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DAILY GK - JANUARY 2016 --- 201 TO 250

201. World Economic Forum meeting starts in Davos, Switzerland
i. The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting has started in Swiss resort of Davos, Switzerland with participation of political leaders and business from around the world. In this edition of WEF meeting, the agenda includes the outlook of the global economy and measures to fight terrorism.
ii. Leaders from about 40 countries and more than 2,500 business people are attending the meeting. The 4-day conference will cover the discussions on tumbling oil prices and China’s uncertain economic prospects.
iii. It will be also discussing the issue of growing terror threats in the wake of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris (France) and influx of migrants and refugees in Europe. Participants will also discuss environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions. They will also review the latest efforts to improve industrial production with robotics, artificial intelligence and information technology.
iv. WEF is an international institution founded by Klaus Schwab that works to improve the state of the world through public-private cooperation. It was established in 1971 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

202. Eminent dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai passes away
i. Eminent danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai, wife of the late Dr Vikram Sarabhai, father of India’s space programme, passed away here on Thursday following age-related health complications. She was 97.
ii. Popularly known as “Amma”, the choreography legend is survived by her environmentalist son Kartikeya and daughter Mallika, well-known dancer and social activist. The former President, late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, protégé of Dr Sarabhai, was a close family friend.
iii. Ms Sarabhai, a Padma Bhushan awardee for her contributions to Bharatanatyam and other classical dance forms, was hospitalised here on Wednesday, Kartikeya, said. Her last rites will be performed at village Pethapur in Gandhinagar, which she used to visit frequently due to her keen interest in handicrafts, for which the village is well-known.
iv. Born on May 11, 1918, in Kerala, she was married to Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Daughter of a former Member of Parliament, Ammu Swamimanathan, she spent her childhood in Switzerland, where she learnt her first lessons in western dance forms.
v. Subsequently, Mrinalini joined Santi Niketan, founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. She also had a stint at the American Academy of Dramatic Acts in the USA. She later founded the Ahmedabad-based Darpana Academy of Performing Arts for training youth in dance, drama, music and puppetry. She was also a poet, writer and naturalist. She was active at the academy until a few years ago.
vi. Mrinalini Sarabhai was decorated with many awards and citations in recognition of her contribution to the arts. She was credited with training hundreds of students in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kathakali.

203. Indian Mi-25 helicopters set to join Afghan Air Force
i.  Three Mi-25 gunship helicopters supplied by India are to officially join the Afghan Air Force today. The gunships, delivered at the end of December last year, have been in the assembly process. The decision for the delivery of Mi-25 gunship helicopters was concluded during the recent visit of Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar to New Delhi.
ii. The attack helicopters are designed to take on fortified enemy positions and counter heavy ground fire. The Afghanistan Air Force (AAF) already operates three Indian Cheetal helicopters. The Cheetal helicopters were manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Subsequently, Afghan pilots and technicians were trained to operate them.
iii. Sources indicated that the Afghan government has stepped up efforts to build the capabilities of the AAF to combat the Taliban-led insurgency across the country. India is set to replace its Mi-25 chopper fleet with the new generation Apache choppers that have been contracted from the US under a government-to-government deal.
iv. The US Air Force is to deliver the light attack turboprops to Afghanistan under the Light Air Support (LAS) programme to bolster its fighting capabilities. Up to 30 Afghan pilots are to be trained by the US Air Force over the next three years.

204. DMRC inks interim consultancy pact for light metro projects in Kerala
i. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has signed an interim consultancy agreement with Kerala Rapid Transit Ltd (KRTL) for the Rs. 6,728-crore 'light metro' in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
ii. KRTL is a special purpose vehicle set up by the state government to execute the mass rapid transport system for the two cities. S.D. Sharma, Director, Business Development, DMRC, and P.L. Sheikh Pareeth, Managing Director, KRTL, signed the interim consultancy agreement in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his cabinet colleagues, and E Sreedharan, principal adviser, DMRC.
iii. In the coming days, DMRC will prepare the tender documents for procurement of rolling stock, land acquisition survey, estimates for the flyovers, identification of major utilities and utility shifting plans.
iv. DMRC had sought the interim consultancy to save time and cost escalation as the Ministry of Urban Development had not yet granted in-principle approval for or cleared the participation of the Centre and its 20 per cent equity contribution in the project.
v. The 21.82-km light metro in Thiruvananthapuram will be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,219 crore, while the 13.33-km project in Kozhikode is estimated to cost Rs. 2,509 crore. The Thiruvananthapuram project will be completed in five years and that in Kozhikode in four years, the Chief Minister said.
vi. He said despite the 'light metro' tag, the proposed projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode will more or less match the amenities and conveniences of the Kochi metro.

205. Uttar Pradesh won 2014-2015 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
i. Uttar Pradesh on 20 January 2016 won its maiden Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy with a 38-run win over two- time champions Baroda in the final played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It was Uttar Pradesh’s ninth straight win in the tournament, including five in the preliminary league phase and three more in the super league stage.
ii. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is a Twenty20 cricket domestic championship, named after a famous Indian cricketer, Syed Mushtaq Ali. It is organized by Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI), among the teams from Ranji Trophy.
iii. The 2008-09 season was the inaugural season for this trophy.
iv. BCCI had launched its own state structure in 2006-07 season with 27 Ranji teams divided in 5 Zones with the name of Inter-State T20 Championship, which was renamed and re-launched as the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
v. Gujarat was the winner of 2014-15 season of the tournament.

