Current News in Brief (1-10 February, 2018)

  1. Madhya Pradesh’s  Gwalior will be declared as Divyang friendly district.

  2. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on 10 February, 2018 released the Hindi version of ‘Exam Warrior’ written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.  The book contains several tips to help students alleviate stress of exams. 

  3. The Bombay High Court on 10 February 208 set aside a 2017 Maharashtra government resolution that made the Mumbai District Co-operative Bank (MDCB) the official bank for disbursal of salaries to teachers in aided schools in the megapolis.

  4. Indian Army’s 14 Gorkha Training Centre Pipes and Drums Band and 58 Gorkha Training Centre Military Band performed during Sunset Concert at Indian Embassy in Kathmandu on 9 February 2018. The event was organised to celebrate 70 years of Indian Independence and 70 years of Indo-Nepal diplomatic ties.

  5. Lucas Warren is the first child with Down’s syndrome to be named a ‘Spokesbaby’ by the US baby food brand Gerber in its 91­year history. The 18­ month ­old Dalton, Georgia boy beat some 140,000 entries for a baby photo contest.

  6.  National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) on 9 February 2018, launched 75 fixed income indices, including three hybrid ones, to give a boost to bond market trading in India. The indices have been launched by NSE subsidiary India Index Services & Products Limited (IISL). The NIFTY fixed-income index series comprises 72 indices covering assets across the fixed income universe including government securities, treasurybills, corporate bonds of different credit rating categories, commercial papers, certificates of deposits and overnight rates. It will track historical data across more than 16 years.

  7. Capital investor Mahesh Murthy was arrested in Mumbai on 9 February on charges of sexually harassing a woman based in Delhi and using obscene language while communicating with her on WhatsApp. Mr. Murthy is the founder of early stage fund Seedfund. 

  8. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi to the ICC Board as the organization’s first independent female director. Mrs. Nooyi will join the Board in June 2018 to align with the term of the ICC Independent Chairman, following the unanimous confirmation of her appointment. The introduction of an Independent Director, who must be female, was approved by the ICC Full Council in June 2017 as part of wide ranging constitutional change aimed at improving the global governance of the sport.

  1. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in collaboration with the Environmental Sanitation Institute and Tata Trusts, has developed a Sanitation Park which was inaugurated in the New Delhi on February 9, 2018 by Union Minister, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti. The Sanitation Park was developed at CGO Complex in New Delhi with an objective to create awareness on various safe technological options. The Park demonstrates various options pertaining to toilet technologies and solid and liquid waste management technologies, with a brief description of these technologies.

  2. In poll bound Meghalaya, state Election department has deployed ‘Mobile Democracy Van’ to create voters awareness. Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor told AIR that the specially designed vans have been deployed in all 3 regions of Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills loaded with Voters education materials specially EVM and VVPAT.

  3. There are 701 Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) in the country which are supported under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The primary responsibility of setting up the JJBs vests with the State Governments/UT Administrations concerned. Section 4 (1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, provides that the State Government shall constitute for every district one or more JJBs for exercising the powers and discharging its functions relating to children in conflict with law and this is an on going process.

  4. More than 1700 Special Juvenile Police Units(SJPUs) have been established in the country. Each district and city in the country has atleast one SJPU. The Police officers of the Special Juvenile Police Unit are trained by their respective State Governments and State Police Academies. A module for training of Indian Police Services officers has been incorporated by National Police Academy.

  5. The Egyptian army on 9 February launched ‘Operation Sinai 2018’ in the Nile Delta and the northern Sinai Peninsula, heart of a persistent Islamic State group insurgency. The goal is to tighten control of border districts and clean up areas where there are terrorist hotbeds.

  6. As per Union Health Minister J P Nadda, the government health expenditure has increased by 8 per cent from around 1.30 lakh crore rupees in 2013-14 to 1.40 lakh crore rupees in 2014-15. In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Mr Nadda said, under the National Health Policy-2017, the government has decided to raise the health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025.

  7. Justice Abhilasha Kumari was sworn-in as new Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur on February 9. Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla administered her the oath of office at Raj Bhavan in Imphal. 

  8.  According to the Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal the Food Processing sector would attract an investment of 14 billion USD over the next 2-3 years as committed by the domestic and foreign investors during the world food summit. Badal said the government has doubled the budget outlay for the ministry to Rs 1,400 crore for next fiscal and the amount would be used to improve processing infrastructure and setting up of cold chain grids.

