Current Affairs, News & Facts of 29 Jan 2015

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  • Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Indian ambassador to US, replaces Sujatha Singh as the new foreign secretary of India. 
    • Earlier, Sujatha Singh was sacked by the centre with immediate effect - some eight months before she was due to retire.
    • She is the first foreign secretary to be removed unceremoniously after Rajiv Gandhi had dislodged AP Venkateswaran 28 years ago in 1987.
  • Skewed Sex Ratio: Supreme Court instructs Internet (search engines) to block advertisements on sex determination
    • Pre-birth gender determination is illegal in India but an estimated 40,000 registered ultrasound clinics (apart from those running without license) contribute to our skewed gender ratio by helping parents get rid of the female foetuses.
    • Search engines are now required to upload this order on their policy page together with the page containing terms and conditions of service to serve as a warning for persons intending to put up such advertisements.
    • As per a UN report, India's child sex ratio has dropped from 964 in 1971 to a low of 918 in 2011.
  • Maharashtra government to buy Ambedkar's London house in a show of political gesture. 
    • The state has issued Letter of Intent to the Indian High Commission in UK regarding the move. 
    • BR Ambedkar - Dalit icon and architect of the Indian Constitution - had stayed here in 1920 during his stint with the London School of Economics.
    • The government plans to convert it into a museum and open it to public on the eve of his 124 birth anniversary that falls on 14 April this year.
  • Ministry of Urban Development plans to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for setting up and maintenance of Sewerage Treatment Plans (STPs) in all the 118 cities and towns located along the River Ganga in a time bound manner to check pollution of the river. 
    • The SPV will ensure that demand-supply gap in respect of sewerage treatment in urban areas will be met in line with timeframe for cleaning the Ganga.
    • The present available treatment capacity is only 879 MLD of sewage (1263 MLD under construction) as against the requirement of 3847 Million Litres per Day.
  • Sri Lanka undoing the malafide Rajapaksa legacy: reinstate Chief Justice Shirani Bhandaranayake who was impeached by the previous government  
    • Shirani Bhandaranayake became the 43rd and 1st woman Chief Justice of Sri Lanka in May 2011.
    • The new dispensation - led by the new President Maithiripala Sirisena - had earlier exonerated jailed ex-Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka.
    • Fonseka - the general who routed LTTE - was imprisoned on politically motivated charges due to his rivalry with the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
  • Germany follows US: Offer help to India in developing 3 smart cities.  
    • A six-member joint committee will be set up in three months to identify these cities and draw up a plan.

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