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Important Current Affairs 1st February 2019

National News

Highlights of 2019 – 20 Interim Budget 
•    6,000 rupees yearly direct support to farmers through PM-KISAN Programme.
•    3,000 rupees pension for unorganised sector workers earning upto 15,000 rupees through a mega Pension Scheme - Pradhan Mantri Shram- Yogi Maandhan.
•    Direct tax system simplified; Returns to be processed in 24 hours with  immediate refunds.
•    Allocations to Health care, MGNREGA, SC/ST welfare programmes, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Development of infrastructure in North-East hiked substantially.
•    A separate Department of Fisheries.
•    Allocations to Defence budget crosses three lakh crore rupees for the first time.
•    10 point vision for 2030 to realize India’s social economic potential; 10 trillion dollars economy in 13 years.
•    An All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS for Haryana.
•    Single window clearance for shooting films to be made available to Indian film makers.
•    The fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4 percent of GDP are the highlight of the Interim Budget for 2019-20.
Budget
1.    What is an interim budget?
An interim budget is the budget of a regime or administration that is going through a period of transition.
2.    When is an interim budget presented?
The government presents an interim budget if it does not have time to present a full Budget or if the general elections may be in the near future.
3.    Why do we need an interim budget?
The government needs Interim Budget to work during the time it takes for a new government to make its own fiscal plan. The budget for the year permitted by Parliament gives the government spending rights only till 31st March i.e. end of the financial year.

Government Unveils vision for the Next Decade 
The Government has unveiled its vision for the next decade, listing thereby ten most important dimensions in 2030. “With this comprehensive ten-dimensional Vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past.
The dimensions of Vision-2030 outlined by Shri Goyal are as follows-  
•    To create physical and social infrastructure for ten trillion dollar economy and to provide ease of living.
•    Digital India led by the youths with innumberable start-ups and million of jobs.
•    To make India pollution free by focusing on Electrical Vehicles and renewables.
•    Rural industrailisation using modern technologies to generate massive employment.
•    Clean rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
•    Besides scaling up Sagarmala, India’s coastline and ocean waters will power development
•    Through our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World
•    Self sufficiency in food production and producing food in the most organic way.
•    A healthy India by 2030 and a distress free health care and wellness system for all. Ayushman Bharat and women participation would be an important component in it.
•    Employees working with elected Government, transforming India into Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation.

PETROTECH-2019 
PETROTECH-2019, the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition, being organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India. India’s flagship hydrocarbon international conference is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India.
Aim : The PETROTECH 2019 exhibition will focus on development in technologies for exploration & production, process control, refining and pipeline and services, systems, products, oil field hardware, software, analytical instruments, Renewable, R&D, HSE, training and publications of technical literature.
About Conference: The PETROTECH series of International Oil & Gas Conference is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise, and experiences. Being held for the last over two decades with growing participation.


8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava 
An International Conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi. The conference was organised as part of events to commemorate 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan.
Guru Padmasambhava
•    Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and travelled all across Himalayan region in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings.
•    Guru Padmasambhava is highly revered in Bhutan. There is an image or painting of the Guru Padmasambhava in every Bhutanese home or temple.
•    Guru Padmasambhava was also known as Guru Rinpoche is widely venerated as a “second Buddha” by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the Himalayan states of India, and elsewhere.


Human Space Flight Centre Inaugurated 
•    The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) which would be the core of ISRO’s future manned missions was inaugurated at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre will implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan with the support of existing ISRO Centres.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre would be responsible for end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

New India by 2022
Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey takes Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC (Appointment)
•    Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, took the Oath of office and Secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission today. The oath was administered by Shri Arvind Saxena, Chairman, UPSC.
•    An officer of the 1981 batch of Indian Administrative Service of Tamil Nadu Cadre, Shri Choubey during his career spanning over more than 35 years, has held several important positions in the Central Government as well as in the Government of Tamil Nadu.
•    He served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Development Commissioner 
(Handloom) in the Ministry of Textiles, Director General in the Directorate General of
Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power and prior to his joining the Commission, he was serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, In the State also, he held various important positions in the Revenue, Rural Development, Transport, Finance, Industries, Telecommunications and Personnel & General Administration Department.

International news

UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against CAR for another year
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
Details of Sanctions
On 5 December 2013 the United Nations Security Council, concerned at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic, imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic. This was followed on 28 January 2014 by a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with individuals who act to undermine the peace stability and security of CAR or who violate the arms embargo.
About Central African Republic (CAR)
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.

India now 6th largest economy in the world with high growth 
•    Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.
•    Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.
•    Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2019

National News

Govt embarks on ambitious programme to ensure 100% electrification of Railways grid in next 5 years 
•    Government has embarked on an ambitious programme to ensure 100 per cent electrification of Railways grid in the next five years.
•    The step will help reduce carbon emissions and supplement the efforts to fight climate change. Mr Goyal was speaking in New Delhi today after he was conferred with Carnot Prize by a US-based Centre for Energy Policy.
•    The award recognizes role of exceptional leaders in advancing mission of cultivating energy policy innovation.


