Current Affairs Update - 1-2 February, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 1 and 2 February, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming Syndicate Bank PGDBF and other insurance and bank exams.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 1-2 February, 2017
  1. Aiming to enhance quality and improve efficiency of the Engineering Education System, a Financing Agreement for IDA credit of $201.50 Million was signed with World Bank for the 'Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme' (TEQIP III) on Wednesday.
  2. Ministry of Railways and Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) a Government Company of Italy managing the Italian railway sector have signed an MoU for technical cooperation in rail sector especially in the areas safety in train operations.
  3. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Textiles Minister, along with Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, on 30 January 2017 inaugurated the first ever Apparel and Garment Making Centre in the north-eastern state.
  4. The 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav or International Theatre Festival of India commenced on 1 February 2017 in New Delhi. The 21-day festival will conclude on 21 February 2017.
  5. India recently held high-level consultations on counter-terrorism issues with Russia in New Delhi. 
  6. Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today appointed Arjun Dhawan as Group Chief Executive Officer with effect from April 1.
  7. Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil has been sworn in as the 69th US Secretary of State under the new President Donald Trump’s government.
  8. Nik Khanna was appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of BAE Systems’ India operations with effect from 1 February 2017.
  9. Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard said he was retiring on Thursday at the age of 38 after turning down "a number of exciting offers" in Britain and abroad.
  10. The ‘Winners of Excellence’ under the state category of the eGovernance Awards for the year 2017 are Rajasthan and Telangana.
  11. Neeti Mohan has become the first Indian female singer to collaborate with the United Nations on a project aimed at empowering women, ending human trafficking and promoting gender equality.
  12. The United Arab Emirates is planning to launch its first-ever mission to Mars in 2020, an unmanned orbiter called ‘Hope’ from Japan’s space centre.
  13. Kuwait has suspended the process of issuing visas for travellers belonging to five major Muslim countries including Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan in order to prevent the entry of radical Islamic terrorists.
  14. The 53rd meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Programming Committee began on 1 February 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal.



Financial and Banking News:

India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for $201.50 million


  • Aiming to enhance quality and improve efficiency of the Engineering Education System, a Financing Agreement for IDA credit of $201.50 Million was signed with World Bank for the 'Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme' (TEQIP III) on Wednesday.
  • The Agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, on behalf of the Government of India and Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of World Bank.
  • The objective of the agreement is to improve the Engineering Education sector in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, along with eight North Eastern States and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The project has been designed as a disbursement linked one to the effect that the loan will be handed over only on completion of certain fixed outcomes. The closing date of TEQIP III is March 31, 2022.


India and Italy Government to Sign an MOU for Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector Especially on Safety Related Subject


  • Ministry of Railways and Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) a Government Company of Italy managing the Italian railway sector have signed an MoU for technical cooperation in rail sector especially in the areas safety in train operations. On behalf of Ministry of Railways the agreement has been signed by Shri Vinod Kumar, Executive Director/Safety(coordination), Railway Board whereas it has been signed by Shri Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of FS Group, Italy.
  • The cooperation areas identified in this MoU includes safety audit of Indian Railways and measures required for enhancing safety in train operation, Assessment and certification of advanced technology based safety products and systems to Safety Integrity Level (SIL4), Training and competency development with focus of safety, Modern trends in Maintenance and diagnostic etc.
  • The MoU comes in the backdrop of emphasis given by Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Minister of Railways, Govt. of India on safety in railway operation. He has directed Railway Board to collaborate with the international experts on this subject and identify the best practices in this field.


Meghalaya’s first ever Apparel and Garment Centre inaugurated at Ampati


  • Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Textiles Minister, along with Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, on 30 January 2017 inaugurated the first ever Apparel and Garment Making Centre in the north-eastern state.
  • The Centre was inaugurated near Ampati in South West Garo Hills.
  • The Chief Minister of Meghalaya has laid the foundation stone for the Centre in 2015. Its construction was completed by NBCC in a record time of less than two years.
  • The Union Ministry of Textiles will implement projects worth Rs. 70 crore in sericulture and weaving sectors for Meghalaya.
  • Around Rs. 32 crore has been sanctioned for the state of Meghalaya for promotion of handlooms.
  • The Apparel and Garment Making Centre covers an area of 45000 square feet.
  • It has been set up at Hatisil near Ampati.
  • The Centre has been set up at a cost of approximately Rs. 14.26 crore.


Non-financial news - India and states:

19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav begins in New Delhi


  • The 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav or International Theatre Festival of India commenced on 1 February 2017 in New Delhi. The 21-day festival will conclude on 21 February 2017.
  • The 19th Bharat Rang Mahotsav will pay special attention on the different genres of Indian theatre.
  • The performances will be held at Abhimanch, Open Air Theatre, Bahumukh and Sammukh at the National School of Drama Campus. The performances will also be held at LTG Auditorium, Kamani Auditorium and Shri Centre for Performing Arts at Mandi House.
  • The festival will see performances from artists belonging to 12 foreign countries including England, Russia, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Tajikistan, Romania, Afghanistan and others.
  • The theatre festival will see 94 theatre performances and 15 foreign productions. It will also include 10 traditional folk theatre performances.


