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Current Affairs Today – February 2 2017

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Amitabh Kant Inaugurates India Innovation Index in New Delhi
i. The Indian Policy Think Tank, NITI Aayog together with Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)\has launched a first of its kind online portal, India Innovation Index in India to rank the states on the basis of innovation.
ii. The Index has been developed by the Indian sides in consultation with the World Economic Forum, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, OECD, UNIDO, ILO, UNESCO, ITU and others.
iii .The portal was inaugurated by Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog on February 2, 2017 in New Delhi.
iv. The Index would rank Indian states as per their innovation capability and provide them necessary feedback to build their respective innovation ecosystems and further instill innovation spirit among institutions and people.
v. The index would consider Global Innovation Index indicators and other India–centric data from various states to determine the ranking which will be updated periodically.
vi. These would enable the international agencies to collect India’s up to date data points for ranking global indices.

31st Surajkund International Crafts Mela being held in Faridabad 
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurates the 31st Surajkund International Crafts Mela in Faridabad, Haryana on February 1, 2017.The mela will end on 15th February, 2017.
Highlights of Mela :
i. 2017 Surajkund International Crafts Mela is known as ‘Cashless Mela’ because all stakeholders have been provided option to opt for cashless transactions
ii. A team of volunteers called ‘Mela Mitra’ are appointed to help and guide visitors for Mela
iii. The freedom fighter Jharkhand Birsa Munda’s statue has been constructed and people from 21 countries are expecting to participating at the mela.

Neeti Mohan collaborates with United Nations for women empowerment
i. Noted Indian singer Neeti Mohan to collaborate with UN for women empowerment project titled “Music To Inspire – Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking” which is managed by the UNODC.
ii. Neeti is the first Indian female singer to collaborate with UN .She has joined the ranks of Ashton Kutcher, Nicholas Cage, Demi Moore, Ashley Judd, Gillian Anderson .
iii. She has composed Udne De as a tribute to all the women and in support of equality for all.
iv. Over 60 renowned artists and dignitaries from various countries have collaborated with Rukus Avenue to participate in the “Music To Inspire – Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking”Neeti Mohan
v. Some of the other notable participants are AR Rahman, former President Jimmy Carter, actress Tatyana Ali and bands include Joss Stone, Michael Franti, Vanessa Carlton, Anoushka Shankar, Ellis Hall, Garbage, Karmin as well as Daryl Hall & John Oates among many others
♦ Head : Yuri Fedotov
♦ Headquarters: Vienna

India & Sri Lanka signs MoU for multi-ethnic tri-lingual Secondary School
i. India and Sri Lanka has signed an MoU on February 2, 2017 for the construction of a multi-ethnic tri-lingual school in a north central district of the island nation.
ii. The school would provide an opportunity to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students to learn in a multi-cultural environment and thus promote reconciliation and unity in Sri Lanka.
iii. The MoU was signed between India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Secretary to the Ministry of Education Sunil Hettiarachchi.
iv. The Indian Government would provide a grant of SLR 300 million for the island school to be constructed in Polonnaruwa district.
v. Under the project class rooms, laboratories and library would be constructed as well as furniture and other equipment would be procured.


Indian School of Business Ranked Top Indian B-School in FT Global MBA Ranking 2017
i. The 2017 Financial Times Global MBA ranking was released on January 30, 2017. This year 4 Indian Business Schools have been listed in the World’s 100 best Full Time MBA Programme List.
ii. The Four Schools listed includes: Indian School of Business (ISB), Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC)
Top Three B-Schools

1INSEAD, (France/Singapore)
2Stanford Graduate School of Business
3University of Pennsylvania, (Wharton/US)

SAARC Programming Committee Meeting Concluded in Kathmandu
i. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (SAARCs) 53rd Programming Committee Meeting began on February 1, 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The two day meeting was attended by joint secretary/director general of the eight member nations.
ii. The meeting that concluded on February 2, 2017 was organized as a part of the annual activities of the group that mandates to have at-least two meeting of the committee in a year.
iii. The main area of discussion revolved around Budget allocation for the management of SAARC.
iv. The meeting hosted by Nepal was in the name of 19th Summit which was earlier scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan in November 2016. However, the country postponed the Summit over Nepal.
v. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan too declined attending the Summit. As a result Pakistan announced postponing summit to Nepal.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
♦ The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional  intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia that promotes development of economic and regional integration.SAARC Nation
♦ The eight member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
♦ SAARC was founded in 1985 by seven states. In 2005, Afghanistan also became the member.
Founded: December 8, 1985
♦ Headquarter: Kathmandu
♦ General-Secretary: Arjun Bahadur Thapa