PM Modi dedicates National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation at Dandi village, situated in South Gujarat on Arabian sea coast.
•    At the memorial site, he also unveiled statues of Mahatma Gandhi and 80 Satyagrahis who had marched with him during the historic Dandi Salt March in 1930.
•    A dedication ceremony on Bapu’s death anniversary has acquired special significance as Dandi village is to receive a big push from the government to be developed as a place of national importance and tourist interest like Statue of Unity.


India's 1st Geographical Indication Store opened in Goa
•    Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday inaugurated India's 1st Geographical Indication store at Goa International Airport in Dabolim.
•    The store is located on the first floor on Departure Terminal, and jointly set up by Airports Authority of India and The Cashew Export Promotional Council of India.
•    Union Minister informed that currently there are 270 GI registered products in the country and the store will be a boon for the global tourists.


CBI books Chanda Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot 
•    The CBI has booked former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon group MD Venugopal Dhoot in connection with alleged cheating and irregularities in loans sanctioned by the bank to the group in 2012.
•    It is alleged that Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in Nupower months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from the ICICI Bank in 2012.
 

International News

US, China begin trade talks in Washington 
•    Top trade officials from the US and China have begun talks in Washington for defusing the escalating tariff war. 
•    The Chinese delegation is headed by Chinese Vice Premier Lie, while the American side is led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
•    The White House said, US welcomes the Chinese delegation and US President Donald Trump will meet them at the end of the two-days talks.
•    US and China have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce declared in December. Should the talks fail, US import duties on 200 billion dollars in Chinese imports are due to more than double on 2nd March.


South Korea bans single-use plastic bags in supermarkets 
•    The South Korean government ban on the use of disposable plastic bags at big supermarkets came into effect on January 1 in a bid to protect the environment and encourage recycling.
•    The revised law affects about 2,000 supermarkets over 165 square metres in size, all of which used to provide disposable plastic bags for free.
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2019

National News

NGMA to organize 1st edition of Night at the Museum 
•    National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi will today organize the first edition of Night at the Museum.
•    The event will be organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
•    NGMA will conduct guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery.
•    Highlight objects include works of art of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.


Four highway projects worth over Rs 3000 cr launched in Rajasthan
•    In Rajasthan, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of four National Highway projects worth over 3 thousand 237 Cr. rupees.
•    These include three projects in Bikaner and one in Nagaur District.
•    24 thousand Km Highways will be constructed in first phase of Bharatmala Project.
•    Foundation stone of two projects were laid down in the function, which include National Highway from Raisinghnagar to Poogal and Khajuwala to Poogal and Poogal to Naukha-Bap sections of NH-911.


All religion prayer organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat
•    Gujarat is paying rich tribute to its son of soil father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary today.
•    All religion prayer has been organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram this morning. 
•    Several functions have been organized at Kirti Mandir in Porbandar- the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
•    People will also observe two minutes silence at 11 am in respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.


India improves its global corruption ranking in 2018: Study
•    India has improved its ranking on a global corruption index in 2018 by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41.
•    In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind at 87th and 117th position, respectively.
•    According to the rankings released by an anti-corruption watchdog, Denmark is the least corrupt country followed by New Zealand while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.


Obituary

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passes away in New Delhi 
•    Former Defence Minister and Anti-Emergency Crusader George Fernandes passed away in New Delhi. He was 88.
•    One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party. 
•    He was elected to the Lok Sabha 9 times and once to the Rajya Sabha.
•    He also served as Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Industry. 
•    George Fernandes was also a trade unionist, agriculturist, and journalist. As President of the All India Railwaymen's Federation he led the Railway strike involving 1.5 million workers in 1974, resulting in thousands being sent to jail.


International News

UAE, Saudi central banks launch common digital currency called 'Aber' 
•    The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called "Aber", which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
•    It will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable banks to directly deal with each other in conducting financial remittances.
•    Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.


Myanmar parliament approves step toward charter change
•    Myanmar's parliament has voted to create a committee to propose amendments to the country's military-enacted constitution, which grants the armed forces the power to block any change.
•    The proposal to form the committee was presented by a member of the ruling National League for Democracy party of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which took power in 2016 after more than five decades of military or military-backed rule.
•    The 2008 constitution gives the military control of national security ministries and 25 per cent of legislative seats, enough to prevent any constitutional changes, which require the support of more than 75 per cent of lawmakers.


Awards

Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal among 24 honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award 
•    Renowned Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal, Dogri writer Inderjeet Kesar, Kannada writer KG Nagarajappa and Kashmiri story writer Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq were among 24 writers, who were honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award 2018.
•    President of the Sahitya Akademi Chandrasekhar Kambar presented these awards at a function in New Delhi.
•    The awards were given for 24 different languages. The award was given to Chitra Mudgal for her book 'post box no 203 Nalla Sopara', which was based on the life of a transgender.
•    Inderjeet Kesar got the award for his Dogri novel- Bhagirath based on challenges faced by human beings. 
•    K. G Nagarajappa bagged the award for Anushreni- Yajamanike which is a collection of Kannada essays. 
•    Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq received the award for his collection of 18 Kashmiri short stories - Aakh.
 

