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♦ Appointment of Nageswar Rao as interim Director of CBI challenged in SC
- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday, challenging the appointment of M. Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI Director.
- It said the government “completely bypassed” the statutory requirement to consult the high-powered selection committee of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) before appointing Mr. Rao.
- The NGO, Common Cause, and activist Anjali Bhardwaj, termed the January 10 order of the government handing over the charge and work of the CBI Director to Mr. Rao as “illegal”.
- “The Government of India has attempted to stifle the independence of the institution of the CBI by appointing the Director of the CBI in an arbitrary and illegal manner,” the petition, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, contended.
- It said the mandatory requirement under Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946 to consult the high-powered selection committee was a statutory measure to make the appointment process of the CBI Director free from government interference.
- “The DSPE Act, as amended by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, provides for the appointment of the CBI Director by a high-powered selection committee, which does not have a preponderance of the government and its representatives. The committee consists of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India or any Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him,” the petition said.
♦ Ananth Narayanan steps down as Myntra-Jabong CEO
- Fashion e-tailer Myntra on January 14 said its CEO Ananth Narayanan has quit, a development that ends months of speculation about his exit following a recent re-jig at its parent group Flipkart.
- In a statement, Myntra said Narayanan has decided to step down as CEO of Myntra and Jabong to pursue external opportunities.
- Amar Nagaram has been named as Head, Myntra and Jabong, and will report to Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, it added.
- There were speculations that Narayanan would quit after a new reporting structure was put in place when Binny Bansal — the then CEO at Flipkart Group (which owns Myntra and Jabong) — quit the company.
- As a part of the new structure, Myntra and Jabong were brought under Flipkart, with Narayanan reporting to Krishnamurthy. Reports suggest that Narayanan is moving to content streaming platform Hotstar, but the same could not be independently ascertained.
♦ Isro to set up Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru for manned missions
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is setting up a ‘Human Space Flight Centre’ in Bengaluru, which will support its quest of making country’s maiden manned space mission a success.
- “This centre will help in carrying out the job related to all the human space programmes,” said Isro chairman K Sivan.
- Gaganyaan, an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft intended to be the foundation of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. In its maiden crewed mission, it will send three astronauts to orbit the Earth at an altitude of 400 km, for up to seven days. Gaganyaan is a Rs 10,000-crore project and the space agency has kept a target to conduct the manned mission by December 2021. It will, however, conduct two unmanned missions before that.
- The ‘Human Space Flight Centre’ will have senior scientist Unnikrishnan Nair as the director, while the Gaganyaan project will be headed by R Hutton at the Centre. Isro said it has to select humans, training them to withstand the space environment, and then bring them back to earth and rehabilitate them.
♦ First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award presented to PM Modi
- “Shri Narendra Modi is selected for his outstanding leadership for the nation. His selfless service towards India, combined with his tireless energy has resulted in extraordinary economic, social and technological advances in the country.”
- The Citation adds: “Under his leadership, India is now identified as the Centre for Innovation and Value Added Manufacturing (Make in India), as well as a global hub for professional services such as Information Technology, Accounting and Finance.”
- The Citation also mentions: “His visionary leadership has also resulted in the Digital Revolution (Digital India), including the Unique Identification Number, Aadhaar, for social benefits and financial inclusion. It is enabling entrepreneurship, ease of doing business, and creating a 21st century infrastructure for India.”
- The Citation mentions initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India, and Swachh Bharat, “which have positioned India as one of the most lucrative manufacturing and business destinations in the world.”
- Prof. Philip Kotler is a world renowned Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Owing to his ill-health, he deputed Dr. Jagdish Sheth of EMORY University, Georgia, USA, to confer the award.
♦ Bharti Airtel in talks on a potential takeover of Telkom Kenya: sources
- Bharti Airtel is in talks about a potential takeover of Telkom Kenya, the East African nation’s smallest operator, three telecoms industry sources told Reuters on Monday.
- London-based Helios Investment, which owns a 60 percent stake in Telkom, was looking to partly cash out of the investment which it entered in 2015, the sources said.
- Airtel and Telkom were not available for immediate comment.
♦ Ahmedabad hosts International Kite Festival
- The festival marks the days in the Hindu calendar when winter begins turning to summer, known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan.
- Since 1989, the city has hosted the Festival as part of the official celebration of Uttarayan.
- Master kite makers and flyers from all over the world gather to demonstrate their unique creations and wow the crowds with highly unusual kites.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted Happy Uttarayan. May you all scale new heights of progress in the times to come.
