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GKCA Update

1st to 28th Feb

Starred Articles
03 Britain becomes first country to allow three parent IVF
Feb World > Others

Britain became the first country in the world to allow three parent in-vitro-fertilisation, which, doctors claim
can prevent some inherited incurable diseases. The treatment gets the name 'three parent IVF' because it will
get DNA from a mother, a father and a female donor. It is designed to help families with mitochondrial
diseases, incurable conditions passed down the maternal line that affect around one in 6,500 children
worldwide. The decision comes after a majority vote in the British parliament with 382 votes in favour of the
technique and 128 being against it.

04 Jordan executes two Al-Qaeda prisoners in response to brutal killing of pilot

by Islamic State
Feb World > Jordan
The Jordanian government has executed two terrorists from Al-Qaeda, Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli,
after Islamic State released a video that purportedly showed a captured Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath AlKaseasbeh, being burned alive in a cage. The pilot was captured by the extremists in December 2014 when his
F-16 crashed while he was flying a mission as part of the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State. Over
the past week, Jordan had offered to trade al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber, for the pilot, but decided
against it after receiving no proof that the pilot was still alive. Jordanian TV said the pilot was killed as long ago
as 3 January. Islamic State had earlier demanded the release of Sajida al-Rishawi in exchange for the captured
Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who was later beheaded by the militants.
Al-Rishawi had been sentenced to death after her 2005 role in a triple hotel bombing in Amman that killed 60
people. The killing of the 26-year-old Jordanian pilot appeared aimed at pressurizing the government of
Jordan, a close U.S. ally, to leave US-led the coalition that has carried out months of airstrikes against the
Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

09 New report reveals 1,195 names of Swiss account holders; balance at

25,420 crore
Feb Rs
India > Black money
A joint investigation carried out by The Indian Express, Washington-based International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Paris-based Le Monde newspaper, has revealed a new list of 1,195
Indian Swiss account holders. This controversial list, retrieved from a trove of secret documents from HSBCs
Swiss private banking arm, includes prominent Indian names from various backgrounds. Mukesh Ambani, Anil
Ambani, Anand Chand Burman, former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane his wife Neelam Narayan
Rane and son Nilesh Rane, Bal Thackerays daughterinlaw Smita Thackeray, Swraj Paul and many others are
listed as an account holder of the HSBC Swiss bank. Their total account balance amounts upto Rs 25,420 crore
for the year 2006-07. The new revelation published as part of a global agreement is expected to
significantly widen the scale and scope of the ongoing probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed
by the Supreme Court. British bank HSBC Holdings Plc eventually agreed to the charges of helping wealthy
customers evade taxes and hide millions of dollars of assets. The analysis of the list of Swiss account holders
from over 200 countries has revealed that India ranks 16th, with total funds of $4.1 billion, while Switzerland
tops the list with $ 31.2 billion.

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10 Aam Aadmi Party sweeps Delhi assembly elections

Feb India > Delhi Elections

GKCA Update
1st to 28th Feb

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has won the Delhi assembly elections with a clear majority by leading in 67 of the
total 70 seats, a phenomenal win considering that it was completely able to wipe out the Bhartiya Janta Party
(BJP) which was riding high on PM Narendra Modis charisma. It was a nightmarish result for the BJP which
managed to win just three seats, the first such instance since Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the Prime
Minister. In another shocker, the Congress party failed to win even a single seat. AAPs victory is biggest-Ever
Victory in an Indian State Election.

10 488 Swine Flu cases reported in India, Maharashtra worst affected with 100
Feb deaths
India > Swine Flu
The swine toll in Maharashtra and Rajasthan has reached 100 and 40 respectively. According to reports, six
deaths have been recorded in Mumbai due to the H1N1 virus outbreak while five more casualties were
reported in Rajasthan on Tuesday. A total of 205 swine flu cases have been recorded in Maharashtra,
according to the state authorities, while 49 fresh cases were reported in Delhi with the total number of cases
due to the disease going up to 488 this year. Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus. H1N1 symptoms are similar
to those produced by other influenza viruses. Symptoms for swine flu include high fever, headache, muscle
pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and internal and external bleeding. It is transmitted to people
primarily from ticks and livestock animals with an incubation period of up to nine days. Human-to-human
transmission takes up to two weeks.

