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DAILY GK -- FEBRUARY 2016 -- 201 TO 250

201. YES Bank, UltraCash partner to launch payments service
i. YES Bank has partnered UltraCash Technologies to launch payments processing through sound waves.

ii. UltraCash utilises a patent-pending technology through which payment data is securely transferred from one device to the other using unique ultra-high frequency sound waves.
iii. The innovative technology ensures that UltraCash’s ‘Tap and Pay’ works on all devices and doesn’t need any special hardware to make the payment. There are no need of special near field communication (NFC) chips.
iv. UltraCash’s sound wave technology enables mobile payments to be done without the need for Internet connectivity using any of the options, such as bank accounts and cards.
v. UltraCash will issue YES Bank-branded digital wallets to consumers to aid quicker, seamless and friction-free payments.

202. Karnataka Bank bags IBSA Banking Technology Award
i. Karnataka Bank Ltd has won the IBA Banking Technology Award’ in the category of ‘Best Risk and Fraud Management Initiative - Runner Up’ amongst small banks.

ii. The award was announced as part of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) Technology Conference, Expo and Awards 2016.
iii. Mahabaleshwara MS, Chief General Manager of the bank has received the award from HR Khan, Deputy Governor of RBI and Ashwani Kumar, Chairman of IBA in Mumbai.

203. SBI Opens "Japan Desk" In New Dehi
i. India’s Banking Giant State Bank of India (SBI) has launched ‘Japan Desk’, a single window for inbound Japanese investments in India and vice-versa. 

ii. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative that seeks to facilitate Japanese corporate looking to invest in India with banking and advisory services. 
iii. This SBI Japan Desk will also serve as an one-point comprehensive and reliable information support source for India-bound investments of Japanese companies. 
iv. It will also facilitate establishment of banking relationship with Japanese corporates and Japanese nationals and provide information on industries, sectors etc. 
v. In future, SBI is planning to set up another dedicated Japan Desk at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. 

204. Punjab to sign MoU with British Pig Association
i. The Punjab government plans to sign a MoU with British Pig Association (BPA) to develop and promote piggery in the State.

ii. The tie-up of State Animal Husbandry department with BPA would turn around the stagnant economy of the peasantry, which is grappling with low returns from conventional farming.
iii. Punjab Government also gave permission to AOV Group for setting a modern meat processing plant at a cost of nearly ₹50 crore at Mattewara village in Ludhiana district for value addition of goat, sheep and pig meat.
iv. The company will export high-quality meat products from the upcoming plant to ensure better prices to pig farmers.
v. There are 3 government pig breeding farms at Chajju Majra (Mohali), Gurdaspur, Malwal (Ferozepur) besides the modern farm at Nabha (Patiala).

205. Robin Chaurasiya Nominated For ‘Global Teacher Prize
i. Robin Chaurasiya, an Indian teacher who runs a non-profit school in Mumbai for girls from the city’s red light areas has been named in the top 10 short-list for a global prize for teachers. 

ii. Robin Chaurasiya, founder of Kranti, will compete with teachers from the UK, US, Nairobi, Palestine, Japan, Finland, Australia and Pakistan to win the $1-million Global Teacher Prize 2016.
iii. The prize was created last year as a kind of Oscars for the teaching profession by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation.
iv. The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. 
v. The top ten have been narrowed down from 8,000 nominations and applications from 148 countries from around the world. 

206. Alok Kumar Verma to be next Delhi Police Chief
i. Senior IPS officer Alok Verma will be the next Delhi Police Commissioner.

ii. Mr. Verma will succeed incumbent Delhi Police Chief B S Bassi who will retire on 29th of this month.
iii. Mr. Verma is currently serving as Director General of Tihar prison.
iv. He will serve as the top police officer in Delhi for 17 months.

207. Eminent Vocalist Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan Passes Away

i. Veteran Hindustani classical vocalist Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal. 
ii. He was 107. Rashid Khan, the  oldest performing musician, was awarded a Padma Bhushan in 2013.
iii. Khan has written some 2,000 poems and used to write under the pseudonym of ‘Rasan Piya’.
iv. The Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee was a resident guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in the city. 

