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DAILY GK -- 251 TO 302 -- JANUARY 2016 (final part)

251.International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust observed
i. International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust was observed on 27 January 2016 across the world. The day was proclaimed so by the United Nations General Assembly.
ii. The theme for the Holocaust remembrance and education activities in the year 2016 including the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony is The Holocaust and Human Dignity.
iii. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrate the day every year.
iv. The day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Soviet troops in 1945.

252.Union Government launched National Job Portal for Persons with Disabilities
i. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot on 27 January 2016 launched the National level Job portal for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
ii. The Ministry aims to carry out skill training programme for 5 lakh Persons with Disabilities in next 3 years.

253.Union Cabinet approves raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions
i. The Union Cabinet has approved proposal of raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions (IRBs) in Jammu & Kashmir and 4 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states. 
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 

Key facts 
  • 17 IRBs includes 5 battalions in J&K, 4 in Chhattisgarh, 3 each in Jharkhand and Odisha and 2 in Maharashtra. 
  • The major thrust in raising these IRBs will be by recruiting local youths. State Government can relax age and educational criteria if required. 
  • In case of 5 IRBs of J&K, 60% of the vacancies for the posts of constables and class IV will be filled from the state’s border districts. 
  • In case of LWE states, 75% of the vacancies of constables will be filled up from 27 core districts under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme. 

254.CERT-In inks cyber security agreements with 3 nations
i. Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has signed cybersecurity agreement with its counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.
ii. In this regard, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has apprised the Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) signed between CERT-In and 3 nations. 

255.Rajasthan Govt inks MoU to join UDAY Scheme
i. Rajasthan Government along with its power distribution companies (DISCOMS) has signed a MoU to join UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) Scheme. 
ii. State DISCOMS part of this MoU are Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (JVNL), Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (JVVNL) and Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (AVNL). 

256.India and Armenia sign Protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention
i. India and Armenia has signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) to curb instances of tax evasion. 
ii. The Protocol amends the Article on Exchange of Information for tax in the bilateral DTAC signed between India and Armenia and has been in existence since September 2004. 
iii. It has been amended to bring it in line with the updated provisions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model.

257.India overtakes Thailand as World's largest rice exporter
i. India has overtaken Thailand as the world’s largest rice exporter in the year 2015 by shipping (exporting) 10.23 million tonnes of rice. 
ii. It was announced by the Bangkok based Thai Rice Exporters Association Chairman Charoen Laodhammatas. 

258.Cognizant acquires KBACE Technologies
i. United States (US) based software services exporter Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) has acquired cloud-based computing firm KBACE Technologies. 
ii. This acquisition will help Cognizant to strength and expands its digital capabilities from its critical business applications to cloud-based IT infrastructures. 
iii. The terms and amount of the acquisition deal were not disclosed by the company. This acquisition was part of Cognizant’s strategy to diversify businesses into newer geographies. 
iv. As part of the acquisition, KBACE Technologies’ 400 consultants and implementation experts will become part of Cognizant.

259.India successfully test fired Akash missile at Chandipur
i. India on 28 January 2016 test fired its indigenously-built surface-to-air Akash missile from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).at Chandipuri in Odisha. It was as part of a user trial mission.
ii. Three rounds of test were carried out by Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel aiming at para-barrel targets.

260.IPS officer Aparna Kumar became India's first civil servant to scale Mount Vinson Massif
i. Aparna Kumar, IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, became India's first civil servant to scale Mount Vinson Massif, the highest peak in the Antarctica.
ii. She hoisted the Tricolour and the flag of the Uttar Pradesh Police Service on Mount Vinson Massif.
iii. She set out on the Antarctic expedition on 5 January 2016, accompanied by a 10-member team of mountaineers from various countries.

261.Chennupati Jagadish, Jay Chandra honoured with Order of Australia
i. Chennupati Jagadish and Jay Chandra, Indian-origin persons, were on 26 January 2016 honoured with the Order of Australia, highest civilian honour of Australia on the occasion of the Australia Day. They were awarded for their contribution in the fields of physics, engineering and medicine.
ii. Chennupati Jagadish is an eminent professor at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He was conferred with the award for his eminent service to physics and engineering, particularly in the field of nanotechnology.

262.Indian activist Henri Tiphagne selected for Amnesty International Human Rights Award 2016
i. Indian lawyer and human rights defender Henri Tiphagne on 26 January 2016 was selected for the 8th Human Rights Award by Amnesty International Germany.
ii. The award is a recognition of Tiphagne’s exceptional commitment to human rights. He will be conferred with the award at an official ceremony on 25 April 2016 at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin, Germany.
iii. Henri Tiphagne is the founder of the organization People’s Watch, one of the most notable human rights organizations in India.

263.Australian batsman David Warner won Allan Border Medal 2016
i. Australian batsman David Warner on 27 January 2016 defeated captain Steve Smith for the prestigious Allan Border Medal for 2016.
ii. Warner polled 240 votes from players, umpires and media representatives to beat 2015 winner and skipper Steve Smith on 219. Pace bowler Mitchell Starc was third on 183 votes.
iii. Warner also won the Test Player of the Year Award with 30 votes ahead of Smith on 24.

