Defence Related NEWS: March 2020

  • The National Workshop on Explosive Detection (NWED-2020) was held at Pune, Maharashtra. The workshop was organised by High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune. During the workshop, a new explosive detection device known as “RaIDer-X” was also unveiled.
  • The Indian Army’s International Seminar “Pragyan Conclave 2020” has begin at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi and has been organised by Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).
  • A unit of Indian Army has organized a Self Defence Training demonstration for Women with a theme of “Stronger You Stronger Society” for the local womenfolk in Nalbari district of Assam. 
  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the procurement of indigenous Tejas fighter aircraft for Indian Air Force.
  • The Ministry of Defence has signed the capital acquisition contract of worth Rs 880 crore with Israel Weapons Industries for the procurement of Light Machine Gun (LMGs). The Light Machine Guns were the long-standing requirement of Indian Armed Forces.
  • US Marines and UAE Emirati forces conducted the biennial exercise, named Native Fury at Abu Dhabi. The biennial exercise, called Native Fury, shows the close ties between American forces and the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula home to Abu Dhabi.
  • Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane has launched ‘Operation Namaste’ to extend assistance to the govt in containing the spread of coronavirus and insulate the force from the pandemic. 

Obituaries :March 2020

  • Former India hockey player Balbir Singh Kullar passed away.
  • Veteran athletics coach and Dronacharya awardee Joginder Singh Saini passed away. 
  • The head of the Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero passed away in Dhaka. 
  • Former UN Chief Javier Perez de Cuellar passed away at the age of 100.
  • Former Union Law Minister and Congress veteran Hans Raj Bhardwaj died after a cardiac arrest. 
  • Max von Sydow, the Swedish actor who was nominated for two Oscars during his career passed away.
  • Veteran Bengali actor Santu Mukhopadhyay passed away. 
  • Bollywood actor Imtiaz Khan passed away. 
  • Veteran journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Patil Puttappa passed away. 
  • Veteran poet and Malayalam scholar Puthussery Ramachandran passed away. 
  • Noted Marathi Actor Jairam Kulkarani passed away. He was born in Barshi tehsil in Solapur district, Maharashtra. 
  • Former world boxing champion Roger Mayweather passed away.
  • Veteran director Meenakshisundaram Ramasamy Viswanthan, popularly known as Visu in the Tamil film industry has passed away.
  • Legendary Indian footballer PK Banerjee passed away. 
  • American music singer Kenny Rogers who was known around the world for his global hits such as “The Gambler”, “Lady”, “Lucille” and “Islands in the Stream”, has passed away. 
  • The co-creator of the “Asterix and Obelix” comics, Albert Uderzo passed away.
  • Veteran star of 1950s and ’60s Hindi movies Nimmi passed away.
  • Former India footballer Abdul Latif passed away.
  • The chief of Brahmakumaris Sansthan, Rajyogini Dadi Janki passed away.
  • Padma Vibhushan award winning artist, architect, sculptor and writer Satish Gujral passed away.
  • Indian-born international chef Floyd Cardoz passed away due to Covid-19 in the USA.
  • Veteran photographer & Padma Shri awardee Nemai Ghosh passed away. 
  • The recipient of Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) and retired Air Vice Marshal Chandan Singh Rathore passed away.
  • Former Union Minister and a founding member of the Samajwadi Party, Beni Prasad Verma passed away.
  • Veteran US civil rights leader Joseph Lowery who helped in establishing the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, passed away.
  • Tamil folk singer and actress Paravai Muniyamma passed away.
  • Veteran Japanese comedian Ken Shimura passed away due to coronavirus. 

