Daily Current Affairs Updates– 24th February 2016:
Daily Current affairs News Updates about the National and International events were listed here. Candidates those who are preparing for IBPS/SBI/PO/Clerk exam and all other competitive exams can use this.
1. Union Finance Minister inaugurated Exhibition on Coin and Currency of India:
· Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated anexhibition on the Coin and Currency of India at the Great Hall of North Block in New Delhi.
· The exhibition would help in knowing the history of evolution of currency in the country.
· The Department of Expenditure (DoE) under Union Finance Ministry organised the exhibition in coordination with the RBI, CPWD, CISF, the Indian Army, Staff of DoE, Customs and Excise Officers.
2. VVPAT to be introduced in 10 constituencies in Assam assembly polls:
· VVPAT – Voter-verified Paper Audit Trail
· Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballot less voting system
· Assam’s Chief Electoral Officer announced that VVPT will be introduced in 10 constituencies (around 2400 polling booths) in upcoming assembly polls.
· VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that allows voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended and can serve as an additional barrier to changing or destroying votes.
· The printer-like apparatus linked to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) will generate a receipt showing serial number, name and symbol of the candidate. This will confirm the voter that his/her vote reached to the person to whom it was casted
· For the first time Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) with Electronic Voting Machines was used for the Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland in September 2013.
3. Hyderabad India’s top city for Quality of life:
· Hyderabad ranks highest among Indian cities on a quality of life survey by consulting firm Mercer, but is only atnumber 138 on a global list of 230 cities,Pune follows at 145. Big metros Delhi and Mumbai rank 154 and 152 respectively.
· China’s Beijing is ranked higher than any Indian city at 118. And Sri Lanka’s Colombo is at 132.
· Among Asian cities,Singapore tops the list at number 26, followed by four Japanese cities led by capital Tokyo. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is number 84.
4. India offer 1 Million $ in Aid to Cyclone hit Fiji:
· New Delhi has extended one million dollars as immediate assistance to Fiji, which was hit by a severe cyclone .
· External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup announced this, the island nation was hit by the cyclone Winston which brought with it wind gusts of 325 kilometres per hour and waves up to 12 metres high, flattening crops and decimating villages completely.
5. Madhya Pradesh to have India’s longest railway Bridge:
· Madhya Pradesh’s Katni Districtis all set to getIndia’s Longest Railway Bridge,14 kms on the upline.
· The Project has received Clearance and it will becompleted in 5 years, costing 600 crores.
· It will be three and a half times longer than the current longest Vembanad rail bridge in Kerala which is 4.63 Kilometers long.
6. Use of LED bulbs save 421 Million units of energy in Andhra Pradesh:
· The use of LED bulbs has saved Andhra Pradesh 421 million units of energy in a year in domestic sector. This was achieved by using over57 lakh LED bulbs in four districts of Srikakulam, West Godavari, Guntur and Anantapur.
· With the aggressive drive for energy-efficient activities and conservation in the State launched by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, electricity consumers of the four districts of Srikakulam, West Godavari, Guntur and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh saved between Rs 250 and Rs 550 each in their electricity bills depending upon their power meter slab.
7. Union Government to construct 4 bridges on Brahmaputra river:
· In Assam, the Centre will construct four new bridges over the Brahmaputra River.
· Union Sports minister Sarbanand Sonowal said that Union Transport minister Nitin Gadkari will visit Assam on 27th of this month to lay foundation stone of various projects.
· He said that one of the proposed bridge will be constructed connecting Jorhat and river island Majuli.
8. Andhra Pradesh Government release revised master plan for Amaravati:
· Andhra Pradesh government has released the revised master plan for capital Amaravati in Vijayawada after making necessary changes to minimise the damage caused to houses while laying roads.
· Thousands of villagers of seed capital raised objections over Gramkantam and laying of roads fearing demolition of large number of houses after releasing draft master plan.
9.Government notifies uniform norms for start-ups:
· The government has come out with a uniform definition of startups under which a budding entrepreneur with a turnover of less than Rs 25 crore can avail tax breaks and other benefits for a five-year period.
· The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said it would bring about “uniformity” and ensure that only genuine startups get the benefits.
· It further said thatentities formed by splitting or re-construction of existing businesses will not be considered as startups.
· The process of recognition as a ‘startup’ would be through mobile app/portal of the DIPP.