264. Union Government announced 1st batch of 20 smart cities from 11 States and Delhi
i. Union Ministry of Urban Development on 28 January 2016 announced the 1st batch of 20 smart cities from 11 States and Union Territory of Delhi under the Smart Cities Mission. The 20 cities were selected through the Smart City Challenge competition that saw the participation of 1.52 crore citizens from 97 cities and towns.
ii. 23 States and Union Territories who could not make to the list of winners will be given an opportunity to participate in a fast track competition. Among the 20 cities and towns, 3 cities are from Madhya Pradesh, two each from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and one each from the remaining five made it to the winning list.

iii. The 20 winning cities and towns have proposed a total investment of 50802 crore rupees over five years with all the cities proposing Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) as a major vehicle of resource mobilization. A total area of 26735 acres has been identified by these cities for making them smart through necessary interventions.
iv. These 20 cities account for a total population of 3.54 crore and 5 have  population below 5 lakhs each, 4 in the range of 5-10 lakhs, 6 in between 10-25 lakhs, 4 between 25 and 50 lakhs and only Ahmedabad has above 50 lakhs.

265. Commemorative Coin of 150 rupees & Circulation Coin of 10 rupees on Lala Lajpat Rai released
i. Ministry of Culture on 28 January 2016 released a commemorative coin of 150 rupees and a circulation coin of 10 rupees on Lala Lajpat Rai. The Commemorative Coin of 150 rupees is made of Quaternary alloy with diameter of 44 mm and weight of 35 grams.
ii. The Circulation coin of 10 rupees is made of bi-metallic material with diameter of 27 mm and weight of 7.71 grams. The coin was released by Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of state (Independent charge) Minister of Tourism & Culture at New Delhi on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai. Ministry of culture has been celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Rai from 28 January 2015 to 28 January 2016.
iii. During the year long celebrations a number of programmes were held in his memory in different parts of the country. Union Government released funds to Rastra Gaurava Samrakshna Parishath, Bengaluru (an NGO) for conducting 501 lectures in schools & colleges.
iv. The Servants of the People Society, founded by Lalaji brought out Hindi translation of 15 volumes of Collected Works of Lala Lajpat Rai. Punjab National Bank (PNB), founded by Lalaji undertook a variety of activities throughout the country, with special focus on Punjab.
v. Besides, the Punjab government sanctioned an amount of 5 crore rupees for construction of an Auditorium and 3 crore rupees for installation of Astroturf Flooring in Hockey Stadium at Lalaji’s Birth Place.

266. $80-m ADB loan to improve infra in Agartala, Aizawl
i. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $80-million loan agreement with the Centre to help continue improving infrastructure in the two North-Eastern cities of Agartala and Aizawl. The loan is the third tranche of $200-million financing facility under the North Eastern Region Capital Cities Development Investment Program.

ii. This will be used for investments in water supply, solid waste management and sanitation in the two cities. The loan will also support urban reforms, benefiting nearly a million people.
iii. Previous program tranches have provided assistance to five other cities in the Northeast-Shillong (Meghalaya), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kohima (Nagaland), Gangtok (Sikkim) and Agartala (Tripura), an official release said.
iv. The loan agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of Government of India and Ms Teresa Kho, Country Director, ADB’s India Resident Mission on behalf of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

267. Kerala to host global skill summit
i. Kerala will host a three-day ‘Nypunyam International Skill Summit and Skill Fiesta 2016’ next month with a view to bridging the gap between the job market requirement and the skill level of available workforce.
ii. The event will unfold on February 5, according to Tom Jose, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Labour and Skills, Kerala. The focus will be on improving the skill levels and bringing them up to world standards in tune with the Prime Minister’s initiative for skilling 500 million young people by 2020. The skill summit will gather an array of top industry leaders, key government officials, policy makers and analysts functioning in the sector.
iii. The Nypunyam summit will be jointly organised by Directorate of Employment and Training and Kerala Academy for Skills Excellence, Jose pointed out.
iv. At least 70 contestants will take part in the skill fiesta representing trades as varied as welding, plumbing, catering, restaurant service, mobile robotics, fashion technology, fitter, electrical, automobile technology, bakery and confectionery, carpentry, computer-aided design (Civil) and electronics.

268. Iran, Airbus signed deal to buy 118 Airbus planes
i. Iran and Airbus on 28 January 2016 signed two agreements covering new aircraft orders and a comprehensive civil aviation co-operation package. The agreement includes purchase of 118 new Airbus aircrafts.  
ii. The agreement for 118 new aircraft includes 21 A320ceo family, 24 A320neo family, 27 A330ceo family, 18 A330neo (-900), 16 A350-1000 and 12 A380. The agreements were signed at the Elysee Palace, Paris, during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to France with French President Francois Hollande.
iii. Iran Air and Airbus signed an agreement for the acquisition of the full range of new Airbus airliners (73 wide-bodied and 45 single aisles). This includes pilot and maintenance training and support services to help the entry into service and efficient operations of these new aircraft.
iv. A comprehensive co-operation agreement to modernize the civil aviation sector of Iran was inked. The agreement was signed to support the development of Air Navigation Services (ATM), airport and aircraft operations, regulatory harmonization, technical and academic training, maintenance, repair and industrial cooperation.
v. The deal to buy 118 Airbus planes is one of the biggest deals signed since western sanctions against Tehran were lifted. The sanctions were over Iran's nuclear programme.

