ukraine since 29 August 2019 becoming the youngest-ever head of government at the age of 35.
•    Ukraine capital – Kyiv; Currency – Ukrainian hryvnia

Banking and Economy

UN slashes India's GDP growth forecast to grow at 5.7%

•    On January 16, 2020, According to the ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020’ report  released by the United Nations (UN), it has slashed India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast for the year 2019-20 by 1.9% to 5.7%. Earlier in 2019,It had projected GDP growth rate of 7.6% for FY 2019-20.
•    It has lowered the India’s growth rate to be 6.6% in the next financial year-FY 2020-21 from 7.4 % earlier. It has also estimate a growth rate of 6.3 % for the fiscal beginning in 2021,while the growth rate was 6.8% in FY 2018-19.

3 major reasons for the reduction in GDP growth
Auto Industry: In 2019, this sector saw the slowdown., whereby the vehicle sales volume witnessed the fastest decline in 19 years. The auto industry records for 7% of the India’s GDP and 49% of the manufacturing GDP.
IIP(Index of Industrial Production):India’s industrial activity continuously at a sluggish manner due to the major steps like corporate tax cuts in September 2019. The IIP (Index of Industrial Production) rose by 1.8% in November 2019, after declining between August –October,2019.
NBFCs: One of the main reasons for the decline in GDP growth is the cash crisis of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). The crisis came in September 2018 after the Indian infrastructure development and finance company,Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) defaulted in debt payments.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S


NITI Aayog and UT of Ladakh sign MoU to promote development in Ladakh
•    NITI Aayog and Union Territory of Ladakh sign MoU for Development of Infrastructure Projects in Ladakh.  It was signed between NITI Aayog Senior Adviser Dr Yogesh Suri and Adviser to the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Umang Narula. The agreement was executed in the presence of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

•    Under this agreement, NITI Aayog will be supporting the UT’s administration through its key initiative ‘Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects (D3S-i)’. In an important initiative to promote the development of key infrastructure sectors in the newly constituted Union Territory of Ladakh.


Obituary


Former Indian legendary All-Rounder Bapu Nadkarni passed away
Former Test all-rounder Rameshchandra Gangaram 'Bapu' Nadkarni passed away on Friday (January 17) in Mumbai at the age of 86. Nadkarni, best known for bowling a record 21 consecutive maiden overs in a Test match.


Sports

The journey to ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 set to begin
•    The ICC Under-19 World Cup Cricket 2020 begins in South Africa. Indian team played under the captaincy of Priyam Garg. 
•    The final of the tournament will be played on Feb 09 at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa. India is the most successful team in the tournament, having won four titles till date.
•    India is the defending champions in U19 World Cup 2018. Total 16 teams are participating in the tournament, split into four groups of four.

Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok wins WTA doubles title 

•    Sania Mirza (India) and Nadiia Kichenok (Ukraine) have won the women's doubles title of the WTA International trophy at Hobart, Australia. 
•    They beat Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang from China 6-4,6-4. It's Sania's 42nd WTA doubles title and first since Brisbane International trophy in 2007 with American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Vinesh Phogat wins gold medal in UWW Rome Ranking Series 2020
•    The 2020 season’s first UWW Ranking Series was held from January 15 to 18 in the Italian Capital, Rome.
•    India’s wrestling champion Vinesh Phogat defeated Ecuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Melendres 4-0 in the final (53 kg) to win her first gold medal of the season at the UWW Rome Ranking Series.


 

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