Current Affairs Daily Digest – February 15 2024

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Current Affairs Daily Digest – February 15 2024

1. India-UAE MoUs Link UPI With UAE’s AANI For Instant Payment

The two countries’ relations and collaboration were further solidified when, during a major diplomatic event, India and the UAE exchanged many memoranda of understanding (MoUs).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan presided over the exchange, highlighting the importance both countries place on their relationship.

1. Platforms for Instant Payment Interconnection

Key agreements made included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on interlinking the instant payment networks – UPI (India) and AANI (UAE).

This move aims to facilitate seamless cross-border transactions, enhancing financial connectivity between India and the UAE.

2. Bilateral Investment Treaty and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

An important step in facilitating investments between the UAE and India, the MoU for the Bilateral Investment Treaty was also part of the exchange.

This agreement builds upon the existing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, further solidifying economic cooperation between the two nations.

2. World Hippo Day 2024 is observed on Feb 15

In recognition of one of the most imperiled big mammal species, the annual celebration of World Hippo Day takes place on February 15th.

Poaching, dwindling supplies of fresh water, mechanized farming, and increased urbanization are all factors in the precipitous fall of the hippos’ population, which is now believed to be between 115,000 and 130,000.

A Semiaquatic Wonder: The Mighty Hippo

The third-largest land mammal, behind elephants and rhinos, are the semiaquatic hippos, which are indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa and can reach weights of up to 2,000 kg.

They are semiaquatic by nature and inhabit watery environments like lakes, rivers, and mangrove swamps. Their food includes largely of leaves, roots, and stems, supported by a powerful digestive system that is tuned to retain nutrients.

The Origins of the Hippos

The history of the hippo stretches back to 54 million years ago, when the first group of hippos, progenitors of the current hippo, broke off into two branches.

A subset of this group eventually became aquatic cetaceans like whales and dolphins, while another split off into anthracotheres, the common hippo’s near relative.

After the Pliocene Epoch (over two million years ago), all branches of the anthracotheres went extinct, except for those that evolved into Hiromoletamidae.

3. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Jain Assumes The Charge Of CMD/IRCTC

Mr. Sanjay Kumar Jain, a distinguished Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS) Officer from the 1990 batch, has accepted the crucial position of Chairman and Managing Director, marking a noteworthy development for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC).

Having served in several important roles within the Ministry of Railways and PSUs during his impressive thirty-year career, Mr. Jain brings a plethora of knowledge and a history of outstanding leadership to the table.

A Changing Line of Work

The path that Mr. Jain has taken is evidence of his innovative leadership and proficiency in a wide range of government sectors, including policymaking, business, and development.

He has a distinguished career history as a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA), having held key positions such as Principal Chief Commercial Manager at Northern Railway, Group General Manager (North Zone) at IRCTC, and Divisional Railway Manager at Mumbai Central Railway, where he made significant contributions.

4. Saudi Arabia’s First Luxury Train ‘Dream of the Desert’ Set to Launch First In The Middle East

Saudi Arabia is preparing to introduce its first luxury train, named the Dream of the Desert. It will be the first luxury train in the Middle East, offering travelers a journey through Saudi Arabia.

With its promise of luxury and cultural immersion, this new venture is positioned to become a classic in its own right. Reservations for the train’s first ride will open by late 2024, before its planned launch in 2025.

Exploring the Arabian Landscape

The 800-mile journey will begin in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, and wind its way northwest toward the border with Jordan.

Along the way, passengers will be treated to vistas of the Saudi desert, punctuated by stops at UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites and cultural landmarks.

From the city of Ha’il to the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve, each destination offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Saudi culture and history.

5. International Childhood Cancer Day 2024 is observed on Feb 15

International Childhood Cancer Day is observed annually on February 15th. Its purpose is to bring attention to the difficulties endured by children and adolescents who are fighting this disease.

It is critical to highlight the importance of assisting families impacted by childhood cancer and the ongoing fight against this terrible disease as we celebrate International Childhood Cancer Day 2024.

The strength of the young patients and the community’s commitment to helping them heal are both highlighted on this day.

A Chronology of World Childhood Cancer Day

Child Cancer International established International Childhood Cancer Day in 2002 to bring attention to the effects of childhood cancer on young patients, their families, and society as a whole.

To help cancer patients and their families cope with the disease, this worldwide movement is funding studies into potential new therapies and cures.

It has evolved into an indispensable venue for the dissemination of information and the pooling of funds in the fight against children cancer.

6. SBICAPS Appoints Virendra Bansal as the new MD and CEO

Virendra Bansal’s appointment as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Capital Markets (SBICAPS), the investment banking arm of State Bank of India (SBI), is a major development that heralds a new era for the institution.

Bansal assumes the position after Rajay Kumar Sinha leaves to take a three-year stint as the Whole Time Member (Finance and Investment) at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) beginning in January 2024.

A Vast Store of Knowledge

Being the former Country Head for SBI’s vast US Operations, Virendra Bansal brings a plethora of knowledge to the table.

He proved his mettle as a manager and leader in a variety of settings by juggling duties in major financial centers like Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Sao Paulo.

His extensive background in global banking and financial markets is further demonstrated by his roles as CEO of SBI New York and Vice Chairman of SBI (California).



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