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Daily Current Affairs 25th & 26th Feb 2018

DRDO successfully tests flight Rustom-2
  • DRDO has successfully flew its Rustom 2 at its Aeronautical Test Range at Chalakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
  • A medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, Rustom 2 or TAPAS-BH-201 has been developed by India on the lines of the American Predator drones.
  • Rustom 2 can conduct sustained surveillance and can carry weapons along with surveillance equipment.
Int’l Conference on sustainable Biofuels
  • An International Conference on Sustainable Biofuels has been organized by Department of Biotechnology & Govt. of India. It will take place in New Delhi.
  • It will bring together experts from Biofuels sector to take stock of current knowledge, share info & best practices & build consensus on the actions most needed to move forward.
  • Sustainable Biofuel is 1 of the 7 Mission Innovation Challenges
ITBP men to learn Chinese
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police has geared up to break the language barrier with their Chinese counterparts by learning Chinese to boost security management skills.
  • 25 jawans & officials of ITBP will take up a 1 year certificate course in Chinese language at Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies.
  • Learning Chinese will also help ITBP in their interactions with civilians in the border areas.
State Bank of India set for UK restructuring
  • SBI is set for a major restructuring of its business in UK from April.
  • SBI’s UK operations will transform into a subsidiary named State Bank of India UK Limited from April 1.
  • It means that all retail branches of SBI in UK will fall under a new UK-incorporated banking entity instead of their previous status as overseas branches of the Indian entity.
  • SBI operates 7 branches in London.
Airtel, Huawei conduct India’s first 5G trial
  • Airtel & Huawei have conducted India’s 1st 5G network trial which took place at Airtel’s Network Experience Centre.
  • User throughput speed of 3Gbps was achieved during the trial, which companies claim is the highest for 3.5GHz band
  • 5G services based on 3rd generation partnership project, are expected to offer enhanced mobile broadband
  • India plans to roll out 5G services for consumers by 2020
India and Canada ink six pacts
  • India and Canada have signed six agreements, including in the area of nuclear science, energy cooperation and information communication technology.
  • An agreement b/w India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and the Department of Canadian Heritage was also signed for cooperation in sports.
  • An MoU between the two countries for cooperation in higher education was also signed.
Nilekani to develop IT infra for ‘Modicare’
  • Nandan Nilekani will assist the government in developing IT infrastructure for the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which seeks to cover 10-crore families.
  • The IT infrastructure for the healthcare scheme will be of a huge scale as was required for Aadhar.
  • Former UIDAI chairman Nilekani, the brain behind the Aadhaar is also a member of the GST return simplification committee.
RBI asks banks to link SWIFT to core banking
  • RBI has directed banks to link SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System platform) with core banking solutions of banks by April 30, 2018.
  • Failure of SWIFT-CBS link has led to Rs 11,400 cr fraud at PNB.
  • SWIFT system promoted in 1973 by banks globally is used to transmit messages relating to cross border financial transactions.
1000 cr development projects for Daman & Diu
  • Prime Minister Modi has launched the development schemes worth Rs 1,000 crore for Daman and Diu.
  • Modi laid the foundation stones for a slew of projects, including a water treatment plant, a gas pipeline, an electric sub-station, a municipal market and a foot-bridge.
  • He also inaugurated a flight connecting Ahmedabad to coastal town of Diu and a helicopter service connecting Daman and Diu.
Institutes to improve ease of doing business
  • Commerce & industry ministry has appointed 4 institutes to interact with stakeholders and suggest measures to push India’s ranking in ease of doing business index.
  • NICMAR, IIFT, ICSI and ICAI are the four institutes that have been roped in for the exercise.
  • As per the latest World bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, India’s position improved by 30 places to 100th.
Parupalli Kashyap wins Austrian Open
  • India’s Parupalli Kashyap overcame Malaysia’s June Wei Cheam in straight games in the men’s singles final to clinch the Austrian Open International Challenge.
  • This is Kashyap’s first international title in over 3 years.
  • Kashyap is the only male player from India to reach the Quarterfinals of men’s singles at 2012 London Olympics.
  • He was also awarded the Arjuna Award by Govt of India in 2012
Aruna Reddy makes history
  •  Aruna Budda Reddy created history by becoming the 1st Indian gymnast to win an individual medal at Gymnastics World Cup as she clinched a bronze in women’s vault event.
  • She scored 13.649 average points to finish 3rd & claim the bronze medal.
  • This was Aruna’s first international medal, though she has taken part at World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Commonwealth Games & Asian Games.
8th Indo- Seychelles Army exercise starts
  • The eighth joint military exercise between the Indian Army and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces started at Mahe Island, Seychelles.
  • The focus of the ongoing exercise is to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations in semi-urban environment under the United Nations Charter.
