By admin: Feb. 25, 2023

FATF suspends Russia's membership over Ukraine war

Tags: International News

Global anti-money laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) suspended Russia's membership on February 24 over the Ukraine war.

An overview of the news

  • The FATF has suspended Russia's membership for its "illegal, unprovoked and unjustified" full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russia's actions "run unacceptably" against the FATF's core principles, which aim to protect, safeguard and promote the integrity of the global financial system.

  • The FATF is also concerned about information on arms trade between Russia and UN-sanctioned jurisdictions, and Russia's malicious cyber activities.

  • Russia is accountable for its obligation to implement FATF standards.

South Africa, Nigeria on dirty-money grey list

  • South Africa and Nigeria have been placed on FATF's gray list, indicating deficiencies in the handling of financial flows to the nations.

  • It is a move that tarnishes the international reputation of such countries and could raise costs for banks and asset managers.

  • Morocco and Cambodia have been removed from the list after reforming their controls.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • It was formed in the year 1989 at the meeting of G-7 countries held in Paris.

  • It works to generate the necessary political will to bring about legislative and regulatory reforms in the world on issues like money laundering, terror funding.

  • Headquarters - Located in the headquarters of the Organisation for the Development of Economic Co-operation (OECD) in Paris.

  • Member Countries - 39 member countries including India and 2 regional organisations (European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council).

  • India became a member of FATF in the year 2010.

  • Its sessions are held three times a year.

  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President - Raja Kumar

List of FATF 

  • Gray List – Countries that are considered safe havens for supporting terror funding and money laundering are placed on the FATF gray list.

  • Black List - Countries identified as non-cooperative countries or regions are included in the black list. These countries support terrorist funding and money laundering activities.

NHAI exploring to construct roads using Phosphor-Gypsum

Tags: National News

With an aim to reduce the carbon footprint, the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways is exploring options for construction of national highways using phosphor-gypsum.

An overview of the news

  • The move is aimed at increasing durability and making construction more affordable.

  • India has the second largest road network in the world.

  • In this context, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) along with the Department of Fertilizers will soon conduct field trials on their projects to achieve a circular economy in the use of gypsum.

  • The move is in line with the government's commitment to use waste material in building ecologically sustainable National Highway infrastructure in the country.

What is Phosphor-Gypsum?

  • Phosphor-gypsum is a by-product of fertilizer production.

  • The phosphor-gypsum road was first constructed by an Indian fertilizer company.

  • Later the road was evaluated by CRRI (Central Road Research Institute) and based on their report, the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) formally recognized phosphor-gypsum waste material for road construction for a period of three years.

  • NHAI is also promoting the use of waste plastic in road construction, which has been successfully tested.

  • Scientific research has found that roads made using plastic waste are sustainable and extend the life cycle of bitumen (a substance produced through the distillation of crude oil).

RBI imposed restrictions on 5 co-operative banks

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 24 February imposed restrictions on five cooperative banks due to their deteriorating financial condition.

An overview of the news

  • RBI has said in its statement that the restrictions imposed on these co-operative banks will remain in effect for six months.

  • Eligible depositors of all five co-operative banks will receive deposit insurance claim amount of up to ₹5 lakh from the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation.

  • The move by the RBI is aimed at protecting the interests of depositors and ensuring the stability of the financial system.

Five co-operative banks on which restrictions have been imposed

  • Due to the current liquidity position of the following banks, customers will not be able to withdraw funds from their accounts.

  1. HCBL Co-operative Bank, 

  2. Adarsh Mahila Nagari Sahakari Bank Maryadit, 

  3. Shimsha Sahakara Bank Niyamitha

  • Customers from following banks can withdraw up to ₹5,000.

  1. Uravakonda Co-operative Town Bank 

  2. Shankarrao Mohite Patil Sahakari Bank

For the first time, Indian submarine INS Sindhukesari docks Indonesia amid South China Sea conflict

Tags: Defence International News

Indian submarine INS SindhuKesari docks Jakarta, Indonesia for the first time amid the conflict between China and Indonesia in the South China Sea.

An overview of the news

  • Indonesia is among the countries embroiled in a naval dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea.

  • It is about strengthening the maritime partnership between India and Indonesia towards a secure Indo-Pacific.

  • Indian warships frequently visit Indonesia and other ASEAN countries. This is the first time the submarine has been deployed for long distances.

  • Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China is trying to expand its territory by making incursions into its neighbouring countries.

  • On the land border, China is trying to enter Indian as well as Bhutanese territories.

  • This maiden long-range deployment of a submarine also underlines the operational capability and reach of the country's underwater warfare arm.

  • INS Sindhukesari is the 3,000-tonne diesel-electric submarine.

Kerala to become first State to use robotics tech extensively for manhole cleaning

Tags: State News

The Kerala government on 24 February launched robotic scavenger, Bandicoot, to clean sewages in temple town of Guruvayur, becoming the first state in the country to use robotic technology to clean all its commissioned manholes.

An overview of the news

  • Water Resources Minister Roshi Augustine launched Bandicoot under Guruvayur sewerage project in Thrissur district by Kerala Water Authority.

  • Now Kerala has become the first state in the country to have robotic scavengers to clean manholes.

  • The robotic TRON unit, a key component of the Bandicoot, enters the manhole and removes sewage using robotic hands that resemble human limbs.

  • The machine has waterproof, HD vision cameras and sensors that can detect harmful gases inside.

  • Bandicoot, developed by Kerala-based Genrobotics, recently won the 'Kerala Pride' award at the Huddle Global 2022 Conclave organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).

