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Current Affairs February 26 2020

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indradhanush – V 2020: India-UK bilateral air exercise begins in Hindan, Uttar Pradesh
On 24 February 2020,A 5-day long 5th edition of  India-UK (United Kingdom) bilateral air exercise “Indradhanush-V” 2020 between Indian Air Force (IAF) and British Royal Air Forces (RAF) has commenced at Air Force Station Hindan in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Key Points:

i.‘Base Defence and Force Protection’ was the focus of this edition’s exercise.
ii.36 specialised combatants from RAF Regiment & 42 combatants of the GARUD Force from IAF team participated in this exercise with para drops from C-130J aircraft, tactical insertions by Mi-17 V5 helicopters and use of various airborne sensors.
iii.During the exercise both the elements of the air force will share and jointly validate strategies and tactics to tackle terror threats to their installations.Both the forces also to take up various missions including Airfield Seizure, Base Defence and anti-terror operations in Urban built up zones.
iv.The 4th edition of the Indradhanush was held in the UK from July 21,-30 ,2015.
About Indian Air Force(IAF):
Founded
– 8 October 1932.
Headquarters– New Delhi.
Motto– Glory that touches the sky
Commander-in-Chief– President Ram Nath Kovind
Chief of the Air Staff (CAS)- Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria,
About Royal Air Force(RAF):
Founded
– 1 April 1918
Country– United Kingdom
Chief of the Air Staff– Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston

Union HRD Minister launched UKIERI-UGC Higher Education Leadership Development Programme Administrators in New Delhi
On February 26, 2020 Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal launched the “Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrator” in New Delhi .
The initiative is the joint venture between UGC (University Grants Commission) and the British Council under the United Kingdom (UK) India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
Key Points:
i.Objective: The programme aims to train the senior and middle level academic administrators in order to enable them to bring about systemic changes with renewed approaches, capacity, tools and skill in Universities in India.
ii.This programme includes 2 workshops conducted by UK trainers, which will train about 300 academic administrators in the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar.
iii.Among the 300 participants, 30 potential trainers will be chosen for additional training, that will equip them to train others.
iv.The University Grants Commission (UGC) will conduct this programme in collaboration with Advance HE, a Higher Education academy, as the training partner.
About Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD):
Founded- 26 September 1985.
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Union Minister- Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (Constituency- Haridwar, Uttarakhand).
Minister of State (MoS)- Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre (Constituency- Akola, Maharashtra).

Madhya Pradesh becomes the 1st state to launch unified vehicle registration card & 2nd to launch unified driving license
On February 25, 2020 Madhya Pradesh(MP) Government launched a unified vehicle registration card becoming the 1st state to introduce & 2nd state to launch the unified driving license after Uttar Pradesh.The objective of the card is to provide unified smart cards for driving license & vehicle registration with QR code. Chief Minister (CM)Kamal Nath gave away the unified cards, which include registration card & driving license to 6 persons. MP is the first state to issue both smart cards together.
Key Points:
i.In 2019, March the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways(MORTH) issued certain guidelines to bring uniformity in driving license & vehicle registration cards across the country. The cards now issued are in compliance with those guidelines….Click here to Read More

India is 5th most polluted country with Ghaziabad as the most polluted city, globally: IQAir AirVisual Report
In accordance with the “2019 World Air Quality Report-Region & City PM2.5 Ranking” compiled by IQAir AirVisual, India ranked 5th as the most polluted country in the world and topped in an annual list of cities with the worst air quality in the world. The report has been prepared by monitoring the real time data to tackle the urgent issue of air pollution.

