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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Current Affairs 23 February 2017

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Latest Current Affairs News and Updates on 23rd February 2017

1. India to host 2019 Combined World Cup for shooting
The National Rifle Association of India(NRAI) announced that India will be hosting the Combined World Cup for shooting in 2019 during the meeting held in New Delhi.
Combined World Cup will a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It will comprises all the three categories — shotgun, rifle and pistol
2. Azerbaijan Prez named Mehriban Aliyeva as country’s First Vice President

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev has named his wife Mehriban Aliyeva(52) as Azerbaijan’s first vice-president on February 21, 2017 
Prior to this, Aliyeva has served previously as a lawmaker and headed a charity.
She became the country’s first powerful lady and second most powerful person in Azerbaijan 

3. Oricon to set up Rs 100-crore facility for packaging products in Odisha
Oricon Enterprises Ltd (OEL), the flagship company of Parijat Enterprises that is in marine logistics, packaging, petrochemicals and automobile dealership, will invest Rs 100 crores to build a manufacturing facility in Odisha for packaging products.  
The company announced to create new facility at an investment of Rs. 100 crores in two phases in the State of Orissa. 
This facility will be used to manufacture new packaging products. The project will be funded from internal accruals 
As part of its strategy to consolidate its presence in the Indian caps & closures market, the company has been adding capability by raising the production. Oriental Containers Ltd, a wholly-own subsidiary of OEL, recently completed expansion of its plastic closures manufacturing capacity, which involved investment of Rs 35 crores, at Murbad in Maharashtra. This expansion has added a capacity of 1.2 billion closures per annum, taking the total installed capacity to over 8 billion per annum - highest in India.
4. Britannia signs MoU with Greece’s Chipita for joint venture in India
Bangalore based  Indian food-products corporation Britannia has signed an MoU with Greece’s cakes and confectionery major Chipita for exploring certain business opportunities on February 22, 2017.
 ii. This is the first joint venture after Britania’s tie-up with New Zealand’s Fonterra Dairy and and dairy giant Groupe Danone SA dissolved in 2009 
Chipita: Chipita S.A. is a food company in Greece. It operates in 66 countries. It is already operating in India. 
Chipita’s brands include 7Days, Molto, Fineti and Chipicao, spanning categories such as croissants, cakes, biscuits, jams and confectionery. 
 5. SIDBI, Vijaya Bank combine to provide concessional loans to micro, small units
Lucknow based Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bengaluru based Vijaya Bank for providing concessional finance to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).
To promote and strengthen the units in the MSE segment
The MoU also expect joint financing/co-financing of MSMEs for meeting capital expenditure under the ‘SIDBI Make in India Soft Loan Fund for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises’ scheme at concessional rate of 9.60 per cent, along with working capital from Vijaya Bank.
The resources and expertise of SIDBI in MSME financing and the outreach of Vijaya Bank are proposed to be leveraged
6. India aims to bring broadband to every village by 2018

Union government aims to bring high-speed digital connectivity to every village by 2018 and is profound to share proficiency in the area with other nations.
Union Department of Telecom, under the Universal Services Obligation (USO) fund, is working to bring highspeed broadband to every village in the country by 2018.

The Centre is working to bring the game­ changing impact of technology to all our six lakh villages and the optical fibre network to all rural areas. 
7.Punjab Government prohibits sale of processed, flavoured tobacco & nicotine products for 1 year

Punjab Government has banned the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of gutkha, pan masala, flavoured/ processed/processed/scented chewing tobacco and any other food products containing nicotine or tobacco for one year. 
The ban has been imposed in view of the orders of the Supreme Court and shall continue on packaged or unpackaged or sold as one or separate products throughout the state.

8. Government notifies protocol amending tax treaty with Israel
The Revenue Department has notified the protocol amending the India-Israel tax treaty to provide for exchange of information on tax matters including bank details to check flow of black money.
 The amended treaty provides that information in respect of an Indian resident received from Israel can be shared with other law enforcement agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate.
 It also provides for levy of capital gains tax in India on sale of shares or interest in a trust, partnership or other entity. 

It also provides ‘Limitation of Benefits’ Article as an anti-abuse provision in order to enable enforcement of domestic law in case of misuse of the treaty.

9. CCEA approves investment proposal for Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved an investment proposal for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal. 
The project is implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited, a Central Public Sector Enterprises of Government of India.
 It will generate 900 Megawatt of hydro power at an estimated cost of 5723.72 crore rupees. 

The decision demonstrates government’s commitment to promote clean and green energy in India and the sub-continent. 
10. National Biodiversity Congress 2017 held in Kerala
The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. The event is hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. 
NBC is one of the significant biodiversity mega events of the country. It aims to identify practical, evidence-based case studies at the regional level to support the plan of action. 
The focal theme of 2017 NBC was “Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”. This edition of the event had organised array of programmes including exhibition, conference, capacity building workshops and Children’s Biodiversity Congress. 
National Biodiversity Conference, governed by a national advisory committee comprising biodiversity conservation experts was also held.
 Number of experts in field of biodiversity conservation had delivered keynote address and plenary lectures on variety of key issues related to biodiversity conservation, sustainable utilisation and benefit sharing. 

