Current Affairs : 08 Feb 2016 to 27 Jan 2016 - Summary

Current Affairs 08 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Edgar Mitchell, sixth man on the Moon, passes away

     

    Edgar Mitchell, sixth man on the Moon, passes away

    US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, passed away at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, one day before the 45th anniversary of his Moon landing, He was 85. He was the part of  Apollo 14 mission in 1971 and had spent more than nine hours on the Moon conducting experiments.

    About Edgar Mitchell 

    Mitchell was born on September 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas, was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer and NASA astronaut. He joined NASA as an astronaut in 1966. 

    Mitchell was designated as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 10 and had served as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14. Mitchell's mission to the Moon was the fourth in the US Apollo series, and first after the ill-fated Apollo 13 which aborted its attempt to land after an oxygen tank explosion.

    Mitchell and his crewmate, landed safely to the lunar surface on Fra Mauro Highlands, which  was the target of the failed Apollo 13 mission. He stayed on the surface of moon  33 hours and  collected 45kg (94lb) of Moonrock for examination back on earth and completed the longest moonwalk in history.

    Mitchell left Nasa in 1972 and set up the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which aimed to support "individual and collective transformation through consciousness research".

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  • The border troops of India and China hold first joint tactical drill on border

     

    The border troops of India and China hold first joint tactical drill on border

    The border troops of India and China have held their first joint tactical exercise named “Sino-India Cooperation 2016”, in the Chushul-Moldo area along the northern border of Jammu and Kashmir.

    This exercise is complementary to the Hand-in-Hand series of India-China Joint Exercises and the recently conducted joint exercise in Sikkim.

    During the exercise the 30-member Indian Army team was led by Colonel Ritesh Chandra Singh, while the Chinese delegation with an equal strength was led by Colonel Qu Yi.

    The exercise is part of the ongoing initiatives taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and thereby ensure peace and tranquillity along the border.

    The regular bilateral interaction between Indian and Chinese border troops reflects positive relationship which is crucial for enhancing confidence and building relation between the armies of the two countries.

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  • For the first time paper waste turned into green aerogel

     

    For the first time paper waste turned into green aerogel

    For the first time in history of science and technology the scientists from National University of Singapore (NUS) have successfully converted paper waste into green cellulose aerogels that are non-toxic, ultra-light, flexible, extremely strong and water repellent. 

    Aerogels, are among the lightest solid materials known to man and are one of the finest insulation materials available. Traditional aerogels are mainly made of silica, which is not environment-friendly but the aerogels obtained by this method are biodegradable, simple, and cost-effective.

    Features and applications :

    These novel aerogels have low thermal conductivity and super high oil absorption capacity i.e. 4 times higher than commercial sorbents available in the market. Oil spills are serious disasters that threaten marine ecosystems. Sorption has been considered one of the most effective ways to clean oil spills.

    Polypropylene (PP)-based absorbents are widely used for oil absorption but they are non-biodegradable and  their absorption capabilities are both low and slow but novel cellulose aerogels are biodegradable and very effective so it will be attractive alternative to current methods of oil spill cleaning.

    Its fabrication process uses 70 per cent less energy and produces fewer polluting emissions into the air and water as well as uses less dioxins in the chlorine bleaching process.

    Applications :

    The novel aerogels can be used for oil spill cleaning as it has four times higher absorbing capacity than commercial sorbents available in the market. It can also serve as heat insulation materials for buildings as it is one of the finest insulating material available.

    It can be also used in packaging industry and  plastic-based packing materials such as the bubble wrap could be replaced with biodegradable aerogel-based foam or advanced cellulose aerogel nanosheets, which are environmentally-friendly. With high surface area and high porosity, the biodegradable aerogels could also be used as coating materials in drug delivery or as smart materials.

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  • AIDS prevention: Centre launches 'Project Sunrise' in Imphal

     

    AIDS prevention: Centre launches 'Project Sunrise' in Imphal

    Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  J.P. Nadda had launched Project Sunrise for prevention of AIDS in the eight North-Eastern states. The Project will be implemented in the North East, in addition to the existing projects of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). The project aims at bringing the people living with HIV/AIDS into the national mainstream and creating awareness about the disease in these N-E states.

    Project Sunrise sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control will be implemented in 20 districts of the eight states including four districts of Manipur- Imphal East, Bishnupur, Ukhrul and Churachandpur.  It will cover one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS by giving them treatment and care facilities free of cost. 

    The project has been sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control and would be implemented by Family Health International 360. It will cover one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS by giving them treatment and care facilities free of cost. The project will include enhancing capacity of state-level institutions, community mobilization, and making people aware about the disease.

    HIV/AIDS Situation in North-East India

    In India the highest HIV prevalence rates are found in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the south; and Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland in the north-east.North Eastern States like Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram account for highest adult (15-49 years) HIV prevalence in the country. 

    In comparison to other Indian states, the North East is less populated, but still there are some 100,000 people, who live with HIV and AIDS in the eight north eastern states.National average for prevalence of HIV/AIDS among drug addicts is 7.14%, whereas in Manipur it is 12.9% and in Mizoram it is 12%.

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  • Singer-songwriter Dan Hicks passes away

     

    Singer-songwriter Dan Hicks passes away

    Noted American singer-songwriter Dan Hicks who was known for his traditional mix of folk, jazz and country music,  passed away after a two-year long battle with throat and liver cancer. He was 74. Hicks was known as the frontman of the acoustic band Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. His songs were infused with humor. Some of his famous songs are I Scare Myself, Canned Music and How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?

    About Dan Hicks 

    Born on December 9, 1949 to a military family, he was drummer in grade school and played the snare drum in his school marching band. In  1959, he became part of the San Francisco folk music scene, performing at local coffeehouses. He joined the San Francisco band The Charlatans in 1965 as drummer. His latest album, Live at Davies, was released in 2013, capping over forty years of music released under his name.

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  • PM Narendra Modi inaugurates National Institute of Science Education and Research 

     

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day tour of Odisha,  inaugurated the permanent campus of National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) in Jatani near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

    NISER has been established along the lines of the IISc in Bangalore, and its five sister institutions, the IISERs that are being established at Pune, Mohali, Kolkata, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram.

    Unlike the IISERs, which will be governed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), the ISER operates under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

    Financial budget : The government of India has earmarked an initial outlay of RS. 823.19 crore (USD120 million) during the first seven years of this project, starting from September 2007.

    Background : The foundation stone for NISER campus was laid by then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh in August 2006 who stated that  NISER will compare with the best institutions in the country in terms of facilities and faculty and elevate the standard of research and education in Odisha.

    Academics: NISER is dedicated to graduate education and research only. It offers a five-year integrated M.Sc. as well as Ph.D. degrees in pure and applied sciences. The academic programme of NISER is designed to provide strong foundations to students through core courses so that the students can take up challenging research and teaching assignments  in universities, R&D laboratories and various industries.

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  • Noted Political Cartoonist Sudhir Tailang Passes Away

     

    Noted Political Cartoonist Sudhir Tailang Passes AwayNoted political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, who known for his political cartoons that chronicled contemporary Indian politics through his unsparing satires and unique drawing style, Passed away in Gurgaon, Haryana after battling with brain cancer for a long time. He was 56.

    About Sudhir Tailang

    Tailang was born in Rajasthan’s Bikaner on Febnruary 26, 1960. He was a self-taught cartoonist who started drawing at the age of five. By 10, his first cartoon was published in 1970. He started his career with the Illustrated Weekly of India, Mumbai, in 1982.

    He had worked in a number of leading newspapers including Hindustan Times, Indian Express and The Times of India. His last assignment was with the Asian Age. In 2009, he had published book of cartoons titled “No, Prime Minister” which carried cartoons on Manmohan Singh drawn during first stint of his Prime Ministership.

    Awards and Honours : He was awarded Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2004, for his contribution to the art of cartooning.

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  • PM Modi Dedicates Paradip Oil Refinery to the Nation

     

    PM Modi Dedicates Paradip Oil Refinery to the Nation

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 15-million tonne per annum Indian Oil Corporation refinery at Paradip in Odisha. The refinery has been dedicated to the nation. It is overall IOC’s 11th refinery to be set up and has installed capacity of 15 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA). Government has a target of 10% reduction in oil imports by 2022 with increase in use of bio fuels like ethanol produced from sugarcane and diesel from Jatropha.

    Facts and Figures

    The project set up at an investment of Rs. 34, 555 crore and spread across 3,300 acres of land, has been designed to process 100 per cent high sulphur including 40 per cent heavy crude of low cost to produce various products such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation turbine fuel, propylene, sulphur and petroleum coke.

    It is one of the most modern refineries in the world and is equipped with the latest technology with a complexity factor of 12.2. It is capable of producing Bharat Stage IV (BS IV)/BS V quality transportation fuel to comply with Auto Fuel Policy.

    The refinery will manufacture 78 crore kg of LPG, 500 crore litres of petrol, 660 crore litre of diesel, 250 crore litre of kerosene and ATF, 27 lakh quintal of sulphur and 120 lakh qunital of petroleum coke. 

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  • National Organic Farming Research Institute to come up in Sikkim

     

    National Organic Farming Research Institute to come up in SikkimThe Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim. The decision in this regard was taken by the Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Sikkim Agriculture Minister Som Nath Paudyal in New Delhi.

    The institute will be established by upgrading the existing Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Gangtok. The Government will also help the state  in sustaining the organic farming and also in marketing of the State’s organic products.

    Background : It should be noted that Sikkim was officially declared as first fully organic state in India in January 2016. The state has achieved this feat by converting around 75000 hectares of land into certified organic farms by following the guidelines prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.

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2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Sports

Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min


Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min


Current Affairs 06 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • XII South Asian Games begins in Guwahati

     

    XII South Asian Games begins in GuwahatiThe 2016 South Asian Games, officially the XII South Asian Games, has begun in Guwahati, Assam after a formal inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium.  

