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Scotland Becomes 17th Country To Approve Same Sex Marriages
The Scottish Parliament on 3 February approved the Same Sex Marriage Bill. The Scotland became the 17th country to give the green signal to same sex marriages which was an important step for equal rights. Scotland has joined the group of countries which have allowed same-sex marriage. The Netherlands was the first country that allowed same sex marriage in 2001.

Libya Destroyed All Chemical Weapons
Libya has completely destroyed the chemical arsenal it inherited from Moamer Kadhafi, 10 years after the now slain dictator signed the Chemi­cal Weapons Convention, Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz announced on 5 February. Now the Libya has become totally free of usable chemical weapons that might present a potential threat to the security of local communities, the environment and neighbouring areas.

Sushil Koirala Elected As New Prime Minister of Nepal
The leader of Nepal's largest political party, Sushil Koirala was on 10 February elected as new Prime Minister of Nepal with the support of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML), ending months of political instability following last year's elections. Koirala, the sole con­testant in the premier race, was elected with 405 votes in the 601-member Constituent Assembly. As many as 148 lawmakers from UCPN-Maoist, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal and some small parties in the Maoist-led alliance voted against Koirala. After the voting, Parliament Speaker Surya Bahadur Thapa declared that Koirala had secured the majority. Koirala, the country's sixth Prime Min­ister since monarchy was abolished in May 2008.

China and Taiwan Held Historic Talks
China and Taiwan have on 12 February concluded their first ever government-to- govern­ment talks in the eastern city of Nanjing (China). The two regions had split in 1949 as communist conquered the mainland China and the Kuomintang (KMT) government took refuge in Taiwan in the wake of a brutal civil war. Both parties agreed to set up representative offices in each other territories to foster closer ties.

Belgium Becomes First Country To Grant Terminally ill Children 'Right to Die'
Belgium became the world's first country to allow terminally ill children the right to die. A new legislation was passed on 13 February that granted euthanasia for terminally ill children regardless of age. The legislation will come into effect when signed by the country's monarch, King Philippe. Belgium is one of only three countries that permit euthanasia. The others are its neighbours the Neth­erlands and Luxembourg. In 2002, the Belgium had legalized euthanasia for 18 years and above, to relieve them from pain and sufferings.

North and South Korea Agreed To Hold Family Reunions
North and South Korea have held their high­est level talks on 12th and 14th February 2014 at the border village of Panmunjom. Both nations high-level talks ended with a rare agreement to go ahead as planned with a reunion for divided families, despite the North's objections to overlap­ping South Korea-US military drills. It was the first such high-level sit-down between the two sides since 2007.

Matteo Renzi Named new Italian Prime Minister
The leader of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Renzi, was appointed as the country's new prime minister on 17 February.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk Elected As Ukrain Interim PM
The Ukrainian parliament has on 27 Febru­ary elected former opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the country's Interim Prime Minister. He was backed by 371 of 417 participat­ing deputies in the Parliament.

Ugandan President Signed Anti Gay Law
Uganda's President Yoweri-Museveni has signed a controversial anti-gay bill on 24 Febru­ary that allows harsh penalties for homosexual offences, calling them mercenaries and prostitutes. Yoweri Museveni signed the bill, which holds that homosexuals be jailed for long terms, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.


India and Nepal Amended Bilateral Transit Treaty
India and Nepal have amended a bilateral transit treaty on 1 February to facilitate the export of goods from a third country through India. Earlier, only goods of Nepalese origin were allowed to be exported through India to third coun­tries. The amendments in the transit treaty will al­low the movement of diplomatic cargo exported from Nepal and transiting through India.

India and Zimbabwe Decided To Enhance SME Cooperation
India and Zimbabwe have decided to further enhance their cooperation in the priority sectors of cooperation namely, pharmaceuticals, infra­structure, health sector, small and medium enter­prises (SMEs). This was agreed during a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma with Zimbabwe Vice President Joice T R Mujuru and Industry and Commerce Minister Michael Bimha in Harare on 3 February in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

India and Germany Signed Two Agreements On Financial and Technical Co-operation
India and Germany have signed two umbrella agreements for financial and technical co-opera­tion under Indo German bilateral Development Cooperation framework. The Umbrella Agree­ments were signed by Finance Minister P Chidam­baram and German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Mueller dur­ing their bilateral meeting on 5 February in New Delhi.