206. 19th National Conference on e-Governance begins in Nagpur
i. The nineteenth edition of National Conference on e-Governance has begun on 21 January 2016 in Nagpur, Maharashtra. It was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari and the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh.
ii. This edition of conference has been organised by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in in association with the Government of Maharashtra.

iii. The two day conference aims at discussing various aspects of e-Governance ranging from Technology Enabled Services to Cyber Security framework. More than 600 delegates have participated in the conference including 150 delegates from Maharashtra and 250 from other States and 50 participants from the Private Sector.
iv. The Conference also included an exhibition and brainstorming sessions on-Governance by subject experts. Four books on e-Governance were also released at the inaugural session. National Awards for e-Governance for the Year 2015-16 in eighteen categories including 10 Gold and 8 Silver under various categories were presented during the Valedictory Session.

207. Moldovan parliament appointed Pavel Filip as Prime Minister
i. Moldovan parliament on 20 January 2016 appointed Pavel Filip as the Prime Minister. He would be the third prime minister of Moldova in less than a year.

ii. The appointment follows the rise and fall of two prime ministers in 2015, namely Chiril Gaburici ( June 2015) and Valeriu Strelet (October 2015). The small ex-Soviet state and Europe's poorest country was in a political turmoil after the fraudulent disappearance of 1 billion US dollars from the banking system and then government was brought down in a no-confidence vote in October 2015.
iii. Pavel Filip, a member of the main pro-European coalition and a former IT and communications minister in the last government, followed the rejection of two previous candidates. His Candidature as a compromise figure was resisted by opposition as he was close aide of Vladimir Plahotniuc.
iv. Plahotniuc is one of Moldova's richest but most unpopular men, who was believed to be behind the banking scandal. and the subsequent political crisis.

208. Ravi Chellam took charge as Executive Director of Greenpeace India
i. Noted environmentalist Ravi Chellam on 20 January 2016 took charge as the Executive Director of Greenpeace India, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO). Chellam succeeds former Executive Director Samit Aich, who had resigned in June 2015 following an internal review of the organisation's handling of two sexual harassment cases.
ii. Chellam is a wildlife biologist and conservation scientist by training. He has undertaken governance roles in various conservation organisations. Prior to joining Greenpeace, he has worked with the Wildlife Institute of India and United Nations Development Programme.
iii. He has also worked with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Society (India Program) and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. Greenpeace, which has been in India for 15 years, has been embroiled in legal battles with the Union Government led by Narendra Modi over its funding and local operations.
iv. Earlier in 2015, the government suspended Greenpeace’s foreign funding licence and froze its domestic bank accounts for alleged rule violations.
v. However, the group later succeeded in removing those legal blocks. In the most recent case, the Madras high court in November 2015 temporarily halted a government order cancelling the group’s licence in the country, allowing it to continue operating.

209. Nai Manzil Scheme launched in Jammu and Kashmir
i. The Nai Manzil scheme was on 20 January 2016 launched for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme was launched for girls in Srinagar in three institutions- Skill Development Centre, University of Kashmir and two Madarsas.
ii. The two Madarsas are Madarsa Shahi-i-Hamdan in Pampore and Madarsa Imam Sadique in Shadipur, Bandipora.
iii. Under the scheme, girls from minority communities will be imparted three month skill development training in seven identified sectors relevant to the region. These include training in saffron processing, food processing, embroidery, computers IT (both software and hardware), Tourism/hospitality, electronics and plumbing. Trainees will also be given stipend of 4500 rupees for the course.
iv. Nai Manzil Scheme is an integrated Education and Livelihood Initiative for the Minority Communities. It was announced by the Union Budget 2015-16. The scheme aims to benefit the minority youths who are school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like Madrasas.

210. IRS officer Atulesh Jindal appointed as Chairman of CBDT
i. Senior revenue service officer Atulesh Jindal on 21 January 2016 was appointed chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Jindal will succeed A K Jain, who completes his term at the end of January 2016.
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Jindal as chairman of the apex policy-making body of the income tax department.
iii. Jindal is a 1978 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. He is currently working as member (revenue) in the CBDT. He will have a tenure of six-months until he retires in July 2016.
iv. The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes.
v. The Chairperson of CBDT is the senior-most IRS civil servant in the Government of India. The Chairperson of CBDT is the ex officio Special Secretary to the Government of India and also cadre controlling authority of the Indian Revenue Service.

211. Italian film director Ettore Scola died
i. Italian director Ettore Scola passed away on 19 January 2016 following a prolonged illness in Rome. He was 84. As a filmmaker, he was considered to be among the last of a generation of Italian greats with a keen eye for the issues facing his country.
ii. Born in Southern Italy, he directed some of the world's greatest actors including Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Fanny Ardant and Jack Lemmon. Scola started work as a screenwriter in 1953 and directed his first big film Let's Talk About Women in 1964.
iii. One of his most acclaimed films was the 1977 A Special Day that was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. A Special Day won the Golden Globe for best foreign film in 1977. His several Oscar-nominated films chronicled the growing pains, class divisions and frustrated idealisms of 20th century Italy.
iv. While none of his films ever clinched an Oscar, however they won many awards at European film festivals such as Cannes and Berlin. He directed 41 films over nearly 40 years and finally took retirement in 2011.