MoU, Agreements. Partnerships and Tie-ups in NEWS: March 2020

  • The Indian Air Force and Savitribai Phule Pune University has signed an MoU to establish a “Chair of Excellence”. The “Chair of Excellence” which will be named as “Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh Chair of Excellence” has been planned to be established at Department of Defence & Strategic Studies under this unique initiative of Indian Air Force.
  • Airport Authority of India & State Government of Tripura has signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of 6 equipment hiring centres in Manu Block under the Dhalai District, Tripura. 
  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi signed a MoU with the Patanjali Bio Research Institute, Haridwar. As per the MoU, the specific work plans will be developed to work on the collaborative research programmes in the areas of national interest related to sustainable agriculture development suitable to different agro-ecologies of the country.
  • India private sector bank, RBL Bank (formerly known as Ratnakar Bank ltd) inks partnership with Online food ordering and delivery app Zomato to launch co-branded credit cards, powered by Mastercard.
  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi & Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK) Society has inked a tripartite deal with the National Bank For Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for setting up three Farmer Producer Organization in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Amazon has partnered with the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to facilitate e-marketing of products which are made by Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the nation in urban areas.
  • Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd in partnership with Paytm has launched a QR-code-based metro ticketing system at Rasoolpura metro station Hyderabad, Telangana. The new service will enable commuters to travel seamlessly and avoid queues to buy tokens at the metro stations. They can now simply purchase a QR ticket on their Paytm app, which can be displayed at the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates to proceed for the journey.
  • An Indian low-cost airline, SpiceJet has signed a pact with GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Limited (GHASL). According to the pact, SpiceJet will set up warehousing, distribution and trading facility in the aerospace and industrial park of GHASL. “Ready-to-Use” industrial infrastructure is offered by the park with the flexibility of choosing land within SEZ for business purposes.
  • Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Gambia. This MoU is signed for the participation in MEA’s (eVBAB) e-VidyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati Network Project for telemedicine and tele-education in Africa. 
  • GOI, Government of Himachal Pradesh have signed a US$80 million loan agreement with the World Bank. The loan agreement aims to enhance water management practices and to improve agricultural productivity in 428 Gram Panchayats of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) inked a deal with a disability support NGO Aditya Mehta Foundation, to train its troops, who lost their limbs in operations, in various skills including cyber operations, artificial intelligence and para-sports.
  • India’s second-largest national oil explorer, Oil India Limited (OIL) has inked the Crude Oil Sales Agreement (COSA) with Numaligarh Refinery. The agreement has been signed by the two entities for sale and purchase of crude oil. 
  • Manikaran Power Ltd (MPL) has become the first member of India’s first gas trading platform which is called the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX). IGX is a part of Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). Indian Gas Exchange Ltd. IGX is India’s first automated national level trading platform to promote and sustain an efficient and robust Gas market and to foster gas trading in the country.
  • IIT Kanpur and L&T Technology Services have collaborated to carry out joint research in industrial and infrastructure cybersecurity. They will jointly set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) at the IIT Kanpur campus and conduct research in the areas of Honeypot, intrusion detection systems, malware analysis, blockchain, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing and provide cybersecurity awareness and training programs.
  • DBS Bank India has teamed-up with Bharti AXA to launch a complimentary insurance plan which will cover all medical conditions, including Covid-19. The insurance plan will also include up to 10 days of hospitalisation along with a cover of Rs 5,000 per day for a 30-day period.
  • Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority and Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium has signed an MoU for the development of agriculture and allied sectors as well as its exports for bringing better value to the stakeholders.
  • The Government of India’s flagship fitness movement “Fit India” has teamed up with Bollywood actress and fitness icon Shilpa Shetty Kundra. The tie-up will provide free access of the Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s premium 21-Day Weight Loss Programme during the 21-day lockdown owing to Covid-19 pandemic.

Cabinet Approvals of Government of India: March 2020

  • Union Cabinet has approved the merger of 10 PSBs into 4 from 1st April 2020. As per the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the exercise of consolidation of 10 public sector banks (PSBs) into four is on course and the merger will come into effect from the new financial year 1st April 2020.
  1. United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce will be merged with Punjab National Bank
  2. Syndicate Bank will be merged with Canara Bank
  3. Allahabad Bank will be amalgamated with Indian Bank
  4. Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will be consolidated with Union Bank of India.
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a 4% hike in Dearness Allowance (DA) for central government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners with effect from January 1, 2020. 
  • The Union Cabinet has approved Production Incentive Scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing. The Government of India has proposed production linked incentives through Production Incentive Scheme to boost domestic manufacturing and to attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing. Cabinet has also approved financial assistance to the Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme (EMC2.0) for development of world class infrastructure through Electronics Manufacturing Clusters.