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Important Current Affairs 29th January 2019

International News

World Steel Association Report
The World Steel Association has released a Report highlighting various trends related to the Industry, they are:

•    China is the largest producer of crude steel and it accounts for more than 51 per cent of global production. China’s share has been increased from 50.3 per cent in 2017 to 51.3 per cent in 2018.
•    The production in China increased by 6.6 per cent from 870.9 MT in 2017to 928.3 million tonnes (MT) in 2018.
•    India has replaced Japan as the world’s second-largest steel producing country.
•    The Steel production in India increased by 4.9 per cent from 101.5 MT in 2017 to 106.5 MT in 2018.
•    The global crude steel production increased by 4.6 per cent from 1,729.8 MT in 2017 to 1,808.6 MT in 2018.
•    Other countries in the Top 10 list of steel producing nations include US at United States, at the 4th position as the country produced 86.7 MT of crude steel in 2018, South Korea (72.5 MT, 5th place), Russia (71.7 MT, 6th), Germany (42.4 MT, 7th), Turkey (37.3 MT, 8th), Brazil (34.7 MT, 9th) and Iran (25 MT, 10th).

Australia Day: January 26 

Australia celebrates 26th January as Australia Day which marks the landing of the First Fleet, a convoy of 11 ships carrying convicts, at Port Jackson in 1788. It also marks the founding of the colony New South Wales.

How the Australia Day came into being?
On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the colony in 1818, the Governor of New South Wales celebrated the day with a 30-gun salute and a holiday for all government employees.

Initially, the celebrations were confined to New South Wales. The first founding day was celebrated on 1838, 50 years after the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales. By 1926, almost all states of Australia were celebrating the Australia Day and it was being referred to as Anniversary Day in New South Wales.

From 1946, January 26 was celebrated as Australia Day all over the country with the public holiday.
 

National News

Two Day International Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation inaugurated in New Delhi 

The 3rd Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation was inaugurated in New Delhi today. Third in a series of Stock Taking Conferences, this is the second to be held in India after 2012 and is expected to have wide ranging discussions on the status of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) by the 13 tiger range countries besides deliberations on combating wildlife trafficking.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who is also the Chairman of the National Tiger Conservation Authority said on the inauguration that conservation of tigers is a duty which has to be meticulously pursued and more innovative ways needs to be devised so that we can better the targets adopted by tiger range countries in 2010 at St. Petersburg, Russia. “The New India that we envisage is not only for humans but for every aspect including wildlife”, said Dr. Vardhan.


National Conference on “Prison Design” to begin in Visakhapatnam 

The first ever National Conference on “Prison Design” will begin in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh tomorrow (29th January 2019).   The two-day conference is being hosted by the DG Prison, Andhra Pradesh on the behalf of State and is being   sponsored by the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).  

The Deputy Chief Minister (Home & Disaster Management), Andhra Pradesh, Shi N. Chinarajappa will inaugurate the National Conference.  This conference aims to provide a platform to the Sr. Police officers, Prison officers and Architects from Prison Department and Police Housing Corporation to meet and deliberate upon on the various issues relating with planning, Design and Constructions of prison keeping in view the safety and security need as well as administrative ease of day to day functioning of the prison.  The idea of conference is also to incorporate new construction technology, Information and Communication Technologies and modern safety and security gadgets in Prison Administration, besides ensuring conducive living environment in a holistic sense.

Atal Setu of Goa 

Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the “Atal Setu” on the Mandovi river in Goa.
The important features of the bridge are:

•    It is a four-lane 5.1-km long cable-stayed bridge connects state capital Panaji with north Goa.
•    This four-lane bridge weighs at 2.5 lakh tonnes is equivalent to the weight of 570 Boeing aircraft.
•    The bridge has been built by 1 lakh cubic metres of high strength, high performance concrete enough to fill 40 Olympic size swimming pools.
•    13,000 tonnes of corrosion resistant reinforcement steel, 32,000 square metres of structural steel plates and 1,800 kilometres of high tensile pre-stressing strands have gone into making the bridge.
•    The bridge utilizes 88 high tensile strength cables in the state-of-art single place harp type cable stay system and a real-time force monitoring mechanism.


Steel Ministry to set up Safety Directorate 

Ministry of Steel,Government of India, held its Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting in Goa today chaired by the Minister of Steel, Chaudhary Birender Singh. The issues discussed atthe meeting were mining activities of CPSEs under Steel ministry and safety in Steel Plants.

At the end of the Parliamentary Consultative Committeemeeting, the Steel Minister addressedmedia persons and emphasized the importance of safety in the production of iron and steel which is a complex and hazardous activity.The Minister said that recognising the need to prevent injuries and accidents and provide a healthy working environment and also guard against all possible hazards and risks, it has been decided to set up a Safety Directorate which will become operationalsoon. This directorate will oversee the safety standards in the steel industry. Steel Minister said both its CPSEs, Steel Authority of India Limited and RashtriyaIspat Nigam Limited(RINL), have comprehensive safety policies.