208. Tata unveils first ever India-made Robot ‘Brabo’
i. TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a Tata Group company, is expected to launch first ever India-made robot before May 2016.

ii. Dubbed ‘Tata Brabo’, the robot has been showcased in the Make in India week in Mumbai.
iii. Brabo has been developed in-house by a team of six engineers whose average age is 24 years, led by Anil Bhingurde, chief operating officer of TAL Manufacturing Solutions.
iv. The development cost is reported to be about Rs 10 crore.
v. The design of the robot was done in-house at TAL, styling was done at Tata Elxi, and manufacturing of some parts at Tata AutoComp, while Tata Capital provided the finance.
209. Rio Haryanto Becomes Indonesia’s First Formula1 Driver
i. Rio Haryanto will become Indonesia’s first Formula One driver after signing a deal with Manor Racing. 
ii. The 23-year-old will make his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix on 20 March after testing in Barcelona next week. 
iii. Haryanto replaced the Briton Will Stevens, who failed to score a point in 18 starts last year. 
iv. Haryanto will join the German rookie Pascal Wehrlein, a former Mercedes reserve driver, at Manor.

210. Government Of India Approves Highway Contracts Worth Rs. 6000 Crore
i. GOI has approved eight highway projects worth Rs 6,000 crore for six states - Punjab, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.
ii. With this approval, the number of projects cleared by Road Transport and Highways Ministry this month so far has swelled to 37, entailing a total investment of about Rs 34,000 crore.
iii. The total length of the projects is around 350 km. Out of these eight, six will be implemented in EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode and two in hybrid annuity mode. 
iv. These projects won't require cabinet clearance as their construction cost is less than Rs 1,000 crore, the limit up to which the road transport and highways ministry can approve projects on its own. Most of these projects are in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
v. The government has a target of awarding road contracts of 10,000 kms for this fiscal.

211. Prasar Bharati Signs Historical MoU With EBC
i. Prasar Bharati has signed a MoU with Empressa de Brazil Communicacao (EBC) in connection with several broadcast related activities including exchange of news, programmes and co-production. 
ii. The MoU was signed between Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Jawhar Sircar and EBC Vice President Mr Mario in Brasilia, Brazil.
iii. The MoU includes long list of Indian programmes to be broadcast on EBC network including documentaries, science programs, serials and Portuguese programs from Goa. 
iv. Mr. Sunil Lal, the honorable ambassador of India in Brazil facilitated the negotiations between two public service broadcasters. 
v. Prasar Bharati has already signed similar MoUs with Russia and China in that realizing of the importance of BRICS. 

212. Cipla Acquires 2 US Generic Drug Companies
i. Indian Pharmaceutical giant Cipla Ltd, has acquired 2 US generic drug companies, InvaGen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Exelan Pharmaceuticals Inc.
ii. This step has been taken to increase its revenue and introduce new products for oncology and diabetes in the world’s largest pharmaceutical market.
iii. The combined revenue for the two US companies at the end of year 2015 was over 230 million dollars. 
iv. The acquisitions will give scale to Cipla's US business currently 8% of total revenue. 
v. This is the second large scale acquisition in Cipla’s 80 year history and the first was South Africa’s Cipla Medpro. 

213. Amit Mitra Appointed As New Chairman Of GST Committee
i. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has been appointed as the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST).

ii. He will succeed Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani who had to resign in November over corruption charges.
iii. He was elected at the meeting of State Finance Ministers that was also attended by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. 
iv. With this, he becomes second chairman of the committee which is tasked to frame rules for rolling out of the ambitious GST regime in the country.
v. Amit Mitra is an economist by profession, he had served as Secretary General of industry association FICCI before joining politics in 2011. 

214. Uma Bharti to Inaugurate Jal Manthan 2016
i. Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Sushri Uma Bharti will inaugurate Jal Manthan -2″ on February 22, 2016 New Delhi.
ii. The main theme of two day event is Integrated Approach for Sustainable Water Management.
iii. The two day event will have consultations and discussions on River Basin Approach for Sustainable development, Ground water, Water security, Principles of allocation of water, innovation in water governance, Water management, Coordination between centre and states, Water conservation and need for a National Legislation on water.
iv. Union Ministers of related Ministries/Departments, Chief Ministers of some States/Union Territories, Irrigation/ Water Resources Ministers of States/UTs, eminent experts in water sector, representatives of NGOs and senior officers of the Central and State Governments will be attending the event. 
v. The first Jal Manthan was organized in November 2014.

215. Kalikho Pul sworn in as Arunachal CM
i. Dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul, 46, has sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh with the support of 18 rebel Congress MLAs, and two Independents and 11 BJP MLAs who gave outside support. 

ii. Pul’s swearing-in came a day after the Supreme Court vacated its interim order to maintain status quo in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, paving the way for government formation. 
iii. The Centre had revoked President’s Rule in the state before Governor J P Rajkhowa administered the oath of office to Pul.
iv. Pul, a five-time MLA and former finance minister, had led a delegation of 31 MLAs and met Rajkhowa in Itanagar to stake claim to form the government. 
v. Pul has the support of only 18 of the 45 Congress MLAs in the assembly. But 13 opposition MLAs two Independents and 11 from the BJP — have given in writing to the Governor that they back him.