Sports in NEWS: February 2020

  • Rubigula’, Flame-Throated Bulbul, has been unveiled as the official mascot for the Goa 2020 National Games in Panaji, Goa. The Flame-Throated Bulbul is the state bird of Goa. Goa will be hosting the 36th edition of the National Games from 20th October to 4th November 2020.
  • Serbian tennis star, Novak Djokovic has won the men’s singles title of Australian Open 2020.
  • The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has suspended weightlifter Ramshad AR for a period of 2 years after being found guilty of violating the anti-doping rule. In addition to this, NADA has also banned Indian wrestler Ravinder Kumar for 4 years for failing a dope test.
  • Weightlifter Sambo Lapung has won the gold medal in the men’s 89kg event of the National Weightlifting Championships held in Kolkata.
  • The Indian Olympic Association has invited BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to become the Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held from July 24 to August 9.
  • Jindal South West (JSW) Steel has appointed Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant as its brand ambassador. Pant will help promote JSW’s steel products which include Colouron+ colour-coated sheets and JSW Neosteel TMT bars, for a three year period.
  • Hockey India and Sports Authority of India (SAI) has announced the plan of establishing the High Performance Hockey Centres.
  • Bangladesh has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held in South Africa. Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team defeated India Under-19 team by 3 wickets to win the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
  • The Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre (LSRC) Red won the first Men’s section Khelo India Ice Hockey tournament 2020.
  • Australia was awarded the ICC Women’s Championship trophy 2020, which they maintained by winning victories in the 8-team one-day championship between 2017 and 2020. Australia’s team was led by Meghann Moira Lanning, which also won this trophy last time.
  • Sweden’s Pole Vaulter, Armand Duplantis has break the Pole Vault World Record set by Renaud Lavillenie of France in 2014. 
  • Aditya Mehta & Vidya Pillai has won the National Snooker Championship held in pune, Maharashtra. Aditya Mehta defeated the world champion Pankaj Advani to win the men’s title of the National Snooker Championship. 
  • The International Hockey Federation has named Indian striker Lalremsiami as 2019 FIH Women’s Rising Star of Year. 
  • Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has announced Khelo India winter games 2020 which will be held in the Union Territory of Ladakh later this month followed by a similar event in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in March.
  • Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa won the 77th Senior National squash championships in Man’s and woman’s category respectively in Chennai.
  • The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) has imposed a ban of 4 years on Haryana’s javelin thrower Amit Dahiya. 
  • Asian Wrestling Championship 2020 starts in New Delhi. It will be held at the KD Jadhav Hall of Indira Gandhi Stadium.
  • The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has revealed the official Games motto: “United by Emotion”. The motto emphasises the power of sport to bring together people from diverse backgrounds of every kind and allow them to connect and celebrate in a way that reaches beyond their differences.
  • India’s Koneru Humpy wins Cairns Cup chess tournament held at St.Louis, US (United States). She won the title after finishing 6 points off 9 rounds. 
  • Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has unveiled the 5 host cities for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s Football World Cup 2020 which includes Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Kolkata and Navi Mumbai.
  • The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been allotted the Asian Football Confederation’s “Grassroots Charter Bronze Level” membership which will allow the national body to promote its basic-level events as AFC recognised.
  • The Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup 2021 will be held in India as per the announcement made by International Hockey Federation (FIH) at Lausanne in Switzerland. 
  • India to host the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup in 2022, as per the announcement made by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
  • Indian left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has announced his retirement from international and first-class cricket. 
  • The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League 2020 has been announced by BCCI. The tournament will commence on March 29 and will conclude on May 24 after lasting for a duration of 57 days. The 8 Teams participating in IPL 2020 are:
  1. Chennai Super Kings
  2. Delhi Capitals
  3. Kings XI Punjab
  4. Kolkata Knight Riders
  5. Mumbai Indians
  6. Rajasthan Royals
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad.
  • Ross Taylor has reached the landmark feat during the first international cricket match of India and New Zealand bilateral test series started at Basin Reserve in Wellington. 
  • The 9th Defence and Security Expert Working Group (EWG) meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Indian Grandmaster D Gukesh defeated Harutyun Bargseghyan of France to win the 34th Cannes Open in France. 
  • Russia will host the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Team World Cup 2020. The tournament will be coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II under the motto “Boxing for peace”.
  • 1st edition of the Khelo India University Games was launched at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium at Cuttack, Odisha by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through video conferencing. 
  • India will host the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in January 2022. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced this decision after the Executive Board meeting in London. 
  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Oman player Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi from all forms of cricket for 7 years. The player has been reprimanded for breaching the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code as he was found guilty for breaching various counts in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifiers 2019.
  • Jiya Rai, the 11-year-old girl created a world record by becoming the youngest and the fastest specially-abled girl to swim 14 kilometres in open water in 3 hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds.