Union Minister Patnaik launches Rs 1,100 crore Infra projects in Ganjam district 

Shri Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone for 231 projects worth Rs 715 crore and inaugurated 48 projects in the Ganjam District of Odisha. Some of the Major Projects inaugurated by Naveen Patnaik are a 10-bedded geriatric ward (Rs 40 crore), bleaching store (Rs 29.64 crore), district vaccine store (Rs 79 crore) and Construction of OPD for eye department at the district headquarter hospital and city hospital. Foundation stone for various projects was laid during the visit of Naveen Patnaik including Railway over the bridge at Jagannathpur and Ambapua with an estimated cost of Rs 30 and Rs 35 crore respectively and 9 Major Rail project (Rs 113.51 crore). Foundation stone was also laid for the development of infrastructure of 11 tourism projects costing Rs. 4.78 crore in the district.
 

appointments

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh appointed as Regional Director WHO SOUTH EAST Asia

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh appointed Regional Director for World Health Organization South-East Asia, for a second five-year term. Her second term of office will begin on 1 February 2019. She is the first woman to become Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region Previous year, Thailand became the first in Asia-Pacific to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. 
About World Health Organisation (WHO) Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland 
Head: Tedros Adhanom 
Founded: 7 April 1948
 

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2019

National News

Supreme Court refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act 
The Supreme Court has refused to stay the amendments to Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018. These amendments were brought in to nullify the safeguards instituted by the Supreme Court to prevent its misuse.
Safeguards proposed by Supreme Court
Expressing concerns over the misuse of the various provisions under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Supreme Court had proposed following safety mechanisms:
Provision of anticipatory bail
•    Approval of Senior Superintendent of Police to arrest those accused under this act.
•    Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) to conduct a preliminary enquiry to find out whether there is a prima facie case under Act.


Yuva Swabhiman Yojana 
The government of Madhya Pradesh has announced the Yuva Swabhiman Yojana to provide employment for the unemployed youth from the economically weaker sections of the society.
About the Scheme
The features of the Yuva Swabhiman Yojana scheme are:
•    It aims to provide employment to the youth belonging to the weaker section of the society mainly in urban areas of the state.
•    The scheme aims to provide 100 days of employment to youngsters from economically weaker sections of the society in urban areas.
•    The youths would also be given skill training by the government.
The component of skill training has been added to enable the youth to explore the available opportunities. To enhance the job opportunities the government of Madhya Pradesh has also announced changes in industrial policy with a clause under which industries would be eligible to get the state government incentives only if they hire 70 per cent staff from Madhya Pradesh.


Ministry of Defence Launches ‘RDP INDIA 2019’ 
Asia new initiative in sync with the Digital India campaign of the Government, Ministry of Defence had launched a mobile app 'RDP India 2019' on the Republic Day, with the intent of making available the highlights of the Republic Day event, not only to the spectators at Rajpath, but also to the general public all over the world.
This app contains information about the Parade on Rajpath, New Delhi, including Order of the March, details of the tableaux presented by different States and Ministries, children cultural performances, fly past and names of recipients of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019. It was extremely informative to the spectators witnessing the Parade and was widely appreciated. The app also hadthe provision for live streaming of the Parade.


The Kumbh contributes to infrastructure Development at Prayagraj City 
•    Kumbh and Mahakumbh have always proved very significant contributors to the Prayagraj district in terms of infrastructure development and growth in civic amenities. But this year Prayagraj Kumbh has changed the face of entire city and suburbs. 
•    Investment of crores for the infrastructure development in the town by Prayagraj Development Authority has not only widened most of the roads particularly Sangam, Public places and historical buildings bound roads but has also beautified most of the squares. Ths squares have been left with artistic sculptures and statues. Encroachments occupying the roads for last several years have been removed amicably and even religious constructions on the roads have been removed without any trouble. 
•    Vehicular Transport has been strengthend and roads have been freed from traffic jams due to removal of encroachments. About 3000 encroachments have been removed from about 65 roads in different parts of the Prayagraj town. These illegal constructions were continuing for last several years. About 150 kilometres of road has been constructed in the city area under the drive to widen roads. Connectivity from all railway and bus stations and Airport has been strengthened connecting most parts of the city. 
•    About five over bridges have been constructed in view of the Kumbh at different places and it has smoothened road traffic at railway crossings and places like Allahabad High Court. A new civil Airport has come to facilitate the visiting devotees and tourists. Newly constructed Airport has linked Prayagraj to several important cities including Kolkata, Nagpur, Indore, Lucknow, New Delhi, Bengluru, Ahmadabad, Dehradun and Patna with Air services.


