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February 23, 2016

23rd February 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (23rd February) is World Rotary Day .
  • Pakistan's parliament today became the first in the world to fully operate on solar electricity
    • Note : The $55 million venture, which can generate 80 MW power, was funded by the Chinese government as an act of friendship. 
  • Nepal has officially stopped rationing fuel in the country, which was owing to supply being blocked for months due to the protests against the newly adopted Constitution. 
    • Indian supplies to Nepal resumed after the Madhesi protestors lifted the unofficial blockade.
  • The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), UN's aviation agency, has banned the shipment of Lithium-ion batteries on all passenger flights starting 1st April 2016. 
    • This move came after plane makers and pilots raised concerns that existing safety standards are not enough to manage lithium battery fires. 
    • The ban is mandatory for member countries of the ICAO.
  • According to a report by Greenpeace, Air pollution in India is higher than that of China.

National Affairs
  • Madhya Pradesh's Katni district is all set to get India's longest railway bridge, 14 kilometres on the up line. 
    • The project has received clearance and it will be completed in five years, costing ₹600 crore. 
    • Important Note : It will be three and a half times longer than the current longest Vembanad rail bridge in Kerala which is 4.62 kilometres long.
  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today announced free education for Scheduled Caste students in government colleges including, engineering and medical institutions.
  • After passing all necessary tests, India's first nuclear armed submarine, INS Arihant, is ready to fully operate as part of the naval fleet post a formal induction. 
    • Built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project, the 6,000 tonne vessel underwent several deep sea diving drills and weapons launch trial runs over five months. 
    • The submarine was first revealed in 2009.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee today announced that the government is going induct women in all fighter streams of the armed forces
    • Note : Earlier in October, women in the Indian Air Force were deemed eligible to fly warplanes.
  • According to SocialCops analysis of data from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the tiger population (over 1.5 years of age) in India has increased since 2006
    • The tiger population went from 1,411 tigers in 2006 to 2,226 tigers in 2014
    • Overall, the number of tigers over 1.5 years old grew 57.8% between 2006 and 2014.
  • The Uttar Pradesh State Transport Corporation has decided to install CCTV cameras in public places to capture people openly peeing and put their video to shame on a YouTube channel. 
    • The move is undertaken by the department as part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. 
    • Note : Recently, the Hyderabad police decided to felicitate such offenders with flower garlands to 'teach them a lesson'.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate India's first "Gender Park" during a visit to Kerala at the end of this week.
    • He will inaugurate the 24-acre park in Kozhikode on February 27. 
    • The main aim of the park will be to promote research and other initiatives to facilitate complete gender equality.
  • Haryana is set become the first state in the country to complete aquifer mapping for its groundwater resources by May 2016. 
    • Note : Aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock from which groundwater can be extracted.
  • Bihar became the 6th state to join Union Government’s UDAY Scheme for financial restructuring of debt of power distribution companies. 
    • In this regard, tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Bihar government, State Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs) and Union Power ministry. 
    • Note : Bihar is the 6th state after Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat to become part of the scheme.   
    • UDAY - Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana

  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Exports to boost trade and explore business opportunities. 
    • CII is a non-government organisation of Indian businesses which works to create an environment conducive to the growth of industry in the country. 
    • Dubai Exports works with other Dubai Government Departments to simplify the export process by developing long-term growth strategies to expand businesses and maximise opportunities 

Awards & Honors
  • An Indian-origin art lover and playwright Ismail Mahomed from South Africa has been knighted by the French government for his lifelong devotion to the promotion of arts. 
    • He was bestowed with Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature (The Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres) by French Ambassador Elisabet Barbier in Johannesburg. 

Science & Technology
  • The Minister of State for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma today launched the 'Swachh Parayatan' mobile app, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission,. 
    • Currently available on Android, the app aims to ease the process of registering complaints from the general public about unclean areas and garbage piles in and around tourist destinations for "immediate action".

Business & Economy
  • The Budget session began today with President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the joint session of the Parliament. 
    • The bills to be brought for consideration include the Goods and Services Tax Bill and Real Estate Regulatory Bill among others. 
    • As per media reports, recent issues like the JNU row and Jat protests are also expected to be discussed during the session.
  • Andhra Pradesh government today announced that it has saved 421 million unit power using LED bulbs
    • This was achieved by using over 57 lakh LED bulbs in four districts of Srikakulam, West Godavari, Guntur and Anantapur.
  • Tata Motors today announced that it has renamed its upcoming hatchback Zica as Tiago
    • Note : The carmaker had earlier said that it will have a new name for the car, following the recent outbreak of the Zika virus in Latin America. 
    • The car, which was showcased at the Auto Expo 2016 earlier, may be launched by March-end, the company said.
  • The government's 5% stake sale in power producer NTPC has commenced today on the stock exchanges. 
    • Note : Currently, the government holds 74.96% stake in the firm, and the last stake sale in NTPC was held in February 2013.
  • Supporting the celebration of a decade of the annual festival, 'Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras', Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has transformed one of its branches into an LGBT-themed bank called 'GAYNZ'. 
    • Earlier, the bank, over the years of the festival, continued to support LGBT rights with initiatives including the 'GAYTM', where rainbow coloured ATMs were installed.
  • India continues to remain the world's largest arms importer, accounting for 14% of the global imports in the 2011-2015 timeframe, in yet another indicator of the country's enduring failure to build a strong domestic defence-industrial base (DIB).
    • The latest data on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), also shows India's arms imports remain three times greater than those of its rivals China and Pakistan. Its biggest suppliers are Russia, the US, Israel and France.

New Appointments
  • Former Chief Justice of India Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu (H L Dattu) was today selected as the next Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.
    • The post had been lying vacant since May 11 last year, when Mr. K.G. Balakrishnan demitted office after his five-year term. 
    • Justice Cyriac Joseph had been functioning as the acting chairperson since then. 
  • Indian-origin Sikh Amar Singh has been appointed as the Police Commissioner of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur. 
    • This is reportedly the highest police rank achieved by a member of the Sikh community in the Muslim-majority country. 
    • Singh, a third-generation policeman, was previously a Deputy Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur and headed the Criminal Investigation Department in Malaysia's Klang.
  • Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (formerly MCX Stock Exchange) has appointed its interim Managing Director & CEO Udai Kumar as MD & CEO after receiving necessary approvals from securities regulator SEBI.
  • Distinguished scientist KN Vyas has been appointed as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for a term of three years.

  • Italy’s Sara Errani defeated Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova to clinch the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships women’s singles title.
  • Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Football Club (FC) has won the 2016 Sait Nagjee International Club Football Tournament. 
    • With this victory, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk became first European team to win this prestigious Football tournament held in India. 
  • India’s Kumaravel Prem Kumar has won a silver medal in long jump event on the final day of Asian Indoor Athletics Championships held in Doha.

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