  • The exercise is named “Lamitye” which in the local dialect ‘Creole’, means friendship.
US to shift its embassy to Jerusalem in May
  • US will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May of this year in time to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
  • At first, the embassy will operate out of the US’s current consular premises in Arnona, south Jerusalem.
  • Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, despite fury from the Palestinians and warnings from Western allies.
UNSC approves Syria ceasefire resolution
  • United Nations Security Council has unanimously backed a 30-day ceasefire resolution in Syria to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries & medical evacuations.
  • The vote comes in response to the 7 day airstrikes & bombings in the war-torn country that has claimed over 500 lives so far.
  • Russia, an ally of Syria’s govt, wanted changes, while Western diplomats accused Moscow of stalling for time.
India presented with ICC Test mace
  • The International Cricket Council presented the ICC Test Championship Mace to Virat Kohli after the end of the final T20 International against South Africa.
  • Kohli received the ICC Test Championship mace on behalf of Team India for the second consecutive year for being the number one Test team.
  • This is the fourth time that India has been presented with the prestigious mace.
Veteran actress Sridevi passes away
  • Veteran Bollywood actress Sridevi, who had an illustrious career spanning over four decades, passed away in Dubai. She was 55.
  • A versatile actor, Sridevi made her Bollywood debut in 1978 with Solva Sawan.
  • She was known for her performance is some of the iconic films like Mr India, Nagina, Chaalbaaz, Chandni among many others.
  • In 2013, the Government of India awarded Sridevi the Padma Shri.
India’s first 4G LTE telecom system unveiled
  • Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has launched India’s first locally developed 4G/LTE telecom system.
  • The system has been designed and developed by VNL Ltd., keeping in mind requirement for high speed connectivity, particularly in rural areas.
  • These systems offer compact and versatile radio applications and can operate flawlessly even in harsh environment.
7th meeting of EPG on Nepal-India relations
  • 7th meeting of Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations has begun in Kathmandu.
  • Representatives from Nepal & India will deliberate up on various bilateral issues including Peace & Friendship treaty, trade, transit & border.
  • EPG is a joint mechanism consisting experts & intellectuals from India & Nepal to provide suggestions for updating existing bilateral treaties b/w the two countries
Modi launches Amma two-wheeler scheme
  • PM Modi kickstarted the subsidised Amma two-wheeler scheme meant for working women, on the occasion of former Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s 70th birth anniversary.
  • As part of the scheme, every beneficiary in the state of Tamil Nadu will be given 50% of the cost of a two- wheeler or a grant of ₹25,000.
  • Each year, one lakh working women would be covered under this scheme.
Tech Mahindra sets up lab in Bengaluru
  • Tech Mahindra has set up a lab in Bengaluru in association with US chipmaker Intel to prepare for 5G services, according to a top executive of the IT firm.
  • The company’s CEO CP Gurnani said that about 30,000 of its employees have already been re-skilled to handle the emerging technologies.
  • The company expects to roll out 5G services by 2019.
Bihar ask couples to take cleanliness ‘phera’
  • A Block Development Officer (BDO) in Bihar’s Supaul district has started a new initiative asking Hindu couples to take eight pheras at their wedding.
  • An extra phera as a cleanliness pledge.
  • The BDO created a team of officials who have been going to weddings in the district, without a formal invitation, and asking couples to take the eighth phera.
Tejaswin broke his own high jump record
  • Competing for Kansas State University, 19-year-old Tejaswin Shankar broke his own national record by clearing a height of 2.28m.
  • Shankar had set the record at the 2.26m mark at the Junior National Championships in Coimbatore in 2016 when he was a schoolboy.
  • The height cleared by Shankar is the best this year amongst athletes from Commonwealth countries.
Sameer beats ex-world no. 2 to win Swiss Open
  • Indian shuttler Sameer Verma beat former world number two Jan O Jorgensen and clinched the men’s singles title at the $150,000 Swiss Open Super 300 tournament.
  • Verma, who joins Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy as the Indian shuttlers who have won the Swiss Open, had clinched the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold last year.
  • He is presently world number 46.
Only 7.28% women in country’s police force
  • According to latest government data, women constitute only 7.28% of the country’s police force.
  • This comes despite the government’s repeated directions to all state governments and union territories to increase the strength of women police personnel to 33%.
  • Interestingly, overall crimes against women rose from 3.29 lakh cases in 2015 to 3.38 lakh in 2016.
Conference On E-Governance In Hyderabad
  • The 21st national conference on e-Governance will be held in Hyderabad.
  • The government of India and Telangana Administrative Reforms department are jointly organising the conference with the main theme around- technology for accelerating development.
  • The two-day conference will deliberate on several aspects of the e-governance like universalization and replication.
