Friday, 29 January 2016

Full Coverage of Current Affairs 28 January 2016

Dear readers, From Today we are presenting daily current affairs detailed study notes on current affairs. Read and boost your knowledge with mm notes. All the best.

Persons in News:
1. IPS officer scales highest peak of Antarctica
An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Aparna Kumar, has successfully scaled the 17000-ft high Mount Vinson Massif, which is the highest peak in the Antarctic sub-continent. Kumar had earlier scaled Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Aconcagua in South America, and Mount Elbrus in Russia.


Appointments:
1. Supreme Court appoints new Lokayukta in UP
Justice Sanjay Mishra of Allahabad HC was on Thursday appointed as the new Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh by the Supreme Court, a month after strong objections were raised against its earlier choice Justice Virendra Singh. Earlier, the court had rapped the UP government for misleading it by stating that Singh was the preferred choice, in spite of the Opposition’s disapproval.
MoU’s:
1. Tata ties up with MIT, TISS to promote education
Tata Trusts has tied up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tata Institute of Social Sciences to promote digital learning among rural secondary school students.The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) aims to create new learning experiences to advance students’ knowledge and skills. It will benefit 1.65 lakh students in Mizoram, Telangana, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh till 2019.
2. CERT-In inks cyber security agreements with 3 nations 
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has signed cyber security agreement with its counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.
Banking and Business:
1. IMF implements long due quota reforms
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced the implementation of its long due quota reforms which were passed in 2010, but only got the US Congress’ approval last year. As a result of the reforms, four emerging market countries (Brazil, China, India, and Russia) will gain more voting rights and be among the ten largest members of the IMF.
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
  • Members: 188 Countries
2. Govt to sell 10% stake in EIL; shares drop 5%
Shares of state-owned Engineers India Limited (EIL) fell as much as 5% in early trade on Thursday. This happened after the government, in a regulatory filing to the BSE, said that it would sell 10% of its stake in the company on Friday. The disinvestment is expected to fetch over ₹690 crore to the Exchequer.
3. VMware confirms layoffs amid EMC acquisition
US-based cloud and virtualization service provider, VMware on Tuesday confirmed that it will lay off 800 employees as part of its fourth-quarter earnings statement. The news came prior to Dell’s acquisition of US-based EMC Corporation, which is the parent company of VMware. Notably, EMC had recently confirmed layoffs prior to the $67 billion Dell acquisition as a cost-cutting measure.
4. Bajaj to unveil bikes made of INS Vikrant scrap
On the 67th Republic day, Bajaj Auto released a teaser of its new ‘V’ range of motorcycles forged from the metals of India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, that was decommissioned in 2014. The new range is expected to be launched in the 150cc segment with a top speed of 110 kmph. The company, however, has not revealed any details.
5. India and ADB Sign $80 Million Loan Agreement
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India on 28 Jan 2016 signed an $80million loan agreement to continue improving infrastructure in two North Eastern State Capital cities. The loan is the third tranche of a $200 million financing facility under the North Eastern Region Capital cities Development Investment Program and will be used for investments in water supply, solid waste management and sanitation in Agartala and Aizwal.
  • Headquarters: Manilla, Philippines
  • President: Takehiko Nakao
6. Apollo Munich ties up with Axis Bank 
Standalone health insurance company Apollo Munich on 28 Jan 2016 announced itspartnership with Axis Bank for offering bank customers customised insurance policies. Through bancassurance, health insurance penetration is expected to grow rapidly as there are more than one lakh bank branches in the country, with a majority located in rural and semi-urban areas. Besides, Apollo Munich Health Insurance has distribution partnership with Canara Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Citi.
Apollo Munich ties up with Axis Bank
  • CEO: Shikha Sharma
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Tagline: Everything is the same except the name
7. Cognizant acquires KBACE Technologies 
United States (US) based software services exporter Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) has acquired cloud-based computing firm KBACE Technologies.
8. Corporate tax avoidance deal signed by 31 OECD members
Rules to stop companies using complex tax arrangements to avoid paying corporate tax have been agreed by 31 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members. They will make it harder for firms to hide money in tax havens or play one country’s tax authority against another. Firms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook must now pay tax in the country where the profits are made.
The move follows public anger at the tax practices of some multinationals. The agreement between 31 nations, including France and the UK, is about sharing information rather than a new law or tax.
  • OECD Headquarters: Paris, France
Summits:
1. FinMin to organise India Investment Summit in Delhi next month
Finance Ministry will organise India Investment Summit in New Delhi next month to attractinvestments in infrastructure sector. A large number of long term investors including Sovereign Wealth Funds and Pension Funds across the globe are expected to participate in the two day Summit.
Reports and Indexes:
1. 3 Indians on global list of 50 wealthiest people
Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani has emerged as the richest person in Indiaand the 27th richest in the world with a net worth of $24.8 billion, according to a Wealth-X global list of 50 wealthiest people. Wipro chairman Azim Premji (43) and Sun Pharmaceuticals head Dilip Shanghvi (44) were the other two Indians on the list.