    The event will go on from 5 February to 16 February 2016 in Guwahati and Shillong. Over 2,500 athletes from 8 SAARC nations viz. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives will compete in 228 events in 23 sports disciplines.

    Theme Song of 12th South Asian Games : The theme song for 12th edition of  SAG is 'Ei Prithibi Ek Krirangan' which literally means 'The world is a playground'. It was written by Bhupen Hazarika (1926-2011), a notable Indian lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam.

    Motto : ‘Play for Peace, Progress and Prosperity’

    Official mascot : Tikhor, a one-horned rhino that represents endangered fauna of Assam found in Kaziranga National Park.

    South Asian Games 

    • South Asian Games are a biennial multi-sport event held among the athletes from  8 South Asian (SAARC) countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. 
    • It is regarded as the South Asian version of Olympic Games. It was established as South Asian Federation Games, but in 2004 was renamed as South Asian Games. The governing body of these games is South Asian Sports Council (SASC), formed in 1983.
    • The first edition of South Asian Games were hosted by Kathmandu, Nepal in 1984 and have since been held every two years except for some occasions. India has hosted SAG for two time, first in 1987 in Kolkata (West Bengal) and second time in 1995 in Chennai (Tamil Nadu). 

    Leading countries Since the beginning of South Asian Games, India has ruled over this multi-sport event as it has bagged the  most number of medals – 1,728 which includes 900 Gold, 542 silver and 286 bronze followed by Pakistan which has bagged (311-375-336) and than Sri Lanka (185-245-455).

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  • PM Narendra Modi inaugurates petrochemical plant in Dibrugarh

     

    PM Narendra Modi inaugurates petrochemical plant in DibrugarhPrime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a petrochemical project in  Dibrugarh, Assam which is the first such project of North-East. The project has been named as Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd (BCPL). Prime Minister also dedicated wax producing unit in Numaligarh Refinery Limited to the nation.  It is India’s highest wax producing unit and shall be using indigenous technology.

    The petrochemical project spread across 3,000 bighas, has been built at cost of 10000-crore rupees and shall be producing raw material for manufacturing plastic. It will  produce High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Linear Low Density polyethylene (LLDPE) totaling 2, 20,000 Tonnes per Annum (TPA) and 60,000 TPA of Polypropylene (PP).

    Brahamputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd  BCPL project is a joint venture which was incorporated in 2007 as Central Public Sector Enterprise under Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals. The project was conceived as part of the Assam peace accord signed in 1985 during the tenure of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and its foundation stone was laid in 2007 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    • Motive of the project  Overall socio-economic development of the North-east region by generating various employment opportunities for the youths of the state.
    • Stakeholders  GAIL (India) Limited is it's major stakeholder as it holds 70% of equity participation while remaining 30% is equally shared by Oil India Ltd (OIL), Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) and Government of Assam. 

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  • Sarangi maestro Ram Narayan gets Bhimsen Joshi Award

     

    Sarangi maestro Ram Narayan gets Bhimsen Joshi Award

    Sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan (88) has been selected for the prestigious Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Classical Music Award for 2015-2016. 

    Announcement in this regard was made by Maharashtra's Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde in Mumbai. Pandit Ram Narayan popularised the bowed instrument as a solo concert instrument in Indian classical music and is considered the first sarangi player who became successful in the international arena.

     About Pandit Ram Narayan :  Pandit Ram Narayan, born on 25 December 1927 in Udaipur, Mewar, he shifted to New Delhi after Partition where he  gave performances on All India Radio in the national capital.He has been playing the sarangi since his childhood, and over the years acquired global acclaim for his music for which he was conferred India's second higest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, in 2005.

    About Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Classical Music Award: The annual award, instituted by the Maharashtra government, is given to individuals who have excelled in classical vocal or instrumental music. These individuals are selected by a committee of top music artistes and exponents. The award comprises 5 lakh rupees in cash, a trophy and a citation.

    What is Sarangi ?

    It is a bowed, short-necked string instrument from India which is used in Hindustani classical music. . It is said to most resemble the sound of the human voice – able to imitate vocal ornaments such as gamaks (shakes) and meends (sliding movements).

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  • February 6 : International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

     

    February 6 : International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

    February 6 is observed as International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation which is a UN-sponsored awareness day toward female genital mutilation (also called FGM) and to promote its eradication.

    Theme for the year 2016 :-  “Achieving the new Global Goals through the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation by 2030”

    Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia.Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, with or without anaesthesia, FGM is concentrated in 27 African countries. It is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond, most girls are cut before the age of five.

    The practice is rooted in gender inequality, attempts to control women's sexuality, and ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. 

    The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death. At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, with half of them living in Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia.

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  • India Beats USA to Become 2nd Largest Smartphone Market in the World

     

    India Beats USA to Become 2nd Largest Smartphone Market in the WorldIndia has surpassed the US to become the world's second largest smartphone market, crossing 220 million in active unique smartphone users in 2015 for the first time ever. Smartphone shipments in India grew a healthy 15 percent annually in the December quarter of 2015 versus the previous quarter and 23 percent on the year-earlier quarter. In all, India crossed the 100 Million smartphones-sold-in-year milestone at the end of 2015.

    Top three smartphone sellers 

    Samsung retained top slot for the entire calendar year with market shares of 25.7 per cent in smartphone market.

    Micromax maintained the second position in both overall mobile phone market (13.7 per cent) as well as the smartphone segment (14.3 per cent)

    Apple was the third largest brand during the year with 11 per cent, improving on its 2014 revenue share of 7 per cent

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Current Affairs 05 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Govt sets up Council to bring consistency in tax policies 

     

    Govt sets up Council to bring consistency in tax policies

    In order to bring consistency and streamline the direct and indirect tax policy and administration, Finance Ministry has set up two new committees  namely Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) and Tax Policy Council (TPC). These committees have been constituted based on the recommendation of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) on taxation reform.

    Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU)  Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) will function under Revenue Secretary and will be a multi disciplinary body. It will carry out studies on various topics of fiscal and tax policies and assist the TPC in taking appropriate policy decisions. It will have noted officers from CBEC, CBDT and a galaxy of economists, researchers, statisticians and legal experts who will prepare an analysis covering three broad areas - legislative intent behind the proposal; expected change in tax collection; and the likely economic impact through the proposal.

    Tax Policy Council (TPC)  The Council will be advisory in nature, which will help the Government in identifying key policy decisions for taxation. It will look at all the research findings coming from TPRU and suggest broad policy measures for taxation. It will have nine more members including Ministers of State for Finance and Commerce and Industry, Deputy Chairman, NITI Aayog, Chief Economic Adviser, Finance Secretary as well as Secretaries to the Departments of Revenue, Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industrial Policy and Promotion. The Chairpersons of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will be special invitees. 

    Current ScenarioUnder the present scenario,  Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) are assisted by a Tax Research Unit (TRU) and Tax Policy and Legislation (TPL), respectively. Taxation proposals of the two boards are sent to the Finance Minister separately. In order to bring consistency, multidisciplinary inputs and coherence in taxation policy making, TARC had suggested that a Tax Council supported by a common Tax Policy and Analysis (TPA) unit should be established to cater to needs of both direct and indirect taxes.

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  • Maharashtra rolls out Deradicalisation Programme in wake of IS threat

     

    Maharashtra rolls out Deradicalisation Programme in wake of IS threatMaharashtra which is facing both home-grown extremism and the global Islamic State (IS) threat, has rolled out Deradicalisation Programme for the minority community.

    The deradicalisation programme is based on the recent decision of the Union Home Ministry which has asked three States to frame comprehensive counter-strategy programme in wake of attempts made by international terrorist outfits to propagate jihadi ideologies.

    State Home Department has rolled out a 50-point socio-economic strategy which aims at ‘bringing youth of the minority community into the mainstream’ by making coordinated efforts and policies in 13 sectors, including education, sports, urban planning, law and order, skill development, women and child, social justice, and health.

    Highlights of  the Programme 

    • The State Education Department will launch a mid-day meal scheme in Urdu schools and  provide textbooks at subsidised rates. Urdu will be taught as optional subject in 300 Marathi schools.
    • The programme includes opening vyayam shalas in minority areas, making National Cadet Corps (NCC), Bharat Scouts and Guides (BS&G) compulsory in minority schools.
    • Under the plan the religious texts from all sects will be taught in minority schools. The merits of democratic states and demerits of dictatorships will be taught as a seperate chapter in the Urdu textbooks. 
    • It also seeks to create an environment of solidarity and trust among the minority community and envisages that various government schemes to reach out to them. Independent media outlet will be set up which will deliver ‘mainstream thoughts and values’ to the minority youth in the State

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  • US General John Nicholson named NATO commander in Afghanistan

     

    US General John Nicholson named NATO commander in AfghanistanUS General John Nicholson has been appointed as the new commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. His appointmentwas confirmed by the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee during Congressional hearing on Afghanistan. He will succeed  US General John Campbell who has been leading the Afghan operations for nearly 18 months. 

    John Nicholson 

    Currently he is serving as the US Army commander of NATO land forces. Earlier he has  served in multiple capacities including chief of staff of operations for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US Forces – Afghanistan. He has also served as the director of Pakistan/Afghanistan Coordination Cell for the Joint Staff, and deputy commander - Stability of ISAF Regional Command - South. 

    US forces in Afghanistan

    After the 9/11 attack on America by al-Qaeda in which about 3,000 people were killed, The U.S forces led war in Afghanistan to dismantle al-Qaeda and deny it a safe-haven in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. The Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also became involved, and started  combat operations, under the direction of a U.S. commander and finally on 28 December 2014 the NATO forces ended combat operations in Afghanistan and transferred full security responsibility to the Afghan government.

    Presently, there are around 10000 US troops in Afghanistan who advise local security forces and conduct counter-terrorism missions. The forces are the part of NATO Training and Support mission which had replaced the US-NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission after NATO had formally ended its war in Afghanistan in December 2014.

