Friday, February 12, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 11th-12th February, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 11th and 12th February, 2016. These are very Important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016 Exam.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 11th and 12th February, 2016
  1. The RBI today signed a pact with the Central Bank of the UAE to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement, which is aimed at strengthening economic ties with the Gulf nation.
  2. India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 11 February 2016 signed nine agreements. The agreements covered a wide range of sectors like the sphere of cyber security, infrastructure, renewable energy and finance.
  3. Wipro acquired US-based HealthPlan Services for 3150 crore rupees
  4. Ministry of Railways signed MoU with Telangana for rail expansion
  5. 13 national highway projects worth Rs 10,300 cr approved
  6. The US Trade and Development Agency signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Municipal Administration on funding for drawing up master plan for Visakhapatnam Smart City.
  7. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company agreed to store crude oil in India's Strategic Storage
  8. YES Bank partnered with Smartbox to help reduce delivery returns for e-commerce firms
  9. Retail inflation hits 16-month high in January at 5.69%.
  10. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 10 February 2016 unveiled a draft document, 'Vision Assam-2030: Everything for Everyone-Achieving inclusive and Sustainable Development'. With this, Assam became the first state to have a vision document on sustainable development goals.
  11. Karnataka’s Mobile One project on 10 February 2016 won 2016 Best m-Government Service Award at the 4th World Government Summit in Dubai, the UAE.
  12. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda on 11 February 2016 released the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) 2016-2030 at New Delhi. The framework outlines India’s strategy for elimination of the disease by 2030.
  13. The 4-day National Arogya Fair concluded successfully on 8 February 2016 at Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
  14. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) on 10 February 2016 signed an agreement to improve cooperation in cyber defense.
  15. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 11 February 2016 appointed women ministers to the newly created portfolios for happiness and tolerance, and youth affairs.
  16. UNESCO world heritage site, Elephanta Island was in news in the second week of February 2016. It was in news because the island, which was dependent upon diesel-powered generators for electricity until now, will be completely electrified by Independence Day 2016.
  17. Tamar Hahn of Israel was on 10 February 2016 took the charge as the director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Buenos Aires that serves Argentina and Uruguay.
  18. Indian-origin lawyer Davinder Singh in the second week of February 2016 was appointed as a vice-chair of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption.
  19. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), international music trade body, on 8 February 2016 named Adele, the Global Recording Artist of 2015 across all music formats.
  20. An Indian-American danseuse Pavithra Nagarajan has been nominated for 2016 US Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honours for high school students.
  21. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 9 February 2016 launched a report titled One Humanity: Shared Responsibility. The report called for a global campaign to prevent the erosion of humanitarian law and protect civilians in conflict.
  22. Soviet football legend Anatoli Ilyin passed away
  23. Veteran director Aurobindo Mukherjee passed away




Finance/Economy/Industry/RBI –

RBI, UAE's Central Bank Sign Pact for Currency Swap


  • The RBI today signed a pact with the Central Bank of the UAE to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement, which is aimed at strengthening economic ties with the Gulf nation.
  • The MoU was signed between RBI chief Raghuram Rajan and UAE's Central Bank Governor Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori.
  • India is UAE's top trading partner while the latter is India's third largest trading partner after the US and China.


Abu Dhabi National Oil Company agreed to store crude oil in India's Strategic Storage

  • The UAE's national oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on 10 February 2016 agreed to store crude oil in India's maiden strategic petroleum storage. The strategic reserve will help guard against global price shocks and supply distribution.
  • The decision was taken during the state visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India from 10 February to 12 February 2016.

Main Highlights of Bilateral Meeting
  • It will take half of the 1.5 million tonne (MT) Mangalore facility, that is, 0.75 MT (6 million barrels). ADNOC will use this facility as a warehouse for trading its oil.
  • Out of 0.75 MT, ADNOC agreed to give two-third of the oil to India for free, that is, 0.50 MT will belong to India, which will be used in cases of emergencies.
  • UAE will use to stock oil at Mangalore facility when prices are low and supply to its customers when rates are good.