10.AndhraPradesh government, CII to work jointly for establishment of KEZ in Amaravati:
· The Andhra Pradesh government and Confederation of India Industry (CII)would work together for establishingKnowledge Economic Zone (KEZ)in thenew capital city of the State-Amaravati.
· TheKEZ will begin its operations from June this year. TheState government has set 2017 to complete the first phase of the KEZin an area spread over 10 acres and by 2019 it would expand to over 100 acres.
11.Mines ministry to auction 100 mega blocks in 22 states:
· The governmentwill auction 19 gold mines, three diamond mines and eight iron ore mines along with 70 other mega blocks with a minimum area of 100 square kilometre each for exploration to Indian and global firms.
· The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has handed over a list of 100 mega blocks in 22 states to the mines ministry for auction to exploration agencies, mines secretary Balvinder Singh.
12. Budget session begin in Madhya Pradesh Assembly:
· In Madhya Pradesh, the Budget Session of the state legislative assembly began with address of Governor Ramnaresh Yadav in Bhopal.
· Mr. Yadav said that the state government is making efforts toallot one-third public distribution shops to women. He said that the government is also trying toset up public distribution shop in every village panchayat.
13. Assam Cabinet approved Metro Rail for Guwahati:
· The Assam Cabinet approved the detailed project report (DPR) for a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) for Guwahati.
· The cabinet also gave green signal to setting up of theGuwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited (GMRCL).
· State Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will lay the foundation stone for the Metro project in Khanapara area on 29 February 2016
14. NTPC raises $500 million via Sale of Dollar bonds:
· State owned Power producer NTPC raised $500 million through the sale ofOffshore 10-Year Dollar bonds.
· Notably, the company is the onlyIndian corporate other than banks to issue Offshore bonds this year, the company is also set to raise around Rs.655 Crore from the domestic Debt Market.
15. Haryana to become the First State in India to have Aquifer Mapping:
· To find out theexact location of the Aquifer rocks a new mapping technique is to be introduced in Haryana by May making it as the first state to have such mapping.
· Aquifer rock is an underground layer of water bearing rock which has groundwater stored in it.
16. India to induct women in combat roles : President
· The Government has decided to induct women in all military combat roles in the future.
· The announcement has been made by President Pranab Mukherjee during the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
17. Government to Check ‘Negative’ News through Cyber Cell:
· Government is Planning to set up aNational Media Analytics Centre (NMAC)to track negative or provocative content that appears on Social Media Platforms, blogs, and web portals of Tv channels and Newspapers.
· The Initiative aims at introducing“instant counters”on Social Media through Press releases, briefings or Press Conferences.
18. ONGC Approves 5050 Crore in Tripura:
· The Public sector oil major ONGC has approved an investment of Rs 5,050 crore in Tripura for drilling of wells and creation of surface facilities to produce 5.1 mmscmd gas from the states fields.
· TheMinistry of Petroleum& Natural Gas has announced to develop northeast region as a dominant hydrocarbon hub as part of its Hydrocarbon Vision 2030.
· Due to this geological mapping and exploratory efforts, so far11 gas fields have been discovered by ONGC in Tripura.
· Currently, the ONGC Tripura is carrying out its drilling activities with three owned rigs under operation and well servicing operations through 2 work-over rigs.
19. CII Signs MoU with Dubai Exports to Boost Trade:
· With the aim 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.
· It develops long-term growth strategies to expand businesses and maximize the opportunities given by Dubai’s unique position as a natural trade gateway between the East and West.
· It will also organise exchange of visits for business cooperation and provide each other with necessary support in terms of organizing conferences, mounting business delegations and other activities.
20. Bihar Sixth State to Enter into Uday Scheme:
· UDAY(Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) is a tripartite memorandum between Bihar government, state Discoms and the Power ministry for the revival of debt ridden state distribution utilities to save 9000 crores.
· Bihar is thesixth state to join this UDAY scheme.
· It is the second Non-UPA state after Uttar Pradesh to join this scheme.
· It will help thedebt ridden distribution system of the state to save 9000 crores in the next 3 years.
21. INS Arihant – India’s first nuclear submarine ready to operate:
· INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear armed submarine is now ready for full fledged operations.
· The submarine has passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests over the past five months.
