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Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President chaired the second Plenary under the Chinese Presidency of the FATF that met in Paris from 19-21 February 2020
- FATF placed Iran on its ‘black list’ after it failed to comply with international anti-terrorism financing norms, a move that will deepen the country’s isolation from financial markets.
- Pakistan has been retained on the ‘grey list’ of the FATF for another four months, with a stern warning to complete the 27-point action plan it has been given by June 2020 or face being put on the ‘black list’. Pakistan has been lobbying to get off the grey list, citing actions already taken.
- Pakistan was given a deadline to complete the tasks that included shutting down all access to funding of United Nations Security Council-designated terrorist groups, including the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed and prosecuting their leadership for any access to finance.
Important Info :
- The FATF’s plenary year begins in July and ends in June. During a plenary year, the FATF holds three plenary meetings, a meeting of experts and various ad hoc groups.
- The “black list” refers to countries for who there has been a “call to action” or strict banking and international finance sanctions, a list which at present includes Iran and North Korea.
- Pakistan is one of the 12 countries on the “grey list” or “other monitored jurisdictions” that are being reviewed for actions to stop terror financing and money laundering.
Source : The Hindu (Defence & Security)
Union Ministry of Health and Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, has prepared a curriculum for the School Heath Ambassadors
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), along with Union Ministry of Health and Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, has prepared a curriculum for the School Heath Ambassadors
- The Curriculum has been released nearly two years after the launch of the School Health Programme which was launched by PM Modi in 2018 under the Ayushman Bharat Programme.
- Under the scheme, two teachers, preferably one male and one female, will be appointed as Health and Wellness Ambassadors, who will teach students about the promotion of health as well as prevention of diseases.
- The programme will also have class monitors playing the role of Health and Wellness Messengers who would assist the two ambassadors.
- These sessions will be activity-based in order to promote joyful learning and will be held for one hour every week over 24 weeks in a year.
- For the training purposes, the NCERT has constituted a 40-member National Resource Group (NRG). All the NRG members are well trained and experienced in Adolescent Health and they will further train State Resource Groups comprising of six persons from each selected district at the five Regional Institute of Education (RIE) at Mysore, Shillong, Bhubaneshwar, Ajmer and Bhopal.
- Initially, the curriculum will be implemented in the public upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools of those districts which volunteer. The remaining districts will be covered in the second year.
Source : Indian Express (Healthcare)
Investment in research and development (R&D)
In an effort to stimulate investment in research and development (R&D), the Department of Science and Technology is mooting a fund that will match the contributions made by private companies in R&D. Currently, a ₹40 crore target was on the anvil
- The idea is to pool funds from a group of companies willing to invest in fundamental research and whatever is invested government will match that.
- The scheme will be coordinated through the department’s Science and Engineering Research Board, which funds a variety of basic science projects in several universities.
Important Info :
- According to a 2019 report by the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to the Prime Minister, as a fraction of GDP, public expenditures on R&D in India has been stagnant — between 0.6-0.7% of GDP — over the past two decades.
- It is well below that in major nations such as the U.S. (2.8), China (2.1), Israel (4.3) and Korea (4.2).
- Public sector institutions form the lion’s share of India’s investment in R&D. In 2004-2005, private sector accounted for 28% of India’s research spend and in 2016-17 this increased to 40%. In most advanced economies, private R&D accounts for the bulk of investment in R&D.
Source : The Hindu (Science & Technology)
Filmmaker SS Rajamouli and Madhan Karky launched a website (www.kiliki.in) to popularise and help anyone learn the kiLiki language
- KiLiki is a language created in 2013 created by Dr. Madhan Karky for the Indian blockbuster movie ‘Baahubali’ directed by SS Rajamouli.
- It was the language of the Kaalakeya tribe in Baahubali.
- Started as a fictional language, now kiLiki has evolved into a language with script grammar and more than 3000 words for everyday communication.
- KiLiKi alphabet comprises of 22 symbols.
Source : The Hindu (Culture)
Worrisome man-animal conflict in the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) on account of water shortage is no longer an issue
The worrisome man-animal conflict in the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) on account of water shortage is no longer an issue. There was no incident of wild animals straying into human habitations for water
- The Reserve covers areas in Adilabad, Kumram Bheem Asifabad, Mancherial and Nirmal districts in Telangana.
- The reserve is catchment for the rivers Godavari and Kadam, which flow towards the south of it.