YES Bank partnered with Smartbox to help reduce delivery returns for e-commerce firms


  • YES Bank on 9 February 2016 announced its tie-up with Smartbox Ecommerce Solutions for solving challenges related to last mile delivery for e-commerce firms.
  • The bank will help power the payment solutions for Smartbox network of Automated Parcel Delivery Terminals.
  • The cash on delivery (COD) model continues to account for over 50 per cent of the e-commerce market which is expected to reach a size of 100 billion US dollars by 2020.
  • YES Bank's partnership will address this challenge and help reduce costs for e-commerce companies while offering additional convenience to online shoppers.
  • With the association of YES Bank and Smartbox, COD will be handled as CSOD (Card Swipe On Delivery) on the terminals, which will eventually reduce the burden of handling cash on the entire ecosystem.


Retail inflation hits 16-month high in January at 5.69%


  • Rising for the sixth straight month, retail inflation touched a 16-month high of 5.69 per cent in January, mainly due to costlier food prices.
  • Retail inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stood at 5.61 per cent in December 2015 and 5.19 per cent in January 2015.
  • The pace of retail price rise in January 2016 is the highest since 6.46 per cent in September 2014.
  • Food inflation, as measured by Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI), quickened to 6.85 per cent in the first month of 2016, government data showed on Friday.
  • Retail prices of ‘cereals and products’ inched up by 2.19 per cent in January, from 2.12 per cent in December 2015.
  • The rate of price rise in meat and fish category was 8.23 per cent during the month, while it was 3.96 per cent for eggs.
  • The substantial price rise in these items is mainly attributed to their higher consumption during winter.
  • However, prices of seasonal fruits witnessed deflation during the month, with a fall of -0.24 per cent.


USTDA signs pact with AP Govt. on Vizag smart city project


  • Visakhapatnam will be developed into one of the finest smart cities in the country with the assistance of the US Government and it will give US companies great opportunities to participate in the project, according to AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
  • The US Trade and Development Agency signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Municipal Administration on funding for drawing up master plan for Visakhapatnam Smart City and a consortium of three US companies, comprising AECOM, KPMG and IBM, was given the task by the Government. Taking it forward from the conceptual stage to implementation stage, the Chief Minister said there would be set milestones and timelines and periodic evaluation of outcomes of the project.
  • The MoU was signed by Principal Secretary (Municipal Administration) Karikal Velavan and Country Manager of USTDA Heather K Lanigan in the presence of Chief Minister and Director of USTDA Leocadia I Zak.
  • US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma, Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana, Panchayati Raj Minister Ch Ayyanna Patrudu, HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Chief Secretary SP Tucker, Commissioner GVMC Pravin Kumar, MLAs, MLCs and a number of senior officials were present on the occasion.


13 national highway projects worth Rs 10,300 cr approved


  • The Ministry of road, transport and highways has approved 13 national highways projects worth Rs 10,300 crore. The total length of the roads is 670 km and will be executed on EPC (Engineering, Procurement Construction), BOT (Toll) and hybrid annuity model. The projects would be spread across Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The government is planning to award these projects by March this year. The project was approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) meeting which was held under the chairmanship of Secretary Road, Transport and Highways, Sanjay Mitra.
  • In a bid to fast-track highways projects, the government last year empowered Road Transport and Highways Ministry to approve projects with civil construction cost up to Rs 1,000 crore. This was done by segregating civil construction cost from capital cost of projects.
  • Earlier, the ministry has approved 18 national highway projects worth Rs 17,000 crore. The total length of the road is 982 km and will be executed on EPC (Engineering, Procurement Construction), BOT (Toll) and Hybrid annuity model. The project would be spread across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh etc.
  • The government is planning to award 10,000 km of National Highway during this fiscal year. Till January, it has awarded contracts for 7,000 km of roads.


