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- Roscosmos, Russia’s state space corporation, has planned to venture into Internet of Things (IoT) with launch of a new satellite system named ‘Marathon’. It will be a part of Russia’s Sphere satellite constellation, which is to be fully established by 2026. The number of satellites in this system have not been revealed yet. GLONASS navigation, a satellite communication system and a data relay satellite set-up will be the other equipment in the constellation. IoT is a network of devices such as smartphones, wearable devices, home appliances and vehicles, connected to the Internet, which enables these objects to connect and exchange data.
- Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have joined hands to provide security to the Dudhwa forests and its rich wildlife. The joint long route patrolling will help to strengthen the patrolling in and around Dudhwa and will keep in check forest and wildlife crimes. The tiger reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh and covers an area of 1,284.3 square kilometres. The SSB is a Central Armed Police Force (CAPG) entrusted with guarding the country’s border with Nepal and Bhutan.
- The first-ever India Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue was held at St. Petersburg in Russia. The Indian delegation was led by Rajiv Kumar, the Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog and the Russian side was head by the Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin. The forum provided the participants with a platform to discuss development of bilateral ties in trade, investment, technology and industry. The dialogue was created in an informal summit held at Sochi in May 2018 to give a push to the economic partnership between both countries.
- The Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for Africa and Asia has termed the severe cyclonic storm of October 2018 that devastated Odisha – ‘Titli’ – as “rarest cyclone”. Earlier, even the India Meteorological Department had dubbed its formation as ‘rarest of rare’ occurrence after it had changed its path after making landfall. RIMES has recommended that a detailed risk assessment must be carried out for the state to understand the risks in light of the cyclone. RIMES is an intergovernmental body registered under the United Nations and is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in the regions of Asia Pacific and Africa. Currently, India is the chairman of the body that was established in 2009.
- Sunil Arora was appointed as the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) by President Ram Nath Kovind. He will be the 23rd CEC and shall succeed OP Rawat, when he retired in December 2018. With a tenure of nearly two-and-a-half years, he will also have the opportunity of stewarding the General Election 2019. The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a permanent and independent constitutional body established directly by the Constitution of India to ensure fair elections in the country. It is a multi-member body and currently has three members including the CEC and two election commissioners.
- Akhilesh Ranjan, a member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has been appointed by the Union Finance Ministry as Convenor of Task Force that is drafting New Direct Tax Legislation (Law). He will be replacing Arbind Modi who recently retired in September after the task force was constituted in November 2017 to review the Income Tax Act, 1961 and to draft a new direct tax law in consonance with the economic needs of the country. The taskforce will submit its report to the Government by February 28, 2019.
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