212. Jodhpur's Umaid Bhawan Palace named the world's best hotel of 2016
i. Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, on 21 January 2016 won the award of the world's best hotel at the Travellers' Choice award organised by TripAdvisor. The winners of Travellers' Choice Award, which entered its 14th year, were determined on the basis of the reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide.
ii. Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, grandfather of the present owner Gaj Singh of the palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace has 347 rooms. The palace serves as the principal residence of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family. Umaid Bhawan Palace was called Chittar Palace during its construction due to use of stones drawn from the Chittar hill where it is located.
iii. Henry Vaughan Lanchester was commissioned as the architect to prepare the plans for the palace. Ground for the foundations of the building was broken on 18 November 1929 by Maharaja Umaid Singh and the construction work was completed in 1943. The Palace was built to provide employment to thousands of people during the time of famine.
iv. The palace was designed as an extraordinary blend of western technology, and many Indian architectural features. The estimated cost of building the palace was 11 million rupees. When it opened its gilded doors in 1943, it was considered as one of the largest royal residences in the world.
v. The palace was built with dun-coloured (golden – yellow) sandstone with two wings. Makrana marble has also been used and Burmese teak wood has been used for the interior wood work.
vi. The Palace is divided into three functional parts: the residence of the royal family, a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, and a Museum focusing on the 20th century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family.

213. EPFO wins award for e-governance
i. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has won the National Award for e-Governance 2015-16 for its Universal Account Number programme.
ii. Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya noted that more than six crore UAN have been allotted to EPF members of which nearly 2.25 crore UAN have also been activated by the subscribers.
iii. Meanwhile, Central Provident Fund Commissioner KK Jalan said that other e-initiatives of the EPFO include SMS service, inoperative account helpline desk, automatic updation of accounts and a mobile app for subscribers.

214. Jan Dhan accounts deposits cross Rs. 30,000 cr
i. Deposits in accounts opened under the government’s flagship financial inclusion programme —— Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) —— have crossed the Rs. 30,000 crore mark. As many as 20.38 crore bank accounts were opened under the PMJDY as on the January 20, as per the latest data available. These bank accounts had deposits of Rs. 30,638.29 crore (about $4.5 billion).
ii. The accounts that can be opened under PMJDY are Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts (BSBDA) which can be of zero balance, as per RBI guidelines. As per the trends available, the percentage of accounts with ‘Zero Balance’ have actually shown a significant decline.

iii. Accounts with no balance in them were as high as 76.81 per cent of the total opened under the scheme as on September 30, 2015. They have come down to just about 32 per cent at the end of December.
iv. The Finance Ministry data further showed that 8.74 crore of the accounts were seeded with Aadhaar and 17.14 crore account holders were issued RuPay cards. The data further revealed that as on January 15, banks had offered 53.54 lakh account holders overdraft facility of which the sanction was issued for 27.56 lakh cases and 12.32 lakh account holders availed it. The total amount availed was Rs. 166.7 crore.
v. The OD is granted to an earning member of the family, with a condition that the account has been operated satisfactorily for at least 6 months.

215. PM declassifies 100 files relating to Netaji
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made public digital copies of 100 secret files relating to Subhas Chandra Bose on his 119th birth anniversary, which could throw some light on the controversy over his death.
ii. The files were declassified and put on digital display at the National Archives of India (NAI) here by the Prime Minister, who pressed a button in the presence of Bose family members and Union Ministers Mahesh Sharma and Babul Supriyo.
iii. Later, Modi and his ministerial colleagues went around glancing at the declassified files, spending over half an hour at the National Archives. He also spoke to the members of the Bose family. The NAI also plans to release digital copies of 25 declassified files on Bose in the public domain every month.
iv. The first lot of 33 files were declassified by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and handed over to the NAI on December 4, last year. Subsequently, the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs too initiated the process of declassification of files relating to Bose in their respective collection which were then transferred over to the NAI, it added.
v. An official said the National Archives placed 100 files relating to Bose in public domain “after preliminary conservation treatment and digitization”. The digital copies of these files coming out in public domain meets a “long—standing public demand” which would facilitate scholars to carry out further research on Bose, the official said.
vi. Besides the controversy over whether Netaji died in the 1945 aircrash or not, those who believe he was alive after that have different theories about what happened to the leader after that. While one of them says Bose fled to the former Soviet Union to continue to fight for India’s independence but was later killed there, the other says that Netaji returned to India as an ascetic, named ‘Gumnami Baba, and continued to live in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad till 1985.

216. Google, Railtel launches free public Wi-Fi service at Mumbai Central Station
i. Google India and Indian Railways’ telecom arm RailTel has launched free Rail Wire Public Wi-Fi service for railway passengers at the Mumbai Central Station. This service was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. With this, Mumbai Central has become the first railway station in India to have free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet facility.
ii. Railwire Wi-Fi Service will be available to any user (passenger) having Wi-Fi enabled smart phones. Users can easily stream research their destination, surf high definition video while they’re waiting or save some videos for offline viewing download e books for the journey.
iii. Users can use this facility after authenticating their cell phone number by entering a four digit OTP (One Time Password) sent to their smart phone via SMS.
iv. The public Wi-Fi project for Indian Railways was announced in September 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. In the initial phase, this free will be made available at 100 of the busiest railway stations and later on extended to 400 stations across the country.

217. Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Nirmala Gajwani died
i. Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly and Social Activist Nirmala Gajwani passed away on 21 January 2016 in Rajkot, Gujarat. She was 87. Gajwani was a reputed social worker and one of the leading lights of the Sindhi community in the state.
ii. Gajwani was the first lady Deputy Speaker of Gujarat legislative Assembly.
iii. She was first woman MLA from Kutch district in Gujarat Assembly and also served as deputy speaker of the house.
iv. She was Chairperson of Sindhu Resettlement Corporation (SRC) which is responsible for all the land development in the Gandhidham-Adipur metropolitan area.
v. She also had worked in education field and was responsible for starting many educational institutions in the state.