31st Surajkund International Crafts Mela to begin today


  • The 31st Surajkund International Crafts Mela is scheduled to begin today on 1 February 2017 in Faridabad, Haryana.
  • The event will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal. This year Jharkhand has been chosen as the theme state and the partner nation will be Egypt.
  • The mela will be open for public from 10.30 am in the morning till 8.30 pm in the evening till 15 February 2017.
  • Help desks have been set up by the organisers at all the six entry gates, in order to make it easy for the public to obtain all relevant information.
  • Along with this, the organisers have also deployed a team of volunteers called Mela Mitra to assist and guide visitors in case of any emergency.
  • This year’s edition is also being termed as ‘Cashless Mela’, as all stakeholders have been given the option of opting for cashless transactions.
  • The public can buy the entry tickets to the mela online.
  • The 15-days long event will witness participation from over 400 artists who will exhibit the art, culture, handicrafts, heritage and cuisine of their respective states.


India-Russia holds high-level consultations on countering terrorism

  • India recently held high-level consultations on counter-terrorism issues with Russia in New Delhi. 
  • The same was confirmed through an official press release, which revealed that both the countries shared views and assessment on the threats posed by increasing terrorist activities including state-sponsored, cross-border terrorism faced by India.
  • While the Indian delegation was headed by Preeti Saran, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, the Russian delegation was led by Oleg V. Syromolotov, Deputy Foreign Minister.
  • Both India and Russia shared their concerns regarding escalating terrorism, especially in the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have largely emerged as the epicentre of such activities.
  • The two countries also discussed successful experiences in checking terrorism and countering radicalisation.
  • Both the sides also agreed that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Sanctions List processes for blacklisting terrorists and various other entities must be strictly obeyed.
  • The consultations also emphasized on the need for deepening engagement on counter-terrorism under the BRICS, UN and SCO mechanisms.


Appointments:

Arjun Dhawan appointed as Group CEO of HCC


  • Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today appointed Arjun Dhawan as Group Chief Executive Officer with effect from April 1.
  • Dhawan has also been appointed as a whole time director, HCC said in a statement.
  • The decision, it said, was taken as "Rajgopal Nogja decided to step down from the Group CEO's post to pursue his own interests.
  • Nogja shall continue in his present role till March 31, 2017. He will, however, continue to be a Delegate of the Board of Steiner AG, Switzerland, a HCC Group Company on a 20 per cent time commitment basis".
  • The statement said Rajgopal's leadership has made significant contribution to HCC's success as the country's premier infrastructure company during a difficult economic period. Rajgopal will remain associated with the HCC Group by continuing to oversee Steiner AG, Switzerland, said Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, HCC.


Rex Tillerson sworn-in as US secretary of state

  • Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil has been sworn in as the 69th US Secretary of State under the new President Donald Trump’s government.
  • The 64-year-old won the approval of the senate in an extremely close vote of 56 to 43. His confirmation was more contentious in comparison to his predecessors John Kerry and Hillary Clinton who had won the nomination with a huge margin of 94-3 and 94-2 respectively.
  • Tillerson’s nomination faced opposition from most Senate Democrats who boycotted the vote.
  • The main point of contention regarding his nomination was his close business relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his opposing stand on sanctions imposed against Moscow.
  • However, he was able to win the majority with Republican numbers and some Democrats who crossed party lines.
  • This is Tillerson’s first appointment at a political office.


Nik Khanna appointed India MD of BAE Systems


  • Nik Khanna was appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of BAE Systems’ India operations with effect from 1 February 2017.
  • He is taking charge of the BAE Systems shortly after the company was awarded a contract from the US Department of Defense to provide 145 M777 ultra-lightweight howitzers to the Indian Army.
  • Before joining the BAE Systems, he worked as Country President at Raytheon where he led business development, marketing and strategy in India for the last four years.
  • Prior to Raytheon, Khanna served as the Associate Vice-President at The Cohen Group. He also worked as Aerospace & Defense Director at the U.S-India Business Council.


Rupak Kumar Dutta appointed as DGP of Karnataka

  • Rupak Kumar Dutta was on 31 January 2017 appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Karnataka. Dutta succeeds Om Prakash, who retired from his service as Director General and Inspector General of Police on superannuation.
  • Prior to this appointment, Dutta was on a central posting as Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Dutta will hold the post for a period of 9 months as he will superannuate in October 2017.
  • Dutta was in the race for this top post along with the other IPS officers including Neelamani Raju, M N Reddi and H C Kishore Chandra.


Sports News:

Former Chelsea star Frank Lampard retires at 38


  • Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard said he was retiring on Thursday at the age of 38 after turning down "a number of exciting offers" in Britain and abroad.
  • Lampard did not say what he plans to do next, but said he was grateful to the Football Association for the opportunity to do his coaching badges, suggesting he may go into management.
  • Lampard left New York City FC in the autumn and also played for West Ham United and Manchester City in the Premier League.
  • But it was at Stamford Bridge where he really made his name as a prolific midfielder.
  • He scored 211 times for the Blues and won every major club honour, netting the goals which in 2005 secured the club's first championship title in 50 years.