RBI Invites Applications for Regularisation of Declared Wealth


  • The Reserve Bank today said that those who have declared unaccounted overseas assets under the black money law should file application with its central office for regularisation of declared wealth.
  • Under the regulation, a person resident in India who has declared any asset under the Black Money Act and intends to hold them is required to make an application to the RBI within 180 days of declaration, RBI said in a statement.
  • The applications seeking regularisation of assets held abroad by a person resident in India and declared under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, under FEMA will be considered at the RBI’s central office, Mumbai, it said.
  • Applications in this regard may be addressed to Principal Chief General Manager, Foreign Exchange Department (Foreign Investment Division, it added.
  • The new law, called the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 came into force with effect from 1 July 2015. The Act provided for a one-time compliance window to declare assets held abroad and pay due taxes and penalty on the value of assets declared.


Ministry of Railways signed MoU with Telangana for rail expansion


  • The Ministry of Railways and State Government of Telangana on 11 February 2016 inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the formation of Joint Venture (JV) companies for development of railway infrastructure in the state.
  • The MoU was signed in the backdrop of Railway Minister’s Budget announcement regarding setting up of Joint Ventures with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects.

Key highlights of the MoU
  • The signing of MoU is going to be a stepping stone for formation of JV companies.
  • The MoU envisages formation of a Joint Venture companies having 51% stakes of the respective State Government and 49% stakes of Ministry of Railways. Thus, the JV companies will be fully owned by the Government.


Wipro acquired US-based HealthPlan Services for 3150 crore rupees


  • Wipro on 11 February 2016 announced signing of a definitive agreement to acquire HealthPlan Services from Water Street Healthcare Partners.
  • Wipro will acquire 100 per cent of HealthPlan Services' shares for a purchase consideration of 460 million US dollars. However, the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the next 60-90 days.
  • The acquisition will help the country’s third largest software services firm strengthen its position in the U.S. health insurance market.



India –

India, UAE signed nine agreements including renewable energy and finance


  • India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 11 February 2016 signed nine agreements.
  • The agreements covered a wide range of sectors like the sphere of cyber security, infrastructure, renewable energy and finance.
  • The pacts were inked after talks between visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

The signed agreements were
  1. MoU on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber Crime
  2. MoU on Establishing a Framework for Facilitating the Participation of UAE institutional investors in Infrastructure Investments in India
  3. General Framework Agreement on Renewable Energy Cooperation
  4. MoU on Cooperation in the Exploration and use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes
  5. MoU for bilateral cooperation in the field of insurance supervision
  6. Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation (EPCC) between India and UAE
  7. Letter of Intent on Cooperation for skill development and recognition of qualifications
  8. MoU for exchange of information on trade and business opportunities
  9. MoU on Indian Rupee (INR)/UAE Dirham (AED) Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement


Assam CM Tarun Gogoi unveiled Vision Assam 2030


  • Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 10 February 2016 unveiled a draft document, 'Vision Assam-2030: Everything for Everyone-Achieving inclusive and Sustainable Development'.
  • The document was released to ensure inclusive and sustainable development of the state.
  • The vision document was released during the two-day partnership conference in connection with implementation of sustainable development goals that began in Guwahati on the same day.
  • 'Vision Assam 2030' envisions a transformed future for the people of Assam free from all forms of deprivation, inequities and insecurity within the next 15 years.
  • With this, Assam became the first state to have a vision document on sustainable development goals.


Elephanta Island to get electricity from Independence Day 2016

  • UNESCO world heritage site, Elephanta Island was in news in the second week of February 2016. It was in news because the island, which was dependent upon diesel-powered generators for electricity until now, will be completely electrified by Independence Day 2016.
  • It will connected to the State (Maharashtra) electricity grid and for this Maharashtra Chief Minister has fast tracked a 25 crore rupees project to draw undersea power cables network between the mainland Mumbai and the island.
  • Elephanta Island is a popular tourist destination and it houses caves which were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
  • Also called the 'City of Caves', the island is situated in the Sea of Oman close to Bombay.


Health Minister JP Nadda launched National Framework for Elimination of Malaria 2016-2030


  • Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda on 11 February 2016 released the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) 2016-2030 at New Delhi.
  • The framework outlines India’s strategy for elimination of the disease by 2030.

