Current Affairs Quick Recap – February (Week I)

CURRENT AFFAIRS FEBRUARY WEEK ONE

 AWARDS & HONOURS 

  • Two new Hindi writers Amlendu Tiwari and Om Nagar have been chosen for the 11th Navlekhan award of the Bharatiya Jnanpith, Tiwari for his novel ‘Parityakt’ and on Nagar for his non-fictional prose Nib Ke Cheere Se.
  • Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra has been conferred with the Diploma of Honour and President’s Button by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) as an acknowledgment to his “contribution as an athlete” to the sport.
  • At the inaugural ceremony of MIFF 2016, Fadnavis and Col. Rathore honoured the veteran wildlife film maker Naresh Bedi with the V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award.
  • Waheeda Rehman was honoured with a special award for her contribution to the film industry as curtains came down on Yashwant International Film Festival.
  • Nisid Hajari has won the 2016 William E. Colby Award for his book, “Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition.”
  • Nitish Kumar has been chosen for the K Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2015 for his contribution towards social justice as Chief Minister.
  • The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation has named American professor Morton M. Mower as the winner of the Prince Mahidol Award 2015 in the field of medicine.
  • The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation has named British researcher Sir Michael Gideon Marmot as the winner of the Prince Mahidol Award 2015 in the field of public health.
  • Corporation Bank has won three awards in ‘Best Social Bank Excellence Award 2015’, instituted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
  • Indian filmmaker Kanu Behl’s Titli film has bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016 (FSCC).
  • Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been presented with the lifetime achievement award at NDTV Indian of the Year Awards.
  • The Manipuri movie Phum Shang has won the Golden Conch award for the best documentary film (up to 60 minutes) at the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentary, Animation and Short Films.
  • Kerala’s all-women taxi cab service ‘She-Taxi’, touted as the country’s first 24×7 taxi network by women for women, has bagged the prestigious Chief Minister’s Award for Innovation in Public Policy 2014.
  • Geetu Mohandas won Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award 2016 on 30 January 2016 for her script of yet-to-be shot film Insha Allah.
  • Sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan has been chosen for the prestigious Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi classical music award for 2015-2016.
  • Well-known actor Nana Patekar will get the ‘Godavari Gaurav’ award, instituted by city-based ‘Kusumagraj Prathishthan’. The other awardees include dancer Kanak Rele, Chetana Sinha, Dr Shashi Kumar Chitre, Dr Balkrishna Joshi and endurance cyclists Hitendra and Mahendra Mahajan for their contribution in various fields.

 APPOINTMENTS 

  • Leslie Berland has been named as Twitter’s new chief marketing executive
  • Government of India has appointed Gurdeep Singh as the chairman and managing director of NTPC Ltd, India’s biggest power producer.
  • Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey has been appointed as the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) for a period of three years.
  • Ten part-time Non-Official Directors (NODs) have been appointed by the government on the board of various public sector banks
  • Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, AVSM, VSM took over charge as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command from Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM.
  • Telecom secretary Rakesh Garg has been appointed secretary of the minority affairs ministry as part of a top-level bureaucratic reshuffle.
  • JS Deepak has been appointed as the new secretary, department of telecommunications.
  • Senior Indian Revenue Service officer Atulesh Jindal is all set to take charge as the new chairman of the CBDT, the controlling body of the income tax department.
  • Senior IFS officer Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi has been appointed India’s next Ambassador to Mexico.
  • Senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundram has been appointed as Director-General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the first woman to head a paramilitary force.
  • Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag has been appointed mentor of the Kings XI Punjab for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • Saroj Kumar Jha has been appointed Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank
  • Union Government has appointed senior IPS officer K Durga Prasad as Director General (DG) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
  • Online furniture store Urban Ladder has named Sanjay Gupta as its chief marketing officer.
  • Analytics services provider Mu Sigma Inc. has appointed Ambiga Dhiraj as its chief executive officer (CEO).
  • The Principal Adviser (Cost), Mrs. Aruna Sethi (ICoAS 1985) took over the charge of Indian Cost Accounts Service (ICoAS) as head.
  • Former chief secretary of Gujarat DJ Pandian has been appointed vice-president and chief investment officer of the newly-created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • Major General Jai Shanker Menon has been appointed to head the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors the Syria-Israel ceasefire in the Golan Heights.
  • The government has appointed Parameshwaran Iyer as the new Secretary of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department.