2. Bill Gates richest man in the World
Microsoft Founder Bill Gates is the World’s wealthiest man with a net worth of $87.4 billion, according to Wealth-X. Spain’s Amancio Ortega, Co-founder of Zara, is at thesecond position with a net worth of $66.8 billion. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffetoccupies the third spot followed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at fourth.
International:
1. France adopts new sedated dying law
France on Wednesday adopted a bill allowing doctors to keep terminally ill patients in “deep, continuous sedation altering consciousness until death”. However, the bill does not legalise euthanasia or assisted suicides. This law also applies to patients who cannot express themselves but is subject to consultation with family members. Doctors should now also follow written end-of-life instructions.
  • Capital: Paris
  • Prime minister: Manuel Valls
  • President: François Hollande
  • Currencies: Euro, CFP franc
2. British woman with needle fear given world’s first pancreas transplant
British woman has become the first person in the world to have a pancreas transplantbecause of a severe needle phobia, her doctors have said. Sue York who has had type-1 diabetes since she was seven would shake uncontrollably and vomit when injecting herself with insulin.
National:
1. Govt. announces list of first 20 smart cities under ‘Smart Cities Mission’
Bhubaneswar has topped the list of first 20 cities that will be developed as Smart Cities, followed by Pune and Jaipur. Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday unveiled the list of first 20 cities.
There were 97 cities in the Smart City Challenge, of which 20 winners were selected.
Naidu congratulated 11 States and the Union Territory of Delhi who have made it to the top 20 smart cities list. He added a total investment of Rs 50,802 cr has been proposed in the selected smart cities and towns during the five year period.
Below are the top 20 smart cities winners
1.Bhubaneswar (Odisha)
2. Pune (Maharashtra)
3. Jaipur (Rajasthan)
4. Surat (Gujarat)
5. Kochi (kerala)
6. Ahmedabad (Gujarat)
7. Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh)
8.Visakhapatnam (AndhraPreadesh)
9. Solapur (Maharashtra)
10 Davanagere (Karnataka)
11. Indore ( Madhya Pradesh)
12. NDMC (Delhi)
13. Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)
14. Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh)
15. Belagavi (Karnataka)
16. Udaipur (Rajasthan)
17. Guwahati (Assam)
18. Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
19. Ludhiana (Punjab)
20. Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
2. 14th edition of MIFF to begin today
The 14th edition of the Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films, popularly known as MIFF, will be held between January 28 and February 3, 2016.
3. IRCTC restricts online ticket booking to six/month to prevent misuse
Any individual will not be able to book more than six tickets online in a month from IRCTCwebsite from his/her user ID. The restriction will come into force from 15th of next month. It is aimed at preventing possible misuse of online booking of tickets.
4. MoS railways inaugurates new freight terminal in Gujarat
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha inaugurated a new private freight terminal atSachana village near Viramgam in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat yesterday.
5. India becomes World’s largest Rice exporter 
India has overtaken Thailand as the world’s largest rice exporter in the year 2015 by shipping (exporting) 10.23 million tonnes of rice. It was announced by the Bangkok based Thai Rice Exporters Association Chairman Charoen Laodhammatas.
6. Union Cabinet approves raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions
The Union Cabinet has approved proposal of raising of 17 Indian Reserve Battalions (IRBs)in Jammu & Kashmir and 4 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states.
17 IRBs includes 5 battalions in J&K, 4 in Chhattisgarh, 3 each in Jharkhand and Odisha and 2 in Maharashtra.
7. 150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai 
Lala Lajpat Rai 150th birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, also known as Punjab Kesri is being celebrated 28th January 2016.
8. Solar scam case: Kerala court orders FIR against CM Oommen Chandy
The Vigilance court in Thrissur on Thursday ordered to register an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Power Minister Aryadan Muhammed based on the revelation made by Saritha S Nair, that she had paid bribe to them.
On Wednesday Nair, an accused in solar case, had told the judicial commission probing the case that she had paid Rs 1.90 crore as bribe to Chandy to get government subsidy and other benefits for her solar energy venture.
She also alleged that Muhammed was paid Rs 40 lakh as bribe for the same cause.
Sports:
1. Ishika Shah wins 12th Sub-Junior National Snooker championship title
14-year old Ishika Shah on 26 January 2016 won the 12th Sub-Junior National Snookerchampionship title in Indore, Madhya Pradesh by defeating Anushi Sethby 50-2, 50-33 in the final match.
2. David Warner wins Allan Border Medal 
Australian batsman David Warner on 27 January 2016 defeated captain Steve Smith for the prestigious Allan Border Medal for 2016. Warner also won the Test Player of the Yeartitle at the award ceremony in Melbourne, and finished clear of captain Steven Smith and fast bowler Mitchell Starc in the Allan Border Medal count. Glenn Maxwell was named ODI Player of the Year.
Space:
1. Ariane 5 launches Intelsat 29e on first Arianespace flight of 2016 
Intelsat, the commercial satellite giant, on 27 January 2016 announced that Inteslat 29e, the first of the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites, was successfully launched. The satellites were launched from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle.
2. Scientists discover largest known solar system 
Planet Astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system in the form of gas giant located one trillion kilometres away. This solar system has large planet known as 2MASS J2126-8140 that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star


