1. DRDO successfully test-fired anti-tank missile Nag in Rajasthan
i. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the second week of January 2016 successfully test-fired Nag anti-tank missile at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Rajasthan.
ii. The test was conducted during a night trial to validate the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.
iii. During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) was used as target for the missile. The TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.
iv. It is a third generation fire-and-forget and can be fired anti-tank missile. It can be fired during night and day as well. It is equipped with top attack capability to nullify the explosive reactive armour (ERA) of a battle tank. It weighs 42kg having 1.90m length and can be fired against both moving and fixed targets.
v. Besides HeliNa, a helicopter versrion, it has land, air-launched and man portable (weighing 14 kg) versions. To carry the land version, DRDO developed the NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier) for the army.
vi. Once inducted in the Armed Forces, the HeliNa missile will be integrated with the weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, the light combat helicopter produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
2. ‘Sahayog – Kaijin 2016’: India and Japan joint Coast Guard exercise
i. The 15th edition of bilateral exercise by the Indian Coast Guard and its Japanese counterpart titled ‘Sahayog-Kaijin 2016’ has begun off the coast of Chennai, Tamil Nadu in the Bay of Bengal.
ii. Anti-piracy procedures, search and rescue operations and interoperability between the two forces and other areas of common professional interest. Japanese Coast Guard ship Echigo along with its integral helicopter is participating.
iii. It will also involve Indian coast guard ships like Samudra Pahredar, Rajkamal, Vishwast, Rajtarang, Hovercraft, C-415, C-417, one Dornier and one Chetak helicopter.
iv. Sahayog-Kaijin bilateral exercise is a part of the cooperative arrangements between two Coast Guards for the last 15 years. It is also as part of the memorandum on cooperation (MoC) signed between the two countries in 2006.
v. It is biennial bilateral exercise held once in two years and the venue would shift in both countries on alternate occasions.
3. India’s Grid-linked solar generation capacity crosses 5,000 MW mark
i. Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced that India’s grid-connected solar power generation capacity has crossed the 5,000 Mega Watt (MW) mark. ii. Presently, Government has set an ambitious plan to achieve 175 Giga Watt (GW) of power generation capacity from renewable sources by 2022. It includes 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind.
iii. Under the National Solar Mission (NSM), Union Government increased the solar power generation capacity addition target by five times from 20,000 MW to 100 GW by 2022.
4. Union Government signed a loan agreement with World Bank for Neeranchal National Watershed Project
i. Union Government on 14 January 2016 signed a loan agreement with World Bank in New Delhi for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project.
ii. All 28 states which implement the watershed projects will benefit from this project. However, the nine states, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana will benefit more from the project as they are implementation of large number of watershed schemes in their states.
iii. The project was approved by the Union Cabinet in October 2015 with a total budget of 2142 crore rupees in which India would bear 1071 crore rupees and the rest 50 percent cost will be borne by the World Bank. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21).
iv. It will support the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana in hydrology and water management, agricultural production systems, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation.
v. Around 12 percent of the area of wasteland will be targeted through this project to make about 336 lakh hectares of land arable. The Minister said that the effective implementation of the scheme will go a long way in strengthening the economic conditions of the farming community.
5. Lagaan actor Rajesh Vivek Upadhyay died
i. Bollywood actor Rajesh Vivek Upadhyay died on 14 January 2016 due to a heart attack in Hyderabad. He was 66. Rajesh was mainly known for his roles in films like Lagaan and Swades.
ii. Born on 31 January 1949, Rajesh Vivek was best known for his role of the astrologer Guran in Lagaan and as the Postman/Postmaster in Swades. He was first introduced in film Junoon, which was directed by Shyam Benegal.
iii. He had also played role of Veda Vyasa, author of the Mahabharata in the popular TV series Mahabharat. He made his mark as a villain in the beginning with films like Veerana and Joshilay.
iv. He is also noted for his roles in the historic TV series Bharat Ek Khoj. His best acting was seen in the TV Serial Aghori which is his horror best.
6. Harry Potter actor Alan Rickman passed away
i. Actor Alan Rickman, known for films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, died of cancer on 14 January 2016 in London, England. He was 69.
ii. One of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past three decades, Rickman gained wider notice for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.
iii. Born on 21 February 1946 in Acton, London, Rickman was known for playing a variety of roles on stage and screen. His first big break was as the Vicomte de Valmont in the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.
iv. He played romantic leads like Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility and Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply. However, he often was praised for playing roles of numerous villains in Hollywood big-budget films, like German terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
v. In 1995, he earned a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of the title character in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.
