Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 20 -FEBRUARY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 20 -FEBRUARY - 2016
Saturday, 20 February 2016 08:31

 

DAILY NEWS UPDATES

20 -FEBRUARY - 2016

 


INDO-BRITISH ASIF KAPADIA WON 2016 GRAMMY AWARD FOR BEST MUSIC FILM

Indo-British filmmaker Asif Kapadia won Grammy Award for Best Music Film for his documentary Amy. The award was presented at the 58th annual awards ceremony that was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the USA

Amy is a 2015 British documentary film that depicts the life and death of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. It was directed by Asif Kapadia.

Earlier, on 14 February 2016, Amy won the award in Best Documentary category at the 69th British Academy Films Awards (BAFTAs) in London.

The film is also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category which will be announced on 28 February 2016.

INDIA SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRED INDIGENOUSLY DEVELOPED PRITHVI II MISSILE FROM CHANDIPUR

India successfully test fired its indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile from the Chandipur, off Odisha coast. The medium range missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.

As part of a user trial, the missile with a strike range of 350 km, test was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR). It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.

The first missile to be developed by DRDO under India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP), Prithvi-II was inducted into India's armed forces in 2003.

The last user trial of the surface-to-surface Prithvi-II was successfully conducted on 26 November 2015 from the same test range in Odisha.

RESULTS OF SWACHH SURVEKSHAN 2016 ANNOUNCED; MYSURU DECLARED CLEANEST CITY IN INDIA

Union Urban Development Miniser M Venkaiah Naidu announced the results of Swachh Survekshan 2016 survey.

Under the Swachh Survekshan 2016, 73 cities were surveyed for cleanliness and categorized based on the marks scored by each of them.

Out of the 73 cities, while Mysuru in Karnataka was adjudged as the cleanest city, Dhanbad in Jharkand was adjudged as the least clean city.

The survey was conducted for total marks of 2000 and the cities weredivided into the following four categories based on their percentage of marks.

• Leaders (> 70 percent): 15 cities

• Aspiring Leaders (60 – 70 percent): 20 cities

• Acceleration required (50 – 60 percent): 18 cities

• Slow Movers (< 50 percent): 20 cities

FIRST SILK ROAD TRAIN ARRIVED IN TEHRAN FROM CHINA

The first train connecting Iran and China packed with Chinese goods arrived in Tehran. The arrival revived the ancient Silk Road trade route and also highlighted the economic possibilities for Iran since the lifting of international sanctions.

The train, also referred to as Silk Road train, passed through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran, travelling a distance of 10399 kilometres. It had left Yiwu city in east China's Zhejiang province. The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial products, took 14 days to make the journey. Compared to the sea voyage of the cargo ships from China's Shanghai city to Iran's Bandar Abbas port city, the travel time of the train was 30 days shorter.

Why the revival of ancient Silk Route?

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the idea of creating a new Silk Road through Russia and the Ukraine into Europe. Under the title One Belt, One Road, this plan is China's new national vision to improve its connectivity to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The revival will reduce the overall transportation cost as the journey through train was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

China is Iran’s biggest trading partner and accounts for one third of its foreign trade. The rail route will boost bilateral trade between both countries as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had agreed in January 2016 to build economic ties worth up to 600 billion US dollars within the next 10 years.

China launched Silk Road Infrastructure project in Northwest Province of Gansu

About ancient Silk Route

The Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East from China to the Mediterranean Sea.

It derived its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty. The Central Asian sections of the trade routes were expanded around 114 BCE by the Han dynasty, largely through the missions and explorations of Chinese imperial envoy, Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.

Trade on the Silk Route was a significant factor in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance, political and economic relations between the civilizations.

In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road served as a means of carrying out cultural trade among the civilizations along its network.

China set up 1.6 billion dollars fund to support maritime Silk Road development

Comment

The location of Iran is strategically important as it is in the Middle East (West Asia) and shares land borders with 8 nations. It also has sea channels on its northern and south-western coasts. By connecting Iran through revived Silk Road China will leverage Iran’s strategic location to get access to extensive delivery routes connecting to the Eurasia and Middle East.

INDIAN RAILWAYS WON 36TH NATIONAL CHESS TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

Indian Railways won the 36th National Chess team Championship in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. For the Indian Railways team it was the first ever title.

To win the championship the team defeated Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) team in the final.

Earlier, to reach the final, the Railways team beat its counterparts - Odisha, Gujrat, Air-India, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, Airport Authority of India, Tamil Nadu and Delhi - in the championship that began on 8 February 2016.