1) The Union Government on 27 January 2016 approved which new model to fast-track highway projects in the country under which the government will provide 40% of the project cost to the developer? – ‘Hybrid Annuity Model’
Explanation: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for the ‘Hybrid Annuity Model’ as one of the modes of delivery for implementing the highway projects
  • Under the ‘Hybrid Annuity Model’ the government will provide 40% of the project cost to the developer to start work while the remaining investment has to be made by the developer.
  • The main objective of this model is to revive highway projects in the country by making one more mode of delivery of highway project. It is expected that by adopting the ‘Hybrid Annuity Model’, all major stakeholders in the PPP arrangement – the Authority, lender and the developer, concessionaire would have an increased comfort level resulting in revival of the sector.

Corruption-India-2016
2) What is India’s position in Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI’s) latest Corruption Perception Index that was released on 27 January 2016? – 76 out of 168 countries
Explanation: India was ranked at 76th position in the latest Corruption Perception Index that was prepared by Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI). India thus improved its position by 9 places as it was ranked 85th in last year’s index.
  • The country’s 2015 corruption perception score, however, remained the same as last year’s – 38/100 – showing lack of improvement.
  • India shared its rank along with six other countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Thailand, Tunisia and Zambia. China fared worse than India and Brazil at rank 83 with a score of 37.
  • TI also noted that Pakistan is the only country among the SAARC countries, to have improved its score this year, though its rank remains poor at 117.
  • The list was led by Denmark and followed by two other Nordic countries Finland and Sweden. On the other hand Somalia was placed at the bottom of the list followed by North Korea and Afghanistan.

Apple-Logo-2016
3) What was an important fact associated with US tech giant Apple Inc.’s forecasts that were presented by the company on 26 January 2016? – It predicted company’s first revenue drop in 13 years
Explanation: Apple Inc. on 26 January 2016 forecasted its first revenue drop in 13 years. This forecast came as it also reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments as the critical Chinese market showed signs of weakening.
  • This forecast thus also that the technology company’s period of exponential growth may be ending.
  • The slowdown came as Wall Street analysts worry that Apple does not have another blockbuster product to replace the iPhone.

4) India was named as the new top ranked Test team on 26 January 2016 after England completed a 2-1 series victory over former leaders South Africa. This was only the second time in Test cricket history when India was named No.1 in world. When this happened first? – August 2011
Explanation: India was ranked No. 1 in ICC Test rankings for the first time in August 2011. They were named No.1 Test team for the second time after England completed a 2-1 series victory over former No. 1 team South Africa on 26 January. Australia are in the second spot while South Africa were relegated to third spot.
  • India had moved to second on the rankings in December 2015 when they mauled South Africa 3-0 on home soil. It was the first time South Africa had been beaten away from home in nine years.
  • However, Australia can have a go at the first place in ICC Test rankings with a series win in the two-Test Trans-Tasman Trophy against New Zealand, starting on 12 February 2016.

5) According to the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking for 2016, three Indian institutions were once again successful in making their presence in this elite list. Which institutes are these? – Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad
Explanation: Apart from being able to make into this elite list, IIMA, IIMB and ISB were also able to improve upon their positions on the list from a year earlier.
  • While IIMA, has moved two spots up to the 24th place, ISB climbed four steps to be ranked 29th. On the other hand IIMB jumped from 82nd last year to 62nd this year.
  • The first on the list is France’s INSEAD, for its one-year programme. It thus joined Harvard Business School, London Business School, the Wharton School, and Stanford Graduate School of Business, in the elite club of schools that have reached the number-one spot. One important feature of INSEAD programme is that its fees are lower than those of the top three US schools

:: NATIONAL ::

SC fixes Feb 1st as the date for Arunachal Pradesh hearing

  • The Supreme Court directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to furnish relevant material backing their claim of break-down in the constitutional machinery of the sensitive border State, leading to the proclamation of emergency by President Pranab Mukherjee on Republic Day.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench led by J.S. Khehar issued notice to the Centre and the Governor on a petition by Rajesh Tacho, contending that the Governor and the Centre “played fraud on the Constitution” and President’s rule should be quashed.
  • The petition said Article 356 had been misused to topple the democratically elected Congress government.
  • It wanted the Centre and the Governor to “furnish” records of the events culminating in the Union Cabinet’s recommendation on January 24 and the subsequent proclamation of President’s rule.
  • The court directed the Centre and the Governor to file their responses by January 29 and posted the case for hearing on February 1.

Pakistan court rejects petition to match voice samples of 26/11 masterminds

  • In a fresh setback to the Mumbai attack trial, a Pakistani court has dismissed the government’s petition for the voice samples of 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspected handlers.
  • The prosecution had filed an application in the Islamabad High Court for the voice samples of the suspects to compare them with the communication intercepted by Indian intelligence and thenpresent them at the anti-terrorism court as evidenceagainst the seven suspects inthe Mumbai attack case.
  • Plea was dismissed saying that no such law exists, which allows to obtain voice sample of an accused.