14 SC directs CBI to investigate SEBI and RBI in ponzi scams

Feb India > Ponzi Scams

The Supreme Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the Reserve Bank of
India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). According to reports, SEBI and RBI have come
under the suspicion of intentionally disregarding those involved in multi-crore chit-fund scams across several
states. The bench of judges referred to SC's last year's order directing the CBI to investigate the matter after
thousands of people complained of losing Rs 10,000 crore through the Ponzi schemes. Besides the arrest of
three Trinamool Congress (TMC) functionaries West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, TMC Member
of Parliament Srinjoy Bose and Kunal Ghosh in the Saradha chit-fund scam, senior TMC leader and former
railway minister Mukul Roy was also questioned by the CBI. While disposing of a PIL seeking a direction to CBI
probe into Rs 700 crore ponzi scheme scam involving various firms, SC made it clear to the CBI that it will have
to carry out investigations even if it does not have sufficient manpower to handle the cases.

16 Civil nuclear pact signed by Sri Lanka and India

Feb World > Indo-Sri Lanka Nuclear Pact

A bilateral agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was made between India and Sri Lanka besides deciding to
expand defence and security cooperation. At the meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri
Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, a commitment was made to find a solution to the fishermen issue by
adopting a constructive and humanitarian approach. Apart from nuclear pacts, three other pacts pertaining to
the field of agriculture and Sri Lanka's participation in the Nalanda University Project were signed too.
Narendra Modi said that India was honoured that Sirisena had chosen the country for his first overseas
destination after assuming charge. Expressing satisfaction with the results of the talks between the two

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GKCA Update
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countries, Modi said that the two countries are committed on exploring the potential of economic

16 Deloitte Global to get new India-born CEO, Punit Renjen

Feb Corporate > Deloitte

US-based accounting giant Deloitte Global has appointed India-born Punit Renjen as its new CEO. Renjen is
currently the US business chairman and CEO of the group, and will take over as the role of Deloitte Global chief
executive officer from June 1, becoming the first Indian-origin person to lead a 'Big-Four' audit firm. He has
been with Deloitte for over 27 years and has held a number of leadership positions. He hails from Rohtak,
Himachal Pradesh and left for US to pursue higher studies. After a rigorous and comprehensive nomination
and member firm partner ratification process, which is carried out once every four years, Renjen was
appointed as the leader.

17 Government builds 7.1 lakh toilets in the month of January as part of the
Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan
Feb India > Governing
As part of the Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan the Narendra Modi government was successful in building 7.1 lakh
toilets in the month of January, the highest number achieved in a single month so far. According to
government data 31.84 lakh toilets have been built in the period between April 2014 and January 2015 and the
government's aim to construct 50 lakh toilets by the fiscal year end is on track. The Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan
aims to build 12 crore toilets with an estimated budget of 2 lakh crores over the next five years to make India
'Open Defecation Free' by the year 2019.

23 Rs 1,500 crore nuclear liability pool gets approval from IRDA

& Government > Nuclear liability pool
Feb Politics
The Insurance sector regulator IRDA has approved the Rs 1,500 crore nuclear liability pool that will provide
risk cover to nuclear reactors. The rising demands for covering the reactors prompted the insurance companies
to create a separate pool within India. Although the insurance companies have not yet come up with ways to
raise the money for the set-up, the IRDA is looking forward to deal with it in a favorable manner. GIC, the
domestic re-insurer, would be the nodal agency for creating a nuclear liability pool with a corpus of Rs 1,500
crore. It is in the process of pricing and underwriting the policies.

23 Oscar 2015 winners announced, American black comedy Birdman wins best
Feb Awards > Oscars
The 87th Academy Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was held on 22nd
February at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The Best Picture award went to Birdman, the Best
Actor award went to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything and Julianne Moore was adjudged Best
Actress for her role in Still Alice. Best Supporting Actor and Actress went to J.K. Simmons and Patricia
Arquette for their roles in Whiplash and Boyhood. Achievement in Costume Design went to Milena
Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Polish film Ida won the Best Foreign Language Film and became
the first Polish film to win the award. Best Visual Effects went to Interstellar, Best Cinematography to
Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman, Best Original Score to Alexandre Desplat for "The Grand Budapest Hotel",
Best Original Song to "Glory" from "Selma" and Best Documentary Feature to "CitizenFour".