· The Arihant, which is the first of five nuclear missile submarines or SSBNs planned for induction, has also undergone deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was build.
· A Russian diving support ship – the RFS Epron that arrived on October 1 – has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests.
22. Intelligence Agencies cannot be made accountable to Parliament: Supreme Court
· The Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking to make country’s intelligence agencies accountable to Parliament.
· The court said this may create a dent in national security. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh rejected the PIL filed by an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation in this regard.
23. World’s First Solar Powered parliament in Pakistan:
· Pakistan’s Parliamentbecame thefirst in the world to fully operate on Solar Electricity.
· The $55 Million venture, which can generate 80 MW power, was funded by the Chinese Government as an act of friendship.
24. Peace talks begin in Afghanistan:
· Talks are starting in Kabul today between representatives of four countriestrying to end Afghanistan’s war with the Taliban.
· Representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are meeting in the Afghan capital for a fourth round of discussions setting conditions for eventual peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.
25. Vienna World’s Top City for quality of life:
· Vienna, Austria’s grand capital on the Danube river, offers the highest quality of life of all cities in the world, while the Iraqi capital Baghdad, once more took its place at the bottom of a liveability list compiled by consulting firm Mercer.
· Switzerland’s Zurich, New Zealand’s Auckland, Germany’s Munich and Canada’s Vancouver followed Vienna – which reached the best position for the seventh time in a row – in the top five of most pleasant cities to live in.
26. Cease Fire to become operational from February 26 in Syria:
· United States and Russia have announced that a planned cessation of hostilities in Syriawill come into effect at midnight on February 26th.
· World powers agreed on February 12th that a truce would come into effect within a week, but that deadline passed and scepticism remains over the new plan.
27. Donald Trump Wins third state in a row in Republican Presidential Primary:
· Republican Presidential candidate Donald J Trump won the primary in Nevada state, which is the third state in a row where he has won.
· Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio failed to arrest his winning streak. With the real estate mogul with over 42 percent votes leading with double digit margins over Rubio and Cruz, who are fighting for the second place, major news channels were quick to declare him the winner shortly after the polls closed
28. Obama Submits Guantanamo closure plan to US Congress:
· President Barack Obama called for theclosure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility after delivering his plan to Congress to achieve a goal that has long eluded his presidency.
· The President wantsto transfer the remaining 91 detainees to their home countries or to US military or civilian prisons.
· Guantanamo Bay is located on an American naval base in south eastern Cuba. Former US President George W Bush opened it to accommodate foreign terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks on the US
29. KN Vyas took charge as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre:
· Distinguished Scientist KN Vyas took charge as Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
· He took it over fromDr Sekhar Basu, who is the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary to the Union Government, Department of Atomic Energy.
· Before taking the charge, he was an Associate Director for Reactor Projects Group in BARC.
30. Vinay Kumar Singh appointed as MD of NCRTC:
· Indian Railway Officer Vinay Kumar Singh has been appointed as Managing Director of National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).
· Prior to this appointment, he was working with Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a railway PSU involved in the study of high speed rail corridors.
31.Ex-Chief Justice of India HL Dattu to be new NHRC Chairperson:
· Ex-Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu has been appointed as the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
· The post has been lying vacant following the retirement of Justice KG Balakrishnan in May 2015. Another retired Supreme Court judge,Justice Cyriac Joseph, has been serving as the acting Chairperson.
32. Mortaza set to become UNDP’s goodwill ambassador:
· Bangladesh limited-overs captain Mashrafe Bin Mortazais set to be named as theUnited Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) National Goodwill ambassador for youth.
· The appointment will be made official on February 25, 2016 following a signing ceremony.
· The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ Global development network ,Headquartered in New York City.
· UNDP advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life
33. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari sworn-in as Chief Justice of Meghalaya HC:
· Justice Dinesh Maheshwari of Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court.
· Maheshwari was administered the oath of office byState Governor V. Shanmuganathan.
· Justice Maheshwari succeeds Justice Uma Nath Singh who retired as Chief Justice on 14 January 2016. Since then, Justice Sudip Ranjan Singh was serving as the acting Chief Justice of the state high court.
34. SBI launches new branch for e-commerce loans:
· SBI launched SBI e-Smart SME, a working capital loan offering for sellers on ecommerce platforms. With this development,sellers can apply for the loan online on the e-commerce platform and get instant sanctioning of the loan.