269. Gurdeep Singh appointed as CMD of NTPC
i. Gurdeep Singh on 28 January 2016 was appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of NTPC Ltd. Singh will be the first person to be appointed to the top job at a Maharatna company through a search committee route.
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the appointment of Singh for a period of five years from the date of assumption of charge of the post.
iii. The post of chairman and managing director at NTPC fell vacant after Arup Roy Choudhury completed his five year term on 31 August 2015.
iv. Gurdeep Singh is currently serving as the managing director of Gujarat State Electricity Company Limited (GESC). He started his career in NTPC in 1987.
v. He was earlier associated with Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, Powergen and IDFC Projects in different capacities. During his tenure at GESC, Singh spearheaded several key reforms in Gujarat, the major being innovative solar power programmes such as the solar power plant over the Sardar Sarovar canal.

270. Nisid Hajari won 2016 William E. Colby Award for Best Military Book
i. Nisid Hajari on 28 January 2016 won the 2016 William E. Colby Award for his book, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition.
ii. Hajari will be presented with the award and honorarium at Norwich University, the USA in April 2016.
iii. The Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition covers the 1947 partition of India and the violence that surrounded that event. Hajari oversees Asia coverage for Bloomberg View, the editorial page of Bloomberg News.
iv. Prior to working at Bloomberg, he spent 10 years as a top editor at Newsweek International and Newsweek magazine in New York, during which the magazine won over 50 awards for its international coverage.
v. From 1997 to 2001, he helped to create TIME’s first Asian edition in Hong Kong, winning two General Excellence Awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia. He helped edit the best-selling essay collection, Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower. He has appeared as a commentator on foreign affairs for CNN, BBC, and National Public Radio. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

271. India successfully test fired Akash missile at Chandipur
i. India on 28 January 2016 test fired its indigenously-built surface-to-air Akash missile from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).at Chandipuri in Odisha. It was as part of a user trial mission. Three rounds of test were carried out by Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel aiming at para-barrel targets.
ii. The Akash (sky) is a mid-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. It is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India under the integrated guided-missile development programme (IGMDP).
iii. IGMDP is also involved the development of the Nag, Agni and Trishul missiles and Prithvi ballistic missile. The first missile was delivered to the IAF in March 2012. The missile was formally inducted into the IAF in July 2015.
iv. The missile can fly at supersonic speeds ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5 and can engage aerial targets up to a range of approximately 25 kilometers.

272. Justice Sanjay Mishra appointed as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh
i. Justice Sanjay Mishra was on 28 January 2016 appointed as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh. His appointment was approved by the Supreme Court. The apex court bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Prafulla C Pant recalled the earlier order dated 16 December 2015 appointing Justice Virendra Singh for the post following the objections raised against Singh's appointment.
ii. The Supreme Court in December 2015 passed order appointing Justice Virendra Singh as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh. It was the first time that apex court exercised its powers to appoint a Lokayutka, after repeated orders to the constitutional authorities of state that it must appoint a new person in the position.
iii. The apex court utilised its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to enforce its own orders to do complete justice. 
iv. However, Singh's appointment aroused objections as Chief Justice had received serious complaints against Justice Singh during his tenure as Chairman of Consumer Redressal Forum in November 2012.

273. Navneet Kaur, Santosh Kadale won gold in Senior National Rowing Championship
i. Punjab’s Navneet Kaur on 28 January 2016 won two gold medals in the 34th Senior National Rowing Championship at Hussainsagar Lake, Hyderabad. It was her maiden gold at the country’s highest level in the senior category.
ii. Kaur took 8:26.83 seconds to take the first place in the 2000mts Open Single Scull. Later, Navneet and Harpreet Kaur won the women’s doubles sculls timing 7:42.94 seconds.
iii. In the men single scull, Nasik’s Santosh Kadale won his maiden national gold.
iv. Host Telangana men team had to be contended with a silver in the Open Men’s Coxless while K Tejeshwar Reddy bagged a bronze medal for Andhra Pradesh in single scull.

274. Sania Mirza, Martina Hingis won 2016 Australian Open women's doubles tennis title
i. Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis on 29 January 2016 won the 2016 Australian Open title of tennis in the women’s doubles category.
ii. To win the title, the top seeded Indo-Swiss pair defeated seventh seeded Czech duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-6, 6-3 at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. With the win over the Czech duo, they extended their unbeaten run to 36.
iii. For Sania-Hingis pair, it was their maiden Australian Open title and the third successive Grand Slam doubles title after their victories in the 2015 Wimbledon and US Open.
iv. In the 2016 season, it was their second title. Earlier, they won the 2016 WTA Apia International Sydney title on 15 January 2016. In a semi final of the tournament, the duo created a world record by winning their 29th women’s doubles match in a row.

