Current Affairs in Short: 22 September 2020
Woman fighter pilot cleared to fly Rafale combat jets
• A woman fighter pilot has been selected to fly the Rafale fighter jet of the Indian Air Force. According to IAF officials, the woman fighter pilot is one the first three lady pilots to have been cleared for fighter flying by the Air Force.
• The women officer was previously flying the MiG-21 fighter jet and is soon expected to fly Rafale fighter jets, as she is currently training for it.
• The Indian Air Force is the first force to have allowed women officers in combat fronts and has the highest percentage of female officers. Overall, the IAF has 10 women fighter pilots and 18 women navigators. The present strength of women officers serving in the Indian Air Force is 1,875.
India home to largest number of One-Horned Rhinoceros
• Union Minister Prakash Javadekar informed on September 22, 2020 that India is home to the largest number of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in the world with a population in the range of 3000 animals in Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
• The Minister shared this in his message on the occasion of World Rhino Day. The Minister stated that the Environment Ministry has launched a National Conservation Strategy for Indian One-Horned Rhino.
• He added saying that the conservation initiatives for rhino have enriched the grassland management which helps in reducing the negative impacts of climate change through carbon sequestration.
• The National Rhino Conservation Strategy for India was launched in 2019 to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros. The one-horned rhino was close to extinction with a population of less than 200 in the beginning of the 20th century.
• Presently, it is the only large mammal species in Asia to be down-listed from endangered to vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN Red list in 2008
Transport Ministry waives off permit requirement for vehicles carrying oxygen till March 2021
• The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued an order on September 21, 2020 waiving off permit requirements for vehicles carrying oxygen tanks or cylinders till March 31, 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• The decision was taken in view of certain issues brought to notice of ministry about problems being faced by certain Transport Vehicles operators for the transportation and delivery of oxygen cylinders or oxygen tanks across states or within a state.
• The move will, hence, ensure the smooth movement of vehicles carrying oxygen and further ensuring the supply of oxygen across the country. Oxygen is an important item required for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
US imposes new sanctions on Iran
• The United States on September 21, 2020 imposed new sanctions on Iranian officials and entities after its effort to reimpose UN sanctions on Tehran was largely rejected.
• The new sanctions were imposed under a new executive order issued by US President Donald Trump, which is aimed at deterring conventional arms transfers to Iran.
• US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement that the UN arms embargo on Iran is now reimposed indefinitely and we will ensure that it remains in place until Iran changes its behaviour.
• Pompeo said that the new executive order gives the US tools to hold accountable actors who seek to evade the embargo. Some of the sanctions have been issued against the Iranian Ministry of Defence and embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.
• US President Trump stated that his administration will use every tool at their disposal to stop Iran's nuclear, ballistic missile, and conventional weapons pursuits."
Parliament passes National Forensic Sciences University Bill 2020
• The Parliament on September 22, 2020 passed the National Forensic Sciences University Bill 2020 with the Rajya Sabha approving it. The Lok Sabha had approved the bill earlier.
• The bill proposes to establish the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar and the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences, New Delhi, as a National Forensic Sciences University, Gujarat. The Bill declares the University to be an institution of national importance.
• Speaking on the bill’s provisions, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy said that forensic science plays an important role in the scientific investigation of crime incidents. He said that the university will work for the capacity building in the field of forensic science and promote research.
Parliament passes Rashtriya Raksha University Bill 2020
• Parliament passed the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill 2020 on September 22, 2020 after the Rajya Sabha cleared this Bill. The Lok Sabha had already passed it earlier.
• The Bill seeks to establish the Raksha Shakti University of Gujarat as a University called the Rashtriya Raksha University in Gujarat.
• The Bill declares the University as an institution of national importance. According to Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy, the University is essential as several such police universities are functioning in other countries.