Current Affairs Today February 24 2018

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

International Conference on Sustainable Biofuels, 2018 to be held in New Delhi
International Conference on Sustainable Biofuels, ICSB 2018 will be held in New Delhi on 26th and 27th February, 2018.
More Information about ICSB 2018:
i. This conference is being jointly organised by Mission Innovation – India Unit and Biofuture Platform and will be hosted by Department of Biotechnology under Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
ii. Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 22 countries and the European Union to accelerate global clean energy innovation, while Biofuture Platform is a multi-stakeholder mechanism for policy dialogue and collaboration among leading countries to increase the use of low carbon sources  as the feedstock for the production of energy, chemicals and materials.
iii. The Conference will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Science and technology, Earth Sciences and Environment Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
iv. More than 300 participants including experts from Biofuels sector, senior Government Officers, Technical Experts, Academicians, Researchers and Representatives from 18 countries will participate in this conference.
v. The conference will serve as a common platform for Government policy makers, investors and research community to express their views and share their experience related to development and scaling of advance biofuels.
vi. A “New Delhi Declaration on Sustainable Biofuels” will be endorsed during the course of the conference.

PM addresses Economic Times Global Business Summit in New Delhi
On February 23, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the keynote address at the 4th Global Business Summit in New Delhi.PM addresses Economic Times Global Business Summit in New DelhiAbout 4th Global Business Summit:
i. During the address, PM Modi outlined that Indian government is taking stringent action against financial irregularities and will not accept unlawful acquisition of public money.
ii. Global Business Summit, is a flagship initiative of the Times Group. The first edition was held in January 2015.
iii. It brings together, visionaries, heads of state, thought leaders, policy makers, academicians and corporate heads for discussing current macroeconomic issues and share their views on the same.
iv. Theme for Global Business Summit 2018 was ‘New Economy, New Rules’.
v. This year’s Summit was presented by Yes Bank and Economic Times.

Modi launches Rs 1000-cr development schemes for Daman & Diu
On February 24, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched development schemes worth Rs 1000 crore for Daman and Diu.
PM Modi’s visit to Daman:
i. On February 24, 2018, PM Modi launched the Pawan Hans helicopter service between Diu and Daman. Diu and Daman are separated by Gulf of Khambhat and it takes 16 hours to commute between these two places by road. The chopper service will reduce the commute time to an hour.
ii.PM Modi also launched Ahmedabad-Diu flight service under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik–let the common citizen of the country fly), Regional Air Connectivity scheme.
iii. In Daman, PM Modi laid foundation stones for several projects, including a water treatment plant, an electric sub-station, a gas pipeline, a municipal market and a foot-bridge.
iv. He also inaugurated anganwadis (child care centres) and schools constructed under corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

CII partnership summit held in Visakhapatnam
The annual three-day partnership summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) began in Visakahpatnam on February 24, 2018.
Highlights of CII partnership summit:
i. This summit is being jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh State Government, the CII, and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
ii. It was inaugurated by Vice-President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu.
iii. The inaugural session of this summit was attended by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, noted industrialists Gautam Adani and Adi Godrej along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
iv. The key highlight of the first day was a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Andhra Pradesh State Government and Adani group for the construction of the port with an estimated investment of Rs 8000 crore.
Quick Facts about CII:
♦ Formed in – 1895
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

J&K govt sets up council for promotion of Urdu
On February 23, 2018, Jammu & Kashmir State Government constituted the State Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (SCPUL).J&K govt sets up council for promotion of UrduMore Details about SCPUL set up by J&K Govt.
i. Objective behind setting up this council is to promote J&K’s official language (Urdu).
ii. SCPUL would be headed by the Education Minister of Jammu & Kashmir State Cabinet, while vice-chancellors of all central and state universities in J&K, administrative secretaries of finance, school education, culture and law departments; secretary of the J&K academy of art, culture and languages would be the official members.
iii. J&K State Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu has stated that Rs. 2 crore has been set aside for this Council.
Quick Facts about Jammu & Kashmir:
♦ Capital – Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)
♦ Current Governor – Narinder Nath Vohra
♦ Current Chief Minister – Mehbooba Mufti
♦ Important National Park – Dachigam National Park