- There is water still flowing in the Kadem canal, which cuts through the KTR core area and the recent release in the Saraswati canal from the Sri Ram Sagar Project also resulted in water being available from Khanapur in Nirmal district to Luxettipet in Mancherial.
Source : The Hindu (Environment)
Arshiya, a Yakshagana artist from Mangaluru is likely the first woman from the Muslim community in Yakshagana
Arshiya, a Yakshagana artist from Mangaluru is likely the first woman from the Muslim community in Yakshagana. There are far fewer women Yakshagana artistes compared to men, and a Muslim woman exponent is rare. At one time, this traditional art form was forbidden for women
- What is it? Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form.
- Name: Yakshagana literally means the song (gana) of the yaksha (nature spirits).
- Region: It developed in Udupi, in the state of Karnataka. It is popular in the Karnataka districts of Dakshina Kannada, Kasaragod, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Shimoga .
- Background: This folk art is believed to have originated somewhere in between the 10th and 16th century.
- Theme: Yakshagana is strongly influenced by the Vaishnava Bhakti movement. Its stories are mainly drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other Hindu epics.
- A typical Yakshagana performance consists of background music played by a group of musicians (known as the himmela); and a dance and dialog group (known as the mummela), who together enact poetic epics on stage.
- Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn.
Important Info :
- The tenkutittu style: It is prevalent in Dakshina Kannada. Tenkutittu is noted for its incredible dance steps; its high flying dance moves; and its extravagant rakshasas (demons).
- The Badagutittu style: It is prevalent in Uttara Kannada District and places more emphasis on facial expressions, matugarike (dialogues), and dances appropriate for the character depicted in the episode.
Source : The Hindu (Culture)
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone of new Army Headquarters ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’ at Delhi Cantt
- The building, expected to be constructed in five years, will house offices, residential complex for security personnel with basic amenities. More than 1,700 officers both military & civilian and 1,300 sub staff will be accommodated in the new building.
- Presently, Army Headquarters is spread over several pockets i.e. South Block, Sena Bhawan, Hutments Area, RK Puram, Shankar Vihar and other places in Delhi.
- The new building, proposed in an area of 39 acres, has been conceptualised as a multi-storey green building, adopting Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms.
Source : PIB (Defense & Security)
The newly discovered exoplanet (G 9-40b), by NASA’s Kepler mission is the first one to be validated by Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF)
- Habitable-Zone Planet Finder (HPF) is an astronomical spectrograph, built by Penn State University scientists, and recently installed on the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.
- The instrument is designed to detect and characterise planets in the habitable-zone — the region around the star where a planet could sustain liquid water on its surface — around nearby low-mass stars.
Important Info :
- A spectrograph is an instrument that splits light into its component wavelengths.
- Scientists then measure the properties of light over a specific portion of the spectrum, and draw conclusions on what is responsible for the trends they observe.
Source : Indian Express (Science & Technology)
Indian Railways has introduced the services of Artificial Intelligence based ASKDISHA chatbot
- It has been launched on the ticketing website www.irctc.co.in and tourism website www.irctctourism.com of its PSU, Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).
- Artificial Intelligence based ASKDISHA chatbot is developed to resolve queries of railway passengers over the internet pertaining to various services offered by IRCTC
- The ASKDISHA Chatbot has been launched in English and Hindi languages.
Important Info :
- The chatbot is a special computer programme designed to simulate conversation with users, especially over the internet.
Source : PIB (Science & Technology)
Bay of Bengal Offshore Sailing Expedition on 22 February 2020
Indian Naval Sailing Vessels Mhadei and Tarini set sail for the Bay of Bengal Offshore Sailing Expedition on 22 February 2020 from the Indian Naval Ocean Sailing Node at Goa
- This would be the maiden major mixed crew sailing expedition of the Indian Navy with crew composition of five naval officers including two women officers in each boat, covering a total distance of 6,100 Nautical miles each and will be at sea for 55 days.
- This expedition would showcase harnessing of renewal energy namely wind energy to propel the boats. The expedition is also in pursuance of the mission of ‘Nari Shakti’ providing opportunity to women officers at par with men.
Important Info :
- Mhadei and Tarini inducted in the Indian Navy in 2009 and 2017 respectively have been the vessels of choice for the naval expeditioners in various sailing expeditions, including three circumnavigations.
- Mhadei has successfully completed two circumnavigations.
- Tarini created history in 2017-18 when six Indian Naval women officers sailed the vessel on maiden circumnavigation voyage titled Navika Sagar Parikrama.
Source : PIB (Defence & Security)