Indian Railway team was represented by the following chess playersfrom different Zonal Railways

1. Karthikayan

2. Deepan Chakkravarthy

3. Rathnakaran

4. Arghyadip Das

5. Swapni Dhopade

FASHION DESIGNER MANISH ARORA CONFERRED KNIGHT OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR, FRANCE’S HIGHEST HONOUR

Fashion designer Manish Arora was awarded with theChevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour), France's highest civilian honour.

French Ambassador Francois Richier presented the award to Arora for his renowned and critically-acclaimed contribution to the fashion world.

About Manish Arora

Manish Arora is an Indian fashion designer based in New Delhi.

In early 2011, he was appointed creative director of the womens wear collection of the French fashion house Paco Rabanne. However, he left the company in May 2012.

In 2000, he participated in the first-ever India Fashion Week held in New Delhi and represented India at the Hong Kong Fashion Week.

In 2004, he was awarded the Best Women's Prêt Designer at the first ever Indian Fashion Awards.

In May 2005, he participated in the Miami Fashion Week where he was presented with the designer's choice for Best Collection Award.

About National Order of the Legion of Honour

The National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur) is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802.

The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier (Knight)Officier (Officer),Commandeur (Commander)Grand Officier (Grand Officer) andGrand'Croix (Grand Cross).

The order's motto is Honour and Fatherland.

The Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur is France’s premier award to recognise eminent accomplishments of service to France. It is bestowed on both citizens of France as well as foreigners.

In the past, personalities such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Amitabh Bachchan and J.R.D Tata have been honoured with the prestigious award.

58TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS ANNOUNCED

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards were held on 15 February 2016 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony recognized the best recordings, compositions and artists of the eligibility year, which was from 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2015.

The nominations of the award were announced on 7 December 2015.

List of Top Grammy Awards Winners

Category

Album

Artist

Record of the Year

Uptown Funk

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Album of the Year

1989

Taylor Swift

Song of the Year

Thinking Out Loud

Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge

Best New Artist

Meghan Trainor

Best Pop Solo Performance

Thinking Out Loud

Ed Sheeran

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Uptown Funk

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

The Silver Lining: The Songs Of Jerome Kern

Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap

Best Pop Vocal Album

1989

Taylor Swift

Best Dance Recording

Where Are Ü Now

Skrillex and Diplo with Justin Bieber

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü

Skrillex and Diplo

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

Sylva

Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest

Best Rock Performance

Don't Wanna Fight

Alabama Shakes

Best Metal Performance

Cirice

Ghost

Best Rock Song

Don't Wanna Fight

Alabama Shakes

Best Rock Album

Drones

Muse

Best Alternative Music Album

Sound & Color

Alabama Shakes

Best R&B Song

Really Love

D'Angelo & Kendra Foster, songwriters (D'Angelo and The Vanguard)

Best R&B Album

Black Messiah

D'Angelo and The Vanguard

Best World Music Album

Sings

Angelique Kidjo

Best Children's Album

Home

Tim Kubart

Best Music Video

Bad Blood

Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar; Joseph Kahn, video director; Ron Mohrhoff, video producer

Best Music Film

Amy

Asif Kapadia, video director; James Gay-Rees, video producer

Indians in 58th Annual Grammy Awards

• Indo-British filmmaker Asif Kapadia won Grammy Award for Best Music Film for his documentary Amy.

Amy is a 2015 British documentary film that depicts the life and death of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. It was directed by Asif Kapadia.

About Grammy Awards

A Grammy Award was originally called Gramophone Award.

It is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the mainly English-language music industry.

The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on 4 May 1959 to honour the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958.

Following the 2011 ceremony, NARAS overhauled many Grammy Award categories for 2012.

INTEREST RATES ON VARIOUS NATIONAL SAVING SCHEMES AMENDED TO SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH

The Union Ministry of Finance announced changes to regulations that govern interest rates on various National Saving Schemes (NSSs).

The changes primarily focused on aligning interest rates on NSSs with other comparable saving instruments so that the operation of NSSs will become market oriented.

The changes, which will come into effect from 1 April 2016, were announced in the interest of overall economic growth of the country, even while protecting their social objectives and promoting long term savings.

At present, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Senior Citizen Savings Scheme and Monthly Income Scheme, National Saving Certificates, Public Provident Fund and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) are considered as part of NSSs.