Environmentalists alarmed after Maharastra govt gave go ahead to projects

  • In its rush to present a business-friendly face, the Maharashtra government is now betting on the ecologically-rich Konkan coastline, where three projects — a port which will also include a thermal power plant among other industries, the contentious 9,900-MW Jaitapur nuclear power plant and one of the biggest oil refineries in the world — are proposed almost adjacent to each other within a 50-km radius.
  • With the government firm on going ahead with the projects, environmentalists have pressed the alarm button, warning the government that the cluster of industries will do more harm than good.
  • Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, announcing India’s biggest ‘green’ refinery — a joint venture with the BharatPetroleum, the Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited on the Vijaydurg plateau in north Sindhu- durg district by acquiring over 15,000 hectares of land.
  • To the north of this pro- posed project lies the Madban plateau, which is being acquired to set up the 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP).
  • Recently, French firm EDF acquired Areva (another French company), the nuclear firm that was originally slated to provide technology for this project.
  • The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has reportedly signed an MoU with EDF to build nuclear reactors here.
  • While work on the project hasbeen stopped for the last few years due to pendency of certain techno-commercial agreements, there are no roadblocks to this project.

PM will review ministries performance regularly

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of his Council of Ministers on Wednesday evening to review the implementation of the decisions of at least four Ministries, and earmarked the second Wednesday of every month for such a review of selected Ministries.
  • The next meeting of the whole Council of Ministers is scheduled for February 10.
  • The Ministries that made presentations included Chemicals and Fertilizers, Food and Consumer Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • PM also took exception to the complaints and grievances related to the customs and excise sector and directed strict action against the officials responsible.
  • He asked the Secretaries, to set up a system for top-level monitoring of grievances, a PMO statement said. He was chairing the meeting of PRAGATI (Pro- Active Governance and Timely Implementation).

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

India at 76 number in Transparency International ranking

  • India has climbed nine points to rank 76th in this year’s global corruption index launched here on Wednesday topped by Denmark, with watchdog Transparency International calling graft a global “blight”.
  • According to Transparency International’s International Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, India is placed at 76th position along with Thailand, Brazil, Tunisia, Zambia and Burkina Faso out of 168 countries.
  • India has improved its past year’s position of 85 and has a grade index score of 38 out of a possible 100 which indicates the least corrupt, said the re- port topped by Denmark.
  • The index was prepared by using data from institutions including the World Bank, the African Development Bank.
  • According to Berlin-based Transparency International, 68 per cent of countries worldwide have a serious corruption problem and half of the G20 are among them. “Not one single country,anywhere in the world, is corruption-free,” the report said.
  • Denmark tops of the index for the second consecutive year as the country perceived as least corrupt. It scored 91 points, while North Korea and Somalia remained at the bottom with unchanged scores of 8.
  • Europe scores high The U.S. rose one spot this year to 16th place with a score of 76, tying with Austria. The U.K. rose three spots to place 10th, with a score of 81 that tied it with Germany and Luxembourg.
  • The other top spots, from second to ninth, were occupied by Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore and Canada.
  • Brazil and Turkey were among nations that tumbled the most. Brazil slid to 76th place, sharing its position with India, down from 69th last year. Turkey fell two spots to 66th, continuing its descent from 53rd place in 2013.

:: INDIA and World ::

Price between India and France for Rafale still unresolved

  • Indo-French talks to conclude the deal for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets seem to have reached the tipping point with officials on both sides giving four weeks to four months for conclusion of the price negotiations.
  • That the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande early this week was to confirm the details of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) which was ready except for the pricing.
  • The MoU was the first important step to conclude the IGA. Even in pricing the analysis is complete and a breakup has been done and specific aspects on which price can be reduced are being discussed.
  • French Ambassador to India Francois Richier said he expected the price negotiations to conclude in four weeks to four months. “Four weeks will be a reasonable time,” he said, adding that four months would be “long time.”
  • If India ordered additional jets as the Indian Air Force had a requirement for 126 air- craft of this category, Mr. Richier said some of the components could be manufactured in India in line with the government’s Make in India initiative.
  • The IAF has on several occasions conveyed to the government that it needs more planes of the same category for fleet commonality and operational viability.

:: BUSINESS and ECONOMY ::

Computer Emergency response team signs pact with Malaysia, Singapore and Japan

  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has signed cooperation pacts with its counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan for cyber security.
  • CERT-In is the nodal agency responsible for dealing with cyber security threats.
  • The Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) will promote closer cooperation forexchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents between India and the three countries.
  • The Cabinet,chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, apprised of the three MoUs which were signed last November and December.
  • An agreement between CERT-In and CyberSecurity, Malaysia, was signed on November 23, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur during Mr.Modi's visit to Malaysia, while the MoU with Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT), Cyber Se- curity Agency (CSA) of theRepublic of Singapore was signed on November 24, 2015 during the Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore.
  • The agreement between CERT-In and Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (JPCERT/CC) was signed on December 7, 2015 through diplomatic exchange.
  • The exchange of the signed MoU between the two parties was completed by December 22, 2015, according to the release.