7th edition of the Youth Festival held in New Delhi
On 22nd February 2018, the 7th edition of Youth Festival began at Central Park, New Delhi.
Youth Festival:
i. The 7th edition of Youth Festival is themed: ‘Let Love Live’. This year’s Youth Festival celebrates the freedom to love. It will be conducted till 27th February 2018.
ii. The Youth Festival is organised by Sahitya Kala Parishad and the Department of Art, Culture and Languages, Delhi Government.
iii. The festival features dance, music and special acts conveying a message of love and harmony.
iv. Both renowned and upcoming artistes perform in the festival. The focus is however on young artistes.
v. Groups like Salaam Baalak Trust, Khirkee 17, Tanva Creative Dance Ensemble, Sursagar Society of Delhi Gharana, Sifar, and Bal Ashram perform in this festival.
About Sahitya Kala Parishad:
♦ Established in – 1968
♦ Type – Cultural wing of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi

Government ropes Nandan Nilekani for developing IT infrastructure for National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS)
A NITI Aayog official has announced that, Nandan Nilekani will assist the government in developing IT infrastructure for National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).
Nandan Nilekani to assist government in developing IT infrastructure for NHPS:
i. The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) aims to offer medical cover for up to Rs 5 lakh to more than 10 crore poor families.This will cover up to 40 % of India’s population.
ii. In 2018-2019 union budget, an initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated for NHPS.
iii. Nandan Nilekani is the former Chairman of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). He is also a member of the GST return simplification committee.
iv. The premium on insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh under NHPS has been decided at Rs 900-1,000 per family annually.
v. As per the funding arrangement, the Central government will contribute 60 % fund, and the remaining will be provided by the corresponding states.
vi. The Central government will offer 90 % of the fund, in case of special category states.
About UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ CEO – Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey
♦ Chairman (Part Time) – J. Satyanarayana

15th edition of Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival begins in Kolkata
On 22nd February 2018, the 15th edition of Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival started off in Kolkata, West Bengal.15th edition of Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival begins in Kolkata
15th edition of Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival:
i. The festival will be conducted till 25th February 2018. Leading dramatists from all over India are taking part in this theatre festival.
ii. On the first day of the festival, winners of a contest that was conducted for college groups and upcoming theatre associations, made their performance.
iii. Actor Soumitra Chatterjee and theatre performers Bratya Basu, Debshankar Haldar, Goutam Haldar, Meghnad Bhattacharya mentored the participants.
iv. The festival also featured actor Sharman Joshi’s and Tejashri Pradhan, a Marathi theatre and TV performer’s performances.
v. This festival is conducted to provide a platform for theatre artists to display their talent.
About Vodafone:
♦ Managing Director & CEO – Sunil Sood
♦ Vodafone India Business Head (Kolkata & rest of Bengal) – Arvinder Singh Sachdev

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav begins in Madhya Pradesh
On 24th February 2018, Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav celebrations began in Madhya Pradesh.
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav:
i. The Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav is organized by the Ministry of Culture under the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat matrix. This event is held in several locations of Madhya Pradesh like Bhopal, Gwalior etc.
ii. Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav is being celebrated to highlight the idea of unity in diversity. It is conducted for 7 days.
iii. Nagaland and Manipur are the states paired with Madhya Pradesh. The event will feature a variety of art forms such as classical music, folk music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, etc.
iv. A handloom and handicrafts-utsav is conducted as a part of the seven-day event. A food festival is also conducted to exhibit the food culture of Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and other partnering states.
v. A literary meet named ‘Samvaad’, will be held with participation from writers and poets from Manipur, Nagaland and other North Eastern States.
About Ministry of Culture:
♦ Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Mahesh Sharma
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

NHRC retains its ‘A’ status of accreditation with GANHRI
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India has retained its ‘A’ status of accreditation with Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) for the fourth consecutive term of five years.NHRC retains its ‘A’ status of accreditation with GANHRIi. GANHRI, is a global network of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), the administrative bodies set up to promote, protect and monitor human rights in a particular country. GANHRI was formerly known as the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions.
ii. GANHRI accreditation confers international recognition and protection to the NHRI of a particular country.
iii. ‘A’ status accreditation is given to those NHRIs, which are found fully compliant with the UN mandated Paris Principles. Any NHRI getting ‘A’ status accreditation can participate in the work and decision-making of the GANHRI.
iv. As per Paris Principles, one of the key responsibilities of  NHRIs is to protect human rights by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints and mediating conflicts.
Quick Facts about NHRC, India:
♦ Formed in – 1993
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – H. L. Dattu (Former Chief Justice of India)