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GKCA Update
1st to 28th Feb

24 Ajay Singh takes over from Marans as SpiceJet promoter

Feb Corporate > SpiceJet

SpiceJet declared Ajay Singh as its new promoter, following an ownership transfer between Marans and Singh.
Singh established his position as a crucial member of the revival plan of SpiceJet, after acquiring a whole of
58.46 per cent stake from Kalanithi Maran and Kal Airways Private Limited. The company is set to raise Rs
1,500 crore through issuance of fresh securities under this revival plan. The deal boosted the shares of the
airline as they rose over one per cent to Rs 24.35 on the BSE in early morning trade. The deal has already
received clearance from the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
As per the revival plan, SpiceJet would see a capital infusion of Rs 1,500 crore from Singh in installments by

24 UN climate head Rajendra Pachauri quits

Feb World > Rajendra Pachauri

After maintaining his position as the head of the UN climate change panel (IPCC) for 13 years, Rajendra
Pachauri resigned, succumbing to sexual harassment allegations. A 29-year old women working in his office in
Delhi had registered a complaint against him saying the harassment included unwanted emails as well as text
and phone messages . He had however denied the allegations, saying his email account and mobile phone
were hacked. In a letter drafted to the UN secretary general, Mr. Pachauri wrote that under such
circumstances, he wouldn't be able to provide "strong leadership and dedication" to the panel and thus he has
decided to step down as chair of the IPCC.

27 Rail budget 2015 announced

Feb India > Rail Budget

Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented the Railway Budget 2015 on 27th February in the Parliament.
The key highlights of the budget are:
1. Tickets can now be booked 120 days ahead of travel date, instead of 60 days now.
2. Rail-cum-road ticket to be extended to many stations; more trains to be added under scheme for ordering
food while booking tickets.
3. Wi-Fi to be available at 400 railway stations.
4. SMS alert service to be introduced for arrivals and departures.
5. No increase in passenger fares.

27 SC status to be given to the person reconverted to Hinduism

& Government > SC
Feb Politics
Now a person who gets reconverted to Hinduism, provided he is accepted by fellow caste men and proves that
either he or his forefathers previously belonged to that caste before embracing another religion, will be
granted SC status. The bench comprising of justices of Apex court made this decision to restore the reservation
benefits of the person if he was previously converted to some another religion. The caste certificate will be
issued to people who fulfill all the conditions laid down by the Apex court.

28 Union Budget 2015-16 announced

Feb Politics and Government > Union Budget

Union Budget 2015-16 was announced on 28th February 2015 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely in the
Parliament. The budget seeks to boost investment and ensure benefits of common man.
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Following are the top takeaways from Jaitely's budget:
What got cheaper

What got costlier


Gems and Jewellery

Health Insurance

Telephone bills

Leather products

Imported mobile tablets



Processed foods

AC bus travel

Microwave ovens

Cable TV

Ambulance services

Cigarette and tobacco items

Visit to museums, zoos and national parks

Hospital bills

09 2 Indians win at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards
Grammy Awards
Feb Annual
The Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California hosted the 57th Grammy Awards this year on the 8th of February.
A total of 83 awards were given out during the ceremony. Among the prominent awards, the best album
award was won by Beck Hansen for his album 'Morning Phase', best record of the year and the best song of
the year awards were clinched by Sam Smith for his album 'Stay with me'. Sam Smith also won the award for
the best new artist'. Two Indians have won the awards this year, Neela Vaswani won the award in the best
Chidren's album category for her album 'I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The
World (Malala Yousafzai) along with Ricky Kej who won the Best New Age Album Trophy for his album 'Winds
of Samsara'.