275. Uttar Pradesh joins UDAY scheme
i. Uttar Pradesh became the fourth state to join the Centre’s scheme to revive state electricity distribution utilities on Saturday. The state government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd, the holding company of the various electricity distribution utilities in the state.
ii. Under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), the state government will take over Rs. 39,900-crore of debt of the electricity distribution utilities. The balance Rs. 13,300-crore of debt will be issued as state guaranteed DISCOM bonds at coupon rates that are 3 per cent lower than the current interest cost. This would help save the distribution utilities Rs. 1,600 crore annually.
iii. Efficiency measures including reduction of AT&C losses will help bring additional revenue of Rs. 17,700 crore to the distribution utilities.
iv. The four states – Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – which have signed MoUs for joining UDAY, account for about 35 per cent of the outstanding loans of state electricity distribution utilities in the country.
v. Uttar Pradesh expects to start issuing the bonds by the second week of February. “There is very good investor appetite for the bonds. We have had discussions with insurance companies, provident fund organisations and liquidity does not appear to be a problem,” Goyal added.

276. Cabinet of Somalia agreed on Election Model outlined by Mogadishu Declaration 2015
i. Cabinet of Somalia on 28 January 2016 agreed on Election Model outlined by the Mogadishu Declaration. The declaration, which was adopted in December 2015,  calls for the electoral process in Somalia to establish a new, bicameral Federal Parliament in 2016, based on inclusivity and representation.
ii. The election model paves the way for formation of new government as the term of non-elected Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is set to expire in 2016 after serving for about four years.
iii. The new electoral model envisioned a 275-member lower house which maintains a power-sharing formula among clans and a 54-member upper house based on equal representation of existing, emerging and prospective federal states plus additional seats for Puntland and Somaliland.
iv. It also requires that a minimum of 30 percent of seats be reserved for women.
v. Mogadishu Declaration established 7 key principles and actions basing on which the precise details of a final electoral model and the plan for implementing that model to be evolved for formation of new government in Somalia in 2016.
vi. As per the declaration, representation in the country’s next federal parliament will be based on a balance between constituencies and clan affiliation. It stipulates that the representation of women in the legislative branch shall be increased by guaranteeing them a minimum number of reserved seats in both the upper and lower houses of the federal parliament.

277. Puducherry Lt Governor AK Singh launched MITRA app for women safety
i. Lt Governor of Puducherry AK Singh on 28 January 2016 launched the MITRA mobile application to ensure safety and security of women in the Union Territory. The app was launched in the presence of the Chief Minister N Rangasamy in Puducherry.
ii. The Android based application can send emergency SOS messages when in danger or emergency.
iii. To launch the application, the person in danger need only press the power button of his/her mobile three times.
iv. At present, it is available only in smart phones.
v. It is an initiative of the Puducherry Police and can be used with ease and without anyone noticing it. Though the app can be used by anyone, it will be more useful to women, children and the aged.

278. Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank sets up cell to monitor govt schemes
i. The Dharwad-headquartered Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) has set up a separate cell for monitoring progress under all the government-sponsored schemes, according to Ashok Reddy, Chairman of the bank.
ii. According to a press release from the bank here on Saturday, Reddy received the ‘runner-up’ award of the ‘ASSOCHAM Social Banking Excellence Award 2015’ under the ‘regional rural banks’ category in Mumbai on Friday. The Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha, gave away the award to Reddy.
iii. The cell at the head office in Dharwad monitors the progress of government-sponsored schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), the Atal Pension Yojana (APY), the Credit Guarantee Fund and the MUDRA Yojana.
iv. The bank has opened 10.30 lakh accounts covering all households with a bank account in its area of operation under PMJDY. He said 9.80 lakh RuPay cards have been issued to PMJDY account holders, and around 4,000 PMJDY account holders have been provided overdraft facility.
v. The bank has canvassed 2.80 lakh policies under PMJJBY, 8.90 lakh policies under PMSBY and 1,500 under APY schemes. It has financed 15,813 accounts under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana amounting to Rs. 125 crore during the campaign period, he said.

279. Goa launches project tracking portal
i. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar today launched Goa e-Suvidha Portal, an online project tracking mechanism to fast track projects.
ii. It aims at resolving a variety of issues in setting up infrastructure and other large projects , both in the public and private sectors, with targeted investment between ₹50 crore and ₹1,000 crore.
iii. The system is designed to enhance efficiency, bring transparency, boost investor confidence, and improve the communication between the industry and the government.

280. Prince Mahidol Award 2015 conferred in Bangkok
i. Prince Mahidol Award 2015 was conferred upon Professor Morton Mower and Sir Michael Marmot for outstanding achievements in medicine and public health worldwide.
ii. The award was presented on 29 January 2016 at the Grand Palace in Bangkok by the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on behalf of the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej, who couldn’t attend the ceremony due to ill health.
iii. Mower, a citizen of the USA, received the award in the category of medicine for invention of the Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. The device helps in monitoring heart rate and rhythm and delivers electrical current when abnormality is detected.
iv. Marmot, a citizen of the UK, won the award in public health category for his evidence-based evaluation of the role of Social Determinants of Health, a concept that was adopted by the government of the UK and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate health inequalities.
v. Mahidol Award was established in 1992 to commemorate the 100th birthday anniversary of Prince Mahidol of Songkla, who is recognized by the Thais as the father of modern medicine and public health of Thailand. The award is presented by the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation that was established under the Royal Patronage of the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
vi. It is bestowed upon individuals or institutions that have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to the advancement of medical, and public health and human services in the world. It is conferred upon by the King of Thailand with prizes worth a total of 100000 US dollars.

