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Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today
- Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington today.
- Bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest will be discussed during the meeting.
- Gokhale arrived in the US yesterday in connection with the bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with his American counterparts, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.
- The Foreign Secretary is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the US administration and the US Congress.
- The visit is part of regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments and coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest.
Centre approves two corridors of Surat Metro project
- The Centre has approved two corridors of the Surat Metro project to be executed at an estimated cost of around 12,000 crore rupees.
- The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the project will be implemented by the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation and it will be completed in five years.
- The length of the first corridor – Sarthana to Dream City line – will be 21.61 kilometers and the second – Bhesan to Saroli – will be 18.74 kilometres.
- The project will be financed mainly through equity from the Centre and state government on 50-50 basis.
- It will provide continuous availability of affordable, reliable, secure and seamless transport system in the urban agglomeration of the city.
Ministries of WCD & Skill development sign MoU
- The ministry of women and child development and ministry of skill development and Entrepreneurship signed MoU 8th march 2019.
- The aim of the MoU is to improve women livelihood and empowering them through skill development.
- The ministry of women and child development through rastriya mahila kosh will identify the skill sets which are suitable for enhanching the livelihood women.
GS-II ( International Affairs)
UN health chief visits DRC Ebola treatment center after attacks
- The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) visited an Ebola treatment centre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after it had been attacked by militants.
- UN health Chief Ghebreyesus toured the centre in the city of Butembo after the assault on Saturday, which was attacked last week also. While thanking personnel for their steadfast dedication, he called for protection of these centres amidst a deadly epidemic outbreak.
- The visit came as he concluded a three-day mission to the DRC, along with other WHO leadership and senior US officials who met with the president, government officials, partner organizations and local responders involved in the outbreak response.
US-backed forces launch assault on IS group’s last Syrian enclave
- S.-backed Syrian forces launched an assault against the final Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria yesterday.
- The assault aims to wipe out the last vestige of self-declared “caliphate” of IS that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.
- The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been poised to advance into the enclave for weeks, but has repeatedly held back to allow for the evacuation of civilians, many of them wives and children of IS fighters.
- Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office said, no further civilians had emerged from the enclave at the Iraqi border since Saturday.
- He said SDF had not observed any more civilians in the area, prompting the decision to attack.
- Bali said more than 4,000 IS militants had surrendered in the last month but the most hardened foreign militants are still holed up inside.
Mohammad Shtayyeh named as Palestinian PM
- Mohammad Shtayyeh has been named as Palestinian Prime Minister by President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.
- A member of the West Bank’s dominant Fatah party is a long time ally of Abbas.
- The announcement comes six weeks after Rami al-Hamdallah tendered his resignation from the post and of his unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas, underscoring the failure of Hamas and Fatah to implement a power-sharing deal.
- Quoting Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian news agency, Wafa, has said, Abbas received Shtayyeh, a member of the central committee of the president’s Fatah party, at his office yesterday and asked him to form a new government.
- Some analysts view the appointment of 61-year-old Shtayyeh as part of Abbas’s efforts to further isolate Hamas, a rival political group that runs the besieged Gaza Strip.
- Shtayyeh, a former government minister, has been part of a number of Palestinian negotiating teams in the United States-brokered talks with Israel and is a former Minister.
US making significant progress in trade deal with China: White House
- The US has made significant progress in its trade deal negotiations with China, the White House said.
- White House Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said they made great headway when the Chinese were in Washington two weeks ago.
- The official said he thinks that’s where they are in the successful negotiations. Mr. Kudlow said that nothing has been finalised yet, but progress is being made.
UK lawmakers to vote again on PM May’s Brexit deal next week
- British Members of Parliament will on Tuesday vote again on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, making the historic decision whether to back her plan or risk a chaotic exit from the European Union in less than three weeks time.
- Two months ago, the House of Commons rejected the withdrawal agreement by a huge majority, and sent May back to renegotiate.
- But European Union leaders have rejected her demands as impossible, and without a breakthrough in the next 24 hours, some MPs have warned another defeat is inevitable.
- British and European officials have continued their talks this weekend, and May is ready to make a last-minute visit to Brussels, if needed.
China, US reach consensus on many key issues
- China and the United States have reached a consensus on many key issues, including exchange rates, during the latest round of talks to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal, in Washington.
- Governor of China’s central bank, Yi Gang today said that top trade officials from America and China discussed how to respect the autonomy of each other’s monetary authorities in determining the monetary policy.
- The discussion also involved mutual adherence to the market-decided exchange rate mechanism.
- The Governor said, both the countries will be honouring the commitments made at previous G-20 summits, such as choosing not to adopt competitive depreciation, not to use exchange rates for competition purpose, and maintaining close communication on foreign exchange markets.
- Yi, along with Chinese vice Premier Liu He, took part in the talks, while the American side was represented by the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin.
- US and China have held several talks during the past few months to end a trade war in which the world’s two largest economies are locked in since last year.
President Kovind to confer Padma awards today
- President Ram Nath Kovind will today confer Padma awards at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- Fifty-six of the 112 personalities, who were selected for this year’s Padma awards, will be conferred the honour at a special function.
- The remaining awardees are likely to be conferred the honour at another function to be held later this month.
- Folk Singer from Chhattisgarh Teejan Bai, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, Noted author and Maratha history scholar Babasaheb Purandare and executive chairman of L&T Anil Kumar Manibhai Naik are recipients of Padma Vibhushan this year.
- Fourteen persons have been selected for Padma Bhushan which includes Scientist Nambi Narayan, Malayalam Actor Mohanlal, South African politician Pravin Gordhan and late journalist Kuldip Nayar.
- Ninety Four Padma Shri will be given this year. The recipients include Sportspersons Sunil Chettri, Gautam Gambhir, Harika Dronavalli, Sharat Kamal, Dancer Nartaki Natraj, Farmers Kamala Pujhari and Ram Saran Verma and Social Worker Muktaben Dagli who is working for the welfare of Divyangjans.
- The awards which were announced on the eve of Republic Day, includes 21 women and 11 persons from the category of Foreigners, NRI, PIO, OCI and 1 transgender person.
One gold, four silver medals for India at Finland boxing tourney
- Kavinder Singh Bisht in the 56kg-category struck gold while Shiva Thapa in the 60kg category and three others claimed silver medals to end a fine Indian campaign at the 38th GeeBee Boxing Tournament in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday.
- Signing off with silver medals were three-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa, Govind Sahani, Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin and Dinesh Dagar.
- In a rare all-Indian final, a gritty Bisht was up against Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Hussamuddin in the 56kg summit clash. Both the boxers are from the Services Sports Control Board.
- Sahani started off strongly against Thailand’s Thitisan Panmod but lost 3-2. Thapa in 60kg category, lost 1-4 to local Arslan Khataev. Dagar, was defeated by Commonwealth Games gold-medallist England Pat McCormack in the finals.
- Sumit Sangwan, former youth world champion Sachin Siwach and Naveen Kumar got bronze in their categories.