Key changes to National Saving Schemes

• The present interest rate spread enjoyed by the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme and the Monthly Income Scheme over the G-sec rate of comparable maturity viz., of 75 basis points (bps), 100 bps and 25 bps respectively were left untouched.

• The spread of 25 bps that long term instruments, such as the 5 yr Term Deposit, 5 year National Saving Certificates and Public Provident Fund (PPF) currently enjoy over G-Sec of comparable maturity were left untouched. This will help the self-employed professional and salaried classes and encourage long term savings.

• The 25 bps spread that 1 yr., 2yr. and 3 yr. term deposits, KVPs and 5 yr Recurring Deposits have over comparable tenure Government securities, shall stand removed. This will make them closer in interest rates to the similar instruments of the banking sector.

• The interest rates of all NSSs would be recalibrated on a quarterly basis to align the small saving interest rates with the market rates of the relevant government securities.

• The compounding of interest which is biannual in the case of 10 yr National Saving Certificate, 5 yr National Saving Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra shall be done on an annual basis.

• Premature closure of PPF accounts shall be permitted in genuine cases, such as cases of serious ailment, higher education of children, etc. This shall be permitted with a penalty of 1% reduction in interest payable on the whole deposit and only for the accounts having completed five years from the date of opening.

Why these changes were announced?

At present, small saving schemes offer higher interest rates when compared to that of other comparable public and private saving instruments in the market.

This interest rate disparity is perceived to limit the banking sector’s ability to lower deposit rates in response to the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

In effect, there is insufficient monetary transmission leading to higher interest rate regime in the financial market, which in turn is leading to less investment and ultimately resulting in lower economic growth.

Hence, in the context of easing the transmission of the lower interest rates in the economy, the government took a comprehensive view on the social goals of National Small Savings Schemes and revised them accordingly.

These new regulations are expected to help the economy move to a lower overall interest rate regime eventually and thereby help all, particularly low-income and salaried classes.

2016 SOUTH ASIAN GAMES CONCLUDED; INDIA FINISHED AT TOP WITH 308 MEDALS

12th South Asian Games (SAG) 2016 concluded at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Sarusajai of Guwahati, Assam. The game that saw 228 events in 23 sports disciplines was held from 5 February to 16 February 2016.

Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal declared the Games closed at a colourful closing ceremony. The main attraction of the closing ceremony was different bands played from the north eastern region, namely Still Waters (Sikkim), The Soul Rebels (Arunachal Pradesh), Salvator (Manipur), Boomarang (Mizoram) and Purple Fusion (Nagaland).

12th South Asian Games inaugurated in Guwahati

The event saw participation of about 2600 athletes from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. It was co-hosted by Guwahati, Assam and Meghalaya capital, Shillong. The games were conducted in 26 venues across the cities of Guwahati and Shillong. 17 venues were in Guwahati and 9 venues were in Shillong.

India finished at the top with a record 308 medals - 188 Gold, 90 Silver and 30 Bronze, which put to shade its previous best of 214 medals at the 2006 Games in Colombo. Athletics, Shooting, Archery, Wrestling, Boxing, Weightlifting and Swimming were the events that witnessed the Indian master-class.

Medals Tally

Countries

Gold Medal

Silver Medal

Bronze Medal

Total

India

188

90

30

308

Sri Lanka

25

63

98

186

Pakistan

12

37

57

106

Afghanistan

7

9

19

35

Bangladesh

4

15

56

75

Nepal

3

23

34

60

Maldives

0

2

1

3

Bhutan

0

1

15

16

India made clean sweep in Boxing (won 10 Gold medals at stake), tennis and kabaddi (won both men and women gold). Besides, Shooter Chain Singh’s 6 Gold, new Games records by swimmers Sandeep Sejwal and Sayani Ghosh, and magical performances in track and field are some of the moments that Guwahati and Shillong will remember for many days to come.

And, not to mention, Sri Lanka, the one country that made India toil hard, and even beat them on several occasions. Its swimmers, notably Mathew Abheysinghe, and track athletes made the headlines with some flawless performances. In a nutshell, it was all India at the Games, and, it was the country’s flag, at the end, on which the closing credits rolled.

Ei Prithibi Ek Krirangan was the theme song of the 12th South Asian Games, which literally translates to "The world is a playground". It was written by Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, an Indian lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam. Games slogan was ‘Play for Peace, Progress and Prosperity’.

Tikhor, a one-horned rhino that represents endangered fauna of Assam found in Kaziranga National Park, was the official mascot of the event.

13th South Asian Games will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2019.