218. MSDE, DoT signed MoU to develop National Action Plan for Skill Development in Telecom Sector
i. The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on 22 January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and implement National Action Plan for Skill Development in Telecom Sector.
ii. The MoU was signed by Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Communications and Information and Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
iii. MSDE and DoT together have agreed to make concerted joint efforts towards skill development by facilitating mobilization of financial support under the National Ecosystem for Development of Telecom Skills. They will suggest PSUs under DOT to utilize at least 20 percent of their CSR funds for skilling purposes.
iv. The two ministries will also to make coordinated efforts to utilize old telephone exchanges which are no longer in use for skill development initiatives and upgrade the same on need basis. National Institute for Policy Research Innovation and Training (NTIPRT) will be developed for training and skill up gradation in Telecom Sector by leveraging the infrastructure and facilities.
v. Indian Telecommunications Sector is a fast growing technological sector having manpower needs right from high school to graduates and post graduates and people with different areas of Telecommunications and Information Technology Skills.

219. BEPS guidelines of OECD to be implemented in India from 1 April 2016
i. The term BEPS is an acronym of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and it was in news in the third week of January 2016 as India decided to implement these guidelines.
ii. BEPS refers to tax planning strategies that would exploit the gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
iii. These norms were announced by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in October 2015 to close tax loopholes that it estimated cost countries upwards of 100 billion US dollars a year.
iv. With the implementation of these guidelines, it will become mandatory for Indian multinationals to make country-by-country reporting to follow guidelines from the financial year that begins on 1 April 2016.
v. It will impact all Indian companies with significant cross-border operations and with annual consolidated global revenue of more than 5500 crore rupees.
BEPS will be major significance for developing countries like India, as they strongly rely on corporate income tax and in particular from multinational enterprises (MNEs).

220.Amit Shah re-elected BJP president
i. BJP chief Amit Shah became the party President again today. Top party leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a bevy of Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states proposed his name for the party president’s post during the nomination process.
ii. Among others who have proposed Mr. Shah’s name are Union minister Rajnath Singh, Anant Kumar and J.P. Nadda, M. Venkaiah Naidu, besides BJP chief ministers Vasundhara Raje, Raghubar Das, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and others.

221.India's largest and tallest tricolour hoisted at Ranchi
i. India’s largest tricolour was hoisted atop the tallest pole at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi,  by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. 
ii. This flag will remain hoisted for 24 hours and shall be illuminated with the help of twenty sodium vapour lights at night. 
iii. It is world’s largest and the highest hoisted Indian flag.
iv. Dimensions of flag: It measures 66 feet in height and 99 feet in width in the proper ratio 2:3. It was hoisted on pole with height of 293 feet. It weighs 80 kg.

222.TranServ launches India's first social mobile wallet Udio
i. India’s digital payment startup company TranServ has launched country’s first Social Mobile Wallet named Udio. 
ii. The digital wallet seeks to address the gap between real and virtual modes of payment as it has more social experience. 

Key features of Udio Wallet 
  • It integrates a social, community-driven aspect with anytime, anywhere accessibility to digital P2P (peer-to-peer) transactions. 
  • These transactions take place via seamless and secure payment structure that creates a ubiquitous ecosystem for both consumers and brands. 
  • It is relatively easy to use and is a more casual approach for making cashless payments similar to mobile banking. 
  • It enables users to do squaring of dues, sharing dinner bills or a cab ride and also to pay electricity and gas bills and make DTH & mobile recharges. 

223.India submits first Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC
i. India has submitted its first Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) towards fulfillment of the reporting obligation. 
ii. The BUR has been submitted as per the provisions of the UNFCCC Convention which is obligatory on countries to periodically provide national information. 

Key highlights of BUR 
  • BUR has been prepared by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (UNFCC) under its NATCOM project funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF). 
  • Contains national inventory of Green House Gases (GHG) for 2010 and has been prepared in accordance with the guidelines of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 
  • 6 GHGs in Inventory: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) and Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 
  • Five categories: It covers agriculture, waste and Land-use, Land-use, Change and Forestry (LULUCF), energy, industrial processes and product use (IPPU).
  • India’s emissions: India has emitted around 2,137 million tonnes (mt) of CO2 equivalent GHGs in 2010. 

224.India to be fastest growing economy in 216: UN Report
i. As per recently released United Nations (UN) World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 Report, India will be the fastest growing big economy in the world in 2016. 
ii. The report has projected India’s growth rate by 7.3 % in the year 2016 and 7.5 % in 2017 slightly up from an earlier estimated 7.2 % rate in 2015. 

Report Highlights 
  • The highest growth rate in India has been attributed to improvement in the macroeconomic environment with the help of sharp decline in the prices of oil, food and metals. Even the investor and consumer confidence has risen even after Indian government facing difficulties in implementing its wide-ranging economic reform agenda. 
  • However, some of the economic indicators such as industrial production will remain volatile. In 2016 and 2017, South Asia region is expected to be the world’s fastest-growing region despite challenging global conditions. 
  • In the South Asia region, India’s economy will account for over 70% of regions GDP. 

225.Mosquito-borne Zinka virus creates panic over birth defects in Latin America
i. Mosquito-borne Zika virus has created a panic over thousands birth defects in the Latin America countries. 
ii. New case of child born with the virus has been reported in these countries. However, Brazil is experiencing the largest known outbreak of Zika with most cases in the north-east region.
iii. In this region, babies have been born a with abnormal condition called microcephaly i.e. with abnormally smaller heads which can cause brain damage. 
iv. To avoid the spread of Zika virus some Latin American countries viz. Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica have warned women to avoid getting pregnant. 
v. The virus also has been reported in the United States (US) after three cases were detected in Florida in people who had recently travelled to Latin America. 