 BANKING & FINANCE 

  • Government of India has marginally revised downward the economic growth for 2014-15 to 7.2 per cent from the earlier estimate of 7.3 per cent.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into two bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with United Kingdom.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has kept key interest rates unchanged at 6.75%.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has proposed steps to improve ease of doing business for start-ups through easier access to foreign capital and by enabling smoother transfer of ownership.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country more than doubled to about $4.5 billion (Rs ​30,514.5 crore) in December 2015. In December 2014, India had received $2.16 billion.
  • Mahindra Asset Management Company has received markets regulator SEBI’s approval for setting up of theirmutual fund business.

 INDIAN AFFAIRS 

  • To support India’s efforts to end tuberculosis, US development agency USAID has announced grants aimed at scaling up innovative solutions for combating the disease in the country.
  • India has test fired its indigenously-built Akash missile from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha and it is a surface-to-air missile.
  • The limit has been imposed by authorities on IRCTC online ticket booking and this has been cut to a maximum of 6 tickets in a month from the existing provision of maximum of 10 tickets by an individual user.
  • India ranks 76 in Corruption Perception Index.
  • The Government of India has decided to nominate Ahmedabad for the UNESCO world heritage city tag this year.
  • Alibaba.com, the wholesale trading platform of China’s Alibaba group today unveiled its first physical trade facility centre in the country at Jaipur.
  • Jet Airways, India’s premier airline, has introduced a new booking feature, which allows the passengers the flexibility to retain a selected fare for a limited period of time before confirming the purchase at a later date called ‘Fare lock’. 
  • The government of India is all set to clean 1,600 village panchayat headquarters along the river banks within the next six months and complete the first phase of Ganga cleaning by October this year.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government wants to create a network across villages in the country to provide more job opportunities through the sector Khadi Gramudyog.
  • India has got its first underwater restaurant in Ahmedabad, giving a new experience to food lovers.
  • The tiny hill state Meghalaya has been emerged as the fastest-growing state in the whole country with a growth rate of 9.7% in 2013-14.
  • Mumbai-based ethnic retailer, Craftsvilla, has acquired Mumbai-based on-demand shipping service provider startup Sendd for about $4.5 Mn.
  • Infosys, the leading Indian software company, is all set to beat the 96-metre tall Big Ben, the iconic free-standing clock tower in London, with a 135m structure.
  • India has surpassed the US to become the world’s second largest smartphone market, crossing 220 million in active unique smartphone users in 2015.
  • The Supreme Court of India has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India, BCCI to implement the recommendations of Justice R M Lodha Committee.
  • Vice-President Hamid Ansari left Thailand after concluding a five-day tour of Thailand and Brunei.
  • Consumers who are charged more than the MRP can now file their complaints on WhatsApp or dial up the Weights and Measures department for appropriate action on 9869691666 or dial 022-22886666.  
  • A National Organic Farming Research Institute will be established in Sikkim by upgrading the Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Gangtok.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) in Guwahati, Assam on February 5, 2016.
  • Union government will spend Rs 1 lakh crore for development of road infrastructure in Karnataka.
  • India officially became the Associate Member State of European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 February 2016 dedicated the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL) at Lepetkata, Assam.
  • The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has directed the Assistant Registrar of Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai, to proceed with registration of Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Basmati rice.
  • Ministry of Urban Development has approved projects worth over Rs.12 cr for improving tourist infrastructure in heritage places of Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal in Telangana.
  • Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda has launched Project Sunrise for prevention of AIDS in the eight North-Eastern states.
  • The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim.
  • Government of India is considering a package of tax incentives for the labour-intensive leather and gems and jewellery sectors.
  • Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education, Puducherry has become India’s first fully solar powered institute (Educational).
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has agreed to vacate the airbase at Leh district which will be used for expansion of the civilian airport by the Jammu and Kashmir government.
  • Concerned over the sharp rise in infectious disease like tuberculosis, Maharashtra government will introduce a bill banning spitting in public places.