National Conclave on Technical Textiles at Mumbai 
Ministry of Textiles will hold National Conclave on Technical Textiles on 29th January 2019 in Mumbai. The event will also be a curtain raiser for TechnoTex 2019.The conclave will be presided over by the Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani.
The release of HSN codes by Government of India for technical textiles will be one of the major highlights of the conclave.
Several panel discussions will be held on subjects like administrative consolidation of technical textiles items, manufacturing possibilities and import substitution, benefits of standardization and global best practices, technical textiles codes for New India, investment opportunityin technical textiles sector and research & development in technical textiles by eminent panellists drawn from various Central Government departments, NITI Aayog, IITs and textile industry.


Minister of Railways & Coal Shri Piyush Goyal Announces ‘Vande Bharat Express’ 
Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal announced the name Vande Bharat Express for Train 18, acknowledging it is made-in-India status. He called it a ‘vandaniya’ step towards realisation of New India vision. This train set has been manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in the period of 18 months under 'Make in India' program.
Since the launch of Rajdhani trains, Vande Bharat Express is the next major leap for Indian Railways in terms of speed and convenience. It is India's first semi-high speed train equipped with world class passenger amenities.
It can achieve high speeds (max speed of 160 kmph) due to faster acceleration & deceleration and will reduce journey time by 25% to 45%. Scheduled commute between New Delhi & Varanasi will take approximately 8 hours making it 40-50% faster than the fastest train currently connecting these two cities.
 

International News

South Asian Nitrogen Hub 
The British government has announced a research project, South Asian Nitrogen Hub to study nitrogen pollution in India and South Asia. The project led by UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology will partner with 50 organisations from the UK and South Asia. The Indian Institutions partnering the study are:
•    National Institute of Oceanography
•    Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
•    Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
•    Jawaharlal Nehru University
•    Aligarh Muslim University
•    National Physical Laboratory
•    TERI University
The project aims to study the impact of different forms of nitrogen pollution, particularly looking at nitrogen in agriculture in eight countries of South Asia which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives.


Nari-Shakti is the Oxford Dictionaries Hindi Word of the year for 2018 
The Oxford Dictionaries announced that the word ‘Nari Shakti’ which is derived from Sanskrit has been chosen as the Hindi Word of the year for 2018. The Announcement was made during a session at Jaipur Literature Festival which is being held at Diggi Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
 

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Important Current Affairs 27th January 2019

National News

India's fastest indigenous train renamed as Vande Bharat Express 
•    India's fastest indigenous train which will run from Delhi to Varanasi has been named as Vande Bharat Express.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the semi high-speed train soon.
•    It is a train built completely in India by Indian engineers in a span of 18 months and it is an example that it is possible to make world-class trains under Make in India.
•    The 16-coach train has been built by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and cover the distance in 8 hours.
•    It will have two executive chair cars and it will have a superior quality of air suspension for the comfortable journey of the passengers.


Bharat Parv showcasing spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat begins at Red Fort 
•    Fourth edition of Bharat Parv, showcasing the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat began at Red Fort in Delhi
•    It will continue till 31st of this month. The five-day event is a part of Republic Day Celebrations and the objective of this festival is to generate a patriotic fervour and promote the rich cultural diversity of the country.
•    The major highlights of this year's Bharat Parv are the replica of the Statue of Unity and a Gandhi Gram in which 10 painting artists will create paintings on the theme of 'Ideology of Mahatma Gandhi'.


Union Minister Gadkari inaugurates Atal Setu in Goa
•    Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today inaugurated four-lane, 5.1-kilometer long “Atal Setu”, the third Cable bridge across river Mandovi in Panaji, Goa.
•    Expressing happiness over the completion of the bridge, Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar said they should be positive about every development project.
•    This is the third bridge across Mandovi River. This bridge would overcome the bottlenecks and curb traffic jams at Panaji Circle and Panaji entrance. It is reported that about 66,000 vehicles use this route every day.
 

International News

Climate march held in Belgium for urgent action to prevent global warming 
•    At least 70,000 people braved cold and rain in Brussels yesterday to demand the Belgian government and the European Union increase their efforts to fight climate change.
•    The event has been described as Belgium's biggest climate march ever.
•    Trains from across the nation were so clogged that thousands of people did not make the march in time.


UAE, Iraq discuss methods to counter extremism and terrorism 
•    UAE and Iraq have discussed methods of countering extremism and terrorism, in addition to a number of issues of mutual concern during a meeting in Baghdad.
•    The first meeting of the UAE-Iraq Political Consultative Committee was held at the level of senior officials of the foreign finistries of both countries.
•    Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, who chaired the UAE side, stressed the importance of this round of consultations to enhance aspects of joint cooperation between the two countries.
 

Sports

Kartik Sharma wins New South Wales men's Amateur Golf Championship 
•    India's Kartik Sharma won the New South Wales men's Amateur Golf Championship in Australia.
•    Kartik notched up a magnificent win over Australia's Nathan Barberie in the scheduled 36-hole final to emerge as champion.
•    He had been selected to represent Indian Golf Union for three events in Australia.
•    Kartik had also won the Indian golf union western India amateur golf championship 2018.


