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♦ Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 announced
- Goodwill Ambassador of World Health Organization, Yohei Sasakawa conferred Gandhi Peace Prize 2018 for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world; Ekal Abhiyan Trust conferred the award for 2017, while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International gets the award for 2016; Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015.
- Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 will be conferred on Yohei Sasakawa who is Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization for Leprosy Eradication. The award will be given to Sasakawa in recognition of his work towards eradication of the disease in India and across the world.
- Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been chosen for the award for year 2017 while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International will share the award for 2016.
- Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015. Vivekananda Kendra will be awarded for its contribution in rural development, education, development of natural resources.
- The award carries an amount of Rs 1 Crore, a Citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated all of them for winning the award.
♦ Special director Rakesh Asthana moved out of CBI
- The government on Thursday moved out CBI special director Rakesh Asthana from the agency. The tenure of three other senior officers of the probe agency was also curtailed. Asthana is accused of taking bribes in the Moin Qureshi case.
- “The Appointment Committee of the cabinet has approved the proposal of DOPT/AV division for curtailment of tenure of the following officers working in CBI in the rank of Special Director/ Joint Director/ DIG/SP with immediate effect. 1 Rakesh Asthana 2. Arun Kumar Sharma 3 Manish Kumar Sinha 4 Jayant J Naiknavare,” read the government notification.
- This comes days after a High Power Committee removed Alok Verma as CBI director. Asthana and Verma had accused each other of taking bribe.
♦ Vinesh Phogat becomes first Indian to be nominated for Laureus World Sports Award
- Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Thursday became the first Indian to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus Sport Award. Vinesh has been nominated in “Laureus World Sporting Comeback” category for the year 2019 and will be competing award with golf great Tiger Woods, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, American alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Manyu, and Dutch para-snowboarding star Bibian Mentel-Spee.
- Vinesh had a stellar 2018 in which she won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a silver in the 2018 Asian Championships in Bishkek and a gold at the Asian Games in Jakarta.
♦ BES EXPO 2019 begins in New Delhi
- Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare along with TRAI Chairman R S Sharma on Thursday inaugurated the 25th International conference and exhibition on terrestrial and satellite broadcasting, BES EXPO 2019 in New Delhi.
- Nearly 300 companies from 25 countries are displaying their products in the Expo.
- On the occasion, an exhibitor’s directory was released by the dignitaries and BES awards were presented to the winners.
- Addressing the gathering, the I&B Secretary said that the Information and Broadcasting ministry is considering bringing a new Integrated Broadcast Policy for the growing broadcasting sector in India.
♦ PM inaugurates SVP Institute of Medical Sciences & Research in Ahmedabad
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfilling the promise of creating a New India. Prime Minister inaugurated the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Science and Research in Ahmedabad.
- Part of the Ayushman Bharat programme, this hospital will provide free of cost treatment to the poor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that this Municipal hospital will prove to be a model for others to emulate.
- Spread across 17-floors this hospital has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 750 crores. Run by the Ahmedabad municipal corporation this is a world class hospital with affordable prices.
- Out Of 1500 beds,1300 beds are in General Ward and 200 beds are in the executive class. There are 32 high class Operation Theatres with 139 ICU bed. The OPDs will have 90 consultation rooms with 20 specialists to serve.
- Wrapping up his round of the hospital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his thought via a digital visitor’s book.
- In keeping with the digital India Mantra, Prime Minister used a stylus to sign on a tab. Addressing a gathering, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Ayushman Bharat as a revolutionary scheme that has empowered the poor.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the demand for healthcare is increasing because Ayushman Bharat. With this surge in demand, health services are swiftly penetrating into rural areas.
- As a result there is huge scope for employment opportunities in the health sector. To keep up with this demand, the government is expanding medical education.
- Since 2014 more than 18,000 MBBS seats and 13,000 post graduate seats have been added to the existing strength.
♦ World record entries boosts Delhi International Open
- Finally, the ‘C’ category event of the Delhi International Open chess tournament stands officially acknowledged by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) as the one with most number of entries.
- The premier annual event, played at the spacious Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here in three rating sections offering a prize money of ₹1.01 crore is already the richest prize-money chess event in the country. Nationally, it stands second to golf across all sporting disciplines, not counting the dollar-events.
- In addition to the unprecedented entries, that rose from last year’s 2320 to 2815 for the just-concluded event, an email from FIDE provided an added reason for the organiser, Delhi Chess Association, to be in a buoyant mood.
- According to FIDE Director Vladimir Kukaev, the previous highest number of entries was 1273 in the ‘C’ Category of the 2018 edition of the tournament. Unlike a year ago, Kukaev’s confirmation has ended all speculation over the authenticity of the record. The 2019 edition attracted 1534 entries in ‘C’ Category and that stands as the new world record in any Swiss League event in the game.
- Ironical as may sound, the number rose sharply despite the organiser reducing the maximum rating stipulation from 1600 to 1500 this year.
♦ Khelo India Youth Games: Abhinav Shaw becomes youngest gold medallist in shooting
- He teamed up with Mehuli Ghosh to help West Bengal win the 10m air rifle mixed team event. Delhi’s Devanshi Rana bagged gold in Under-21 girls 25m pistol event.