Defence Related NEWS: February 2020

  • The AN-32 aircraft of Indian Air Force powered with 10% blend of bio-jet fuel took off and landed successfully in Leh airport.
  • The Indian Navy conducts a coastal security exercise named ‘Malta Abhiyan’ in Kolkata, West Bengal. The exercise, named after Malta River, aims to interact with coastal communities to spread awareness on coastal security and understand the navigational complexities in the Sunderban deltaic waters.
  • Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has stated that NDA government set a defense export target of 5 billion dollars in the upcoming five years. The export of defense equipment from India was about 2,000 crore rupees. In the past 2 years, it has gone up to 17,000 crore rupees.
  • World’s first bulletproof helmet has been developed by the Indian Army. The bulletproof helmet can stop an AK-47 bullet round fired from a distance of 10 meters. The Ballistic helmet is developed by An Indian Army Major Anoop Mishra.
  • India and the United Kingdom will conduct their 5th edition of joint military exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior-2020’ at Salisbury Plains, the United Kingdom from February 13-26. The exercise is being held from 2005.
  • The 6th edition of the mega industrial exhibition ‘Engiexpo 2020’ is being organised in Vadodara, Gujarat from February 15 to 17, 2020. The three-day mega exhibition will be organised by the Federation of Small Scale Industries (FSSI), to promote ‘Made in India’ products. 
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has started developing a 200-km strike range tactical ballistic missile ‘Pranash’. The missile is an advanced version of the 150-km strike range Prahar missile which was being developed for tactical missions.
  • The scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology has discovered the nearest-known ‘baby giant planet’ which is named as “2MASS 1155-7919 b”.
  • The Chief of the Defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has announced the plan of establishing the first Integrated Tri-Services Command. 
  • The flight test of the air-launched cruise missile Ra’ad-II has been successfully completed by Pakistan. Ra’ad-II missile having a range of 600 km, is aimed to be attached with Mirage aircraft or F-16 fighter jets of the Pakistan Air Force.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch the Geo Imaging Satellite “GISAT-1”. GISAT-1 will be launched by Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F10) from the Second Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • The 5th edition of the Exercise Indra Dhanush 2020 commenced on 24th February. It is a joint air force exercise between Indian Air Force (IAF) and British Royal Air Forces (RAF) has commenced at Air Force Station Hindan in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • The 6th Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) “VAJRA” has been launched in Chennai. 
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the new Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Production Hangar at Helicopter Division in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Complex at Bengaluru, Karnataka. 
  • The Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel “ICGS Varad” has been commissioned by the Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) & Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya. 