Members of academic and research institutions, civil society, biodiversity management committees, NGOs, farmers, students, corporates also participated in the event. 
11. Scientists discover four new miniature frog species in Western Ghats
Scientists have discovered four new species of miniature night frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail in Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot. These species were discovered among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and Kerala Forest Department.
Four new species of miniature night frogs are (i) Athirappilly Night Frog: It was discovered close to the Athirappilly waterfalls. (ii) Sabarimala Night Frog: It was discovered near the Sabarimala hill shrine.  (iii) The Radcliffe’s Night frog and (iv) Kadalar Night Frog: They were reported from plantation areas.
Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus, endemic to the Western Ghats. They make a distinctive chirping sound comparable to that of a cricket. These tiny amphibians are present in abundance in the region but were overlooked in the past because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls.
 They were confirmed as the new species with the help of integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed bioacoustics and morphological comparisons. 
Threats: Over 32% of the frog species in the Western Ghats are threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, 5 face considerable anthropogenic extinction threats and require immediate conservation. Ancient Group:
 Night Frogs represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago. 
Total Nyctibatrachus species: This discovery has taken the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species to 35, of which 20% are less than 18 mm in size (i.e. they are diminutive).

 As many as 103 new amphibian species were discovered from biodiversity rich Western Ghats region between 2006 and 2015. 
12. Government launches Bharat QR code
The Union Government has launched Bharat QR code, a quick response (QR) code to enable digital payments without card swiping machines. It is world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution launched by Indian Government to move towards less-cash economy.
Bharat QR code has been developed by jointly by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa, MasterCard and American Express under instructions from Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
 It works as common interface for the MasterCard/Visa/RuPay platforms and also facilitate acceptance of Aadhaar-enabled payments and Unified Payments Interface (UPI). It enables person to make payments to retailers without using the merchant’s ID or number. It eliminated need of using card swiping machines making digital payments. 
Using, BharatQR code merchants will be required to only display one QR code instead of multiple ones. Users can make payment by scanning the code. 
BharatQR code is of two types static and dynamic. In static QR code, first code need to be scanned and then amount is entered to make payment. In case of dynamic QR code, new QR code will be generated in real time for every transaction. In this case there is no need to enter the amount. The payment is just made by scanning and entering the PIN.
QR code (Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional (matrix) machine-readable bar code made up of black and white square. This code can be read by the camera of a smartphone. 
It is used for storing URLs or other information that link directly to text, emails websites phone numbers. It is capable of 360 degrees (omni-directional), high speed reading. 
QR Code can store up to 7089 digits as compared to conventional bar codes which can store max 20 digits. 

It encodes same amount of data in one-tenth the space of a traditional bar code. It carries information both horizontally and vertically. It has error correction capability and data stored in it can be restored even if it is partially damaged or dirty. 
13. Shoot-at-sight order issued in Corbett Tiger Reserve to curb poaching
The Government of Uttarakhand on 21 February 2017 issued a shoot-at-sight order in the Corbett Tiger Reserve to curb poaching of tigers.
The order was issued by the State Chief Secretary in view of the increased incidences of poaching from the southern border of the tiger reserve.
Corbett Tiger Reserve ; Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett is considered as India's oldest and most prestigious national park.
The prestigious Project Tiger was first launched in this area in 1973.
With an extent of 520 square kilometers, its whole area comprises of hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and large lakes. It is among the few tiger reserves in India that allows overnight stays in the lap of a national park.
Nature watch and wildlife viewing in the park is done in an open four wheeler jeep and on elephant back.

Dhikala, situated at the border of the extensive patil dun valley, is the most popular destination in the tiger reserve because of its superb location and sheer abundance of wildlife. Some of the important safari zones in the  tiger reserve are Bijrani Safari Zone, Jhirna Safari Zone and Dhikala Zone. 
14. India, Uganda agreed to cooperate in space programme and atomic energy
India and Uganda on 22 February 2017 agreed to cooperate in various fields like the space programme, vocational training and peaceful use of atomic energy. The agreements were announced in a joint press conference by the Vice President Hamid Ansari and Ugandan President Yoweri Kauta Museveni in State House at Entebbe, the official residence of President.
VP Ansari was in Uganda during the second leg of 2-nation of his visit to East Africa, namely Rwanda and Uganda. He was in Rwanda from 19 February to 21 February 2017 and in Uganda from 21 February to 23 February 2017.
Besides these agreements, the Vice President held talks with President Yoweri Museveni at the State House. During this meet, the two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation. They also committed to work together in trade, investment, agriculture, defence cooperation and IT among others.
In addition, President Museveni called Indian companies to manufacture automobiles locally, which would help the country in discouraging import of cars. It seems that this call for assembling and manufacturing vehicles locally in Uganda would provide a new market to Indian manufacturers.