216. Renowned Novelist Harper Lee Passes Away
i. Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, US.
ii. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.
iii. Her famous novel about a young girl’s experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.
iv. The author receded from the spotlight, long resisting offers to write more novels. Her magnum opus was adapted to film in 1962. The movie won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Gregory Peck), Best Adapted Screenplay (Horton Foote) and Best Art Direction.
v. It was nominated for five other awards, including Best Picture, which was ultimately won by Lawrence of Arabia. George Bush awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 2007.

217. World Bank to support Rajasthan on energy reforms
i. The World Bank has decided to lend support to the Rajasthan government on energy reforms. 
ii. The decision was taken at a meeting between World Banks country director in India, Onno Ruhl and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. 
iii. The Rajasthan CM underlined the importance of ongoing projects on rural development, including the Jal Swablamban Abhiyan, and other new technologies in Agriculture, Skill Development and Tourism, and urged the WB official to provide support to these schemes too.

218. Skype Launches Group Video Calls On iOS & Android Phones And Tablets
i. Microsoft has announced that they're going to begin rolling out an update to Skype for iOS and Android that will support group video calling.
ii. The feature is not new though, as many smartphone users are familiar with such apps and websites that offer group video chat.
iii. Skype began a preview program for the feature back in January. 
iv. Tens of thousands of people registered, providing "invaluable feedback". They've also added a number of features, such as increasing the number of people that can be involved in the group call from five to 25 people. There's also a flexible interface. 
v. The user can choose a grid or a focus view, which automatically focuses on the person that's speaking

219. Aditya Birla, Idea form JV for Payments Bank
1. Aditya Birla Nuvo, one of the eleven entities that have received in-principle approvals from the RBI to set up payments banks, said it has incorporated a new subsidiary for the same purpose. 
ii. The new entity, Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd, is a 51:49 joint venture (JV) between it and Idea Cellular, its telecom subsidiary in which it owns 23.26%.
iii. As per the norms issued by RBI, a payments bank can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh from individual customers, issue ATM and debit cards, offer payments and remittance services, and act as a distributor of simple financial products such as mutual funds units and insurance products. 
iv. The central bank, however, barred payments banks from undertaking lending activities.

220. Playing It My Way enters Limca Book of records
i. Cricket Legend and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography, Playing It My Way, has entered the Limca Book of Records in the category of best-selling books across both fiction and non-fiction categories with 1,50,289 copies sold on order subscriptions. 
ii. The book has been published by Hachette India in the year 2014 with Boria Majumdar as the co-author of the book.
iii.The book’s orders, on day one, already saw it pulling ahead of both pre-order and lifetime sales of the world’s top adult hardbacks Dan Brown’s Inferno, Walter Issacson’s Steve Jobs and JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy.

221. MP, Rajasthan set up SPV for implementation of Smart City Plans
i. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Government have set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) for the implementation of Smart City Plans. 
ii. SPVs have been set up for five cities – Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
iii. These cities are among the first batch of 20 winners of Smart City Challenge Competition held by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The Ministry will release 200 crore rupees for each of the 20 selected cities only after SPVs are set up. 

Smart Cities Project 
The Smart Cities mission is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that seeks to improve infrastructure and service delivery of selected cities through application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and e-governance. Urban local Bodies (ULBs) and State Governments will play a key supportive role in the development of Smart Cities. 

Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) 

  • SPVs must be registered under the Companies Act, 2013 to ensure timely, cost-effective and efficient execution of smart city projects with operational freedom. 
  • They will ensure that the qualities of the outcomes of these smart city projects are benchmarked against global standards. 
  • SPVs shall have 50:50 equity that will held by the states and respective urban local bodies. Private equity is also allowed but the management control will rest with the Governments only. SPVs will be headed by a CEO and shall approve, sanction and execute the projects besides mobilizing resources from various sources.  

222. Swachh Himachal Padhai bhi, Safai bhi campaign launched 
i. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has launched ‘Swachh Himachal – Padhai bhi, Safai bhi’ campaign in Dharamsala. 
ii. With this unique campaign, HPCA became the first cricket association in the country to work towards Swatch Bharat Abhiyan initiated by the Union Government. 

