Current Affairs 2nd March 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Portugal Government nominated former Portuguese Prime Minister and head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres as a candidate for General Secretary at United Nations.Guterres served as Prime Minister in 1995-2002 and as UN Refugee Agency High Commissioner in 2005-2015.With this, Guterres joined a list of six mostly Eastern and Central European candidates to succeed Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2017. Ban took the office in January 2007.The UN Security Council recommends a candidate to the General Assembly, where he or she must garner no less than two-thirds of the votes to be appointed Secretary General.

A financing agreement for IDA (International Development Association) credit of US$ 300 (equivalent) for the ‘Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project The Objective of the project is to improve student outcomes especially of disadvantaged groups in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and to increase the effectiveness of the Higher Education System in Madhya Pradesh.The project has been designed as a result based financing programme, implying that funds will be released based on the achievement of specific results or disbursement linked indicators (DLls). 

China's navy has launched its first self-propelled floating dock, giving it the ability to repair warships far from the coast, the official People's Liberation Army Daily said on Tuesday, Beijing's latest move to modernize its navy.he use of the dock means that ships with minor damage will not have to be taken out of service, while those with severe damage will not have to return to a shipyard .The dock can handle cruisers, destroyers and submarines, but not aircraft carriers, and cope with waves up to 2 meters (6.6 ft) high, it added.

NASA has begun work to build a supersonic passenger jet claimed to be safer, quieter and more affordable. The agency has awarded its first contract, worth $20 million, to a US-based company to develop a preliminary design of an aircraft which surpasses the speed of sound. The first flight tests of the supersonic aircraft are expected to start around 2020.

A total of 180 self-cleaning public eToilets have been installed in Chennai. These Toilets are free for public use. Each toilet automatically cleans itself before entry and after use and sensors enable consumption of less water and power with each use. Around 40 toilets come equipped with a sanitary napkin generator. Notably, these toilets can be located through an Android app called eToilet.

The Geological Survey of India has identified 46 new coal blocks in the country, out of which 12 are located in West Bengal. Out of the 34 new coal blocks outside Bengal, Chhattisgarh has 12, Madhya Pradesh 11, Maharashtra 4, Jharkhand 1, Telangana 2, North-Eastern regions 3 and Andhra Pradesh 1.Scientists say that the GSI organises 600 to 700 “exploration programmes” annually taking four to five years to complete mineral exploration of a particular area.

International Cricket Council (ICC) banned South Africa left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso from bowling. He was banned after his bowling action, which exceeded 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the regulations, was found illegal.Phangiso was reported by umpires after helping Highveld Lions reach the final of South Africa's domestic 50-over competition. He was reported for suspect action on 25 February 2016 while playing for Highveld Lions against Warriors at Wanderers.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched its first Uridashi Masala Bond, mobilizing 300 million rupees (or $4.3 million) directly from Japanese household investors to promote private sector development in India. The three-year bond builds on IFC’s pioneering Masala bond program, which has raised the equivalent of $1.7 billion from international investors for investment in India. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors, while Uridashi bonds are sold to Japanese household investors. Proceeds from IFC’s Uridashi Masala bonds will be used to support private sector investment in India.

The ASEAN 18 military exercise, or Force 18, will begin in Pune on 2 March and carry on till 8 March.This ‘Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX)’ has been labelled as the largest one and will see participation from all the ASEAN nations along with participation from China, the US, Russia, Japan, and South Korea.The theme of the exercise is Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and aims to teach the participating armies methods to maintain peace and stability.

Three British scientists, Tim Bliss, Graham Collingridge and Richard Morris, on 1 March 2016 won the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize, largest prize for neuroscience in the world.The trio have won the award for their seminal work on understanding what happens in the brain when humans make and lose memories.This is the first time the Brain Prize has been won by an entirely UK team.The award ceremony will take place in Copenhagen on 1 July 2016, where the prize will be presented by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark

The Windham-Campbell Prizes at Yale University announced on March 1 this year’s nine prize recipients, who are honored for their literary achievements or their potential. The writers — who hail from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Ireland — were chosen in three categories: fiction, non-fiction, and drama.  This year’s recipients are, in drama: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (United States), Hannah Moscovitch (Canada), and Abbie Spallen (Ireland); in fiction, Tessa Hadley (United Kingdom), C.E. Morgan (United States), and Jerry Pinto (India); and in nonfiction, Hilton Als (United States), Stanley Crouch (United States), and Helen Garner (Australia). The winners will each receive $150,000 to support their work.

The Government today said PPF withdrawals will continue to be fully exempt from tax and only interest accruing after April 1 on 60 per cent of the contributions made to Employee PF will be taxed.All contributions and interest accrued to employee provident fund (EPF) before April 1, 2016, will not attract any tax on withdrawal. Withdrawal of principal amount contributed to EPF after April 1 would also remain exempt from any tax.It is only the interest on contributions made after April 1, 2016 which will be taxed

Tamil Nadu government today launched internet services to every household through the state-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation.Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa through a video conference launched the scheme aimed at providing internet services to every household across the state.Each household can get the services of broadband available in various packages, priced between Rs. 299 and Rs. 899 every month, inclusive of service tax, an official release said.

