Current Affairs Update – 16-17-18 February, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 14 and 15 February, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains and other insurance and bank exams.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 16-17-18 February, 2017

  1. Jharkhand government and Microsoft India today inked
    an MoU to leverage cloud technologies to drive the state’s digital ambitions.
  2. Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited
    (MCX)
    and Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange
    (SDiX)
    , the world’s first and only commodity exchange trading in
    physically settled diamonds, have signed a Memorandum
    of Understanding (MoU) for establishing areas of cooperation between the two
    exchanges
    .
  3. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL),
    signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for execution of infrastructure
    development works at HAL’s new Greenfield helicopter facility at Tumakuru
    .
  4. State-run Rural Electrification Corp today said it has inked two pacts with Jharkhand
    utilities for providing financial assistance of Rs 15,150 crore
    .
  5. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, at its 10th meeting on
    Saturday, ratified the draft law for compensation to states. However, it could not
    ratify the three enabling laws — Integrated GST (IGST), State GST (SGST) and
    Central GST (CGST) draft laws because of some contentious issues that cropped
    up.
  6. Tata Motors and Microsoft India on 16 February 2017 announced the signing of a strategic agreement to redefine connected
    and personalized driving experiences for Indian customers
    .
  7. Air India on 16 February 2017 inducted the first Airbus 320 neo aircraft into its
    fleet
    . The plane is first of the 14 aircraft leased from Kuwait
    headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company.
  8. Reliance Defence Limited and Dassault
    Aviation
    on 16 February 2017
    announced the incorporation of Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL). The
    DRAL is a joint venture (JV) between the Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL)
    and Dassault Aviation (DA).
  9. The Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of wasteful
    expenditure) Bill, 2016
    seeks to put a cap on extravagant spending in
    Indian weddings by limiting the number of guests and number of the dishes in
    the menu.
  10. The Union Cabinet gave its
    approval for the establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha in
    Sehore, Madhya Pradesh.
  11. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on 15 February 2017
    launched Employees Enrolment Campaign 2017
    .
    The campaign encourages firms to enroll their employees under its schemes at
    nominal damages of Rupee one per annum.
  12. The Kerala Cabinet gave its approval for construction of an airport in
    Hindu pilgrimage centre Sabarimala
    . The
    approval was given by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by the State Chief
    Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on 15 February 2017 in Thiruvananthapuram.
  13. Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister
    of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, on 15
    February 2017 launched the Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource
    Augmentation (TAMRA) Portal and Mobile Application
    .
  14. The Appointments Committee of the
    Cabinet has appointed T C A Ranganathan and Sunil
    Mehta as non-executive chairmen of Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab
    National Bank
    , respectively. K Swaminathan, general manager in Indian
    Overseas Bank, has been appointed as ED in the same bank. Neelam Damodharan
    and Atanu Kumar
    Das
    have been appointed as EDs in Bank
    of India. Damodharan is general manager in Bank of Baroda and Das is GM in
    Vijaya Bank.
  15. Vikas Swarup was appointed as the High
    Commissioner of lndia to Canada
    .
  16. After days of speculation,
    AIADMK’s Edappadi
    Palaniswami was sworn in as the 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 16
    February 2017
    .
  17. Norman Isaac in February 2017 became the first Indian to be
    promoted by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as the Technical
    Delegate (TD).
  18. Justice Vikramajit Sen, former Supreme Court
    Judge, on 15 February 2017 took charge of the Delhi and Districts Cricket
    Association (DDCA).
  19. The Indian Panorama Film Festival commenced on 15 February 2017 in
    Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  20. Thanal, a city-based group in
    Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala has launched a helpline to provide technical support
    to treat organic waste and manage non-biodegradable solid waste.
  21. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced its intention of building
    the first-ever city on the Red Planet by 2117
    .
    The Nation would be undertaking the project in collaboration with specialised
    international organisations and scientific institutes.