Kuwait Suspends Visa for 5 Muslim-majority Countries
i. Kuwait has banned the Visas for five Muslim majority countries on February 1, 2017 over security issues. The five countries include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
ii. The suspension of the Visas was taken to stop illegal entry of Islamic terrorists in the country.
iii. The ban would apply on any reason of visit ranging from tourism, visit and trade visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses.
Kuwait :
♦ Capital: Kuwait City
♦ Currency: Kuwaiti dinar

U.K. Parliament Clears Brexit Bill with 498 Votes
i. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May successfully held the first stage of passing the Bill in the Parliament on February 1, 2017 to pull Britain out of the European Union.
ii. British MPs approved passing the bill with 498 to 114 votes empowering May to start the process of pulling Britain out of the European Union.
iii. The Bill would now allow the government to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty which the Supreme Court ruled that she could not take that decision alone.
iv. The bill could complete the legislative process by March 7. Now the PM may progress to the next and more detailed legislative stage.


HSBC Estimates India’s GDP Growth at 7.1% in 2017-18
i. HSBC has estimated the GDP growth rate of India at 7.1 percent for the year 2017-18 which is up from the 6.3 percent in the year 2016-17.
ii. The main reason for this increase is cited to sufficient remonetization by April end, thus boosting the consumption level in the country to normal. Besides, the schemes announced in Budget 2017-18 are also seen to play major role in the growth rate.
iii. Besides, the investment is projected to remain weak within a range of 7.5-8 percent.

NABARD Sanctions Rs 157 crore Loan to Haryana for Drinking Water Project
i. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on February 2, 2017 sanctioned a loan amount of Rs. 157 crore to the Government of Haryana to undertake drinking water project.
ii. Under the project, the government would undertake drinking water supply scheme in 84 villages of districts Palwal and Faridabad.
iii. As per the project, portable drinking water would be supplied in selected villages in blocks Prithla, Palwal and Ballabhgarh from Yamuna flood plain by constructing ranney wells and deep tubewells.
iv .The project is likely to benefit 3,06,814 persons.  The loan amount has been sanctioned from the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
NABARDv. Till date NABARD has provided Rs 5,794 crore assistance to Harayana government under RIDF since its inception in 1995-96.
♦ Chairperson: Harsh Kumar Bhanwala
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 12 July 1982.

India and World Bank signs Financing Agreement Worth US$ 201.50 Million for TEQIP III
i. The Government of India has signed a USD 201.50 million credit agreement with the World Bank on February 1, 2017 to improve the quality and equity of engineering education across several states in India.
ii. The agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
iii. The agreement signed was for the third phase of the Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP III).
iv. The project aims to strengthen engineering education in low-income group, hill states and states of the North East. TEQIP III will support nearly 200 engineering education institutes across India to produce higher quality engineers.
v. The project will also boost post-graduate education, research, development and innovation at these institutions. For the first time, the project would also support in Affiliating Technical Universities.


India’s SpiceJet Honored at Asia One Awards in Singapore
i. Gurgaon based airline, SpiceJet made record by winning awards in three prime categories at the Asia One Awards held in Singapore.
SpiceJetii. The low-cost airline was honoured as the ‘Asia’s Greatest Brands – 2016’ at the function. The selection process was supervised by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
iii. Among others, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet, Mr. Ajay Singh, was honored with the title of the ‘Global Asian of the year’, 2016.
iv. The Chief Financial Officer Mr. Kiran Koteshwar won the award for ‘Asia’s Greatest CFO 2016’.
v. Earlier, SpiceJet launched a first if its kind initiative of smart check-in facility using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies for which it won international recognition by Future Travel Experience global awards in Las Vegas with the ‘Best Check- in Initiative’ award.


Godrej Properties elevates Pirojsha Godrej as Chairman, Adi Godrej to be Chairman Emeritus
i. Mumbai based Real estate company Godrej Properties elevated Pirojsha Godrej as Executive Chairman and Adi Godrej assuming the charge as Chairman Emeritus position of the company. It will be effective from April 2017
ii. Pirojsha Godrej is currently working as the Managing Director and CEO. He will replace Mohit Malhotra.
iii. The company has also appointed Karan Bolaria as CEO of the company.