  9.  The government is considering to establish National Women Entrepreneurship Council, NWEC. It will help promote entrepreneurship. It will be an umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women in the country.

  10.  China has deployed the newly acquired Russian made Su-35 fighter jets in its combat mission over the disputed South China Sea. The deployment is reportedly aimed to challenge recurring US aerial and naval patrols asserting freedom of navigation and over-flight in region. The US military is periodically sending warships and air force jets to assert freedom of flights and navigation over the South China Sea as China claims most of it. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area. This is the first time the People’s Liberation Army Air Force has made public the deployment of its Su-35s. Introduced to China in late 2016, the Su-35 is a multi-role fighter aircraft that can attack targets on the ground and the sea.

  11. Australia’s prime minister will apologise to victims of child sex abuse in churches and other institutions over decades. The apology follows a five-year government-commissioned inquiry into how institutions including schools, orphanages and sports clubs responded to sexual abuse of children in Australia over 90 years.

  12. US House minority leader Nancy Pelosi staged a record-breaking, eight-hour speech on February 7, 2018 in hopes of pressuring Republicans to allow a vote on protecting “Dreamer” immigrants — and to demonstrate to angry progressives and Democratic activists that she has done all she could.

  13. Twitter made money for the first time in its nearly 12-year history, a milestone that satisfied investors in the short term but might not resolve the company’s broader problems any time soon.

  14. The Reserve Bank of India has said that it will link the base rate with the MCLR from 1st of April this year to ensure expeditious transmission of its policy rate to borrowers. In a statement, RBI said, though it had introduced the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rates (MCLR) system with effect from 1st April 2016, the Central bank observed that a large proportion of bank loans continue to be linked to Base Rate. Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had introduced the MCLR to calculate the benchmark lending rate in another attempt to make banks pass on policy rate cut benefits to borrowers quickly and in a more transparent manner. 

  15. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force has initiated the process of procuring allterrain non-amphibious vehicles that will enhance navigation and deployment capabilities of the paramilitary troopers posted at the sensitive India-China border. The procurement is initiated keeping in mind the rugged terrain of the Himalayan border that India shares with China and other countries on its eastern front.

  16. The statewide daylong shutdown called on 8 February by opposition parties and indirectly supported by the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh to protest the “raw deal” meted out to the state in the Union budget evoked a huge response.

  17. Jhulan Goswami created history during India’s second One-day International against South Africa in the ongoing ICC Women’s Championship game in Kimberley by becoming the first woman bowler to take 200 wickets in ODIs. Goswami dismissed South Africa opener Laura Wolvaardt to claim her 200th scalp as the Indian women’s team won the match by 178 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

  18. India’s anti-trust regulator, the Competition Commission of India, on February 8. 2018 imposed a fine of ₹136 crore on Google Inc for unfair business practices in the local market for online search. The CCI said the penalty is being imposed on Google for “infringing anti-trust conduct”. It was alleged that Google indulged in abuse of its position through practices leading to search bias.

  19. Three crore 36 lakh gas connections have been provided in the last 22 months under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, 44 per cent of the beneficiaries belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He said, Uttar Pradesh has provided more than 66 lakh LPG connections followed by West Bengal with around 48 lakh and Bihar 46 lakh

  20. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a talk with students on ‘Pareeksha Par Charcha’ on 16 February 2018 in New Delhi.  Mr Modi will interact with nearly 10 crore students from across the country. 

  21. In Manipur, Kongkham Robindro Singh of the BJP was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly by voice vote on February 8. 

  22. According to the Union Environment Ministry ,  Delhi generates 131 tonnes of dust every day, and controlling it itself would bring down air pollution drastically.

  23. The Left Alliance in Nepal has got a two-third majority in the National Assembly, the upper house of Parliament. In 59-member National Assembly the alliance has won 39 seats. Communist Party of Nepal (UML) got 27 seats and its partner Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) won 12. The historic parliamentary and first-ever provincial assembly election was held in two phases on the 26th of November and the 7th of December last year.

  24. Bangladesh’s former Prime Minister and Opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia has been sentenced to five years in jail in a corruption case. 72-year-old Zia was sentenced by a special court in the capital, Dhaka, in connection with embezzlement of 252,000 US dollar in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust.