Financial and Banking News:
Jharkhand signs MoU with Microsoft in ‘Momentum Jharkhand’

  • Jharkhand government and
    Microsoft India today inked an MoU to leverage cloud technologies to drive the
    state’s digital ambitions.
  • The MoU will support the state
    government to explore cloud, machine learning and mobile based solutions to
    improve citizen services and provide better facilities in the fields of
    education and agriculture, a Microsoft India release said.
  • The MoU was signed at the
    ‘Momentum Jharkhand: Global Investors’ Summit & Trade Exhibition’.
    Jharkhand government has been using an advanced IT infrastructure to provide
    citizen services and driving technology led programmes like Skill India and
    Digital India.

MCX, Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange sign MoU

  • Multi Commodity Exchange of India
    Limited (MCX) and Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange (SDiX), the world’s
    first and only commodity exchange trading in physically settled diamonds, have
    signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing areas of cooperation
    between the two exchanges.
  • The MoU was signed at a ceremony
    in Mumbai on Thursday by Mrugank Paranjape, MD & CEO of MCX and Linus Koh,
    CEO of SDiX. The MoU is intended to facilitate cooperation between the two
    exchanges in areas such as knowledge sharing and research, standardization of
    the product for Indian markets and enhancing transparency in pricing, as well
    as to explore areas for further collaboration between the exchanges.
  • India is the largest global hub
    for the cutting and polishing of diamonds, and has several thousand small
    medium and large enterprises which are involved in the diamond business.
    Moreover, through this partnership, the exchanges have agreed to work towards
    the goal of assisting the stakeholders in India’s diamond industry by bringing
    international best practices in price risk management and price discovery
    through innovative spot and derivative market operations. The move will also
    foster the development of communication channels for the sharing of information
    between the exchanges. 

HAL signs MoU with CPWD to build helicopter facility at Tumakuru

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
    (HAL), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Central Public Works
    Department (CPWD) for execution of infrastructure development works at HAL’s
    new Greenfield helicopter facility at Tumakuru.
  • The MoU was signed at Aero India
    2017 here on Friday. “The project spread over 615 acres of land allotted by the
    Karnataka government will house infrastructure for production and testing
    facilities, self-sufficient manufacturing capabilities of a wide range of
    helicopters of 3-ton to 12-ton class,” said T Suvarna Raju, Chairman and
    Managing Director, HAL.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had
    laid the foundation stone for HAL’s new helicopter manufacturing facility at
    Biderehalla Kaval, Tumakuru on January 3, 2016.

REC inks two pacts with Jharkhand utilities for Rs 15,000-crore loan
  • State-run Rural Electrification
    Corp today said it has inked two pacts with Jharkhand utilities for providing
    financial assistance of Rs 15,150 crore.
  • “On the occasion of
    ‘Momentum Jharkhand – Global Investors Summit 2017’, two MOUs of Rs 15,150
    crore have been signed by REC with JBVNL (Rs 8,150 crore) and JUSNL (Rs 7,000
    crore), in presence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on February 17,
    2017 at Khelgaon, Ranchi,” REC said in statement.
  • REC is a Non-Banking Financial
    Company (NBFC) that provides financial assistance to power entities in the
    government as well as the private sector in the areas of generation,
    transmission and distribution.

GST Council clears law to compensate states

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    Council, at its 10th meeting on Saturday, ratified the draft law for
    compensation to states. However, it could not ratify the three enabling laws —
    Integrated GST (IGST), State GST (SGST) and Central GST (CGST) draft laws
    because of some contentious issues that cropped up.
  • These three enabling laws are now
    expected to be ratified by the GST Council in its next meeting, on March 4 and
    5 in New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. If they are ratified, they
    would be taken up in Parliament during the second half of the Budget session
    starting March 9.
  • It was also decided at the
    meeting, held in Udaipur, that a fourth law, for Union Territories, would also
    be drafted on the lines the SGST draft law, and would be cleared by Parliament,
    said senior government sources.
  • The FM said the legal committee
    had queries from the all-powerful Council, which consists of Jaitley and state
    finance ministers, on the composition of an appeal tribunal in the Centre and
    states, eligibility of members, delegation of powers, exemptions during the
    transition phase, services and value-added tax (VAT) in work contracts where it
    will be taxed, and the definition of agriculture.