02 Sun-Ranbaxy merger gets conditional nod from US FTC
Feb Sun-Ranbaxy Deal

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finally put an end to the key waiting period clause under the HSR
Act, by clearing the $4 billion merger between Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy. The HSR Act prevents parties from
completing mergers or acquisitions until they have made a detailed filing with the FTC and US Department of
Justice, which determine whether the transaction will affect US antitrust laws or not. The termination came
with a condition that Ranbaxy divests its interest in generic minocycline tablets and capsules to Torrent
Both the companies have agreed to conform to the conditions stated by FTC consent agreement and will
complete the transaction within a certain period. Sun-Ranbaxy is currently also in the process of divesting
seven brands in India as per the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

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GKCA Update
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04 Micromax beats Samsung to lead India's smartphone market

Feb Smartphone

According to the reports issued by research firm Canalys, Indian budget smartphone maker Micromax, beats
Samsung in establishing its popularity among smartphone users in India. With 22% share of the total
smartphone market in India, Micromax emerged leader for the first time in the fourth quarter. Samsung
followed close behind with 20% share, ceding the top position to Micromax. The change in the market scenario
can be attributed to the low prices offered by Micromax smartphones. However, Samsung disputed the
reports saying that Samsung's volume market share in the October-December 2014 quarter was 34.3% and the
value market share was 35.8%, as per the GfK data. It said that Gfk data is based on actual retail sales in
50,000-plus population cities, according to which it continues to lead the Indian market.

09 India poised to grow faster than other BRICS nations for the first time in 15
Feb years
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India will next year grow faster than each of its BRICS
counterparts for the first time since 1999. So far this year, more than $7 billion has poured into the countrys
stocks and bonds, on top of last years $42 billion of inflows. The countrys benchmark equity index reached a
record at the end of last month. Falling oil prices are helping the government reduce its budget deficit and
giving room to the central bank to lower interest rates. Helping the countrys growth is also Prime Minister
Narendra Modis initiatives to cut red tape and make it easier for foreign businesses to invest in India and RBI
governor Raghuram Rajans determination to keep inflation contained. The new government has also implored
manufacturers to establish factories in India and used executive orders to pressure parliament to approve bills
that would drive investment in insurance and coal. However, India needs to overcome major challenges in the
form of power shortages, transport bottlenecks and a dearth of skilled labor to record an exceptional growth.

18 Telecom operators deposit Rs 20,435 crore for spectrum auction

Feb Spectrum Auctions

The upcoming spectrum auction has garnered around Rs 20,435 crore from eight telecom operators. Reliance
Jio Infocom submitted the highest EMD of about Rs 4,500 crore followed by Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular,
Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications, Telewings (Uninor) and Uninor. The earnest deposit
money translates into points that determine the quantum of spectrum blocks a company can bid in the auction
process. Spectrum or radio waves being the key part of the telecom networks to provide mobile services, this
auction will see aggressive bidding with top operators competing with each other. The amount fetched from
this auction will help the government reach its fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of the GDP.

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02 Finance minister to postpone GAAR by at least a year

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is set to delay the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) by at least a year in order
to allow tax officials and the industry to get better acquainted with the rules. The delay will help in rectifying
the tax policy towards a more stable one. The rules are aimed towards avoiding the provision of tax benefits to
companies which try to find loopholes to avoid the payment of taxes and to ensure that tax benefits accrue
only to the intended genuine economic activities.
The GAAR were formulated by the UPA government in 2012 and were set to be implemented in the year 201314 but the decision was eventually postponed to be implemented in the financial year 2014-15.

02 Volunteer group claims AAP received funding from dubious companies


AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM) has accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of a funding scam. AVAM claims
that the party received donations of Rs. 50 lakh each of the four companies, which the former claims, are fake
and the AAP made dummy entries in order to evade taxes. The party has issued a statement saying they are
open for all kinds of investigation. The allegations, if proved true, might prove to be a stumbling block in AAPs
intention to win the Delhi Assembly elections.
The Bharitya Janta Party (BJP) has asked the AAP to come clean against the above mentioned allegations and
provide an explanation related to transparency and accountability of the donations.