India Offers Buyer's Credit of $100 million To Namibia
India has offered to provide buyer's credit of USD 100 million to Namibia for taking up infrastructure projects. This will be in addition to the USD 100 million Lines of Credit which India had offered during the State visit of the President of Namibia to India in 2009. Both nations also agreed for early conclusion of a preferential trade agree­ment between New Delhi and Southern African Customs Union (SACU), aimed at reducing tariffs on certain items traded between the two sides. The SACU consists of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. The matter was discussed on 6 February 2014 between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Namibian counterpart Carl H G Schlettwein.

'MILAN-2014' Biennial International Naval Exercise Concluded
The biennial international naval exercise titled 'MILAN 2014' was held from 4 - 9 February 2014 at Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar). The six day event was the biggest edition since its inception in 1995. India and 16 other countries took part in the event. Countries from the western Indian Ocean region took part in the event for the first time. The Philippines and Cambodia also partici­pated for the first time.

India and China Held 17th Round Of Border Talks
India and China held their 17th round of border talks on 10 - 11 February 2014 . Special representatives-National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Council­lor and top diplomat Yang Jiechi-met in New Delhi on 10 February and 11 February for talks on the boundary question. The talks between both sides have crossed the first stage - on agreeing to settle­ment of the boundary question. The second stage talks - on the framework for resolution of the boundary question - has been continuing for the past eight years.

India and Netherlands Sign MoU to Enhance Cooperation In Renewable Energy
India and the Netherlands on 11 February signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as part of their efforts to intensify bilateral coop­eration in the area of renewable energy. The MoU was signed by Dr Satish Balram Agnihotri, Secre­tary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and Dutch Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga in New Delhi in the pesence of Minister of New and Re­newable Energy Farooq Abdullah.

India Ranked 140th In World's Press Free­dom Index - 2014
According to the Paris-based Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annual report 'World Press Freedom Index - 2014' released on 12 February, India has been ranked 140th list of 180 countries in the world with press freedom, whereas China and Pakistan were placed at 175th and 158th position respectively. Finland has been ranked first in the list followed by Netherland and Norway. The ranking of the US has dropped to 46th position from last year's 32nd.

First Agricultural University In Afghanistan Inaugurated with Indian Assistance
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and In­dian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid jointly inaugurated the first national agriculture uni­versity in southern Kandahar province on 15 February. The Afghan National Agricultural Sci­ences and Technology University (ANASTU), a major capacity-building project backed by India, is a key achievement for the higher education of Afghanistan.

India and Bahrain Signed 3 Agreements
India and Bahrain have signed three agree­ments in New Delhi on 19 February to expand cooperation in key areas, including trade and busi­ness. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Both sides signed three agreements in the fields of youth and sports aims; MoU on the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Diplo­matic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain; Another one is to establish a 'High Joint Commission' for bilateral cooperation to replace the Joint Committee for Technical and Economic Cooperation.

India and Canada Signed Three MoUs
India and Canada have signed three MoUs for cooperation in health sector, audio-visual co-production and skill development. The MoUs were signed after talks between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Governor General of Canada David Johnston in New Delhi on 24 Feb­ruary.

India and Israel Signed Homeland Security Agreement
India and Israel have on 27 February signed a slew of agreements on cooperation in legal assistance and public and homeland security. These agreements were signed by Additional Secretary (Home Ministry) Rajiv Sharma and Israeli. Ambas­sador Alon Ushpiz.


Union Cabinet Approved National Policy On Agroforestry
The Union Cabinet on 6 February approved National Policy to promote Agroforestry by facili­tating credit and insurance to' farmers, besides strengthening market access. The national policy assumes importance as the sector is currently af­fected by adverse policies, legal constraints, inad­equate investments, weak markets and a dearth of institutional finance.