Key facts 
  • The campaign aims at involving youth to promote good health and sanitation in urban and rural areas in the Himalayan state. Its objective is to showcase Himachal’s beauty as India’s cleanest and greenest state.
  • Under it, the sport of cricket will be linked with Swatch Bharat Abhiyan and youth’s will be termed as Swatch Captain and teachers as Swatch Coach. 
  • They will start cleanliness drive with the help of students from universities, educational institutes and then in their local neighborhood.
223. India, Nepal ink seven Agreements 
i. India and Nepal have signed seven agreements for cooperation in various fields. 
ii. These agreements were signed at a summit meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli in New Delhi. 
iii. This is first official foreign visit of K.P. Sharma Oli after he became Prime Minister of Nepal. 

Signed Agreements are 

  • MoU on Post-earthquake reconstruction assistance: It deals with utilization of US 250 million dollars Grant component India’s Assistance package for Post-earthquake reconstruction assistance of Nepal. 
  • MoU on strengthening of road infrastructure in Nepal: It will enable speedy implementation of remaining work on 17 Roads in Terai area of Nepal. 
  • MoU in the field of performing arts: Singed between Nepal Academy of Music and Drama and Sangeet Natak Academy. It aims to enhance relations in the field of performing arts between both countries. 
  • Letters of Exchange on Transit Routes: (i) Operationalization of Vishakhapatnam Port. (ii) Transit between Nepal and Bangladesh through Kakarbitta-Banglabandh corridor. 
  • Letters of Exchange on Rail Transport: (i) Rail transit facility through Singhabad for Nepal’s Trade with Bangladesh. (ii) Rail transport to and from Vishakhapatnam. 
  • Inauguration of Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar transmission line: Initial supply of 80 MW from Nepal to India. It will be later augmented to 200 MW by October 2016 and 600 MW by December 2017. 
  • Establishment of Eminent Persons Group (EPG): It will comprise 8 members with each country nominating 4 members. Its mandate would be to review bilateral relations and recommend measures including institutional frameworks in order to enhance bilateral ties.
224. Vibrant North East event concludes in Guwahati 
i. The three-day long Vibrant North East event concluded in Guwahati, Assam. 
ii. It was inaugurated on 18 February 2016 by Union Minister Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur. 
iii. It was the second edition of the event jointly organized by the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and ASSOCHAM. 

Key facts 
  • Vibrant North East was organised in association with Union Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and Union Food Processing Ministry.
  • Rural banking, Make in North East and Horticulture and food processing etc. were the key areas of Vibrant North East. 
  • The event severed as a common powerful platform for the developmental projects and initiatives in the Northeast India. 
  • Around 500 young farmers had undergone an orientation course at the expo. Seminars, business meet and exhibitions were also organized during the event. Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP), ISRO, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) also had participated in exhibition.
225. Faustin Archange Touadera wins 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic 
i. Faustin Archange Touadera has won the 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic (CAR) held on 14 February 2016. 
ii. He had contested as an independent candidate in this election and secured 62.7 percent or 695,000 valid votes.
iii. He defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent or 413,000 votes.
iv. Faustin Archange Touadera is well-respected former mathematics professor. He had served as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013. 
v. Central African Republic is one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. In early 2013, it had suffered the worst crisis in its history when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters in a coup had toppled President Francois Bozize.

226. ISRO successfully test cryogenic engine of GSLV Mark 3 rocket 
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted hotbed test of the indigenously developed high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) of the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM3) rocket for the upper stage. 
ii. The long-duration test was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu and lasted for 640 seconds. It  was conducted with Mixture Ratio Controller (MRC) in a closed loop mode. 

Key facts 
  • The CE20 uses Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants and generates power of approximately 2 MW. 
  • It has been developed indigenously by Mahendragiri based Liquid Propulsion System centre (LPSC). 
Earlier Tests 
CE20 engine already has undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance. In 2015, the first developmental engine completed different hot tests in various operating regimes. In the next the engine will be vacuum tested in the high altitude test facility as part of the flight acceptance test.

227. Five hot Jupiter like planets discovered 
i. Scientists have discovered five new Jupiter-like planets that are similar in characteristics to our solar system’s biggest planet. 
ii. The newly discovered planets were designated as WASP-119 b, WASP-124 b, WASP-126 b, WASP-129 b and WASP-133 b. They orbit very close to their host stars and hot compared to Jupiter. 