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  • WHO certifies Indian vaccine maker GreenSignal Bio

     

    WHO certifies Indian vaccine maker GreenSignal Bio

    Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO) has accorded PQP (Pre-qualification of Medicines Programme) certification to Chennai based GreenSignal Bio Pharma for manufacturing a BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guerin) vaccine. GreenSignal is the second Indian company to get PQP certification from WHO.

    PQP certification awarded by WHO will help GreenSignal to participate in the global immunisation programme, which is facilitated through international procurement agencies such as UNICEF and others.These international institutions prefer WHO list of pre-qualified pharmaceutical products while making a decision on procurement for distribution in resource-limited nations.

    Vaccine manufacturer is headed by former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswamy. It has a full-fledged BCG vaccine production facility at Gummidipondy in Thiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu having production capacity of 60 lakh vials. Currently  it is supplying BCG vaccine to the Government of India and Indonesia.

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  • India becomes associate member of European Molecular Biology Organisation

     

    India becomes associate member of European Molecular Biology Organisation

    In a bid to strengthen interaction between India and Europe in the field of molecular biology, Ministry of Science and Technology has signed a Cooperation Agreement to acquire the status of the Associate Member State European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). India has become the second country, outside the European region, to be an Associate Member State.First one being Singapore which had signed such agreement with European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) in 2015.

    Benefits of being a member state :

    Indian Researchers will now be eligible to participate in all EMBO programmes and activities taking place across the world. Indian scientists now can apply for its programmes, such as long-term fellowships for postdoctoral researchers, courses, short-term fellowships and workshops etc.

    European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)

    EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences.  Its goal is to promote research in life science and enable international exchange between scientists. It organizes courses, workshops and conferences, publishes four scientific journals and supports individual scientists and projects. 

    • Founded in : 1964 
    • Headquarters: Heidelberg, Germany. 
    • Current director : Maria Leptin

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  • India ratifies Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

     

    India ratifies Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

    In a significant move aimed at putting an end to the contentious nuclear liability issue and assuage suppliers' concerns, India has submitted the Instrument of Ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, 1997 to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It marks an important step in addressing matters related to civil nuclear liabilities.

    Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) 

    Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)  was adopted on 12 September 1997. It establishes a uniform global legal regime for compensation of victims of a nuclear accident.

    The convention will enter into force on the 90th day after date of ratification by at least five States who have a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity.

    All states are free to participate in the convention regardless of their involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions or the presence of nuclear installations on their territories. India had signed it in 2010 for delivering its commitments for signing the landmark 2005 nuclear agreement with the United States.

    CSC provides for establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a State's exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries related income.

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Current Affairs 04 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Google's Parent company, Alphabet Inc overtakes Apple as world’s most valuable company

     

    Google's Parent company, Alphabet Inc overtakes Apple as world’s most valuable company

    Google parent company, Alphabet Inc has overtaken Apple as the most valuable company in the world. For the first time, Alphabet Inc has disclosed the profitability of Google's search engine and its other online services, and details of amount it is spending on ambitious technology projects such as self-driving cars and loon project.

    Facts and figures

    Alphabet Inc has made a profit of USD 4.9 billion in the fourth quarter and was valued at 548 billion dollars thus stealing the crown from Silicon Valley rival Apple Inc. which was valued 534 billion dollars.

    Google Unit which is the core businesses of  Alphabet Inc is the largest contributor in the total revenue as Google reported revenues worth 74.5 billion dollars in 2015 and had made a profit of 23.4 billion dollars.

    Internet and related businesses such as search, ads, maps, YouTube and Android as well as hardware products such as its low-cost Chromebook laptops come under the Google Unit of Alphabet Inc.

    Gmail service has crossed one billion monthly active users last quarter, joining the rank of Search, Android, Maps, Chrome, YouTube and Google Play.

    Google's advertising revenue increased nearly 17 percent to USD 19.08 billion, while the number of ads, or paid clicks, rose 31 percent.  It would be interesting to know that 80 percent of YouTube views come from outside of the United States.

    In 2012, Apple overtook Exxon Mobil and became the most valuable company in the world and in 2015 Apple became the first company to reach a market value of USD 700 billion.

     Alphabet Inc.  Alphabet Inc. was established in 2015 as the parent company of Google. It encompass all other earlier subsidiaries and products of Google under its umbrella. Some of its subordinators include Google, Calico, GV, Google Capital, X, Google Fiber and Nest Labs.

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  • ‘Titli’ awarded by French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 

     

    ‘Titli’ awarded by French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Indian filmmaker Kanu Behl directorial “Titli” has bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016 (FSCC). This is the first time an Indian film has won this award.

    Titli stars Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi, Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial and Lalit Behl in the lead roles. It has been co-produced by Aditya Chopra under the banner of Yash Raj Films and Dibakar Banerjee Productions Pvt Ltd.

    It is a tale of a dysfunctional family and a young boy's struggle to escape his oppressive family. It had won many awards at various international film festivals at places like Bordeaux (France), Hawaii (US), New York (US), Turkey and Spain.

    French Syndicate of Cinema Critics (FSCC) awards : FSCC awards are annual awards which awards four prestigious prizes each year including Best French Film, Best International Film, Best First Foreign Film and Best Short Film. FSCC also organises International Critics Week which is the oldest parallel competitive section of the Cannes International Film Festival.

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  • Former Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar passes away  

     

    Former Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar passes away

    Former Lok Sabha Speaker and veteran Congress leader Balram Jakhar passed away  in New Delhi. He was 92. Jakhar served as Speaker of Lok Sabha from 1980 to 1989 during which he contributed to the establishment of Parliament Museum and computerization of Parliamentary works.

    Balram Jakhar
    Born on August 23, 1923 at Panjkosi village in Ferozepur district of Punjab, Jakhar graduated from a college in Lahore before the partition. He then took up the family profession of farming and introduced modem techniques that helped increase the yield.

    Jakhar was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1972 and was re-elected in 1977 becoming the Leader of the Opposition. He played pivotal role in the enrichment of Indian Parliamentary democracy during his long political journey.

    He was elected to the Lok Sabha four times and served as Central Agriculture minister in 1991with P. V. Narasimha Rao Ministry. He was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly for two terms in 1972 and 1977 and served as the  Leader of Opposition in the state.

    Mr Jakhar was the first Asian to be elected as Chairman of Commonwealth Parliamentarian Executive Forum. He also served as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh from 2004 to 2009.

    Awards and Honours  In 1975, Jakhar was conferred with 'All India Udyan Pandit' award by the President for his contribution to Horticulture.

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  • Former RBI Deputy Governor S S Tarapore passed away  

     

    Former RBI Deputy Governor S S Tarapore passed awayFormer deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a noted economist, S.S. Tarapore, passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was 80. Tarapore was well-regarded central banker who will always be remembered as a crusader in fight against inflation and his strong views on capital account convertibility.

    S.S. Tarapore 

    S.S. Tarapore started his career with RBI as a research officer in 1961 and demitted office as Deputy Governor in September 1996. He served RBI as it's Deputy Governor from 1992 to 1996 when C. Rangarajan was the governor. 

    Indian economy saw crucial structural changes at the time when he was serving RBI as it's Deputy Governor as economic reforms were introduced by the government in 1991.

    Based on the recommendations of the committee, Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) was replaced with Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in June 2000. 

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  • Major General Jai Shanker Menon appointed as UNDOF Head

     

    Major General Jai Shanker Menon appointed as UNDOF Head

    Major General Jai Shanker Menon from India has been appointed as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He will succeed  Lt Gen Purna Chandra Thapa of Nepal, who will complete his assignment on February 7, 2016. Maj Gen Menon brings with him extensive command experience and knowledge of peacekeeping affairs at the national and international levels.

    Major General Jai Shanker Menon 

    Prior to this appointment, Maj. Gen. Menon was Additional Director General Equipment Management in the Indian Army. From 2012 to 2013, he was General Officer, Commanding an Infantry Division.

    During his service with armed forces he has held command positions in the Indian Army, including Commandant of Regimental Training Centre, Brigade Commander and Battalion Commander. 

    He has also served at the international level, including in the United Nations as a Military Observer in the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) in 1993 and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from 2007 to 2009.

    He holds a Master of Management Studies degree from Osmania University in Hyderabad, a Master of Defence Studies degree from Madras University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jawahar Lal Nehru University.

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  • India, Brunei ink three crucial agreements

     

    India, Brunei ink three crucial agreements

    India and Brunei have inked three memorandums of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the areas of defence, health, and youth and sports affairs. The MoUs were signed between the representatives of both the countries in presence in the presence of Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari who is on his visit to Brunei. Brunei is the fourth largest producer of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world and among the largest gas exporters with 9 percent share of the export market.

    The MoUs signed are 

    MoU in Health Cooperation : The MoU aims at establishing cooperation  between the two countries in the field of health sector by sharing technical, scientific, financial and human resources and pharmaceutical regulatory practices. The MoU also aims at upgrading health care, research and medical education. 

    MoU on Defence Cooperation : By signing MoU on Defence Cooperation both the countries aims at expanding the scope of Defence Cooperation. It should be noted that Defence Cooperation between India and Brunei exist since long decades in the sectors of  naval ship visits, training of senior military officers in Staff colleges and exchange of experience. 

    MoU on Cooperation in Youth and Sports Affairs : The MoU aims to broaden the sports relationship between the two countries by providing a framework for exchanges of sports teams and sports persons. Under the MoU both the countries will also exchange  expertise in coaching, Sports Management and Administration, Sports talent identification and exchange of information in the field of youth Affairs.

    Diplomatic importance  The agreement signed betwwen the two countries is very crucial as it is a  major diplomatic breakthrough since both sides established formal relations in 1984. Currently the defence responsibilities of Brunei is handled by United Kingdom. Brunei has territorual disputes with China on the issue of South China Sea so the defence agreement between both countries has a broad meaning in terms of India's global relationship.