Hybrid annuity model approved for national highways

  • The union government approved the hybrid annuity model for building national highways, paving the way for construction of 28 projects worth Rs. 36,000 crore this fiscal year.
  • The move will speed up the construction of roads in the country by renewing interest of private developers in highway projects as the risk will be distributed between the government and the private players.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Hybrid Annuity Model as one of the modes of delivery for implementing the Highway Project.
  • The main object of the approval is to revive highway projects in the country by making one more mode of delivery of highway projects.
  • The government plans to build 28 national highway projects worth Rs.36,000 crore this fiscal year.
  • Under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, the government will invest 40 per cent of the construction cost for building highways and the balance will come from the private developer.
  • The government will invest money in five equal instalments based on the targeted completion of the road project.
  • The private developer will recover his investment from the government by receivingannuity payments over a period of 15 years.
  • Under this model, the highway toll tax will be collected by the government unlike the build, operate and transfer (BOT) toll model where the private sec- tor collects it.
  • In the next two fiscal years, the government will build more than 5,000 km of nation- al highways based on the hybrid annuity model.
  • In the present fiscal year, 1,000 km national high- way projects were awarded through the BOT model – where a private operator funds the project, operates it for a period and transfers it back to the government – and 3,000 km through the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model in which the government pays the contractor a sum to build the project.

:: SPORTS ::

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza reached Australian open final

  • Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis stormed into the final of the women’s doubles event of the Australian Open after notching up a comfortable straight-set win.
  • However, Rohan Bopanna’s campaign ended with a shock defeat in the mixed doubles quarterfinals with partner Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei.
  • Sania and Hingis, who are on a record winning streak, continued their run as they brushed aside Julia Goerges and KarolinaPliskova, the 13th seeds, 6-1, 6-0 in just 54 minutes at Rod Laver Arena to enter their third successive doubles Grand Slam final.

NATIONAL:

1. Parrikar presented Rakshamantri Award for excellence for 2012-13 and 2013-14:

·         Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar presented the Raksha Mantri awards for excellence for the years 2012-13 and 2013-14 in New Delhi.

·         The awards are presented in recognition of exemplary performance amongst Ordinance Factories and the nine Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

·         The awards were given in three major categories, Institutional Awards, Best Performing Division, Factory, Shipyard Awards and Group and Individual Awards.
2. Union Cabinet approved increase in Authorized Share Capital of NSFDC:
·         The Union Cabinet  approved increase in the Authorized Share Capital of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC
·         The target of NSFDC for the year 2015-16 is to cover 63000 beneficiaries
Benefits of the increase in Authorized Share Capital :
·         With this, the Authorized Share Capital of NSFDC is increased from 1000 crore rupees to 1200 crore rupees.
·         The approval will enlarge the quantum of funds available for economic activities, better coverage and enhanced outreach to double the Below Poverty Line (DPL) Scheduled Caste beneficiaries.
·         Enhancement of share capital would expand its ambit of coverage and increase disbursement of funds to larger sections of the economically deprived scheduled caste population.
3.Permanent memorial of INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier unveiled
·         The permanent memorial of India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was unveiled in Mumbai on the eve of India’s 67th Republic Day at a traffic island opposite the Lion Gate near the Naval Dockyard in south Mumbai.
·         The sculpture of INS Vikrant was designed by great metal sculptor Arzan Khambatta. The sculpture was made by using the pieces of metal recovered from the breaking up of INS Vikrant.
4.CCEA approved the Hybrid Annuity Model as one of the modes for implementing the highway projects:
·         Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the Hybrid Annuity Model as one of the modes of delivery for implementing the highway projects.
·         The objective behind this decision is to revive highway projects in India by making one more mode of delivery of highway projects. By adopting Hybrid Annuity Model for highway projects that are not found viable on Toll mode will be more effective in terms of maximizing the quantum of kilometers.
·         Further, it will make the implementation of Projects within the available financial resources of the Government. At the same time, all major stakeholders of Projects in the Public Private Partnership system will have an increased comfort level resulting in revival of the sector.
5.Vice Admiral Ashok Subhedar chosen for Param Vishisht Seva Medal:
·         Vice Admiral Ashok Subhedar was chosen for Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) for his extraordinary services to Indian Navy.
·         He will receive the award at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in January 2016. Ashok Subhedar was commissioned in Indian Navy on August 1, 1977.
·         Currently, Vice Admiral Ashok Subhedar is holding the post of Chief of Material in Naval Headquarters. In 2012, he was honoured with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and in 2009 he received Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM).
6. India and Armenia signed a Protocol amending the India-Armenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention:
·         India and Armenia signed a Protocol amending the India-Armenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention in New Delhi. The Protocol amended the Article on exchange of information for tax purposes according to the updated provisions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model.
·         With this amendment, India and Armenia will be able to exchange the information related to financial and banking transactions and facilitate them in addressing tax evasion. It will also help in strengthening India’s efforts to curb generation of black money.
7. Centre's plan aims to provide arsenic free water:
·         The center is reportedly working on 13800 crore plan to provide arsenic free groundwater to a large section of the population.
·         The arsenic contamination is due to the destruction and excessive use of groundwater recharge systems
8. Govt to sell 10% stake in EIL; shares drop 5%:       
·         Shares of state owned Engineers India Limited (EIL) fell as much as 5% in early trade.
·         This happened after the government, in a regulatory filing to the BSE that it would sell 10% of its stake in the company.
9.Tata Trusts ties up with MIT, TISS for up skilling students:
·         Tata Trusts has tied up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to up skill rural secondary school students in four states using digital interactive tools.
·         The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) will offer access to interactive and hands-on learning experiences to advance their knowledge and skills and also seeks to instill values to help them succeed as professionals and citizens.