The Microsoft mogul/philanthropist ranked No. 1 yet again on the annual Forbes ranking of the richest people on earth, according to the annual Forbes magazine ranking of the world’s wealthiest people.The 60-year-old Gates, with a $75 billion fortune, claimed the Forbes top spot for the 17th time in the last 21 years — and that after losing $4.2 billion of his wealth in the last 12 months

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has retained his position as India's richest person, leading a pack of 84 Indian billionaires in 2016, according to Forbes' annual ranking of billionaires. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates continued his reign as the world's richest person with a net worth of $75 billion.Forbes said Mr Ambani retained his position as India's richest person despite shares of his oil and gas giant Reliance Industries taking a hit due to lower oil prices.He was ranked 36th on the list with a net worth of $20.6 billion (around Rs 1.4 lakh crore at $1 = Rs 67.86), the magazine said, adding, "The $62.2 billion (revenues) firm is likely to resume buying crude oil from Iran after the lifting of sanctions."

The science journalist Pallava Bagla was conferred with an award for his efforts in science and technology communication on television. The national award for “Outstanding Efforts in the Field of Science and Technology Communication on Electronic Medium”, carrying a citation, memento and cash, was presented by Union Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan at a function here.

The President Barack Obama is launching a version of "take your child to work day" that's focused on America's science laboratories instead of its corporate work spaces.It's part of Obama's effort to encourage young people, especially girls and minorities, to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.More than 50 national labs in 20 states are opening their doors this coming week to approximately 5,000 elementary, middle and high school students to help spark interest by exposing them to the scientists, engineers and lab employees who carry out important work and research at facilities in their communities.

Delhi first state to launch HPV vaccine for cervical cancer as public health programme," Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain tweeted. The prevention of cervical cancer caused by a sexually transmitted infection, the Delhi government has launched the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination as a public health programme, the first by any state. "To begin with class VI girl students will be vaccinated. From next year we aim to vaccinate all the girls aged 9-13 years. We will mainly target all the school-going girls," Jain said. Delhi State Cancer Institute GNCTD, in collaboration with International Agency For Research On Cancer, Union for International Cancer Control and Ministry of Health has organised a four-day International Workshop on Cancer between February 29 to March 3. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women aged 15-44 years.

Peru declared an emergency after a major oil pipeline burst affecting two rivers, namely Chiriaco and Morona,  in the country's northwest. This emergency will continue to be in force for three weeks.The pipeline burst poured 3000 barrels of crude oil into the two rivers, which are the main source of water and food for several indigenous communities.The pipeline that spilled the crude oil in rivers is owned by Petro Peru, a state-owned oil company, reportedly used to transport between 5000 and 6000 oil barrels per day.The government has told these communities not to eat fish from the polluted waters. This has been the third oil spill in less than a month and at least eight indigenous communities rely on the rivers for water.

Kosovo's Parliament on Friday elected Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci as the country's new president in the absence of opposition lawmakers who accuse him of being responsible for two deals with Serbia and Montenegro that they reject.The election committee said Thaci secured 71 votes among the 81 lawmakers that were present in the third round of voting after failing to reach the minimum requirements in the first two rounds. The other candidate, Rafet Rama, got no votes and 10 votes were declared invalid.

India registered a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup on Tuesday. Batting first, Sri Lanka posted a score of 138/9 with Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin picking up two wickets each for India. In reply, Indian lineup achieved the target in 19.2 overs powered by Virat Kohli's 56*(47) and Yuvraj Singh's 35(18).

Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda was felicitated by Melbourne based South Asian community members in Australia. The members of a non profit organization South Asian Public Affairs Council (SAPAC) honoured the visiting actor with an achievement award for making his mark in the film industry. Receiving the award, Hooda said he got his first break in the Bollywood industry because of his Australian accent. The actor who made his debut as an NRI from Australiain Mira Nair’s film ‘Monsoon Wedding’ in 2001, said he was very happy to be back in the country after 15 years.

State Minister for Forest Transport, Sports, Environment, and Cinema Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan on 1 March 2016 declared the winners of the prestigious Kerala State Film Awards 2015 in Thiruvananthapuram.The award for the Best Actor went to Dulquer Salmaan for his performances in Charlie. Parvathy grabbed the trophy for the Best Actress for her performances in Ennu Ninte Moideen and Charlie. Sanalkumar Sashidharan's Ozhivu Divasathe Kali was named the Best Movie of 2015.

Haryana government renamed village Mustafabad in Yamuna Nagar district to Saraswati Nagar. A notification to this effect was issued by Haryana Revenue and Disaster Management Department.The village is located about 20 kilometers from the district headquarters and officials say an old dried-up riverbed of Saraswati River exists near the village. Revenue records substantiate the claim.BJP government in 2015 had decided to restore Saraswati creek from Adi Badri (christened as Saraswati Udgam Sthal (point of origin)) to Mustafabad in Yamunanagar district and set up Adi Badri Heritage Board.In May 2015, aquifers were discovered during the excavation of the alignment of the underground channel of the river at Mugalwali village.

Indian Railways on 1 March 2016 launched bar coding system for unreserved tickets to bring transparency and prevent revenue leakage in the ticketing system in New Delhi. The system will prevent the circulation of unauthorised tickets which are affecting the railways’ revenue.The project will be introduced at nine ticket counters in the stations of New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin as a pilot project.The bar coding feature includes details like ticket number, stock number, fare, source station, destination station, number of adults, number of children, train type, class code and date of journey, that are printed in the form of encrypted QR code.

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