  25. According to the Royal Society Open Science journal in Paris, ants naturally produce powerful germicides against bacteria and fungi which can help us make medicines not resistant to germs.  Ants produce the compounds in special glands often refereed to as their ‘chemical factories’.

  26. An ancient painting in a cave shows rows of figures standing on what look likes skis with herds of animals running below them on the outskirts of Altay, China. In China archaeologists have dated the paintings as 10,000 to 30,000 years old. That would date them as much older than archaeological findings of skiing in Russia cited by the International Ski Federation as coming from 6,300 to 5,000 BC.   

  27. A survey the Urban Hunger and Malnutrition (HUNGaMA) conducted  by Naandi foundation in 10 of the country’s most populous cities has found one in four urban children under the age of five is stunted (chronic malnutrition). Delhi has the highest percentage of severely stunted children (11.7%).  Child obesity is another emerging area of concern, with about 2.4% children in the 10 cities found to be overweight or obese. The highest percentage of overweight children was found in Chennai (3.7%), while the lowest was in Hyderabad (0.7%).

  28. The government has accorded administrative approval and financial sanction for the construction of 12 nuclear power reactors in the country, Parliament was informed on February 7. Out of these, 10 will be indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) with a capacity of 700 MW each and the remaining two will be Light Water Reactors .

  29. The Gharapuri Island, which houses Elephanta Caves, will be lit up in February 2018 for the first time after independence. Permanent power supply has finally reached Shetbander, Morabandar and Rajbandar, the three villages surrounding the UNESCO world heritage site. 

  30. The Supreme Court has cancelled all iron ore mining leases in Goa. The apex court has ordered all operations to stop on March 15 adding a rider that fresh leases will be issued only after obtaining an environment clearance.  In October 2012, the apex court suspended all iron ore mining and transportation in the state, following a report submitted by the Justice MB Shah Commission, which found that millions of tonnes of iron ore were mined illegally. 

  31. Saudi Arabia will ban foreigners from 12 activities and occupations to provide more jobs to its citizens, a move that is likely to affect a large number of workers from India and other South Asian countries.

  32. In a disturbing and shocking incident in Uttar Pradesh, around 40 people of a village in Unnao were found HIV positive after a quack who was treating them allegedly used an infected needle to treat all the victims.

  33. According to Ministry of Home Affairs data, in 2017 the maximum number of communal incidents, 195 were reported from Uttar Pradesh, followed by Karnataka (100), Rajasthan (91) and Bihar (85). Year 2016 saw 822 communal incidents in the country.

  34. The President of India, Shri Ram NathKovind, inaugurated the Mahamastak abhisheka Mahotsav 2018 of Gommateshwara Bhagwan Sri Bahubali Swami at Shravanabelagola on February 7, 2018. Mahamastakabhiseka of Gommateshwara, who is also known as Bahubali takes place once in 12 years. It is an important Jain piligramage centre and lakhs of tourists visit Shravanbelagola to see 57 feet tall monolithic stone statue that is anointed from head to feet during the Utsav. 

  35. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of protocol amending the Agreement between India and China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income on February 7, 2018.

  36. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Cooperation in the Field of Skill Development, Vocational Education and Training on February 7, 2018.

  37. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC),USA and Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D), India on Law Enforcement Training on February 7, 2018. This has paved the way for enhanced cooperation between the two countries in security related matters under the aegis of the India-US Homeland Security Dialogue.

  38. The Union Cabinet on 7 February 2018, gave its approval for placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation concerning “The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience (No.-205)” before the Parliament . The International Labour Conference of ILO at its 106th Session held in Geneva in June, 2015 adopted the Recommendation. India supported the adoption of Recommendation.

  39. On International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (6 February) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that without accelerated action 68 million girls could be subjected to female genital mutilation by 2030. Over 200 million women and girls in 30 countries across three continents have experienced genital mutilation. The UN Population Fund projects that the estimated 3.9 million girls subjected to genital cutting every year will rise to 4.6 million by 2030 due to expected population growth unless urgent action is taken. 

  40. The government has doubled import duty on sugar to 100 per cent and raised duty on chana to 40 per cent to protect domestic farmers. At present, customs duty or import tax on sugar is 50 per cent and on chana is 30 per cent. The move is aimed at curbing cheaper imports and ensure remunerative prices to domestic growers. The CBEC said, the higher tax has been imposed with immediate effect and without an end date.