Awards,Honors,Ranks and Indexes in NEWS: February 2020

  • Madhya Pradesh’s Minister for Women and Child Development Imarti Devi and Principal Secretary Anupam Rajan received the award from Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Indore has been ranked at first place among the districts for better performance of the scheme.
  • Sri Lanks has been ranked first in a new survey conducted by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) on Breast Feeding support Policies and Programs. Sri Lanka scored 91 points out of 100 and got the green color code and hence become the first country to achieve the “Green” nation status in supporting breastfeeding women.
  • Noted Hindi poet-novelist and Sahitya Akademi honouree Vinod Kumar Shukla has won the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award for his translated book “Blue Is Like Blue“.
  • The Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman will be honoured the Madhya Pradesh government’s National Kishore Kumar Samman.
  • RBI governor Shaktikanta Das has been named the ‘Central Banker of the Year 2020’ for the Asia-Pacific region by financial intelligence magazine The Banker.
  • Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania has released the 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. India’s Observer Research Foundation (ORF) has been ranked at 27th position among 176 global think tanks (U.S. and non-U.S.). 
  • Mo O’Brien (60 years) has become the first deaf person on record to row an ocean by finishing a 3,000-mile journey across the Atlantic with her daughter Bird Watts, and their friend Claire Allinson.
  • The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy for the year 2019 to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu under the Indian nomination (individual) category and the Leprosy Mission Trust under the institutional category in New Delhi.
  • India became the second-largest steel producer of crude steel after China  2019, by replacing Japan. 
  • India has been ranked 40th out of 53 countries on a global intellectual property index 2020. The US, UK, Sweden, France and Germany remained the top five economies on the intellectual property index.
  • Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) has ranked 3rd in MOOCLab’s Business School Rankings 2020 for its provision, design and delivery of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
  • The Chief National coach for the Indian Badminton team Pullela Gopichand honour with Coaches lifetime achievement award by International Olympic Committee’s (IOC). He is the 1st Indian coach to be Honoured with this Lifetime award by the Olympics Committee.
  • Kaamya Karthikeyan has become the youngest girl in the world to summit Mt Aconcagua. Mt Aconcagua is the highest peak in South America and outside of Asia.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘President’s Colour’ to the INS Shivaji at a ceremony in Lonavala, Maharashtra. 
  • South Indian Bank has bagged two awards at the Banking Technology 2019 awards instituted by the Indian Banks’ Association. This event was held in Indian Bank Association’s 15th Annual Banking Technology Conference, Expo and Awards held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has awarded Indian men’s hockey team captain & midfielder Manpreet Singh with “Player of the Year for 2019” award. 
  • Indian feminist scholar, activist Gita Sen has won the prestigious Dan David Prize 2020 under “present” category. She has worked hard in the fields of women’s rights, reproductive and sexual health and poverty eradication.
  • BioAsia 2020 has announced the Genome Valley Excellence Award. American immunologist and oncologist Dr. Carl H June and Novartis CEO Dr. Vasant Narsimhan will be presented this award for their contributions to life sciences.
  • Avenue Supermarts, which is doing business as D-Mart, founder Radhakishan Damani has now become the 2nd richest Indian after Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, with a net worth of $17.8 billion.
  • Hindi has become the 3rd most spoken language of the world in 2019 with 615 million speakers while English stood at the top of the list with 1,132 million speakers as per the 22nd edition of the world language database Ethnologue.
  • According to the report commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Lancet medical journal and backed by United Nations, India has been ranked at 77th position in the Sustainability Index 2020 and 131st on the Flourishing Index 2020.
  • Dr Niti Kumar, a Senior Scientist from Division of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow will be honoured with the SERB Women Excellence Award-2020. 
  • Veteran actor Manoj Kumar has been honoured by the World Book of Records, London with the WBR Golden Era of Bollywood. 
  • Adline Castelino has been crowned as the winner of LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2020 competition. Aavriti Choudhary of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh crowned as LIVA Miss Diva Supranational 2020.
  • The Raja Ravi Varma State Award was conferred on veteran painter from Kalaburagi, Prof. J.S. Khanderao (for the year 2019) and senior artist from Mumbai, Vasudev Kamath (2020).
  • Sreekar Prasad, a veteran editor has entered the Limca Book of Records for ‘films edited in the most number of languages’. Sreekar Prasad has received the certification from the Limca Records for editing films in 17 languages. The 17 languages includes: English, Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Odia, Sinhalese, Bengali, Assamese, Nepali, Pangchenpa, Karbi, Mishing, Bodo, and Marathi.
  • Forest Man of India Jadav Payeng will be awarded Swami Vivekananda Karmayogi Award 2020 in New Delhi. 