Key facts 
  • These planets were discovered by researchers from Keele University in UK by using Wide Angle Search for Planets-South (WASP-South) instrument. 
  • Orbital periods of these planets vary from 2.17 to 5.75 days and their radii is between one to 1.5 Jupiter radius. Their masses range from 0.3 to 1.2 the mass of Jupiter. 
  • Their host star has a similar mass to the Sun of our solar system but it is much older based analysis of its effective temperature and density. 
  • WASP-124 b: It less massive than Jupiter and has orbital period of 3.4 days and a much younger parent star. 
  • WASP-126 b: It has the lowest-mass. It has low surface gravity and is a good target for transmission spectroscopy. It is brightest star of among the five. 
  • WASP-129 b: It is similar in size to Jupiter and has the longest orbital period. Its surface gravity is also high compared to other known hot Jupiters. 
  • WASP-133 b: It has the shortest orbital period. It is slightly bigger Jupiter. 
  • WASP-South instrument is an array of eight cameras observing selected regions of the southern sky. It studies five stars showing planet-like transits in their light curve.
228. Christine Lagarde appointed as MD of IMF for a second term
i. Christine Lagarde (60) from France has been appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund for a second five-year term. 
ii. She was sole candidate nominated for the post and was re-nominated by IMF’s Executive Board decision taken by consensus. Her new term will start on 5th July 2016 till 2021. 
iii. Ms. Lagarde for first time was appointed MD in 2011 after IMF Board had initiated selection process on merit-based and transparent process. She was first woman to head the top post of IMF since its inception in 1944. 

About Christine Lagarde 
  • Prior to her appointment at the IMF in 2011, she had served as Minister of Finance and Minister for Foreign Trade of France. 
  • She is anti-trust and labour lawyer and had served as partner with the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie. 
About International Monetary Fund (IMF) 
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, facilitate international trade, secure financial stability, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty around the world. 
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C. 
  • Managing Director of IMF: She is the chief of the IMF’s operating staff and is also Chairman of the 24-member Executive Board. She is assisted in carrying out her responsibilities by 4 Deputy MDs and about 2,700 staff from 147 countries.

229. PM Inaugurated Rurban Mission In Chhattisgarh
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious ‘Rurban Mission' for developing 300 villages across the country as urban growth centres aimed at improving the country’s basic infrastructure, at Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh. 

ii. The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban (rural-urban) project will focus on improving infrastructural facilities such as power lines, shelters, roads, drinking water connections and drainage, and creating community assets such as schools, colleges and health centers.
iii. The other goals of the scheme include ensuring the development of a given area by creating clusters of villages with a population count of 25,000-60,000 and minimizing rural migration to cities through skill development programmes.
iv. Under the ‘Rurban Mission’, the PM said 300 rural centres, catering to at least four adjoining villages each, will be developed as urban clusters with modern facilities. 100 such centers are targeted to be developed this year itself. 
v. On the occasion, the PM also launched a ‘Jan Aushadi Bandaar' campaign for providing cheap medication to people. During his visit to the state capital, Modi will also lay the foundation stones for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana the Prime Minister’s housing scheme and an electronic manufacturing cluster at Naya Raipur.

230. 42nd Khajuraho Dance Festival Begins In MP
i. The 42nd Khajuraho Dance Festival began in the temple town of Khajuraho, Chhattarpur district in Madhya Pradesh. The world famous dance festival began with Odissi group dance of Ranjna Gauher and others.

ii. The festival will showcase classical dances, including Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi, depicting the ancient tales like Mahishasur Mardini' and 'Krishna Rasa,' an official said. Madhumita Roy and Madhuri Majumdar gave presentation of Kathak-Kuchipudi and Purvadhanashree presented Bharatnatyam. 
iii. State Fine Arts Awards were given away to ten artists on this occasion.
iv. The festival is being organized by Department of Culture, Madhya Pradesh, will be held against the backdrop of iconic Khajuraho temples, built by Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD, world-wide know for erotic sculptures. 
v. The festival has gained international recognition with a world heritage site being its venue. Khajuraho temples witness the maximum footfalls of foreign tourists in Madhya Pradesh.

231. Harsh Vardhan Dedicates Ksheer-Scanner Systems
i. The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and Vice President, CSIR Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicated Systems for Detection of Adulteration and analysis of Milk.  

ii. Dr. Harsha Vardhan pointed that our country ranks number one across the world for milk production, contributing to about 18% of the world’s total milk. But it is feared that over 60% of the milk is contaminated due to malpractices in milk supply chain which includes dilution with unsafe water. The milk is otherwise said to be adulterated with contaminants such as urea, salt, detergent, liquid soap, boric acid, caustic soda, soda and hydrogen peroxide which have hazardous health effects.
iii. The CSIR’s ‘Ksheer-Scanner’ instantaneously detects the above-identified adulterants in milk. 
iv. It is a low- cost portable system with user-friendly features. It enables detection of contaminants in just 40-45 seconds at the per sample cost of less than 50 paise. 
v. The ‘Ksheer Scanner’ system offers automated scanning of raw milk samples at milk collection points. He remarked that it is safe to use and ideal for installation at milk collection centres of milk societies at village and tehsil levels. The system can also be useful for on-the-spot milk testing by food inspectors.

