CURRENT AFFAIRS 2014-FEBRUARY 2014
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Libya Destroyed All Chemical Weapons
Libya has completely destroyed the chemical arsenal it inherited from MoamerKadhafi, 10 years after the now slain dictator signed the Chemical WeaponsConvention, Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz announced on 5 February.Now theLibya has become totally free of usable chemical weapons that might present apotential threat to the security of local communities, the environment andneighbouring areas.
Matteo Renzi Named new Italian Prime Minister
The leader of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Renzi, wasappointed as the country’s new prime minister on 17 February. Renzi, who at 39would be the country’s youngest-ever prime minister, was summoned by ItalianPresident Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinale presidential palace and given amandate to try to form a new cabinet after the resignation of Enrico Letta asprime minister on 14 February.
Ugandan President Signed Anti Gay Law
Uganda’s President Yoweri-Museveni has signed a controversial anti-gaybill on 24 February that allows harsh penalties for homosexual offences,calling them mercenaries and prostitutes.Yoweri Museveni signed the bill, whichholds that homosexuals be jailed for long terms, outlaws the promotion ofhomosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk Elected As Ukrain Interim PM
The Ukrainian parliament has on 27 February elected former opposition leaderArseniy Yatsenyuk as the country’s Interim Prime Minister.He was backed by 371of 417 participating deputies in the Parliament.
INDIA & WORLD
India and Germany Signed Two AgreementsOn Financial and Technical Co-operation
India and Germany have signed two umbrella agreements for financial andtechnical co-operation under Indo German bilateral Development Cooperationframework.The Umbrella Agreements were signed by Finance Minister P Chidambaramand German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development GerdMueller during their bilateral meeting on 5 February in New Delhi.
India and China Held 17th Round Of Border Talks
India and China held their 17th round of border talks on 10 – 11 February 2014.Special representatives – National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon andChinese State Councillor and top diplomat Yang Jiechi – met in New Delhi on 10February and 11 February for talks on the boundary question.The talks betweenboth sides have crossed the first stage – on agreeing to settlement of theboundary question. The second stage talks – on the framework for resolution ofthe boundary question – has been continuing for the past eight years.
India and Canada Signed Three MoUs
India and Canada have signed three MoUs for cooperation in health sector,audio-visual co-production and skill development.The MoUs were signed aftertalks between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Govenor General of CanadaDavid Johnston in New Delhi on 24 February.
India and Israel Signed Homeland SecurityAgreement
India and Israel have on 27 February signed a slew of agreements on cooperationin legal assistance and public and homeland security.These agreements weresigned by Additional Secretary (Home Ministry) Rajiv Sharma and IsraeliAmbassador Alon Ushpiz.
Union Cabinet Approved National Policy OnAgroforestry
The Union Cabinet on 6 February approved National Policy to promoteAgroforestry by facilitating credit and insurance to farmers, besidesstrengthening market access.The national policy assumes importance as thesector is currently affected by adverse policies, legal constraints, inadequateinvestments, weak markets and a dearth of institutional finance.
‘ Maulana Azad Taleem-e-Balighan’ SchemeLaunched
Minister of State for HRD, Dr Shashi Tharoor on 18 February launched ‘MaulanaAzad Taleem-e-Balighan’ under Sakshar Bharat at New Delhi.The programme aims toimpart functional literacy, vocational skill development and continuingeducation to one crore Muslim adults with an outlay of Rs 600 crore.
CCEA approved Green India Mission
The National Mission for Green India has received approval from the CabinetCommittee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 20 February as a Centrally-sponsoredscheme.The project, which has a planned investment of about Rs.13,000 croreduring the 12th Plan Period.
Parliament Passed Whistleblower ProtectionBill
Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed by Parliament on 21 February.The billaims to provide a regular mechanism to encourage persons to discloseinformation on corruption or willful misuse of power by public servants andministers.The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in 2011 and was taken up by theUpper House in 2012 for consideration.
India’s First Monorail Service Inaugurated InMumbai
India’s first monorail service was inaugurated by the Maharashtra ChiefMinister Prithviraj chavan on 1 February in Mumbai.The monorail service thatwill link the city to major stations will begin its first phase of 8.93 kmbetween Wadala and Chembur in the eastern fringes of the Commercial Capital.
Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014 Passed In Assembly
Odisha Legislative Assembly on 14 February passed the Odisha Lokayukta Bill2014, with provision of keeping Chief Minister, ex-Chief Ministers, otherministers and public servants under the purview of a six-member anti-corruptionpanel. The Bill has provisions similar to that of the Central Act which waspassed in Parliament in December, 2013.
President’s Rule Imposed in Delhi
President Pranab Mukherjee has imposed President’s rule in Delhi and acceptedthe Arvind Kejriwal government’s resignation.This information was on 17February published in a press release by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s office.Withthis imposition of the President Rule, the Delhi Assembly will be kept undersuspended animation.
Chhattisgarh Government To Set Up A LawCommission
Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh on 25 February announced that anew Law Commission will be set-up in the state to suggest changes in laws asper the geographical and social requirements of the state. This announcementwas made in the state Assembly.
101st Session of Indian Science Congress
101st Session of Indian Science Congress (ISC) held at Jammu University, Jammufrom 3-7 February 2014. The theme of ISC 2014 is “Innovations in Science andTechnology for Inclusive Development”. Prime Minister of India, Dr. ManmohanSingh inaugurated the session on 3 February.This was the tenth time ManmohanSingh had the privilege to address the inaugural address at the Indian ScienceCongress.
AWARDS & HONOURS
Sachin Tendulkar and CNR Rao Received BharatRatna
Renowned scientist C.N.R. Rao and former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar were on 4February conferred the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the countryfor exceptional contribution in any field of human endeavour.The award waspresented by President Pranab Mukherjee at a brief ceremony in the historicDurbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Malala Nominated For ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’
Pakistani teenage rights activist Malala Yousafzai is among three personsnominated for an award known as the “Children’s Nobel Prize”.Malala Yousafzaihas been nominated for the 2014 World’s Children’s Prize with John Wood fromthe US and Nepalese child rights worker Indira Ranamagar.
VV Dongre and Guocheng Zhang Won InternationalGandhi Award 2013
Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 15 February presented theInternational Gandhi Award for the year 2013 to Dr. Vijaykumar Vinayak Dongre(VV Dongre) and Prof. Guocheng Zhang at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. Theywere awarded for making outstanding contributions in the field of leprosy toeradicate the disease through treatment, training and research.
Sikkim Won National Tourism Award 2012-13
Sikkim has been declared as best state in the country in implementation ofRural Tourism Projects by Ministry of Tourism Govt of India .Union Minister forHuman Resource Development Dr. Shashi Tharoor,presented the National TourismAward 2012-13 to Sikkim tourism minister Sh Bhim Dhungel in a function atVigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on 18 February.
SPORTS & GAMES
Vijay Amritraj Honoured with Davis CupCommitment Award
Vijay Amritraj, a former Indian tennis player was on 1 February presented theDavis Cup Commitment Award .Previously Four Indian tennis icons — RamanathanKrishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, Anand Amritraj and Mahesh Bhupathi — were honouredwith the Davis Cup Commitment awards.The award was instituted by theInternational Tennis Federation (ITF).
Joshna Chinappa Won Winnipeg Open Title
India’s Squash player Joshna Chinappa won the Winnipeg Winter Club Open trophyon 3 February. She defeated Heba El Torky of Egypt in the final.The triumph ofChinappa marked the second consecutive year of an Indian winning the trophywith Dipika Pallikal being the first to clinch it before her in 2013.
Deepika Kumari Named FICCI ‘Sportsperson Of The Year ‘
India’s top archer Deepika Kumari was on 13 February named the ‘ Sportspersonof the Year ‘ at the India Sports Awards, presented by Federation of IndianChambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Former India captain Rahul Dravidwas conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award. P.V Sindhu, bronze medallistat the badminton World Championships, was named the ‘ Breakthrough Sportspersonof the Year ‘, while cricketer Yuvraj Singh was named the ‘ Most InspiringSportsperson of the Year ‘.
