1. World Health Organisation declares Zika virus a global emergency
- World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Zika virus a global emergency.
- The organisation convened an emergency meeting of independent experts to assess the outbreak after the suspicious link between Zika’s arrival in Brazil in 2015, which was followed by surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.
- In a statement, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said, there was no definitive proof that the Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, is responsible for the birth defects, although she acknowledged that “the level of alarm is extremely high.”
- Last such emergency was announced by WHO in 2014 for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa which killed more than 11,000 people.
2. Virender Sehwag appointed as the mentor of Kings XI Punjab
- Virendra Sehwag has been appointed as the mentor of the Kings XI Punjab team for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).
- Sehwag is expected to work closely with coach Sanjay Bangar, and would be responsible for guiding and motivating the team. Sehwag has been associated with the KXIP team for over two years as a player and will now be associated as the mentor of the IPL team.
3. CIL appoints S N Prasad as Marketing Director
- SN Prasad has been appointed as the Marketing Director for Coal India Limited with effect from 1st February, 2016.
- Prasad has replaced B K Saxena, who has now retired. Prior to this appointment Prasad was the General Manager (Sales & Marketing) in South Eastern Coalfields Limited, the Bilaspur-based subsidiary of CIL.
4. Former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar passes away
- Former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar has passed away at the age of 93.
- Jakhar served as Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1980 to 1989 and played a crucial role in the automation and customization of the Parliamentary works. The Parliament museum was also built during his tenure.
- He also served as the Agriculture Minister in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and later served as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh from June 30, 2004 to May 30, 2009.
5. SC appoints Lodha Committee to sell PACL assets
- Supreme Court has appointed a committee under former Chief Justice RM Lodha to sell the assets of Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd (PACL) and refund 49 thousand crore rupees to the investors.
- The money will be refunded to the public who had invested in the firm’s collective investment scheme (CIS) that was considered illegal by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
- The money was allegedly collected by the Nirmal Singh Bhangoo-managed group through two companies, namely PACL and Pearls Golden Forest, in a Ponzi scheme under the pretext of sale and development of agricultural land.
- The Supreme Court bench headed by Anil. R. Dave has ordered the CBI to handover the documents including title deeds of PACL properties to SEBI.
6. Veteran Urdu writer Intizar Hussain no more
- Veteran Urdu fiction writer and poet Intizar Hussain has passed away in Lahore at the age of 92.
- Hussain was among the 10 finalists for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction in 2013 and the first Pakistani national and also the first Urdu writer ever to be nominated for the international award.
- He was also conferred with the ‘Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Ambassador to Pakistan in September 2014.
- His acclaimed novels include Basti, ‘Kankari’, ‘Din Aur Dastan’, ‘Shehr-i-afsos’, ‘Kachhuay’, ‘Khaimay Say Door’, ‘Khali Pinjra’, ‘Morenama’ and ‘Sheharzad Kay Naam’.
- Hussain was a regular literary columnist for Pakistan’s leading English-language daily ‘Dawn’.
7. Ambiga Dhiraj appointed CEO of Mu Sigma
- In a management reshuffle, Ambiga Dhiraj has been appointed the CEO of Data Analytics firm Mu Sigma.
- This appointment makes Dhiraj the first ever woman CEO of an IT firm valued at least $1 billion. Prior to the appointment Dhiraj worked as the COO of Mu Sigma.
- Ambiga Dhiraj replaces the current CEO, her husband Dhiraj Rajaram for the top job. Rajaram will now relocate to the United States that will help him to engage directly with the ‘Fortune 500’ clients.
8. Maharashtra announces Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive Scheme
- Maharashtra state cabinet has announced the Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive Scheme for the economically backward Dalit entrepreneurs.
- The scheme is aimed at providing special facilities to Dalit entrepreneurs besides the present Collective Incentive Scheme 2013. Under the scheme, 20 per cent plots for small and medium scale industries with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) will be reserved for the Dalits.
- Businesses in commodities and service sector will be able to avail the benefits of the scheme.
9. Major General Jai Shanker Menon appointed as the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force
- India’s Major General Jai Shanker Menon has been appointed as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) by UN Secretary, General Ban Ki-moon.
- As per the United Nations statement, Major General Menon succeeds Lt General Purna Chandra Thapa of Nepal. Until now, General Major Menon was the Additional Director, General Equipment Management in the Indian Army. Thereafter from 2012 – 2013, he was General Officer, Commanding an Infantry Division.
- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) established the UNDOF in 1974 with the view to to maintain the ceasefire between the Israeli and Syrian forces and to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement.
10. ‘Titli’ wins the prestigious French Critic Award
- Indian film-maker Kanu Behl directed ‘Titli’ has bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics (FSCC) 2016 .
- The awards were announced in Paris, and the FSCC annually awards four prestigious prizes including Best French Film, Best International Film, Best First Foreign Film and Best Short Film.
- ‘Titli’ was co-produced by Dibakar Banerjee Productions Pvt. Ltd and Aditya Chopra under the banner of Yash Raj Films. The film features actors Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi in the lead roles.
- In addition to this the movie has bagged awards at various international film festivals at places like Bordeaux, Hawaii, New York, Turkey and Spain.
11. India signs three MoU’s with Brunei for bilateral cooperation
- On the event of Vice President Hamid Ansari’s 2nd day visit to Brunei, India signed three Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brunei in the areas of health, defence, youth and sports affairs.
- The MoU on health cooperation will seek to establish cooperation in the field of health by pooling scientific, financial, technical and human resources and to upgrade the health care, medical education and research between the two countries.
- The MoU in defence seeks to enhance defence cooperation between India and Brunei in various fields.
- The MoU on youth and sports affairs will provide a platform for exchange of sports persons and sports team with the view to facilitate the exchange of expertise in coaching, sports talent identification, sports management among other things.
12. RMZ Corp acquires Essar Group’s Equinox Business Park for Rs 2,400 crore
- RMZ Corp has acquired Essar Group’s Equinox Business Park for Rs 2,400 crore.
- The 1.25 million square foot office space in based near Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex and is the largest real estate property transaction this year so far.
- RMZ has bought the asset through its alliance with sovereign fund Qatar Investment Authorities and the commercial property houses offices of Nissan Motors, Acropolis, Crompton Greaves, Gilbarco Aegis and Lafarge, besides the offices of Essar.
- The property was developed by Essar Group on the Swan Mill Compound that it had acquired from Piramal’s Peninsula Land in 2008.
13. Yahoo to lay off 1,700 employees
- Yahoo, recently announced its decision to lay off about 1,700 employees in the company.
- This move is expected to lay off 15% of Yahoo’s workforce and purge out even those assortment of services which the company doesn’t think are worth their time and money.
- This decision is aimed at cost-cutting and an estimated $400 million will be saved annually. It is expected to help offset a steep decline in the net revenue the company incurred this year.
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