13 Kejriwals Janlokpal Bill may face obstacles even if passed by Delhi Assembly
Feb Janlokpal Bill

The acceptance of Delhis Janlokpal Bill depends on the acceptance of his demand for full statehood for Delhi,
as he wants powers in order to gain authority to probe officials of the Delhi Police as well as Delhi's various
municipal corporations. The Bill cannot probe these authorities now as they currently report to the Centre and
the situation won't change unless Delhi gets full statehood. The 33 page Lokpal bill, which was presented by
Kejriwal in the Delhi assembly in his previous term as Delhi CM has been found to have three major
contradictions with the Central Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act and NCT Act, 1991. According to various sources it is
not possible to enact the bill as per Kejriwal's wishes as it would require major amendments to the acts
mentioned above.

18 PM Modi vows India will shed the top weapons exporter tag
Feb Defence

At the Aero India Expo, a major aviation industry conference, PM Modi vowed that India would shed the tag of
being the biggest importer of weapons and would like to produce 70% of its armoury by the end of the decade,
which currently stands at 40%. The PM's statement comes in the light of India's willingness to boost domestic
manufacturing, which would also create more jobs for the people.

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18 Indian coast guard denies blowing up Pak boat on Dec 31, contradicts earlier
Feb Pakistani Boat Incidence
The Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday denied newspaper reports which quoted a deputy inspector general as
claiming he gave orders to blow up and sink a Pakistani boat which infiltrated into Indian waters on New Years
Eve. DIG BK Loshali whom Indian Express had quoted said that he wasn't handling the operations at the time of
the incident and that the boat had set herself on fire and was not sunk by the Coast guard. After the Coast
Guard denied the claim, the Indian Express - which first reported the issue - released a video of Loshali
purportedly making the controversial remarks prompting defence minister Manohar Parrikar to say that he
would order a probe into Loshali's comments.
The Coast Guards earlier statement contradicted the government's claim that there were Pakistani militants
on the boat since the inmates of the boat blew it up after being cornered by Indian forces.

26 Mumbai University signs MoU with Indian Railways for Rail Innovation and
Technology Centre
Feb Education
Now students will be able to gain expertise in Railway Engineering, following a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) signed between Indian Railways and Mumbai University.
The key points of MoU include:
1. Kalina, Ratnagiri and Kalyan sub campuses will have practical training for candidates.
2. Mumbai University will provide education, distribution of facilities for higher education, effective
administration and financial control.
3. Specialized courses at the Post Graduate level related to rail technology will be started by the university.
4. The five academic years at the centre will receive 142.89 crore rupees from the Indian Railways
5. This institute will help the Indian Railways in developing cutting-edge indigenous technologies and turn as
a net exporter of such technologies.

26 Pan-India Mobile Number Portability now available across India


Telecom regulator has issued an order which will provide the facility of retaining the same mobile number on
relocation to another geographical area. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), it has
issued sixth amendment to the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulation, 2009, which will
facilitate full Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in the country. Following this amendment, the users will be
able to select any operator, on moving to a different location, while maintaining the same mobile number. At
present, mobile subscribers can retain their current number only when they switch their service providers
within the same service area. However, this move might be faced with implementation challenges.

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Politics and Government

10 JD (U) expels Bihar CM Jitan Manjhi from party; Manjhi refuses to step
Feb JD (U)
The ongoing political crisis in Bihar has deepened further after Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Manjhi was expelled
by the JD (U) from the party membership for defying the party line. Manjhis predecessor and senior Janata Dal
(United) leader Nitish Kumar is attempting to return as chief minister. Mr Manjhi, who was hand-picked by Mr
Kumar as his replacement last year, has refused to quit. Manjhi has gone further and met Prime Minister
Narendra Modi fuelling speculations that if he is forced out, he might join the BJP. Meanwhile Mr Nitish Kumar
has been recognized as the leader of the JD(U) legislature Party by Bihar Assembly Speaker. The JD (U) has 115
legislators in the 243-member assembly, most of whom are reportedly with Nitish Kumar. Manjhi enjoys the
support of over a dozen JD (U) legislators. He is banking on the support of the BJP. The BJP has 88 legislators.
Manjhi said he will prove his majority in the assembly on February 20, and step down only if he fails. However,
the JD(U) is mounting pressure on the governor to call for a floor test immediately, saying that a later date
would give Majhi time to engage in horse-trading.