India International Textiles Expo organised in Colombo
A three –day India International Textiles Expo (IITExpo) was organised in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 21st to 23rd February, 2018.
Highlights of India International Textiles Expo (IITExpo):
i. This Expo was organised by Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL) with the support of Union Ministry of Textiles & Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
ii. The expo was inaugurated by Sri Lankan Minister of Special Assignments, Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
iii. At the Expo, 45 exhibitors from various textile clusters of India displayed variety of fabrics, home textiles and traditional items suitable for apparel, industrial and general consumers.
Quick Facts about PDEXCIL:
♦ Formed in – 1995
♦ Formed by – Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

Indo-Seychelles joint Army exercise ‘Lamitye’ begins in Seychelles
8th edition of Indo-Seychelles joint counter insurgency/counter terrorism exercise, named ‘Lamitye’ began on February 24, 2018 in Seychelles.Indo-Seychelles joint Army exercise 'Lamitye' begins in Seychelles 8th edition of Indo-Seychelles joint counter insurgency/counter terrorism exercise, named 'Lamitye' began on February 24, 2018 in Seychelles. More Information about Indo-Seychelles joint Army exercise 'Lamitye': i. ’Lamiye’ means friendship in Creole (local dialect). ii. ‘Exercise Lamitye’ is conducted biennially with an aim of enhancing cooperation and interoperability between Indian Army and Seychelles People's Defence Forces. iii .Indian contingent to 8th edition of ‘Exercie Lamitye' comprises four officers, five Junior Commissioned Officers and 36 army personnel from other Ranks. Quick Facts about Seychelles: ♦ Capital – Victoria ♦ Currency – Seychellois rupee ♦ Current President – Danny Faure ♦ Other nearby island countries – Comoros, Madagascar, MauritiusMore Information about Indo-Seychelles joint Army exercise ‘Lamitye’:
i. ’Lamiye’ means friendship in Creole (local dialect).
ii. ‘Exercise Lamitye’ is conducted biennially with an aim of enhancing cooperation and interoperability between Indian Army and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces.
iii .Indian contingent to 8th edition of ‘Exercie Lamitye’ comprises four officers, five Junior Commissioned Officers and 36 army personnel from other Ranks.
Quick Facts about Seychelles:
♦ Capital – Victoria
♦ Currency – Seychellois rupee
♦ Current President – Danny Faure
♦ Other nearby island countries – Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI asks banks to link SWIFT to core banking by April 30
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has instructed all banks to integrate SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System platform) with its core banking solutions (CBS) by April 30, 2018.
Importance of SIWFT-CBS Linkage:
i. This instruction by RBI is aimed at tightening internal controls in banks in wake of Rs 11400 crore fraud that has been unearthed at Punjab National Bank (PNB).
ii. The modus operandi of PNB fraud revolved around the misuse of SWIFT system by two officials of PNB in a Mumbai Branch.
iii. SWIFT system is used by banks across the world to transmit messages relating to cross border financial transactions.
iv. Through SWIFT, the two accused officials of PNB, issued unauthorised letters of undertaking (a kind of Bank guarantees) to diamond and jewellery importer Nirav Modi-linked companies. The officials did not make these entries in the CBS.
v. This fraudulent activity was going on since 2011. As SWIFT was not integrated with CBS in PNB, these transactions went undetected for over seven years.

BUSINESS

Airtel, Huawei conduct India’s first 5G trial
Bharti Airtel and information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider Huawei have successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test setup at Airtel’s network experience centre in Manesar, Gurgaon. 
i. Airtel and Huawei have claimed that 3 gigabit per second data speed was achieved during this trial
ii. 5G mobile networks could offer data speed up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks.
iii. It is to be noted that India is planning to roll out 5G services for consumers by 2020 and Department of Telecommunication under Union Ministry of Communications is expected to finalise a roadmap for 5G services by June 2018.
Quick Facts about Airtel:
♦ Founded in – 1995
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – Sunil Mittal