Djokovic beats Nadal to win his seventh Australian Open title
•    Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal to win his 7th Australian Open Men's Singles title at Melbourne
•    The resurgent world No.1 outplayed the second-ranked Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in a largely one-sided match. 
•    With this, Djokovic has surpassed American legend Pete Sampras to elevate himself to outright third on the all-time Grand Slam title leaderboard.


Indonesia Masters: Saina wins after injured Marin limps out of final 
•    Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal won her first Indonesia Masters title after three-time world champion Carolina Marin limped out of the final due to a leg injury.
•    The Spaniard was leading 10-4 in the first game at Jakarta today when she developed an injury in the knee.
 

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Important Current Affairs 26th January 2019

Sports

Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open Grand Slam Singles title
•    Japan's Naomi Osaka won her maiden Australian Open Grand Slam Singles title at Melbourne.
•    In the Final, Osaka, seeded fourth, defeated eighth placed Czech Petra Kvitova, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 to become the first Asian player to achieve the world number one ranking.
•    She will surpass Romania's Simona Halep at the top of the rankings on Monday and become the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.
•    The Japanese also created history by becoming the first player since 2001 to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles. Osaka, who won the US Open last year, broke American Jennifer Capriati's 2001 record.
 

National News

Assam Rifles creates history by showcasing "Nari Shakti" at parade 
•    The all-women Assam Rifles contingent created history this year by participating for the first time in a Republic Day parade.
•    Contingents of the Navy, India Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals were all led by women officers.
•    Capt Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals became the first woman to perform bike stunts, alongside her male teammates as part of daredevils.
•    For the first time, a lady officer, Lt. Bhavana Kasturi. led a contingent of the India Army Service Corps and Capt Bhavna Syal, a third-generation officer in the armed forces, led the transportable satellite terminal's contingent.


SC upholds constitutional validity of Insolvency laws 
•    The Supreme Court has upheld the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, IBC's constitutional validity in its ‘entirety’ and rejected petitions challenging the bankruptcy laws. The decision is a setback to defaulting promoters hoping for a chance to remain in control of their firms.
•    A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Navin Sinha refused to tweak any of the provisions of the IBC, which was challenged in a batch of petitions filed by several companies.
•    Justice Nariman, who penned the verdict, said the experiment contained in the Code passes constitutional muster. Lauding the working of IBC, the court said the economy's rightful position has been regained and the defaulters' paradise is lost by the IBC.


PM Modi dedicates Kochi Refinery project to Nation 
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated to the nation the Integrated Refinery Expansion Complex of BPCL at Kochi in Kerala. 
•    Prime Minister also laid a foundation stone for Petrochemical Complex. 
•    PM also inaugurated Mounded Storage Vessel at IOCL LPG bottling plant, Kochi.
•    PM also laid the foundation stone for Skill Development Institute at Ettumanoor.
•    Integrated Refinery Expansion Complex will be a modern expansion complex and transform Kochi refinery into the largest PSU Refinery in India with world class standards. It will be equipped for the production of cleaner Fuels for India. It will double the production of LPG & diesel and commence production of feedstock for petrochemical projects in this plant.


Piyush Goyal named interim Finance & Corporate Affairs minister
•    Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has been given additional charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs ministry in view of indisposition of Arun Jaitley
•    President, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directed that during the period of Jaitley's indisposition, the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Corporate Affairs
 

Awards

Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh Bhupen Hazarika awarded Bharat Ratna 
•    Social activist Nanaji Deshmukh, Music maestro Bhupen Hazarika and former President Pranab Mukherjee have been awarded with country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna.
•    The President also approved conferment of 112 Padma Awards, including 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri Awards. 
•    Folk artist Teejan Bai, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, Industralist Anil kumar Manibhai Naik and theatre actor Balwant Moreshwar Purandare will be honoured with Padma Vibhushan.
•    Former CAG V K Shunglu, Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Foreigner John Chambers are among those who will be given Padma Bhushan. Journalist Kuldip Nayar will be honoured with Padma Bhushan posthumously.
•    For Padma Shree, Actor Manoj Bajpayee, Prabhu Deva, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, footballer Sunil Chhetri, Archer Bombayla Devi Laishram, archaeologist K K Muhammed are among those chosen for the awards this year. Actor Kader Khan has been awarded Padma Shree posthumously.


President Ram Nath Kovind confers Ashoka Chakra on Nazir Wani 
•    Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier who laid down his life fighting a group of terrorists in Shopian in Kashmir in November, was awarded the Ashoka Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind
•    The award — India’s highest peacetime gallantry honour — was received by Wani’s wife and mother at the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath. Wani is the first Kashmiri to be conferred the Ashoka Chakra.
•    Lance Naik Wani joined the Army’s 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2004.
•    Ashoka Chakra is the highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
 

Space

NASA's Opportunity rover completes 15 years on Mars 
•    The US space agency said it has travelled 45 kilometres and logged its 5,000th Martian day back in February 2018. John Callas, project manager for Opportunity, however, said that at present the agency does not know the rover's status.
•    The six-wheeler rover had landed in a region of Mars called Meridiani Planum on January 24, 2004. The solar-powered rover went silent since a global dust storm in June last year.
•    However, Opportunity's mission continues, in a phase where mission engineers at NASA laboratories are sending commands to as well as listening for signals from the rover.
 