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  • Kerala emerges as winner of 61st National School Athletics championship

     

    Kerala emerges as winner of 61st National School Athletics championshipKerala has emerged as the overall winner of  61st National School Athletics championship that began on January 29 and concluded in Kozhikode on 2nd Feb. Kerala has won the championship for the 19th consecutive time. In this edition of the championship, Kerala has got 306 points winning 39 gold, 29 silver and 17 bronze medals. Tamil Nadu stood at second position with 116 points winning 11 gold, 8 silver and 13 bronze medals. Maharashtra with 101 points obtained the third position. 

    The 61st National Schools Athletics Championship 2016 (SGFI 2015-16) was organised by the School Games Federation of India at Kozhikode (Calicut). As many as 3,000 athletes representing 36 teams had taken part in the five-day meet.

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  • CSIR launches first ayurvedic anti-diabetic drug

     

    CSIR launches first ayurvedic anti-diabetic drugThe Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched the country's first anti-diabetic ayurvedic drug named BGR-34 for type two Diabetes mellitus. The drug has been developed jointly by National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), the Lucknow-based research units of CSIR.

    Scientists of NBRI and CIMAP made an in-depth study of over 500 renowned ancient herbs and finally identified the six best herbs listed in ayurvedic ancient texts to be combined in different fractions and quantities and processed meticulously to develop this new drug.

    For the purpose of quality commercial production and extended distribution, AIMIL Pharmaceuticals (I) Ltd, known for its innovative Ayurvedic products, has been transferred the rights and technical knowhow to produce and market it for medical use.The modern diabetes drugs are known for side-effects and toxicity but BGR-34 works by controlling blood sugar and limiting the harmful effects of other drugs. It inhibits DPP-4 and enhances insulin secretion. The product has passed several battery of tests and showed hypoglycemic activity in experimental subjects.

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  • DJ Pandian appointed AIIB Vice-President

     

    DJ Pandian appointed AIIB Vice-President

    Former chief secretary of Gujarat D J Pandian has been appointed vice-president and chief investment officer of the newly-created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Pandian is a retired Gujarat cadre IAS officer and has also worked on deputation with the World Bank in Washington. He was also the MD of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC).

     Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) 

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is Beijing-based USD 100 billion multi-lateral lender set up to boost lending for infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region. With authorised capital of USD 100 billion and subscribed capital of USD 50 billion, AIIB will invest in sectors such as energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare. China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders of AIIB, holding 30.34%, 8.52%, 6.66% stake respectively.  Their voting shares are 26.06%, 7.5% and 5.92% respectively.  China had nominated its former finance minister Jin as the first president of AIIB. 

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  • Devendra Fadnavis announces Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive Scheme

     

     Devendra Fadnavis announces Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive SchemeMaharashtra Cabinet has launched  Bharatratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive Scheme for the economically backward Dalit entrepreneurs. Under this scheme, special facilities would be given to Dalit entrepreneurs besides the present Collective Incentive Scheme 2013.

    20% plots of plots within Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) will be reserved for the Dalits which will be given to them at 30% concessional rate whereas plots in other areas will be available at 20% concessional rate. 

    Limitations of the scheme

    • Businessmen who are in Service and Commodities sector can only  avail the benefits of this scheme.
    • It will be limited for only those industries where people from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) have 100% investment. 
    • Only one person from each SC/ST family can avail the benefits under the scheme and there will be no cap on income to launch any business.

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Current Affairs 03 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Saroj Kumar Jha, IIT Kanpur alumnus appointed as Senior Director in World Bank

     

    Saroj Kumar Jha, IIT Kanpur alumnus appointed as Senior Director in World Bank

    Saroj Kumar Jha an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur  has been appointed the Senior Director for the Fragilit,Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank. He has been tasked by World Bank President Jim Young Kim to provide strategic leadership to address the challenge of fragility, conflict and violence, working across the Bank Group and in close collaboration with partners. 

    Saroj Kumar Jha

    Jha joined the World Bank in 2005 as a Senior Infrastructure Specialist in the Sustainable Development Network, where he worked with the Indian Government and the United Nation's Development Program (UNDP) in the field of public sector management, infrastructure financing, natural resources management, natural disaster prevention and environmental sustainability.

    Jha has also worked as the World Bank's Global Manager for Disaster Risk Management Practice and also leaded various international response efforts to many global catastrophic disasters. He supported transformative innovations in regional cooperation, water and energy security, social safety nets, inclusive governance and grievance redress mechanisms in various regions of the world.

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  • Veteran Urdu fiction writer Intizar Hussain passes away

     

    Veteran Urdu fiction writer Intizar Hussain passes away

    Noted Urdu fiction writer, novelist, columnist and poet Intizar Husain passed away in Lahore, Pakistan. He was 93. He was the first Pakistani and the first Urdu writer ever to be nominated for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction.

    He was born on December 7,1923 at Dibai in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. He had migrated to Lahore in 1947. He did his MA (Urdu) in 1946 from the Meerut College. He has worked as journalist with leading newspapers and had retired from ‘Daily Mashriq’ in 1988. 

    Books authored : Husain's books include 'Gali Koochay', 'Kankari', 'Din Aur Dastan', 'Shehr-i-afsos', 'Kachhuay', 'Khaimay Say Door', 'Khali Pinjra', 'Morenama' and 'Sheharzad Kay Naam'. 

    Awards and Honurs: He was conferred upon the ‘Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Ambassador to Pakistan Philppe Thiebaud in September 2014. He was also the first Pakistani and the first Urdu writer ever to be nominated for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction.

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  • Archana Ramasundram becomes the first woman chief of a paramilitary force

     

    Archana Ramasundram becomes the first woman chief of a paramilitary force

    Today Indian women are taking lead in every domains of public and private machinery. At the time when whole world is talking of gender equality the Government of India has appointed Senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundram (58) as the Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

    With this, Archana became the first woman police officer to lead a central police force that protects the country's international borders. She will hold the office till the date of her superannuation 30 September 2016. She is 1980-batch IPS officer of Tamil Nadu Cadre anmd prior to this appointment, she was the Director of New Delhi based National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

    About Sashastra Seema Bal 

    Sashastra Seema Bal or SSB is one of India's Central Armed Police Forces.  It was formerly known as the Special Service Bureau. Although it is  referred to as a paramilitary force, but it is not one of the three officially defined paramilitary forces of India. Three forces are Assam Rifles, Special Frontier Force and Indian Coast Guard. It is currently under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

    • Established : It was set up in early 20 December 1963, following the Sino-Indian WarMotto: Service, Security and Brotherhood. 
    • Headquarters: New Delhi. 
    • Specialist jurisdictions: National border patrol, security, and integrity. 

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  • RBI keeps key rates unchanged in 6th bi-monthly monetary policy review  

     

    RBI keeps key rates unchanged in 6th bi-monthly monetary policy review

    Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained status quo on key interest rates in its sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review. In-depth evaluation of current and evolving macroeconomic situation in the country was made by RBI based on which the interest rates were kept unchanged. However RBI  remained committed to an accommodative stance on rates.

    Key policy rates are

    Repo rate unchanged at 6.75 per cent.

    Reverse repo rate unchanged at 5.75 per cent. 

    Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 4 per cent.

    Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and Bank Rate at unchanged 7.75 per cent.

    Financial projections 

    RBI expects GDP growth of 7.6 per cent for FY17, 7.4 per cent with downward bias for FY1. It expects inflation to be around 5 per cent by March 2017. The inflation rate has evolved closely along the trajectory set by the monetary policy stance of RBI. It also shows that prospects for the rabi harvest are improving slowly.

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  • K Durga Prasad appointed as DG of CRPF

     

    K Durga Prasad appointed as DG of CRPF

    K Durga Prasad has been appointed as the Special Director General (DG) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Decision in this regard was taken by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will hold the office for next three years or till further orders are given. 

    Prasad, an IPS officer of 1981 batch from Andhra Pradesh cadre. Earlier, Prasad has served as the director of the Special Protection Group (SPG). SPG  is nodal agency responsible for providing security to the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their family members.

    In another decision, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has  appointed senior IPS officer K K Sharma as new Director General of Border Security Force (BSF). Prior to this appointment he was serving as Additional Director General (ADG) of BSF.

    Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 

    CRPF is the largest Central Armed Police Forces in India. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). It was established on  27 July 1939  as the Crown Representative's Police but after independence it was made statutory Central Reserve Police Force after the enactment of the CRPF Act, 1949.

    Currently CRPF is the world’s largest paramilitary force with 228 battalions and over three lakh personnel.The main role of CRPF is to assist States/Union Territories (UTs) in  police operations to maintain law and order and counter-insurgency.

    At present CRPF is the world’s largest paramilitary force with 228 battalions and over three lakh personnel. Its function primary role is to assist States/Union Territories (UTs) in police operations to maintain law and order and contain insurgency duties. The role of CRPF in the General Elections, held repeatedly during the past few years, has been very significant and vital.

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  • Japan to set up plant for US-2 amphibious aircraft in India

     

    Japan to set up plant for US-2 amphibious aircraft in India

    Japan's ShinMaywa Industries, the manufacturer of US-2 amphibious aircraft is  planning to set up manufacturing plant of US-2 amphibious aircraft in India under ‘Make in India’ initiative to cater to international demands. The move comes as the Indian Navy plans to procure six such aircraft, under a government to government deal, between 2017 and 2022. Six are proposed to be bought in the next phase. 

    About the deal

    The deal when inked will have a 30 per cent offset clause. Under this offset clause, ShinMaywa will set up a manufacturing plant in India to cater the global market 

    since the demand for the aircraft is high . If the deal goes through, it would be the first major export of Japanese defence item after it lifted decades-long self-imposed embargo on export of weapons and India will be it's first importer.

    US-2 amphibious aircraft  It has long-range civilian and military application.It can land on choppy waters.Indian Navy is seeking to purchase it for monitoring India's vast coastline, islands and use it for disaster relief.