  • Bangladesh emerged as the most polluted country for PM2.5 exposure. It is followed by Pakistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and India at 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively.
  • Of the world’s top 30 most polluted cities during 2019, 21 are located in India, 27 in South Asia, and all the top 30 cities are within greater Asia. Ghaziabad, India is the most polluted city in the world.
  • Bahamas ranked 98th as the cleanest country with an average of 3 µg/m³…..Click here to Read More

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World most Polluted Countries 2019 (PM2.5)

Rank Country Average PM2.5 concentration (µg/m³)
1 Bangladesh 83.3
2 Pakistan 65.8
3 Mongolia 62.0
4 Afghanistan 58.8
5 India 58.1
98 Bahamas 3.3

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World most Polluted Cities 2019 (PM2.5)

Rank Country Average PM2.5 concentration (µg/m³)
1 Ghaziabad, India 110.2

 

2 Hotan, China 110.1

 

3 Gujranwala, Pakistan 105.3

 

4 Faisalabad, Pakistan 104.6

 

5 Delhi, India 98.6

 

4661 Nassau, Bahamas 3.3

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National Cyber Research, Innovation and capacity centre, inaugurated by MoS G.K.Reddy in Hyd, T.S
On February 24,2020, The Minister of State (MOS) for Home Affairs Ministry, Mr. Gangapuram Kishan Reddy has Inaugurated National Cyber Research, Innovation and capacity centre at Central Detective Training Institute (CDTI) in Hyderabad, Telangana State (T.S). The objective of the centre is to help the nation to combat cyber threats.
Key points:
i.The centre, has been set up by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)at its CDTI complex, will undertake research and training to check cybercrime and it is one of the seven major units under Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
ii.7 units of I4C- National Cybercrime Threat Analysis Unit, Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigation team, National Cybercrime reporting portal, cybercrime ecosystem management unit, national Cybercrime training centre, National Cyber Research and Innovation centre and Cybercrime Ecosystem management unit.
About Telangana:
Capital- Hyderabad
Chief Minister- Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao
Governor- Tamilisai Soundararajan
National Park (NP)- Kasu Brahmananda Reddy NP, Mahavir Harina NP, Mrugavani NP

1st ‘National Conference on Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience(CDRR&R) 2020: Organised by The National Institute of Disaster Management ( NIDM)On February 25, 2020 The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) organised 1st ‘National conference on Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (CDRR&R) in Delhi.It is a one day conference.Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai presided over  the valedictory session.
Aim of the Conference

i.To provide better understanding about coastal disaster risks & effective collaborative actions by implementing Prime Minister’s 10-point agenda & Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction to reduce risk & enhance flexibility amid the affected stakeholders.
ii.To highlight the  spreading of information relating to the national & local strategies for coastal disaster risk reduction & flexibility.
Key Points:

  • Chief Guest of the inaugural session is Shri G.V.V. Sarma, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai was the chief guest for the valedictory session.
  • More than 175 participants attended the conference from various central state organisations/departments.

A 3-day international conference on “EMMDA 2020” held in Noida, Uttar Pradesh
The National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), functions under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), has organized a 3-day international conference on “Ensemble Methods in Modelling and Data Assimilation (EMMDA) 2020” in Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP) from 24th -26th February 2020.It was inaugurated by Dr.Harsh Vardhan,the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Earth Sciences.
Key Points:
i.The purpose of this conference was to have concrete discussions and discussions on the current status of the weather forecast, future prospects as well as the optimal use of the Ensemble Prediction System-EPS.
ii.The conference saw the participation of  Eminent International experts from UK, USA, South Korea, Australia, Saudi Arabia,Thailand among others.
iii.The key themes of the conference are: (i) Ensemble methods in Global Weather Prediction (ii) Ensemble methods in Data Assimilation (iii) Ensemble methods in Monthly and Seasonal Forecasting (iv) Convection Permitting Ensemble Prediction Systems (v) Verification of Ensemble weather forecasts & (vi) Applications of Ensemble weather forecasts.
About EPS: It is a numerical system of weather forecasting that helps in forecasting the uncertainty in weather as well as the possible outcome. India has recently introduced 2 global EPS which has the highest resolution in the world.
About National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF):
It is a centre of excellence in weather and climate modelling under the MoES. Headquarters– Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

