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February 03, 2016

3rd February 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • North Korea today notified UN agencies of its plans to launch an earth observation satellite 'Kwangmyongsong' sometime between 8th to 25th February 2016. 
    • Amid fears that the satellite launches are missile tests in disguise, the United States renewed calls for harsher UN sanctions against North Korea. 
    • However, North Korea emphasised that pursuing a space programme is its sovereign right.
  • The Japanese government today announced that it has deployed ground and sea-based antimissile interceptors to prepare itself for a possible missile test by North Korea. 
    • Japan's Defense Ministry said surface-to-air missile systems as a part of a two-tier defense were deployed at 34 locations.
National Affairs
  • The first ever electric train in India ran on this day (3rd February) in the year 1925 between Bombay VT and Kurla Harbour. 
    • The train was electrified on 1500 Volt DC (direct current). 
    • Later, the electric line was extended to Nashik's Igatpuri district and then to Pune. 
    • Around 388 km of railways was electrified in the country before India gained independence in 1947.
  • The Bombay High Court's Nagpur Bench has urged citizens to not pay taxes and even launch a non-cooperation movement if the government allows corruption to continue. 
    • The court called corruption a 'hydra-headed monster'. 
  • Maharashtra government has decided to re-launch a scheme to encourage Dalit entrepreneurs' participation in service and manufacturing sectors. 
    • The scheme, named after BR Ambedkar, reserves 20% plots for small and medium scale industries with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation for Dalits. 
    • The policy is only limited to industries with 100% investment from SC/ST people.
New Appointments
  • Data analytics company Mu Sigma, has appointed Ambiga Dhiraj as its CEO, making her the first woman CEO of an Indian Unicorn
    • Ambiga, who was the former COO in the company has replaced her husband and founder-chairman Dhiraj Rajaram. 
  • Urban Ladder, the online furniture and home d├ęcor company, has announced the appointment of Sanjay Gupta as its Chief Marketing Officer.
  • Major General Jai Shanker Menon of India was appointed as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

MOUs
  • India and Brunei today signed three agreements. They are, 
    • MoU in health cooperation
    • MoU on Defence cooperation
    • MOU on cooperation in youth and sports affairs

Business & Economy
  • India has surpassed the USA as the world's second-largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone users, a Counterpoint Research report has announced today. 
    • India's user base has crossed 220 million, but the smartphone penetration is still below 30% of the total potential population, the report added. 
    • Samsung claimed the largest share in 2015, followed by Micromax and Lenovo.
  • The Union Cabinet today allowed the Indian Railways to form joint ventures with the state governments for speedy implementation of rail projects.
    • The joint ventures will be responsible for identifying projects, acquiring land, financing and monitoring them. 
    • Further, each joint venture will have an initial paid-up capital of ₹100 crore, based on the amount of projects to be undertaken.
  • Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani today announced the setting up of 'Dhirubhai Ambani Centre for Innovation and Research in Aerospace' in Bengaluru. 
    • The centre, to be set up under Reliance Defence, will generate over 1,500 highly skilled jobs. 
  • Amazon has launched its grocery service with the name 'Amazon Now' in select areas of Bengaluru. 
    • Currently available through an Android app, the service lets users order everyday essentials from their nearby stores and delivers them within two hours. 
    • Users can also opt for scheduled delivery of their orders through the app between 10am to 10pm.
  • India secured the top spot for the seventh straight quarter in Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence Index rankings for the December quarter. 
    • Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand take the next three spots. 

People in News

  • The current and 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, turned 53 years old today. 
    • An IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, Rajan brought down retail inflation to 3.78% in 2015, the lowest since the 1990s. 
    • It is considered his biggest achievement as RBI Governor. 
    • He also served as Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund from 2003-2006.
  • Six days after his appointment as the advisor to Arunachal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa, former Delhi Police Commissioner YS Dadwal, resigned today. 
    • Dadwal and retired IAS officer GS Patnaik were appointed as the Governor's advisors on January 26. 
    • Note : Dadwal has been replaced by former SSB chief BD Sharma.

Deaths
  • S.S. Tarapore, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a noted economist, passed away. 
    • A career central banker, Tarapore joined the RBI in 1961 and retired in 1996 as deputy governor, having been involved in almost all aspects of monetary policy. 
    • He served as RBI deputy governor between 1992 and 1996 when C. Rangarajan was the governor. 
  • Former Lok Sabha (LS) Speaker Balram Jakhar passed away. 
  • Pakistani author Intizar Hussain passed away. 
    • He was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013, and awarded the French award Ordre des Arts et des Lettres a year later. 
    • Born in India, Hussain migrated to Pakistan in 1947.
    •  He was an advocate of pluralism and tolerance.
  • Former Pakistani cricketer Israr Ali, who was the country’s oldest living Test cricketer, has passed away at the age of 88.
    • Born on May 1, 1927 in Jullundar (now Jalandhar) in India, Ali an all-rounder was a member of Pakistan’s first Test squad which went to India in 1952 and played two tests.
    • He also appeared in Pakistan’s first test 60 years ago.
Awards & Honors
  • Indian filmmaker Kanu Behl directorial “Titli” has bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016 (FSCC).
    • “Titli” has earlier won at various international film festivals at places like Bordeaux, Hawaii, New York, Turkey and Spain.
Science & Technology
  • A software engineer working at Google, Max Braun has developed an Android-powered mirror which displays important information such as date, time, news and weather. 
    • It also sports Google's voice search feature. 
  • Twitter today launched a new feature home timeline for its offline users in 23 countries, including India. 
    • The new feature lets users discover real-time tweets straight from the source without logging in to the Twitter account. 
    • Twitter also expanded its refreshed Twitter homepage that lets users click and explore various topics on the platform without logging in.
  • A group of scientists led by an Indian-origin researcher Srimanta Middey, has created an artificial material with similar structure as graphene
    • In comparison to silicon transistors for computers, graphene transistors are believed to be faster and more heat tolerant and efficient. 
  • The world's first vaccine against the Zika Virus has been developed in India as per claims by scientists at the Bharat Biotech International Limited in Hyderabad. 
    • The organisation said that two vaccines to fight Zika were developed.
Sports
  • Playing the first match of the Bengaluru leg of season three of the Pro Kabaddi League, Patna Pirates defeated the Bengaluru Bulls 33-24 today. 
  • Two-time Olympian Sanjeev Rajput secured India's 12th shooting spot for the 2016 Rio Olympics
    • Rajput finished fourth in the men's 50-metre rifle three positions event at the 'Asia Olympic Qualifying Competition for Shooting' at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi today. 
  • Kerala emerged as the overall winner for the 19th consecutive time at National School Athletics championship
    • The national School Athletics championship was held at Olympian Rahman Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala from 29th January 2016 to 2nd February 2016.

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