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Daily Current affairs for 24th & 25th Feb 2018 ( English)

1.     Feb 24- The Central Excise Day is celebrated every year to mark the enactment of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944.
2.     An agreement was signed between the Tamil Nadu State Government and Microsoft to improve the integration of technology in teaching and learning across the state. As per the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will adopt seven schools identified by Tamil Nadu State Government and will train their teachers and students in inculcating skills such as critical thinking, app development, creative coding & gaming, robotics and entrepreneurship. All educators in primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education across Tamil Nadu will be offered Microsoft Innovative Educator ProgramBesides, Microsoft will also train and provide a digital literacy certification to District Education Officers (DEOs) in Tamil Nadu.
3.     15th edition of Bio-Asia, the annual flagship event of the Government of Telangana, was held from 22nd – 24th February, 2018 in Hyderabad with the theme “Right Time, Right Now”. It focuses on strategies to keep up with pace of change and innovative ways to develop new models for distribution & healthcare delivery. Ireland, Netherlands and South Africa were the International Partners while Gujarat, Assam and Rajasthan were the partner states for this event.More than 1500 delegates from over 55 countries were attended.
International Affairs:
4. India has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of ceramic tableware and kitchenware from China in order to protect domestic producers. Ceramic tableware and kitchenware shipped in from China will attract  Anti-dumping duty of USD 1.04 per kg for a period of five years starting from June 2017. It has been imposed by Revenue Department in the Union Finance Ministry based on a probe by Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), in response to allegations by All India Pottery Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) and the Indian Ceramic Society.
5.     Heavy Water Board (HWB), a constituent industrial unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) signed an collaborative agreement with Clearsynth, Mumbai for sale of 20 tonnes of Heavy Water in year. It will be sold for development of deuterium labeled compounds,NMR Solvents, d-labeled Active Pharma Ingredients (APIs). During previous years, Indian industries had imported deuterated compounds and Heavy Water to tune of 9 Million USD. This collaborative agreement will initiate import substitution for deuterated compounds and Heavy Water. Heavy Water is deuterium oxide (D2O) which is used as ‘moderator’ and ‘Coolant’ in nuclear power as well as research reactors.
6.     For the fourth consecutive term. NHRC ( National Human Rights Commission)was awarded ‘A’ status of accreditation of Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). ‘A’ status accreditation also grants participation in the work and decision-making of the GANHRI, as well as the work of the Human Rights Council and other UN mechanisms. The accreditation is given to those human rights institutions, which after rigorous process of review every five years are found fully compliant with UN-mandated Paris Principles. The Paris Principles were adopted by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1993.
7.     Saudi Arabia conducted  its first ever jazz festival “Groovz Jazz Festival” at the Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The concert was organized by Time Entertainment. A divided seating arrangement was provided separately for men and women. Family areas were also provided. Both local and international artistes performed at the festival. Bands from Riyadh, Beirut and New Orleans performed at the festival.Apart from musical performances, food trucks, a vintage car display etc. were also featured in the Groovz Jazz Festival.
8.     Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have ceremonially broke ground on Afghanistan section of ambitious, multi-billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline. The ceremony was attended by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and his Turkmenistan counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and India’s Minister of state for external affairs Shri M. J. Akbar. TAPI gas pipeline project is proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline from Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The pipe line connects central Asia with south Asia covering 1,840 km. The pipeline has capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd). Both India and Pakistan will get supply of about 38 mmscmd whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply of natural gas. The pipeline will begin pumping natural gas from Turkmenistan’s giant Galkynysh gas field by the beginning of 2020 and supply life is expected to last for period of 30 years.
9.     The Andijan Region of Uzbekistan and India have inked agreement for cooperation in pharmaceutical industry. Under it, both sides will develop cooperation in implementation of program for production of pharmaceutical, bio-pharmaceutical products and medical equipment in the Andijan region of Uzbekistan.
10.  An MoU for “Implementation Agreement in Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities in India was signed between Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, India on behalf of Government of Germany. The objective of programme is to develop and apply concepts for sustainable urban development about provision of urban basic services and housing in selected cities and Smart Cities in India.
11.  Scientists of Botanical Survey of India have discovered a new plant species named “Drypetes kalamii” in Jaldapara and Buxa National Parks in West Bengal. It was named after our former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It bears pale yellow flowers in clusters and produces bright orange to red fruits. Scientists have declared this plant species as “Critically Endangered”.