16th session of joint ministerial commission was held between India and Australia in New DelhiOn February 24, 2020 The 16th Commission of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was held between India and Australia in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Government of India and Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment, Government of Australia.
Key Points:

i.India & Australia acknowledged the growth of economic relationship in strategic, trade and people-to-people links since the last JMC held in June 2018.
ii.They agreed to enhance bilateral trade & investment through revival of the bilateral CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) negotiations, harmonise standards and regulations on important products.
iii.India & Australia agreed to work on market access issues to increase trade and mutual recognition of educational qualifications of the 2 countries.
iv.They agreed to increase the direct flights between India and Australia. India sought early resolution of the issue on taxation of off-shore income of Indian firms through the use of India-Australia Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
v.Participants: The meeting was attended by officials from Departments of Commerce, Revenue, Agriculture, Fisheries, Department of Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the Indian side. The delegation from Australia included officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade, Export Finance Australia and Australian High Commission.
About Australia:
Capital- Canberra.
Prime Minister- Scott John Morrison.
Currency- Australian Dollar.

High-level committee headed by retired Justice Biplab sharma submits report on clause 6 of Assam accord
On February 25, 2020, A high-powered committee headed by retired former Gauhati High Court (HC) Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma has formally submitted its report on implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 to Assam Chief Minister (CM) Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of state’s finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other officials. The report will then submitted to the Union Home Minister (HM) Amit Shah.
Key Points:
i.The Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 was signed between the All Assam Students Union (AASU), Union government and Assam government on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then prime minister (PM) Rajiv Gandhi.
Under this, the centre agreed to accept all the migrants that entered before 1966 & also affirms to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative measures to protect and preserve the cultural, social, linguistic identity of the Assamese people.
ii.The Central Government on July 16, 2019 setup a high-level committee for recommending measures to implement the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
About Assam:
Capital
– Dispur.
Largest city– Guwahati.
Governor– Jagdish Mukhi.
Rivers– Dhansiri river, Kopili river, Subansiri river.

Overview of US President Donald Trump visit to India on February 24-25The President of United States of America (USA), Donald John Trump, paid a State Visit to India on 24-25 February 2020, at the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He arrived at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport in Ahmedabad, Gujarat for India visit to strengthen the Indo-US friendship and trade deal. He was accompanied by his wife Melania, and 12-member delegation including his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. He was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was seventh American president and first visit by Donald Trump to India.
Deals & Agreement:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump met in New Delhi for bilateral talks.
US surpasses China to become India’s top trading partner
The US has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner, showing greater economic ties between the two countries. According to the data of the commerce ministry, in 2018-19, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at USD 87.95 billion.During the period, India’s two-way commerce with China aggregated at USD 87.07 billion. During April-December 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at USD 68 billion. It stood at USD 64.96 billion with China in the same period.
India, U.S. have finalised defence deals worth $3 billion for MH60R navy choppers, Apaches
India and the US closed defence deals worth $3 billion which included the sale of state-of-the-choppers, six AH-64E Apache Helicopters, and 24 MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters to India under the Foreign Military Sales program of the US government.
ISRO-NASA joint space mission for 2022 launch; blueprint discussed in Modi-Trump talks
There would be collaboration between Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a joint space mission slotted for 2022.
“Namaste, Trump” event
Namaste, Trump event was organized for Donald Trump at Ahmedabad’s newly-built Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Cricket Stadium in Motera. It is the world’s biggest cricket stadium. The 125,000-strong crowd gathered to welcome to US president on his first visit to India. The event was on the lines “Howdy, Modi!” event organised for PM Modi during last year’s US visit….Click here to Read More

BANKING & FINANCE

Digital payments rising sharply but cash remains the king;CIC increased 10.2% over the past 5 years despite growing digitization: RBI Report
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) study titled “Assessment of the progress of digitisation from cash to electronic” cash payments are still the essence of transactions but digital payment are also increasing rapidly. The parameters used for this assessment are the value of Currency in Circulation (CIC) versus Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the value of ATM withdrawals that take place across the country.
Key Points:
-The CIC across the country increased at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.2% over the past 5 years, i.e., between the financial years (FY) 2014-15 and 2018-19.
-The notes in circulation– NIC (CIC minus coins in circulation) increased at an average rate of 14% between October 2014 and October 2016.
-India’s CIC levels reduced in 2018 as compared to 2014, other countries, with the exception of Argentina, China, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and Turkey, had increasing cash levels.
-The cash withdrawals from ATMs increased over the past 5 years. India is next only to China in terms of the cash withdrawals from ATMs….Click here to Read More

