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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