Tata Motors, Microsoft India signed strategic agreement to leverage IoT
& AI

  • Tata Motors and Microsoft India
    on 16 February 2017 announced the signing of a strategic agreement to redefine
    connected and personalized driving experiences for Indian customers.
  • The agreement was signed in the
    presence of Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD of Tata Motors and Anant Maheshwari,
    President, Microsoft India.
  • Under the agreement, Tata Motors
    will leverage Microsoft’s connected vehicle technologies by converging
    artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things
    (IoT).
  • The agreement will enable the
    Tata Motors to traverse the digital and physical worlds and create a highly
    personalized, smart and safer driving experience across the digital life of a
    vehicle owner.
  • The first vehicle showcasing
    these state-of-the art technologies will be unveiled at the 87th Geneva
    International Motor Show on 7 March 2017.

Air India inducts A320 neo plane, to add 13 more in 2017
  • Air India on 16 February 2017
    inducted the first Airbus 320 neo aircraft into its fleet. The plane is first
    of the 14 aircraft leased from Kuwait headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease and
    Finance Company.
  • The plane was formally inducted
    by giving the traditional water canon salute at the international airport in
    New Delhi. With this induction, Air India became the first CFM powered NEO
    operator in India.
  • Airbus 320 neo aircraft, known
    for burning less fuel, is configured with 162 seats including 12 in the
    business class. It joins the national carrier’s existing fleet of 66 A320
    family planes. With this induction of Airbus 320 neo aircraft, Air India’s
    fleet size went up to 138 planes.
  • While inducting the plane into
    the fleet of Air India, the CMD Ashwani Lohani said a total of 14 A320 neos
    would be inducted into the fleet in 2017. The CMD also said that the airline is
    also looking at using these planes for international operations.
  • With this, Air India became the
    third airline after IndiGo and Go Air to induct the A320 neo aircraft. It is
    the first domestic operator of neo plane that is powered by CFM engine; the
    other two are using the aircraft with Pratt and Whitney engine.

Reliance Defence, Dassault incorporated joint venture to execute Rafale
deal
  • Reliance Defence Limited and
    Dassault Aviation on 16 February 2017 announced the incorporation of Dassault
    Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL). The DRAL is a joint venture (JV) between the
    Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL) and Dassault Aviation (DA).
  • In the DRAL, the French company
    Dassault Aviation will have 49 per cent shareholding, while the RAL will have
    51 per cent shareholding.
  • The DRAL will be a key player in
    the execution of the Union Government’s deal with Dassault to purchase 36
    Rafale fighter jets at a value of Rs 60,000 crore.
  • DRAL has finalized the
    infrastructure requirements at Dhirubhai Aerospace Park at Mihan, Nagpur and
    the construction work for the greenfield facility will start in May 2017.
  • DRAL will execute the programs in
    phases, with Phase I resulting in the generation of more than 700
    highly-skilled direct jobs and 2,800 indirect jobs.

New Marriage Bill seeks to check extravagant spending in weddings
  • The Marriages (Compulsory
    Registration and Prevention of wasteful expenditure) Bill, 2016 seeks to put a
    cap on extravagant spending in Indian weddings by limiting the number of guests
    and number of the dishes in the menu.
  • The bill aims to check ‘show of wealth’
    and wants those who are spending above ₹5
    Lakh in a wedding to contribute towards marriages of poor girls. It was
    introduced by Ranjeet Ranjan, a Congress MP, wife of MP Pappu Yadav.
  • The Bill seeks that “if a family
    intends to spend more than ₹5
    lakh on a wedding then, it will have to declare the amount proposed to be spent
    in advance to the appropriate government body and contribute 10% of it to a
    welfare fund established to assist poor families in the marriages of their
    daughters.
  • The main objective behind its
    introduction is to prohibit extravagant and wasteful expenditure on marriages
    and to put into effect a simpler and much cheaper process.