RBI allows Bandhan Bank to open new branches without prior approval
On February 26, 2020,India’s central Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has lifted the ban on Bandhan Bank & allowed it to open new branches without prior permission.
However, the RBI came up with some regulatory conditions & directed the bank to order about 25 % of the total banking outlets to be opened in rural areas where banking facilities are not available.
Key Points:
i.Background: Bandhan Bank was banned from opening a new branch on September 28, 2018 on behalf of the Supreme Court (SC) and the court ordered to  freeze the salary of Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, the founder-cum managing director (MD) of the bank, after not fulfilling the shareholding rules.
ii.As per the RBI Licensing Guideline, Bandhan Financial Holdings Ltd, the bank promoter was to reduce the company’s share from 82 % to 40 % in 3 years.The deadline for the Bank was August 23,2019  which it failed to meet.
iii.As part of the agreement, Uday Kotak will now have to cut his stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank by only 4% over the next six months, against the 15% that the regulator wanted him to reduce by March, but the Reserve Bank will cap his voting rights—first at 20% till 31 March, which will then drop overnight to 15% even if his actual shareholding is higher.
About Bandhan Bank:
Founded– 23 August 2015
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal
MD & CEO – Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
Tagline– Aapka Bhala, Sabki Bhalai

IRDAI forms 9-member panel led by Srinivasan to examine the possibility of allowing life insurers offer indemnity based health policies
On February 25, 2020, After banning life insurers from selling indemnity-based health policies a few years back in July 2016, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), an autonomous body tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance,has formed a 9-member committee led by Mr. G. Srinivasan, Director of  National Insurance Academy to examine the possibility of allowing them again and extant statutory provisions that are applicable in this regard.
Key Points:
i.The committee, co-chaired by Mr MR Kumar, Chairman of LIC of India, will have to submit its recommendations within 2- months.
ii.The IRDAI (Health Insurance) Regulations 2016 enables Life Insurance firms to provide only the benefit-based health insurance plans.However, IRDAI gets representations from those firms to allow them to offer indemnity products also.
iii.Health insurance is a key element which plays an important role in health care and health insurance premiums have recorded a better CAGR(Compound annual growth rate) of around 20% in the preceding 10 years in India.So, It is in this regard that IRDAI is forming a feasibility study.
iv.The other members of the committee include, Mr M N Sarma (Secretary General of GI Council), S N Bhattacharya (Secretary General of LI Council), Mr. A V Girija Kumar (CMD of Oriental Insurance), Ms. Vibha Padalkar (MD & CEO of HDFC Life Insurance), Mr. Ritesh Kumar (MD & CEO of HDFC Ergo General Insurance),Dr S Prakash (MD of Star Health and Allied Insurance Company), Mrs Jayashree Sridhar (Faculty Member of NIA, Pune).
About Indemnity-based health plan:
It is a health insurance plan that reimburses the policyholder the cost of medical expenses. These plans will reimburse the policyholder with the actual amount incurred as expenses during a hospitalisation stay up to the sum insured under the policy.
About Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India(IRDAI):
Founded– 1999.
Headquarters– Hyderabad, Telangana.
Chairman– Subhash Chandra Khuntia