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Important Current Affairs 25th January 2019

National News

Centre to renovate, develop around 400 abandoned airstrips across country
•    Centre has decided to renovate and develop around 400 abandoned airstrips across the country to strengthen air-connectivity.
•    The Airports Authority of India prepared a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard and sent it to all the 29 states and seven Union Territories expressing its willingness to develop those air strips along with the respective state governments.
•    Union Civil Aviation department Secretary said that Jharkhand is the first state in the country where an MOU was signed to develop one such abandoned air strip at Dhalbhumgarh.


India, Maldives agree to continue close cooperation on maritime security, counter-terrorism & medical cooperation
•    India and Maldives have agreed to continue their traditionally close cooperation on issues of maritime security, counter-terrorism and medical cooperation.
•    This was decided during the meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Maldivian counterpart Mariya Ahmed Didi in New Delhi on Thursday.
•    Both sides held substantive discussions on further strengthening bilateral defence cooperation.


ISRO successfully launches PSLV C44 carrying Kalamsat & imaging satellite Microsat R; PM congratulates scientists
•    The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched the PSLV C 44 carrying kalam sat and Microsat R last night at 11.37 precisely.
•    The rocket precisely injected the Microsat R in its designated orbit.
•    Kalamsat is a ten cm cube weighing one kilogram communication satellite with a life span of two months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated the space scientists for another successful launch of PSLV.
•    India also becomes the first country to use the fourth stage of a space rocket as an orbital platform for micro-gravity experiments.


South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa to be Chief Guest at R-Day Parade
•    South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. He is the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the parade.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramaphosa will hold delegation level talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
•    Both the leaders will also address the India-South Africa Business Forum today with the objective to grow business ties between the two countries.
•    Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi is revered in the African nation as he had an important role in the non-violent movement in South Africa.


9th National Voters’ Day to be celebrated across country today
•    The 9th National Voters’ Day will be celebrated across the country today for enhanced participation of citizens in the electoral process on 25th January 
•    The National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices will be conferred on Officers for their outstanding performance in the conduct of elections.
•    The National Voters’ Day is celebrated all over the country on January 25 every year since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950.
•    In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, No Voter to be Left Behind has been selected as the theme for the National Voters’ Day.


Botha announces immediate retirement from all forms of Cricket
•    Former South Africa all-rounder Johan Botha has announced his immediate retirement from all forms of Cricket.
•    The 36-year-old Botha, who received his Australian citizenship in 2016, failed to take a wicket during yesterday's nine-wicket loss to the Sydney Sixers.
•    Botha played for South Africa in five test matches, 78 one-day internationals and 40 T20 Internationals from 2005 to 2012.


RBI okays Ravneet Gill as Yes Bank MD & CEO
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Ravneet Gill as the MD & CEO of private sector lender Yes Bank.
•    Mr. Gill is currently the India chief of foreign lender Deutsche Bank.
•    The present MD & CEO of Yes Bank Rana Kapoor’s term ends on January 31.


Ronojoy Dutta named new Indigo CEO
•    InterGlobe Aviation Limited, which owns and operates low cost airline IndiGo, has named global aviation professional Ronojoy Dutta as its new CEO.
•    The position was lying vacant since the resignation of the former CEO Aditya Ghosh in April 2018. IndiGo co-founder Rahul Bhatia was holding charge as interim CEO during the period.


 

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Important Current Affairs 24th January 2019

International News

National Girl Child Day 
National Girl Child Day (NGCD) is celebrated in India on January 24th with an aim to raise awareness about Child Sex Ratio (CSR) levels and promote the empowerment of girls.
Objectives
•    The key objectives of National Girl Child Day are as follows:
•    To spread awareness about the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in the country and carry out campaigns to improve the same.
•    To empower the girl children with new opportunities via schemes and campaigns.
•    To create a positive environment around valuing the girl child.
Theme of NGCD-2019
The theme of National Girl Child Day-2019 is “Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow”


Regional variations in the World Economic Forums Public Opinion Survey 

The findings from the World Economic Forum’s public opinion survey register regional variations on the various issues. Few of them are listed below:
•    When asked how important it is for countries to work together towards a common goal, a global average of 76 per cent said they believe it is either extremely important or very important.
•    The favourable sentiments were strongly felt in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where 88 per cent share the same view. On the other hand, 61 per cent of Western Europeans and 70 per cent of North Americans said they consider cooperation to be extremely or very important.
•    When asked whether their country has a responsibility to help other countries in the world, South Asia had the highest levels of concurrence with 94 per cent answering positively compared to a global average of 72 per cent. While the North Americans and Western Europeans were the least effusive, with only 61 per cent and 63 per cent respectively answering in the affirmative.
 