The objectives of the NFME are to
  • Eliminate malaria from all low (Category 1) and moderate (Category 2) endemic states/UTs (26) by 2022
  • Reduce incidence of malaria to less than 1 case per 1000 population in all States/UTs and the districts and malaria elimination in 31 states/UTs by 2024


National Arogya Fair-2016 held at Dehradun


  • The 4-day National Arogya Fair concluded successfully on 8 February 2016 at Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
  • The themes were based on Immune system, Homeopathy in Women's disorders, Treatment in Ayurveda, Yog se Arogya and Non-Communicable Diseases management in Siddha System etc.
  • It was organized by the Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in collaboration with the State government of Uttarakhand and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • It was aimed to showcase and promote the strengths, efficacy and affordability of the AYUSH systems of medicines.
  • The 8 Free Government (AYUSH) clinics served more than 1000 patients in four days. Free medicines were also provided to the patients.


Marine Museum inaugrated at Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre in Digha


  • The Marine Museum was inaugurated on 3 February 2016 at the Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre (MARC) of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Digha, West Bengal.
  • It was inaugurated along with one day National Seminar on Coastal Zone Management and Marine Biodiversity at East Medinipur district of West Bengal.
  • The newly constructed museum that is thrown open to the public contains Fish gallery, Coral gallery, and Molluscan gallery with more than 500 marine species display.


Indian, Israeli firms join hands for defence and security


  • Over 25 Indian and 100 Israeli companies will come together later this month for a unique business seminar on defence and security in Israel.
  • The seminar, organised jointly by SIBAT, the Israeli defence ministry, the International Defence Cooperation Directorate and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) will take place on February 21-25, and will mainly focus on increasing collaborations and joint ventures (JVs) between the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on both sides.
  • The seminar will highlight the huge potential to cooperate under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and will deal with the new expected defence procurement procedure (DPP) 2016, with a special focus on JVs between industries in Israel and India. More than 500 business-to-business meetings are expected to take place during the seminar.


Awards & Honors –

Karnataka Mobile One project won 2016 Best m-Government Service Award at World Government Summit


  • Karnataka’s Mobile One project on 10 February 2016 won 2016 Best m-Government Service Award at the 4th World Government Summit in Dubai, the UAE.
  • The project was selected for the award in the One Stop App category at the international level.
  • To win the award, the Mobile One competed with projects from about 64 countries of which the e-governance apps of the UK and Kazakhstan were also shortlisted.


Indian American danseuse Pavithra Nagarajan named for US Presidential Scholars


  • An Indian-American danseuse has been nominated for 2016 US Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honours for high school students.
  • Pavithra Nagarajan from California is one of the 60 candidates nominated recently by the National YoungArts Foundation in the US in the discipline of Indian classical dance, said an official statement.
  • YoungArts nominated students who were actors, dancers, singers, classical and jazz musicians, photographers, filmmakers, visual artists, designers and writers.
  • The candidates will be reviewed by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, and will select 20 high school seniors to be recognised as US Presidential Scholars in the Arts for their academic and artistic accomplishments, leadership responsibilities, community service and outreach initiatives, and overall creativity.


Adele named IFPI Global Recording Artist of 2015


  • The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), international music trade body, on 8 February 2016 named Adele the Global Recording Artist of 2015 across all music formats.
  • The singer is the third recipient of the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year award. The award is a unique accolade that reflects an artist’s worldwide popularity across physical formats, downloads and streams.
  • Of the top 10 artists featuring in IFPI’s 2015 global chart, Ed Sheeran took second place and Taylor Swift ended up on the third place.


Appointments –

Indian-origin Davinder Singh named vice-chair of ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption


  • Indian-origin lawyer Davinder Singh in the second week of February 2016 was appointed as a vice-chair of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption.
  • With this appointment, Davinder Singh, a citizen of Singapore, became one of three vice-chairs of the commission. Other two vice-chairs are François Vincke of Belgium and Iohann Le Frapper of France.


