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Aditya Birla Nuvo, Idea Cellular formed joint venture for setting up Payments Bank
- Aditya Birla Group’s two companies Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd (ABNL) and Idea Cellular Limited on 19 February 2016 announced that they formed a joint venture company.
- The joint venture will be known as Aditya Birla Idea Payment Banks Limited and was set up under the Guidelines for Licensing of Payment Banks issued by the Reserve Bank of India on 27 November 2014.
- In the payments bank, while Aditya Birla Nuvo will be holding up to 51 percent shares, balance 49 percent shares will be held by the Idea Cellular.
- While ABNL is a 4.4 billion US dollar premium conglomerate and active in textiles and apparel, carbon black, fertilizers, insulators, mobile telephony and financial services; Idea Cellular is India's third largest mobile operator by subscriber base.
Wipro ties up with Verveba Telecom
- Software major Wipro has tied up with Verveba, a telecom network engineering company, for providing advanced mobile radio network optimisation solutions.
- The companies will jointly offer solutions to address industry challenges in generating measurable economic value from fast growing, mobile network technology deployments and optimisation, especially in 4G and single RAN technologies.
- The companies will work together on business development activities and expanding solutions to the telecom service providers globally.
CII signs MoU with Dubai exports to boost trade
- Aiming to strengthen India-UAE economic ties, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has signed an MoU with Dubai Exports to boost trade and explore business opportunities.
- CII, a non-government organisation, has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai Exports, which works with other Dubai Government Departments to simplify the export process.
- It develops long-term growth strategies to expand businesses and maximise the opportunities given by Dubai's unique position as a natural trade gateway between the East and West.
Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers formed to suggest measures on transport sector
- Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on 22 February 2016 formed an Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers.
- An announcement in this regard was made at the 16th Meeting of National Road Safety Council by the Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi.
- The group, chaired by the Rajasthan Transport Minister Yunus Khan, will suggest measures to boost the transport sector, improve the public transport system and minimise road accidents in the country.
- The formation of the group is in tune with the Union Government’s concerted action plan to reduce road accidents by half by 2019.
PM Narendra Modi launched Rurban Mission in Chhattisgarh
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 February 2016 launched Shyama Prasad Mukherjee National Rurban Mission. The mission was launched from Kurubhat village in Dongargarh block of Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh.
- The Rurban Mission seeks to develop smart village on the line of smart cities and reduce the burden of migration to the cities through adopting ‘cluster approach’.
- Under the Mission, Murmunda village cluster in Rajnandgaon will cater 16 village panchayats - Kurrubhat, Bhagwantola, Bhandarpur, Haransinghi, Jamri, Jatkanhar, Khallari, Matketa, Medha, Mudhpar, Murmunda, Nagtarai, Pinkapar, Pipariya, Rajkatta and Raka.
Swachh Paryatan mobile app launched
- The Centre has launched a mobile app ‘Swachh Paryatan’ in order to facilitate general public to communicate their complaints about any unclean area/garbage piles in and around tourist destinations.
- The app, which is available on Android Phones, will also be soon available on Apple and Microsoft as well, the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement on Monday.
- It shall be monitored by the Project Monitoring Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission in Ministry of Tourism.
- Initially, 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments such as Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, Qutub Minar Complex, among others, have been identified for inclusion in the app, but it would be scaled up to include more monuments as the campaign expands, the statement said.
ISRO successfully tested high-thrust Cryogenic Engine CE-20
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 19 February 2016 successfully tested high-thrust cryogenic engine CE-20 at its Propulsion Research Centre in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.
- The successful hotbed test lasted 640 seconds and paved the way for the first developmental flight of the GSLV Mark 3 in December 2016.
- The GSLV Mark 3, the biggest rocket made in India, will be capable of launching 4-tonne satellites into geosynchronous orbit.
- So far India's GSLVs were being powered by cryogenic engines given by Russia. But this development marks a milestone in the country's effort to develop a big cryogenic engine to fly satellites of up to five tonnes.
Kalikho Pul sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh
- Kalikho Pul on 19 February 2016 was sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Pul was sworn in as the CM with the support of 18 rebel Congress MLAs, and two Independents and 11 BJP MLAs who gave outside support.
- State Governor J P Rajkhowa administered the oath of office to Pul around 9.30 in the night.
- On 26 January 2016, President Pranab Mukherjee approved the Union Cabinet’s recommendation for the imposition of President’s rule on Arunachal Pradesh.
- The President’s Rule was lifted after the Supreme Court vacated its interim order to maintain status quo in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, paving the way for government formation.
Justice Vineet Saran appointed as the new Chief Justice of Orissa High Court
- President Pranab Mukherjee on 22 February 2016 appointed Justice Vineet Saran as the new Chief Justice of Orissa (Odisha) High Court. He will take oath on 26 February 2016.
- Prior to this appointment, Justice Saran was working as a senior judge of Karnataka High Court.
- The post of Orissa (Odisha) Chief Justice was vacant since 15 February 2016 as Justice D H Waghela was transferred be the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court.
Faustin-Archange Touadera elected President of Central African Republic
- Former Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera on 20 February 2016 was declared winner in the second round of presidential elections.