Delhi Waveriders Won Hockey India League Title
Delhi Waveriders defeated Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the penalty shoot-out toemerge as the champions in the second edition of Hero Hockey India League (HIL)at the packed Astroturf Hockey Stadium at Ranchi on 23 February.
Somdev Devvarman Won Delhi Open ATP ChallengerTitle
India’s Somdev Devvarman won his third ATP Challengers title as he defeatedAleksandr Nedovyesov of Russia in the Delhi Open ATP Challenger Men’s singlesfinal on 23 February at New Delhi .Somdev last won a Challenger level title in2010 at the Izmir event in Turkey.
Rajasthan Bans FDI in Multi-brand Retail
Rajasthan on 1 February cancelled its approval for the foreign directinvestment in multi-brand retailing.The approval was given earlier by theprevious Congress state government led by former Chief Minister, AshokGehlot.With this decision of cancelling the approval over FDI made Rajasthanthe second state after Delhi to withdraw approval for FDI in multi-brandretail.
Indian Economy To Grow At 4.9 Percent In 2013-14
Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its release on 7 February estimated thatIndia’s economic growth in the current (2013-14) fiscal will be 4.9 percent ascompared to the growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2012-13.The country’s GrossDomestic Product (GDP) at factor cost at constant (2004-05) prices in 2013-14is likely to be Rs.57.5 lakh crore as compared to Rs.54.8 lakh crore in theprevious year, registering year-on-year increase of 4.9 percent.
Tata Group India’s Most Valuable Brand
According to the list released on 18 February of world’s 500 most valued brand,Brand Finance Global 500 , Tata group was declared India’s most valuable brandwith a value of US$ 21.1 billion, while US-based technology giant Apple hasretained its top position globally with about US$ 105 billion.Apple is followedby Samsung (US$ 79 billion) at second place globally.Tata has retained its topplace among Indian brands and its global ranking has also improved from 39th in2013 to 34th now.
India’s First Post Office Savings Bank ATMInaugurated In Chennai
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on 27 February inaugurated the country’sfirst post office savings bank ATM at the Head Post Office in Thyagaraya Nagarin Chennai.The ATM was part of an Information Technology (IT) modernisationproject of the Department of Posts.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
BrahMos Missile Successfully Test Fired InSalvo Mode
The 290km-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully fired on 6February from a naval warship INS Trikand in salvo mode in the Arabian Sea.Forthe first time, the BrahMos cruise missile was fired in salvo mode off theRussian-built warship off the coast of Karnataka with an interval of threeseconds off the coast of Goa.
Australian Astronomers Discovered Oldest KnownStar In Universe
A team of scientists at the Australian National University has on 11 Februarydiscovered the oldest known star in the Universe.The star known as SMSSJ031300.36-670839.3, is in the Milky Way galaxy and some 6000 light years fromthe Earth. The star was formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion yearsago.The star was discovered using the ANU SkyMapper telescope at the SidingSpring Observatory.
Indian-origin Boy Shubham Banerjee InventsBraille Printer Using Lego Set
A 12-year-old boy of Indian Origin Shubham Banerjee has on 23 February designeda low-cost Braille printer using toy construction Lego pieces.Banerjeedeveloped the Braille printer called Braigo, which is short for Braille withLego.It was created from the Lego Mindstorms EV3 set, which retails for USD349.
India Successfully Test Fired ‘ Akash ‘Missile
India on 26 February successfully test-fired its Akash medium-rangesurface-to-air missile from a defence base in Odisha, for the third time. Akashwas earlier successfully tested from the same defence base on 21st and 24thFebruary 2014. The indigenously-developed missile, with a 27-km range and aneffective ceiling of 15 km, was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range ofChandipur in the coastal district of Balasore, 230 km from Bhubaneswar.
PERSONS IN NEWS
N. Ramachandran Elected IOA president
World Squash Federation (WSF) chief N. Ramachandran was elected unopposed asthe president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on 9 February.Kho KhoFederation of India (KKFI) president Rajeev Mehta and All India TennisAssociation (AITA) president Anil Khanna were also elected unopposedrespectively as the secretary general and treasurer.