Chinese Scientists Develop New TB-resistant Cows
i. Scientists from China’s Northwest A&F University have developed a genetically modified form of cows that are more resistant to bovine tuberculosis (TB).
ii. The cloned cattle were created using a genome editing tool known as CRISPR. They inserted a new TB resistance gene called NRAMP1 into 20 cows out of which 11 of survived past the age of 3 months.
iii. Bovine TB is a risk to cattle in many countries, including parts of the UK, Africa and Asia. The research was published in the journal Genome Biology on January 31, 2017.
iv. The transgenic animals were more resistant to tuberculosis than animals who were not modified.

China tests missile DF-5C with 10 nuclear warheads   
i. China has tested successfully a new version of a missile Dongfeng-5C missile which can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads  from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province, and flew to a desert in western China
ii. The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out in January 2017 using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs.Earlier versions of the DF-5 have either missile DF-5Ca single warhead or from six to eight MIRVs.
iii. It is an intercontinental ballistic missile that first went into service in the early 1980’s.
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping


Scientists Finds Evidence of 2 Billion Years Volcanic Activity on Mars
i. Based on an analysis done by the scientists of a Martian meteorite in Africa, evidence of existence of at-least 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars have been uncovered.
ii. The meteorite known as Northwest Africa 7635 was discovered in 2012. The scientist from United States found it to be a type of volcanic rock called a shergottite.
iii. As per the scientists most of the composition of rocks from volcanoes on Mars comes from meteorites found on Earth.
iv. This study confirms that some of the longest-lived volcanoes in the solar system may be found on the Red Planet. The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
v. The findings lead to a new clue about the evolution of the planets in the history of volcanic activity on Mars


India Defeats England 2-1 to Win T20 International Series
i. India defeated England by 75 runs to clinch the Twenty20 International series 2-1 on February 1, 2017 played at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. England lost their last 8 wickets for 8 runs.This is India’s first win in a bilateral T20 International series against England.
ii. 23-year-old Yuzvender Chahal was named the man of the series for taking eight wickets and giving away only 85 runs.
iii. With this, Yuzvender Chahal has also became the first Indian bowler to record a five-wicket haul in the history of Indian cricket.  
iv. 19-year-old Rishabh Pant from Delhi has become India’s youngest T20I Debutant

Lakshya Sen of Uttarakhand Becomes World No. 1 Player in BWF Junior Rankings
i. Indian badminton player Lakshya Sen has created history after he attained World No. 1 Rank in the latest Junior Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking on February 2, 2017.
ii. The 15-year-old player is the youngest ever player and the first ever from Uttarakhand to win the title at senior level. Earlier, his brother Chirag Sen was ranked number 2 in the world junior badminton rankings.
iii. Lakshya has outclassed Chia Hao Lee of the Chinese Taipei to attain the World no. 1 ranking.
iv. Based on the current ranking of BWF, total points gained by Lakshya is 16,903 in eight tournaments he has played in the season while Chia Hao, who is at the second spot, has 16,091 points.
v. Earlier, by 2016 end Lakshya was ranked at 8th spot in the ranking, and was listed in top three by 2017 before becoming the No. 1 player.

Former Chelsea midfielder from England Lampard Retires at 38
i. English professional footballer Frank Lampard announced his retirement from professional Frank Lampardsoccer on February 2, 2017 ending his 21-year-old career.
ii. The 38-year old Chelsea midfielder has won major honor at club level to establish himself as the Premier League’s highest-scoring midfielder.
iii. The England soccer player has scored a record of 211 goals and made appearances in 649 games from 2001-14.
iv. Lampard has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League during the course of time at Chelsea.

2020 Tokyo Olympic Games medals to be made from recycled mobile phones  
i. Olympic game medals will be made from recycled mobile phones for the year 2022 to promote sustainability said by 2020 Olympic Games organizers, Japan
ii. For this, the Japan government asked public to donate unwanted mobile phones and other electronic items to help make 5,000 medals.
iii. The organizers are placed a collection boxes in local offices and telecoms stores from April 2017 to collect the material.
Japan :
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
♦ Prime minister: Shinzō Abe


World Wetlands Day – February 2, 2017
i. Every year World Wetlands Day is observed on 2nd February to marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands or Ramsar Convention on 2 February 1971.
ii. 2017 Theme: Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction
iii. This year motto is to raise awareness and to highlight the vital role of healthy Wetlands Daywetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme events such as floods, droughts and cyclones on communities, and in helping to build resilience.
iv. Several government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.