Daily Current Affairs – Feb 21, 2020

BS-VI Fuel: India To Switch To World’s Cleanest Petrol, Diesel From April 1
India will switch to the world’s cleanest petrol and diesel from April 1, when it moves to Bharat Stage VI-compliant fuel from BS-IV grades now. With that, India will join the select league of nations using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million of sulphur and emission standards are as good as CNG.
As almost all refineries began producing ultra-low sulphur BS-VI petrol and diesel by the end of 2019. Oil companies have now undertaken the tedious task of replacing every drop of fuel in the country with a new one.
India adopted BS-III fuel with sulphur content of 350 ppm in 2010 and then took seven years to move to BS-IV that had a sulphur content of 50 ppm. From BS-IV to BS-VI, it took just three years

Centre releases Rs 19,950 cr as GST compensation to states, UTs
The Central Government has released 19,950 crore rupees as GST compensation to states. With this release of GST compensation, the Central Government has released a total of over 1.20 lakh crore rupees towards GST compensation to the states during current fiscal.
In the financial year 2018-19, an amount of over 95 thousand crore rupees was collected as GST compensation cess of which over 69 thousand crore rupees was released to the States and Union Territories as GST compensation.

China launches $200 mn fund to combat fall armyworms, locusts
China has allocated 1.4 billion yuan ($200 million) for the prevention and control of pests, including fall armyworms and locusts to protect the country’s massive agriculture sector as food security becomes a major concern.
Fall armyworms, which first arrived in China in January 2019, spread over a million hectares of farmland last year. It is likely to hit more crops this year including the key corn-growing region in the northeast.
China is also closely watching for potential locust invasions as neighbouring countries India and Pakistan struggle with the ferocious insects.

Coronavirus outbreak: MEA says, India to send medical supplies to China’s Wuhan
India is awaiting clearance from the Chinese side to send an aircraft to evacuate its nationals from novel coronavirus-hit Wuhan and deliver a consignment of medical supplies to the neighbouring country.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesman, Raveesh Kumar told that the Indian aircraft will evacuate about 100 Indians.
Earlier, India’s national carrier Air India evacuated over 640 Indians from Wuhan in two separate flights.

Defence, Security & trade to dominate agenda during US Prez Trump’s visit to India next week
External Affairs Ministry has said that India is eagerly awaiting US President Donald Trump’s visit and expressed confidence that it will provide an opportunity to review bilateral ties and further strengthen the global strategic partnership. The US President will begin his maiden visit to India from Ahmedabad on the 24th of this month. The two-day visit is also going to be the first stand alone visit by a US President to India.
All issues including defence, security and trade are expected to come up during the restricted and delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President to be held on the 25th of this month in New Delhi. The issues relating to H1B visa are likely to figure in the talks between the two leaders.

Delray Beach Open: Divij Sharan, Artem Sitak enter quarterfinals
India’s number two doubles player Divij Sharan along with his Kiwi partner Artem Sitak have entered the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach Tennis Open at Florida. They defeated the Swede-French pair of Andre Goransson and Ugo Humbert 5-7, 6-4, 10-7.

Divya Kakran wins a gold medal at Asian Wrestling Championships
Divya Kakran became only the second Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships defeating junior world champion Naruha Matsuyuki in New Delhi. Divya won all four bouts in five-wrestler 68-kilogram category, as the competition was fought in the round-robin format.

FATF members except Turkey & Malaysia ask Pakistan to honour its commitments to stop terror funding
All the members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) barring Turkey and Malaysia have urged Pakistan to honour its commitment to take action against terror financing by June this year. Even Pakistan’s all weather friends, China and Saudi Arabia have joined hands with India, US and European countries in this move.
Ahead of the FATF plenary session in June, a sub group constituted to review Pakistan’s case has recommended that Pakistan should continue to be in a grey list for its failure to check terror funding. It has stopped short of recommending the country for the blacklist.

France’s Groupe ADP to buy 49% stake in GMR airport biz for Rs.10,780 cr
GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) has announced a strategic partnership with Groupe ADP for its Airports Business. GIL has signed a Share Purchase Agreement under which Groupe ADP will hold 49% stake in GMR Airports Limited (GAL) for an equity consideration of Rs.10,780 crore.
As part of the terms of the transaction, GMR will retain management control over the Airports Business with Groupe ADP having the customary rights and Board representation at GAL and its key subsidiaries.
As per 2019 passenger statistics, the combined passengers handled by GMR Airports and Groupe ADP stands at 336.5 million, the highest across the world.