Union Cabinet approved establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform
in Madhya Pradesh
  • The Union Cabinet gave its
    approval for the establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at
    Amlaha in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh.
  • The approval was given by the
    Cabinet at a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 February
    2017 in New Delhi.
  • Apart from the main research
    centre in Amlaha, satellite hubs will be set up in West Bengal and Rajasthan
    for pulses and Natural Resource Management respectively.
  • These satellites hubs will be
    established in the second phase with assistance from the International Center
    for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  • To facilitate the establishment
    of the FLRP, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for –
  • Signing of a lease deed with
    State Government of Madhya Pradesh for the land provided by them at Amlaha
    Farm, Sehore
  • Conferring on the Food Legume
    Research Platform of ICARDA an international status as contemplated in Clause 3
    of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.

EPFO launches Employees Enrolment Campaign 2017
  • The Employees’ Provident Fund
    Organisation (EPFO) on 15 February 2017 launched Employees Enrolment Campaign
    2017. The campaign encourages firms to enrol their employees under its schemes
    at nominal damages of Rupee one per annum.
  • The declaration scheme is
    operational between 1 January 2017 and 31 March 2017.
  • The employees’ share of
    contributions, if declared by the employer as not deducted, shall stand waived.
  • The damages to be paid by the
    employer in respect of the employer in respect of the employees for whom
    declaration has been made under this campaign shall be at the rate of Rupee One
    per annum.
  • No administrative charges shall
    be collected from the employer in respect of the contribution made under the
    declaration.

Union Cabinet approves merger of 5 associate banks with SBI

  • The Union Cabinet on 15 February
    2017 approved the merger of the State Bank of India with five of its associate
    banks.
  • These five associate banks are
    State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner and
    Jaipur, State Bank of Travancore, and State Bank of Patiala.
  • The merger proposal was announced
    in May 2016 and was scheduled for March 2017.
  • The merger will create a bank
    with a projected asset book of Rs 37 lakh crore by 31 March 2017. In addition,
    it is also likely to result in recurring savings, estimated at more than Rs
    1000 crore in the first year, through a combination of enhanced operational
    efficiency and reduced cost of funds. The existing customers of subsidiary
    banks will benefit from access to State Bank of India’s global network.

Kerala Government gave approval for airport in Sabarimala
  • The Kerala Cabinet gave its
    approval for construction of an airport in Hindu pilgrimage centre Sabarimala.
    The approval was given by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by the State Chief
    Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on 15 February 2017 in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Details related to the approval
  • The Cabinet has entrusted the
    Kerala Small Industries Development Corporation (KSIDC) with the task of
    conducting a feasibility study.
  • The airport is expected to reduce
    the heavy traffic on the roads leading to Sabarimala during the pilgrim season.
  • At present, pilgrims alighting at
    the Chengannur or Thiruvalla railway stations reach Sabarimala through various
    routes linking with the MC Road or National Highway.

Piyush Goyal launched TAMRA Portal for transparent Mining Clearances
  • Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister
    of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, on 15
    February 2017 launched the Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource
    Augmentation (TAMRA) Portal and Mobile Application.
  • Simultaneously, the TAMRA portal,
    developed by the Ministry of Mines, was launched across 12 mineral-rich states.
  • Objective: TAMRA was created with
    an aim to speed up mining activity in India and facilitated all stakeholders to
    track the status of clearances linked to mining blocks for getting mines to
    reach till operationalisation for the same.
  • It covers block-wise,
    mineral-wise and state-wise information of the mines to be auctioned.
  • It will also monitor various
    statutory clearances and highlight the additional resources generated through
    e-auction.
  • TAMRA platform will help in
    enhancing transparency and accountability in mining.
  • In the case of delay in obtaining
    any clearances, TAMRA will send triggers to the concerned authority. These
    triggers will help the authority to take the remedial steps immediately.
  • The triggers generated by TAMRA
    will also be sent to the ministry of mines, which will allow the ministry to
    expedite clearances in case the timelines set against each of the statutory
    clearances are not met.

Union Cabinet approved signing of Air Services Agreement between India
and Rwanda
  • The Union Cabinet approved the
    signing of a bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Rwanda.
  • The approval was given at a
    meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15
    February 2017.
  • The agreement has the potential
    to spur trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between India and
    Rwanda.
  • It will also provide enabling
    environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity between both the countries.
  • The ASA seeks to provide
    commercial opportunities for the carriers belonging to both the countries.