22 PDP-BJP tie-up done long ago, says Omar Abdullah

Feb Kashmir
According to the statement of Jammu & Kashmir former chief minister Omar Abdullah, PDP-BJP coalition,
which emerged as a breaking news, was done long ago. He added that the friction between PDP and BJP was a
pretentious affair put up by PDP patron Mufti Sayeed to undo the damage in Valley. Hakeem Yasin, President
of the Peoples Democratic Front agreed with the claim calling BJP an anti-Kashmir and non-secular party. The
alliance has been facing criticisms and is causing a stir among various political leaders. It remains to be seen if
the coalition meets the economic, social and political aspirations of the people of the state.

22 Nitish Kumar sworn-in as Bihar Chief Minister

Feb Bihar

JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar took oath as Bihar Chief Minister, resuming his position after a nine-month long
political drama. Kumar had quit after JD(U)s debacle in the general elections and given his power to Jitan Ram
Manjhi. Howerver, Manjhi refused to step down in order to make way for Kumar when he decided to take over
the position after eight months. Manjhi had decided to prove his majority in Bihar assembly by taking a floor
test in order to maintain his position. But, he quit as Chief Minister just before the test saying his ministers had
received threats messages. BJP who was believed to support Manjhi has sharply criticized swearing-in of Nitish

24 Conversion was Mother Teresas real aim, says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat
Feb Conversion
Addressing an audience at a function, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat made a controversial statement, saying that
the prime motive behind Mother Teresa's service to the destitute was converting them to Christianity. At the
function, former DGP of Border Security Force Prakash Singh, too, criticized Mother Teresa. Following this
incident, the Shiv Sena supported RSS chief Bhagwat's remark on Mother Teresa and said that all missionaries
came to India only with the objective of converting people to Christianity. The opposition has condemned
Bhagwat's statement, demanding an apology from him.

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24 Rail Budget to have number of environment-friendly initiatives

Feb Rail Budget

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is gearing up for the announcement of Rail Budget including number of green
initiatives like setting up of recycling plants and solar energy generation plants to name a few. The Minister is
intending to introduce maximum usage of alternative fuel in rail operations in the upcoming rail budget.
Besides proposals for building water treatment plants and recycling plants, plans to set up a plant for
producing energy from waste, a first of its kind exercise in the public transporter, is also expected from the
budget. A new integrated management system certification of all major workshops and production units
covering quality, occupational health and safety will also be announced. There will be a separate chapter in the
Rail Budget listing a series of environment initiatives.

24 Commotion in Parliament over NDA's Land Acquisition Bill

Feb Land Acquisition Bill

The land acquisition bill is facing issues in the Parliament, owing to the differences between BJP-led National
Democratic Alliance and the opposition parties. While the opposition parties protested aginst the land
acquisition amendment bill 2015, finance minister Arun Jaitley defended NDA's ordinance route. He said that
government is within its rights to take the ordinance route. However, the BJP-led NDA will require the support
of opposition parties in order to pass the bill in Rajya Sabha. The Opposition has remained firm that the
ordinance, along with five more, would not be allowed to go through Parliament. These ordinances would
expire on March 20, if not passed during this budget session. Things got worse when Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) also raised objection to the ordinance. Anti-corruption
activist Anna Hazare and Delhi Chief Minister AAP's Arvind Kejriwal have also sat in protest against the Land
Acquisition Bill.

Science & Technology

01 First canister-based nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-5 test-fired
Feb First canister-based nuclear-capable ballistic missile

India's first ever inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Agni-V, successfully test-fired, taking the
countrys strategic strikes capability to a new level. It has a strike range of more than 5,000 km and can deliver
a nuclear warhead of over one-tonne-deep inside China. The trial took place in the Wheeler Island off Odisha
coast, where a three-stage missile was launched from a canister mounted on a truck. Congratulating scientists
from the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) for the success, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi said the missile was an asset for the country's forces. The most powerful missile of India can travel faster
than a bullet despite weighing nearly 50 tonnes and will increase the operational flexibility of armed forces.