- As per the initial results announced by National Elections Authority (ANE) president Marie-Madeleine Nkouet, Touadera, who campaigned against corruption, won 62.71 percent of votes cast in the 14 February 2016 election. On the other hand, his contender Anicet-Georges Dologuele managed to poll 37.29 percent of the votes.
India again world's biggest arms importer: Swedish think-tank
- India has yet again emerged as the world's largest importer of arms, with Russia being the top supplier garnering 70% of the Indian market, a Stockholm-based think-tank said today.
- India's imports, accounting for 14% of global arms imports, were three times greater than those of China and Pakistan, it said.
- Interestingly, six of the top 10 largest arms importers in the period 2011-15 are in Asia and Oceania.
- India tops the list with 14% of global arms imports. China ranks second with 4.7%, Australia (3.6%), Pakistan (3.3%), Vietnam (2.9%) and South Korea (2.6%).
- The emergence of the US as a major supplier to India is a recent development. The US imports are also growing. They were 11 times higher in 2011-15 than in 2006-10, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report.
- India was the largest importer of major arms in 2011-15, accounting for 14% of the global total, the report titled 'Trends in International Arms Transfers' said.
- Between 2006-10 and 2011-15 imports increased by 90%.
- India was the world's largest importer of weapons and military equipment in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
International Mother Language Day observed on February 21
- International Mother Language Day 2016 was celebrated across the world on 21 February 2016. The theme for the year 2016 is Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes.
- The theme emphasizes the importance of appropriate languages of instruction, usually mother tongues, in the early years of schooling.
World Day of Social Justice observed on 20 February
- World Day of Social Justice was observed on 20 February 2016 with the theme A Just Transition - environmentally sustainable economies and societies.
- To mark the occasion, various activities were organised across the world to stress importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which laid special emphasis on achieving social justice.
Punjab Warriors defeated Kalinga Lancers to win 2016 Hockey India League
- The Jaypee Punjab Warriors on 21 February 2016 defeated Kalinga Lancers 6-1 to clinch Hockey India League (HIL) title in the fourth edition of the six-team tournament at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
- The Punjab Warriors were third time lucky as they had finished runners-up in the last two editions. They lost to Delhi Waveriders in 2014 and to Ranchi Rays in 2015.
- Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das presented the winner's trophy to Jaypee Punjab Warriors captain Sardar Singh and Mark Knowles.
- The Player of the Tournament Award of 50 lakh rupees was awarded to Rupinder Pal Singh of Delhi Waveriders.
New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum scored fastest test century in 54 balls
- New Zealand cricket team captain Brendon McCullum on 20 February 2016 scored fastest test century. McCullum scored the century in record 54 balls against Australia on the first day of the 2nd match that was played for Trans-Tasman Trophy in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- To score the fastest and the 12th test century, the 34-year old player took 2 balls less than West Indies' Viv Richards and Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq who jointly held the previous record.
- While Viv Richards scored it against England in Antigua in 1986, Misbah-ul-Haq’s century came against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014 in 56 balls.
Italy's Sara Errani clinched Dubai Tennis Championships title
- Italy’s Sara Errani on 20 February 2016 defeated Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova to clinch the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships women’s singles title.
- A former Top 10 fixture and French Open finalist, Errani's greater big-match experience shone through as she emerged victorious by a 6-0, 6-2.
Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary won silver in Asian Indoor Athletics Championships
- Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary on 21 February 2016 won silver medal at the 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. His silver helped India to increase its medal tally to five in the championships.
- Maheswary had a modest jump of 16.16 metres. Gold went to Kazakhstan’s Roman Valiyev with 16.69m and Rashid Ahmed Al Mannai won the bronze with 15.97m.
Ronnie O'Sullivan defeated Neil Robertson to win 2016 Welsh Open
- Ronnie O'Sullivan on 21 February 2016 won seven frames in a row to beat Neil Robertson 9-5 and win 2016 BetVictor Welsh Open title held at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
- O'Sullivan met Robertson in the final. Despite trailing 3–5 after the afternoon session, O'Sullivan won all six frames played in the evening session to defeat Robertson 9–5 and equal John Higgins' record of four Welsh Open titles.
- It was O'Sullivan's 28th ranking title, which put him in joint second place with Higgins and Steve Davis for the number of career ranking titles.
Awards & Honors –
Malayalam film Ottal named best children's film at Berlin International Film Festival
- Malayalam film “Ottal” was named the Best Children's Film at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. It was honoured with the Crystal Bear Award in the 'Generation K-Plus' section.
- The film, directed by Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair, is about the story of an old fisherman and his grandson. The movie is an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's short story 'Vanaka'.
- Jayaraj is known for adapting literary classic into films. He has earlier made films based on Shakespeare's works such as "Othello" and "Antony and Cleopatra". This is the third year in a row that Indian films have triumphed.
To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee died
- Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, passed away on 19 February 2016 in Monroeville, Alabama, U.S. She was 89.
- Lee was widely known for her debut novel To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. Immediately successful, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature.
- The author’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, was written in the mid-1950s and controversially published in July 2015 as a sequel, though it was later confirmed to be To Kill a Mockingbird's first draft.