Obituaries :February 2020

  • Social activist, feminist writer and journalist Vidya Bal passed away. She was known for her heroic oppressive practices involving women.\
  • Eminent Punjabi writer and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Jaswant Singh Kanwal passed away. 
  • Renowned Odia revolutionary poet and freedom fighter Rabi Singh passed away.
  • Former Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker and sitting Congress MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) Pranab Kumar Gogoi passed away.
  • The Academy Award winning Hollywood Actor, producer and director Kirk Douglas passed away.
  • American Author Roger Kahn passed away. He wrote at least 20 books in his lifetime.
  • Renowned thinker, writer and the founder-director of Bharatiya Vichara Kendram P Parameswaran has passed away in Ottapalam, Kerala. 
  • Hindi novelist and Padma Shri awardee Giriraj Kishore passed away.
  • Noted cricket journalist and film historian Raju Bharatan passed away. 
  • Veteran journalist Nandu R Kulkarni passed away recently. He was serving as the Mumbai bureau chief of “The Statesman” since 1992. 
  • Famous Indian fashion designer Wendell Rodricks passed away. 
  • Former Chairman and Director General of The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) Rajindra Kumar Pachauri passed away. 
  • Harry Gregg, the former Manchester United goalkeeper passed away. 
  • Mickey Wright, the Legendary women’s golfer who won 82 titles of Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour during a professional career lasting from 1954 to 1969, passed away.
  • Tapas Pal, the former Trinamool Congress MP and veteran bengali actor passes away. 
  • V L Dutt, the former Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) president has passed away. 
  • Larry Tesler, the computer scientist who introduced the cut, copy and paste commands passed away. 
  • Former Indian footballer Ashok Chatterjee passed away. 
  • Former Lok Sabha MP Krishna Bose passed away. She was the wife of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s nephew Sisir Kumar Bose.
  • Famous NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) mathematician Katherine Johnson passed away at the age of 101. 
  • Egypt’s former President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak passed away.
  • Centenarian freedom fighter and Vedic scholar Sudhakar Krishna Rao, widely known as Sudhakar Chaturvedi passed away.
  • The world’s oldest man, Chitetsu Watanabe of Japan, has passed away at 112.

International Organisations and Countries in NEWS:February 2020

  • World Health Organization has declared an international emergency over the novel coronavirus from China. The organization has declared an emergency as the disease has spread to 18 other countries apart from China where it originated.
  • ISRO has announced that it is preparing low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing around 30-35 crores each. These low-cost launch vehicles can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kgs.
  • Maldives has returned to Commonwealth after its exit in 2016 and hence, has become the 54th member of the global body. 
  • Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has declared a national emergency in the country to battle locust swarms. 
  • Sri Lanka celebrated its 72nd Independence Day on 4th February 2020. On this day, Sri Lanka became an independent nation after getting independence from Britain.
  • US President Donald Trump has been acquitted of all impeachment charges. The US Senate has acquitted President Trump on two articles of impeachment that are the abuse of power and obstruction to Congress.
  • Romania’s pro-European government collapsed in a parliamentary no-confidence vote after only 3 months in office. A total of 261 of 465 MPs voted in favour of a motion against the minority government led by Ludovic Orban.
  • Britain’s Prince Charles has unveiled a new children’s protection fund for India as part of British Asian Trust.
  • LinkedIn Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner is stepping down in the role. Jeff Weiner will become executive chairman after 11 years as CEO of the Microsoft-owned business.
  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Russian Rosneft signed 1st term contract for importing 2 Million Metric Tonnes of Urals grade crude oil to India for the year 2020. India is the 3rd largest Energy Consumer in the world, India imports globally 83% of oil to meet its oil need.
  • Christina Koch, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s astronaut has returned to earth.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the disease caused by the new coronavirus as “Covid-2019”. The new name “Covid-2019” has been taken from the words “corona”, “virus” and “disease”, with 2019 representing the year in which it emerged. 
  • The US removed India from its list of developing countries that are exempt from investigations into whether they harm American industry with unfairly subsidised exports. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) eliminated a host of countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Argentina.
  • The Mobile World Congress, the annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than one lakh visitors to Barcelona, was cancelled over coronavirus fears. The event was hosted by the  Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) telecoms association.
  • The UK-based OneWeb company has sent 34 satellites into orbit on a single Soyuz rocket, from Baikonur port, Kazakhstan. The aims are to have the full network in operation by the end of 2021.
  • Rishi Sunak has been appointed as the Finance Minister of the United Kingdom. He will replace Pakistani Chancellor Sajid Javid. 
  • The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), under the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India, has issued a circular that Electronic-Cigarettes and all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System(ENDS) will not be allowed in both domestic and international flights as well as at airports. 
  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) 43rd Governing Council meeting was held in Rome, Italy. The 43rd sessions will focus on the overarching theme “Investing in sustainable food systems to end hunger by 2030″.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation has revealed in its annual report for 2019-20 that it will launch 10 Earth Observation Satellites in 2020-21.
  • The independent Election Commission of Afghanistan has announced Ashraf Ghani as the winner of the Presidential elections of Afghanistan.
  • The “Bezos Earth Fund” has been launched by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The fund will aim to to help preserve and protect the natural world against the climate change. He has committed to contribute $10 billion through the fund.
  • The 70th National Democracy Day was celebrated on 19th February by the Nepal government. The day is being celebrated every year on Falgun 7 to commemorate the attainment of democracy from the 104-year long autocratic Rana Regime.
  • From 1st of April 2020, India will be switching to the world’s cleanest petrol and diesel as the nation is heading towards transitional shift from Bharat Stage-IV grade to Bharat Stage-VI grade. The BS-VI grade has only 10ppm of sulphur and its emission standards are as good as that of CNG.
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on the FATF Grey List till June 2020. The decision was taken during the group’s meeting and plenary in Paris. 
  • “Shaheed Dibash” which is also known as ‘Amar Ekushey’ was observed on 21st of February in Bangladesh to commemorate and to pay tribute to the martyrs of language movement who lost their lives during Pakistani police firing on 21st of February 1952 in Dhaka.
  • The United States has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner. According to the Commerce Ministry data, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at nearly 88 billion dollars in 2018-19 fiscal.
  • Sri Lankan Government formally notified the United Nations that it will withdraw from the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) resolution for investigating alleged war crimes.

