Friday, February 21, 2014

Current Affairs 21 February 2014

Plea to dissolve Assembly of Delhi

  • The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Aam Aadmi Party’s plea seeking a direction to the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve Delhi Assembly and hold fresh polls along with Lok Sabha elections.
  • The bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam said that it will hear the petition on February 24.
  • The joint petition filed on the basis of newspaper reports and documents available in public domain by AAP and Saurabh Bhardwaj, who was the Transport Minister in Kejriwal Cabinet, challenged the decision to impose President’s rule in Delhi on the recommendation of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung alleging it was done to protect Congress leaders and former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit from corruption charges.
  • It contended that the February 16 order imposing President’s rule was with a motive to frustrate the ongoing investigation in those corruption cases in which FIR has been lodged by the Arvind Kejriwal government.
  • The petition has said the order to impose President’s rule was “illegal, arbitrary and in violation” of Article 14 of the Constitution as after the resignation of Arvind Kejriwal government neither BJP nor Congress were in a position to form the government and they had already expressed their unwillingness in this regard.
  • The petition has said that imposition of the President’s rule has denied the citizens of Delhi their democratic right to have an elected popular government.

Sectors that are likely to be backbone of Telangana economy

  • Post bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the information technology and pharmaceuticals manufacturing sectors may become backbone of Telangana economy, leaving power production, ports and oil and natural gas to play a pivotal role in driving prosperity in the residuary state.
  • With nearly 1,000km-long coast line, the coastal Andhra has major private ports such as Krishnapatnam, Kakinada and Gangavaram, besides state-owned Vizag Port and can continue to reap rich harvest by way of export and import of commodities such as iron ore and coal.
  • According to experts, Telangana is likely to face power shortage of up to 2,000 MW after the state is formed. Of the 8,924.86 MW installed capacity of state power utility APGenco, about 54 per cent (4,825 MW) is located in Telangana, while 46 per cent is in the Seemandhra region.
  • However, 52 per cent capacity in Telangana lies in hydro power, which is available only when reservoirs receive good inflows, while just 48 per cent capacity is available through coal-fired power plants.

Freeing of 3 Rajiv Gandhi convicts stopped by SC

  • A day after the Tamil Nadu government announced that it would free seven people convicted of killing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Supreme Court restrained the state from releasing three of the seven whose death sentences it had commuted to life imprisonment as it agreed to examine if the state had complied with procedure when it decided to remit their sentence.
  • Admitting a petition by the Centre, a bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam ordered the state government to “maintain status quo prevailing as on date” in respect of convicts Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan until March 6.
  • While issuing notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the three convicts, the bench turned down Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran’s plea to also stay the state’s decision to free the other four convicts in the case. It said the court’s verdict on commuting the death sentence was passed on petitions by only the three men and hence no orders could be passed for the other four.

Oxygen production may have initiated 3 billion years ago

  • Oxygen production by photosynthetic cyanobacteria may have initiated as early as three billion years ago, much earlier than previously thought.
  • Researchers at the University of California, Riverside provide a nontraditional way of thinking about the earliest accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere, arguably the most important biological event in Earth history.
  • A general consensus asserts that appreciable oxygen first accumulated in Earth's atmosphere around 2.3 billion years ago during the so-called Great Oxidation Event (GOE).
  • However, according to new research, oxygen production by photosynthetic cyanobacteria may have initiated as early as 3 billion years ago.
  • Oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere potentially rose and fell episodically over many hundreds of millions of years, reflecting the balance between its varying photosynthetic production and its consumption through reaction with reduced compounds such as hydrogen gas.

Syria aid resolution

  • The U.N. Security Council will vote on a resolution to boost humanitarian aid access in Syria, where the United Nations says 9.3 million people need help, although it is unclear if Russia and China will support or veto the draft.
  • Russia, supported by China, has shielded its ally Syria on the U.N. Security Council during the three-year-long civil war. They have vetoed three resolutions condemning Syria's government and threatening it with possible sanctions.
  • During a visit to Baghdad, Lavrov said the resolution should spell out that cross-border aid deliveries should be organized in accordance with international humanitarian law, which requires a government's consent for such a move.

U.S. President Barack Obama to host Dalai Lama

  • U.S. President Barack Obama hosts exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House, prompting China to issue a statement of "serious concern."
  • A statement said the U.S. supports the Dalai Lama's so-called "middle way" approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China.
  • China's foreign ministry quickly urged the U.S. to cancel the meeting, calling it a "gross interference" that will "seriously damage" U.S.-China ties.
  • Beijing regularly threatens nations hosting the Dalai Lama. It views him as a dangerous separatist responsible for a wave of self-immolations by Tibetans.

Two ICC awards for Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan has taken the top prize of the International Cricket Council Development Programme Annual Awards 2013, claiming the best development programme as well as the award for best junior participation initiative.
  • The awards recognised Afghanistan’s efforts in developing cricket at all levels, which is reflected in its success in increasing participation rates, promoting the game, and qualifying to the ICC World Twenty20 2014 and the World Cup 2015.
  • Afghanistan was also awarded the Best Junior Participation Initiative following its work to introduce cricket into the school curriculum in Afghanistan.

The 2013 winners are:

  • Best Overall Cricket Development Programme - Afghanistan Cricket Board
  • Best Women’s Cricket Initiative - Cricket Thailand
  • Best Junior Participation Initiative - Afghanistan Cricket Board
  • Best Cricket Promotion and Marketing Programme - Cricket Ireland
  • Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative - Argentine Cricket Association
  • Photo of the Year - Cricket Namibia
  • Volunteer of the Year - Calvin Waldron, Bermuda
  • Lifetime Service Award - William Luwagga Kamanyi, Uganda

12th consecutive Test 50 of A.B. de Villiers

  • Sporting prodigy A.B. de Villiers is laden with records, even beyond his chosen field of cricket.
  • By dragging a Steve Smith long-hop to the boundary just before stumps on the first day in Port Elizabeth, the Proteas' vice-captain reached 50 for an unprecedented 12th consecutive Test.
  • In doing so he took sole ownership of a record that, following last week's first Test, he had jointly held with Viv Richards, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.
  • De Villiers' latest record, which coincided with him reaching 7000 Test runs, drew praise from one of the Australian bowlers who, again, was unable to halt his charge towards yet another 50-plus score.
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