226.Sri Lanka tops in 2015 HDI in South Asia Region
i. Sri Lanka has maintained its high ranking in 2015 human development index (HDI) in the South Asia Region. 
ii. In the 2015 Global Human Development Report (HDR) released by UN Development Programme (UNDP) Sri Lanka was ranked 73rd with an HDI value of 0.757. 

227.Sindhu wins Malaysia Masters title
i. Two-time World Championship bronze-medallist, India’s P.V. Sindhu made a rousing start to the new season as she clinched the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title after defeating Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour in straight games in the final in Penang on Sunday.
ii. The third seeded Indian had lost to Gilmour in 2013 French Open in their only meeting but today she showed why she is considered to be one of India’s most revered women’s singles shuttler as she avenged her loss with a dominating 21-15 21-9 win in a 32-minute clash to clinch her fifth Grand Prix Gold title.
iii. This is her second Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title, having won it in 2013 as well. She also completed a hat—trick at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold in November last year.

228. Padma Vibhushan for Rajinikanth, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
i. Actor Rajinikanth, media baron Ramoji Rao, former J&K Governor Jagmohan and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar awarded Padma Vibhushan.
ii. Former CAG Vinod Rai, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher and singer Udit Narayan awarded Padma Bhushan.

iii. Former US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill, sportspersons Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza and Indu Jain of Bennett, Coleman & Co get Padma Bhushan.
iv. Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra get Padma Shri.
v. Reliance Industries founder late Dhirubhai Ambani awarded Padma Vibhushan.

229. 6th National Voters’ Day observed with theme Inclusive and Qualitative Participation
i. 6th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was observed across the country on 25 January 2016 by the Election Commission of India. The theme for the 6th National Voters’ Day is ‘Inclusive and Qualitative Participation’.
ii. The Commission’s objective through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones. The National function of the NVD was held in New Delhi and presided over by President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
iii. On the occasion, the Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi also released a book titled, ‘Belief in the Ballot’ and presented it’s the first copy to the President.
iv. To celebrate and recognise the contribution of Government department/Agencies to the efforts of ECI for enhancing electoral participation, the election commission has introduced awards. Six newly eligible electors were given their EPICs by President of India.
v. 25 January is the foundation day of the Commission, which came into being on this day in 1950.  The National Voters’ Day is also utilised to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process.
vi. After the completion of the NVD National function, the Commission inaugurated the construction of India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) campus at sector-22 Dwarka, New Delhi.
vii. Election Commission of India will be presenting a Tableau with the theme ‘Inclusive and Qualitative Participation’ at the Republic Day parade on 26 January at Rajpath, New Delhi.

230. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won Presidential Election of Portugal
i. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on 24 January 2016 won the Presidential election of Portugal. Sousa, a centre-right Social Democrats candidate and a former journalist, won the election by securing 52 percent of votes.
ii. The outcome is likely to help maintain political balance after the inconclusive parliamentary ballot in October 2015. His closest rival, Socialist Antonio Sampaio da Novoa, conceded defeat after picking up around 23 percent of the vote. Left Bloc candidate Marisa Matias had 10 percent.
iii. Sousa, popularly known as ‘Professor Marcelo’ and aged 67 is the one-time leader of the center-right Social democrats. He will succeed President Anibal Cavaco Silva.
iv. Earlier in October 2015 presidential election, a centre-right coalition won the most votes but lost its overall majority in November 2015. It was replaced by an alliance of left-wing parties that rejected its austerity programme in parliament.

231. AP Government launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme for tribal people
i. The Andhra Pradesh Government on 22 January 2016 launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme to support the tribal women in their quest for livelihood. The scheme was launched by Andhra Pradesh Minister for Social Welfare Ravela Kishore Babu.
ii. The scheme seeks to reduce rampant infant mortality and child marriages among tribal people.  It is designed to provide a onetime financial assistance of 50000 rupees to each tribal woman who gets married.
iii. The amount will be directly disbursed to the bank accounts of the beneficiary through District Tribal Welfare Office. To avail the benefits of this scheme, each beneficiary would have to fulfil some mandatory conditions like submission of marriage certificate, income certificate, etc.
iv. The scheme is envisaged to provide nutritional food to infants till the age of seven years.

232. Eminent Tabla player Shankar Ghosh passed away
i. Eminent Tabla player Pandit Shankar Ghosh passed away on 22 January 2016 in Kolkata following a prolonged illness. He was 80. He is survived by his wife Sanjukta Ghosh, a classical vocalist of Patiala gharana, a son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons. 
ii. Ghosh was trained by legendary Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh, Ustad Feroz Khan, Pandit Anath Nath Bose and Pandit Sudarshan Adhikari. He followed the Farukhabad gharana of Hindustani classical music.
iii. He also performed with vocalists such as Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan, Girija Devi and Akhtari Bai. He also collaborated with foreign artists like Greg Ellis, Pete Lockett and John Bergamo.
iv. He had also done jugalbandi with celebrated classical musician sitarists Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan. He was awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in the year 2000.
v. He also received the ITC Sangeet Research Academy award and the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award.