Earlier in the day, Vice President Hamid Ansari met his counterpart Edward Ssekandi at the Vice Presidents Secretariat. 
15. Ministry of Railways dedicated Antyodaya Express to the nation
Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 22 February 2017 dedicated Antyodaya Express to the nation at the Delhi Safdarjung Station. The Railway Board Chairman AK Mital was present on this occasion.
Antyodaya Express is a long-distance, fully unreserved and super fast train service for the common man. These trains, which will be operated only on dense routes, were proposed for the first time by Suresh Prabhu in his 2016-17 Railway Budget speech.
These coaches are fully unreserved Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) second class coaches with the following additional amenities:
●       Cushioned luggage racks which can serve as seats
●       Additional hand holds in doorway area
●       J-hook near longitudinal luggage racks 
●       Multiple unit cables at both ends of the coach 
●       Vestibuled ends for internal movement of the passengers 
●       Potable drinking water dispenser 
●       Mobile charging points 
●       Fire extinguisher with anti-theft lock 
●       FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) Modular Toilets 
●       Pleasing interior colour scheme 
●       Display boards to indicate toilet occupancy 
●       Light Emitting Diodes 
●       SS Slip-free flooring at doorway and gangway 
●       Anti-graffiti coating for exterior painting 
Ministry of Railways has identified following routes for the Antyodaya Express.
(i) 15567/15568 Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express (Weekly) 
(ii) 22885/22886 Lokmanya Tilak(T)-Tatanagar Antyodaya Express (Bi-weekly) 
(iii) 22841/22842 Santragachi-Chennai Central Antyodaya Express (Weekly) 
(iv) 22895/22896 Bilaspur-Firozpur Antyodaya Express (Weekly) 
(v) 22921/22922 Bandra(T)-Gorakhpur Antyodaya Express (Weekly) 
(vi) 22877/22878 Howrah-Ernakulam Antyodaya Express (Weekly) 
(vii) 15563/15564 Jaynagar-Udhna Antyodaya Express (Weekly)  
16. Sahitya Akademi awards 2016 presented to 24 authors
Sahitya Akademi Awards 2016 were conferred on twenty-four writers on 22 February 2017. The eminent authors were conferred with the award/honour for writing in as different Indian languages.
The awards were conferred on them at the annual Festival of Letters. The festival, which began 21 February 2017, will continue till 26 February 2017. The distinguished physicist and Marathi writer Jayant Vishnu Narlikar was the chief guest of the award ceremony.
The awards were conferred in different genres and they included poetry, essay, short story, novel, criticism and play.
Awardees in different genres were 
Genre Poetry 
• Jnan Pujari: Was awarded for book Meghmalar Bhraman written in Assamese.  
• Anju (Anjali Narzary):  Was awarded for book Ang Maboroi Dong Dasong written in Bodo.   
• Kamal Vora: Was awarded for book Anekek written in Gujarati.   
• Prabha Varma: Was awarded for book Shyamamadhavan written in Malayalam. 
• Sitanath Acharya: Was awarded for book Kavyanirjhari written in Sanskrit.   
• Gobinda Chandra Majhi: Was awarded for book Nalha written in Santali.   
• Nand Javeri: Was awarded for book Akhar Katha written in Sindhi.   
• Papineni Sivasankar: Was awarded for book Rajanigandha written in Telugu. 
Genre Short Story 
• Chhatrapal: Was awarded for book Cheta written in Dogri.  
• Shyam Darihare: Was awarded for book Barki Kaki at Hotmail Dot Com written in Maithili.   
• Moirangthem Rajen: Was awarded for book Cheptharaba Eshingpun written in Manipuri. 
• Asaram Lomate: Was awarded for book Aalok written in Marathi. 
• Paramita Satpathy: Was awarded for book Prapti written in Odia. 
• Bulaki Sharma: Was awarded for book Murdjat Ar Dujee Kahaniyan written in Rajasthani. 
• Vannadhasan: Was awarded for book Oru Siru Isai written in Tamil. 
Genre Novel  
• Gita Upadhyay: Was awarded for book Janmabhumi Mero Swadesh written in Nepali. 
• Jerry Pinto: Was awarded for book Em and the big Hoom written in English. 
• Nasira Sharma: Was awarded for book Paarijat written in Hindi. 
• Boluwaru Mohammad Kunhi: Was awarded for book Swatantryada Ota written in Kannada. 
• Edwin J.F. D’souza: Was awarded for book Kale Bhangar written in Konkani. 
Genre Criticism  
• Aziz Hajini: Was awarded for book Aane Khane written in Kashmiri. 
• Nizam Siddiqui: Was awarded for book Mabad-e-Jadidiat Se Naye Ahed Ki Takhliqiyat Tak written in Urdu. 
Genre Essay 
• Nrisinghaprasad Badhuri: Was awarded for book Mahabharater Astadahi written in Bengali. 
Genre Play  
• Swarajbir: Was awarded for the play titled Masia Di Raat written in Punjabi.



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