INTERNATIONAL:
10. Bill Gates richest man in the world:
·         Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the world's wealthiest man with a net worth of $87.4 billion, according to Wealth-X.
·         Spain's Amancio Ortega, Co founder of Zara, is at the second position with a net worth of $66.8 billion.
·         Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet occupies the third spot followed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at fourth.
11.Outgoing President of Myanmar decided to merge Ministry of immigration and Ministry of home affairs in Myanmar:
·         Outgoing President of Myanmar Thein Sein decided to combine the Ministry of immigration and population and Ministry of home affairs in Myanmar. He also wrote to Parliament of Myanmar for their approval over the same.
·         This is to note that Ministry of home affairs in Myanmar is under the control of military. If approved, the proposal will significantly increase the military’s power even under National League for Democracy party (NLD) government of Myanmar
12.US Republican Presidential front runner Donald Trump stated that India is doing great:
·         US Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in a CNN interview stated that “India is doing great”. He pointed out that both India and China are doing great while United States of America has come a long way down from the tremendous power that was respected all over the world.
13.UN Secretary-General criticized Israel’s approval to build 153 new settler homes in West Bank:
·         UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel’s new plans for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
·         He stated in the Security Council debate on the Middle East that progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made this statement after Israel approved plans to build 153 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank (that forms the boundary of Palestinian State).
·         According to Peace Now group said this approval by Israel was the first construction project approved in the last 18 months. In January 2016 Israel also declared 150 hectares in the West Bank, south of Jericho, as Israel’s land.
14.UNICEF stated that more than 8 million children living in conflict zones will receive access to education in 2016:
·         United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that more than 8 million children living in conflict zones and crisis torn area will receive an access to education in 2016.
·         Among these8 million children more than half of them are children from Syria. For implementation of this goal, UNICEF is seeking 2.8 billion dollars that the UNICEF expects to collect in 2016. Currently, about 24 million children across the whole world attend school. Nearly 24 million of the 109.2 million children of primary and lower secondary school age living in conflict zones are missing out their education, according to the UN data.
15.PACE adopted a resolution on blacklisting Parliamentarians:
·         In Strasbourg, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on blacklisting Parliamentarians and urged to keep them separate from the actions of states.
·         The resolution was prepared by former PACE member, Spanish lawmaker Arcadio Diaz Tejera. It was passed with 66 to 6 votes.  The report to the resolution says parliamentarians are now clearly held personally liable on account of state actions and decisions taken in fulfilling their duties, and nominative sanctions may be imposed on them by third States and international organizations through restrictive measures.
·         A PACE resolution in April 2014 deprived the Russian delegation of its voting rights, after Crimea became a part of Russia. The resolution curbing Russia’s rights in the Assembly was extended in 2015.
16.Canada decided to lift Iran Sanctions:
·         Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion announced that the EU, the US and Canada must equally be eligible to export aircraft to Iran.
·         He also confirmed Canada’s intention to allow Bombardier to do legitimate business with Iran when economic barriers are lifted. This is to note that Iran signed an agreement on January 16, 2016 with the French Airbus Group SE to buy 114 planes for its Iran Air national carrier company.
17.Firm EDF signs deal to build 6 nuke plants in India:
·         French Utility firm EDF signed a preliminary deal to construct six nuclear reactors at theNuclear power Corp of India Ltd's (NPCIL) Jaitapur plant.
·         This long delayed project which will have a combined capacity of 10000 MW could reportedly become the world's largest nuclear contract.
·         French President Hollande had said the final deal could be signed within a year.
18. US Central Bank leaves interest rates unchanged:
·         The US Federal reserve kept its interest rate unchanged at the range of 0.25%-0.50%.
·         It signaled that it was concerned about global growth and the recent market turbulence,  it didn't explicitly rule out an interest rate increase at its next meeting in March.
19. New Law makes Polygamy mandatory in Eriteria:
·         African Nation Eritrea has passed a legislation making it mandatory for men in the country to marry at least 2 women.
·         Men and women refusing to follow this law face life imprisonment and hard labour.
·         This new law reportedly comes after a severe shortage of men in Eritrea following the vast casualities in the country's civil war with neighbouring Ethiopia.

