Current Affairs – February 11, 2018

PM Modi visit to Palestine and UAE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a historic visit to Palestine from February 9. The visit, first by an Indian PM, is part of new foreign policy approach being shaped under Narendra Modi, especially in the Middle East. Modi has been proactive in reaching out to India’s “extended neighborhood” in the Gulf, where the core of Indian interest lies but has also engaged extensively with the wider region. Significantly, Modi has de-hyphenated India’s relations with Israel and Palestine through proactive engagement and fine balancing. Hence, he hosted president Mahmoud Abbas before undertaking his standalone visit to Israel (July 2017) and is now visiting Palestine soon after the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a special recognition of the Modi’s contribution to relations between India and Palestine, the PM was conferred the “Grand Collar of the State of Palestine” by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. PM Modi on 10th February arrived in UAE on a two-day official visit during which he held talks with the top leadership of the Gulf nation and witness signing of nearly a dozen agreements to bolster political and economic ties.

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to enable Digital Payments in Post Offices by April 2018

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) Expansion Programme continues to make brisk progress and a nation-wide roll-out is scheduled beginning April 2018,” the government said in a statement. “Once the proposed expansion is completed, IPPB will be providing the largest financial inclusion network in the country, covering both urban as well as rural hinterland with the ability to provide digital payments. IPPB will also enable more than 17 crore active account-holders of the post office savings bank to make interoperable digital payments including the benefit of NEFT, RTGS, UPI and bill payment services. Additionally, the IPPB will enable acceptance of digital payments across post offices in the country in line with the digital payments initiative of the government. Earlier this week, Postal secretary Ananta Narayan Nanda said that the department planned to roll out its branches across.
MD & CEO of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB): Suresh Sethi

Kerala, Punjab, T.N. top NITI Aayog’s health index report

Kerala has topped the health index report prepared by NITI Aayog, followed by Punjab and Tamil Nadu. Despite being among the fastest improving states, Uttar Pradesh ranked at the bottom among 21 large states on health indicators as per NITI Aayog’s Health Index Rankings. In terms of annual incremental performance, UP ranked third behind Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Among the smaller states, Mizoram ranked first followed by Manipur on overall performance. In terms of annual incremental performance, Manipur came out on top followed by Goa. Among the Union Territories, Lakshadweep showed both the best overall performance, as well as the highest annual incremental performance.
Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog: Rajiv Kumar
CEO: Amitabh Kant
Established: 1 January 2015

Noted Odia litterateur Chandrasekhar Rath passed away

Eminent litterateur Chandrasekhar Rath on 09, February passed away at the age of 89. He died of old age ailments at a private hospital here. He was recently nominated for Padma Shri by the Union government this year for his contribution towards Odia literature. Rath, a prolific writer, has written several novels, short stories, essays and poems during his illustrious career. He has earned many accolades for his thoughtful writings on different issues. His literary works touch the hearts of his readers. His three novels, Yantrarudha (The Instrumented) 1967, Asurya Upanivesh (The Sunless Colony) 1974 and Nav Jatak (Regenesis) 1981, have given him a special place in Odia literature. He was trying to make his readers understand about life’s philosophies in simple stories and plots.

South Central Railway becomes 1st rail zone with 100% LED lighting at stations

The South Central Railway (SCR) said it has become the first railway zone in the country to complete 100 percent LED lighting at all the stations under its jurisdiction. The SCR has been on the forefront of adopting energy conservation measures. It has attained the status of becoming the first zone in the Indian Railways to complete 100 percent LED lighting in all the 733 stations under its jurisdiction, Chief Public Relations Officer M Umashankar Kumar said in a release. This is expected to save 32 lakh units of electrical energy worth Rs 2.7 crore per year, the CPRO added.

“Swachh Bharat Sanitation Park” inaugurated in Delhi

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in collaboration with the Environmental Sanitation Institute and Tata Trusts, has developed a Sanitation Park which was inaugurated in the Capital by Union Minister, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti. The Sanitation Park was developed at CGO Complex in New Delhi with an objective to create awareness on various safe technological options. The Park demonstrates various options pertaining to toilet technologies and solid and liquid waste management technologies, with a brief description of these technologies. The Park also displays information regarding various interventions undertaken under the Swachh Bharat Mission, capturing the success stories and impact created under the Mission across the country.

11th February: National Unani Day

The National Unani Day (NUD) is celebrated every year on 11th February to mark the birth anniversary of great Unani researcher Haqim Ajmal Khan. He was an eminent Indian Unani physician who was the versatile genius, freedom fighter, educationist and founder of scientific research in Unani Medicine. This year (2018) is special for Unani fraternity as it is the 150th Birth Anniversary of Hakim Ajmal Khan. To mark this day, the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM), under the Ministry of AYUSH is organizing the 2018 International Conference on Unani Medicine in New Delhi on February 10 as part of Unani Day Celebration. The theme of the 2-day conference is “Integration of Unani System of Medicine in mainstream healthcare”.

8-Year-old Indian-origin Girl cracks UK’s Math Hall Of Fame

An eight-year-old Indian-origin schoolgirl has entered the UK’s Mathletics Hall of Fame, an online mathematics-based competitive tool aimed at primary school pupils. Sohini Roy Chowdhury competed with pupils from across Britain and other countries to also make it into the top 100 World Hall of Fame after solving mathematical puzzles with speed and accuracy. Mathletics is described as an engaging, supportive online learning resource targeted at primary school level maths curriculum, allowing children to play live mental arithmetic games against other children from all over the world. Their scores are constantly updated and only the world’s 100 best make it to the leaderboard.

2018 Winter Olympics begin in PyeongChang, South Korea

The 2018 Winter Olympics begins in Pyeongchang on 9th February and the opening ceremony took centre stage to kick-off the 23rd Games. The 23rd edition of the Winter Games begin from February 9 and go up until February 25, 2018. The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium welcomed all 92 countries boasting nearly 3,000 athletes, with all eyes on the sight of North and South Korean competitors uniting to walk into the stadium together for the first time. India will have two representatives at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Shiva Keshavan will be competing at the Winter Games for the 6th and last time in the Luge competition. Jagdish Singh is India’s second representative and he will look to come back with a medal around his neck after competing in the Men’s 15km freestyle skiing event.

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