232. India and Armenia Sign MoU on Agriculture Cooperation
i. India and Armenia have signed an agreement for cooperation in the agriculture sector. 

ii. An memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singhand Armenian Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetyan. 
iii. The MoU provides for setting up of a joint working group (JWG) and preparation of work plans in priority areas of farm sector.
iv. Initially this is for a period of five years, but would be extendable beyond five.
v. The two Ministers further identified sectors such as cattle identification, cooperatives, agriculture machinery, plant breeding and exchange of agri scientist and students, as the priority areas and resolved to constitute the JWG at the earliest to move the agreement.

233. Ricoh India wins Rs 344 crore contract to supply computer hardware to Odisha schools
i. Printing and IT solutions firm Ricoh India has bagged an order worth Rs 344 crore from Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation to supply computer hardware to 2,000 government schools in Odisha.

ii. Ricoh India, a subsidiary of Ricoh Group, Japan, had said it is eyeing 55% growth in revenues this fiscal.
iii. The company said it has also planned investments of about Rs 300 crore over the next one or two years for expanding its data centres.
iv. At present, Ricoh India has two data centres - one each in New Delhi and Kolkata.
v. At 1406 hours, the shares of Ricoh India were trading down 0.39% or Rs 2.25 at Rs 571.00 per scrip on the BSE.

234. PIB Clears India Post's Rs 800 Cr Proposal For Payments Bank
i. The Public Investment Board has approved the Rs 800-crore proposal from India Post for setting up a payments bank and it will be placed before the Cabinet within a month for final approval. 

ii. The department is in the process of finalising the selection of a consultant for setting up India Post’s payments bank. It had shortlisted six consultants but only three of them submitted the bids.
iii. The India Post payments bank will primarily target unbanked and under-banked customers in rural, semi-rural and remote areas, with a focus on providing simple deposit products and money remittance services. 
iv. The base for the payments bank is set to start from January 2017, and the full-fledged operations may start by March. 
v. Around 40 international financial conglomerates including the World Bank and Barclays have shown interest to partner the postal department for setting up the bank.

235. Italian Novelist Umberto Eco Passed Away
i. Italian author Umberto Eco has died aged 84. Umberto Eco a philosopher who wrote best-selling novels including "The Name of the Rose". 

ii. The Novelist had been suffering from cancer. Eco was born on January 5, 1932, at Alessandria in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. 
iii. The Name of the Rose was Eco’s first novel but he had been publishing works for more than 20 years beforehand. 
iv. As a teenager, Eco wrote comic books and fantasy novels before studying Medieval philosophy and literature at the University of Turin. 
v. His thesis was published in 1956 as The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas. During that period, Eco abandoned the Roman Catholic Church after a crisis of faith.

236. Ri Myong Su Appointed As New Military Chief Of North Korea
i. North Korean state media has confirmed the country has a new military chief, following earlier reports in Seoul that the former holder of the post had been executed. 

ii. Ri Myong-Su, former People's Security Minister, was referred to as "chief of the Korean People's Army General Staff" when the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on an army exercise guided by leader Kim Jong-un.
iii. Ri Myong-Su was again mentioned in a separate KCNA report on Mr Kim's inspection of an air force exercise. 
iv. His predecessor Ri Yong-Gil was reportedly executed early this month in what would be the latest in a series of purges and executions of top officials. Ri Yong-Gil was accused of forming a political faction and corruption. 
v. North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test last month and launched a long-range rocket this month, sparking international outrage.

237. Brendon McCullum Scores Fastest Hundred In Test History
i. Brendon McCullum has blasted the fastest century in Test history in his 101st and final match for New Zealand before retiring. 

ii. Brendon McCullum has , a 54-ball effort that broke the record jointly held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq. 
iii. McCullum celebrated to a standing ovation from the crowd at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, raising his bat to all parts of the venue in his adopted home-town. 
iv. His effort was two balls faster than the previous record 56-ball century scored by Richards against England in Antigua in 1985-86, which was equalled by Misbah-ul-Haq against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014-15. 
v. McCullum was the captain of the new Zealand test team.