281. KK Jalan is now MSME Secretary
i. In a bureaucratic reshuffle, the government has transferred Central Provident Fund Commissioner KK Jalan as Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). “The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment,” said an official release on Friday. A 1982 batch IAS officer from the Haryana cadre, Jalan will take over from current incumbent Anup K Pujari on his retirement.
ii. Also, Shobhana K Pattanayak, a 1982 Karnataka cadre officer, has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, following the retirement of Siraj Hussain, a 1979 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer.
iii. Avinash K Srivastava, (UP-1982), at present Special Secretary, Department of Agriculture, will now be Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, following the retirement of Ranglal Jamuda (Odisha-1981).
iv. Vinod Agrawal, (Jharkhand-1980), at present Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, will take over as Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, following the retirement of Lov Verma, (Uttar Pradesh-1978).
v. Shyam S Agarwal, (Rajasthan-1980), Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, will be the new Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

282. JS Deepak replaces Garg as Telecom Secretary
i. Amid the high-decibel debate around Net neutrality, call drops and the upcoming mega spectrum auction, Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg on Friday was moved to the low-profile Minority Affairs Ministry, as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle.
ii. JS Deepak, a UP cadre officer from the 1982 batch, who is currently Secretary, Department of IT (DeitY), will replace Garg. This will be Deepak’s second innings in the Department of Communications (DoT).
iii. As Joint Secretary, DoT, he was among those who had played a lead role in ensuring the smooth auction of 3G and broadband wireless access spectrum in 2010, which fetched the government revenue of ₹1.06 lakh crore.
iv. Following this, Deepak was asked to handle the 2G spectrum auction in 2012 after the Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of 121 licences for 2G during the tenure of A Raja as Telecom Minister. Deepak, an MSc in electronics from Bangalore University and MBA from IIM-Ahmadabad, was then Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce.

283. Leslie Berland appointed as Chief Marketing Officer of Twitter Inc
i. Leslie Berland was on 26 January 2016 appointed as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Twitter Inc, an online social networking site. Before Berland’s appointment, the marketing operations was overseen by the Twitter’s CFO Anthony Noto.

ii. Prior to this appointment, she was working at American Express (AmEx) as an executive vice-president of global advertising, marketing and digital partnerships.
iii. Berland joined the American Express (AmEx) in 2005 and had overseen its advertising, sponsorships, media, content and brand identity. 
iv. She also helped to create AmEx’s first social media strategies. Leslie Berland was placed at 6th position in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business issue and also was included in Advertising Age’s Creativity 50 list.

284. Former Army Chief Gen K V Krishna Rao passes away
i. Former Army Chief General K V Krishna Rao, who played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, died here today at the military hospital following a cardiac arrest. He was 92.
Rao also served as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir at a time when militancy was at its peak in the state.
ii. Rao was the 14th Chief of the Army Staff of Indian Army and had an illustrious career spanning over four decades in the force. He was commissioned into the Army on August 9, 1942. As a young officer, he had served in Burma, North West Frontier and Baluchistan during the Second World War.
iii. During extensive Punjab disturbances in the run up to the partition in 1947, he served both in East and West Punjab. He also participated in the 1947-48 war against Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. He was a founder Instructor of the National Defence Academy during 1949-51.
iv. Rao had commanded a brigade in the forward area of Ladakh during 1965-66, an infantry division in Jammu Region during 1969-70 and a Mountain Division engaged in counter insurgency operations in Nagaland and Manipur during 1970-72.
v. Rao was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time from July 11, 1989 to January 19, 1990 and the second time from March 13, 1993 till May 2, 1998.

285. Angelique Kerber stuns Serena Williams to win Australian Open
i. Angelique Kerber became the first German to win a Grand Slam title since her childhood idol Steffi Graf in 1999 when she upset world number one Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4 to clinch the Australian Open on Saturday.
ii. The 34-year-old American had been seeking her seventh Melbourne Park title and 22nd overall, which would have moved her into a tie with Graf for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era.
iii. The seventh-seeded Kerber, however, was not overawed by the occasion of her first Grand Slam final, breaking twice in the first set to take it in 39 minutes as Williams made 23 unforced errors.
iv. Both players suffered early breaks in the third set but the championship appeared to have tipped in the German's favour in a marathon sixth game when she finally converted her fifth break point to take a 4-2 lead.
v. She extended that to 5-2 and was serving for the title at 5-3 before Williams fought back, though the inspired German was able to clinch her first Grand Slam and then collapse onto the court in jubilation.