Number Of Poor People Down To 27 crore In 2011-12
Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla on 6 February announced the number of poor people living be­low the poverty line in the country has declined from 40.74 crore in 2004-05 to 27 crore in 2011-12. The latest data of large sample survey on house- hold consumer expenditure has been collected by NSSO in its 68th round conducted in 2011-12.

Important Points :-
v  As per the estimate, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of poor people living below the poverty line at 5.98 crore in 2011-12, followed by Bihar at 3.58 crore, Madhya Pradesh 2.34 crore, Maharashtra 1.97 crore and West Bengal 1.84 crore.
v  Minister of State for Planning and Parliamen­tary Affairs Rajeev Shukla explained the Plan­ning Commission estimates poverty line on Monthly Per Capita Consumption Expendi­ture and an expert group was constituted un­der late professor Suresh Tendulkar in 2005 to review the methodology for estimation of poverty.
v  The Tendulkar Committee recommended MPCE of Rs 447 for rural areas and Rs 579 for urban areas as the poverty line for 2004-05, which was accepted by Planning Commission. For 2011-12, the MPCE was at Rs 816 in rural and Rs 1,000 in urban areas.
v  In conformity of its practice of reviewing the methodology for estimation of poverty, Plan­ning Commission in June 2012, has consti­tuted an expert group under the chairman­ship of C Rangarajan to review the method­ology for measurement of poverty
v  Planning Commission is the nodal agency for estimation of poverty at the national and state levels and the surveys are normally conducted on quinquennial basis.
v  In conformity of its practice of reviewing the methodology for estimation of poverty, Plan­ning Commission in June 2012, has constituted an expert group under the chairmanship of C Rangarajan to review the methodology for measurement of poverty
v  Planning Commission is the nodal agency for estimation of poverty at the national and state levels and the surveys are normally conducted on quinquennial basis.

Fourth Phase of AIDS Control Programme Launched
The government on 13 February launched the fourth phase of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) at a whopping cost of Rs.142.95 billion. Promotion of female condoms, scaling up of the second line of the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and social protection for ending discrimination are some of the key initiatives of the programme, 63 percent of which will be funded by the government. The strategic plan for NACP-IV for the period 2012-17 has been devel­oped through an elaborate multi-stakeholder con­sultative planning process.

'Maulana Azad Taleem-e-Balighan' Scheme Launched
Minister of State for HRD, Dr Shashi Tharoor on 18 February launched 'Maulana Azad Taleem e-Balighan' under Sakshar Bharat at New Delhi. The programme aims to impart functional literacy, vocational skill development and continuing edu­cation to one crore Muslim adults with an outlay of Rs 600 crore.

Parliament Passed Street Vendors Bill - 2014
Parliament has on 19 February 2014 passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) bill-2014. The bill provides for constitution of a Town Vending Au­thority in each Local Authority to ensure partici­patory decision making for aspects like determi­nation of natural market, identification of vend­ing zones, preparation of street vending plan and survey of street vendors among others. The bill has been passed in Rajya Sabha in one attempt and it was already adopted by Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013.

Cabinet Approved Classical Language Status For Odia
Odia on 20 February became the sixth Indian language of the country to get 'classical language' status. The Union Cabinet ap­proved the long-pending demand of Odisha for according the classical tag to Odia which now puts it in the same league as Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. It is the first in the Indo-Aryan group of languages to get the status.

CCEA approved Green India Mission
The National Mission for Green India has re­ceived approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 20 February as a Centrally-sponsored scheme. The project, which has a planned investment of about Rs.13,000 crore during the 12th Plan Period.

Parliament Passed Whistleblower Protec­tion Bill
Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed by Parliament on 21 February. The bill aims to provide a regular mechanism to encourage persons to disclose information on corruption or willful misuse of power by public servants and ministers. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in 2011 and was taken up by the Upper House in 2012 for consideration.