  41. Telugu Desam Party senior leader, former minister and sitting member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council Gali Muddu Krishnama Naidu passed away during wee hours in Hyderabad. He is 71. 

  42. Scientist from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has developed world’s most secure marking system for combating counterfeit products using three rare earth metals namely; europium, terbium and dysprosium.

  43. The Union Government has extended the service of Amitabh Kant as NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer (CEO) till June 2019.

  44. Bishu, the oldest of half a dozen one-horned rhinos in captivity in Assam zoo, died on February 5, 2018, a few days short of its 34th birthday. Rhinos in captivity usually live up to 40 years. Assam is home to more than 50% of one horned rhinos on earth. About 2400 of them are in Kaziranga National Park, 200 km east of Guwahati.

  45. In Congo, at least 24 people died in several villages following an outbreak of inter-communal between Lendu and Hema communities violence in the country’s northeast. The fighting started in the territory known as Djugu.

  46. Pakistan People’s Party has nominated a Hindu woman Krishna Kumari from Thar in Sindh province to contest a general Senate seat, a media report said on Monday. If she wins, she will be the first Hindu woman to become a Senator in Pakistan.

  47. A bill was has been introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congressmen Mark Sanford from South Carolina and Thomas Massie from Kentucky on February 5, 2018, to end non-defence aid to Pakistan as Islamabad provides military aid and intelligence to terrorists. The bill seeks that the amount is redirected to infrastructure projects in the US. The US has provided nearly 34 billion US dollars in aid to Pakistan, including 526 million US dollars last year alone.

  48. More than 1,200 security guards have been withdrawn from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics because of a norovirus outbreak. Out of the group, 41 suffered a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea on February 4, 2018. They were transferred to hospital and most were diagnosed with a norovirus infection. Norovirus is highly contagious and can also be spread through food or water contamination.

  49. Russia has deployed nuclear-capable short-range Iskander-M missiles in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad. Iskander-M missiles have been sent to Kaliningrad, a Russian territory wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

  50. Nepal’s orthodox tea exports will no longer have the logo ‘Darjeeling, India’ and will be sold abroad with its own identity, 154 years after tea cultivation commenced in the nation, a media report said. Nepal has received its own trademark.

  51. There has been a 66% decline in the estimated number of annual new HIV infections in India from 2000 to 2015, against the global average of 35%. AIDS related deaths declined by 54% from 2007 to 2015 against the global average of 41% decline during 2005 – 2015. Government of India has launched the seven year National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) 017-24, which aims to attain universal coverage of HIV prevention, treatment to care continuum of services that are effective, inclusive, equitable and adapted to needs of the people living with HIV. The National Strategic Plan aims to working towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  52. The 116-day water conservation movement ‘Jala Samrakshana Udyama Spoorthi’ would begin on February 12 and go on till June 7 in Andhra Pradesh.

  53. The National Green Tribunal on February 5, 2018, imposed an environment compensation of Rs. 10 lakh on the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to stop illegal operation of e-waste plants on the banks of the Ramganga in Moradabad. Observing that there was complete inaction on the part of the State government, a Bench headed by NGT acting chairperson U. D. Salvi also imposed an environment compensation of Rs. 50,000 on the Moradabad District Magistrate.

  54. According to a report by Queen Marry University  London, of 118 different formulations of fixed dose combination (FDC) antibiotics being sold in India between 2007-2012, 64% were not approved by the Central Drugs Standard Organisation (CDSCO).

  55. For the first time the National Achievement Survey (NAS) to find out the level of learning outcome among school children will be conducted for private schools.

  56. A world  class cancer research facility, to be called ‘Vyas Cancer Park (VCP) will be set up in Visakhapatnam,  Andhra Pradesh. 

  57. Activists of the ‘Dalit Bhoo Avaksha Samara Munnani, who have been fighting against what they term ‘a caste wall’ built around the community space in their neighborhood at Vadayampadi, east of Kochi (Kerala), have decided to to take their agitation to the state capital.

  58. In South Korea, Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong has been freed from jail after an appeal court suspended his five-year jail term for bribing the country’s ex-president. Vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, Lee was convicted of bribery in connection with the sprawling corruption scandal that brought down former South Korean president Park Geun-Hye. Park, who denies wrongdoing forced to step down in March after parliament voted to impeach her at the end of 2016.