National News

Rashtriya Bal PuraskarThe Rashtriya Bal Puraskar was presented by President Ram Nath Kovind 
President conferred awards to 26 awardees including one joint award for National Child Award (now renamed as Bal Shakti Puraskar) under the category of innovation, scholastic, sports, arts & culture, social service and bravery. 2 individuals and 3 institutions will also be awarded under National Child Welfare Awards category (now renamed as BalKalyanPuraskar).
The awardees were chosen by the National Selection Committee under the Chairpersonship of Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development.

Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana. The features of the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana are:
•    Under the scheme, a group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year.
•    The first batch of 40 people participated in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2019 held in Varanasi.
•    Those selected would be taken to religious places of all major religions in India.
•    The government will bear all the expenses including the airfare from their country of residence.
•    People of Indian-origin aged 45 to 65 can apply can avail the benefits under the scheme.


India Ratings report on state’s finances: Key Facts
A Fitch Group company, India Ratings has released its report on states finances. The important findings of the report are:
•    Loan waiver and other support measures for farmers are expected to raise the aggregate fiscal deficit of states to 3.2 per cent in 2018-19.
•    Further, the fiscal deficit would increase by 40 basis points (100 basis points or bps equal to 1 per cent) in the financial year 2019-20.
•    The competitive populism in the nature of farm loan waivers and other financial support schemes is expected to take centre stage in the run-up to the next general elections and this would have a larger impact on fiscal and revenue deficit to gross state domestic product ratios for Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan, among non-special category states, in the financial year 2019-20.
•    The states revenue account on aggregate is expected to clock a deficit of 0.5 per cent of GDP in the financial year 2019-20 due to higher growth in revenue expenditure than in revenue receipts.

Godavari-Cauvery link project
The Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari announced that the Centre would soon take up a major project to Link Rivers Godavari and Cauvery.
The detailed project report for linking rivers Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery has been finalised and will be presented before the cabinet soon for approval.

Objectives of the Project
The objectives of the project are:
•    The project aims to make good use of about 1100 tmc ft of Godavari water that is currently getting drained into the Bay of Bengal.
•    The project would take the water from river Godavari to the tail end of Tamil Nadu.
•    The government aims to raise finances for the project either from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank as the project cost is about Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore.
 

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2019

National News

Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya celebrate 47th Statehood Day 
The states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya celebrated their 47th Statehood Day on 21st January. The states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya became full-fledged states on January 21, 1972.
State Reorganisation of North-East 
At the time of Independence, India’s North-East region composed of three kinds of entities mentioned below:
Assam Province of British India. 
Princely states of Manipur and Tripura.
North East Frontier Province (NEFA).


PM pays tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti 
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti.
“I bow to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti. He was a stalwart who committed himself towards ensuring India is free and leads a life of dignity. We are committed to fulfilling his ideals and creating a strong India”, the Prime Minister said.


PM to inaugurate the Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort 
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort, New Delhi on 23 January 2019.  
The Museum on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army provides a detailed account of Subhash Chandra Bose and the history of Indian National Army. It also showcases various artefacts related to Subhash Chandra Bose and INA. The artefacts include wooden chair and sword used by Netaji, medals, badges, uniforms and other artefacts related to INA.


The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) achieved best ever performance in the year 2018 
The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) is Indian Railways’ centre of excellence for procurement of modern and advanced machine tools, building ‘State of the Art’ rolling stock maintenance and manufacturing facilities for modernizing Indian Railway workshops.
Timely procurement of modern M&P and completion of works has been given a big boost during the last quarter which will significantly improve the outcome by use of technology. This will support Indian Railways drive for modernization of its rolling stock manufacturing and maintenance infrastructure, and soon, to come in terms of the National Policy for Advance Manufacturing (NPAM) and Industry 4.0.
 

Economy

IMF growth Prospects for India 
The World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the following prospects about the growth trends for India:
•    IMF has retained its growth projection for the country at 7.5 per cent for 2019-20 and said it is likely to accelerate to 7.7 per cent in 2020-21. This brings cheers for India as the world growth rates have been revised downwards.
•    India will remain the fastest-growing economy in the world, at least for the next two years.
•    India’s growth rate is poised to pick up in 2019, benefiting from low oil prices and a slower pace of monetary tightening than previously expected as inflation pressures ease.
•    The projection by IMF is higher than the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) estimate of 7.2 per cent and lower than the RBI’s estimate of 7.4 per cent. IMF’s estimates are in line with the World Bank’s estimate of 7.3 per cent.
 

Science

Triple drug therapy 
Nagpur recently launched a pilot project to administer triple drug therapy with the long term aim of eradicating lymphatic filariasis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending three drug treatment to accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
The treatment, known as IDA, involves a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate and albendazole. It is being recommended annually in settings where its use is expected to have the greatest impact.
Lymphatic filariasis - Caused by infection with parasitic worms living in the lymphatic system.
 

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