Union Cabinet Approved Increase In Elec­tion Expenditure
The Union Cabinet on 28 February ap­proved a proposal of the Election Commission to raise the expenditure limits for parliamentary elec­tions to a maximum of Rs 70 lakh for bigger states and Rs 54 lakh for smaller states. The limit of elec­tion expenditure incurred by a candidate for par­liamentary constituencies to Rs 70 lakh in all states except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshdweep and Puducherry where it will be Rs 54 lakh. In case of assembly constituencies, the maximum limit has been increased to Rs 28 lakh in all states except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Puducherry where it has been fixed at Rs 20 lakh.


India's First Monorail Service Inaugurated In Mumbai
India's first monorail service was inaugurated by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj chavan on 1 February in Mumbai. The monorail service that will link the city to major stations will begin its first phase of 8.93 km between Wadala and Chembur in the eastern fringes of the Commercial Capital. The monorails will travel in an average speed of 65 kilometers per hour and will have a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour.

Bihar Becomes First State To Launch Food Security Scheme
Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar on 1 Feb­ruary launched the national food security act in Patna, Nalanda, Gopalganj and Purnia districts. With this, Bihar became the first state to launch the central scheme. The beneficiaries of NFSA would get 5kg of foodgrain every month, wheat at '2 per kg and rice at' 3 per kg. Under NFSA each beneficiary is a unit, unlike in targeted PDS, where the family is treated as a unit.

Sikkim Is India's First State with 100% Sani­tation Coverage
According to the Drinking Water and Sanita­tion Ministry report released on 9 February, Sikkim becomes the first state in India with 100 per cent sanitation coverage. Sikkim, one of the eight north eastern states nestled prettily in the eastern Himalayas, ranked first among the 28 states and seven union territories in terms of sanitation coverage for both urban and rural areas in house­holds, schools, sanitary complexes and Aanganwadi centres. With 610,577 residents (2011 census), Sikkim is India's least populated and second smallest state in area after Goa.

Assam Becomes The First State To Ban Smokeless Tobacco Legally
The north-east state Assam has become the first state to legally ban consumption and sale of all forms of smokeless tobacco, including pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine. The Act comes into effect on 13 February. Assam's Gov­ernor Janaki Ballav Patnaik gave his assent to the Assam Health (Prohibition of manufacturing, ad­vertisement, trade, storage, distribution, sale and consumption of zarda, gutkha, pan masala, etc, containing tobacco and nicotine) Bill 2013 on 11 February 2014.

Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014 Passed In Assembly
Odisha Legislative Assembly on 14 February passed the Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014, with pro­vision of keeping Chief Minister, ex-Chief Minis­ters, other ministers and public servants under the purview of a six-member anti-corruption panel. The Bill has provisions similar to that of the Cen­tral Act which was passed in Parliament in Decem­ber, 2013.

President's Rule Imposed in Delhi
President Pranab Mukherjee has imposed President's rule in Delhi and accepted the Arvind Kejriwal government's resignation. This informa­tion was on 17 February published in a press re­lease by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's office. With this imposition of the President Rule, the Delhi As­sembly will be kept under suspended animation.

India's First Minority Cyber Village Inaugu­rated In Rajasthan
India's First Minority Cyber Village in Chandoli in Alwar district of Rajasthan is inaugurated by K Rehman Khan of Minister for Minority Affairs on 19 February. The chandoli villages, Rajasthan has been selected for the pilot process of Cyber Vil­lage. The village got selected because it has more than 78% population of minorities and can be a best place to check the performance of India's first cyber village.

Chhattisgarh Government To Set Up A Law Commission
Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh on 25 February announced that a new Law Commission will be set-up in the state to suggest changes in laws as per the geographical and social requirements of the state. This an­nouncement was made in the state Assembly. Some laws are in force in the state since it was a part of Madhya Pradesh but they became obso­lete after Chhattisgarh was created as a new state in 2000.