  59. In Meghalaya, the State Election department has roped in Bollywood singer Usha Uthup to motivate young voters to go and vote.

  60. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on February 5, 2018, won re-election for a second term. Anastasiades has taken credit for steering the economy of Cyprus to recovery after it was plunged into crisis in 2013 by its exposure to debt-wracked Greece and fiscal slippage under a former left-wing administration.

  61. In Greece, tens of thousands of Greeks have staged a mass rally in capital Athens on February 5, 2018 in a protest about the decades-long dispute over the name Macedonia. Macedonia and Greece have been at loggerheads for almost 30 years over the name issue, since Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece argues use of the name implies territorial claims on its own province of Macedonia.

  62. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered pottery pieces, and tools made of stones and bones believed to be of the preChristian era from a mound in Jalalpur village of Cuttack district in Odisha.

  63. A unique, first-of-its-kind, floating market has come up in Patuli in Kolkata. The market is similar to the ones on Dal Lake in Srinagar and in Bangkok. The project is being implemented by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA). Modern technology is being adopted to ensure proper oxidation of the water and thus maintain ecological balance. The prices will be similar to those in normal markets.

  64. Enforcement Directorate has attached movable and immovable property assets worth 86 lakhs rupees of Maoist leader Sandeep Yadav alias Badka Bhaiya on February 5, 2018. This is the first ever attachment of properties of a top Maoist leader by any agency in the country. The Maoist is the in-charge of Madhya Zone of Bihar -Jharkhand Special Area Committee of CPI (Maoist).

  65. Several hundred highly-skilled Indian workers, in long agonising green card wait, from across the US along with their children and spouses held a rally in front of the White House on February 3, 2018, in support of President Donald Trump’s plan for a merit-based immigration system that among other things ends chain migration and diversity lottery visa.

  66. According to Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, the government will come out with a strategy document on increasing the share of exports to 20 per cent of the GDP. The minister said that India is expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon. According to Federation of Indian Export Organisation, the current share of exports in GDP is 18 to 19 per cent.

  67. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated an exhibition by Divyang foot artist Shri Uttam Bhardwaj in New Delhi on February 5, 2018. Belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Bhardwaj is painting since the age of 10 years and in the last 8 years he has painted almost 200 paintings. Shri Bhardwaj is perhaps the first of its kind artist in whole country.

  68. A recent study by the American Museum of Natural History has revealed how a cheetah’s unique inner-ear design allows it to maintain its posture and balance which makes the animal as fast as a 100 km per hour. Researchers conducted this study with the use of high-resolution X-ray CT technology by scanning the specimen of seven cheetahs, out of which six were modern cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and one was a ‘closely related’ cheetah that is now extinct (Acinonyx pardinensis), and was present between 2.6 million and 126,000 years ago. The scientists who led the research also concluded that modern cheetahs have evolved the inner ear design relatively recently

  69. The Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi is working on a research project that will help flag potential curators and victims of the Blue Whale Challenge-an online game which has allegdly led to deaths of many teenagers across the world.

  70. According to Bihar Police, more than 40% of kidnappings in Bihar till Novermber last year were to marriage.

  71. Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will be renamed as Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in April 2018. Renaming is necessary due to launching of GST.

  72. The government has removed the minimum export price (MEP) of onion to boost exports of the kitchen staple. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a notification in New Delhi that all varieties of onions can now be exported without any MEP. In January 2018, the government had cut the MEP by 150 dollar per tonne as prices of the vegetable was moderating. MEP is imposed time and again to check rising prices.

  73. On January 20, 2018, the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji airport created a world record for single- runway operations by handling 980 arrivals and take-offs in 24 hours, almost one flight every minute. 

  74. Former bureaucrat Naba Kumar Nayak has been appointed as the State Election Commissioner in Odisha.

  75. India’s Shubhankar Sharma won the $3 million Maybank Malaysia golf championship on February 4, 2018.

  76.  A book, titled ‘Abinta Kabir: Mulyabodh O Swapner Nam’, (Dreams Inspire Change) on the life of Abinta Kabir, the 19-year-old Bangladeshi national killed in the terror attack in Gulshan area of Dhaka on July 1, 2016, was released on February 2, 2018 by Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Toufique Hasan and Ms. Ahmed in Kolkata.