New Appointments of National and International Importance: February 2020

  • Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi was appointed as Iraq’s new Prime Minister by President Barhim Salih.
  • The government of India has appointed M Ajit Kumar as chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
  • Ajay Bisaria has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Canada.
  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the appointment of Madan Lal, Rudra Pratap Singh and Sulakshana Naik as Cricket Advisory Committee(CAC).
  • Gopal Baglay has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. 
  • Para-athlete and India’s lone woman Paralympic medallist Deepa Malik has been elected as president of Paralympic Committee of India. She was elected unopposed as president in the PCI polls held in Bengaluru.
  • Pramod Agrawal assumed charge as the new chairman and managing director of Coal India Ltd. 
  • Retired Kerala High Court judge C N Ramachandaran Nair has been appointed by the Supreme Court of India  for the formulation of the inventory and valuation report of ornaments at Sabarimala temple.
  • Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg has announced her resignation as the Chief Economist of the World Bank. Aart Kraay will be the interim WB chief economist until the appointment of a new permanent chief economist.
  • Former Indian Cricket all-rounder Robin Singh was appointed as director of cricket of the United Arab Emirates. 
  • Atul Kumar Gupta will be the new President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) for the year 2020-21.
  • Veteran space scientist G Narayanan has been named the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation’s newly formed commercial entity New Space India Ltd (NSIL).
  • Senior IAS officer Rajiv Bansal was named the Chairman and Managing Director of national carrier Air India. 
  • Arvind Kejriwal takes oath as Chief Minister of Delhi for the third consecutive time in Ramlila Maidan. 
  • GoAir has appointed Vinay Dube, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Jet Airways, as its new CEO.
  • The independent Election Commission of Afghanistan has announced Ashraf Ghani as the winner of the Presidential elections of Afghanistan.
  • Barry O’Farrell has been appointed by Australia as the next high commissioner to India. He will succeed Harinder Sidhu as the high commissioner to India.
  • Mahant Nritya Gopal Das has been elected as the president of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust along with Champat Rai who would serve as the general secretary of the trust. 
  • Sanjay Kothari has been appointed by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the new Central Vigilance Commissioner. 
  • Leo Varadkar resigns as Prime Minister of Ireland but chosed to staying on as interim leader while the country’s three main parties battle out deadlocked coalition talks after an inconclusive election. 
  • Retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers Amarjeet Sinha and Bhaskar Khulbe have been appointed as the Advisers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
  • The appointment of Sunil Gurbaxani as managing director and CEO of Dhanlaxmi Bank has been approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • Rajlaxmi Singh Deo has been re-elected as the president of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI).
  • Vijay Advani has been appointed by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) as new chairman of its Global Board of Directors. 
  • South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar has been sworn in as first vice president.
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced his resignation over political issues. 
  • Hydropower giant National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) announced the appointment of Abhay Kumar Singh as the company’s Chairman & Managing Director.
  • Mastercard Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga will step down at the start of the next year and will be replaced by Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach.
  • TransUnion Cibil, the largest credit information bureau appointed Rajesh Kumar of HDFC Bank as its new managing director and chief executive. He will succeed Satish Pillai.
  • Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis. 
  • Jawed Ashraf has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to France. 
  • Abhishek Singh has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

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