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  • Surajkund International Crafts Mela begin in Faridabad

     

    Surajkund International Crafts Mela begin in FaridabadThe 30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela, has begun at Faridabad in Haryana. The Mela was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Telangana will be the theme State, this year which will showcase its unique culture and rich heritage and about 300 artistes from the state will perform different folk arts. At least 23 countries will be part of the Mela, with China and Japan being the two focus countries.

    Surajkund International Crafts Mela

    The Mela is organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.

    The Surajkund Crafts Mela was hosted for the first time in 1987. It showcases some of the most exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of India and culture.

     At least 23 countries are taking part in this edition of Mela and shall host performances by international folk artistes from Japan, Egypt, Congo, Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

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  • World Wetland Day celebrated  across the world

     

    World Wetland Day celebrated  across the world

    Every year World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February because this day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands also called as Ramsar Convention on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have acted to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention.

    What is wetland ?

    A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such a way that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. wetlands  are vital environments for their unique plant and animal life.

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  • India, Afghanistan ink pact for visa-free travel by envoys

     

    India, Afghanistan ink pact for visa-free travel by envoys

    India and Afghanistan have inked a pact for visa-free travel by their diplomats. The agreement was signed following meeting between fghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah's and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi during which they discussed key bilateral and regional issues including security cooperation.

    Abdullah also thanked Indian Govt. for consistent assistance from India in various spheres including defence and infrastructure development. India had given three multi-role Mi-35 helicopters to Afghanistan in December for combating terrorism in the war-torn country. The Afghan leader's visit comes nearly a month after Modi's trip to Kabul during which he inaugurated the new Afghan Parliament building, constructed with India's aid.

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Current Affairs 01 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Former Army Chief General K V Krishna Rao Passes Away

     

    Former Army Chief General K V Krishna Rao Passes AwayThe former Army chief General K.V. Krishna Rao, who was also the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir for two terms when militancy was at it's peak in the state, passed away in New Delhi following a cardiac arrest at the military hospital. He was 92. Rao was the 14th Chief of the Army Staff of Indian Army and had an illustrious career spanning over four decades in the forces. He had played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

    K V Krishna Rao 

    K.V. Krishna Rao born on July 16, 1923, was commissioned into the Indian Army on  August 9, 1942 and served the forces for career spanning over four decades. As a young Officer, he served in Burma, North West Frontier and Baluchistan during the World War II.

    He also participated in the first war against Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, 1947-48. He was a founder Instructor of the Pune based National Defence Academy (NDA) during 1949-51.

    He was expert in dealing with militancy and he proved it when he served as the  Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (1989-1990 and 1993-1998), Nagaland (1984 to 1989), Manipur (1984 to 1989) and Tripura (May to July 1989) by curbing militancy in these states.

    Awards and honours : For displaying outstanding leadership, determination, courage and drive during Jammu and Kashmir war he was awarded Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM)

     

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  • Germany's Angelique Kerber wins 2016 Australian Open Title

     

    Germany's Angelique Kerber wins 2016 Australian Open Title

    German-Polish professional tennis player Angelique Kerber has won the 2016 Australian Open Title in the women’s singles category by defeating world number one Serena Williams in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 score during the final match palyed at Melbourne, Australia. 

    It was her maiden Grand Slam Tennis title. With this victory Kerber became the first German women tennis player to win a major Grand Slam Tennis title since Steffi Graf in 1999. Serena Williams, 34, was beaten for just the fifth time in 26 Grand Slam finals of her career thus missed the chance to tie Graf's open-era record of 22 titles.

    Angelique Kerber 

    Angelique Kerber born on 18 January 1988, in Bremen (Germany), to her Polish father Slawomir Kerber and German mother Beata, made her professional debut in 2003, and rose to prominence after she reached the semi-finals of the 2011 US Open, at which time she was ranked no. 92 in the world.

    Currently she is ranked at a world ranking of world no. 2 which she achieved on 1st February 2016 after winning 2016 Australian Open Title. Kerber is the highest-ranked German.

    Winner in men's doubles category

    Men’s Doubles pair of Jamie Murray from UK and Bruno Soares from Brazil have won the 2016 Australian Open in the men’s doubles category by defeating the Men’s Doubles pair of Daniel Nestor (Canada) and Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) with a score of 2–6, 6–4, 7–5.

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  • Wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi awarded V Shantaram Life Time Acheivement Award at MIFF

     

    Wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi awarded V Shantaram Life Time Acheivement Award at MIFF

    Noted wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi  has been honoured with the V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award at 14th edition of 2016 Mumbai International Festival (MIFF), Mumbai. 

    Bedi has been hoonoured with the award in recognization of  his outstanding contribution to wildlife filmmaking and is known for filming several rare wildlife moments. His film ‘Cherub of the Mist’ about the life of two red pandas was the opening film of the festival.

    Naresh Bedi 

    Naresh Bedi is the  eldest of the Bedi Brothers who are renowned as the best Wildlife photographers and filmmakers of the country since three generations. He is a graduate of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Bedi has made films which have been shown on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC, Channel 4, and so on.  He has authored around 74 books on wildlife photography. 

    Awards and honours

    He is the first Asian to receive a Wildscreen Panda Award and also the first Indian to receive a nomination for the British Academy Film Awards. He has also been awarded with Padma Shri in 2015, which is fourth highest civilian award of India.

    V Shantaram Life Time Acheivement Award

    The Lifetime Achievement Award, comprises of  a trophy, shawl and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh. It was instituted in memory of legendary film maker V Shantaram, who was head of the Films Division in the past. 

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  • Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba Takes Over Western Naval Command

     

    Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba Takes Over Western Naval Command

    Senior naval officer Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba took over as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of Mumbai headquartered Western Naval Command (WNC) on 31 January 2016,  at a ceremonial parade held at INS Shikra.

    He took the charge from Vice Admiral SPS Cheema who retired after completing nearly four decades of service to the Indian Navy. Later in the day, officers of the Western Naval Command accorded Vice Admiral Cheema a warm send off, with the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony. 

    Prior to this appointment, Mr. Lanba was Commander-in-chief of the Southern Naval Command at Kochi and head of the premier operational Command of the Indian Navy.

    Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba 

    • Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba is an alumnus of the National Defense Academy (NDA), Defense Services Staff College, Royal College of Defense Studies and also has a PG in Defense and Management studies. 
    • He is specialist in Navigation and Direction and holds a experience of Naval career spanning more than three decades.He has served as Navigating Officer of INS Sindhudurg (Corvette) and INS Dunagiri (Frigate).
    • During his illustrious service he commanded four frontline warships namely, INS Kakinada (Minesweeper), INS Himgiri (Frigate), INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai (Destroyers).

    Important Assignments He has been Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet and Chief of Staff, Southern and Eastern Naval Commands. He has also been the Flag Officer Sea Training, Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area, Commandant, National Defence College and Vice Chief of Naval Staff.  He was Commander-in-chief of the Southern Naval Command at Kochi, prior to being appointed to head the premier operational Command of the Indian Navy. 

    Awards and Honours   Vice Admiral Lanba is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Athi Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service of an exceptionally high order. 

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  • Novak Djokovic wins 2016 Australian Open Men’s Singles Title

     

    Novak Djokovic wins 2016 Australian Open Men’s Singles Title

    World No.1, tennis player Novak Djokovic from Serbia has won 2016 Australian Open Title in the men’s singles category by defeating Andy Murray of Britain in the final match played at Melbourne, Australia in 7 straight sets by a score of  6-1, 7-5, 7-6. It should be noted that with this victory, Djokovic has equalled Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Open Singles titles.

    Djokovic has earlier won this title in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. It was his overall 11th grand slam title with which he equalled the the overall records of  tennis legends like Rod Laver (Australia) and Bjorn Borg (Sweden). This was overall fifth loss in Australian Open finals for Andy Murray in which he had been defeated four times by Novak Djokovic.

    Winners of mixed doubles title 

    Elena Vesnina from Russia and Bruno Soares from Brazil have won Australian Open title in the mixed doubles category by defeating the mixed pair of Coco Vandeweghe from US and  Horia Tecau from Romania with a score of 6–4, 4–6, [10–5].

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  • Ottappalam to have India’s first defence industrial park

     

    Ottappalam to have India’s first defence industrial park

    The Union government’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has given it's final approval to the proposal from the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) to  set up the country’s first defence industrial park at Ottappalam.

    The proposed park, will be established as part of the Make in India, Make in Kerala project. It will  have modern common infrastructure facilities aimed at attracting component manufacturers in the defence industry. The Union government has agreed to bring it under the Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (MIIUS).

    Ottappalam was selected for the defence park keeping in view its strategic location as far as connectivity was concerned. Apart from common facilities such as dedicated power and water supply, the park will have a research and development centre.

    Financial budget  The park would be established in 60 acres of land and the total expenditure for the defence park is estimated at Rs.231.25 crore. Kinfra will invest Rs.181.35 crore, while the rest of the amount is being expected as grant from the Union government.

    Economic importance The defence components manufacturing sector has demand estimated at USD 700 million a year from India and other countries having friendly relationship with it. In India, there is a 15 per cent gap between demand and supply. This defence park will play important role bridging the gap and at the same time it will provide opportunity in defence-related export of products from small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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  • Syed Modi International Championships: Ace Indian shuttler Shrikanth wins Men's Singles title

     

    Syed Modi International Championships: Ace Indian shuttler Shrikanth wins Men's Singles title

    Ace Indian shuttler K. Srikanth has clinched the Men's Singles title of the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championships by defeating Huang Yuxiang of China with a score of  21-13, 21-14 and 21-14, in the final match palayed at Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).

    Winners in other categories 

    Women’s single Title : Sayaka Sato from Japan has won 2016 Syed Modi International Grand prix Gold Championship Title in women’s singles category by defeating  Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea by a score of 12-21, 21-18, 21-18

    Women’s Doubles Title  : South Korean pair of Jung Kyung-eun and Shin Seung-chan have won the women’s doubles title by defeating Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek from Netherlands by a score of 14-21, 24-22, 21-8.

