Nepal invites PM Modi for Sagarmatha dialogue

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1.Lebanon announces formation of new govt headed by Hassan Diab

Lebanon, which has been rocked by anti-government protests for the last several months, finally has a new government.The presidency announced the formation of the new government after Hezbollah and its allies clinched a deal on a cabinet that must tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

The new government headed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, a 60-year old professor at the American University of Beirut, will consist of 20 ministers-technocrats.

The country has been hit by protests since October last year against the ruling political class.

2.Nepal invites PM Modi for Sagarmatha dialogue

Nepal has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the first Sagarmatha Sambaad forum to be held here in April.The first edition of the Sagarmatha Sambaad’ is scheduled to be held from April 2 to 4 on the theme “Climate Change, Mountains and the Future of Humanity”.

He said leaders of all SAARC countries, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, have been invited.

The Sambaad (dialogue) is named after the world’s tallest mountain Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) which is also a symbol of friendship.

3.National Voters’ Day: 25 January

The Government of India observes 25 January every year as “National Voters’ Day”.It started on January 25, 2011 to mark the Election Commission’s foundation day.

The theme for National Voters Day this year is ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy’.

The purpose of this day is to make people aware of their voting rights and to attract more people, mostly the newly eligible younger generation, to vote and contribute to the electoral political process.

4.India provides 30,000 doses of vaccine to Maldives after Measles Outbreak

India supplied 30,000 doses of Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccine to the Maldives responding swiftly to an emergency request to contain the measles outbreak in the Maldives.The vaccine supply was quickly procured and delivered to Maldives Health Ministry within 72 hours of the request.

Four people were tested positive for Measles in the last one week even though it has been eliminated from the country.

Maldives Government had suspected an outbreak and requested emergency supplies of vaccine, which could not be made possible by a few international organizations.

In 2015, India responded to the water crisis in Malé and airlifted water immediately and also sent supplies by ship, including an RO plant.

5.ECI hosts 10th Annual Meeting of Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia

Election Commission of India is hosting the 10th Annual Meeting of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) in New Delhi.The Election Commission of India will take over the Chair of the forum for the year 2020.

On the occasion, the International Conference on the theme ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ is also being organized.

The forum was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries held at New Delhi in 2012.

6.16 States and UTs along with 6 central ministries to participate in Republic Day Parade

Sixteen states and Union Territories and Six Central Ministries will participate in the Republic Day Parade this year at Rajpath in New Delhi.Start-up India, Jal Jeevan Mission and Financial Inclusion are some of the themes of the tableaux of Ministries and Departments.

The Walled City of Jaipur and Gujarat’s iconic stepwell in Patan and the 550th Anniversary of Sikhism Founder Guru Nanak Dev will be thematically showcased among the host of tableaux in the Republic Day function.

7.This year, Republic Day ceremony to start from War Memorial, not India Gate

Changing a decades-old tradition, the 71st Republic Day ceremony will not begin from India Gate, where the Prime Minister commemorates soldiers who have died in combat for India.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial, which was opened on February 25, 2019.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, Army chief General M M Naravane, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Force chief Air Marshal R K S Bhadauria will stand behind Modi when he pays homage to the dead soldiers.

On March 27 last year, India became only the fourth country to successfully fire an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile under a project named Mission Shakti.

Demonstrating this prowess, the A-SAT missile will feature in the parade this Republic Day.

8.Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank submits merger proposal with Rupee Bank to RBI

The Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank has submitted a joint proposal for a merger with the Rupee Cooperative Bank.Mounting bad debt of the Rupee Bank had led RBI to put severe sanctions on the bank while superseding the erstwhile board of directors in 2013.

The total deposit in the bank is around Rs 1,290.96 crore.

The bank also has 304 employees who will be absorbed within the rolls of the MSC Bank.

9.RBI raises short-term investment limit of FPIs to 30% from 20% of portfolio

The Reserve Bank of India raised the investment limit for FPIs in government and corporate bonds.In two separate notifications, the central bank said foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) can now invest 30 per cent of their portfolios in central and state government securities, including in treasury bills, from the 20 per cent earlier.

Similarly, in corporate bonds, too, short-term investments can now be 30 percent of the portfolio from 20 per cent earlier.

Meanwhile, the RBI has also made relaxation in the voluntary retention route (VRR) for FPI investments in debt.

The investment cap through VRR has been doubled to Rs 1.5 lakh crore, the RBI said in another circular.

10.Katerina Sakellaropoulou is Greece’s first female President

In a historic first, the Greek parliament has elected  Katerina Sakellaropoulou as its first female president.She is a senior judge with an expertise in environmental and constitutional law.

261 MPs out of the 300 voted for 63-year-old Katerina to become the ceremonial head of the country.

She is the first elected President with no affiliation to any political parties.