India's Largest Solar Power Plant Inaugu­rated In Madhya Pradesh
The largest 130-MW Solar Power Plant of India Welspun Solar MP Project was launched at Bhagwanpur in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh on 26 February. It is also the Asia's Largest Solar Power Plant. The Welspun Solar MP project was con­structed at a cost of 1100 crore rupees on 305 hectares of land. It will supply power at 8.05 ru­pees a kWh. This Project will raise Indian solar ca­pacity by 7 percent.

Rajasthan Bans FDI in Multi-brand Retail
Rajasthan on 1 February cancelled its ap­proval for the foreign direct investment in multi-brand retailing. The approval was given earlier by the previous Congress state government led by former Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot. With this decision of cancelling the approval over FDI made Rajasthan the second state after Delhi to with­draw approval for FDI in multi-brand retail. These two decisions of Delhi and Rajasthan came just after the change of government. Earlier, Rajasthan was one of the 12 states that agreed to allow FDI in the retail sector.

Indian Economy To Grow At 4.9 Percent In 2013-14
Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its release on 7 February estimated that India's economic growth in the current (2013-14) fiscal will be 4.9 percent as compared to the growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2012-13. The country's Gross Domes­tic Product (GDP) at factor cost at constant (2004- 05) prices in 2013-14 is likely to be Rs.57.5 lakh crore as compared to Rs.54.8 lakh crore in the previous year, registering year-on-year increase of 4.9 percent. The government recently lowered the economic growth number for 2012-13 to 4.5 percent from the earlier projection of 5 percent. The agriculture sector is expected to grow at 4.6 percent, manufacturing is projected to contract by 0.2 percent and mining output will drop by 1.9 percent year-on-year in 2013-14.

Interim Railway Budget 2014-15
Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge presented the interim Railway Budget 2014-15 in Parliament on 12 February 2014. The budget is for the first four months of the fiscal year 2014- 15 that begins in April 2014. Kharge's maiden rail budget comes just months away from the general elections.

Main Highlights of the Interim Railway Bud­get 2014-15 :-
Budget Estimates 2014-15 :-
v  Loading target of 1,101 Million Tonnes
v  Gross Traffic Receipts targeted at Rs 1,60,775 crore with Passenger Earnings (Rs 45,255 crore), Goods (Rs 1,05,770 crore), Other Coaching & Sundry Earnings (Rs 9,700 crore)
v  Ordinary Working Expenses placed at Rs 1,10,649 crore, higher by Rs 13,589 crore Rupees
v  Pension Outgo budgeted at Rs 27,000 crore against Rs 24,000 crore for 2013-14
v  The entire Dividend of Rs 9,117 crore to Gen­eral Exchquer will be paid
v  Fund Balances likely to be Rs 12,728 crore.
v  Operating Ratio budgeted at 89.8%

Annual Plan 2014-15 :-
Annual Plan en­visaged at Rs 64,305 crore with a Budgetary Support of Rs 30,223 crore, Internal Resources of Rs 10,418 crore and Extra Budgetary Re­sources of Rs 19,805 crore
New Surveys :
19 New Lines & 5 Doubling

New Trains – 73 new trains to be introduced:
These include 17 premium trains, 39 express trains, 10 passengers trains, 4 MEMU and 3 DEMU.
Extension and Increase in frequency:
3 Extension of trains, 3 increase in frequency
Important Points :
v  No increase in passenger fares and freight charges
v  Independent Rail Tariff Authority set-up to advise on fixing of fares and freight, to en­gage all stake-holders
v  Electrification of 4,556 km railway line was completed against a target of 4,500 km
v  To start Vain services for Vaishno Devi shrine to Katra in Jammu and Kashmir
v  Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to be brought on railway map in this financial year
v  Gauge Conversion of strategically important 510 km Rangiya - Murkongselek line in Assam to be completed.
v  Setting up 11.2 km tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir
v  Railways to expand services to Meghalaya
v  More high-speed trains to be launched
v  Allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in railways is under consideration
v  State governments of Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Haryana have agreed to share cost of several rail projects in their respective areas.
v  percent.
v  Fiscal Deficit in 2014-15 estimated to be 4.1 percent which will be below the target set by new Fiscal Consolidation Path and Revenue Deficit is estimated at 3.0 percent.
v  The estimate of Plan Expenditure is 555,322 crore. Non Plan expenditure is estimated at 12,07,892 crore.
Tata Group India's Most Valuable Brand
v  According to the list released on 18 Febru­ary of world's 500 most valued brand, Tata group was declared India's most valuable brand with a value of US$ 21.1 billion, while US-based tech­nology giant Apple has retained its top position globally with about US$ 105 billion. Apple is fol­lowed by Samsung (US$ 79 billion) at second place globally. Tata has retained its top place among In­dian brands and its global ranking has also im­proved from 39th in 2013 to 34th now.
India's First Post Office Savings Bank ATM Inaugurated In Chennai
v  Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on 27 February inaugurated the country's first post office savings bank ATM at the Head Post Office in Thyagaraya Nagar in Chennai. The ATM was part of an Information Technology (IT) modernisation project of the Department of Posts.