    Mixed Doubles Title : Indonesian pair Praveen Jordan and Deby Susanto have the Mixed Doubles Title defeating Thai pair Puavaranukroh Dechapol and Sapisree Tairattanchai with a score of  21-15 and 21-13.

    Men’s Doubles Title  : Malaysian pair of Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong  won the Men’s Doubles Title  by defeating Indian pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar by a score of 14-21, 24-22, 21-8.

    Syed Modi International India Open Grand Prix championship

    The Syed Modi International Badminton Championships is an international badminton tournament, which is held annually in India. The  championship has been named after a famous Indian badminton player Syed Modi who is an eight-time National Badminton champion. The tournament is held annually in Lucknow as tribute to the badminton legend.

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  • Pietro Fittipaldi wins 2015 MRF Challenge Formula 2000

     

    Pietro Fittipaldi wins 2015 MRF Challenge Formula 2000Brazilian racing driver Pietro Fittipaldi clinched the 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 at Madras Motor Racing Track in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu by winning 2/4 races which earned him the required points to clinch the title with a tally of 244 points among other contestants.

    Other Winners

    Second position : Tatiana Calderon from Colombia finished 2nd with total 199 points

    Third Position : Nikita Troitckii from Russia was placed at 3rd position with total 191.

    2015 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 Championship

    It was fourth running of the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 Championship. It was started on  31 October 2015 at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi. The series comprised 14 races, spread across four meetings. The event concluded  on 31 January 2016 at the Madras Motor Racing Track, India.

     

  •  
  • Veteran broadcaster Terry Wogan dies of cancer

     

    Veteran broadcaster Terry Wogan dies of cancer

    Veteran BBC broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan passed away in London after long battle with cancer. He was 77. Wogan was a leading media personality in the UK on both radio and television for several decades and was often referred to as a "national treasure". He was granted a British knighthood in 2005.

    Terry Wogan

    Terry Wogan was born as Michael Terence Wogan on 3 August 1938 in Limerick City, Ireland. Initially he worked as a banker than switched his career and joined Ireland's national Radio Eireann as a newsreader and announcer. Later he moved into light entertainment, as a DJ and host of TV quiz and variety shows in Ireland. Later he joined BBC where stayed for the rest of his career.

    He presented the breakfast show from 1972 to 1984, as The Terry Wogan Show, and then from 1993 to 2009 as Wake Up To Wogan which had eight million regular listeners, making him the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe.Apart from weekly radio show's, he was also known for his work for television, including the BBC One chat show Wogan, game show Blankety Blank and Come Dancing and BBC commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest from 1971 to 2008.

    Awards and honours : British knighthood (Knight Commander of the British Empire) in 2005 and Officer of British Empire (OBE) in 1997

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Current Affairs 30 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey becomes the new Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities 

     

    Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey becomes the new Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

    The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the appointment of  Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey as the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) for a period of three years.

    Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey 

    Education : Dr. Pandey is a Science Graduate from University of Allahabad and Medical Graduate from Agra University in 1990. 

    Prior to his appointment Dr. Pandey was associated with Saksham, an NGO working in the field of disability. He has also been associated with Sewa Bharti, an NGO working in rehabilitation of slum dwellers, Akhil Bhartiya Dristihin Kalyan Sangh, an NGO working for visually challenged persons.Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) 

    The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) is appointed by the Central Government from persons having special knowledge or practical experience in matters relating to rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities. 

    Functions :  The CCPD coordinates with State Governments’ and UT Commissioners and monitor the utilization of funds disbursed by the Central Government,takes steps to safeguard the rights and facilities made available to persons with disabilities and submit reports to the Central Government on the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995.

    Constitutional Provision

    • Office of CCPD is statutory government agency that works under Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which is currently being headed by Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot. 
    • This has been set up under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) (PWD) Act, 1995. The Chief Commissioner is vested with the power of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP).
  •  
  • Nisid Hajari wins 2016 Colby Award for Best Military Book

     

    Nisid Hajari wins 2016 Colby Award for Best Military Book"Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition" authored by Indian Author and foreign affairs expert Nisid Hajari has won the prestigious 2016 William E. Colby Award. The book covers the 1947 partition of India and the violence that surrounded that event. Nisid Hajari is a noted Indian writer who oversees Asia coverage for Bloomberg View and the editorial page of Bloomberg News.

    Nisid Hajari 

    Nisid Hajari is famous Indian writer who is currently overseeing editorial page of Bloomberg News’ Asia coverage for Bloomberg View. He writes editorials on Asian politics and economics and edits Bloomberg’s opinion columns and commentary from the region.

    Prior to working at Bloomberg, Hajari spent 10 years as a top editor at Newsweek International and Newsweek magazine in New York, during which the magazine won over 50 awards for its international coverage

    Hajari also helped to create TIME’s first Asian edition in Hong Kong, winning two General Excellence Awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia. He has also appeared as a commentator on foreign affairs for CNN, BBC, and National Public Radio

    He also had appeared as a commentator on foreign affairs for international news channels like BBC, CNN and National Public Radio. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He currently lives in Singapore.

    William E. Colby Award 

    William E. Colby Award is prestigious award which given by the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium Norwich University since 1999. It  is bestowed upon first-time author in recognition of a work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs.The award carries US 5000 dollars in the form of author honorarium provided through a grant from the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation.

  •  
  • Morton Mower and Michael Marmot wins 2015 Prince Mahidol Award

     

    Morton Mower and Michael Marmot wins 2015 Prince Mahidol Award

    Morton Mower a American cardiologist and Sir Michael Marmot a British epidemiologist have won the 24th Prince Mahidol Award this year for their outstanding achievements in the sector of international healthcare. The award was bestowed upon the by the king of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej at a ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand. 

    Morton Mower : Dr. Morton M. Mower is an American cardiologist. He has won the prestigious Prince Mahidol Award in medicine category for co-inventing Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD). The AICD is an  implantable defibrillator that serves as a substitute to portable defibrillators for patients with chronic cardiac problems. It monitor heart rate and it's rhythm and delivers electrical current when abnormality is detected. 

    Sir Michael Marmot : Sir Michael Gideon Marmot is a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. He has won the award for his distinct contribution toward public health. He has developed the concept of evidence-based evaluation of the role of Social Determinants of Health. His concept has been adopted by the British government and World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate health issues.

    Prince Mahidol Award 

    • The Prince Mahidol Award is an annual award of Thai Royal Family bestowed upon individual or organization  for outstanding achievements in medicine and public health worldwide. 
    • The award was founded by King Rama IX Bhumibol Adulyadej on 1 January 1992 on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of his father, Prince Mahidol.
    • The award is given annually in two categories to international personalities or organizations: (i) For outstanding progress in medicine (ii) For the active promotion of public health. It consists of a medal, a certificate and prize money of US 100,000 dollars.
  •  
  • Lieutenant Governors of Puducherry AK Singh launches MITRA app

     

    Lieutenant Governors of Puducherry AK Singh launches MITRA app

    Lt Governor of Puducherry Ajay Kumar Singh has launched the MITRA mobile application to ensure protection of women, children and the elderly in time of distress, providing them the facility to contact police for immediate help. MITRA (Mobile Initiated Tracking and Rescue) application has been developed by Puducherry Police department in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC). 

    MITRA (Mobile Initiated Tracking and Rescue)

    MITRA is a smartphone based application that helps women, children and the elderly to send emergency SOS when they are in some or distress. At the time of need the application gets launched automatically and sends SMS which includes the precise location of the person to the nearest police station and to their 3 registered numbers. It does not need internet connection so it can be accessed offline.

  •  
  • Nitish Kumar selected for K Veeramani Social Justice Award

     

    Nitish Kumar selected for K Veeramani Social Justice Award

    Nitish Kumar has been chosen for the K Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2015 for his contribution towards social justice as Chief Minister. It should be noted that Nitish Kumar is known for strengthening weaker and marginalised sections of the society and uplifting womens of the state. The award has been bestowed upon him by Periyar International, a Chicago-based voluntary organisation.

    K Veeramani Social Justice Award 

    K Veeramani Social Justice Award instituted by US-based Periyar International is a voluntary organisation of  the followers of Dalit icon Periyar EV Ramasami.  

    The award has been named after K. Veeramani who has opposed to the caste system throughout his life and dedicated to the welfare of socially disadvantaged.

    The award carries a plaque and cash of 1 lakh rupees. Previous recipients are late Prime Minister VP Singh, Sitaram Kesri, M Karunanidhi and Mayawati.

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  • Gurdeep Singh appointed as CMD of NTPC

     

    Gurdeep Singh appointed as CMD of NTPC

    The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the appointment of  Gurdeep Singh, managing director of Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSEC) as the chairman and managing director of central PSU National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

    More than 100 candidates were in the list for the appointment to the top post but observing his instrumental role in turnaround of GSEC, PM Modi himself picked up Gurdeep Singh to realise hid dream of electrifying all villages.

    About Gurdeep Singh  Gurdeep Singh who is currently working as the  managing director of Gujarat State Electricity Company Limited (GESC), started his career in NTPC in 1987. He has also been associated with Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, Powergen and IDFC Projects in different capacities. During his tenure at GESC, Singh spearheaded several key reforms in Gujarat. He was the brain behind innovative solar power programmes such as the solar power plant over the Sardar Sarovar canal.

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  • Sania Mirza, Martina Hingis win 2016 Australian Open title 

     

    Sania Mirza, Martina Hingis win 2016 Australian Open title

    Indo-swiss pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis have won the 2016 Australian Open title of tennis in the women’s doubles category. In the final match that was palyed at Melbourne (Australia) the top seeded duo defeated seventh seeded pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka with a score of  7-6 (1), 6-3.

    This is the third successive Grand Slam doubles title victory for Sania and Martina and their maiden Australian Open title as a pair. The other two Grand Slam doubles title they have won are Wimbledon and US Open title in 2015. Since they have teamed in 2012 it was their 12th title together. The pair had won 36th match together in a row.