Rome’s Colosseum lit red to show protest
  • The Colosseum in Rome was lit in red in solidarity with persecuted Christians, particularly a Catholic woman named Asia Bibi.
  • Bibi has been living on death row under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws since 2010, when she was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam.
  • Her husband and daughter addressed a gathering at the Colosseum.
Modi Flags Off ‘Run For New India’ Marathon
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the ‘Run for New India’ marathon in Surat, Gujarat.
  • The Marathon is aimed at creating awareness about social causes and call upon all to resolve to build a New India.
  • The Marathon is divided into 4 categories. Around 1.50 lakh runners participated in the ‘Run for New India’ marathon which was organized by the Surat Nagrik Samiti.
Government forms ‘Niti forum’ for northeast
  • A special Niti forum has been created to accelerate the government’s efforts to spur inclusive growth in the northeastern region of the country.
  • The forum will work to identify constraints that stand in the way of achieving accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
  • It would recommend suitable interventions for addressing the identified constraints.
PyeongChang Winter Olympics concludes
  • The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics concluded with a spectacular closing ceremony.
  • In the closing ceremony, the Olympic flag was handed over to Chinese organisers for the next Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.
  • With the 2022 Games, Beijing will become the first city in the world to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games after hosting the Summer Games in 2008.
Airtel joins global alliance for net in air
  • Bharti Airtel said it has joined a new global collaboration to bring high-speed and uninterrupted in-flight data connectivity to mobile customers.
  • The global partnership Seamless Alliance, whose other founding members include OneWeb, Airbus, Delta and Sprint, will work towards leveraging satellite technology.
  • It will offer high-speed data connectivity even in the sky.
Strandja Memorial Tournament
  • Amit Panghal claimed his second consecutive international gold but MC Mary Kom settled for silver in the 69th Strandja Memorial boxing tournament for men and women in Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Amit (49kg), who fetched the top honours at last month’s India Open, defeated Morocco’s Said Mordaji.
  • Seema Poonia (+81kg) also claimed silver by defeating Russia’s Anna Ivanova.
Tintins may provide Net for all
  • SpaceX launched its Paz mission, using its workhorse Falcon-9 rocket.
  • CEO Elon Musk had spoken of Starlink, a constellation of satellites that would provide a cheap, high speed, global Internet connection.
  • If successful, (the) Starlink constellation will provide high-speed broadband services around the world. Tintin satellites are launched.
China elected as FATF Vice President
  • India congratulated China for being elected Vice President of the Financial Action Task Force.
  • China’s election to the FATF assumes significance as Pakistan is set to be put in the watchdog’s grey list.
  • The FATF, also known as ‘Groupe d’action financière’ is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
OVL drops plan to build Iran LNG facility
  • The shift towards lithium ion batteries from the older lead acid batteries has allowed firms like Kaho India Private Ltd to help the Centre achieve its rural electrification target.
  • Kaho India Private Ltd, started in 2012, seeks to provide last-mile energy access through compact solar modules to areas that are so far not connected to the grid.
  • Subhang Jain is the CEO of the company.
Ranil takes over Law Ministry in reshuffle
  • In the cabinet reshuffle of Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took over the key Law and Order Ministry.
  • He replaced his close aide and party colleague Sagala Ratnayaka.
  • Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena is a Sri Lankan politician who is the 7th and current President of Sri Lanka, since 2015.
States can decide on exempting liquor ban
  • The Supreme Court gave the State governments the discretion to decide, on facts, whether areas covered by local self-governing bodies or areas proximate to municipal pockets should be exempted from the court’s nationwide prohibition on sale of liquor within 500 metres along the highways.
  • In July, 2017 the court exempted municipal areas from the prohibition.
Navy to host MILAN from March 6 to 13
  • Indian Navy will host the multi-national MILAN exercise at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar islands from March 6 to March 13, 2018.
  • MILAN is a congregation of littoral navies conducted biennially by the Indian Navy under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command. It began in 1995.
  • This year’s theme is ‘Friendship Across the Seas’. It will witness professional exercises and seminars.
CRPF starts bike ambulance in Bastar
  • The CRPF has launched a bike ambulance initiative in areas of anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh, for providing basic healthcare facilities to those living in remote jungle areas of Bastar region.
  • Medical teams, accompanied by well-armed security personnel ride their motorcycles to help the sick and injured in about 70 villages.
  • The battalion is based in Bijapur.
CPC clears the decks for third term for Xi
  • China cleared the decks for President Xi Jinping’s 3rd consecutive term in office, ahead of a crucial session of parliament next month.
  • Communist Party of China proposed that the President and the Vice-President will not be constitutionally restricted to 2 consecutive terms in office.
  • This, in effect, means that Mr. Xi, who is serving his 2nd consecutive 5-year term, can continue beyond 2023
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