1. Tunisia declares nation-wide curfew

(i) Tunisia declared a nation-wide curfew after four days of demonstration and riots continued across

the north African country that were triggered due to high unemployment rates.

(ii) Unemployment has exacerbated since the 2011 Arab revolution, when President Zine al-Abidine

Ben Ali was overthrown. A total of 700,000 people are unemployed, including 37.6% of young

people and 62.3% of graduates.

(iv) Unlike other Arab countries that witnessed rebellions in 2011, Tunisia is was unique example as

regards the political compromise between Islamists and secular groups leading to a successful

transition to democracy. However, many challenges now obstruct the nation’s economic growth.

2. Latin American women urged to avoid pregnancy due to Zika virus outbreak

(i) Officials in four Latin American and Caribbean countries, namely Colombia, Ecuador,

El Salvador and Jamaica have warned women to avoid pregnancy amid fear over an illness caused

by mosquito-borne Zika virus, which leads to severe birth defects.

(ii) The outbreak of the virus was initially reported in Brazil, where the number of newborns with

suspected microcephaly (abnormally small heads) had reached nearly 4,000 since October 2015.

(iii) Though the link between Zika and microcephaly is yet to be confirmed, a small number of babies

who died had the virus in their brain. Further, no other explanation has been found for the increase

in microcephaly cases.

3. India ranks 22nd in the list of the world’s best countries

(i) On the inaugural list of the world’s best countries, which was released during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, India ranks 22nd.

(ii) Germany topped the list followed by Canada, the UK, the US, and Sweden.

(iii) While India was ranked 22nd, China has been placed 17th on the list. The countries have been ranked on the basis of sustainability, adventure, cultural influence, entrepreneurship and economic influence.

(iv) The report was developed by US News and World Report and New York-based brand consultancy BAV Consulting and Wharton School of Business.

4. 4th India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference held in New Delhi

(i) The 4th India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference was held in New Delhi, India between January 21st and 22nd, 2016.

(ii) The Conference was a continuation of the discussion revolving around synergies between India and Africa.

(iii) Its objective is to ensure greater cooperation between India and Africa towards ‘Development Transmitting Partnership’ in the field of hydrocarbons.

(iv) The partnership would enable India to enhance its energy security while nurturing African hydrocarbon sector’s growth on several fronts like capacity-building, environmental sustainability, human resource development and employment generation.

5. India to be world’s fastest growing economy at 7.3% in 2016

(i) The United Nations has released the World Economic
Prospects 2016 report as per which India will be the world’s fastest growing
economy at 7.3% this year. This will improve further to 7.5% by 2017.


As per the report, “Consumer and investor confidence
has risen even as India’s government faces difficulties in implementing its
wide-ranging reform agenda and some economic indicators, such as industrial
production, remain volatile.”

(iii) Further, the report highlighted that South Asia is
likely to be the world’s fastest-growing region in 2016 and 2017.

6. Barclays to cut down 1200 jobs in Asia Pacific countries

(i) Barclays has announced its plans to cut 1,200 jobs, majorly in its investment banking

operations in many Asia Pacific countries.

(ii) This is the first big move by the company aimed at cost cutting, and is part of the bank’s larger strategy to to concentrate more on geographical areas where it sees the most growth, in particular the US and the UK.

(iii) As per this decision, investment banking operations in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia,

Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand will be ended, however, services will be offered from other


(iv) The operations in Brazil will be discontinued while clients will be catered to from New

York and London. Nevertheless, banking services will be provided locally.

(v) The bank will shut down operations in Russia too and those clients will be handled from London.

7. RBL launches India Start-Up Club

(i) RBL Bank has announced launch of the India Start-up Club, an end-to-end banking services platform

for budding entrepreneurs.

(ii) Through this platform they have access to personalised banking

services, financial tools and resources and planning solutions.

(iii) The platform also includes business

account, trade and foreign exchange services and transaction banking solutions.

8. Uttarakhand’s female sex ratio at birth falls by 24%

(i) As per National Family Health Survey’s latest data, Uttarakhand’s female sex ratio at birth for

children born in the last five years has fallen by 24% i.e. for every 1,000 males, 888 girls were

born vis-à-vis 912 girls recorded in the survey conducted in 2005-06.

