Current Affairs, News & Facts of 15 Jan 2016

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  • Anti-tank missile Nag hits bull’s eye with modified seeker


    Anti-tank missile Nag  hits bull’s eye with modified seeker

    The indigenously-built third generation, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile, Nag, scored a “bull’s eye” and successfully hit the target 4 km away during a night trial in the Mahajan Field Firing Range, Rajasthan. With the successfull test of  modified seeker , Nag missile is now ready for final, pre-induction user trials.

    During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) developed by a defence laboratory at Jodhpur was used as target for the missile, TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.  The trial validated the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.

    Anti-tank missile Nag uses HEAT (High explosive anti-tank) warhead, the top-attack all-weather fire-and-forget system is capable of destroying modern tanks with armoured protection by nullifying their ERA (explosive reactive armour).

  • Sikkim Becomes India's First Fully Organic State


    Sikkim Becomes India's First Fully Organic State

    Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land

    Background :

    • In 2003 Pawan Chamling-led government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state through a declaration in the legislative assembly after which the entry of chemical inputs for farmland was restricted and their sale banned. Farmers therefore had no option but to go organic.
    • Around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land was gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.

    Organic farming a boon for sikkim :

    • Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers as it tries to strike a harmonious balance with a complex series of ecosystems.
    • In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection.
    • Sustainable farming will also help in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production.

    Boosting tourism : Resorts are marketing themselves as completely organic where tourists can pluck, cook and relish fresh organic food from their kitchen gardens.

  • Indo-Japan Coast Guard joint exercise Sahyog Kaijin begins off the Chennai coast 


    Indo-Japan Coast Guard joint exercise Sahyog Kaijin begins off the Chennai coast

    The 15th edition of joint exercise by the Indian Coast Guard and its Japanese counterpart beigins from today  off the Chennai coast . The joint exercise has been titled as ‘Sahayog-Kaijin 2014'. Indian Coast Guard (ICG) vessel Samudra Pehredar and the Japanese vessel Echigo are berthed at Chennai Port.

    Focus: The focus of the bilateral training would be anti-piracy, search and rescue operations and interoperability between the two forces.

    The Director General of Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Vice Commandant of the Japanese Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Hideyo Hanamizu and other prominent officials would be witnessing the day-long event.

  • World Health Organisation declares end to Ebola epidemic


    World Health Organisation declares end to Ebola epidemic

    The World Health Organisation declared an end to the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever in West Africa after no positive case was reported in last 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) and all known chains of transmission have been stopped.

    Liberia, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea was an epicenter of the Ebola outbreak . Liberia was first declared free of Ebola transmission in May 2015 but the virus had reappeared twice since then.Sierra Leone and Guinea were declared free from Ebola transmission in November 2015 and in December 2015 respectively.

    About Ebola :

    Ebola was first identified in 1976 in after two simultaneous outbreakes, one in Nzara, and the other in Yambuku, a village near the  Ebola River from which the disease takes its name. 

    Transmission : Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of people who are sick or bodies of the dead.

    Type of disease : Viral disease

    Deaths till date : Between 1976 and 2013, the World Health Organization reports a total of 24 outbreaks involving 1,716 cases. Nearly 23,000 children lost at least one parent or caregiver to the disease. Some 17,000 survivors are trying to resume their lives though many battle mysterious, lingering side effects. The largest outbreak to date is the epidemic in West Africa, which occurred from December 2013 to January 2016 with 28,638 cases and 11,315 deaths.

    Ebola free : A country is considered free of the disease when it has passed two incubation periods of 21 days without any more cases. 

  • Permanent campus of IISER Thiruvananthapuram inagurated


    Permanent campus of IISER Thiruvananthapuram inagurated

    Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the first phase of permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) at Vithura in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

    The Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) is dedicated toward science education of international standards. It started functioning in Kerala in August 2008 with a transit campus at the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram (CET).

    Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) :

    • IISER are a group of autonomous institution created under The National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2010 (an amendment of the National Institutes of Technology Act, 2007). They are mainly science education and research institutes in India of national importance and are intended to be the IITs of basic sciences.
    • Currently there  are six  functional IISERs in the country namely IISER Kolkata (West Bengal), IISER Pune (Maharashtra), IISER Mohali (Punjab), IISER Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), IISER Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and IISER Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh). Two new IISERs one at Brahmapur (Odisha) and other one in Nagaland  have been announced under 2015 Union Budget.
  • SBI Launches First Dedicated Branch For Startups – SBI InCube


    SBI Launches First Dedicated Branch For Startups – SBI InCube

    India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India, has opened its first branch dedicated to serving startup companies called ‘SBI InCube' in Bengaluru. It was launched by by SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya in Bengaluru, Karnataka

    Key Facts :

    • InCube branches will be a one-stop shop for the financial and advisory service requirements of startups in the country.
    • InCube will cater to all  banking needs of the entrepreneurs such as employee account maintenance,setting up a company, and bringing in funds from foreign investors.
    • In it's present form Incube will not provide loans to the start ups but will provide loans to the budding entrepreneurs once they get mature and stable.
    • The branch office of  InCube in Bengaluru will be headed by an assistant general manager and a team of three other officers. SBI will also launch branches in Pune and National Capital Region (NCR).

    Other services launched by SBI :

    • SBI also launched a new wealth management service called Exclusif. Customers of the service will have access to a dedicated relationship manager and a team of investment experts.
    • SBI has also setup a remote relationship management center for the service allowing customers to transact and invest their wealth over mobile and internet securely with the use of technology.
  • 68th Indian Army Day celebrated in Delhi


    68th Indian Army Day celebrated in Delhi

    Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year in recognition of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa who took over as the  first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on 15 January 1949.  This year it will be the 68th Indian Army Day.

    Events organised : It is celebrated every year at all the Army Command headquarters and national capital by organizing army parades including many other military shows.

    Key facts about Indian army :

    • Indian Army, the biggest component of Indian armed forces. It is headed by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), a four-star General. Presently Genral Dalbir Singh Suhag is COAS. 
    • So far only two officers from Indian Army - Sam Mankeshaw (in 1973) and K M Cariappa (1986) have been conferred the rank of Field Marshal, a five-star rank, which is a ceremonial position of great honour. 
    • The Indian Army originated from the armies of the East India Company, which eventually became the British India Army and finally the Indian Army after independence
    • Indian Army is the 2nd largest standing army in the world, with about 1, 129, 900 active troops and 960,000 reserve troops.
    • The Indian Army is a voluntary service and although a provision for military conscription (mandatory Military Service ) exists in the Constitution, it has never been imposed. 
    • Headquartered at New Delhi, the Indian Army fields 35 Divisions within 13 Corps. The army operates 6 operational commands and 1 training command. 
  • British actor Alan Rickman passes away


    British actor Alan Rickman passes away

    Alan Rickman, one of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past 30 years passed away in London, England. He was 69 and was suffering from cancer. He was well known for his role in films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

    About Alan Rickman :

    • Alan Rickman was born on 21 February 1946  in Acton, London, to a working class family . He excelled at calligraphy and watercolour painting.
    • His first major appearance was in 1985 in the film Vicomte de Valmont which was the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. For this he was nominated for a Tony Award.
    • Rickman's major films included  the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply, Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, Harry in Love Actually, P. L. O'Hara in An Awfully Big Adventure,
    • Rickaman was globally praised for his complex antagonist acting for playing numerous roles of villains in films like Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

    Awards and Honours: Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA Award.


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