Awards & Honors:

Rajasthan and Telangana win eGov awards

  • The ‘Winners of Excellence’ under the state category of the eGovernance Awards for the year 2017 are Rajasthan and Telangana.
  • The awards, instituted by Computer Society of India’s (CSI) Special Interest Group in sponsorship with Nihilent Technologies, are aimed to recognise the efforts of eGovernance practitioners spread across state and central departments, projects as well as in district administrative units.
  • The eGovernance Award of Recognition was given to Odisha and Nagaland.
  • This year, the awards drew a greater response due to Centre’s heavy focus on promoting Digital India.
  • Under the Project’s category, around 34 projects belonged to government departments and organisations from across the country. The projects were chosen for their innovative and inclusive eGovernance initiatives.
  • Overall, there were over 180 nominations for projects.


World News:

Neeti Mohan to collaborate with UN for a music album


  • Neeti Mohan has become the first Indian female singer to collaborate with the United Nations on a project aimed at empowering women, ending human trafficking and promoting gender equality.
  • The singer’s composition called ‘Udne de’, which was created as a tribute to all women and in support of gender equality, has been selected to be a part of an album for the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund project.
  • The project titled ‘Music to Inspire-Artists united against Human Trafficking’ aims to make a social statement on ending human trafficking.
  • The project has witnessed participation from over 60 renowned artists and dignities from countries world over in its triple albums.
  • Some of the names include Nicholas Cage, Tatyana Ali, Ashton Kutcher, Ellis Hall, Ashley Judd, Demi Moore and Gillian Anderson.
  • The unique collection will be officially launched at an event that will be organized at the headquarters of the United Nation in New York City later this week.


UAE Aims to Launch Its First Ever Mars Mission in 2020

  • The United Arab Emirates is planning to launch its first-ever mission to Mars in 2020, an unmanned orbiter called ‘Hope’ from Japan’s space centre.
  • According to Yuichi Yamaura, Vice President of Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency, the expected launching date of the orbiter would be sometime in July 2020 when the Earth and Mars will be aligned at their closest point. It would be the first-ever Mars Mission from an Arab country.
  • Yamaura further added that they are delighted to launch the UAE Mars explorer from Japanese vehicle H-IIA at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. Yamaura is confident that they along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will be able to fulfil their responsibility.
  • The unmanned orbiter programme mainly aims to add more detail to the knowledge available about Martian climate and atmosphere.
  • According to the plan, around 150 engineers and scientists will be working on the project.
  • The Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the mission has already been completed, according to Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager.


Kuwait suspends issuance of Visa for travellers from five major Muslim countries

  • Kuwait has suspended the process of issuing visas for travellers belonging to five major Muslim countries including Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan in order to prevent the entry of radical Islamic terrorists.
  • This order closely follows US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the entry of immigrants belonging to seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen in the United States of America for 90 days. For Syria the duration of the ban is indefinite.
  • The Kuwaiti authorities have informed future migrants from the five banned nations to not apply for visas.
  • The suspension extends to all types of visas including tourism, trade and visitor visas.
  • The key reason behind the ban is Kuwait’s worry of a possible migration of radical Islamic terrorists.
  • In 2015, a group of militants had bombed a Shia mosque, which led to the killing of almost 27 Kuwaiti nationals.


SAARC programming committee meeting begins in Kathmandu

  • The 53rd meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Programming Committee began on 1 February 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • The two-day meet held at joint secretary level is aimed at discussing budget allocation to the five SAARC regional centres and special bodies and their annual programme.
  • The meeting marks a revival of the bloc’s processes, following the postponing of the body’s 19th Summit that was scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November 2016. The Summit was boycotted by India following escalating tensions with Pakistan with other member states including Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh also following suit.
  • It ended with Pakistan, the host nation announcing the postponement of the meet, which lead to complete closure of communication between all the member states and no further meetings and engagements were convened.
  • According to officials, the programming committee meeting was kept with the expectation that it would reduce the tension between India and Pakistan and help resume regular SAARC functioning, paving way for higher-level meetings in near future. The first day of the meeting according to latest reports went smoothly, with officials from both India and Pakistan being very accommodative and flexible.


Obituaries:

Eminent theatre personality Asim Basu passes away


  • Eminent theatre personality, artist, painter and writer Asim Basu passed away on 1 February 2017 following a prolonged illness at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. He was 82. He is survived by his son and two daughters.
  • Basu was closely associated with the art and culture of Odisha for over five decades.
  • Born in a small village in north Balasore, Basu was famous for his beautiful and graphic stage craft direction.
  • Basu left his home at an very early age to learn paintings from Kolkata as his family members were against his painting career.
  • He started as a book cover designer when the Odia literary world was immensely active.
  • His art-direction in films like Agni Sanketa (Odia) and Shodh (Hindi) was really commendable.
  • He had performed in films like Jaga Balia, Dadagiri and many others.
  • Besides, giving stage craft and art direction in more than 500 plays and films, Basu also directed over 200 plays.








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