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1. China identifies a new strain of coronavirus as source of a pneumonia outbreak
Chinese researchers investigating the cause of a mysterious pneumonia outbreak have discovered a new strain of coronavirus, a species of viruses that can cause deadly illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to Chinese state media and the World Health Organization.
A Chinese preliminary assessment panel isolated the coronavirus — named for its crown-like appearance under a microscope — from samples taken from a single patient’s lung fluid, blood and throat swabs.
2. Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy Launches ‘Amma Vodi’ Scheme
The Andhra Pradesh government launched the ‘Amma Vodi’ scheme. Mothers and guardians of school-going children from lower-income groups will get financial assistance of Rs 15,000 annually under the scheme. Amma Vodi translates to ‘mother’s lap’ in Telugu.
Key points on Amma Vodi scheme:
- The scheme will be implemented from January 26, 2020 (Republic Day).
- Under Amma Vodi, the mothers of school-going children will receive annual financial assistance of Rs 15,000 per year.
- The initiative is meant to support low-income families in educating their children.
- Amma Vodi is available to ration cardholders, who fall under the Below Poverty Line and clear a few more criteria related to their economic status.
- The scheme was allocated a budget of around Rs 6,455 crore for 2019-20, which is nearly 20 percent of the total education budget of Rs 32,618 crore of Andhra Pradesh.
- The Jagan Reddy government has also taken funds from other departments. The AP government has released the final list of all the beneficiaries.
- All the applicants who have registered for this scheme can check the Jaganna Amma Vodi eligibility list now on the official website of the AP government.
3. 9th January: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of the Overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.
Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas conventions have been held every year since 2003. Since 2015 the event was declared as a biennial and takes place once in two years. These conventions provide a platform for the overseas Indian community to engage with the government for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions provide networking opportunities to the Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
The last Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas was held on 9th January 2019. The 15th PBD Convention was held from 21-23 January 2019 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The theme of the PBD Convention 2019 was “Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India”.
4. Zero Budget Natural Farming: Andhra Pradesh Government signs MoU with German firm KFW
The YS Jaganmohan Reddy led-State government will spend Rs 304 crore on the project
`Zero Budget Natural Farming’ (ZBNF), the Andhra Pradesh Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the representatives of a German firm, KFW, in Amaravati.
As part of the agreement that intends to scale up the ongoing project with the German firm, the government has taken a loan of Rs 711 crores out of the estimated amount of Rs 1015 crore earmarked to be spent towards the climate-resilient, ZBNF.
Andhra Pradesh State government will spend Rs 304 crore on the project, which is aimed to cover 2.39 lakh farmers in around 600 village panchayats and promote natural farming, according to the State Minister for Agriculture, Kurasala Kannababu.
5. The Pulses Conclave 2020 to be held in Lonavala, Maharashtra
India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for India’s pulses trade and industry announced that the fifth edition ‘The Pulses Conclave’, their biennial global pulses conference will be held from Feb. 12th to 14th, 2020 at Amby Valley City in Lonavala, Maharashtra.
IPGA expects close to 1500 trade stakeholders from India and key pulses exporting countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, etc. to participate in ‘The Pulses Conclave 2020’ (TPC 2020).
6. Kashmir to get connected with rest of India through rail by Dec 2021
Kashmir will be connected to the rest of India through railway network by December 2021 as the government has set a fresh deadline for completion of the world’s highest railway bridge, The Chenab Bridge. The rail line is expected to be 35 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower.
Konkan Railway has said it was a most challenging project in the post-independent history of the Indian Railways. The highest railway bridge in the world, connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country through rail line will be completed by December 2021.
The Chenab Bridge is a railway steel and concrete arch bridge under construction between Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir in India. When completed, the bridge will span the Chenab River at a height of 359 m (1,178 ft) above the river, making it the world’s highest rail bridge.
7. World Bank’s Global Economic Prospect: World Economic Growth projected at 2.5%
Global economic growth is forecast to edge up to 2.5% this year, but downward risks persist, according to a report released by the World Bank.
Among advanced economies, growth is expected to slow to 1.4% this year, but the emerging market and developing economies are expected to see the growth of 4.1%. However, the growth in the emerging and developing economies is based in a small group of large economies; a third of the economies are projected to decelerate this year.
US growth is expected to slip to 1.8% this year, and the euro area is projected to see the growth of 1%.
The regional outlooks include:
East Asia and Pacific: The region is projected to see a growth of 5.7% this year with China projected to grow 4.9%.
Europe and Central Asia: Economic growth is expected at 2.6% this year with 3% growth in Turkey and 1.6% growth in Russia.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Economic growth is expected to be 1.8% this year. Brazil is expected to see a growth of 2%, and Mexico is expected to see a growth of 1.2%
Middle East and North Africa: Regional economic growth of 2.4% is expected this year on higher investment and stronger business climates.
South Asia: Economic growth for this year is expected at 5.5%; growth in India is expected at 5% in fiscal year 2019/2020, which ends 31 March and to recover to 5.8% in the following fiscal year.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Regional growth is expected to pick up to 2.9% this year.