 286. 30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela started at Faridabad

i. The 30th edition of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela began at Surajkund in Faridabad, Haryana on 1 February 2016. The event that will continue till 15 February 2016 was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
ii. Telangana was selected as the Theme State and will showcase its unique culture and rich heritage and about 300 artistes from the state will perform different folk arts. Chhattisgarh was chosen as the Theme State for the 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2015. At least 23 countries will be part of the Mela, with China and Japan being the two focus countries.
iii. The first edition of the Surajkund Crafts Mela was hosted in 1987. The Mela is organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.
iv. Traditional craftsmen (artists, painters, weavers and sculptors) from all parts of the country participate in this annual mela and showcase some of the most exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of India and culture. Handmade fabrics soaked in ethnic colours make an eye catching display for the visitors.
v. Every year a theme State and a Partner Nation is chosen. Theme State is chosen with a view to promote and focus the art, craft and cuisine of the theme State whereas Partner Nation is chosen to showcases the best of that nation’s art, culture, traditions and heritage.

287. CBDT signed two bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with United Kingdom
i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 29 January 2016 signed two bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with United Kingdom. With this signing, CBDT has concluded three bilateral APAs the first one being a bilateral APA signed with Japan in December 2014.

ii. This is a significant step towards providing a stable and predictable tax regime. With this signing, CBDT has so far signed 41 APAs out of which 38 are unilateral and 3 are bilateral.

iii. The two bilateral APAs were signed with two Indian group entities of a UK based Multi-National Company (MNC). The APAs have been entered into soon after the Competent Authorities of India and United Kingdom finalised the terms of the bilateral arrangement under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) process contained in the India-UK DTAA.

iv. The APAs cover the period 2013-14 to 2017-18 and also have a Rollback provision for 2 years that is 2011-12 and 2012-13. Transfer pricing disputes on the same transaction were recently resolved under MAP for each of these two companies for the years 2006-07 to 2010-11.

v. With the signing of the bilateral APAs, the two Indian companies are provided with tax certainty for 12 years each which was split into 5 years under MAP and 7 years under APA. The two APAs are also significant because they address the issues of payment of management and service charges and payment of royalty. These transactions generally face prolonged and multi-layered transfer pricing disputes.

288. India, NASA to study Ladakh region under Spaceward Bound programme
i. India and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) entered into a partnership in January 2016 to explore the environment of Ladakh under NASA’s Spaceward Bound programme.

ii. Under the partnership, a team of scientists from NASA, the Mars 
society Australia and the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow will undertake an expedition to Ladakh in August 2016. During their 10-day expedition, the scientists will study the similarities of certain parts of the region’s topography and microbial life to the surroundings of Mars.

iii. Ladakh offers a cold, high altitude (3500 - 5500 meter above sea level), high UV exposed, dry ecosystem with Mars analogue topological features. The pristine Ladakh environment will tell us about the origin and evolution of Earth’s topological features and also about how microbial life has adapted itself to sustain itself in such harsh conditions.

iv. High passes, permafrost regions, glaciers, hot springs, shallow and palaeo lakes and high altitude night skies help the astrobio/geoscientsts to conduct experiments in order to find answer some of the most fundamental questions about life. India’s success in executing the Mars Orbiter Mission will be an added advantage for international scientists for achieving greater results as part of the collaboration.

289. Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi appointed as India’s Envoy to Mexico

i. Senior IFS officer Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi was on 29 January 2016 appointed as India’s Ambassador to Mexico.

ii. Pardeshi is a Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1991 batch. He is currently posted as Joint Secretary (Passport division) in the Union Ministry of External Affairs.

iii. He served as the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of India in Jakarta from 2007 to 2010. During 1993-2001, he worked with Indian Missions in Mexico, Colombia and Nepal.

iv. Union Government also appointed P Harish as India’s Envoy to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Harish is a Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1990 batch. He is currently posted as Consul General in Houston, United States.

290. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar selected for K Veeramani Award for Social Justice

i. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 29 January 2016 was selected for the prestigious K Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2015. Kumar is chosen for the award for his contribution towards social justice as Chief Minister.

ii. The award is given away by Periyar International, a Chicago-based voluntary organisation. However, the date and venue of the award function are yet to be decided.

iii. The K Veeramani Award for Social Justice was instituted by the non-resident Indian (NRI) followers of Periyar E. V. Ramasami, the great social reformer of India, living all over the world. This award is instituted in Dr. K. Veeramani's name to recognize his contributions in creating a mass awareness in India on social equality and respect for human dignity.

iv. This international award is awarded every year to an individual who has or an institution that has contributed immensely to the cause of social justice. The award recognizes a single event or a lifetime contribution that is responsible for the emancipation of a section of the society from the oppressions of social injustice.

v. Constituted in 1996, the award recipients include former Prime Minister V P Singh, former Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati, former Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi, former Maharashtra deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and former AICC president Sitaram Kesri. In 2014, Professor Dhaneswar Sahoo was honoured with the award.

291. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey appointed as Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

i. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey on 28 January 2016 was appointed as the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) for a period of three years. Before joining the post of CCPD, Pandey was associated with Saksham, an NGO working in the field of disability.

ii. The CCPD is appointed by the Union Government from persons having special knowledge or practical experience in matters relating to rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities. 

iii. The CCPD also coordinates the work of the State Governments’ Commissioners:
To monitor the utilization of funds disbursed by the Union Government
To take steps to safeguard the rights and facilities made available to persons with disabilities
To submit reports to the Central Government on the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995

iv. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey is a Science Graduate from University of Allahabad and Medical Graduate from Agra University in 1990. He has been associated with Sewa Bharti, an NGO working in rehabilitation of slum dwellers, Akhil Bhartiya Dristihin Kalyan Sangh, an NGO working for visually challenged persons.