Asia's First SKIT commissioned into Indian Navy at Goa
India has joined the elite group of nations when the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) was on 1 February commissioned into the Indian Navy at INS Hansa in Panaji, Goa. This is the third such facility in the world, after the United States and Ukraine. The SBTF, which was commissioned recently, is primarily used for flight testing of Naval aircraft that operate from aircraft carriers. Built as a state of the art facility, the project was managed by Aeronautical Development Agency in consul­tation with Indian Navy and built by Goa Ship­yard Limited under the supervision of Russian specialists.

NASA's Kepler Discovered Extremely Wobbly New Planet
NASA's Kepler space telescope has located a new planet named 'Kepler-413b' that wobbles wildly on its axis much like a spinning toy top, with its tilt varying by as much as 30 degrees over an 11 year span. The US space agency announced on 4 February. The planet, which is located 2,300 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, also appears to be frequently moving up and down due to an orbit that is tilted 2.5 degrees compared to its stars.

BrahMos Missile Successfully Test Fired In Salvo Mode
The 290km-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully fired on 6 February from a naval warship INS Trikand in salvo mode in the Arabian Sea. For the first time, the BrahMos cruise missile was fired in salvo mode off the Russian-built warship off the coast of Karnataka with an interval of three seconds off the coast of Goa. BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint ven­ture company, is also working to develop the air as well as the submarine launch version of the missile system and work on the project is in progress.

Australian Astronomers Discovered Oldest Known Star In Universe
A team of scientists at the Australian National University has on 11 February discovered the old­est known star in the Universe. The star known as SMSS J031300. 36-670839.3, is in the Milky Way galaxy and some 6000 light years from the Earth. The star was formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago: The star was discovered using the ANU SkyMapper telescope at the Sid­ing Spring Observatory. The discovery of the star was confirmed using the Magellan telescope in Chile. The composition of the newly-discovered star shows it was formed in the wake of a primordial star, which had a mass 60 times that of our Sun.

World’s Most Powerful Laser Chip Developed
In the month of February 2014 British researchers have built the world's most powerful terahertz laser chip, an advance that may enable improved security scanning and medical imaging. Researchers from the University of Leeds claimed to have exceeded a 1 Watt output power from a quantum cascade terahertz laser. The new record more than doubles landmarks set by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and subsequently by a team from Vienna last year.

Indian-origin Boy Shubham Banerjee Invents Braille Printer Using Lego Set
A 12-year-old boy of Indian Origin Shubham Banerjee has on 23 February designed a low-cost Braille printer using toy construction Lego pieces. Banerjee developed the Braille printer called Braigo, which is short for Braille with Lego. It was created from the Lego Mindstorms EV3 set, which retails for USD 349. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is a remarkably powerful and functional robotics kit people of any age can use to build some im­pressive and complicated projects.

India Successfully Test Fired Akash Missile
India on 26 February successfully test-fired its Akash medium-range surface-to-air missile from a defence base in Odisha, for the third time. Akash was earlier successfully tested from the same de­fence base on 21st and 24th February 2014. The indigenously-developed missile, with a 27-km range and an effective ceiling of 15 km, was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range of Chandipur in the coastal district of Balasore, 230 km from Bhubaneswar.