  77. After its proposal to make floor cleaners using cow urine, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to push for its use in preparing medicines. According to the state government, the ayurveda department has prepared eight medicines using ‘gau mutra’ which can prove to be useful in case of liver ailments, joint pain and immunity deficiency. 

  78. Sri Lanka on February 4, 2018, celebrated the 70th Independence Day in a grand ceremony at the Galle Face Green in Colombo. The theme of this year ceremony was “One Nation”. It was on this day in 1948 that country achieved freedom from British rule. Representing Britain’s Queen, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and the Countess of Wessex participated in the celebrations as Chief Guests in presence of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

  79. Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the first International Kala Mela at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts in New Delhi on February 4, 2018. The objective of the event is to focus on direct interaction between the artist and the connoisseur and also educating and raising awareness about art.  This is for the first time that the Lalit Kala Akademi has planned the International Kala Mela at such a large scale which will continue till the 18th of February, 2018.

  80. Russia on February 4, 2018, launched a series of air attacks in the area where one of its fighter jets was shot down by Syrian rebel Tahrir al-Sham on Satur (Idlib provinc). The White Helmets, an opposition rescue group in Syria, reported 21 civilian deaths in villages surrounding the site of the downed Sukhoi 25 jet. 

  81. A tanker vessel MT Marine Express with 22 Indian sailors on board was reported to be missing off the coast of Benin, a west African country in the first week of February 2018. It was suspected that the, carrying 13,500 tonne of gasoline, might have been hijacked by pirates.

  82. West Bengal Information Technology Minister Bratya Basu announced setting up  IT parks in every district of the State to boost entrepreneurship. The IT parks will be set up by the Department in collaboration with local chambers of commerce soon, Mr. Basu said on the sidelines of the launch of a book.

  83. Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurian Joseph on February 3, urged Chief Justices of High Courts to take immediate steps to ensure that every district in a state has at least one family court, to help easy access to justice and speedy disposal of matrimonial disputes.

  84. Astrophysicists have discovered for the first time a population of extragalactic planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Using micro lensing — an astronomical phenomenon and the only known method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth among other detection techniques – researchers were able to detect objects in extragalactic galaxies that range from the mass of the Moon to the mass of Jupiter.

  85. Nearly 30,000 students and teachers of the Kalinga Institute of Social Science will join the ‘Commonwealth Big Lunches’ initiative launched by Prime Minister Theresa May on February 3, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April. May’s initiative builds on the Eden Project’s annual Big Lunch, which was launched in 2009 as a way to connect people with their communities over a shared meal. 

  86. BJP’s Kairana MP Hukum Singh, who started his political career with the Congress in 1974, died at a Noida hospital on February 3, after a prolonged illness. He was 79.

  87. The Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400 ­year­ old tomb near the pyramids outside Cairo. The tomb likely belonged to a high ranking female official known as Hetpet during the 5th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. The tomb includes wall paintings depicting Hetpet observing different hunting and fishing scenes.

  88. Japan’s space agency has successfully put a microsatellite into Earth’s orbit that was carried on board an experimental mini-rocket. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), launched the rocket, one of the smallest in the world, from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan on February 3. The rocket, measuring 10 meters in length, 50 centimeters in diameter and some 2.6 tons in weight, was the smallest satellite-carrying rocket in the world, according to the JAXA.

  89. Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough. Maya civilisation, at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million. The Lidar survey was the first part of a three-year project led by a Guatemalan organization that promotes cultural heritage preservation.

  90. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on February 3, 2018, launched a book ‘Exam Warriors’ in New Delhi penned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  The book aims to instill confidence in the students and prepare them to face the difficult moments during examinations and life.

  91. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on February 3, 2018, addressed the inaugural session of Advantage Assam – Global Investors Summit 2018, in Guwahati.

  92. A UN report says, North Korea earned nearly 200 million dollars last year by exporting banned commodities in breach of international sanctions. The confidential report by a panel of experts said, several countries including China, Russia and Malaysia had failed to stop the illegal exports. 

  93. The International Conference on ‘DemetriosGalanos and His Legacy’ was inaugurated at IGNCA in New Delhi on February 3, 2018. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is organizing the 8-days International Conference on, ‘Demetrios Galanos and His Legacy’. The 8-day long convention is being held in Delhi and Varanasi, in addition to organizing the exhibition and folk music of Greece.