233. India-France inked 16 pacts including chopper venture
i. India and France on 24 January 2016 inked 16 agreements at the India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) covered a wide range of sectors like urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.
ii. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, who began his three-day visit to India.
iii. Hollande is the Chief Guest at the 67th India’s Republic Day (26 January 2016) celebrations. He is the fifth French leader to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, maximum number from any country so far.
  • MoU between AFD and Maharashtra on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for development of smart city in Nagpur.
  • MoU between AFD and the Union Territory of Chandigarh on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for development of smart city in Chandigarh. 
  • MoU between AFD and the Union Territory of Puducherry on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable development for development of smart city in Puducherry. 
  • Wind Power Development Agreement between EDF JV with SITAC RE India to jointly explore opportunities for development of wind based power project in India. 
  • MOU between EPI ltd – Dassault Systèmes in urban sector development. 
  • MOU between EPI-Egis - urban sector development.
  • MOU between EPI- Schneider Electric - urban sector development.
  • MOU between EPI-Thales - urban sector development. 
  • MOU between EPI-EDF - urban sector development.
  • MOU between EPI-Alstom - urban sector development.
  • MOU between EPI-SA CAN - urban sector development.
  • MOU between EPI-Lumiplan ITS India Pvt Ltd - urban sector development.
  • MOU between EPI-POMA - urban sector development.
  • Agreement between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Green Ventures – Solar photo voltaic projects in the Indian rural areas (Varanasi, U.P.).
  • Agreement between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Crompton Greaves - To explore opportunities in Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) System with storage function for Indian Airports. 
  • Mahindra-Airbus cooperation to create the new private strategic partner for helicopters within the Make in India initiative.

234. Malayalam actor Kalpana passes away in Hyderabad
i. National award-winning actress Kalpana, who appeared in 300 films including recent superhit “Charlie”, died this morning in Hyderabad due to a heart attack. She was 51. Kalpana Ranjani was in Hyderabad to shoot a Telugu film and was scheduled to leave for Kerala later today.
ii. She was declared brought dead at a hospital around 7 am, sources told PTI. Kalpana had received the National award for best supporting actress for her performance in “Thanichala Njan” (2012).
iii. Sister of actors Urvashi and Kalaranjini, Kalpana forayed into Malayalam films as a child actor in “Vidarunne Mottukul” in 1977. Among her other Malayalam hits are “Ennum Eppuzhum”, “Karnavar”, “Dolfins”, “Bangalore Days” and “Spirit“. “Kakki Sattai”, “Idhaya Thiruda”, “Sathi Leelavathi” and “Chinna Veedu” are among her Tamil films.
iv. The actress’ body is expected to be brought to Kerala later today. She is survived by her daughter. Malayalam actors K P A C Lalitha, Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Innocent, MP, expressed shock at the demise of the actress, who was best known for her comic roles in South Indian films.

235. Alice Vaidyan, new CMD of GIC Re
i. Alice Vaidyan has been appointed Chairman and Managing Director of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), the National Reinsurer. She will hold office till July 31, 2019.
ii. GIC Re is the 14th largest reinsurer globally and is presently the only reinsurance company in India.
iii. Vaidyan belongs to the 1983 batch of direct recruit officers of general insurance industry.
iv. She has been the General Manager and CFO of GIC Re from October 2012.
v. A post-graduate in English literature and a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India, Vaidyan began her career with public sector general insurer The New India Assurance Company Ltd in 1983. She moved to GIC Re in 2008 as DGM (Reinsurance).

236. Now, you can pay online for LPG refills
i. Now, LPG users can pay online for their cylinder refills on the website soon after booking their refill for delivery. This is the latest part of the online refill booking facilities that the three public sector oil marketing companies have introduced in the past two years.
ii. The facility was launched here on Sunday by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. Pradhan said his mi
nistry is also considering creating an EMI payment model for new gas connections bought by non-bpl customers.
iii. The ministry is already running a pilot programme that gives a 50 per cent government rebate to below poverty line families when they buy their first gas connection.
iv. In addition, to improve the supply chain, the government is working towards adding ten thousand more LPG distributing agencies, Pradhan added. Customers who buy domestic LPG cylinders from Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum can use the unified web portal to book cylinder refills, track delivery status, port the gas connection and receive the government subsidy by linking their bank accounts.
v. The digitisation of the supply chain is also intended to increase the efficiency of LPG distributors.

237. Izumo Takuto and Zhu Chengzhu won ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals
i. Japan's Izumo Takuto and Hong Kong's Zhu Chengzhu on 24 January 2016 became champions in the boys' and girls' categories, respectively, in the 11Even Sports 2015 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at the Abhay Prashal Stadium, Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
ii. The three-day event came to its conclusion when Takuto hardly dropped a sweat beating Carlos Vedriel from Spain 4-0 in a one-sided final while Zhu overcame stiff resistance to beat Park Seri of Korea 4-2. Each winner took home 3800 US dollars while the runners-up received 2100 US dollars each.
iii. The International Table Tennis Federation is the governing body for all international table tennis associations. The role of the ITTF includes overseeing rules and regulations and seeking technological improvement for the sport of table tennis.
iv. The ITTF is responsible for the organization of numerous international competitions, including the World Junior Circuit and the World Table Tennis Championships that has continued since 1926.

238. India won Blind T20 Asia Cup
i. India on 24 January 2016 won the first T20 Asia cup cricket for Blind. In the final clash played at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium of Kochi, India defeated Pakistan by 44 runs. 
ii. Batting first, India scored 208 runs in 20 over whereas Pakistan was restricted to 164 runs in 18.2 over.
iii. So far, Pakistan was unbeaten in this tournament and had defeated India by 19 runs in the group stages.

