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February 21, 2016

21st February 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (21st February) is International Mother Language Day.
    • This day is observed to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
    • First announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
    • February 21 was specifically chosen to mark the day in 1952 when students demonstrated for recognition of their language, Bangla as a national language in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
    • Theme of 2016 : Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes.
National Affairs
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban (Rural-Urban) mission in Chhattisgarh. 
    • The initiative is aimed at bringing civic and infrastructural facilities to villages to bridge the rural-urban divide. 
    • Note : The project, announced by the BJP last year, replaces the UPA government’s Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) initiative.
  • Indian Railways has decided to introduce Train Hostesses in the Delhi-Agra ‘Gatiman Express’, which is expected to launch next month. 
    • The train which is the first Indian train to run at 160 kmph will include Television service and GPS-based passenger information system among other features. 
    • The fare for the train have been fixed at a starting price of ₹690.
Recent Committees in News
  • The Union government today formed a Committee to look into the demand of the Jat community for reservation in central government jobs.
    • This committee will be headed by : Venkaiah Naidu (Union Minister)
Science & Technology
  • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) today launched a new space observatory called ASTRO-H. 
    • The observatory is designed to study celestial objects that emit X-rays like black holes, dying stars and galaxy clusters. 
    • The sixth in a series of JAXA’s X-ray astronomy satellites, ASTRO-H is capable of detecting X-rays more than 10 times fainter than its telescope predecessor, Suzaku.
  • NASA is developing a new space telescope called Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), with a field of view 100 times larger than that of the Hubble Space Telescope. 
    •  This telescope will also block the glare of individual stars, making it easier to determine the chemical makeup of exoplanets. 
    • WFIRST is slated for launch in mid-2020.
New Appointments
  • IT major Infosys has appointed Michael Pesch as Chief Executive Officer of Infosys Consulting Holding AG (formerly Infosys Lodestone), effective from April 1.
  • Faustin Archange Touadera has won the 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic (CAR) held on 14 February 2016.
    •  He had contested as an independent candidate in this election and secured 62.7 percent or 695,000 valid votes. 
    • He defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent or 413,000 votes.  
Business & Economy
  • The Public Investment Board under the Finance Ministry has approved the ₹800 crore proposal from India Post for setting up a payments bank
    • The proposal will now be placed before the Cabinet for final approval. 
    • The pilot of the payments bank is set to start from January 2017 and full-fledged operations may start by March 2017.
  • United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has decided to initiate anti-dumping investigations into a certain category of tyres imported from India and Sri Lanka
    • Decision in this regard was taken after USITC commissioners after they found that certain category of tyres imported from both countries is damaging domestic industry. 
    • Note : This is for the first time that anti-dumping investigations from US have launched probe into tyres coming from India, while Chinese tyres already have faced a similar probe in the past.
  • The World Bank has decided to lend support to the Rajasthan government on energy reforms.
    • The decision was taken at a meeting between World Bank’s country director in India, Onno Ruhl and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at her official residence.
Awards & Honors
  • Malayali director Jayaraj’s film ‘Ottaal’ (2015), an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s short story ‘Vanka', won the Crystal Bear award at the International Berlin Film Festival today. 
    • The film featuring Ashanth K Sha and Kumarakom Vasudevan, won the award for the ‘Best Film for Children’. 
    • Note : The film has also won the National Award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation.
  • The first-ever Electronic Music Awards (EMA) has announced its nominees which include artists like Calvin Harris, DJ Snake, Diplo and Skrillex. 
    • With categories including Single of the Year and Best New Artist, the awards will also recognise Best Club of the Year and Festival of the Year. 
    • The award ceremony will be held on April 14 in Las Vegas.
Deaths
  • Army officer Captain Pawan Kumar Singh attained martyrdom in Jammu and Kashmir during an encounter at Pampore with militants. 
    • "I had one child, I gave him to the Army and to the nation, no father can be prouder", said the martyred Captain's father Rajbir Singh.
  • Italian author Umberto Eco passed away.
    • He was the author of best-selling historical novel “The Name of the Rose”.
Sports
  • Maharashtra Cricketer Pritam Patil Created history by scores First Triple Hundred in 50 Over Cricket.
    • He Scored 306 runs off just 134 Balls.
  • Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary won a silver medal on the third day of the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships.
  • Mayookha Johny won the silver medal in women's triple jump at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships.
  • Indian sprinter Dutee Chand set a new national record while winning the 60m dash heats at the 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships.
    • Dutee clocked 7.28 secs, the best by an Indian to date, that also bettered the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships record.
    • Note : She was the fastest qualifier for the final at the Aspire Dome .
  • Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has launched ‘Swachh Himachal – Padhai bhi, Safai bhi’ campaign in Dharamsala. 
    • With this unique campaign, HPCA became the first cricket association in the country to work towards Swatch Bharat Abhiyan initiated by the Union Government. 

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