    11 WTA doubles titles of Indo-Swiss pair : Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston, Wimbledon, US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and the WTA Finals in 2015 and followed by Brisbane (2016) and Sydney (2016).

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  • Leslie Berland appointed as CMO of Twitter Inc

     

    Leslie Berland appointed as CMO of Twitter IncAmerican Express Co executive Leslie Berland has been appointed as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of  Micro blogging site Twitter. Prior to this Berland has been with American Express since 2005, where she was leading a global team responsible for creating marketplace demand through advertising, sponsorships, media, content and brand identity. She boosted the growth of AmEx’s through her innovative social media strategies. Berland’s team recently launched Amex Express Checkout, a first-ever payment solution that redefines the online checkout process for consumers and merchant partners.

    About Twitter : Twitter is an online social networking platform where users can send and read short 140-character messages which are called "tweets". Twitter Inc. is based in San Francisco and has more than 25 offices around the world. Currently Twitter has more than 500 million users.

    American Express : American Express also known as Amex,  is an American multinational financial services corporation. It is best known for its credit card, charge card, and traveler's cheque businesses. Amex is one of the top 20 Most Admired Companies in the World.

  •  
  • Justice Sanjay Mishra appointed as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh

     

    Justice Sanjay Mishra appointed as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh

    Earlier in December 2015, Supreme Court had appointed Justice Virendra Singh as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh by using its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution but  the appointment triggered a row when news reports surfaced that the State government had included Justice Singh’s name in the list of five shown to the apex court despite objections raised by High Court Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud about Justice Singh’s integrity.

    Now Heeding the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court’s objections, the Supreme Court recalled its order appointing Justice (retired) Virendra Singh as Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and appointed Justice Sanjay Mishra as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.

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Current Affairs 29 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Bill Gates is Once Again the Richest Person in the World

     

    Bill Gates is Once Again the Richest Person in the WorldMicrosoft co-founder and philantropist, Bill Gates, who is one of the richest people in human history, has once again claimed the top spot in the recently released list of the world’s wealthiest 50 people. Currently Bill Gates has a net worth of USD 87.4 billion.

    The list has been prepared as per the data provided to Business Insider by Wealth-X, a wealth-tracking website which builts a database of more than 110,000 ultra-high-net-worth people.

    For the ranking the company used proprietary valuation model that takes into account each person’s assets, then adjusts estimated net worth to account for currency-exchange rates, local taxes, savings rates, investment performance, and other factors.

    The 10 Richest People in the World
    Name  Net worth   Source
    Bill Gates USD 87.4 billion Microsoft
    Amancio Ortega USD 66.8 Billion Inditex fashion group
    Warren Buffett USD 60.7 Billion Berkshire Hathaway
    Jeff Bezos USD 56.6 Billion Amazon
    David Koch USD 47.4 Billion Koch Industries
    Charles Koch USD 46.8 Billion Koch Industries
    Larry Ellison USD 45.3 Billion Oracle Corporation
    Mark Zuckerberg USD 42.8 Billion Facebook
    Michael Bloomberg USD 42.1 Billion Bloomberg L.P.
    Ingvar Kamprad USD 39.3 Billion IKEA

     

  •  
  • India and Armenia Sign Protocol amending the India-Armenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention

     

    India and Armenia Sign Protocol amending the India-Armenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention

    India and Armenia have  signed a protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between the two countries. The Amending Protocol was signed by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman AK Jain and Ambassador of Armenia to India Armen Martirosyan.

    Features of the protocol 

    The Protocol amends the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between India and Armenia that has been in existence since 9th September, 2004.

    The Protocol amends the Article on Exchange of Information for tax purposes to bring it in line with the updated provisions in the OECD Model.

    Advantages of the protocol The Protocol will enable the two countries to exchange information related to financial and banking transactions under the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, and thereby facilitate them in addressing tax evasion. It is also expected to further strengthen the efforts of Government of India in curbing generation of black money. 

  •  
  • Akash missile successfully test-fired from Chandipur, Odhisa

     

    Akash missile successfully test-fired from Chandipur, Odhisa

    Indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile was test fired from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, Odhisa as part of the user trial by the air force aiming at para-barrel targets.

    Akash Missile

    Akash which means sky in english is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air anti—aircraft defence system with a strike range of 25 km and can carry a warhead of 60 kg.

    It has the capability to target aircraft up to 30 km away and is packed with a battery that can track and attack several targets simultaneously.

    Akash’ has been Indigenously  developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

    It has the capability to "neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles" as well as ballistic missiles. The missile is in operational service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.

  •  
  • Union government releases list of 20 smart cities

     

    Union government releases list of 20 smart cities

    The Union government has announced the names of the first 20 urban areas that will be developed as smart cities.The investment of Rs 50,802 crores has been proposed in selected smart cities and towns during the five-year period.

    The urban development ministry received proposals for 97 cities from state governments out of which 20 have been chosen for their development as smart cities.The list includes five capital cities.

    The selected cities will be equipped with basic infrastructure, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity and e-governance mechanisms. In future 40 cities will be chosen for their development as smar cities.

    20 smart cities are  Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan),  Surat (Gujarat), Kochi (Kerala), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Vishakapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Sholapur(Maharashtra), Davangere (Karnataka), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), NDMC (New Delhi), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Belagavi (Karnataka), Udaipur (Rajasthan), Guwahati (Assam), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ludhiana (Punjab), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).

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  • Union Cabinet approves raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions

     

    Union Cabinet approves raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions

    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the raising of 17 India Reserve Battalions (IR Bns) in Jammu & Kashmir and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected States. It includes 5 IR Bns in the state of J&K, 4 IR Bns in Chhattisgarh, 3 IR Bns in Jharkhand, 3 IR Bns in Odisha and 2 IR Bns in Maharashtra.

    Facts to know 

    (1) Local youths will be recruited. To achieve this, the States will relax the age and educational criteria, if required. 

    (2) In respect of the 5 IR Bns to be raised in J&K, 60 percent of the vacancies will be filled from the border districts of J&K for the posts of constables and class IV. 

    (3) For LWE states, 75 percent of the vacancies of constables will be filled up from 27 core districts under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme. 

    Background 

    The Government of India introduced the scheme of Indian Reserve Battalions in 1971 with an aim to boost the efforts of the states to deal with the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) i.e. naxalite problem effectively . The Government of India has so far, sanctioned 153 IR Bns to various States, out of which 144 IR Bns have been raised and one IR Bn in Jharkhand has been converted into Specialized Indian Reserve Battalion (SIRB) having two engineering companies and five security companies. 

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  • Heena Sidhu wins Olympic quota

     

    Heena Sidhu wins Olympic quota

    Ace Indian shooter, Heena Sidhu  secured an Olympic quota for the country after she won gold medal in women's 10-m air pistol on day one of competition at the Asia Olympic Qualifiers held at  Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, New Delhi.

    Heena shot 199.4 in the eight-women finals and thus defeated  Chinese Taipei's Tien Chia Chen (198.1) and Gim Yun Mi (177.9) of Korea. This was India's ninth quota from shooting for the upcoming Olympic Games.

    About Heena Sidhu :

    Heena Sidhu was born on 29 August 1989, in Ludhiana but brought up in Patiala. She was inspired by her uncle Inderjit Sidhu who is professional Gun-Smith and a Guns customizer and even her father is a National shooter who supported her in pursuing her dream.

    She became the first Indian Pistol shooter to be Ranked World No.1 by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). She is also the first Indian Pistol shooter to have won a Gold medal in the 2013 ISSF World Cup Finals -Pistol in 10 metre Air Pistol event.

    She is also the first Indian shooter who has appeared on the ISSF magazine's cover page for the first time ever since the National Rifle Association of India was formed on 17 Apr 1951.

  •  
  • CERT-In signs cyber security agreements with 3 nations

     

    CERT-In signs cyber security agreements with 3 nations

    Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) which comes under Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has  signed cybersecurity agreement with its counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan to boost cyber security.

    Objective of  the MoU : The MoU signed aims to promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents between India and the three countries.

    MoU with Malaysia : The MoU between CERT-In and CyberSecurity, Malaysia, was signed on November 23, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur during Mr.Modi's visit to Malaysia

    MoU with Singapore : The MoU between CERT-In and Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT), Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of the Republic of Singapore was signed on November 24, 2015 during the Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore.

    MoU with Japan : The agreement between CERT-In and Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (JPCERT/CC) was signed on December 7, 2015 through diplomatic exchange

    Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) 

    CERT-In is the nodal agency responsible for dealing with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It comes under Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

    • Headquarters: New Delhi, India
    • Current Director General : Dr. Gulshan Rai 
  •  

Current Affairs 28 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Toyota Remains World's Top-Selling Carmaker with 10.5M Vehicles Sold In 2015

     

    Toyota Remains World's Top-Selling Carmaker with 10.5M Vehicles Sold In 2015Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Corp. has topped the global auto industry, with 10.5 million sales in 2015, beating Volkswagen and General Motors. With this it kept the title of world's biggest automaker for the fourth straight year.

    German automaker Volkswagen which has dented it's image by a pollution-cheating scandal, has ranked second in global vehicle sales list by selling 9.93 million vehicles worldwide, while Detroit-based General Motors (GM) ranks third in the list by selling 9.8 million vehicles worldwide.

    It should be noted that in 2008, Toyota broked the General Motors (GM) 7 decades of long reign as the world’s top automaker but in 2011 it lost it's top position due to devastating earthquake-tsunami disaster that disrupted it production facility but it restored itself and in 2012 it once again overtook GM and since then it has remained on top position.

    Toyota Motor Corporation 

    It is a Japanese automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. It has more than 3.5 lakhs employees worldwide and is the eleventh-largest company in the world by revenue. Toyota is the world's first automobile manufacturer to produce more than 10 million vehicles per year.