(ii) The numbers have dropped despite the state government’s efforts to curb female infanticide. This

has resulted in doubts about the effectiveness of state schemes, including Hamarai Kanya, Hamara


(iii) The National Family Health Survey was conducted from January 30 to July 19, 2015. Four other states where sex ratio at birth for babies born in the last five years has fallen drastically

include Andaman and Nicobar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.

9. China’s Dalian Wanda group to invest in Haryana 

(i) Haryana, which is set to host a global investor summit in March 2016, recently already received

investment assurances from China’s Dalian Wanda group, which is promoted by Wang Jianlin,

China’s richest man in 2015.

(ii) The state has received investment commitments from eight Chinese firms, including the

Dalian Wanda group, which is planning to invest $10 billion in an industrial park at Kharkhoda in

Sonipat, outside Delhi.

(iii) The industrial park will be called “Wanda Industrial New City” and a preliminary agreement to

that effect was signed between the Wanda Group and the Haryana State Industrial and

Infrastructure Development Corporation.

(iv) Dalian Wanda is China’s largest realty firm with

ownership of 6,000 cinema screens across the globe.

10. India’s largest tricolour hoisted atop the tallest pole in Ranchi

(i) the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hoisted the largest Tricolour atop the

tallest pole at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

(ii) Parrikar was in Ranchi on the occasion of

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 119th birth anniversary.

(iii) The flag is 66 ft in height, 99 ft in width and has been unfurled on a 293-ft high pole. Until now,

India’s largest and tallest Tricolour was on a 250-ft tall pole in Faridabad, measuring 96 ft x 64 ft.

11. Mumbai Central is India’s first railway station to get free Wi-fi

(i) Mumbai Central, one of the city’s major railway stations, has become the first in India to

get free public Wi-Fi facility.

(ii) The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched the service in

collaboration with technology giant Google and termed it as a “world-class” facility.

(iii) The minister added that around 100 busiest railway stations across India will be equipped with the

free public Wi-Fi service by the end of 2016, making it the world’s largest such project.

(iv) The MD and vice-president of Google South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan said that

providing affordable Internet to people is the need of the hour.

(v) In its statement Google added that the four stations where free Wi-Fi facility would be provided

soon are Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur and Ranchi.

12. Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam scheme launched in AP

(i) In order to curb cases of infant mortality and child marriages that are widespread among tribals,

the Andhra Pradesh government recently launched a scheme called the ‘Giriputrika Kalyana


(ii) As per its provisions, a one-time financial assistance of Rs.50,000 will be provided to

every tribal woman for marrying at a legally-approved age of 18 years and to support them to

have a decent life.

(iii) The amount would be disbursed through the District Tribal Welfare Office

directly to the bank account of the beneficiary.

13. PM launches Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra’s book The Z Factor


Recently, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi launched a book titled The Z Factor, which has been written by the Essel Group chairman
Subhash Chandra. 


Considered to be one of India’s media moguls, Chandra launched the country’s first Hindi channel Zee TV in 1992, which was followed by news channel Zee News. 


The book has been
described as an uncharacteristically honest account of an Indian businessman,
who owned only Rs.17 when he came to Delhi and today has a net worth of $6.3
billion and annual group revenues in excess of $3 billion. 

14. 119th birth anniversary of Netaji observed all over India


On January 23, the
119th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was observed all over


To mark the occasion,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi declassified 100 files pertaining to Netaji, whose
disappearance 70 years ago is still a mystery. 


The National Archives
of India has digitised the files and placed them in the public domain after
preliminary conservation.

15. Senior congress leader A C Jose passes away

(i) Senior congress leader and former member of parliament A C Jose, passed away at the age of 79 in Kochi, Kerala. Jose had been elected to the Lok Sabha thrice and to the Kerala State Assembly twice.

(ii) When he was serving as the Speaker of the State Assembly in 1982, Jose had to his credit the record of being the only Speaker of a state assembly to have used the casting vote to keep a government in power.

(iii) In his early days, he served as the mayor of Kochi municipal corporation. Apart from his political achievements Jose was the chief editor and managing editor of Congress daily Veekshanam.

16. Roger Federer creates history, clinches 300th Grand Slam win

(i) The Swiss top seed recently made history after he won the Australian Open, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

(ii) Federer, made history as he not just claimed his 17 major in unprecendent men;s game but also clinched the 300th Grand Slam match win, becoming the first man to reach this milestone in the World of tennis.

(iii) His 300 Grand Slam is a testament of his consistent excellence at the tournaments.

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