12.  Telecom Major Bharti Airtel and Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei have successfully conducted India’s first 5G (fifth generation) network trial. It was conducted at Airtel’s network experience centre in Manesar, Gurugram (Haryana) and was able to achieve over 3 gigabit per second (Gbps) data speed. The setup for this 5G trial involved 5G RAN that operated on 3.5GHz network band, along with 5G Core and 50GE network slicing router. In duration of tests, a user throughput speed of 3Gbps was achieved, claimed to be highest for 3.5GHz band. The tests were conducted within a 100MHz bandwidth and resulted in a 1-millisecond end-to-end network latency. 5G is wireless communication technology based on third-generation partnership project (3GPP). It is next generation mobile networks technology after 4G LTE networks.
13.  The State –run  Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) signed  MoU’s with Andhra Pradesh  Government to invest Rs 3730 crore in the state during the course of CII Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and EESL Managing Director Saurabh Kumar . I) It envisages supply of 10000 electric cars and 4000 chargers to various departments of Andhra Pradesh through Non-conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited (NREDCAP). 2) Supply of approximately 17 lakh smart energy meters to two power distribution companies in Andhra Pradesh 3) establishment of small solar PV-based power projects in phases.
14.  The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has appointed four institutes, to interact with stakeholders and suggest measures to push up India’s ranking in ease of doing business index. The four institutes are Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR) and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). ICAI would ascertain views on ‘taxes’ parameter. ICSI and IIFT would look into ‘starting a business’ and ‘trading across borders’ parameters respectively, while NICMAR would get feedback on ‘dealing with construction permits’. it is important to note that in Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that Government has identified 372 action points to improve ease of doing business. India’s Rank in ease of doing business is 100 out of 190 countries.
15.  From April 1, 2018, SBI’s UK operations will operate as SBI’s subsidiary under the name of State Bank of India UK Limited. This transformation has been planned in order to comply with specific capital requirement norms of Bank of England (the Central Bank of UK). SBI has 12 retail branches in UK, out of which, 7 are located in London.
16.  A loan agreement  of $84 million was inked by the union government  with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for improvement and expansion of water supply in Bhagalpur and Gaya towns in Bihar. The loan has 25-year term, including grace period of 5 years with annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s lending facility based on London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) and commitment charge of 0.15% per year. The program aims to provide sustainable urban infrastructure and services in four towns in Bihar –Gaya, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur. The project 2 will improve access to better quality and sustainable water supply, for people of Bhagalpur and Gaya towns.

17.  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched Ombudsman Scheme for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) for redressal of complaints against NBFCs registered with RBI under section 45-IA of the RBI Act, 1934. The scheme will provide cost-free and expeditious complaint redressal mechanism relating to deficiency in services by non-banking financial companies covered under the scheme. The offices of NBFC Ombudsmen will function at four metro centres —Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi. They will handle complaints of customers in respective zones.
18.  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed banks to link SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System platform) with their core banking solutions (CBS) by April 30, 2018 as a part of RBI’s efforts to tighten internal controls in banks following Rs 11,400 crore fraud that was unearthed at Punjab National Bank (PNB). CBS is centralised software used to support bank’s most common transactions.
19.  Aruna Budda Reddy became the first Indian gymnast to win an individual medal at the Gymnastics World Cup by bagging a bronze medal in the women’s vault event, in Melbourne, Australia. She had finished in the third position. She won the bronze medal in the women’s vault event. Slovania’s Tjasa Kysslef won gold medal and Australia’s Emily Whitehead won silver medal.
20.  India’s Parupalli Kashyap won the men’s singles title of the Austrian Open International Challenge (badminton), in Vienna, Austria by defeating Malaysia’s June Wei Cheam. This is his first international title in more than three years. He is a former National badminton champion.
21.  Bollywood star Sridevi died due to cardiac arrest in Dubai on 24th Feb 2018. She was born on 13 August 1963 in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She started her career as a child artiste in a Tamil movie in 1969. Later, she acted in several Tamil movies. She had also acted in other South Indian languages like Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. She made her Bollywood debut in 1978 and had acted in numerous films afterwards. She was awarded Padma Shri award in 2013.
22. Kunwar Bai, a 106-year-old woman from Chhattisgarh who was chosen as mascot for `Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, passed away after a prolonged illness.She got nationwide publicity in 2016 when the story of her selling goats ( 8-10 goats)  to build toilet at home reached its fame. She was felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at public meeting at Kurrubhat village in Rajnandgaon district and later made a mascot for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Her efforts had help to make her village ‘open defecation free as very home in her village has toilets.
Prepared by 
Sarala Dhavamanoharan
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