♦ Gujarat becomes 1st State to implement 10% EWS Quota
- Gujarat has become the first state to provide 10 percent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category, starting today.
- It will be implemented in all ongoing recruitment processes including where only an Advertisement has been published and a first stage of examination is yet to be held.
- 124th Constitutional Amendment passed in Parliament on the last day of the Winter session of Parliament allows for this quota.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- TRANSPARENCY (NOUN): Pellucidness (पारदर्शकता)
Synonyms: clarity, clearness
Antonyms: opacity, opaqueness
Example: I relish watching transparency of ice.
- TEMPORARILY (ADVERB): transiently (अस्थायी रूप से)
Synonyms: briefly, transitorily
Antonyms: permanently, for good
Example: The doctor said that symptoms may disappear temporarily.
- STRINGENT (ADJECTIVE): rigid (कठोर)
Synonyms: draconian, binding
Antonyms: lenient, flexible
Example: Stringent guidelines on air pollution were given.
- INTENTION (NOUN): purpose (इरादा)
Synonyms: motive, aim
Antonyms: discouragement, aimlessness
Example: Srishti was full of good intentions.
- MALPRACTICE (NOUN): dereliction (भ्रष्टाचार)
Synonyms: misdeed, violation
Antonyms: behaviour, obedience
Example: These are the victims of medical malpractice.
- BOTTLENECK (NOUN): obstacle
Synonyms: barrier, congestion
Antonyms: aid, assistance
Example: He came passing through many bottleneck.
- LINGER (VERB): loiter (विलंब करना)
Synonyms: drift, idle
Antonyms: advance, finish
Example: Don’t linger on the same topic.
8. ROBUST (ADJECTIVE): hearty (मजबूत)
Synonyms: healthy, sturdy
Antonyms: fragile, incapable
Example: He is an intelligent and a robust child.
Filler Based on The Hindu editorial
Wall of shame: on Mexico border wall
It began as a populist campaign promise that brought President Donald Trump’s supporters cheering to their feet and paved the way for his election. Now, the border wall with Mexico has become a morass of partisan bickering that has stalemated the U.S. federal government into a three-week-long shutdown, leaving nearly 800,000 public sector workers furloughed without pay. At the heart of this political crisis is the increasingly bitter polarisation of public opinion over immigration. On the one hand, Mr. Trump has steadily contributed to the strident and crude anti-migrant rhetoric, characterising prospective migrants from Latin America as drug-dealers, rapists and violent criminals and shutting down the U.S. border to travellers from certain Muslim-majority countries. On the other, his insistence that he will not sign any appropriations bill to break the funding logjam in Congress and end what could soon become the longest shutdown in U.S. history, unless that bill includes $5.7 billion in financing for a border wall, has gone down badly with Democrats, who control the House. Matters took a darker turn as Mr. Trump doubled down on his refusal to negotiate over funding for the wall and said he may declare a state of national emergency over this uncomfortable status quo.
There are disquieting questions about the veracity of some of Mr. Trump’s claims: migrant border crossings have been in decline for the best part of two decades; it is through legal ports of entry and not unauthorised crossing points that hard drugs such as heroin enter the U.S.; and even the State Department has admitted that no terror operatives have entered the U.S. through Mexico. Then there is the more blatantly flawed reasoning touted by the President that “Mexico will pay” for the wall. Now it appears that even Mr. Trump is backing down on his claim, arguing that Mexico would only “indirectly” fund it through trade deals. It is well-known that only corporations pay tariffs under these deals, not governments, and hence no such payment will come from Mexico. Even as the acerbic back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and Congressional Democrats continues, the deeper malaise is a profound disagreement among Americans on what their nation’s very soul stands for. Is the U.S. truly a melting pot, a country built on the prowess of entrepreneurship and technology, in large part driven by immigrants seeking the “American dream”? Or is it a declining world power that has squandered too much to other nations and peoples and is readying itself for an uncompromising battle to claw back what it reckons it has lost? If it is the latter, then we could expect Mr. Trump’s vision to succeed, but if not, a course correction is in order.
Question 1: federal government ………. a three-week-long shutdown.
Question 2: On the one hand, Mr. Trump has ……… contributed to the strident and crude anti-migrant rhetoric.
Question 3: Then there is the more blatantly flawed reasoning ………… by the President that “Mexico will pay” for the wall.
Question 4: Even as the acerbic back-and-forth …………. Mr. Trump and Congressional Democrats continues.
Question 5: Select the word which is most nearly the OPPOSITE MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
Question 6: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
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