7. Madhya Pradesh Government signed four MoUs with Singapore
i. Madhya Pradesh (MP) Government on 14 January 2016 signed four MOUs with Singapore to collaborate in urban planning, skill development, clean energy and food processing.
ii. The MoUs were signed in Singapore in the presence of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, who was on four day visit from 12 January 2016
iii. The MoU on setting up 1000 megawatt wind energy plant in western part of the state was signed between the Department of New & Renewable Energy and Singapore corporation unit, Sembcorp Green Infra Ltd. It was the biggest of the investment proposals.
iv. The MoU covering urban planning was signed between the Directorate of Town & Country Planning and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise. The MoU on capacity building and skill training was signed between the Department of Technical Education and Skill Development and ITE Education Services of Singapore
v. The MoU covering food processing was signed between India’s LT Food Ltd and Singapore-based DSM Nutritional Products.
vi. Earlier, Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan was awarded with Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellowship for his contribution in development and international harmony. It was by awarded Fellowship Chairman Mr. Eddie Teo in Singapore on 13 January 2016.
vii. He is the fourth Indian to receive this fellowship. Previously, former vice-chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former union minister for investments Arun Shourie and chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh Chandra Babu Naidu had received this fellowship.
8. First 'Mahila Squad' Commissioned For High-Altitute Posts Of India-China Border
i. A freshly-trained contingent of 500 women personnel will become the first 'mahila' squad to be deployed in high-altitude posts along the India-China border. The squad was commissioned into the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) today in Panchkula.
ii. The women, in the rank of constable, were inducted in the border-guarding force after 44-weeks of training in battle craft and mountain survival and will now be sent to frontier areas for final acclimatisation before being deployed at ITBP posts along the 3,488-km Sino-India Line of Actual Control (LAC).
iii. These 'mahila' contingents are expected to be posted by March this year at about 20 forward locations of the ITBP situated at heights of between 8,000-14,000 feet, including at the 'Mana pass' border post, the last village on the Indian side in Uttarakhand.
iv. ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary, after reviewing the 'passing out parade' of the new personnel, asked them to exhibit the best skills that they have learnt during training to discharge their duties in some of the most difficult locations in the Himalayan ranges.
v. This is the first time that India is deploying women troops right at the front, one which is considered to be the most arduous and tricky given the harsh climatic conditions and extreme mountainous terrain along the India-China border.
vi. ITBP, raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression, has also begun creating logistical and residential facilities for its women personnel at these posts and it is expected to be completed by early March. The force plans to have women personnel make up at least 40 per cent of its strength at these forward posts.
9. Marat Safin inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame
i. The Russian Tennis Federation on 14 January 2016 announced that former World No.1 tennis player Marat Safin joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The official ceremony to induct Safin has been scheduled for 16 July 2016.
ii. The Russian tennis player was announced as a candidate for the induction into the Hall of Fame in October 2015 together with Belgium's Justine Henin, a former women's singles No.1 and seven-time major champion, and Helena Sukova from the Czech Republic, who won 14 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles.
iii. Marat Safin began his professional career in 1997. He held the No. 1 world ranking for a total of 9 weeks between November 2000 and April 2001. He won his first Grand Slam title at the 2000 US Open after defeating Pete Sampras.
iv. He became the first Russian man to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships.
v. The International Tennis Hall of Fame honours players and contributors to the sport of tennis. Martina Hingis became the first Global Ambassador for the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015.
10. Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis juggernaut continues, win Sydney International title
i. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis’ awe-inspiring run continued unabated as they lifted their second trophy of the season with the WTA Apia International title after clinching their 30th win a row, in Sydney on Friday.
ii. The triumph over Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic though was not without initial hiccups as the top seeds lost the first set meekly before eking out a 1-6 7-5 10-5 win in one hour and 13 minutes.
iii. The world number one team trailed 1-6 2-5 at one stage but they yet again came out unscathed, levelling the second set 5-5 and then sealed it to stretch it to a Super tie-breaker.
iv. The US open and Wimbledon champions raced to a 8-3 lead in the decider and clinched the issue comfortably to stretch their unbeaten run to an incredible 30 matches.
v. It was the 11th title together for the Indo-Swiss pair as continuing the good show from 2015 when they won 9 titles including the year-end WTA finale.