  • Bandicoot will clean all existing sewerage and drains in Kerala.

  • Bandicoot robots are currently deployed in some cities across 17 states and three union territories of India.

APEDA inks MoU with Lulu Hypermarket for export promotion of millets in GCC countries

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

In a move to harness export potential of millets to the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCCs), the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lulu Hypermarket LLC on 21 February 2023.

An overview of the news

  • APEDA aims to promote millet products and value-added products worldwide in collaboration with Lulu Group.

  • Lulu Group is an international retail hypermarket chain that operates stores and shopping malls inBahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

  • As per the agreement, Lulu Group will facilitate promotional activities for millet products and enable the country to showcase millet and its value-added products.

  • APEDA will facilitate manufactures to send various samples of millet products to Lulu Hypermarkets, which will be showcased at its various stores. 

  • APEDA, in association with Lulu Group, will also provide assistance in labelling of the products in accordance with the requirement of different importing countries.

  • As a part of programs to promote the International Year of Millets 2023, APEDA is organising export promotion activities for millets at 16 international trade fairs, includingGulfood 2023.

  • India has exported millets worthUSD 46.05 million during April-November 2022-23 and UAE is the major importer of Indian millets.

About “APEDA”

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December 1985.

  • This authority functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

  • Headquarters- New Delhi

  • Chairman- Dr. M. Angamuthu

'Neutral Citation' system to be launched for Supreme Court judgments

Tags: National National News

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on February 23 announced that the Supreme Court will adopt a “neutral citation system” for its judgments.

An overview of the news

  • The Chief Justice hoped that the High Courts would also follow the neutral citation for their judgements.

  • The Delhi, Kerala and Madras High Courts have already introduced neutral citations.

What is a “citation”?

  • The citation of a case is essentially an identification tag for the decision.

  • Typically, this will include a reference number, the year of the decision, the name of the court that issued the decision, and shorthand for the journal that published the decision.

What is a neutral citation?

  • A neutral citation would mean that the court would provide its own citation, separate from that provided by traditional law reporters.

  • Law reporters are periodicals or annual digests that publish judgments.

Why is implementation of the neutral citation system required?

  • Steps have been taken to introduce and implement a uniform, reliable and secure methodology for identifying and citing Supreme Court judgments.

  • The Court is using machine learning tools to translate its judgments from English to local languages.

  • 2,900 judgments of the Supreme Court have been translated so far.

  • It has also asked district courts to examine machine learning translations of judgments.

  • About 30,000 judgments will have neutral citations.

Germany to pursue $5.2-billion deal with India to build 6 submarines

Tags: Defence International News

Germanywill sign a $5.2 billion deal to jointly build six conventional submarines with India during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit to India on February 25-26.

An overview of the news

  • The naval project is the latest attempt by the Western military manufacturing power to end India's dependence on Russia for military hardware.

  • India is looking to replace 11 of its 16 conventional submarines that are more than two decades old, as it seeks to counter China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean.

  • The Indian Navy also has two indigenous nuclear-powered submarines.

  • Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) is one of the two international bidders for the submarine project Berlin will back the deal.

  • Under the deal, a foreign submarine maker will have to partner with an Indian company to build submarines in India.

Lt Gen RS Reen takes over as Director General Quality Assurance

Tags: Defence Person in news

Lt Gen RS Reen took over as Director General Quality Assurance on 24 February 2023.

An overview of the news

  • Lt Gen Rin, a 1986 batch officer, is an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

  • He completed his BE (Electrical) from National Institute of Technology, Srinagar.

  • He specialised in Radio Engineering and did his post graduation in Communication Engineering from MC EME, Secunderabad.

  • He has served as a senior faculty at Defense Institute of Quality Assurance, Bengaluru.

  • He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.

  • He is certified in Reliability Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur and is a qualified Lead Auditor in Quality Management Systems and Integrated Management Systems from Bureau Veritas, Bengaluru.

Director General Quality Assurance (DGQA)

  • The Director General Quality Assurance (DGQA) is an Inter-Service Organisation functioning under the Department of Defence Production in the Ministry of Defence.

  • It is responsible for second party quality assurance of defence stores and equipment, both imported and indigenous, for items of common use to the Indian Army, Indian Navy (except Naval Armament) and Indian Air Force procured from the private sector and public sector.

Russian space agency launches Soyuz spacecraft to bring back 3 astronauts stranded on ISS

Tags: Science and Technology International News

Recently the Russian space agency, Roscosmos has successfully launched the Soyuz spacecraft to bring back three astronauts stranded on the International Space Station (ISS) following aleak in the cooling system in their Soyuz capsule.

An overview of the news

  • Two Russian and one American astronauts will board the empty Soyuz spacecraft to return to Earth.

  • The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan and placed in orbit.

  • US astronaut Francisco Rubio, along with Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin, were due to return to Earth after their mission ended.

  • But two months ago, it got stuck in space due to a leak in the cooling system of Soyuz MS-22 capsule.

  • According to the Russian space agency Roscosmos, all three Soyuz will return to Earth on the MS-23 vehicle in September.

  • The leak on the MS-22 spacecraft was caused by a small piece of a micrometeoroid hitting the capsule.

About International Space Station (ISS)

  • It is a multi-nation construction project that is the largest single structure humans ever put into space.

  • Its main construction was completed between 1998 and 2011.

  • It is not owned by a single nation and according to the European Space Agency (ESA) is a "co-operative program" between Europe, the United States, Russia, Canada and Japan.

  • As of May 2022, 258 individuals from 20 countries have visited the International Space Station.

  • The top participating countries include the United States (158 people) and Russia (54 people).

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