R.K.Tiwari Appointed as new Chairman of CBDT
R.K.Tiwari has been appointed as the as the new chairman of Central Board ofDirect Taxes (CBDT) on 9 February.He will succeed Chairperson Sudha Sharma whois scheduled to retire on 28 February 2014.Tiwari is a 1976-batch IndianRevenue Service (IRS) officer. He is currently working as the Member ofLegislation and Computerisation Department in the CBDT.
Jammu and Kashmir Minister Shabir Ahmad KhanResigned
Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Health Shabir Ahmad Khan on 7 Februaryresigned as Minister from the Omar Abdullah’s cabinet in an alleged molestationcase while the Governor N N Vohra has accepted the resignation.
Noted Hindi Writer Amar Kant Died
Noted Hindi writer and Jnanpith Award winner Amar Kant died on 17 February.Kant’s prominent novels are ‘Inhin Hathiyaron Se, Katili Raah ke Phool, SookhaPatta, Kale Ujle and ‘Beech ki Deewar’.He received several awards, includingJnanpith award in 2009, Sahitya Acdemy Award in 2007, Uttar Pradesh HindiSansthan Award, Maithli Sharan Gupta Award, ‘Amarkant Keerti Samman’ fromMadhya Pradesh government among others.
Bahrain’s King Hamad Al Khalifa Visited India
The King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa visited India from 18 – 20February 2014.During his three day visit, King Hamad met Indian PresidentPranab Mukherjee , Vice-president Hamid Ansari and held delegation-leveldiscussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on bilateral, regional andglobal issues. After delegation-level talks between the two leaders , both nationssigned three agreements to boost bilateral ties between the two countries.
Indra Nooyi and Chanda Kochhar In Fortune’sMost Powerful Businesswomen List
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and ICICI Bank Managing Director Chanda Kochhar areamong Fortune magazine’s list of ‘50 most powerful women in business:Global edition’.The list, which was released on 7 February, has been topped byGeneral Motors CEO Mary Barra, the first woman to run a global automaker.
PLACES IN NEWS
Delhi Ranked 22nd In Global Fashion CapitalList
New York has topped the list of global fashion capitals leaving Paris andLondon behind. In an annual ranking survey report by Global Language Monitor(GLM) released on 19 February, Delhi stands at the 22th spot and Mumbai at 45th.
ASEAN —- Association of SouthEast Asian Nations
NAFDAC —– National Agency for Food & Drug Administration andControl
IAEA —— International Atomic Energy Agency
BCSBI —— Banking Codes and Standards Board of India
TARC —— Tax Administration Reform Commission
CBDT —— Central Board of Direct Taxes
BOOKS IN NEWS
Penguin Decided To withdraw a Book entitled ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History ‘
Penguin India, the publisher of book entitled ” The Hindus: An AlternativeHistory ” on 11 February agreed to withdraw the book from the Indianmarket. This book is written by Wendy Doniger, an American Scholar andIndologist. The decision was made by the publisher following a legal wrangleagainst it.The decision was made between the publisher and Delhi basedcomplainant organisation called Shiksha Bachao Andolan, who moved to courtalleging distortion aimed at denigrating Hindu traditions. The organisation hasfound that the book is insulting Hindus.
Bimal Jalan Committee On Bank Licences SubmitsRecommendations To RBI
The Bimal Jalan committee which is scrutinising applications for new banklicences submitted its report to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 25February.The committee led by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor DrJalan held its third and final meeting before submitting its recommendations tothe central bank.
IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES
International Mother Language Day ObservedAcross The World
International Mother Language Day (Bhasha Divas) was observed across the world,with Bangladesh leading on 21 February 2014. This day is observed with an aimto promote awareness of linguistic, multilingualism and cultural diversity.InternationalMother Language Day was announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999 and wasformally recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolutionestablishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
National Science Day Observed Across India On28 February
India on 28 February 2014 observed National Science Day to mark the discoveryof the Raman Effect by Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CVRaman).In 2014, the theme of the day is Fostering Scientific Temper and Energy conservation.This day is celebrated every year on this day to spread a message about thesignificance of scientific applications in the daily life of the people.TheNational Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) in 1986 askedthe Government of India to designate 28 February as National Day.
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