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1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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).

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. WHO declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over Zika virus outbreak
i. World Health Organisation (WHO) on 1 February 2016 declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in the Americas. 
ii. The UN health agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva to assess the outbreak of the virus. The meeting was convened after noting a suspicious link between Zika's arrival in Brazil in 2015 and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

iii. This was the first meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005).
iv. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti. In case of humans, the virus cases mild illness known as Zika fever (Zika or Zika disease). It has been occurring since the 1950s within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia. 
v. In 2014, the virus spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island and in 2015 to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, where the Zika outbreak has reached pandemic levels.
vi. Earlier in last week of January 2016, WHO estimated that there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in Americas by 2017 but no recommendations didn’t issued travel restriction or trade.

19. Saroj Kumar Jha appointed Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at World Bank
i. An Indian national Saroj Kumar Jha was in news as he was appointed as the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank on 1 February 2016.
ii. He was appointed to provide strategic leadership to address the challenge of fragility, conflict and violence, working across the Bank Group and in close collaboration with partnes.
iii. The WB President Jim Young Kim assigned him the new role. Earlier to this, he was the World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia based in Almaty, Kazakhstan since February 2012. He also worked as the World Bank's Global Manager for Disaster Risk Management Practice.
iv.  He is an Indian national and holds a dual degree in civil engineering and development economics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India. He joined the World Bank in 2005 as a Senior Infrastructure Specialist in the Sustainable Development Network.
v. He had significant experience with the Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a senior executive in the field of public sector management, infrastructure financing, natural resources management, natural disaster prevention and environmental sustainability.

20. Himachal Pradesh to spend 15 crore rupees on Swachh Bharat Mission in Kinnaur
i. The Himachal Pradesh Government in the first week of February 2016 decided to spend 15 crore rupees on Swachh Bharat Mission in tribal district of Kinnaur.

ii. The funds will be utilized on capacity building and organizing of workshops for awareness. Under the Mission, target has been also fixed to involve all the schools, government institutions and villages.
iii. Under the Mission, the first instalment of four crore fifty lakh rupees has been received by the district authorities. Every single household will be given 12 thousand rupees for toilet construction for which survey was conducted in the year 2012.

iv. A special cleanliness drive will be launched under Swachh Bharat Mission with the help of Youth and Mahila Mandals in all the 65 Panchayats. Five Panchayats have been selected under Solid Waste Management where organic fertilizers will be made from the waste.

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