BANKING:
20. Rajan joins World Economic Forum task force:
·         RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has joined the World Economic Forum (WEF) task forceto study the future of the global financial system.
·         It will look into the emerging markets, regulatory and monetary policies, technology, and loss of trust in financial services.
·         The task force also includes the Governor of Bank of England and Chairman of Bank of America, among others.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
21.French startup develops smart beauty mask 'MAPO':
·         French startup Wired Beauty has developed a smart skin moisturising beauty mask 'MAPO'.
·         Controlled through a dedicated app, the mask measures and manages the moisture of the skin within a minute through sensors placed at key face positions.
·         The app also let users connect to a community where people can share and discuss beauty solutions.
22. Practo app let users buy medicines:
·         Doctor discovery platform Practo launched a new feature Practo Order' which will allow users to buy medicines from the app.
·         Practo order will compete with the likes of existing online pharmacies NetMeds and Mera Pharmacy.
·         Founded in 2008, Practo lets users find doctors, clinics,spas,gyms and diagonostic labs and book instant appointments with them.
23. US startup develops solar powered smart jacket:
·         US Startup ThermalTech has developed a solar powered smart jacket that instantly converts the Suns energy into heat.
·         The  jacket created with smart energy absorbing fabric technology is designed for both men and women.
·         It is waterproof and light and prevents overheating by maintaining the temperature once the user reaches the optimal body temperature.
24. Astronomers found largest solar system having a large planet 2MASS J2126:
·         Astronomers discovered the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star. A team of astronomers in UK, USA and Australia found a lonely planet which was designated as 2MASS J2126.
·         2MASS J2126 is about 1 trillion (1 million million) kilometres from its parent star, or about 7000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. The research in this regard was published in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
·         Scientist also found the relation of 2MASS J2126 with another giant planet TYC 9486-927-1 during their research. Thus, concluding that they are the part of one system.

APPOINTMENTS:
25.Justice Sanjay Mishra appointed as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh by Supreme Court of India:
·         The Supreme Court of India appointed Justice Sanjay Mishra, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh. The decision was taken by the Supreme Court’s bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Prafulla C Pant

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:
26. HCL acquires UK-based Point to Point for $11 million:
·         HCL Technologies acquired UK based virtualization technology company Point to Point (P2P) for around $11 million.
·         As a part of the deal, around 40 P2p employees will join HCL's Noida team.
·         Started in 1995, P2P provides desktop, application and service delivery technology to its clients which include Microsoft, Citrix and Google Chrome.
27. Vodafone deploys new tech to reduce call drops:
·         Vodafone India has installed Cisco's Self Optimising Network (SON) technology to reduce call drops, improve voice quality and deliver a better mobile experience.
·         The company has already deployed SON over a third of its network and would make the entire network SON enabled.
·         Telecom operators in India has recently been under fire for the problem of call drops.
28. Indian Private sector offers subsidised TB tests:
·         Indian Private sector is offering a WHO-approved test for diagnosing TB at the cheapest price as compared to 12 other high-TB burden countries.
·         Xpert MTB/RIF is cartridge based molecular test for tuberculosis. India has 113 labs that offer this test at a subsidised rate.
·         It is available for 2000rs in these labs and for 3500-5000 in others.
29. Apple sees 76% growth in iPhone sales in India:
·         Apple reported an increase of 76% in the sales of iPhones in India in the quarter ended December.
·         Apples India revenue also grew 38% during the period under review, Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
30.Siemens agree to buy CD-adapco for $970 million:
·         Germany based engineering conglomerate Siemens agreed to buy software companyCD-adapco in a $970 million deal with an aim to strengthen its core industrial business.
·         Established in 1980,CD-adapco,which is best known for its computational fluid dynamics products, makes and distributes applications for computer aided engineering used to simulate the workings of an engine.
31.Google shut down various social media accounts linked to wearable headset Google Glass:
·         Google shut down various social media accounts linked to wearable headset Google Glass. This was reported on website 9to5 Google. Google declined to comment in this regard.
·         Google Glass is an optical head-mounted display which is worn by the users like a pair of eyeglasses. It was developed by Google for producing ubiquitous computer that will be capable of displaying information in a smartphone-like hands-free format.
32. Paytm, BSES tie up for electricity bill payments:
·         Online mobile and m-commerce platform,Paytm tied up with BSES Delhi for electricity bill payments.
·         Under the agreement, users of both BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna power limited (DYPL) will be able to make bill payments through paytm's platform.
·         Paytm will also offer cashback on the electricity bill payments before the due date.

SPORTS NEWS:
33.Heena Sidhu Qualifies for 2016 Rio Olympics:
·         India's Heena Sidhu qualified for the 2016 Rio olympics after clinching the Gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event on Day one of the Asian shooting championship qualifiers in New delhi.
·         The 26 year old current World record holder sidhu became the ninth Indian shooter to book a place in the upcoming Olympics.
34.Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will head the women’s and men’s singles respectively at 12th SAG:
·         Badminton player Saina Nehwal will head India’s campaign in women’s singles whileKidambi Srikanth will head in men’s singles at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG).
·         12th South Asian Games are scheduled to take place in February 2016 at Guwahati and Shillong.
·         The individual events including men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles will take place on February 9, 2016 and February 10, 2016.
35. Adam Lewis headed Independent Review Panel set up to safeguard integrity in Tennis:
·         Tennis’s governing bodies constituted the Adam Lewis headed Independent Review Panel (IRP) to safeguard integrity in tennis.
·         An announcement in this regard was made by the Chairmen and CEOs of the Governing Bodies of International Tennis – Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women's Tennis Association (WTA), International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Grand Slam Board.
·         The IRP was formed to review the functioning of the existing anti-corruption mechanisms and suggest measures to further safeguard the integrity of the game.
·         The panel will review and report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) and suggest recommendations for change.
36.Indian Under-15 footballers to train in Spain:
·         Sports media house Star Sports announced the names of sixteen under-15 football youngsters who have been selected as a part of Young Heroes' initiative
·         The initiative is aimed at sending them to train under the youth coaches of Real Madrid and the Spanish Football Federation.
·         The group will leave for Spain on April 15.
37.Australian Batsman David Warner won Allan Border Medal 2016:
·         Australian Batsman David Warner defeated captain Steve Smith for the prestigious Allan Border Medal 2016.
·         Warner also won the Test Player of the Year Award.