SUPREME COURT DIRECTED CENTRAL BANK TO GIVE LIST OF DEFAULTER COMPANIES

  • The Supreme Court has directed the RBI to submit a list of companies which have defaulted on bank loans of over Rs. 500 crore.
  • The court also asked it to submit in six weeks the list of restructured loans.
  • Directing that the list be placed on record in a sealed cover, the court asked how State-owned banks and financial institutions were advancing huge loans without proper guidelines and whether there was adequate mechanism to recover them.

EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND ORGANISATION RECOMMENDS INTEREST RATE OF 8.8 PERCENT

  • The board oftrustees of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has recommended an 8.80 per cent rate of return on Rs. 10 lakh crore of retirement savings for 2015-16.
  • The Finance and Investment panel of the EPFO board had earlier recommended a higher interest of 8.95 per cent on EPF savings.
  • There are as many as 8.5 crore EPF accounts.

AAMIR LIKELY TO BECOME BRAND AMBASSADOR OF JALYUKTA SHIVAR ABHIYAN

  • Faced with an increased risk of seasonal drought and subsequent suicide by thousands of farmers every year, the Maharashtra government has roped in actor Aamir Khan to promote its flagship schemes in the sector of water and scarcity.
  • The actor is likely to be associated with the government’s ‘Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan’, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ flagship scheme, to make Maharashtra a drought-free State by 2019.
  • The programme aims to make 5,000 villages free of water scarcity every year. Mr. Fadnavis is likely to make an announcement in the regard along with the actor.
  • The actor would be asked to promote use of micro-irrigation system for efficient use of water, thereby increasing the irrigated area in the drought- prone regions.
  • The government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the scheme.

FIRST TRAIN ARRIVED FROM CHINA TO TEHRAN

  • The first train from China’s trading hub of Yiwu has arrived in Tehran, signalling Iran’s firm integration in the Beijing led- Belt and Road connectivity initiative along the New Silk Road.
  • The train ferrying 32 containers completed its 14-day journey, covering over 10,399 km, after passing through the arid landscape of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia.
  • Iran is currently in desperate need of investment for infrastructure construction.
  • However, as oil prices are low now, Iran’s revenue in this sector has seen sharp de- crease.
  • At the same time, China is promoting the belt and road initiative. Iran is expected to become one of the major participants of that initiative.

OBAMA GOVT WANTS CONGRESS APPROVAL FOR F-16 UNDER FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING SCHEME

  • After notifying Congress of its intention to sell eight F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, the Obama administration has quickly moved for Congressional approval for financing the deal under the country’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) scheme.
  • U.S. administration proposes to pay the bulk of the $699 mil- lion cost of the deal while Pakistan is required to pay $200 million.
  • The administration’s request to Congress is for the first tranche of money, though the exact amount sought was not immediately known.
  • While the notification itself does not need a positive approval from Congress, spending by the administration requires legislative approval, which is not going to come easily.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

  • With the Prime Minister's office setting a target to switch at least 90 per cent of all official transactions to paperless mode by the end of 2016, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a new e-platform for non-tax receipts.
  • NTPC made the maiden payment on the portal developed by the Controller General of Accounts, by remitting Rs.989 crore as an interim dividend to the government.
  • The major sources of non-tax revenue for the government are from dividends paidby public sector companies,the Reserve Bank of India, etc.
  • During his previous year'sBudget speech, Mr.Jaitley hadsaid that one major way tocurb black money is to discourage cash transactions infavour of electronic transactions.

NEW BOT ANNUITY MODEL TO BE USED BY INDIAN RAILWAYS

  • The Indian Railways has identified the first three projects to be taken up for development through the new build, operate, transfer (BOT) annuity model at an estimated cost of around Rs 2,450 crore.
  • The three targeted projects are developing third line between Nagpur and Wardha (both in Maharashtra), Kazipet (Telangana) and Balharshah (Maharashtra) and, Bhadrak and Nergundi (both in Odisha).
  • The total estimated cost of development of 357 km third line is around Rs 2450 crore.
  • The Railways has received Rs 14,000 crore worth investment commitments since 2014 after it introduced new models for projects through public-private partnership (PPP) model.
  • This is a sharp rise from roughly around Rs 4,000 crore investments generated in 2002-2012.
  • Under the BOT annuity model for rail projects, the private developer gets a revenue guarantee of 80 per cent of projected revenue at the time of bidding.
  • The developer gets a full right to revenue between 80 and 120 per cent and the Indian Railways do not take any share from it.

 

 

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Last Updated on Sunday, 21 February 2016 06:43