239. 67th India’s Republic Day celebrated
i. Republic Day 2016 was celebrated on 26 January 2016 across the nation. This was the 67th Republic Day of India. President of France Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest at 67th Republic Day parade.
ii. First Republic Day was celebrated on 26 January 1950 when India became a Republic with Constitution of India coming into force on this day replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.

iii. For the first time since 1950, a foreign army contingent marched down the Rajpath during the Republic Day parade. The 76-member French Army contingent was the participant of the parade. The parade witnessed participation of some of India’s most highly trained dogs from the army’s Veterinary Corps, after 26 years. 
iv. The celebration was curtailed by 25 minute. The duration was brought down to 90 minutes from 115 minutes, but the format will remain the same. For the first time, an all-women stunt contingent named ‘Women Daredevils CRPF’ comprising of 120 soldiers will performed stunts on bikes. Apart from this women officers were also 2nd in command to the contingents of Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy.
v. For the first time, the tableau of ex-servicemen of Army veterans was also showcased in the parade. The VVIP enclosure had a motorised glass roof so as to protect them from rain and cold weather, as in 2015 Chief guest Barack Obama and Michelle Obama held umbrellas to protect themselves from the drizzle at the Republic Day parade event.

240. India-France signed 14 Agreements including 36 Rafale Aircraft deal
i. India and France inked 14 Agreements/MoUs in Delhi. The agreements including MoU on purchase of 36 Rafale Aircrafts were signed during the State Visit of President Francois Hollande of France to India.
ii. Hollande was the Chief Guest at the 67th India’s Republic Day (26 January 2016) celebrations. He was the fifth French leader to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, maximum number from any country so far.
  • MoU on purchase of 36 Rafale Aircrafts
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Centre National D'études Spatiales (CNES) Implementation Arrangement on hosting Argos-4 Payload onboard India’s Oceansat-3 satellite
  • ISRO and CNES Implementation Arrangement on a future joint Thermal Infrared earth observation mission
  • Letter of Intent on CNES, France participation in ISRO’s next Mars Mission
  • Shareholding Agreement on JV between Alstom and Indian Railways for production of 800 electric locomotives in Madhepura Bihar
  • Agreement between Indian Railways and SNCF, French Railways for joint feasibility study for the renovation of Ludhiana and Ambala railway stations
  • MOU between Food Safety & Standards Authority of India and Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation (ANSES) in food safety
  • Partnership Agreement on Cooperation in Public Administration between Ministry of Personnel & Public Grievances and French 
  • Declaration of Intent for conducting next round of Namaste France (Indian festival) in 2016 and Bonjour India (French festival) 2017
  • Cultural Exchange Programme for the period 2016-2018
  • Arrangement for establishment of an Indo- French Ministerial level Joint Committee on Science & Technology
  • MoU for Industry Sponsored PhD Fellowship between IIT Mumbai and Thales Systemes Aeroportes
  • Cooperation Agreement between IISER, Pune and ENS de Lyon (France) for joint research, teaching, exchange of personnel etc.
  • Agreement of Cooperation between CNRS, TB, UBO, UBS, ENSTA Bretagne, ENIB (French Universities) and IIT Mumbai in the field of Higher Education & Research.

iii. These 14 agreements were inked a day after the two nations exchanged 16 agreements at the India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh on 24 January 2016.

241. Manipal Hospitals becomes Karnataka's first centre for MRCP (UK) PACES examination
i. Manipal Hospitals Bangalore becomes the first centre in Karnataka for conducting the MRCP practical assessment of examination skills (PACES) mock exam in collaboration with UK-based Royal College of Physicians Federation. This is the final qualifying exam for getting MRCP UK degree thus providing an opportunity for students to directly practice in the UK, the company said in a statement.
ii. The exam will be conducted from January 27-30 and provides a platform for students of Bangalore to participate in the overseas exam and also a convenient option for students of neighbouring states. The successful candidates would receive MRCP(UK) Specialist Physician certification and would be eligible to practice medicine in major countries worldwide, the statement added.
iii. Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospitals Bangalore said that with this initiative, people will save on travel and stay cost and the hassles of travelling abroad. Manipal becomes the fourth centre in India apart from centres in Chennai, Cochin, and Kolkata.

242. International Solar Alliance headquartered in India with United Nations as Strategic Partner
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the President of France François Hollande, on 25 January 2016 laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwalpahari, Gurgaon. They also inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA at the same place.

ii. India dedicated 5 acre land at NISE to ISA for hosting its Secretariat and also contributed 175 crore rupees for ISA corpus fund for an initial period of five years. Thereafter it is expected to generate its own resources and become self-financing.
iii. It was jointly launched in Paris by India and France on 30 November 2015 during the United Nations climate change conference (COP21). It is the India’s first international and inter-governmental organization of 121 Countries to have headquarters in India with United Nations as Strategic Partner.
iv. It creates a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security and sustainable development. It improves access to energy and opportunities for better livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.
v. It will work with partner countries to formulate projects and programmes to accelerate development and deployment of existing clean solar energy technologies, the potential for which largely remaining untapped. It develops innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital and builds a common knowledge e-Portal.
vi. It will encourage multilateral bodies like IRENA, REEEP, IEA, REN21, UN bodies, bilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders to contribute towards the goal of increasing utilization of solar energy in the member countries.

243. Marvin Minsky, the pioneer of Artificial Intelligence, died
i. Marvin Minsky, the pioneer of artificial intelligence, died at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital due to cerebral hemorrhage. The mathematician and the computer scientist died at the age of 88.

ii. Minsky, a professor emeritus at the MIT Media Lab, helped in work that helped inspired the creation of the personal computer and the Internet.
iii. In 1959, he co-founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project (AIT) with John McCarthy, who is credited with coining the term “artificial intelligence.” Now AIT is known as Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Minsky, a native New Yorker entered Harvard University after returning from service in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
iv. He was an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) created robotic hands that can manipulate objects, developed new programming frameworks and wrote several texts on AI and philosophy.
v. Minsky won the AM Turing Award - the highest honor in computer science - in 1969

244. Rekha honoured with 3rd National Yash Chopra Memorial Award
i. Veteran Bollywood actress Rekha on 25 January 2016 was honoured with the third Yash Chopra Memorial Award in Mumbai.

ii. Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao presented the award to the actress in recognition of her talent and contribution to the film industry.
iii. The actress was born on 10 October 1954 as Bhanu Rekha Ganesan in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She started her career in 1966 as a child actress in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam. Her film debut as a lead happened with Sawan Bhadon in 1970.
iv. She has won three Filmfare Awards, two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress, for her roles in Khubsoorat, Khoon Bhari Maang and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, respectively. Her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. In 2010, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
v. The National Yash Chopra Memorial Award was instituted by the TSR Foundation of T Subbarami Reddy in the memory of the producer-director Yash Chopra, who died in 2012.