Tamar Hahn of Israel took charge of Director of United Nations Information Centre in Buenos Aires


  • Tamar Hahn of Israel was on 10 February 2016 took the charge as the director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Buenos Aires that serves Argentina and Uruguay.  She was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  • Prior to this appointment, Hahn was the Regional Adviser for Resource Mobilization and Partnerships at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama City, Panama, since 2013.


World –

UAE named women ministers for happiness, tolerance


  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 11 February 2016 appointed women ministers to the newly created portfolios for happiness and tolerance, and youth affairs.
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum named eight women as he revealed his latest cabinet line-up of 29 ministers.
  • The cabinet that has eight new ministers, including five women with an average age 38.
  • Ohoud al-Roumi, who had served as director of the council of ministers' office, was appointed Minister of State for Happiness. She will also keep her former post. The post of Minister of State for Tolerance was created to promote tolerance as a fundamental value in UAE society.

Other female ministers include
  • Shamma al-Mazroui (22) was appointed minister for youth
  • Lubna al-Qassimi - Minister for Tolerance, she is a veteran minister of international cooperation and development
  • Noura al-Kaabi - Minister of State for the Federal National Council or Parliament
  • Jamila al-Muhairi - Minister of State for Education
  • Najla al-Awar - Minister of Community Development
  • Reem al-Hashimi - State Minister for International Cooperation Affairs
  • Maitha Alshamsi - State Minister


NATO, EU signed agreement on Cyber Defense Cooperation


  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) on 10 February 2016 signed an agreement to improve cooperation in cyber defense.
  • The technical agreement signed at NATO headquarters at Brussels, Belgium will help the two in countering the modern forms of hybrid warfare.
  • The deal establishes a framework for emergency response teams from the NATO and the EU to exchange information and share best practices.
  • The new agreement will facilitate information-sharing to improve cyber incident prevention, detection and response at both the EU and NATO.


Reports –

UN launched One Humanity: Shared Responsibility report


  • United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 9 February 2016 launched a report titled One Humanity: Shared Responsibility. The report called for a global campaign to prevent the erosion of humanitarian law and protect civilians in conflict.
  • The report was launched as part of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit that is scheduled to be held from 23 May to 24 May 2016 with the theme One Humanity: Shared Responsibility.

Five Core Responsibilities:
  1. Global leadership to prevent and end conflict
  2. Uphold the norms that safeguard humanity
  3. Leave no one behind
  4. Change people's lives – from delivering aid to ending need
  5. Invest in humanity


Obituaries –

Soviet football legend Anatoli Ilyin passed away


  • Soviet football legend Anatoli Ilyin passed away on 10 February 2016 in Moscow, Russia. He was 84.
  • Ilyin was the scorer of the first ever UEFA European Championship qualifying goal and the strike that earned the Soviet Union Olympic gold in 1956.
  • The legendary footballer won five Soviet Top League titles and two Soviet Cups during a club career spent at home-town Spartak Moskva. He was the league's top scorer in 1954 and 1958, and in all managed 106 goals during a 13-year playing career.


Veteran director Aurobindo Mukherjee passed away

  • Acclaimed film director Aurobindo Mukherjee passed away on 10 February 2016 in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 97.
  • Mukherjee was the maker of cult Bengali classics like Agniswar, Mouchak and Nishi Padma in the early 1970s.
  • Renowned actor Jaya Bhaduri was the discovery of Mukherjee. He launched Bhaduri in Dhanyee Meye in 1971.
  • Mukherjee’s first film, Kichhukhon, got him the President's Award. His film Nishi Padma, starring Uttam Kumar and Sabitri Chatterjee, was remade in Hindi by Shakti Samanta as Amar Prem.
  • Mukherjee wrote the screenplay for the movie, which earned him a Filmfare Award.

 
Pulitzer Prize-winning Composer Leslie Bassett died

  • Leslie Bassett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, passed away on 4 February 2016 in Oakwood, Georgia. He was 93.
  • Bassett won the Pulitzer for music for Variations for Orchestra, which premiered in Rome in 1963.







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