· The product was launched in partnership with ecommerce platform Snapdeal in the presence of bank’s chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya& Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl.
Some of the important features of the product are:
ü Exclusive& easy finance
ü Quick online sanction with KYC documents
ü Lowest interest rates
ü Collateral free loan upto INR 10 Lacs under MUDRA
ü 0.399% processing fee
ü Concession of 0.25% to women entrepreneurs
35. Mastercard to launch payments by Selfie:
· Mastercard is launching new mobile technologies that will allow customers to authenticate their online purchases using selfies or fingerprints.
· Mastercard plans to roll out the technology to the UK, US, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
· Customers who want to try selfie authentication will have to download a special MasterCard app that will allow them to take a photo each time they make an online purchase.
· President of Enterprise Security Solutions at MasterCard– Ajay Bhalla.
36. RBI extended SAARC Swap Arrangement:
· Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the 2 billion US dollars SAARC Currency Swap Arrangement till 14 November 2017. The extensionaims at enhancing economic cooperation and strengthens financial stability within the SAARC region.
· Under this arrangement,RBI will offer Swap Arrangement up to and overall amount of 2 billion US dollar both in foreign currency and Indian rupee to SAARC nations.
· RBI offered the SAARC Swap Arrangement to SAARC nations on 15 November 2012. All SAARC member countries includingAfghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka can avail the facility.
· The swap amount available to various member central banks has been arrived at broadly based on two months import cover subject to a floor of 100 million US dollar and a maximum of 400 million US dollar per country.
37.Heads and employees of Private banks under ambit of anti-graft law:
· In a judgement that will have far reaching effects on the transparency in banking system, Supreme Court has ruled that theheads and employees of private banks will be considered public servants for the purposes of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
· With this, theCBI will now be able to examine frauds and scams involving private banks operating in India.
· An apex court bench was hearing a case arising from actions of two top officials of private Global Trust Bank, who allegedly abused their position to siphon off the bank’s money.
38.Standard Chartered Bank posts first global loss in 26 years on $1.3bn India hit:
· A $1.3-billion (Rs 9,781-crore) hit taken by Standard Chartered Bank on its loans in India has been a key trigger for the British lender to report its first loss in 26 years in its global operations.
· The bank, which has its loans predominantly in Asia, reported a pre-tax loss of $1.5 billion (Rs 10,288 crore) for 2015, down from a profit of $4.2 billion (Rs 28,800 crore) last year.
39. PNB declares 904 firms as wilful defaulters:
· State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has declared 904 borrowers who owed it a combined Rs.10,869.71 crore as of December-end as wilful defaulters
· Prominent among the wilful defaulters toPNB are Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, Which owes Rs.900.37 crore, Forever Precious Jewellery and Diamonds (Rs.747.98 crore), Zoom Developers (Rs.410.18 crore), Nafed (Rs.224.26 crore) and S. Kumar Nationwide (Rs.146.82 crore).
· The bank recently declaredKingfisher Airlines and its guarantors UB Holdings and Vijay Mallya as wilful defaulters. Kingfisher Airlines owes PNB Rs.1,500 crore.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:
40. Bengaluru startup makes ‘Smart’ Electric Scooter:
· Flipkart backed Bengaluru Startup Ather Energy launched a Smart Electric Scooter ‘S340’, which comes with a touch screen dashboard.
· Connected through an app, the dashboard lets driver sync navigation. It has atop speed of 72 KMPH and can be charged up to 80% within 50 minutes.
· Ather Energy was founded in 2013 by IIT-Madras Alumni Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain.
41. Haier launches Smartwatch for 15,000:
· At the on-goingMWC 2016 in Barcelona,Haier has launched the Haier watch smartwatch for about 15,000.
· The Watch features a1.4” dial, 1GB of RAMand runs a forked version of theAndroid Wear operating system.
· The Device Sports a heart rate monitor and an in-built Pedometer to measure Steps and Calories burnt. It will start selling by April.
42. Facebook launches Birthday Video Cam on iOS:
· Facebookhas launched a birthday video cam on iOS thatallows users to express birthday wishes by recording 15-second clips that can be shared to a friend’s timeline.
· Users can also select from variousbirthday-themed frames for their video Messages.