OBITUARIES:
38. Former India basketball captain Ranbir Chopra died:
·         The captain of the champion Indian basketball team in the first Asian Games in 1951, Ranbir Chopra, died in Kapurthala, Punjab. He was 86.
·         Chopra had been part of the Punjab team that won the national title in 1951 in Ludhiana. He was also the coach of the Indian team that toured Pakistan in 1962.
·         Chopra later became a sports administrator. From 1958 to 1963, he served as the secretary general of the Punjab Basketball Association. During this period, the sport saw massive progress in the state and Punjab produced many international players such as Narinder Singh, Om Prakash, Dharam Paul, Rameshwar Lal and Arjuna award winners Sarabjit Singh and Gurdial Singh

  
1. Ishika Shah won 12th Sub-Junior National Snooker championship title
1. 14-year old Ishika Shah on 26 January 2016 won the 12th Sub-Junior National Snooker championship title in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. To win the title, she defeated Anushi Seth by 50-2, 50-33 in the final match.To reach the finals, she defeated the defending champion Doyel Dey in the semi-final. Incidentally, Ishika lost the title to Doyel in the summit clash held in Kolkata in 2015.
2. However, Doyel retained the sub-junior billiards title. The title was awarded to her when the original winner, Lahiri Sinapara, was found two months over-aged than the prescribed 18 years age limit.
3. Both the snooker and billiards championship were held as part of the 20-day long National Billiards & Snooker Championship 2016 that began on 12 January 2016 in Indore.

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

3. Rod Laver honoured with Companion of the order of Australia
1. Rodney George Laver honoured with the Companion of the order of Australia  on the occasion of the Australia Day.
2. He was conferred with the award for eminent service to tennis as a player, representative and mentor, at the national and international level, and as a role model for young sportsmen and women.
3. With this honour, Rod Laver became the third sportsman to be named a Companion of the Order of Australia. Earlier, the honour was bestowed upon Don Bradman and Herb Elliott who dominated cricket and middle-distance running respectively.

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

5. Cognizant acquired US-based KBACE Technologies
1. Cognizant Technology Solutions on 27 January 2016 acquired the privately-held KBACE Technologies Inc., a US-based global consulting and technology services company specialising in cloud strategy, implementation and integration.
2. However, the terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
As part of the acquisition, around 400 KBACE consultants and implementation experts across industry and business functions will become part of Cognizant.
3. The acquisition expands Cognizant’s digital capabilities, as more clients are moving critical business applications to cloud-based IT infrastructures.The combined capabilities will further enable Cognizant to help clients become intuitively digital by using the cloud to derive new insights, unlock new opportunities and lower costs through a subscription-based business model.

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

7. 150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai
1. 150th birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, also known as Punjab Kesri is being celebrated 28th January 2016. 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. State government also has organised various seminars and symposia at many places in Punjab to remember Lala Lajpat Rai.

8. 31 OECD members signed corporate tax avoidance deal
1. 31 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members have signed corporate tax avoidance agreement in a bid to stem fiscal (tax) evasion by multinational companies (MNCs). The new agreement is about sharing information between members rather than a new tax law. 
2. Under it, signatory members have to share information on tax issues of MNCs. It will primarily focus on country-by-country tax reporting of MNCs between members.

9. Scientists discover largest known solar system
1. Astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system in the form of gas giant located one trillion kilometres away. This solar system has large planet known as 2MASS J2126-8140 that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star.

10. Chennupati Jagadish, Jay Chandra honoured with Order of Australia
1. Chennupati Jagadish and Jay Chandra, Indian-origin persons, were on 26 January 2016 honoured with the Order of Australia, highest civilian honour of Australia on the occasion of the Australia Day. They were awarded for their contribution in the fields of physics, engineering and medicine.
2. Chennupati Jagadish is an eminent professor at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He was conferred with the award for his eminent service to physics and engineering, particularly in the field of nanotechnology.
3. While, Jay Chandra is an eye doctor in New South Wales. He received the award for his significant service to medicine in the field of ophthalmology as a clinician and for his service to the international community through eye care programs.

4. They were awarded along with Sajeev Koshy, a Kerala dentist settled in Melbourne



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.

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



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

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

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

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

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



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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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