India’s first 4G LTE telecom system unveiled
On February 23, 2018, Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha launched India’s first locally developed 4G/LTE telecom system.India's first 4G LTE telecom system unveiledDetails about India’s first locally developed 4G/LTE telecom system:
i. Mr. Sinha launched this system during an international buyers-sellers meet of telecom industry organised under the aegis of Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council.
ii. This system has been designed and developed by India’s leading telecom equipment manufacturer VNL Ltd.
iii. VNL Ltd. has designed and developed this 4G/LTE system by taking into consideration, the requirement for high speed connectivity, particularly in rural areas of India.
iv. It not only ensures seamless connectivity at most affordable prices but also reduces import dependence for such equipments.
v. Abbreviation LTE stand for Long-Term Evolution. In context of telecommunication technology, LTE is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and data terminals.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Subbarayudu appointed the Ambassador of Bolivia
On 23rd February 2018, M. Subbarayudu was appointed the next Ambassador of India to Plurinational State of Bolivia.
Subbarayudu – Ambassador of Bolivia:
i. M. Subbarayudu is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of the 1994 batch. He is currently the Ambassador of India to Lima. His residence is in Lima.
ii. He has been concurrently appointed the next Ambassador of India to Plurinational State of Bolivia. He will soon take up this new assignment.
About Bolivia:
♦ President – Evo Morales
♦ Vice President – Álvaro García Linera

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Siemens commissions medium-voltage training lab for Indian Navy
Siemens India has commissioned a first-of-its-kind Medium-Voltage (MV) training lab at INS Valsura, Gujarat, for the Indian Navy.
Siemens commissions medium-voltage training lab for Indian Navy:
i. The MV training lab was inaugurated by Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff, on 24th January 2018.
ii. This MV lab facilitates Indian Navy officials to train, manage and operate modern equipment of Indian Navy without going to the field.
iii. This lab will be utilized for first stage training of naval personnel on Medium Voltage Power Generation, Protection & Distribution and MV Drives & Motors.
iv. Siemens supplied Motors & Converters, Medium Voltage and Low Voltage Switchboards and automation systems for the facility.
v. This lab consists of equipment manufactured in India and is in line with the Make in India initiative.
vi. Construction of this project started in February 2017. It has been completed in just 11 months of time.
About Siemens:
♦ CEO – Joe Kaeser
♦ Head of Process Industries & Drives Division, Siemens India – Bhaskar Mandal

OBITUARY

Senior journalist Neelabh Mishra passes away
On 24th February 2018, Neelabh Mishra, a senior journalist, died after suffering multiple organ failure, at Apollo Hospital, in Chennai.Senior journalist Neelabh Mishra passes awayDeath of Neelabh Mishra:
i. Neelabh Mishra was 57 years old. He was the editor-in-chief of National Herald newspaper.
ii. Mishra was instrumental in the launch of National Herald’s digital news website in 2016.
iii .He also re-launched the National Herald as Sunday newspaper in 2017. He also made National Herald’s sister publications Navjivan and Qaumi Awaz as news websites.
About National Herald:
♦ Founded in – 1938
♦ Founded by – Jawaharlal Nehru

Evangelist Billy Graham dies at age 99
On 21st February 2018, Billy Graham, died after suffering from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, at his residence in Montreat, North Carolina, US.
Death of Billy Graham:
i. Billy Graham was 99 years old. He was an evangelist. He counselled presidents and preached to millions of people from various parts of the world.
ii. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour, from president Ronald Reagan in 1983.
About Billy Graham:
♦ Profession – Evangelist
♦ Religion – Christianity (evangelical Protestantism)

Award-winning actress Nanette Fabray dies at 97
On 22nd February 2018, Nanette Fabray, an award-winning actress, passed away due to natural causes, at her residence in Palos Verdes, California, US.Award-winning actress Nanette Fabray dies at 97Death of Nanette Fabray:
i. Nanette Fabray was 97 years old. She started her acting career at the age of three.
ii. She has worked in several movies and TV shows. She had won three Emmy awards. She had also received the SAG Life Achievement Award in 1987.
iii. She had overcome hearing loss and later became an advocate for the rights of the deaf. She was awarded with the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award for this.
About Nanette Fabray:
♦ Occupation – Actress
♦ Born – San Diego, California, U.S.