10 Facebook partners with Reliance Communications to bring free internet

initiative in India
Feb Internet penetration
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications has been roped in by Facebook Inc. to offer free access to data and
websites to customers through the social networking sites global digital inclusion initiative, To
start with these services will be available to Reliance customers in of Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra
Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The services will then be extended to the rest of the country in a
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phased manner with more services and websites. The companies declined to share who will bear the cost of
such data. The service is not restricted to any handset, irrespective of screen size or operating platform. The
idea behind this initiative is to increase internet inclusion and encourage more Indians to go online. This will
not only increase internet penetration in the country but also open up new socio-economic opportunities to
users in areas like education, information and commerce.

01 Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto, beheaded by Islamic State

Islamic State has released a video that shows the alleged beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. The
slaying of Goto, a freelance reporter whose work focused on refugees, children and other victims of war,
shocked Japan, which until now had not become directly involved in the fight against the militants. Kenji had
previously appealed in a video released by the militants that he and a Jordanian pilot would be killed unless
the governments conformed to the demands of the Islamic State. Jordan and Japan reportedly conducted
indirect negotiations with the militants through Iraqi tribal leaders, but late on Friday the Japanese envoy sent
to Amman to work on the hostage crisis reported a deadlock in those efforts. Later, IS released a video of the
Jordanian pilot, locked in a cage and being burnt alive.
The citizens of Japan were struck by a wave of anxiety concerning their future security and security has been
heightened at many places, including airports and Japanese facilities overseas. The Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe said that Japan will continue to stand by its decision and will not let the terrorists win. It will also
keep providing substantial economic and humanitarian aid to countries in the region caught up in the struggle
with IS.

02 Draft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutors

Feb Argentina
The case of mysterious death of Argentina's prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, has taken a new turn .According to
the lead investigator, a 26-page document was found in the garbage at Mr. Nismans apartment, requesting for
the arrest of President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner. The draft also sought the arrest of Hctor Timerman,
Argentinas foreign minister, accusing both of them of covering up Iran's involvement in the 1994 bombing of a
Jewish center in Argentina. No Argentine judge has come forward to take up the trial yet, given the sensitivity
attached with the case. Legal experts said that the draft found in Mr. Nismans apartment was not valid in an
Argentine court of law, and needed more than just the prosecutors wishes to move forward in the legal

06 UN report says ISIS selling children as slaves with price tags, also using
children as suicide bombers
A United Nations report has said that ISIS has stepped up the use of children in its terrorist campaign, including
putting price tags on Iraqi children and selling them as slaves. There have been reports of children, especially
children that are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them
even understanding what has happened or what they have to expect. Children as young as 8 years of age are

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being trained to become fighters. Also, all Yazidi males above 10 years of age have been dragged out of their
schools and have been shot. Reports also suggest that women, especially Yazidi women, have been abused
physically and subjected to systematic rape and sex slavery. ISIS has in the past attempted to justify atrocities,
including the enslaving, raping and selling of captives, as being done in God's name.

08 Iran expresses willingness to sign nuclear deal

Feb Iran nuclear deal

Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has told a gathering of the world's top diplomats and defense
officials in Munich that this is the right opportunity, expressing a willingness on the part of Tehran to come to
an agreement regarding a nuclear deal. The United States and its five negotiating partners, the other members
of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, hope to clinch a deal setting long-term limits on Tehran's
enrichment of uranium and other activity that could produce material for use in nuclear weapons. Both sides
are under increasing pressure ahead of two deadlines: to agree on main points by late March, and to reach a
comprehensive deal by June 30. The possibility of a deal raised strong objections from Israel with Israeli PM
Benjamin Netanyahu saying that Israel would pull all stops to prevent a bad and dangerous deal that would
threaten the security of Israel. From Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on
all major decisions, said in a statement on his website Sunday that Iran agrees with Washington that no
agreement is better than an agreement that doesn't meet its interests. Zarif said all sanctions against his
country should be lifted, saying that if they had been intended to stop its nuclear ambitions they had failed.