238. Punjab Warriors Win 2016 Hockey India League
i. The Jaypee Punjab Warriors has won the fourth edition of Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) title 2016. 
ii. The Jaypee Punjab Warriors finally struck gold to become third-time lucky as they clinched their Hockey India League (HIL) title at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Ranchi.
iii. It was their maiden title. In the final match they defeated Kalinga Lancers by 6-1 goals. 
iv. In earlier two seasons, Punjab Warriors had finished runners-up after they had lost to Delhi Waveriders in 2014 and to Ranchi Rays in 2015. 
v. And Player of the Tournament Award has been won by Rupinder Pal Singh of Delhi Waveriders. 

239. "Swachh Paryatan" Mobile App Launched By The Centre
i. The Ministry of Tourism in co-ordination with Ministry of Culture has launched the Swachh Paryatan mobile app in order to facilitate general public to communicate their complaints about any unclean area/garbage piles in and around tourist destinations. 

ii. According to the Ministry of Tourism the app will be soon available on Android Phones of Apple and Microsoft as well.
iii. The objective is to increase citizens’ participation in the protection and upkeep of heritage monuments in India. 
iv. It shall be monitored by the Project Monitoring Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission in Ministry of Tourism.
v. Initially, 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments such as Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, Qutub Minar Complex, among others, have been identified for inclusion in the app, but it would be scaled up to include more monuments as the campaign expands.

240. ONGC Approves Rs 5,050 Cr Investment In Tripura
i. The Public sector oil major ONGC has approved an investment of Rs 5,050 crore in Tripura for drilling of wells and creation of surface facilities to produce 5.1 mmscmd gas from the states fields. 

ii. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has announced to develop northeast region as a dominant hydrocarbon hub as part of its Hydrocarbon Vision 2030.
iii. Due to this geological mapping and exploratory efforts, so far 11 gas fields have been discovered by ONGC in Tripura. 
iv. Currently, the ONGC Tripura is carrying out its drilling activities with three owned rigs under operation and well servicing operations through 2 work-over rigs. 
v. An additional four to five hired rigs are anticipated to be under operation this year, which will intensify the exploration activities.Earlier in 2008, ONGC board had approved for investment of Rs 1946 crore for the same and total approved investment in Tripura will be Rs 5,050 crore.

241. India remains world’s largest arms importer
i. India continues to remain the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 14% of the global arms imports in the 2011-2015 time frame. 

ii. It was revealed by report on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 
iii. Top arms importers are: India (14%), China (4.7%), Australia (3.6%), Pakistan (3.3%), Vietnam (2.9%) and South Korea (2.6%). 
iv. India’s arms imports remains three times greater than those of its rivals Pakistan and China. 
v. Its biggest suppliers are Russia, United States (US), Israel and France. This indicates India’s failure to build a strong domestic defence-industrial base (DIB) and Indian arms industry has failed to produce competitive indigenously-designed weapons. India has spent over 120 billion dollars on arms acquisitions over the last 15 years most of them from foreign suppliers. 

242. Madhya Pradesh’s Katni To Have India’s Longest Railway Bridge
i. Katni in Madhya Pradesh to have India’s longest railway bridge of 14 km in length which is three and half folds longer than the Vembanad rail Bridge that connects Edappally and Vallarpadam of 4.6 Km in length. 

ii. Its total length would be 21 Km included the down line of the bridge would be 7 Km .
iii. This Project has got received clearance from Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) recently along with other railway projects. 
iv. Design and survey of the bridge has been completed and it will take 5 years for completion and expected cost be around 600 crore. 
v. This comes under West Central Railways (WCR). 

243. ISRO Successfully Tested Cryogenic Engine Of GSLV Mark 3 Rocket
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully tested high-thrust cryogenic engine CE-20 of the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM3) rocket for the upper stage at its Propulsion Research Center in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu lasted for 640 seconds and paved the way for the first developmental flight of the GSLV Mark 3 in December 2016.

ii. It was conducted with Mixture Ratio Controller (MRC) in a closed loop mode. Using Liquid Hydrogen at 253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at 193 degrees C as propellants.
iii. the high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) generates power of approximately 2 MW. Developed at the Liquid Propulsion System centre (LPSC) here, the engine had already undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance.
iv. Last year, the first developmental engine completed different hot tests in various operating regimes. 
v. The third engine identified for flight use will be vacuum tested in the high altitude test facility as part of the flight acceptance test.