  94. Chief of Staff of the US Air Force General David L Goldfein on February 3, 2018, flew the ‘Made in India’ light combat aircraft Tejas at Air Force Station in Jodhpur. Goldfein also became the first foreign military chief and first US Chief of Staff to fly Tejas aircraft.

  95.  A historical ridge popularly known as Shimla’s Heart has developed fresh cracks, spurring the city’s municipal corporation to seek assistance from the Indian Institute of Technology Rookee to safeguard it from further damage. The ridge ground was constructed way back in 1910, when Shimla was the summer capital of British India.
  96. Actor Mukesh Khanna on February 2, 2018, resigned as chairperson of the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), with just over two months of his three year term left. The CFSI produces children’s films, while the films division creates projects on government programmes.

  97. The 68-year-old son of Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, died in Havana, after reportedly taking his own life. He was found yesterday morning and is said to have suffered from depression.  Popularly known as “Fidelito”, he was the first-born son of the former president, who died in November 2016. 

  98. All 955 workers who were trapped  in the Beatrix gold mine gold mine in South Africa following a power cut were safely brought back to the surface. The mine is located in the small town of Theunissen near the city of Welkom in South Africa.

  99. Russian Space Company named Energia has decided to start space tourism to sent tourists to space. Energia targets to send tourists to space by 2019 and a ten day trip to space might cost a person almost $100 million.

  100.  As per an affidavit submitted, Marxist leader Manik Sarkar, who has been leading Tripura for 20 years, remains arguably India’s poorest chief minister, with a paltry ₹1,520 cash in hand and ₹2,410 in a bank account.

  101. The Bombay High Court refused to give permission for cultural events as part of the Kala Ghoda festival to be held at Cross Maidan in Mumbai in February 2018, since this area has been declared as a silence zone.

  102. According to UNICEF, nearly 30 percent of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in countries affected by conflict and disaster are illiterate, triple the global rate.  Four impoverished African countries with a long history of instability had the highest rates of young people unable to read or write — Niger with 76 percent, Chad with 69 percent, South Sudan with 68 percent and the Central African Republic with 64 percent.

  103. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on January 31, carrying into orbit a Luxembourg-made communications satellite GovSat-1, designed in part to expand Nato’s surveillance reach and its capability to deter cyber attacks on alliance members. It marked the second rocket launch this year for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and his Space Exploration Technologies.

  104.  LORD MICHAEL BATES, a British minister in the department for international development, announced his resignation in the House of Lords on  January 31, after missing a question from a member of the opposition. He apologised for not being present to answer the question and said he was “offering his resignation” to Prime Minister Theresa May.

  105. Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone Pvt Ltd (NMSEZ)— promoted by Reliance Group chairman Mukesh Ambani, Jai Corp. India; Skil Infrastructure and CIDCO (City Industrial and Development Corp)—will be developed in phases and be open to industrial units in 2019. On January 30, the Maharashtra government allowed NMSEZ promoters to convert the SEZ into an integrated industrial area.

  106. Chinese scientists have given five children new ears that were grown in a laboratory using their own cells combined with a 3D-printed biodegradable mould.

  107. Researchers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center are testing whether deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy, which has helped people with Parkinson’s disease, can check the progress of dementia in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

  108. Anu Kumar of Uttarakhand on January 31, 2018, grabbed the first gold medal of the Khelo India School Games in 1500 metres at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Tamil Nadu athletes won two of the six gold medals on the opening day of the games. 

  109. The Madhya Pradesh Government on 31st January, 2018, cleared a proposal allowing construction of a “Bharat Mata” temple in Bhopal. A cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan  approved the proposal moved by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), seeking land to build the temple of “Mother India”, which will come up in Singarcholi area near Airport Road. 

  110. The Central Government is working on a proposal to launch ferry services on the Yamuna between Delhi and Allahabad on a stretch of the river designated as National Waterway 110 two years ago.

  111. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on January 31, 2018, approved a ban on sale of 20 insecticides — some of them reported to be harmful for human beings, while others from a point of environmental sustainability and economics. The Registration Committee, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission (PSFC), the chief minister, who also holds the agriculture portfolio, gave his nod to the ban, to be effective from February 1, 2018.

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