ADB raises $118 mn through offshore India rupee linked 10-year bonds
On 25 February 2020, Asian Development Bank (ADB) ,a regional development bank,has secured Rs 850 crore ( about $118 million) from a new issue of offshore Indian rupee-linked 10-year bonds, with the bonds bearing a semi-annual coupon of 6.15% and priced to yield 6.19%.
Key Points:
i.This is the such 1st maturity secured in Indian rupees since the year 2017, and gives an established yield curve that starts from 2021 through 2030 with Rs 72.4 billion ($1 billion) of outstanding bonds.
ii.JP Morgan has underwritten the long term bonds, which are denominated in Indian rupees but settled in US dollars. It also distributed to investors in the Americas (21%) and Europe (79%). By investor type, 28% of the bonds were placed with banks and 72% with fund managers.
iii.Earlier in 2019, the ADB had issued the local currency bonds in Georgian lari, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah, Kazakhstan tenge, and Philippine peso.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
Motto
– Fighting Poverty in Asia and the Pacific
Formation– 19 December 1966
Headquarters– Manila, Philippines
Membership– 68 countries
President– Masatsugu Asakawa

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS        

Hurun Global Rich List 2020: India ranked 3rd among countries;Jeff Bezos retains 1st rank, Mukesh Ambani at 9th position
On February 26, 2020 The Hurun Global Rich List 2020 was jointly released  by Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute and Shenzhen-based Shimao Shenkong International Center. Jeff Bezos retains 1st rank for the third running year and Mukesh Ambani is positioned at 9th.
Gist of Hurun Global Rich List 2020:

  • It is a ranking of US-Dollar billionaires in the world.
  • Ranking is based on the wealth calculation as of 31 January 2020….Click here to Read More

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS       

Michael Miebach named as Mastercard’s new President & CEO, Ajay Banga moves to Executive ChairmanOn February 25, 2020, Mastercard named Michael Miebach as its new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He will replace Ajaypal Singh Banga, who assumes charge as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Key points:

i.Miebach currently serving as the Chief Product Officer(CPO) in Mastercard and will become the President from March 1, 2020. He will also assume charge as CEO and a member of the Board of Directors from January 1, 2021.
ii.Ajay Banga, who assumes charge as the new Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors from January 1, 2021 will replace Richard Haythornthwaite who is going to retire.
About Mastercard:
Headquarters- New York, United States (Global Headquarters in Purchase)   

Shri Jawed Ashraf to be next Ambassador of India to France
On February 26, 2020 Shri Jawed Ashraf is appointed as the next Ambassador of India to France, he succeeds Vinay Mohan Kwatra. Vinay Mohan Kwatra will become the next Ambassador of India to Nepal, he succeeds Manjeev Singh Puri.
Key Points:
i.Shri Jawed Ashraf was a 1991 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.
ii.Shri Jawed Ashraf is currently serving as a Indian High Commissioner to Singapore.
iii.Vinay Mohan Kwatra was a 1988 batch IFS officer.
About France:
Capital– Paris
Currency– Euro, CFP Franc
President– Emmanuel Macron
About Nepal:
Capital– Kathmandu
Currency- Nepalese rupee, Indian rupee

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS      

Crisil completed acquisition of 100% stake in Greenwich Associates
On February 26, 2020 Rating Agency Crisil completed the acquisition of 100% stake in Greenwich Associates. The transaction was announced on December 19, 2019.
Greenwich is a leading provider of proprietary benchmarking data, analytics and qualitative insights to financial services firms worldwide.
Key Points:
i.About Greenwich: It serves over 300 clients across top investment banks, corporate banks, commercial banks, asset managers and key players in the market infrastructure.
ii.Greenwich will accelerate Crisil’s strategy and be the leading player in the growing market of global benchmarking analytics across financial services.
iii.Crisil provides ratings, research and policy advisory services. Crisil majority shareholder is Standard & Poor’s, a division of McGraw Hill Finance & provider of financial market intelligence.
About Crisil:
Founded- 1987.
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.
MD (Managing Director) & CEO (Chief Executive Officer)- Ashu Suyash.

  SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Union Labour Minister Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar to launch “Santusht” mobile app for ESI beneficiaries
On February 24,2020 The Union Labour Minister Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) foundation day announced about launching “ Santusht” mobile app for the benefit of ESI beneficiaries & launched ESIC’s Special Service Fortnight from February 24 to March 10.
Key Points:
i.ESIC’s Special Service Fortnight will organise daily health check-up camps, special camps for clearance of pending bills of IPs (insured persons) and channel partners and cash benefits in case of death/disability, redressal of public grievances, mock fire drill in all ESIC Hospitals.
ii.The minister renamed  ESIC Hospital Basaidarapur, New Delhi to Sahib Singh Verma ESIC Hospital and ESIC AYUSH Hospital to Padma Vibhushan Brihaspati Dev Triguna ESIC AYUSH Hospital.
About ESIC:
Headquarter– New Delhi, India
Chairman– Union Minister of Labour, Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar
CEO/Director General– Shri Raj Kumar

INCOIS launched three new advance warning systems
On February 25, 2020 The Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad has launched 3 new ocean based specialised products for the benefit of fishermen & people living in the coastal areas of South India.
The 3 warning systems are Small Advisory and Forecast Services System (SVAS), Swell Surge Forecast System (SSFS) and Algal Bloom Information Service (ABIS).
Key Points:
i.About SVAS: SVAS is aimed at improving the operations of numerous small marine vessels, particularly fishing vessels.It warns users about potential zones where vessel overturning can take place, 10 days in advance. This limit covers the fishing vessels used in all the nine coastal States and Union Territories.
ii.The warning system is based on the Boat Safety Index (BSI).
iii.About SSFS: SSFS is designed to predict the kallakkadal or swell waves in the coastal region.
iv.About ABIS: It provides information on harmful algal blooms that are evil to coastal fisheries & tend to cause respiratory problems in the coastal population.

8,000 years old Carbon founded inside The Yongle Blue Hole (YBH)
On February 24,2020 Peng Yao & his team at the Ocean University of China in Qingdao found 8,000 years old Carbon inside The Yongle Blue Hole (YBH), the world’s deepest  blue hole, in the South China Sea.
Key Points:
i.YBH has a depth of 300 metres from top to bottom which puts down Dean’s Blue Hole in Bahamas of 202 metres depth from the position of the world’s deepest blue hole.
ii.Gist about the Blue Hole:

  • They are circular, steep-walled & open to the surface.
  • They  are underwater caverns carved into dissolving rock.
  • The waters are mostly isolated from the surrounding ocean & receive little fresh water from rainfall.
  • They give insight to scientists about the extreme chemistry of past & future oceans.

ENVIRONMENT

World’s largest species of cave fish discovered in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills
A team of experts from the UK (United Kingdom), Switzerland and India have discovered the world’s largest species of cave fish in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya. The fish, Tor putitora has no eyes and is white due to lack of melanin pigmentation.
Key Points:
i.The details of the find are published in the issue of Cave and Karst Science, published by British Cave Research Association.
ii.The fish was found to be more than 40 cm in length & considerably bulky than the previously known fishes.
iii.The fish is an endangered mahseer species that live mostly in “fast-flowing streams, rivers and large reservoirs”.
iv.The fishes are commonly found in the rivers that flow along the foothills of Himalayas, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal.
v.A team of international scientists discovered the fish on february 2019, when they were carrying out  the Abode of Clouds Project, which was launched in 1992. Under the project, scientists have been studying and mapping caves in Meghalaya.

SPORTS

Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurated 1st Khelo India Winter Games in Leh, LadakhOn February 25, 2020 Shri Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, inaugurated the first ever Khelo India Winter Games (KIWG) in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh at Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
Key Points:

i.The event is organized to promote winter sports in India and to popularise these games among the youth of the country,
ii.Three winter sporting games are being held in Ladakh of Khelo India Winter games- Open Ice Hockey Championship, Figure Skating and Speed Skating.
iii.About 1,700 athletes of different ages, from Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh, will compete in the Khelo India Ladakh Winter Games at 10 blocks, district and then at UT (Union Territory) level.
iv.The second level of the Khelo India winter games will be held at Kongdari, Gulmarg, J&K from 7 to 11 March, 2020 & will have participants competing in Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, snowboarding and  snow shoeing events.
About Ladakh:
Governor- Radha Krishna Mathur.