Appointments:
Eight executive directors appointed in PSU banks
  • The Appointments Committee of the
    Cabinet has appointed T C A Ranganathan and Sunil Mehta as non-executive
    chairmen of Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab National Bank, respectively.
  • The tenure of Ranganathan and
    Mehta in their respective banks is for three years, according to an order
    issued by Personnel Ministry. Mehta is currently on the board of State Bank of
    India and will have to resign from SBI before joining the new post.
  • Ranganathan, a postgraduate in
    economics, has served as the chairman of the board and managing director of
    Export-Import Bank of India and managing director of State Bank of Bikaner
    & Jaipur.
  • He opened the first branch of SBI
    in China at Shanghai and also serves as the president commissioner of PT Bank
    SBI Indonesia. Ranganathan, an alumnus of Delhi School of Economics (DSE), has
    also served as a non-executive director of SBI (Mauritius).
  • Meanwhile, the Banks Board Bureau
    has appointed eight executive directors (EDs) in various public-sector banks on
    Friday for three years.
  • K Swaminathan, general manager in
    Indian Overseas Bank, has been appointed as ED in the same bank. Neelam
    Damodharan and Atanu Kumar Das have been appointed as EDs in Bank of India.
    Damodharan is general manager in Bank of Baroda and Das is GM in Vijaya Bank.
  • Ashok Kumar Pradhan will be ED in
    United Bank of India and P Ramana Murthy will be executive director of Central
    Bank of India.
  • Fareed Ahmed Khan will be ED in
    Punjab and Sind Bank. M K Bhattacharya and S Harishankar have been appointed
    EDs of Indian Bank and Allahabad Bank, respectively.

Vikas Swarup appointed as High Commissioner of lndia to Canada

  • Vikas Swarup was appointed as the
    High Commissioner of lndia to Canada. A decision in this regard was taken by
    the Union Ministry External Affairs (MEA) on 16 February 2017.
  • At the time of elevation, Swarup
    was working as the Spokesperson of the MEA. Gopal Baglay, the Joint Secretary
    in the Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan (PIA) Division in the MEA, will succeed
    Swarup.

Palaniswami Sworn in as new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

  • After days of speculation,
    AIADMK’s Edappadi Palaniswami was sworn in as the 13th Chief Minister of Tamil
    Nadu on 16 February 2017.
  • The swearing in ceremony was
    conducted at Raj Bhavan around 4.30pm, in the presence of Tamil Nadu Governor C
    Vidyasagar Rao.
  • Palaniswami took the oath first
    and then he was followed by 30 ministers in four batches.
  • This is the third ministry to
    take the oath after AIADMK won the assembly election in May 2016.

Norman Isaac became first Indian to be FIBA’s Technical Delegate
  • Norman Isaac in February 2017
    became the first Indian to be promoted by the International Basketball
    Federation (FIBA) as the Technical Delegate (TD).
  • His appointment/promotion was
    confirmed by the sport’s worldwide governing body. He was promoted to TD along
    with a select few aspirants, who successfully cleared a series of tests at
    Doha, Qatar.
  • FIBA in an official letter
    affirmed his new status and asked Norman to prepare the preliminary rounds of
    matches in the qualifiers, which will kick off in November 2017 towards the
    first ever FIBA World Cup in China in 2019.

Justice Vikramajit Sen takes charge of Delhi and Districts Cricket
Association
  • Justice Vikramajit Sen, former
    Supreme Court Judge, on 15 February 2017 took charge of the Delhi and Districts
    Cricket Association (DDCA). He officially took the charge from Justice Mukul
    Mudgal.
  • Just after taking charge of the
    DDCA, Justice Sen formed various committees. In a three-page instruction, he
    laid out the ground rules while keeping most of the committees selected by
    Justice Mudgal.
  • DDCA accounts manager Pritam
    Panwar and Vikrant will be signing authorities in all financial and bank
    related matters. The selection committees also remained same. Former Ranji
    cricketer Siddharth Sahib Singh was named in-charge of all Cricket Operations
    (International, Domestic and IPL).