244. CII Signs MoU With Dubai Exports To Boost Trade
i. With the aim to strengthen India-UAE economic ties, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has signed an MoU with Dubai Exports to boost trade and explore business opportunities. 

ii. CII, a non-government organisation, has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai Exports, which works with other Dubai Government Departments to simplify the export process. 
iii. It develops long-term growth strategies to expand businesses and maximize the opportunities given by Dubai's unique position as a natural trade gateway between the East and West.
iv. The MoU pledged to maintain frequent and regular contact with each other for mutual exchange of non-confidential, economic and trade information and to suggest and recommend partners for economic and trade cooperation and explore opportunities for business between members of both parties. 
v. It will also organise exchange of visits for business cooperation and provide each other with necessary support in terms of organizing conferences, mounting business delegations and other activities.

245. Singer Bhuvaneshwari Mishra Passed Away
i. Renowned Odissa singer Bhubaneshwari Mishra passed away following a cardiac arrest in New Delhi.  

ii. She was 67. She was one of the talented artist from Odisha and was renowned as classical and playback singer. 
iii. The classical singer began her career with the song ‘Tiki Mora Naa Ti’ for the mythological Odia movie Krushna Sudama in the 1970s. 
iv. Apart from many awards, Ms Mishra was also conferred with the Odisha State Film Award for best playback singer (female) for two consecutive terms in 1979 and 1980 for the movies Srikrushna Rasalila and Jay Ma Mangala respectively.
v. The odissa  singer was popular both as a classical and a playback singer. Some of her popular songs include ‘Itikili mitikili’, ‘Tiki mora naa’, ‘Jahna ra sindura gara’, ‘Tume mora prabhu’, ‘Pirati kie karichhi’, ‘Jagatara natha Jagannatha’, ‘Dayamayee mahamayee maa Mangala’ and so on.

246. Vinay Kumar Singh Appointed As MD Of NCRTC
i. Indian Railway Officer Vinay Kumar Singh has been appointed as Managing Director of National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC). 

ii. Prior to this appointment, he was working with Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a railway PSU involved in the study of high speed rail corridors. 
iii. He was appointed by the search and selection committee through an interview process. 
iv. The committee comprises Urban Development Secretary, Railway Board Member (Staff), an official from the DoPT and an expert from World Bank among others. 
v. NCRTC will execute three rapid rail corridors to Panipat, Meerut and Alwar from the capital at an estimated cost of Rs 72,170 crore. The corridors are expected to considerably reduce the travel time. 

247. Haryana to become the first state in India to have Aquifer mapping
i. With the climate changes in the recent years, the groundwater sources have gone down to a critical level. 

ii. To find out the exact location of the Aquifer rocks a new mapping technique is to be introduced in Haryana by May making it as the first state to have such mapping.
iii. Aquifer rock is an underground layer ofwater bearing rock which has groundwater stored in it.

248. US Air force tested Minuteman missile from California
i. The US InterContinental Ballistic Missile Minuteman 3 was launched from Vandenberg Air force Base in California.

ii. The missile blasted off at 34 PM towards west base of Los Angeles.
iii. It carried a re-entry vehicle that can target 4200 Miles away to the Marshall Islands of Pacific Ocean.
iv. It involves personnel from Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and the 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota 30th Space wing Commander of US Air force- Christopher Mos.

249. Malayalam Film ‘Ottal’ Wins Award At Berlin Film Festival
i. The National award winning Malayalam film 'Ottal' has been named the best children's film at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival and honored with the Crystal Bear award in the 'Generation KPlus' section. 

ii. The film is about the story of an old fisherman and his grandson directed by Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair. Jayaraj is known for adapting literary classic into films. 
iii. He has earlier made films based on Shakespeare's works such as "Othello" and "Antony and Cleopatra". 
iv. "Ottal" bagged the National Award for best film on Environment Conservation and it set a record at 20th International Film Festival Of Kerala by sweeping all the top awards. It was also screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. 
v. This is the third year in a row that Indian films have triumphed in Berlin International Film Festival. Earlier winners were "Killa" 2014 and "Dhanak" 2015. 

250. Indian-origin Sikh appointed Kuala Lumpur Police Commissioner

i. Amar Singh from Indian-origin Sikh Community has been appointed the Police Commissioner of the Capital city of Malaysia.
ii. A third generation police from his family .He was Deputy Commissioner before being appointed to the post and will replace Tajuudin Mohammed.
iii. He is highest ranked police officer from the Malaysian Sikh community.
iv. Amar Graduated from University of Malaya also did his LLB from University of Buckingham,UK.

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