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Daily Current Affairs 23rd Feb 2018

Elephanta Island gets permanent power supply
  • The Elephanta Island near Mumbai received permanent electricity connection for the first time since 70 years of Independence.
  • The project will benefit around 1,200 residents on the island, which houses UNESCO World Heritage site Elephanta Caves.
  • Prior to this, the villagers resorted to solar energy and power generators for their requirements.
Neanderthals were first artists on Earth
  • The world’s first cave art was made by human ancestors called Neanderthals and not Homo sapiens, an international study has claimed.
  • Researchers studied three caves in Spain dating back at least 64,000 years, with walls paintings depicting animals and geometric signs.
  • Neanderthals were settled in Europe before modern humans left Africa to reach Europe about 40,000 years ago.
CBI arrests Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari
  • The CBI arrested Rotomac Pens’ owner Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul for allegedly defrauding banks of ₹3,700 crore.
  • Kothari’s company had submitted forged documents to get loans and created shell firms to carry out illegal activities.
  • Earlier, authorities had notified all land, sea, and air ports to prevent Kothari and his family members from leaving India.
ICC approves T20 league in Canada
  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given the green light to Cricket Canada’s maiden venture ‘Global T20 Canada’, expected to be held in July this year.
  • Four Canadian local players will be playing in every squad of the league.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a bat wishing the Global T20 Canada league good luck.
January 2018 was the fifth warmest January
  • January 2018 was the fifth warmest January in 138 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by NASA.
  • The only months of January warmer than that occurred in 2016 (+1.16°C), 2017 (+0.97°C), 2007 (+0.95°C), and in 2015 (+0.81°C).
  • Last month was 0.78°C warmer than the average January of the 1951-1980 period, said NASA.
Indian billionaires’ wealth equals 15% of GDP
  • The total wealth of Indian billionaires is 15% of the country’s GDP, a report by charity group Oxfam has revealed.
  • The report said India ranks among the world’s most unequal countries because of “lopsided” policies of successive governments.
  • It added the wealthiest in India have cornered a huge part of wealth created in the country through crony capitalism and inheritance.
PNB adopts stricter SWIFT control after fraud
  • PNB has reportedly stepped up its controls on use of messaging network SWIFT following a $1.77-billion fraud.
  • Any SWIFT message will now have to be created, verified and authorised by three different officers, while previously only two officers were needed.
  • PNB officials had issued unauthorised LoUs via SWIFT for firms linked to jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
ED freezes ₹94cr worth shares, of Nirav
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) froze shares and mutual funds worth ₹94.52 crore belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi’s firms.
  • Further, the Income Tax Department has attached 141 bank accounts and fixed deposits worth ₹145 crore of the Nirav Modi group.
  • Nirav and his uncle Choksi are accused of defrauding PNB of $1.77 billion.
Telangana, Taiwan Sign MoU
  • The Telangana Government signed an MOU with Taoyuan City of Taiwan for better technology partnership in the state.
  • The agreement was signed after the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2018 in Hyderabad.
  • IT Minister K T Rama Rao and principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan signed the agreement with Robert Huang, Director of the Board of Taiwan company at World IT Congress 2018.
India Signs MoU With IDRC
  • An MoU between the Government of India and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) was signed in New Delhi.
  • The agreement was signed to usher the “programme based research support” in addressing current and future global and local developmental challenges.
  • IDRC has funded 551 research activities worth CA$159 million in India through institutions, researchers and NGOs.
Parrikar Presents Rs 17,123-Crore Goa Budget
  • Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar presented in the state assembly Rs. 17,123-crore budget for 2018-19, an increase of 6.84% over the ongoing fiscal.
  • The Budget focuses on education and job creation.
  • The total estimated expenditure on revenue account is Rs 11,795.40 crore, while that on capital account is Rs 4,218.25 crore.
SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket
  • Elon Musk-led space exploration startup SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket, which carried two test satellites for its planned global internet broadband service.
  • The rocket also carried Spanish company Hisdesat’s PAZ satellite to low Earth orbit as payload.
  • The launch was carried out from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, United States.
First sale of electoral bonds from March 1
  • The first sale of electoral bonds will start from March 1 for a period of 10 days at 4 main branches of SBI in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi.
  • These bonds will have a life of 15 days, and a citizen of India or an entity incorporated or established in the country can purchase them.
  • Bonds can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 cr.
‘Perceived corruption’ list ranks India at 81
  • India has been ranked at 81st place out of 180 countries on a ‘Corruption Perception Index’, in a list released by Transparency International.
  • India’s ranking is worse than those of China and Bhutan but better than Pakistan & Bangladesh.
  • India’s score is 40. New Zealand & Denmark topped the list, while Syria, South Sudan & Somalia are at the bottom with scores of 14, 12 & 9 respectively.
Modi to inaugurate first ever TB India summit
  • India is all set to organise a mega India TB summit from March 13-16.
  • All chief ministers will be invited and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first of its kind event which is aimed at generating sufficient momentum for his vision of a TB free India by 2025.
  • It is five years ahead of the global TB elimination target of 2030.
Fliers to Bengaluru can soon use ‘heli taxi’
  • Thumby Aviation, a heli taxi operator, will start flights next week to ferry air passengers from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) to Electronics City, where companies such as Infosys and Wipro are based.
  • Currently, it takes more than an hour-and-half to reach Electronics City.
  • The heli taxi service will take just 15 minutes.
DoT’s plan to spur synergy among 7 PSUs
  • Government unveiled a strategic plan to enable 7 state-owned companies under the DoT to work closely with an aim of promoting greater operational synergy among them.
  • Plan covers MTNL, BSNL, Indian Telephone Industries, Centre for Development of Telematics, Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd., Testing & Certification of Telecom Equipments and BharatNet.
  • Manoj Sinha is Telecom Minster.
S. Arabia to invest in entertainment sector
  • The head of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has said that the kingdom will invest $64 billion ( over ₹4 lakh crore) in developing its entertainment sector over the next decade.
  • The investment is part of the Vision 2030 plan, which was unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016.
  • Last year, Saudi lifted a ban on commercial cinemas.
‘Installation’ work at KIA Motors inaugurated
  • CM Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the ‘framework installation’ work at the KIA Motors site near Penukonda town of the Anantapur district.
  • It will produce the first KIA test car in a year.
  • It’s total cost will be more than Rs. 13,000 crore, would produce 3 lakh cars initially and will eventually be scaled up to 4 lakh cars.
  • Han-Woo Park is the CEO & President of the KIA motors.
CRPF to guard Indian embassy in Baghdad
  • In a first, the government is planning to send Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandos to provide security to the Indian embassy in Baghdad.
  • A Ministry of Home Affairs official said the deployment was being made on the request of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
  • The Iraqi government is locked in an armed conflict with the terrorist outfit Islamic State.
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