1. Ashton Carter confirmed as new US defence secretary
i. Ashton Carter, a close confidant of President Barack Obama and a strong proponent of Indo-US strategic ties, has been confirmed by the Senate as the next American defence secretary.
iii. Mr. Carter will be the 25th U.S. Secretary of Defence, replacing Chuck Hagel who quit from the post in November last amid reports of differences with Mr. Obama.
2. Fourth river festival begins in Madhya Pradesh
i. Fourth River festival has begun at Bandrabhan bank of Narmada River in Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh.
Three day festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
ii. Theme of this year’s river festival is "River, its catchment area, chemicals and crisis"
iii. In this year’s festival more than 100 participants will discuss topics like effects of chemicals used in agriculture on forests, wild life and human beings. Success stories on natural farming will also be part of discussion.
3. World Radio Day observed on 13 February
i. World Radio Day was observed globally on 13 February 2015 with the theme Youth and Radio.
ii. The day is a global celebration of radio as a forum for entertainment and information, as a bridge of communication for remote communities and its role in empowering people.
iii. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annually celebrate the World Radio Day by planning activities with broadcasters, organizations and communities around the world.
iv. UNESCO at its 36th General Assembly on 3 November 2011 proclaimed 13 February as World Radio Day. The first World Radio Day was officially celebrated in 2012.
4. Odisha Chief Information Commissioner resigned
i. The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Odisha Tarun Kanti Mishra resigned from his position. He was appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner of Odisha by replacing D.N. Padhee.
ii. A 1975-batch IAS officer, Mishra is also is associated with several cultural activities besides discharging his duties and responsibilities as an administrative officer.
iii. Mishra has also written several books and compilation of short stories. He was also awarded with the prestigious Odisha Sahitya Academy Award for his significant contribution to Odia literature.
5. India ranks 136 in World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) 2015
i. In recently released World Press Freedom Index (WPFI), India was placed at 136th rank out of 180 nations surveyed worldwide in terms of press freedom in 2015.
ii. In WPFI 2015, India has shown improvement from its rank of 140 in 2014. However, India’s absolute score has declined from 40.34 to 40.49.
iii. Top 10 countries: Finland (1st), Norway (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Netherlands (4th), Sweden (5th), New Zealand (6th), Austria (7th), Canada (8th), Jamaica (9th), Estonia (10th).
6. Indian-origin scientist Gurpreet Singh wins National Science Foundation CAREER award
i. An Indian-origin scientist Gurpreet Singh has won prestigious $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award.
ii. He has won this award for his research on Scalable liquid exfoliation processing of ultrathin two-dimensional metal dichalcogenides nanosheets for energy storage devices.
iii. This CAREER award will help him to study large-scale production of ultrathin sheets, a few atoms thick and several micrometres wide using transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).
- Gurpreet Singh is assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering at Kansas State University.
- National Science Foundation CAREER award is given by US National Science Foundation as part of Faculty Early Career Development Programme.