1. MP, Rajasthan set up SPV for implementation of Smart City Plans
i. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Government have set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) for the implementation of Smart City Plans.
ii. SPVs have been set up for five cities – Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
iii. These cities are among the first batch of 20 winners of Smart City Challenge Competition held by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The Ministry will release 200 crore rupees for each of the 20 selected cities only after SPVs are set up.
2. Swachh Himachal Padhai bhi, Safai bhi campaign launched
i. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has launched ‘Swachh Himachal – Padhai bhi, Safai bhi’ campaign in Dharamsala.
ii. With this unique campaign, HPCA became the first cricket association in the country to work towards Swatch Bharat Abhiyan initiated by the Union Government.
3. 42nd Khajuraho Dance Festival Begins In MP
i. The 42nd Khajuraho Dance Festival began in the temple town of Khajuraho, Chhattarpur district in Madhya Pradesh. The world famous dance festival began with Odissi group dance of Ranjna Gauher and others.
ii. The festival will showcase classical dances, including Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi, depicting the ancient tales like Mahishasur Mardini' and 'Krishna Rasa,' an official said. Madhumita Roy and Madhuri Majumdar gave presentation of Kathak-Kuchipudi and Purvadhanashree presented Bharatnatyam.
iii. State Fine Arts Awards were given away to ten artists on this occasion.
iv. The festival is being organized by Department of Culture, Madhya Pradesh, will be held against the backdrop of iconic Khajuraho temples, built by Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD, world-wide know for erotic sculptures.
v. The festival has gained international recognition with a world heritage site being its venue. Khajuraho temples witness the maximum footfalls of foreign tourists in Madhya Pradesh.
4. India, Nepal ink seven Agreements
i. India and Nepal have signed seven agreements for cooperation in various fields.
ii. These agreements were signed at a summit meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli in New Delhi.
iii. This is first official foreign visit of K.P. Sharma Oli after he became Prime Minister of Nepal.
5. Vibrant North East event concludes in Guwahati
i. The three-day long Vibrant North East event concluded in Guwahati, Assam.
ii. It was inaugurated on 18 February 2016 by Union Minister Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur.
iii. It was the second edition of the event jointly organized by the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and ASSOCHAM.
6. PM Inaugurated Rurban Mission In Chhattisgarh
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious ‘Rurban Mission' for developing 300 villages across the country as urban growth centres aimed at improving the country’s basic infrastructure, at Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh.
ii. The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban (rural-urban) project will focus on improving infrastructural facilities such as power lines, shelters, roads, drinking water connections and drainage, and creating community assets such as schools, colleges and health centers.
iii. The other goals of the scheme include ensuring the development of a given area by creating clusters of villages with a population count of 25,000-60,000 and minimizing rural migration to cities through skill development programmes.
iv. Under the ‘Rurban Mission’, the PM said 300 rural centres, catering to at least four adjoining villages each, will be developed as urban clusters with modern facilities. 100 such centers are targeted to be developed this year itself.
v. On the occasion, the PM also launched a ‘Jan Aushadi Bandaar' campaign for providing cheap medication to people. During his visit to the state capital, Modi will also lay the foundation stones for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana the Prime Minister’s housing scheme and an electronic manufacturing cluster at Naya Raipur.
6. Faustin Archange Touadera wins 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic
i. Faustin Archange Touadera has won the 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic (CAR) held on 14 February 2016.
ii. He had contested as an independent candidate in this election and secured 62.7 percent or 695,000 valid votes.
iii. He defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent or 413,000 votes.
iv. Faustin Archange Touadera is well-respected former mathematics professor. He had served as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013.
v. Central African Republic is one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. In early 2013, it had suffered the worst crisis in its history when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters in a coup had toppled President Francois Bozize.
7. Ricoh India wins Rs 344 crore contract to supply computer hardware to Odisha schools
i. Printing and IT solutions firm Ricoh India has bagged an order worth Rs 344 crore from Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation to supply computer hardware to 2,000 government schools in Odisha.
ii. Ricoh India, a subsidiary of Ricoh Group, Japan, had said it is eyeing 55% growth in revenues this fiscal.
iii. The company said it has also planned investments of about Rs 300 crore over the next one or two years for expanding its data centres.
iv. At present, Ricoh India has two data centres - one each in New Delhi and Kolkata.
v. At 1406 hours, the shares of Ricoh India were trading down 0.39% or Rs 2.25 at Rs 571.00 per scrip on the BSE.
8. ISRO successfully test cryogenic engine of GSLV Mark 3 rocket
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted hotbed test of the indigenously developed high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) of the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM3) rocket for the upper stage.
ii. The long-duration test was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu and lasted for 640 seconds. It was conducted with Mixture Ratio Controller (MRC) in a closed loop mode.
9. PIB Clears India Post's Rs 800 Cr Proposal For Payments Bank
i. The Public Investment Board has approved the Rs 800-crore proposal from India Post for setting up a payments bank and it will be placed before the Cabinet within a month for final approval.
ii. The department is in the process of finalising the selection of a consultant for setting up India Post’s payments bank. It had shortlisted six consultants but only three of them submitted the bids.
iii. The India Post payments bank will primarily target unbanked and under-banked customers in rural, semi-rural and remote areas, with a focus on providing simple deposit products and money remittance services.
iv. The base for the payments bank is set to start from January 2017, and the full-fledged operations may start by March.
v. Around 40 international financial conglomerates including the World Bank and Barclays have shown interest to partner the postal department for setting up the bank.