IISc ranks 16th among top 100 universities of emerging economies
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has ranked 16th among the top 100 universities of emerging economies. Indian universities had a good performance year within the emerging economies of the world as a record 11 made it to the top 100 Times Higher Education’s (THE) Emerging Economies University Rankings 2020.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) emerged as India’s top-ranked institution followed by the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs).
Only China has more universities than India in the top 100 at 30 from a total of 47 countries.

India ranks 77th in terms of sustainability & 131st in flourishing index:UN report
According to a United Nations backed report, India ranked 77th on a sustainability index that takes into account per capita carbon emissions and 131st on a flourishing ranking that measures the best chance at survival and well-being for children.
The report was released by a commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world. It was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Lancet medical journal.

Indian women’s to take on Australia in opening match of ICC T20 World Cup
Indian women’s cricket team will take on defending champions Australia on February 21 in the opening match of ICC T20 World Cup opener at Sydney. Australia is hosting the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

P V Sindhu wins third successive ESPN’s Female Sportsperson of the Year award
P V Sindhu won the ESPN’s Female Sportsperson of the Year award for a third consecutive time while young shooter Saurabh Chaudhary bagged the honour in the male category.
Sprinter Dutee Chand became the first winner of the Courage award for being inspirational both on and off the field.
Ace chess player Koneru Humpy won the award for the Comeback of the Year.
Wrestler Deepak Punia bagged coveted ESPN’s Emerging Sports Person of the Year award.
Chief National Badminton Coach Pullela Gopichand claimed the Coach of the Year award.
Manu Bhaker-Saurabh Chaudhary grabbed the Team of the Year honour.
Manasi Joshi won Differently-abled Athlete of the Year/Para-Athlete of the Year award.
Hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior, one of independent India’s most celebrated Olympians, has been conferred with ESPN’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Saina Nehwal progresses to Spain Masters quarterfinals
Shuttler Saina Nehwal progressed to the quarterfinals of the Spain Masters after getting the better of Ukraine’s Maria Ulitina in the second-round match. Nehwal defeated Ulitina 21-10, 21-19 in the clash.
On the other hand, Sameer Verma progressed to the quarters of the tournament after defeating Germany’s Kai Schaefer 21-14, 16-21, 21-15. The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Reddy N Sikki also progressed ahead in the tournament.

South Sudan president, rebel leader agrees to form unity government
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have agreed to form a unity government, a long-delayed step towards ending six years of war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. Mr Kiir said, the new government will be formed on Saturday and he will appoint Machar as his first Vice President, or top deputy tomorrow.
South Sudan’s civil war broke out just two years after mass celebrations after gaining hard-fought independence from Sudan. The conflict badly hurt the oil-rich nation’s economy and roughly half the country’s 12 million people are hungry today.

Trump taps loyalist Richard Grenell as nation’s top intel official
President Donald Trump announced that Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, will become acting director of national intelligence, a move that puts a staunch Trump ally in charge of the nation’s 17 spy agencies.
Grenell, a loyal and outspoken Trump supporter, has been the U.S. ambassador to Germany since 2018. He previously served as U.S. spokesman at the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, including under then-Ambassador John Bolton.

‘Hunar Haat’ becomes one of the biggest events in country to celebrate legacy of traditional arts, crafts
The Hunar Haat event organized by the Ministry of Minority Affairs at India Gate lawns in Delhi has evidently managed to become one of the biggest events in the country to celebrate the legacy of traditional arts and crafts. The 10-day event is being held in the capital commenced on 13th of this month and will go on till this Sunday. The mission behind Hunar Haat is to provide recognition to master artisans, culinary experts and craftsmen at a larger scale

Airlines warn of first global traffic drop since 2009 on coronavirus
The airline industry expects the first annual decline in global passenger demand in 11 years, after tallying up the initial impact of the thousands of flights cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The estimate shaves about 4.7 percentage points off a passenger-traffic forecast issued just two months ago, with almost all of the impact in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The drop would be the first overall decline since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Global passenger demand is now seen contracting by 0.6% this year, compared with a December forecast for 4.1% growth.

Army Chief says roadmap prepared to implement SC’s judgement to grant permanent commission to women officers
Army Chief General M M Naravane has said a roadmap has been prepared to implement the Supreme Court’s judgement to grant permanent commission to women officers and asserted that the force does not discriminate against any soldier. The Supreme Court of India had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission and command postings.

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