13 Nawaz Sharif expresses disapproval over India's permanent UNSC seat

Feb Permanent UNSC Seat

Pakistan President Nawaz Sharif reportedly told Barack Obama that India's permanent membership in the
reformed UN Security Council is unacceptable to Pakistan. According to him, India has not complied with UN
resolutions on Kashmir and has "not fulfilled the commitment to give the right of self-determination to people
of Kashmir. The US President had called Sharif and the alleged conversation, concerning regional stability and
peace, happened over the phone. Sharif also expressed keen interest in obtaining the membership of the
Nuclear Suppliers Group. Obama had visited India in January during which he had reaffirmed the US' position
that India is ready for NSG membership.

13 47 Myanmar soldiers die in clashes with Kokang rebels

Feb Myanmar

After days of fighting with minority ethnic group Kokang, 47 Myanmar soldiers lost their lives in the northern
state of Laukkai. According to the government, 73 soldiers were injured, but no data about rebel and civil
casualties was available. The Kokang rebels are known to use sophisticated weapons such as anti-aircraft guns,
and government forces used aerial strikes to counter the rebel attack. It is also known that two other rebel
groups joined the Kokangs to fight government forces, but the situation now is under control.

16 Egypt bombs Islamic State targets in Libiya after ISIS beheads 21 Egyptian
Feb Terrorism
After the Islamic State (IS) released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by IS militants,
Egyptian fighter jets bombed specific IS targets in Libya. The pre-dawn strike hit militant camps, training sites
and weapons storage areas in Libya, which is facing civil conflict and has become a haven for militant groups.
Libyan air-force took part in the operation too, where the coastal city of Derna was targeted, which is

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considered as a base for IS militants. Egypt has called on the U.S. led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria to broaden the scope of their operations to include Libya.

23 HSBC Chief kept millions in Swiss account


The Guardian newspaper has claimed that the HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver held about USD 7.6 million
in a Swiss account in the name of Worcester Equities Inc, a Panama-registered company. A representative for
Gulliver responded to the claim saying that the chief executive had used a Swiss account to hold his bonus
payments prior to 2003, when he moved from Hong Kong to London. This new information adds to the stream
of so-called allegations of Swissleaks doing the rounds. Gulliver who had earlier promised to reform the
scandal-hit bank has now come under the radar himself.

23 Arab countries should fight against ISIS, says Egyptian President


The Egyptian President has said in a statement that it is time for Arab countries to form a joint coalition force
against ISIS. As Egypt gears up for a major battle against ISIS in Libya, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates
have offered military help. The U.S. President Barack Obama had called other countries to participate in the
fight against ISIS, following which, El-Sisi made the statement. Presently the U.S. Is leading a coalition to fight
ISIS by launching series of airstrikes over Syria and Iraq, of which 80% are by the U.S and 20% by other coalition
countries. However, it is uncertain if the airstrikes alone is capable of eliminating ISIS.

24 Greek government drafts summary of reforms

Feb Greece
The Greek government led by Alexis Tsipras, has reached a settlement with the eurozone leaders by laying
down a set of reforms in exchange for agreeing to a bailout extension. The outline summary of reforms
consists of plans to combat tax evasion, trim the civil service and overcome the issue of fuel and tobacco
smuggling. Additionally, it included a commitment to address what Syriza has called Greece's "humanitarian
crisis". The creditors' verdict on the reforms is awaited before taking the proposals further to a Eurogroup
discussion. The reforms are aimed at fulfilling pre-election pledges to help those hit by years of economic
crisis. The agreement was made taking into account the demands of the creditors and the needs of austerityweary voters.

25 Spouses of H-1B visa holder will now get US permits

Feb US Visa

In a move that brings a big relief to Indians, spouses of certain high-tech foreign workers will now be allowed
to apply for work permits in the US. This will simplify the ordeal faced by families to obtain the green card. The
rising concerns of tech-companies forced the US government to lift the cap on H-1B visas and helped
accelerate the processing of green cards. The regulation for spouses of H-1B visas was first proposed last year
and declared as part of President Barack Obama's package of executive actions on immigration. Given the
prolonged waiting period for green cards, Australia and Canada are also making similar offers to spouses of H1B visa holders.

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