 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 

  • Tom Hanks is officially America’s favourite Hollywood star.
  • A total of Thirty One countries have signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) for the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports.
  • Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) and Bharti Airtel will merge their telecom operations in Bangladesh.
  • Apple Inc has acquired education-technology startup LearnSprout, which creates software for schools and teachers to track students’ performance.
  • WHO declared the Zika virus and its suspected link to birth defects an international public health emergency.
  • The world’s longest three-rope cable car system was inaugurated in Vietnam’s Lao Cai province, with a total length of 6,292.5 metres.
  •  The Trans Pacific Partnership, one of the biggest multinational trade deals ever, has been signed by ministers from its 12 member nations in New Zealand. 
  • A US Senate Armed Services Committee has confirmed the nomination of General John Nicholson as  the commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan.
  • France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks.
  • Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has declared a state of disaster in rural areas hit by a severe drought, as more than a quarter of the population face food shortages.
  • North Korea has launched a long-range rocket carrying what it called a satellite, but its neighbours and the United States denounced the launch as a missile test.
  • The United Nations Postal Administration has released six new postage stamps promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT people.

 INDIA & WORLD 

  • Vietnam has formally lifted the ban on import of Indian groundnut, thereby providing market access after nine months.
  • Delhi and Kabul ink pact for visa-free travel of envoys and An agreement for visa-free travel for diplomatic passport holders of the two countries.
  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has signed an MoU with RUSNANO OJSC of Russia to cooperate in diverse sectors and facilitate high-technology investments in India.
  • India and Brunei have decided to boost defence ties by conducting joint military exercises as the two countries signed three agreements after Vice President Hamid Ansari held talks with the top leadership.
  • The Cabinet was apprised about signing of a Joint Declaration between the India and Germany on the extension of the tenure of the Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC).
  • India and Sri Lanka have reviewed the progress made in their bilateral ties discussing various issues, including that of fishermen, a major irritant in the relations, as the two countries signed MoUs in education and health sectors.

 SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 

  • A mobile-based application has been launched by the customs to inform people about all Indian customs rules including those related to Import of pets and goods.
  • Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has received the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) nod for ZembraceSymTouch (sumatriptan succinate) injection, a drug-device combination product intended for the treatment of acute migraine in adults.
  • NASA’s first-ever “integrated-photonics” modem will be tested aboard the International Space Station beginning in 2020 as part of Nasa’s multi-year Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD).
  • France will partner India in its next Mars mission, which the Indian Space Research Organisation plans to launch in 2018.
  • A Japanese firm plans to open the world’s first fully automated, human-free farm – which means robots will do almost every job from watering seedlings to harvesting crops to start operating the farm by 2017. 
  • Scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have created an artificial material with a structure similar to the ‘wonder material’ graphene.
  • The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched India’s first anti-diabetic ayurvedic drug for type two Diabetes mellitus. The drug named BGR-34.
  • Iran has asked Indian refiners such as Essar Oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to clear its past oil dues amounting to over $6 billion in euros within six months.