     

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  • Australia honours 3 PIOs with it's highest civilian award

     

    Australia honours 3 PIOs with it's highest civilian award

    Three persons of Indian-origin (PIO) have been honoured with Medal of the Order of Australia, 2016 which is Australia’s highest civilian honour. They have been honoured for their contribution in the fields of physics, engineering and medicine. The award was annonuced on the eve of Australia Day which is celebrated on 26th January.

    The awardees are 

    Chennupati Jagadish:  An eminent professor at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra

    Jay Chandra: An eye doctor in New South Wales

    Sajeev Koshy:  A dentist in Melbourne

    Contribution in the field of science 

    • Chennupati Jagadish : He has been honoured for his eminent service to physics and engineering, particularly in the field of nanotechnology. He had played exemplary role as leading academic, researcher, author and mentor.  He is an eminent professor at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He works on semiconductor optoelectronics and nanotechnology.
    • Jay Chandra : He is an eye doctor who has been the head of vitreo-retinal surgery at the Westmead Hospital since the unit opened in 1985. He has been awarded for his significant service to medicine in the field of ophthalmology as a clinician, and to the international community through eye care programs.
    • Sajeev Koshy : He is a dentist in Melbourne and has been conferred with the award for his service to dentistry in the State.

    About Medal of the Order of Australia 

    The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry which  recognises Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. It was established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia.

  •  
  • Cognizant acquires KBACE Technologies

     

    Cognizant acquires KBACE Technologies

    US-based software services exporter Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) has acquired KBACE Technologies, a global consulting and technology services company for an undisclosed amount.

    It should be noted that over the past 5 years, Cognizant has made significant acquisitions to diversify into newer geographies and businesses. One of the most important acquisition was that of healthcare IT firm TriZetto for USD 2.7 billion which is one of the largest deals in the history of global technology services 

    Cognizant, which has a large majority of its 219,000 employees in India will strengthen and expand its digital capabilities from its critical business applications to cloud-based IT infrastructures. Moreover about 400 consultants and other business functions from KBACE would come under Cognizant as part of the deal .

    Cognizant Technologies 

    Cognizant is US-based software services exporter. It is headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, United States. Over two thirds of its employees are based in India.In 2015, the Fortune magazine named it as the world's fourth most admired IT services company

    KBACE Technologies 

    KBACE Technologies which is a leading Oracle Cloud partner that specializes in cloud strategy is headquartered in New Hampshire. It has a huge customer base of its Oracle Cloud implementation services.

  •  
  • India overtakes Thailand as world's largest rice exporter

     

    India overtakes Thailand as world's largest rice exporter

    India has overtaken Thailand as the worlds largest rice exporter in the year 2015 by exporting 10.23 million tonnes of rice. The announcement in this regard was made by Bangkok based Thai Rice Exporters Association Chairman Charoen Laodhammatas.

    Other top rice exporters 

    Thailand : Thailand which has a strong tradition of rice production has been ranked second on the list of the world’s largest rice exporting countries because it has exported 9.8 million tonnes of rice in year 2015 compared to 10.9 million tonnes in year 2014.

    Vietnam : It was ranked third largest rice exporter with 6.4 million tonnes. 

    China : It has remained the number one importer country of rice in the year 2015.

  •  
  • Rajasthan Government signs MoU to join UDAY scheme

     

    Rajasthan has become the third state to sign a memorandum of understanding for joining the central government’s state electricity distribution utility revival scheme "UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana)".

    MoU in this regard was  signed between the central government, Rajasthan government and the three electricity distribution utilities in Rajasthan – Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (JVNL), Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (JVVNL) and Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (AVNL).

     

    How will it benifit Rajasthan ?

    Currently power discoms in Rajasthan have a total debt of 80,500 crore rupees which is 18.7 per cent of the country’s total discom debt of 4.3 lakh crore rupees but joining UDAY scheme will benifit  Rajasthan by the following ways :-

    • Rajasthan government will take over 75 percent of the total debt that is Rs.60500 crore would be taken over by the State government and the remaining Rs. 20,000 crore will be issued as state guaranteed DISCOM bonds at coupon rates of around 3 per cent lower than the average existing interest rate. 
    • Due to this distribution utilities of Rajasthan will save around Rs. 3,000 crore annually through reduction in annual interest cost and moreover by increasing the operational efficiency and ensuring AT&C losses, an additional revenue of Rs.7,300 crore is expected to come to the DISCOMs till fiscal 2018-19

    Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna (UDAY) 

    • UDAY Scheme launched by Union Ministry of Power aims at making DISCOMs financially and operationally healthy, to be able to supply adequate power at affordable rates, and enable the Governments to make efforts towards 100 per cent Village electrification and 24X7 Power For All.
    • UDAY scheme power distribution companies (discoms) will convert their debt into state bonds, and ensure struggling discoms to shake off years of losses and start on a path to profitability. 
  •  

Current Affairs 27 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Rekha conferred with 3rd National Yash Chopra Memorial Award

     

    Rekha conferred with 3rd National Yash Chopra Memorial Award

    Veteran Bollywood actress Rekha who is noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest actresses in Hindi cinema has been conferred with the third edition of Yash Chopra Memorial Award. The award was bestowed upon her by Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao as a honour for her talent and contribution to the film industry.

    Bhanu Rekha Ganesan (Rekha) 

    • Rekha was born in Chennai (then Madras) on 10 October 1954 as Bhanu Rekha Ganesan to Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli. 
    • Rekha started her career in 1966 as a child actress in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam. Her film debut as a lead was in Sawan Bhadon (1970), since than Rekha has acted in over 180 films in a career spanning over 40 years. 
    • She has won 3 Filmfare Awards, 2 for Best Actress and 1 for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in Khubsoorat (1980), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), respectively.
    • She has won National Film Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of a classical courtesan in the film Umrao Jaan (1981). Government of India has honoured her with the Padma Shri in 2010.

    Yash Chopra Memorial Award 

    The award has been instituted by the T.S.R. Foundation of T Subbarami Reddy in the memory of the producer-director Yash Chopra who died in 2012.

    The Foundation annually honours a distinguished senior film personality for outstanding contribution to film industry with a Gold Medal and a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.Previous recipients include Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar (2013) and megastar Amitabh Bachchan (2014)

  •  
  • Abe Vigoda, of 'Godfather' and 'Barney Miller,' passes away

     

    Abe Vigoda, of 'Godfather' and 'Barney Miller,' passes away

    American film and television actor Abe Vigoda best known for roles in The Godfather and Barney Miller, and in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller"  passed away in New Jersey, US. He was 94. He was known for a number of roles, especially his role as the grumpy and deadpan Detective Sergeant Phil Fish in the Barney Miller police comedy series.

     About Abe Vigoda 

    • Abe Vigoda was born as Abraham Charles Vigoda on February 24, 1921  in Brooklyn, New York. He was a child prodigy began acting while in his teens, working with the American Theatre Wing. 
    • He started his career as a professional actor in 1947 in very early television episodes of Suspense and Studio One 1949. His debut in the cinema was in Three Rooms in Manhattan in 1965. His best-known film role is that of elder mobster Salvatore Tessio in Oscar-winning film The Godfather (1972). 
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  • EC celebrates 6th National Voters’ Day across India

    EC celebrates 6th National Voters’ Day across India

     

    Election Commission of India celebrated the 6th National Voters’ Day across the country on 25th January. To mark this day a National level function was held  in New Delhi . The function was presided over by President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi also released the book titled, ‘Belief in the Ballot’ and presented the first copy to the President.

    This year a new Award has been introduced to recognise the contribution of Government department/ Agencies to the efforts of ECI for enhancing electoral participation. Six newly eligible electors would be given their EPICs by President of India. 

    President gave away Awards for Best Electoral Practices to Chief Electoral Officers, District Electoral Officers, SPs, Officers involved in election management. Media Houses and Civil Society Organisations were also awarded  for best campaign in Voters’ Education and Awareness.

    Theme for the 6th National Voters’ Day : The theme for the 6th National Voters’ Day is ‘Inclusive and Qualitative Participation’.

    National Voters’ Day 

    National Voters’ Day celebration was started in 2011 because 25th January is the foundation day of the Election Commission of India (ECI) which came into being on this day in 1950. 

    Objective of the day : The Commission’s objective through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones. The National Voters’ Day is also utilised to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process.

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  • Malayalam actress Kalpana passes away

     

    Malayalam actress Kalpana passes away

    Noted Malayalam film actress Kalpana Ranjani, known as Kalpana,  passed away in Hyderabad, Telangana due to heart attack. She was 51.Kalpana, who had acted in 300-odd films in South Indian languages and was known for her  comic roles in South Indian films, primarily Malayalam and Tamil films.

    About Kalpana Ranjani 

    • Kalpana Ranjani was born on 5 October 1965  to theater artists Chavara V.P.Nair and Vijayalakshmi. She started off her career as a child artist in the film Vidarunna Mottukal in the late 1970s.
    • She made mainstream debut  in the 1980 film Pokkuveyil directed by G. Aravindan after which she appeared in more than 300 movies in various South Indian languages. 
    • Among her other Malayalam hits are “Ennum Eppuzhum”, “Karnavar”, “Dolfins”, “Bangalore Days” and “Spirit“. “Kakki Sattai”, “Idhaya Thiruda”, “Sathi Leelavathi” and “Chinna Veedu” are among her Tamil films.

    Awards and honours : She won National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 60th National Film Awards  for her performance in Thanichala Njan (2012)

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  • Government launches Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders

     

    Government launches Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders

    Union Government has launched Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders.The scheme was launched by Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan as part of Government’s 2016-Year of the Consumers initiative. Government is targeting to add 10 crore new LPG connections by December 2018 to the existing 16.5 crore connections.

    Features of Sahaj Scheme 

    • The booking can be done through the unified web portal www.mylpg.in which is available in 13 languages.
    • The facility will enable consumers to book the cylinder and make payment online or offline as per their comfort.
    • This facility is available around the clock and delivery of the cylinders at home will be done even if the consumer is absent because the payment is already done.
    • The scheme will also eliminate the problem of exact change needed for payment or delivery failure due to no cash situation.
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