292. Datta Padsalgikar appointed as Commissioner of Police of Mumbai

i. Senior IPS officer Datta Padsalgikar was on 30 January 2016 appointed as the Commissioner of Police of Mumbai with effect from 31 January 2016. He succeeds Ahmed Javed, who was appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

ii. With this, Padsalgikar became the 40th Police Commissioner of Mumbai. He was on deputation to the Union Government in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for the past few years, but was repatriated in January 2016 in preparation for his new charge.

iii. Born on 26 August 1958, Padsalgikar is an IPS Officer of 1982 Batch. Padsalgikar has vast experience in terror and counter-terror operations and had been playing a critical role in gathering evidence against the Pakistani non-state actors who directed the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008.

iv. He has also worked as an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Nagpur and Karad (Satara). He served as Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Detection in the crime branch, DCP in Economic Offences Wing, DCP in South Mumbai and DCP of the Bandra-Jogeshwari stretch.
v. In the Intelligence Bureau (IB), he has worked in Nagaland, New Delhi and Washington (US).

293. TCS, Infosys, Wipro join Obama's 'computer science for all' plan

i. Three major Indian IT companies — Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro — have joined US President Barack Obama's ambitious 'computer science for all' initiative as part of a public-private collaboration, pledging thousands of dollars in grants.

ii. Obama announced his 'Computer Sciences for All' plan in his weekly address on Saturday as he emphasized on the need for teaching the subject as a "basic skill" to all children across schools in the country in a changing economy.

iii. While Infosys has pledged a $1 million in donation, Tata Consultancy Services is providing support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities, the White House said in a fact sheet, also issued on Saturday.
iv. Wipro announced a $2.8 million grant for multi-year project in partnership with the Michigan University to involve over a hundred school teachers, with the aim of nurturing excellence in science and mathematics.

v. According to White House, the TCS and Infosys pledge is part of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) effort to collaborate with the private sector to support high-school CS teachers.
vi. "Infosys Foundation USA will be a founding member of this public-private collaboration with a $1 million philanthropic donation, and, as an initial participant, Tata Consultancy Services is providing additional support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities.

294. Naresh Bedi honoured with V Shantaram Award Life Time Achievement Award

i. Veteran wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi on 28 January 2016 was honoured with the V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th edition of the Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (MIFF 2016).

ii. Bedi was honoured for his outstanding contribution to wildlife filmmaking. He is also credited with filming several rare wildlife moments. Naresh Bedi is the eldest of the Bedi Brothers and a member of the second generation of three generations of Wildlife photographers and filmmakers.

iii. He is the first Asian to receive a Wildscreen Panda Award, popularly known as the Green Oscars, for his cinematography for the documentary, The Ganges Gharial. He is also the first Indian to receive a nomination for the British Academy Film Awards.

iv. He was honoured by the Government of India in 2015 with Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award. He is a recipient of the Earth Watch Award of National Geographic Society and Eastman Kodak Award.

295. Former Army Chief General Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao died

i. Former Army Chief General Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao passed away on 30 January 2016 in New Delhi following a cardiac arrest. He was 92. He was the 14th Chief of the Army Staff of Indian Army.
ii. He was commissioned into then British India Army (now Indian Army) in August 1942 and had an illustrious career spanning over four decades in the force. As a young officer, he had served in Burma (Myanmar), North West Frontier and Baluchistan during the World War II.

iii. He also had participated in the 1947-48 war against Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. He was a founder Instructor of the Pune based National Defence Academy (NDA) during 1949-51. 
iv. He also served as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (1989-1990 and 1993-1998), Nagaland (1984 to 1989), Manipur (1984 to 1989) and Tripura (May to July 1989). He played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

v. He was awarded with the Param Vishist Seva Medal for displaying outstanding leadership, determination, courage and drive during Jammu and Kashmir war.

296. Pietro Fittipaldi won 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000

i. Brazilian racing driver Pietro Fittipaldi on 31 January 2016 clinched the 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 at Madras Motor Racing Track in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

ii. Fittipaldi won two of the four races which earned him the required points to clinch the title with a tally of 244 points while Colombian Tatiana Calderon finished second (199), just eight ahead of Nikita Troitckii of Russia (191).

iii. Pietro Fittipaldi da Cruz is the grandson of two time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. He began his racing career in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, winning the track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2011.

iv. In 2013, he moved to Europe to pursue a career in open-wheeled racing. In 2014, he won the Protyre Formula Renault Championship, clinching the title with one race remaining. In October 2014, he was one of four drivers to be invited to join the Ferrari Driver Academy.

