1. NASA Astronaut Edgar Mitchell passes away
- NASA Astronaut Edgar Mitchell died in West Palm Beach, Florida at the age of 85. Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the Moon and was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 14 .
- Mitchell was on the crew of Apollo 14 mission, which launched on the lunar surface on 5 February 1971. His death marked the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing.
- Mitchell and his colleague, Shephard set mission records for the time of the longest distance traversed on the lunar surface; the largest payload returned from lunar surface; and the longest lunar stay time (33 hours). They were also the first to transmit color TV from the lunar surface. Mitchell helped collect 94 pounds of lunar rock and soil samples that were distributed across 187 scientific teams in the United States and 14 other countries for analysis. Mitchell also took the famous photograph of Shepard standing next to an American flag.
- Mitchell retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973, organized to sponsor research in the nature of consciousness. In 1984, he co-founded the Association of Space Explorers, and international organization for all who “share experience of space travel.”
2. 12th South Asian Games inaugurated in Guwahati
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 12th South Asian Games 2016 at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati, Assam. Modi said that the South Asian Games demonstrate 3-Ts of Teamwork, Togetherness and Talent.
- The South Asian Games 2016 has 8 participating nations that includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. Squash Player Gaurav Ghoshal was the flag bearer of the 521-member Indian contingent.
- While majority of the games will be held in Guwahati, a part of the game will be co-hosted by the state of Meghalaya.
- The South Asian Games has the slogan ‘Play for Peace, Progress and Prosperity’ and a total of 228 events in 23 sports disciplines will be played during the games over the next 11 days.
3. Mahindra AMC gets SEBI nod for mutual fund business
- Mahindra Asset Management Company (AMC) has got the approval from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to manage the Mahindra Mutual Fund business.
- According to Ramesh Iyer, Managing Director, Mahindra Finance, the company will now focus on investors in semi-urban and rural markets. The company will also focus on bringing customised solutions to the customers.
- Mahindra AMC has 12 months from the receipt of licence to launch the fund house and their first product. Mahindra Finance is a NBFC with over ₹40,000 crore in managed assets, with 40 lakh customers in over 2.6 lakh villages. With this approval, the number of fund houses operating in India will rise to 43.
4. Union Government to set up National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim
- The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim.The decision was made by the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Sikkim Agriculture Minister Somnath Poudyal in New Delhi.
- The institute will be established by upgrading the existing Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Gangtok.
- It may be noted that Sikkim in January 2016 officially became the first fully organic state in India. 75000 hectares of land has been converted into certified organic farms following the guidelines prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.
5. Soumitra Dutta appointed Dean of Cornell’s new business college
- Indian-origin academician Soumitra Dutta is set to become the dean of the prestigious Cornell University’s new College of Business. The institute will start with its first academic year in 2016-17. It aims to become a world-class centre of teaching and research for business management and entrepreneurship.
- Dutta is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi and is currently the dean and professor of management and organisations in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at the Cornell University.
- The Cornell College of Business will consist of 145 research faculty and nearly 2,900 undergraduate, professional, and graduate students and will comprise Cornell’s three accredited business programmes: the School of Hotel Administration, the Charles H Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.
- Dutta is known for his contribution in the area of the impact of new technology on the business world, especially social media and social networking, and on strategies for driving growth and innovation by embracing the digital economy.
- His work has been widely published in the Harvard Business Review, European Management Journal, Management Science, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Decision Support Systems, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, and other journals.
6. Government plans to sell its books directly through Amazon, Flipkart
- The government plans to start directly selling the books it publishes through online platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart and Google Play.
- The sale is likely to start with the annual ‘India’ compendium and the government also plans to start selling digital versions of the books at a 25% discount.
- The Publications Division of the information and broadcasting ministry is in talks with e-commerce companies on the plan while the Ministry’s legal department is closely scrutinising the process. The government estimates that the online selling will help it to reach its target audience.
- The policy stipulates that revenue from online sales of digital versions will be shared in a 70:30 ratio between the Publications Division and ecommerce platforms. The tie-ups will be reviewed after two years.
7. Cartoonist Linus Maurer passes away at 90
- Cartoonist Linus Maurer, whose name was used for one of the main characters in the Peanuts comic strip, has died at the age of 90.
- Peanuts creator Charles M Schulz borrowed the first name of his old friend and colleague for Charlie Brown’s blanket-wielding best friend Linus. Maurer and Schulz worked together at Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis, when Peanuts was getting started.
- Maurer had a successful career with comics, with syndicated strips in the 1960s and 1970s called Old Harrigan, Abracadabra and In the Beginning. Prior to that, he had worked as an illustrator for IBM and AT&T in New York and as an art director for the McCann Erickson ad agency and Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco.
8. Yes Bank partners with the Indian Railways to set up 1000 water purifiers at railway stations across India
- Private sector lender YES Bank has partnered with the Indian Railways to set up 1,000 water purifiers on stations across the country by 2019.
- The objective is to provide safe and clean drinking water by setting up community water purification system at various railway stations.
- As per the statement by the bank, “In the first phase, 100 such systems will be set up at ‘D’ and ‘E’ category railway stations in Konkan belt and some other locations in Maharashtra by March 2016.”
- As per the bank the initiative is being rolled out at smaller stations with basic water connection and an average footfall of 1,000 passengers a day.
9. Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved Limited is India’s biggest FMCG advertiser of the week
- Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. has become India’s biggest FMCG advertisers leaving behind big brands such as Cadbury, Parle, Horlicks and Pond’s for this week.
- The reports are based on the data released, from Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the joint industry body that compiles and publishes TV viewing data.
- The body monitors over 400 channels and revealed that the TVCs for Patanjali products played more than 17,000 times between January 23 and January 29 compared with just under 16,000 times for products under the Cadbury brand.
- Baba Ramdev’s spokesperson SK Tijarawala said it has been a conscious decision on the part of the company to show its ads largely in news channels to target the “intelligent audience.”
10. Zimbabwe President declares a state of disaster in rural parts of the country due to drought
- Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe declared a state of emergency in rural parts of the country which was hit by brought.
- The announcement followed days after the European Union urged Mr Mugabe to declare a state of disaster so donors can raise money quickly to provide food aid.
- As per the United Nations World Food Programme, some 14 million people face hunger in southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon. The worst hit countries in Africa being Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
11. Taiwan hit with earthquake of 6.4 magnitude
- A deadly earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, killing at least seven people and leaving hundreds injured.
- Taiwanese president, President Ma Ying-jeou promised an “all-out effort” to rescue people. As per reports, hundreds of people are still stuck in rubbles of the collapsed buildings, and the rescue operation are underway. As per the US Geological Survey (USGS), “The quake was shallow, meaning its effects would have been amplified.”
- In addition, there have also been at least five aftershocks and the quake was felt as far as the capital Taipei, 300 km away.
12. Joint military training exercise between India and Nepal to begin
- The 9th Indo-Nepal combined battalion level country terrorism exercise are to begin in February 2016.
- The joint military exercise, Surya Kiran is to be held from February 8 to February 21 under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade of Central Command, which will have a infantry battalion from each side training together and sharing their experience of counter terrorism operations and jungle warfare in mountain terrain.
- Surya Kiran, is a bi-annual event which is conducted alternatively between Nepal and India, aimed at enhancing the interoperability between the Indian and the Nepalese Army units. In addition, the training will focus on humanitarian aid and disaster relief including medical and aviation support.
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