- Maharashtra once again dominated the gymnastics arena at the Games to wrap up the Under-21 category with a whopping nine medals on the last day of gymnastics events.
- With 18 medals comprising nine gold, six silver and three bronze in gymnastics, Maharashtra were also crowned champions.
- In Hockey under -21 category, Odisha beat Uttar Pradesh in the first semi-final 2-1 while Haryana proved better than Punjab with a 3-1 win. Odisha and Haryana will now play for gold on Tuesday.
- In overall medals tally, Maharashtra completed its half century of gold medals. Delhi follows with 36 gold and Haryana 31 golds so far.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- UNFURL (VERB): unfold: (खोलना)
Synonyms: unroll. unwind
Antonyms: close, conceal
Example: Kaushik unfolded the map and laid it out on the table.
- LENIENCY (NOUN): mercy: (उदारता)
Synonyms: tolerance, charity
Antonyms: cruelty, meanness
Example: This is not the matter in which we can show leniency.
- IMPERATIVE (ADJECTIVE): of vital importance : (अनिवार्य)
Synonyms: compulsory, obligatory
Antonyms: trivial, optional
Example: It is equally imperative to examine the progress of climate targets.
- INCLUSIVE (ADJECTIVE): including all the services : (समेत)
Synonyms: comprehensive, broad
Antonyms: exclusive, narrow
Example: The fastest trains are maintaining inclusive speeds of 45km/sec.
- COLLABORATION (NOUN): alliance : (सहकार्यता)
Synonyms: association, partnership
Antonyms: disunion, separation
Example: With the collaboration, he undertook the preparation of an inventory.
- LEADERENE (NOUN): (तानाशाह महिला नेत्री):an autocratic female leader
Synonyms: queen, duchess
Antonyms: servant, follower
Example: The leaderene of that country criticized the anti-feminist suggestions of her opposition.
- PANDEMONIUM (NOUN): (विप्लव):craziness
Synonyms: anarchy, tumult
Antonyms: calm, order
Example: Many people were badly injured during the pandemonium of the riot.
- OOMPH (NOUN): (ऊर्जा):energy
Synonyms: fortitude, potency
Antonyms: enervation, laziness
Example: All the oomph in the U.S. economy was delivered by the top 10% of households.
Filler Based on The Hindu editorial
Change in Congo
After last month’s general election, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is anxiously awaiting the first ever transfer of power via the ballot since gaining independence in 1960. President Joseph Kabila, who had already deferred the polls by two years, postponed them again by a week days before it was scheduled in December. He cited the Ebola outbreak in some provinces and the destruction of electronic voting machines in a fire in the capital Kinshasa as reasons for the latest delay. But Mr. Kabila’s critics dismissed these excuses as coming from a President in denial of his impending defeat after 17 years in power. Their suspicions appeared to be justified, as prominent opposition leaders were barred from the contest by partisan courts and the election commission. Meanwhile, the UN has voiced concerns over the quality of voting machines and the deployment of the state machinery to obstruct opposition campaigns, adding to the sense of uncertainty. Soon after polling closed on December 30, rival camps began to pronounce victory for their own sides. When the election commission last week announced Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress as the winner, it predictably created a controversy. Mr. Kabila’s candidate, former Interior Minister Emmanuel Shadary, was expected to romp home. In the event, Mr. Shadary, who faces accusations of human rights abuses, was ranked third. The outcome triggered intense speculation that Mr. Kabila had cut a deal to back Mr. Tshisekedi, son of a deceased opposition leader. The candidate who came in second, Martin Fayulu, a political outsider, has challenged the results.
DR Congo’s Catholic church, which runs an independent poll observation mission, has questioned the official result and has even threatened to legally challenge it. It is but natural that DR Congo’s vibrant civil society groups should expect the judiciary to assert its independence, as did the court in Kenya following that country’s disputed 2017 elections. There are real fears that without genuine attempts to uphold the rule of law, the central African nation could slip into protracted political uncertainty and social unrest. The U.S. has cautioned Mr. Kabila against attempting to doctor the popular mandate. But with an eye on the country’s lucrative mineral wealth, which is needed to power electric cars and the robotics revolution, there are limits to the pressure Western nations will want to exert on Kinshasa in the months ahead. The role of Mr. Kabila, who is just 47 years old, in the coming days will be important to watch. He has emphasised that by stepping down, he is merely respecting the constitutional mandate. The intent behind that assertion will be tested in the ensuing months.
Question 1: President Joseph Kabila, who ………. already deferred the polls by two years, postponed them again by a week days before it was scheduled in December.
Question 2: Their suspicions appeared to be justified, as prominent …………. leaders were barred from the contest by partisan courts and the election commission.
Question 3: Mr. Kabila’s candidate, former Interior Minister Emmanuel Shadary, ……….expected to romp home.
E) None of these
Question 4: There are real fears ………… without genuine attempts to uphold the rule of law, the central African nation could slip into protracted political uncertainty and social unrest.
Question 5: The role of Mr. Kabila, who is just 47 years old, in the coming days ……… important to watch.
C) Will be
E) None of these
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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