· The Feature aims to make birthday messages more personal and is expected to come on Android in the Coming Months.
43.Honda removes India CEO after 1 year:
· Honda Cars has removed its India head Katsushi Inoue after just one year of his appointment, a move industry insiders perceive to be a result of not-so-satisfactory performance of some of the company’s new models like Mobilio and Brio.
· This is the second time the Japanese company is prematurely cutting short the term of a chief executive after effecting a similar move in 2012 when it had called back the then India CEO and president Takashi Nagai after two years of his tenure, and also moved out marketing director Seki Inaba, who was transferred after one year of his appointment.
44.M&M to invest Rs 1,000 crore for developing petrol engines:
· Mahindra& Mahindra (M&M) has firmed up plans to invest around Rs 1,000 crore in developing petrol engines over the next two to three years.
· The company is working on developing new petrol engines (1.5 litre and 1.6 litre) in-house and a 2.2-litre petrol engine in collaboration withKorean subsidiary SsangYong Motor Company (SMC).
· Apart from joint engine development,M&M Executive Director Pawan Goenka said the company is also reviewing opportunities to share platforms with SMC.
45.Kotak Mahindra Bank’s acquisition of 19.9% stake in Airtel M Commerce to drive expansion:
· After having gained national footprint post its acquisition of ING towards the end of 2014,Kotak Mahindra has now set its eyes on grabbing a large pie of the payments bank business.
· The bank announced completion of theacquisition of 19.9 per cent stake in Airtel M Commerce, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharti Airtel for Rs 98.4 crore.
· Payments banks are expected to offer last-mile connectivity and the new venture withAirtel will help Kotak ride on the telecom company’s vast network across India, especially in cashless transactions.
46. Uber launches Bike-Taxi Service in Bangkok:
· Taxi-hailing app Uberlaunched a motorbikeon-demand taxi service ‘UberMOTO’in Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
· The Service will be available forshort trips at the existing Uber app, wherein a motorcycle driver will bring a helmet for the Rider.
· The Service is being launched as a Pilot in Bangkok, and will be expanded to more locations.
AWARDS AND HONOURS:
47. Sagar Sarhadi to be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at IFFP:
· Renowned scriptwriter Sagar Sarhadi will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Awardat the second edition of theInternational Film Festival of Prayag (IFFP).
· The Festival will be held in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh from 26 February to 28 February 2016.
· Sarhadi will be honoured at the festival for his contribution to Hindi cinema over the years.
48. Afghan Cyclists nominated for Nobel Peace Prize:
· Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling team has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
· The Women are Challenging gender barriers in Afghanistan,and are among very few Afghan women who cycle socialy in their country as it is considered taboo for them.
· Following an Online campaign,118 Italian ministers voted to nominate them for the Nobel Peace Prize.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
49. Facebook launhced Telecom Infra Project:
· Facebook has announced the Telecom Infra Project, which will look at developing new and alternative technologies to build and deploy telecom infrastructure, with partners including Aricent, HCL Technologies, Intel, Nokia and T- Mobile.
· The Project is working on providing currently unserved rural communities with wireless network efforts.
· A pilot 4G network is already underway in the Philippines, and Facebook has a project in planning for the Scottish Highlands.
50. Sea level rise by 14 cms in last 100 years: Study
· Sea levels rose about 14 centimeters in the past century, faster than during the previous 27 centuries, due to man-made global warming, a group of scientists has said in an alarming report.
· The scientists added that without global warming, global sea level would have risen by less than half the observed 20th century increase. The study was published in Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences.
51. US Air Force tested Minuteman Missile from California:
· The US InterContinental Ballistic Missile Minuteman 3 was launched from Vandenberg Air force Base in California.The missile blasted off at 34 PM towards west base of Los Angeles.
· It carried a re-entry vehicle that can target 4200 Miles away to the Marshall Islands of Pacific Ocean.
· It involves personnel from Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and the 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota 30th Space wing Commander of US Air force- Christopher Mos
52.Australia replace India as world No.1 in ICC Test rankings:
· Australia has replaced India at the top of the world’s test rankings with a 2-nil test series victory over New Zealand in Christchurch.
· Joe Burns was selected as man of the match for his 170 and 65 runs from both innings. With this match, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum bid farewell to test cricket. The 34- years old wicket keeper batsman has scored over 6000 test runs at an average of 39.
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