The Daily Brief – 22nd February, 2017

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  • Amnesty International’s annual report, the State of the World’s Human Rights Report 2016-17, has expressed concerns over a range of human rights violations in India. The report, released worldwide, slammed the use of legislation such as the Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and the sedition law to silence government critics and crack down on civil society organisations.
  • India and Rwanda have concluded a bilateral air services agreement enabling direct flights between the two countries. This is among the three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) concluded between the two countries during Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s visit to Rwanda.  The other two MoUs pertained to the setting up of an entrepreneurial development centre in Rwanda and exemption of visa for entry of diplomatic and official passports.
Image result for manohar parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
  • To strengthen surveillance of over 7,500-km coastline of the country, the Defence Ministry gave the go-ahead to expand the coastal radar surveillance network. The decision was taken by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
  • In an attempt to curb poaching of tigers from the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), “shoot at sight” orders were issued to forest department workers to gun down poachers spotted inside the tiger reserve. According to the tiger census data released in 2015, Uttarakhand with 340 tigers has the second highest tiger population in the country after Karnataka. According to wildlife experts the tiger population has gone even higher in the past two years.
  • The government has appointed Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre of the Supreme Court as chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. He was nominated for the post by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar. The post fell vacant following the resignation of Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan.
  • The Union Government has launched the Bharat QR code, a quick response code to enable digital payments without card swiping machines. It is the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution launched by the Indian Government to move towards a cashless economy.
  • Shurhozelie Liezitsu (81) was sworn-in as the 17th Chief Minister of Nagaland. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor PB Acharya at a ceremony in the state capital Kohima. He succeeded TR Zeliang, who had resigned as the Chief Minister following widespread protests over reservation to women in local body elections.
  • The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. NBC is one of the significant biodiversity mega events of the country. It aims to identify practical, evidence-based case studies at the regional level to support the plan of action.
  • The Union Government has announced the expansion of the rotavirus vaccine in five additional states under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). They are Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. The announcement comes after 38 lakh children were vaccinated when the vaccine was first introduced in four states – Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
  • Scientists exploring the forests of the Western Ghats have come across four new species of tiny frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail, which make a distinctive chirping sound comparable to that of a cricket. These species are among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ discovered by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and the Kerala Forest Department, who spent five years surveying the global biodiversity hotspot. Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus endemic to the Western Ghats.

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