10. Five hot Jupiter like planets discovered
i. Scientists have discovered five new Jupiter-like planets that are similar in characteristics to our solar system’s biggest planet.
ii. The newly discovered planets were designated as WASP-119 b, WASP-124 b, WASP-126 b, WASP-129 b and WASP-133 b. They orbit very close to their host stars and hot compared to Jupiter.
11. Punjab Warriors Win 2016 Hockey India League
i. The Jaypee Punjab Warriors has won the fourth edition of Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) title 2016.
ii. The Jaypee Punjab Warriors finally struck gold to become third-time lucky as they clinched their Hockey India League (HIL) title at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Ranchi.
iii. It was their maiden title. In the final match they defeated Kalinga Lancers by 6-1 goals.
iv. In earlier two seasons, Punjab Warriors had finished runners-up after they had lost to Delhi Waveriders in 2014 and to Ranchi Rays in 2015.
v. And Player of the Tournament Award has been won by Rupinder Pal Singh of Delhi Waveriders.
12. Italian Novelist Umberto Eco Passed Away
i. Italian author Umberto Eco has died aged 84. Umberto Eco a philosopher who wrote best-selling novels including "The Name of the Rose".
ii. The Novelist had been suffering from cancer. Eco was born on January 5, 1932, at Alessandria in the northern Italian region of Piedmont.
iii. The Name of the Rose was Eco’s first novel but he had been publishing works for more than 20 years beforehand.
iv. As a teenager, Eco wrote comic books and fantasy novels before studying Medieval philosophy and literature at the University of Turin.
v. His thesis was published in 1956 as The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas. During that period, Eco abandoned the Roman Catholic Church after a crisis of faith.
13. Christine Lagarde appointed as MD of IMF for a second term
i. Christine Lagarde (60) from France has been appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund for a second five-year term.
ii. She was sole candidate nominated for the post and was re-nominated by IMF’s Executive Board decision taken by consensus. Her new term will start on 5th July 2016 till 2021.
iii. Ms. Lagarde for first time was appointed MD in 2011 after IMF Board had initiated selection process on merit-based and transparent process. She was first woman to head the top post of IMF since its inception in 1944.
14. India and Armenia Sign MoU on Agriculture Cooperation
i. India and Armenia have signed an agreement for cooperation in the agriculture sector.
ii. An memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singhand Armenian Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetyan.
iii. The MoU provides for setting up of a joint working group (JWG) and preparation of work plans in priority areas of farm sector.
iv. Initially this is for a period of five years, but would be extendable beyond five.
v. The two Ministers further identified sectors such as cattle identification, cooperatives, agriculture machinery, plant breeding and exchange of agri scientist and students, as the priority areas and resolved to constitute the JWG at the earliest to move the agreement.
15. Ri Myong Su Appointed As New Military Chief Of North Korea
i. North Korean state media has confirmed the country has a new military chief, following earlier reports in Seoul that the former holder of the post had been executed.
ii. Ri Myong-Su, former People's Security Minister, was referred to as "chief of the Korean People's Army General Staff" when the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on an army exercise guided by leader Kim Jong-un.
iii. Ri Myong-Su was again mentioned in a separate KCNA report on Mr Kim's inspection of an air force exercise.
iv. His predecessor Ri Yong-Gil was reportedly executed early this month in what would be the latest in a series of purges and executions of top officials. Ri Yong-Gil was accused of forming a political faction and corruption.
v. North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test last month and launched a long-range rocket this month, sparking international outrage.
16. Harsh Vardhan Dedicates Ksheer-Scanner Systems
i. The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and Vice President, CSIR Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicated Systems for Detection of Adulteration and analysis of Milk.
ii. Dr. Harsha Vardhan pointed that our country ranks number one across the world for milk production, contributing to about 18% of the world’s total milk. But it is feared that over 60% of the milk is contaminated due to malpractices in milk supply chain which includes dilution with unsafe water. The milk is otherwise said to be adulterated with contaminants such as urea, salt, detergent, liquid soap, boric acid, caustic soda, soda and hydrogen peroxide which have hazardous health effects.
iii. The CSIR’s ‘Ksheer-Scanner’ instantaneously detects the above-identified adulterants in milk.
iv. It is a low- cost portable system with user-friendly features. It enables detection of contaminants in just 40-45 seconds at the per sample cost of less than 50 paise.
v. The ‘Ksheer Scanner’ system offers automated scanning of raw milk samples at milk collection points. He remarked that it is safe to use and ideal for installation at milk collection centres of milk societies at village and tehsil levels. The system can also be useful for on-the-spot milk testing by food inspectors.
17. Brendon McCullum Scores Fastest Hundred In Test History
i. Brendon McCullum has blasted the fastest century in Test history in his 101st and final match for New Zealand before retiring.
ii. Brendon McCullum has , a 54-ball effort that broke the record jointly held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq.
iii. McCullum celebrated to a standing ovation from the crowd at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, raising his bat to all parts of the venue in his adopted home-town.
iv. His effort was two balls faster than the previous record 56-ball century scored by Richards against England in Antigua in 1985-86, which was equalled by Misbah-ul-Haq against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014-15.
v. McCullum was the captain of the new Zealand test team.