245. Kerala dentist Sajeev Koshy honoured with Order of Australia
i. A Kerala dentist Sajeev Koshy settled in Melbourne on 26 January 2016 was honoured with the highest civilian honour, the Order of Australia. Koshy was given the award for his service to dentistry in Victoria, Australia. He was honoured on the Australia Day Awards 2016, by the Governor General of Australia.

ii. Koshy has served as the president of the Kerala Dental Council and president of the Indian Dental Association.
iii. He is currently the head of the endodontics at the Royal Melbourne Dental Hospital, which is the teaching hospital for the University of Melbourne.
iv. The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia.
v. It is awarded to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service.
vi. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens would receive British honours.

246. Hollywood actor Abe Vigoda passed away
i. Actor Abe Vigoda, known for his work in The Godfather and on the television series Barney Miller, passed away on 26 January 2016 in New Jersey following natural causes. He was 94. He was best known for his roles as mobster Tessio in the movie The Godfather.

ii. Born in New York, Vigoda made appearances in very early television episodes of Suspense and Studio One in Hollywood in 1949. He made his debut in the cinema through Marcel Carne’s 1965 effort Three Rooms in Manhattan, but he got his fame when he was cast in The Godfather in 1972.
iii. On the big screen, he appeared in the 1973 mob drama The Don Is Dead and 1974 crime drama Newman’s Law and he reprised his role as Tessio in a flashback in The Godfather: Part II.
iv. In 1974, he was cast as the aged, malady-laden and slow-moving cop Phil Fish in TV series Barney Miller. His character was so popular that the network launched a spinoff, simply titled Fish in 1977. He also appeared as a guest on series including Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, The Bionic Woman, The Rockford Files and Eight Is Enough.
v. He also remained a popular character actor in films including Cannonball Run II, Look Who's Talking, Joe Versus the Volcano and North.

247. President Rule imposed in Arunachal Pradesh
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 26 January 2016 approved the Union Cabinet’s recommendation for the imposition of President’s rule on Arunachal Pradesh. 

ii. He gave the assent after hosting the traditional ‘At Home’ or reception at Rastrapati Bhavan for French President Francois Hollande as part of the Republic Day celebrations.
iii. The Union Cabinet approved the imposition of President Rule on the state after expiration of six month deadline under which the Assembly was supposed to meet. The six month deadline for the meet expired on 21 January 2016.
iv. Other reasons for the decision on imposition of the President Rule included multiple reports by the Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa that there was no law and order in the state and even the Raj Bhawan was not safe as it was seized by Congress MLAs.
v. Besides, the Ministry of Home Affairs also appointed two retired civil servants, GS Patnaik and YS Dadwal as advisers to the Governor.

248. FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2015 announced
i. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on 26 January 2016 announced the winners of its Hockey Stars awards for 2015. The Netherlands' Robert Van der Horst and Lidewij Welten won the men's and women's FIH Player of the Year awards, respectively, for their performances in 2015.

  • Goalkeeper of the year (Women) - Joyce Sombroek (The Netherlands)
  • Goalkeeper of the year (Men) - David Harte (Ireland)
  • Rising Star of the Year (Women) - Lily Owsley (Great Britain)
  • Rising Star of the Year (Men) - Chrisopher Rühr (Germany)

ii. The FIH Player of the Year Awards are awarded annually by the International Hockey Federation to the male and female field hockey players adjudged to be the best in the world.
iii. The awards were established in 1998 and have been awarded annually ever since.
iv. In 2001, the FIH Young Player of the Year award was created, to be awarded to the best young field hockey player of the year.

249. West Indies’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul retired from international cricket
i. The West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul on 22 January 2016 announced his retirement from international cricket almost 22 years after making his debut.
ii. Chanderpaul had not played for West Indies since May 2015. The West Indies selectors dropped him after a weak performance during the three-Test series at home against England.
iii. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the first Indo-Caribbean to play 100 Tests for the West Indies. He captained West Indies cricket team in 14 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals.
iv. His debut match for West Indies was against England in March 1994, in his native Guyana, where he made a half-century on debut. A left-handed batsman, he is well known for his unorthodox batting stance, which has been described as crab-like. He has scored 20000 runs in international cricket.
v. In 2008, he was named as one of the five Cricketers of the Year by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, and as the Player of the Year by the International Cricket Council.
vi. His highest score in Tests was 203 not out and he finished with an average of 51.37, and he also posted a top score of 150 in ODIs, finishing with an average of 41.60.

250.150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai

i. 150th birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, also known as Punjab Kesri is being celebrated 28th January 2016. 
ii. To celebrate this occasion a state level function has been organised in Punjab and special event will be held at village Dhudi Ke, the birth place of Lala Lajpat Rai in Moga district. 
iii. State government also has organised various seminars and symposia at many places in Punjab to remember Lala Lajpat Rai

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