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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS – 31ST JAN 2020 : GK Today
1. Global Traffic Index (TomTom Traffic Index)
- According to the Global Traffic Index-2019, conducted by a Netherlands based firm Tom-Tom, people spent 243 hours in traffic jams in 2019. It has surveyed in 416 cities, in 57 countries and 6 continents.
- India has four such cities among the world’s 10 highest traffic-congested cities.
- Bengaluru emerged as the worst traffic congested city globally in the TomTom Traffic Index of 2019.As per average, people spend 243 hours every year in traffic jamsin Bangalore which is equal to 10 days and 3 hours.
- Three other Indian cities Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi at the fourth, fifth and eight position, respectively.
- According to the report, Delhi has the maximum number of cars while it is fourth on the list.
- Manila (Philippines), Bogota (Colombia), Moscow (Russia), Lima (Peru), Istanbul (Turkey) and Jakarta (Indonesia) are also in the top-10 list.
- Greensboro-High Point of USA has the least traffic congestion in the world.
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It is the ninth annual edition of TomTom.
2. Coronavirus – WHO declares it a Global Health Emergency!
- Coronavirus has been declared a Global Health Emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on January 30, 2020.
- The deadly Coronavirus has claimed more than 200 lives in China and infected about 10,000 people.
- Health ministry confirms India’s first case of coronavirus in Kerala.A student returned to Kerala from Wuhan found infected with the Coronavirus.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Coronavirus is similar to the viruses that cause serious illnesses ranging from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
- Symptoms of Coronavirus are – Fever, Cold, Sneezing, Cough, and difficulty in breathing.
- There is no vaccine has been made to stop the virus so far, you can only prevent it. So, wash your hands with soap and water frequently as basic hand and respiratory hygiene. Avoid direct contact with live animals and infected people. Cover your nose/mouth while sneezing, coughing.
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There are 10 countries (China, Australia, France, Japan, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, USA and Vietnam) infected with Coronavirus (as of 26, January 2020).
3. Operation Vanilla
- Indian Navy has launched ‘Operation Vanilla’ on January 28 to provide all necessary assistance to disaster-hit Madagascar.
- Madagascar affected by the cyclone Diane recently and about 92,000 people have been affected due to floods in the country.
- Indian Navy Ship Airavat has reached Seychelles to provide rinking water, emergency food, clothes, temporary shelters, evacuation related help, medical assistance, emergency transportation and communication assistance to the people of Madagascar.
- “Operation Vanilla” is a part of the Government of India’s scheme – ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’.
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INS Airavat was commissioned in the Indian Navy on May 19, 2010 which is equipped with two indigenous rocket launchers to provide support in amphibious operations.
Madagascar is the world’s second-largest island country after Greenland.
Capital:Antananarivo; Currency:Malagasy ariary.
President:AndryRajoelina; Prime Minister:Christian Ntsay.
4. Harsh Vardhan Shringla takes charge as new Foreign Secretary
- Senior diplomat Harsh Vardhan Shringla took charge as the country’s new foreign secretary for a period of two years succeeding Vijay Gokhale.
- Mr Shringla is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Servicewho last served as India’s envoy to the US.
- In the course of a diplomatic career spanning 35 years, Shringla has held a variety of positions in New Delhi and abroad, and is considered an expert on India’s neighborhood.
- Shringla had played an important role in successful hosting of the “Howdy Modi” event in Houston inSeptember where US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly addressed the Indian diaspora.
- He has also headed the United Nations Political and SAARC divisions in the ministry.
5. India’s PavanSukhdev wins 2020 Tyler Prize
- Indian environmental economist PavanSukhdev was awarded the 2020 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, viz., for his outstanding work in the sphere of the green economy.
- He received the award jointly alongside conservation biologist Gretchen C Daily.
- Sukhdev was the head and special adviser of UNEP’s ‘Green Economy Initiative’. He currently serves as the President and Chairman of the board of World Wildlife Fund and as a member of the TEEB Advisory Board.
- The Green Economy Initiative aims to highlight that green economy is not a burden and does not stop growth but in fact, it is a new engine for growing wealth, boosting employment and reducing poverty.
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Tyler prize is one of the first international premier environmental awards, often described as the ‘Nobel Prize for Environment’. It was constituted in 1973 by the late John and Alice Tyler.
6. India’s Gita Sabharwal appointed UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand
- India’s Gita Sabharwal has been appointed as UN’s Resident Coordinator in Thailand by the United Nations Secretary-General AntónioGuterres.
- The UN Resident Coordinator (RC), the highest-ranking UN representative at the country level, is responsible for leading the UN teams and coordinating UN support for the smooth implementation of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
- She was previously serving the United Nations as the Peacebuilding and Development Adviser in Sri Lanka for almost 7 years.
- Sabharwal has over 25 years of experience in peacebuilding, development, governance and social policy across five Asian countries including the Maldives.
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UN Founded: 24 October 1945, San Francisco, California, United States.
Headquarters: New York, United States.
Official languages: Arabic; Chinese; English; French; Russian; Spanish.
Secretary General: Antonio Guterres; Members:193 member and 2 observer states.
7. Trump peace plan
- US President Donald Trump unveiled his much-awaited middle-east peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Trump described his vision to be a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security.
- The vision recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. It also states that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that the vision provides to be a part of Israel.
- The proposed transition to a two-state solution will be undertaken on one condition that it will not present any security risk to Israel. No acts of terror will be allowed.
- The peace vision also promises the delivery of a massive commercial investment worth 50 billion dollars into the new Palestinian state.
- Trump stated that if the vision is executed well, then within the next 10 years, around 1 million new jobs will be created in Palestine, their poverty rate will be cut in half and their GDP will double.
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The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the mid-20th century.
Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, with only partial success, as at the end of 2019.