Centre clears Rs 62 crore for cleaning Sal river
- The central government has approved a project to abate pollution of river Sal at Navelim in Goa at an estimated cost of Rs 61.7 crore.
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had in 2015 identified the river stretch at Navelim as one of the 302 polluted river stretches across the country based on bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) levels – a key indicator of organic pollution showing water quality.
- Cost of the project, covering setting up of sewage treatment facilities and sewer network, will be shared equally between the Centre and state government.
- The project was approved by the Union environment ministry last week under its National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) which covers 31 rivers (other than Ganga and its tributaries) in 14 states.
Mughal-themed Taj Mahotsav to start with drama on Ram this year
- This year’s ‘Taj Mahotsav’ will start with a dance-drama based on Lord Ram instead of the usual theme based on Mughal culture. The move has led to the state government being accused of ignoring the Mughal history. The government has, however, denied any role in the decision, saying that the event is organised by local administration.
Booking Train Ticket Now Easier; Railways to Setup PRS Counters at Post Offices Across Country
- Indian Railways is likely to setup Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters at Post Offices across the country.
- For this purpose, it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Department of Posts. Notably, at present, PRS counters are available at about 280 post offices all over India.
- At present, the highest number of Passenger Reservation System counters at the post offices are available in Karnataka (44), followed by Maharashtra (36), Andhra Pradesh (24) and Uttar Pradesh (23). The least are available in Sikkim (0), followed by Mizoram (1) and Meghalaya (2).
Mumbai airport becomes world’s busiest single-runway airport
- Mumbai airport created a new world record for single-runway operations on 20th Jan 2018 by handling 980 arrivals and take-offs in 24 hours, or almost one flight every minute.
- With this, the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International airport bettered its own feat of 974 flights in 24 hours, recorded on December 6, 2017.
- The airport has an average of 48 departures and arrivals during peak hours.
UP: State government in association with UNICEF launches DASTAK campaign
- In Uttar Pradesh, State government in association with UNICEF today launched massive door to door campaign DASTAK to eradicate deadly Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and Japanise Encephalitis disease in the state.
- The war cry of DASTAK is Darwaja khatkhatao, AES aur JE ko bhagao and launched the campaign in Lucknow.
- In this massive campaign, many departments of the state especially health, rural development, primary education will work together to spread awareness about the diseases through mass media communication, provide clean drinking water, initiate sanitation drive, ensure vaccination and early treatment so that disease should be nipped in the bud. Children of 600 schools in the affected areas will also be part of this campaign.
Sushma Swaraj to visit Saudi Arabia
- India is stepping up its diplomacy with the Arab world where a large number of Indians stay and work. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Palestine, the United Arab Emirates and Oman from February 9 to 12, it was announced on Sunday that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj too will visit Saudi Arabia from February 6 to 8.
- She will inaugurate the Janadriyah Festival of Saudi Arabia.
- India has been invited as the guest of honour country at the festival, which is the most prestigious and popular “National Heritage and Culture Festival” of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is being organised annually since 1985.
World’s first robot citizen makes India debut at IIT-Bombay
- Sophia, a lifelike robot, has made its first appearance at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) during its cultural extravaganza, TechFest.
- The humanoid robot, draped in a sari, had a 15-minute conversation with a student on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to the issues facing the world in Mumbai on Saturday.
- Sophia was developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and activated in 2015. It imitates human gestures and facial expressions, and is able to make conversation on predefined topics. The robot was granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia in October, the report said.
New AI system can train robots for armies
- Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence technique that will teach robots and computer programmes to interact with a human instructor and perform tasks for the army.
- First introduced by researchers as Training an Agent Manually via Evaluative Reinforcement (TAMER), the team developed a new algorithm called Deep TAMER.
- Researchers at the US Army Research Laboratory and the University of Texas at Austin considered a specific case where a human provides real-time feedback in the form of critique.
ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2: World’s first mission to land near Moon’s south-pole
- ISRO is set to launch the much-anticipated Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission around April this year from Sriharikota.
- The Indian space agency’s Chairman Dr. K Sivan said that they have identified two landing sites for Chandrayaan-2 near the south pole of the moon.
- He added, “No other moon mission has landed in this area.”
- The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II will reportedly carry the Chandrayaan-2.
India to Regulate Cryptocurrencies by March 31st
- Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has said there will be regulations for cryptocurrencies by the end of this fiscal.
- The exchanges which are operating currently are not regulated and there are no legal requirements for conducting KYC, he added.
- The government in the Budget said it will take all measures to eliminate the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities.
Naba Kumar Nayak, new State Election Commissioner in Odisha
- Former bureaucrat Naba Kumar Nayak has been appointed as the State Election Commissioner in Odisha.
Nayak will replace Rabi Narayan Senapati.
- A retired IAS officer, Nayak has long administrative experience including election management.
- He had served as a member and the chairman in-charge of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC).
DGA Awards: Guillermo Del Toro Wins For ‘The Shape Of Water’
- The Directors Guild of America honored outstanding achievement in directing for film and television tonight at the DGA Awards. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water won the award for Best Feature while Reed Morano walked away with the award for Dramatic Series for The Handmaid’s Tale. Jordan Peele also won big with the First-Time Feature Award for Get Out.
India Open: Zhang beats Sindhu in final; Shi Yuqi claims men’s crown
- Shi Yuqi won the India Open badminton tournament for the first time after having not won a single title in 2017.
- Shi Yuqi, the current world number eight, defeated Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen in the Indian Open badminton tournament 21-18,21-14.
- Beiwen Zhang won in the women’s section.
Here are the complete list of winners:
1. Men’s Singles: Shi Yuqi (China)
2. Women’s Singles: Beiwen Zhang (America), P V Sindhu (runner up)
3. Men’s Doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon(Indonesia) and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia)
4. Women’s Doubles: Greysia Polii (Indonesia) and Apriyani Rahayu (Indonesia)
5. Mixed Doubles: Mathias Christiansen (Denmark) a nd Christinna Pedersen (Denmark)
Shubhankar Sharma wins second European Tour title in Malaysia
- Shubhankar Sharma of India won his second European Tour title after carding 10 birdies in a joint tournament-low 62 in the final round of the Maybank Championship on Sunday.
- Sharma had won his maiden title at the Joburg Open in December last year.
Nicos again became President of Cyprus
- Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has won re-election for a second term.
- The official final result after a second-round run-off put the conservative incumbent on 55.99% of the vote, ahead of Communist-backed Stavros Malas on 44%.
- Anastasiades has taken credit for steering the economy of Cyprus to recovery after it was plunged into crisis in 2013.
“A Century is Not Enough”: Autobiography of Sourav Ganguly
- Former Team India captain Sourav Ganguly’s autobiography is soon-to-be-published and it is named “A Century is Not Enough”.
- The book is co-authored by Gautam Bhattacharya and published by Juggernaut Books.
- The book covers the ups and downs in more than a decade long career of the former Indian captain fondly called ‘Dada’.
Book on Dhaka terror attack victim released
- A book, titled Abinta Kabir: Mulyabodh O Swapner Nam, on the life of Abinta Kabir, the 19-year-old Bangladeshi national killed in the terror attack in Gulshan area of Dhaka on July 1, 2016, was released on Friday by Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Toufique Hasan and Ms. Ahmed in Kolkata.
Veteran Telugu actor Lakshmi Devi passes away
- Veteran Telugu actor Lakshmi Devi Kanakala passed away on February 3 at the age of 78.
- Lakshmi used to be a popular actor in the 1980s. She is known for films such as Prema Bandham and Police Lockup.