Non-financial news – India and states:
Indian Panorama Film Festival begins in Port Blair
  • The Indian Panorama Film Festival
    commenced on 15 February 2017 in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The Festival is organised jointly
    by Andaman and Nicobar Administration and Directorate of Film Festivals,
    Government of India.
  • The Festival was inaugurated by
    Anindo Majumdar, Chief Secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The
    inauguration event was followed by the screening of Telugu film Bahubali
    directed by S.S. Rajamauli.
  • The five-day festival will see
    screening of about 15 films of different languages and genres. The film
    festival will conclude on 19 February 2017.
  • On 16 February 2017, Bengali
    films Bastu Shaap, directed by Kaushik Ganguly, and Sankachil, directed by
    Goutam Ghose, will be screened at PBMC Auditorium at 10 A.M. Tamil films titled
    Radiopetti, directed by Hari Vishwanath, and Irudhi Suttru, directed by Sudha
    Kongara, will be screened at 2 P.M. at the same venue. Hindi film Sultan,
    directed by Ali Abbas Jaffar, will be screened at PBMC Auditorium at 6 P.M.

Thanal: A group launches helpline number for waste management
  • Thanal, a city-based group in
    Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala has launched a helpline to provide technical support
    to treat organic waste and manage non-biodegradable solid waste.
  • The allotted helpline number for
    the cause is – 9400147150. The number will provide the caller with information
    and guidance regarding composting kitchen waste, organic farming, terrace
    farming and organic means of controlling pest and fungi spread.
  • The service also includes free
    demonstration and technical guidance on treating organic waste. In the case of
    organic farming, the technical demonstration will be organised in groups.
  • This is not the first time that a
    welfare body in the state of Kerala has attempted to address the issue of waste
    disposal and management by setting up a helpline number.

Awards & Honors:
Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare presented Kayakalp Awards
2016-17

  • The Union Minister for Health and
    Family Welfare J P Nadda on 15 February 2017 presented the Kayakap Awards for
    2016-17 in New Delhi.
  • The Kayakap Awards are conferred
    annually to encourage and incentivize Public Health Facilities (PHFs) about
    cleanliness and hygiene.

Winners of Kayakalp Awards 2016-17
  • All India Institutes of Medical
    Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi: First Prize
  • North Eastern Indira Gandhi
    Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong: Second
    Prize
  • Postgraduate Institute of Medical
    Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh: Third Prize

Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma selected for Vyas Samman 2016
  • Surendra Verma, a well known
    Hindi scholar and writer, was selected for Vyas Samman 2016. He was chosen for
    the prestigious award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha: Padma Pankhuri Ki
    Dhar Se.
  • The book, Kaatna Shami Ka
    Vriksha, was published in 2010.

World News:
UAE reveals its plan to build the first city on Mars by 2117

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
    has announced its intention of building the first-ever city on the Red Planet
    by 2117. The Nation would be undertaking the project in collaboration with
    specialised international organisations and scientific institutes.
  • The Mars project was announced by
    Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of
    the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the
    Crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the nation’s Armed
    Forces.
  • To get the 100-year programme in
    motion, the UAE plans to put together a group of professionals, experts with
    the potential to achieve scientific breakthroughs in order to facilitate the
    transport of people to Mars over the next few decades.
  • The government will be initiating
    scientific research programmes to nurture the national cadres specialised in
    space sciences at various universities in the UAE.
  • The announcement of the programme
    was made on the sidelines of the World Government Summit amidst representative
    from 138 governments, six major international organisations, as well as leading
    international technology companies.
  • The project will involve a lot of
    research, especially focussing on the transportation means, energy and food on
    Mars.
  • The project also aims to find a
    faster transportation method to Mars.

European Union issues final warning to Britain, France, Germany on air
pollution
  • The European Union (EU) in the
    third week of February 2017 warned United Kingdom, France, Germany and two
    other countries to check menace of Air-Pollution in their cities. The warning
    was issued for failing to address continuous breaches of air pollution limits
    for nitrogen dioxide.
  • Heavy smog has covered much of
    Europe this winter prompting emergency measures in several big cities including
    London, Berlin, Paris and so on.
  • The EU countries can be slapped
    with large financial penalties by the commission if they break the union’s
    rules.

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