OBITUARY

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak passed away at 91On February 25, 2020 Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak, former President of Egypt passed away at the age of 91, in Cairo, Egypt. He was born on 4th May 1928 in Egypt. He served as the president of Egypt for nearly 30 years (1981-2011).
Key Points:

i.About Hosni Mubarak: He joined the Egyptian Air Force in 1949 and became the commander -in-chief of the Egyptian Air Force in 1972.
ii.He also served as the Vice President (VP) of Egypt on October 14, 1981, when his mentor, President Anwar Sadant, was assassinated by fighters while reviewing a military parade.
iii.Mubarak resigned the post of president during the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

STATE NEWS

Bihar 1st NDA state to adopt resolution against NRC, and to implement NPR
On February 25, 2020, Bihar became the 1st National Democratic Alliance (NDA) state in India, which passed a resolution against National Register of Citizens (NRC) and also passed a resolution to implement the National Population Register (NPR), according to 2010 format, with an amendment. In this regard, a unanimous resolution has been passed by the Bihar assembly.
Key points:
i.The Bihar State government has written a letter to the Central government of India to drop the “Additional clauses” inserted in the NPR forms.
ii.According to the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi, who presented Bihar’s Budget in the assembly, the first phase of Census 2021 and the process of the National Population Register [NPR] in Bihar would be done between the period of May 15 to June 28, 2020.
About Bihar:
Capital- Patna
Chief Minister- Nitish Kumar
Governor- Phagu Chauhan
UNESCO Heritage sites- Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University), Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya.

AC GAZE

Naval special child Jiya Rai creates world record in open water swimming
An eleven year old Ms Jiya Rai has become the fastest special girl to create a world record in solo swimming event was conducted under the supervision of Swimming Association of Maharashtra,  who is a student of Navy Children School (NCS), Mumbai swam from Elephanta Island to Gateway of India at a distance of 14 Km in 03 hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds in open water swimming.

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Current Affairs Headlines: 26 February 2020
Indradhanush – V 2020: Indo-UK bilateral ai+A2:D24r exercise begins in Hindan, Uttar Pradesh
Union HRD Minister launched UKIERI-UGC Higher Education Leadership Development Programme
Madhya Pradesh becomes the 1st state to launch unified vehicle registration card & 2nd to launch unified driving license
India 5th most polluted country with Ghaziabad as the most polluted city, globally: IQAir AirVisual Report
National cyber research and Innovation centre, inaugurated by MoS G.K.Reddy in Hyd, T.S
1st ‘National Conference on Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience(CDRR&R) 2020: Organised by The National Institute of Disaster Management ( NIDM)
 A 3-day international conference on “EMMDA 2020” held in Noida, Uttar Pradesh
16th session of joint ministerial commission was held between India and Australia
High-level committee headed by retired Justice Biplab sharma submits report on clause 6 of Assam accord
Overview of US President Donald Trump visit to India on February 24-25
Digital payments rising sharply but cash remains the king: RBI study
RBI allows Bandhan Bank to open new branches without prior approval
IRDAI forms 9-member panel led by Srinivasan to examine the possibility of allowing life insurers offer indemnity based health policies
ADB raises $118 mn through offshore India rupee linked 10-year bonds
Hurun Global Rich List 2020: Jeff Bezos retains 1st rank, Mukesh Ambani at 9th position
Michael Miebach named as Mastercard’s new President & CEO, Ajay Banga moves to Executive Chairman
Shri Jawed Ashraf to be next Ambassador of India to France
Crisil completed acquisition of Greenwich Associates
The labour ministry  to launch “Santusht” mobile app for ESI beneficiaries
INCOIS launched three new advance warning systems
World’s largest species of cave fish discovered in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills
8,000 years old Carbon founded inside The Yongle Blue Hole (YBH)
Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurated 1st Khelo India Winter Games in Leh, Ladakh
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak passed away at 91
Bihar 1st NDA state to adopt resolution against NRC, and to implement NPR
Naval special child Jiya Rai creates world record in open water swimming

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