Harish Rawat Sworn In As New Uttarakhand Chief Minister
Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat was sworn in as the eighth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand on 1 February. Rawat succeeded Congress leader Vijay Bahuguna who stepped down from his position of Uttarakhand's Chief Minister on 31 January 2014 after 22 months of holding the office.
India-born Satya Nadella Appointed as CEO of Microsoft
India-born Satya Nadella has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of US tech­nology and software giant Microsoft on 4 Febru­ary. Satya Nadella succeeds Steve Ballmer and he takes over as the third CEO of the Microsoft firm. Company founder Bill Gates is leaving his chair­man role, with board member John Thompson taking his post. Gates himself will assume a new role as technology adviser. Nadella is the first In­dian to head the Microsoft in its 38-year history.
Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur Appointed As Head Of 7th Central Pay Commission
Former Supreme Court Justice, Ashok Kumar Mathur has been appointed as the head of the 7th Pay Commission on 4 February. The Com­mission has been mandated to submit its report in two years time. Its recommendation would be implemented from 1 January 2016. The Pay Com­mission is constituted every ten years by the gov­ernment of India to revise the pay scales of its employees and often these are adopted by states after some modification. The 6th Pay Commis­sion was implemented with the effect from 1 Janu­ary 2006.
Archana Ramasundaram Appointed As CBI's Additional Director
Senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram was on 7 February appointed Additional Director in the CBI, the first woman to be elevated to this level in the investigation agency. It was home com­ing for Ramasundaram, a 1980 batch officer from Tamil Nadu cadre, who had served in the agency as Deputy Inspector General and later as its first woman Joint Director and handled various cases pertaining to Economic Offences between 1999 and 2006.
N. Srinivasan Elected As The New Chairman Of ICC
Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the President of BCCI was elected as the new Chairman of the Inter­national Cricket Council (ICC) on 8 February. Srinivasan will become ICC's first chairman from July 2014. He will succeed Alan Raymond Isaac.
Justice RK Agrawal and Justice NV Ramana Sworn In As Supreme Court Judges
Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana were sworn in the judges of the Supreme Court on 17 February. With their swearing-in, for the first time in several years the Supreme Court will have its full strength of 31 judges.
N. Ramachandran Elected IOA president
World Squash Federation (WSF) chief N. Ramachandran was elected unopposed as the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on 9 February.
R.K.Tiwari Appointed as new Chairman of CBDT
R.K.Tiwari has been appointed as the new chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 9 February. He will take the charge from 1 March 2014. He succeeds Chairperson Sudha Sharma. Tiwari is a 1976-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. He is currently working as the Member of Legislation and Computerisation Department in the CBDT.
Koirala Sworn In As Nepal PM
Sushil Koirala, a veteran Nepali Congress leader was sworn in as Nepal's Prime Minister on 11 February. President Ram Baran Yadav admin­istered oath of office to Koirala at Rastrapati Bhawan.
Justice Mukul Mudgal is new BCCC chief
Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal has been appointed as the new chief of the Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) on 13 February. Justice Mudgal succeeds Justice (Retd) Ajit Prakash Shah, who demitted the office after being appointed Chair­person of the 20th Law Commission in Novem­ber 2013.
Matte Renzi Sworn In As Italy's Prime Min­ister
Italian center-left leader Matte Renzi was sworn in as Italy's youngest Prime Minister, along­side his new Cabinet of 16 ministers on 22 February. Half of Renzi's ministers are women, the largest proportion in Italian history. Most of the ministers are young by Italian standards, with an average age of 48. Benito Mussolini, who came to power in 1922, was the youngest Italian Prime Minister before Renzi.
Lakshmi Swaminathan Becomes First In­dian ADB Admin Tribunal
Lakshmi Swaminathan has been elected on 23 February president of Administrative Tribunal of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for three years. Swaminathan is the seventh presi­dent of the Tribunal. She is the first Indian to be­come the president of the Tribunal.


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