297. Anti-Leprosy Day observed on 30 January 2016

i. Anti-Leprosy Day was observed on 30 January 2016 nationwide to focus attention on the disease which is also known as the Hansen’s disease.

ii. Annually, the day is celebrated in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who attained martyrdom on 30 January 1948, in order to re-memorize his selfless efforts and care for the people affected by the infectious disease leprosy.

iii. Leprosy also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for 5 to as long as 20 years.

iv. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.

v. A drug Chaulmoogra oil was used for leprosy treatment until Dapsone was discovered with anti-leprosy effects during 1940s.

vi. It was in 1970s when multi drug therapy (MDT) consisting of Rifampicin, Clofazimine and Dapsone were identified as cure for leprosy which came into wide use from 1982 following the recommendations of WHO.

298. Book titled Nathuram Godse - The Story of an Assassin released

i. The book titled Nathuram Godse - The Story of an Assassin authored by Anup Ashok Sardesai was released on 30 January 2016. The book was released at the government-owned Ravindra Bhavan in Margao, Goa by BJP leader and the bhavan's chairman Damodar Naik.

ii. The book narrates the story of Nathuram Vinayakrao Godse who died an untimely death and his brother suffered a life of immense mental torture. It also speaks of the family of Godse who faced countless abuses and humiliations.

iii. The author through the book claims that this all was mended because of Godse’s love for his motherland. It also says that Godse is India’s most hated criminal.

iv. Besides, the book justifies Godse’s act of killing Mahatma Gandhi by stating that he was not able to bear the pressure of partition of his country in front of his eyes and slaughtering of his fellow countrymen who were butchered like cows. It also highlights the reason that forced Godse to decide that he must turn into a killer on 12 January.

v. The book was released on the death anniversary of the Father of the Nation. This date of release forced certain people and political party to call a protest. Newly formed Goa Forward party and an Independent legislator Vijai Sardesai have opposed the release on the death anniversary.

299. Fukuoka to host 2021 World Aquatics Championships

i. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) on 31 January 2016 announced that the Japanese city of Fukuoka will host the 2021 World Aquatics Championships. On the other hand, the Qatari capital Doha will host the 2023 event.

ii. The decision was made after a vote of the FINA executive committee in Budapest. The FINA World Championships or World Aquatics Championships are the World Championships for aquatics sports: Swimming, Diving, High Diving, Open Water Swimming, Synchronized Swimming and Water Polo.

iii. They are run by FINA, and all Swimming events are contested in a long course (50-meter) pool. The event was first held in 1973 and is now held every two years. From 1978-1998, the World Championships were held every four years, in the even years between Summer Olympic years.

iv. From 2001 on, the Championships have been held every two years, in the odd years. The event was held in the Russian city of Kazan in 2015 and will go to Budapest in 2017 and Gwangju in South Korea in 2019.

300. Aditya Mehta won 83rd Senior National Snooker Championship

i. Aditya Mehta on 31 January 2016 won the 83rd Senior National Snooker Championship in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
ii. To win the title, he defeated Manan Chandra 6-3 in the final that was held as part of the National Billiards & Snooker Championship 2016.

iii. In another event, Vidya Pillai won the National Snooker Championship in the women’s category by defeating Amee Kamani 4-2. For 38-year-old Vidya, it was her ninth national title.

iv. The women’s billiards title was won by 19-year old Keerath Bhandaal by defeating Arantxa Sanchis of Maharashtra 3-1. Keerath is a student of Economics at the Jesus and Mary College in Delhi.

301. Kidambi Srikanth won Men's Singles title of Syed Modi International Badminton Championships 2016

i. Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth on 31 January 2016 won the Men's Singles title of the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships 2016. In the final played at Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow, Srikanth defeated China's Huang Yuxiang, 21-13, 14-21, 21-14.

ii. This was Srikanth’s fifth title overall, the other four titles include Thailand Grand Prix Gold, China Super Series premier, Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold and India Super Series.
Women’s Singles: Korean Sung Ji Hyun defeated Sayako Sato of Japan, 12-21, 21-18, 21-18. 
Men's Doubles: Malaysian pair of Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong defeated Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar of India, 14-21, 24-22, 21-8.
Women’s Doubles: Korean duo of Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan defeated Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek of Netherlands, 21-15, 21-13.
Mixed doubles: Indonesian pair of Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto defeated Puavaranukroh Dechapol and Sapsiree Taerattanchai of Thailand, 23-25, 21-9, 21-16.

302. Novak Djokovic won the 2016 Australian Open Men's Singles Title

i. World Number One Novak Djokovic on 31 January 2016 won the Australian Open Men’s Singles title. In the final played at Melbourne, the Serbian defeated Andy Murray of Britain in straight sets 6-1, 7-5, 7-6. 

ii. With this, Djokovic retained his title and also equalled the record of Roy Emerson's record of six Australian Open Singles titles.

iii. On the other hand, the defending champion also kept his record against Murray in Australian Open final by defeating the Briton for the fourth time in Men’s singles at the year’s first Grand Slam championship.

iv. Murray succumbed to his fifth loss in five Australian Open finals. Djokovic claimed his 11th grand slam title to match the totals of Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.

v. Earlier on 30 January 2016, Germany’s Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open Women’s Singles title by defeating defending champion Serena Williams in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. This was maiden Grand Slam Tennis title for 7th seed Kerber. 

vi. While on 29 January 2016, Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis won the 2016 Australian Open title of tennis in the women’s doubles category.


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