 SPORTS 

  • Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis have won their 3rd Grand Slam title and 36th match on the trot.
  • Germany’s Angelique Kerber stunned world number one Serena Williams in three sets to win her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
  • World number one Novak Djokovic hammered a misfiring Andy Murray in straight sets to win a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title.
  • Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi clinched the title at the MMRT track in Sriperumbudur.
  • Kidambi Srikanth made a rollicking start to the new season as he clinched the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold with a convincing win over China’s Huang Yuxiang in the men’s singles final.
  • Virat Kohli was rewarded for his stupendous performance in India’s clean sweep against Australia in the T20 internationals as he replaced Aaron Finch as the top-ranked batsman in the ICC list for the shortest format.
  • South Korean Song Young-han held his nerve to edge his role model, world number one Jordan Spieth, by a shot to win the Singapore Open. 
  • India became the number one side in the ICC T20 rankings after whitewashing Australia in the three-match series.
  • Aditya Mehta has won the National Snooker Championship 2016.
  • Kerala has emerged champions in the 61st National School Athletics Meet, which began on January 29 and concluded on February 2.
  • Swapnil Dhopade, Grandmaster of Maharashtra, with an overall tally of eight points, emerged victorious in the Rs 7.5 lakh prize money, who won the IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Open Chess tournament.
 OBITUARY 
  • Paul Kantner, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and one of the giants of the San Francisco music scene has died.
  • Former Army Chief General, KV Krishna Rao, who played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, who has died due to cardiac arrest at the age of 92.
  • Veteran cinema-television actor, Krishna Pillai, passed away.
  • Benoit Violier – whose renowned three-star restaurant in a small Swiss town was in December ranked best in the world – who was found dead in his in an apparent suicide.
  • Frank Finlay, the British actor known for his Oscar-nominated work as Iago in Othello and 1975’s The Three Musketeers, has died, at the age of 89.
  • SS Tarapore, the former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a noted economist, has passed away in Mumbai, at the age of 80.
  • Intizar Husain, veteran Urdu short story writer, poet and journalist has passed away at the age of 93.
  • Balram Jakhar, veteran Congress leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker has passed away at the age of 92.
  • US astronaut Edgar Mitchell – the sixth man to walk on the moon and only one of 12 who ever achieved the feat – has died aged 85.
  • Singer-songwriter Dan Hicks, known for his rootsy blend of folk, jazz and country music, has died due to throat and liver cancer at the age of 74.
  • Eminent cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, who chronicled contemporary Indian politics with wit and humour, has died due to brain cancer.

 IMPORTANT DAYS 

  • February 2 – World Wetlands Day. 2016 Theme : Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods
  • February 4 – World Cancer Day.  2016 Theme : We Can. I Can.
  • February 6 – International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Theme 2016 “Achieving the new Global Goals through the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation by 2030.”

SOME IMPORTANT STATE UPDATES

  • Tamil Nadu is all set to establish the state’s first 800 mw supercritical coal-based power plant, with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa laying the foundation stone for the Rs 6,000 crore project.
  • The opening ceremony of International Fleet Review 2016 was held on February 5, 2016 in Visakhapatnam at Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet Command Stadium INS Satavahana.
  • Odisha government has lifted the restrictions on visit of foreign tourists to certain tribal areas in the State after three years
  • In Kerala, the maiden Kerala Literature Festival began on February 4, 2016 at Kozhikode

 SOME RANDOM FACTS 

  • Cats “head butt” people because they make them feel safe, or they trust them.
  • Dogs will sneeze to tell other dogs that they’re playing, so when they’re playing rough it doesn’t turn into a fight.
  • Fish don’t feel pain! A latest study has discovered that fish don’t have brain system or enough sensory receptors to experience sufferings, fish don’t even suffer when they are hooked and fighting for lives.
  • Do you know butterflies taste with their feet.
  • An amazing fact about an African elephant – they can detect seismic signals with the sensory cells in their feet!
  • Do you know that the fastest moving snake on land is the Black Mamba!
  • The fastest fish is the sailfish. It can swim as fast as car travels on the highway.

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Current Affairs Quick Recap – February Week One

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