Daily GK Update 18th February 2016, Important Current Affairs

1. Union Cabinet gives nod to LIGO-India mega science proposal
i. The Union Cabinet has approved the LIGO-India project (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) proposal for research on gravitational waves.
ii. The approval coincides with the historic first time detection of gravitational waves that had opened up of a new window on the universe to unravel some of its greatest mysteries.

2. Union Cabinet gives approves Trade Facilitation Agreement
i. The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to notify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). 
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi as per India’s consonance of ‘ease of doing business’ initiative. The proposal regarding ratification and acceptance of the instrument of acceptance of protocol of TFA to WTO Secretariat was also approved by the Union Cabinet.

3. Union Government launched ENVIS portal
i. The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has launched Environment Information System (ENVIS) portal and mobile application. It was launched on the sidelines of the national interaction-cum-evaluation workshop for Environment Information System. 
ii. ENVIS Portal (http://envis.nic.in) runs parallel with the objectives of Digital India which works on improving the digital literacy in the environment sector and deliver services digitally. It will play important role integrating network of ENVIS centres.

4. Japan launches ASTRO-H satellite to study black holes
i. Japan has successfully launched ASTRO-H space observation satellite to probe mysterious black holes. The satellite was launched by H2A rocket after it had successfully lifted off at the Tanegashima Space Centre.

5. Union Government launches Website for maiden Maritime India Summit
i. Union Government has formally launched website for maiden Maritime India Summit 2016 scheduled to be held in April 2016. 
ii. It was launched by Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on the sidelines of the Make in India Week in Mumbai. The website will facilitate investors and participants to access detailed information about the summit, including registrations.

6. Renowned Malayalam writer Akbar Kakkattil passes away
i. Renowned Malayalam writer Akbar Kakkattil passed away in Kozhikode, Kerala due to cancer. He was 62. He was known for giving birth to a new genre in Malayalam literature and his works are known for their unique narrative style which has an undertone of unfailing humour.

7. Renowned Indologist David Shulman awarded Israel Prize
i. Renowned Indologist Professor David Shulman has been selected for the prestigious Israel Prize for his breakthrough studies in fields like philosophy and religion. He was chosen for this award for his studies on the religion, literature and culture of southern India and has command over Indian languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam.

8. West Bengal government launches Utkarsh Bangla Scheme
i. West Bengal government has launched the Utkarsh Bangla Scheme with an aim of providing vocational training to school dropouts. The scheme was launched by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata. On this occasion, she also released a book on Utkarsh Bangla.

9. SBI opens Japan Desk in New Delhi
i. India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has launched ‘Japan Desk’, a single window for inbound Japanese investments in India and vice-versa. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative that seeks to facilitate Japanese corporates looking to invest in India with banking and advisory services.

10 Tamil Nadu announced Free Bus Pass Scheme for senior citizens
i. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced a free bus pass scheme for senior citizens in Chennai. 
ii. The scheme would come into effect from 24 February 2016, the day that coincides with the birthday of Jayalalitha.

11. Apple to set up Technology Development Centre in Hyderabad
i. Apple Inc. in the second week of February 2016 announced setting up of a Technology Development Centre (TDC) in Hyderabad, Telangana. For Apple, it will be the first TDC outside the USA.
ii. With this announcement, Apple joined other big technology firms like Microsoft, Google and Facebook that focused on Hyderabad to expand their operations in Asia.


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