Current Affairs - 19 February 2014

N. Kiran Kumar Reddy quits

  • Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy submitted his resignation to the Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan recently.
  • Mr. Reddy had earlier announced his decision to quit from the post and the party in protest against the Central Government decision to “divide the Telugus for the sake of votes and seats".
  • Flanked by eight Cabinet colleagues and over a dozen MLAs/MLCs, the Chief Minister alleged that the Congress leadership in collusion with the main Opposition BJP had ensured passage of the bifurcation Bill in Lok Sabha setting aside all the democratic conventions and practices.
  • The Chief Minister evaded replies when asked whether he would float a new party as was being reported.
  • Mr. Kiran Reddy said he was not against the aspirations of the people of Telangana. But he was opposed to the decision to divide the State as it was not in the interests of the two regions.

Rajiv assassination case

  • A day after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of three assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to life imprisonment, the Tamil Nadu government decided to release all seven convicts – including AG Perarivalan and Nalini .
  • The decision, which was taken at an emergent cabinet meeting, was announced in the state assembly by chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
  • The cabinet decision will be forwarded to the Centre and it will wait for three days for it respond to the decision. If a response does not come within three days, the state will exercise its powers and release them.
  • At present all convicts - Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran - are serving time in a Tamil Nadu jail.
  • Nalini's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2000 after Congress president Sonia Gandhi recommended her case on humanitarian grounds.
  • Co-convict Murugan is her husband and is also serving his sentence in the same prison.
  • The SC had cited the 11-year delay on the part of the Centre in deciding their mercy plea.
  • The three assassins have sought the commutation of their death sentence to life imprisonment on account of the inordinate delay of nearly 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions.

‘Mehendi Lagao’ campaign

  • In an attempt to strike a chord with women voters ahead of the general election, the woman’s wing of Jharkhand Bharatiya Janata Party has launched a Mehendi Lagao (apply henna) campaign in the pilgrim town of Deoghar.
  • It is a door-to-door campaign and mehendi is applied in the form of lotus, the party symbol, on the palms of women voters since last week to garner support for the prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi,” Mahila Morcha president Usha Pandey said. The mehendi campaign would continue across the State under the supervision of district committees.

Under the juvenile justice law Muslims can adopt a child

  • The Supreme Court has said that Muslims can adopt a child under the juvenile justice law as its enforcement could not be impeded by the Muslim personal law.
  • he apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that the rules framed under juvenile justice law were an enabling provision which is applicable to all religions and communities and the same could not be frustrated by personal religious beliefs.
  • The court said this on a petition by a social activist Shabnam Hashmi who had sought the framing of guidelines by the adoption of children by the people belonging to all religions and communities.

The next government left with only 20 per cent tax revenues

  • Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s budget estimates for 2014-15 show that his successor post-elections will have to allocate close to 80 per cent of the Centre’s net tax revenues to interest payments on the UPA Government’s borrowings, subsidies and pensions of government employees. In other words, the next government will have barely 20 per cent tax revenues for spending on governance and development.
  • Total borrowings requirement for 2014-15 is budgeted at Rs.5,96,083 crore or 4.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Further, the budget papers also say the option of certain “one-time” receipts budgeted in 2014-15 has been all but exhausted, and will not be available in the subsequent two years.
  • Moody’s Investors Service retained the stable outlook rating but said of the Interim Budget “the government’s large debt burden requires that a significant portion of its limited revenues is channelled towards interest payments”. “In addition, fiscal deficits have macro-economic costs, as evident in India’s recurrent inflationary and balance of payments pressures”.

'Cyber libel' law

  • Philippine President Benigno Aquino defended a controversial cybercrime law penalising online libel, a day after the top court upheld its legality in a setback for campaigners who argue it could curb Internet freedom.
  • The Cybercrime Protection Act was passed in 2012 to stamp out online scourges such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography, but its implementation was suspended after coming under challenge from various groups.
  • However the Supreme Court ruled that one of its most controversial provisions, the section which penalises cyber libel, "is not unconstitutional".
  • Aquino defended the ruling, saying the law would not be used to stifle dissent in the Philippines, considered to be one of Asia's most freewheeling democracies.

Asia Cup 2014 to be broadcasted by Star Life OK

  • Offering a live cricket experience to the large Asian population in the UK and Europe, the leading Hindi GEC channel of India—Star Life Ok will broadcast the live action of Asia Cup 2014 in the region.
  • The high-voltage cricket tournament is starting from 25 February at 8:00 am. It will feature one day internationals played between leading Asian countries - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh along with Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be participating in a major ODI tournament for the first time.
  • Star Life Ok, with an effort to build strong viewer base in UK and Europe, will be exclusively telecasting a total of 11 matches will be played with the opening game on 25 February and the final on 8 March 2014, scheduled to be held in Bangladesh
  • This year’s tournament is powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, the title sponsorship is bagged by Arise India while Star India is the official broadcaster of the event.
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