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Current Affairs for 8 March 2016
March 8, 2016
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GERMANY FOCUSES ON 3 CITIES FOR SMART CITY PROJECT

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Boosting India-Germany cooperation, State Secretary Gunther Adler of the German Ministry of Environment and Nuclear Safety, on Monday announced that Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore would be the first three cities to receive Germany’s support under the Smart City project. Germany has been involved in various fields related to Smart Cities — such as sustainable urban mobility, water and waste-water management, renewable energies and energy efficiency.


 

UK VISA FEES SET TO INCREASE FROM MARCH 18

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The decision by the British government to increase visa application fees across-the-board from March 18 will have a major impact on migrants from India — the country from where a large segment of entrants seeking to live and work in the U.K. come.

The increase in fees “linked most closely to economic growth” such as those offered to workers and students will increase by 2 per cent, as will tourist visas.

Settlement, residence and nationality fees will be increased by 25 per cent; while optional premium services offered by the Home Office such as the super premium service and priority visa services overseas will be increased by 33 per cent.

According to a report from the Office for National Statistics, of the top 10 nationalities who were granted entry clearance visas (that excludes visitor and transit visas) to the U.K. in 2015, Indians were the second highest at 85,403 following China which had the largest number at 93,076.


 

INDIA TO ISSUE 250 VISAS TO PAKISTANI CRICKET FANS

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India will issue 250 visas to Pakistani spectators for each match their team plays during the World Twenty20 cricket tournament. Visas will also be offered for the India-Pakistan match at Dharamsala, which is still under suspense owing to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s tough stand.

The five-day visa will be issued after furnishing of tickets of matches, return tickets for road or rail or air transport and accommodation bookings.


 

PASSENGERS CAN RATE TRAINS, STATIONS ONLINE

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Passengers can now rate thousands of trains and railway stations on safety, cleanliness, timeliness, services and other amenities online.

Online community network LocalCircles will share the feedback on over 2,900 trains and 4,500 railway stations with the Ministry of Railways on a consolidated basis.

Passengers can visit the LocalCircles website and search for a train or station to submit their feedback.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has actively used social media platforms in the past to take feedback on train services and the performance of the Railways. The railway Budget also emphasised on passenger feedback, as it announced that a single official will be made accountable for each train’s on-board experience.


 

TRIBUNAL HALTS $75 M PAYMENT TO MALLYA

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In a setback to businessman Vijay Mallya, the Bengaluru Bench of the Debt Recovery Tribunal on Monday temporarily restrained U.K.-based Diageo Plc from paying $75 million to him as per the reported agreement signed with him.

C.R. Benakanahalli, the presiding officer of the Bench, in his brief order also directed Mr. Mallya not to receive, temporarily, the money as per the agreement while stating that the sum would stand attached till further orders on the proceedings initiated by the banks to recover money borrowed by the Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines Limited.

According to the banks, the total outstanding is now nearly Rs. 10,000 crore.

The tribunal also directed Diageo and Mr. Mallya to provide particulars of their agreement to the banks led by the State Bank of India, which have sought a garnishee order claiming first right over the $75 million that Mr. Mallya is to get from Diageo.


 

INVENTOR OF EMAIL AND SAVIOR OF THE @ SIGN, RAY TOMLINSON, IS DEAD AT 74

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A computing legend has died. The inventor of email, Ray Tomlinson, suffered an apparent heart attack on Saturday, according to reports. He was 74 years old.

Tomlinson sent the very first email back in 1971; at the time, he was working in Boston at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN), a company that was instrumental in the development of a very early version of the internet, called ARPANET. As an employee, he was “looking for problems [ARPANET] could solve,” Tomlinson told The Verge in a 2012 interview.

Others had thought about sending messages to other users before, and there were some early versions that let you share notes to users on the same computer, but Tomlinson came up with the SNDMSG command. Unlike what came before it, SNDMSG actually sent mail files to the recipient’s computers. It was the first networked messaging program.


 

NOIDA POLICE GET APP FOR TIP-OFFS

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The police in Noida now have access to a mobile app that will help them collect information.

Launched on Sunday, the app — CitizenCop — offers people a direct and discreet way of approaching the police.

CitizenCop is available for Android and ioS users and has seen over one lakh downloads in cities across India.

Apart from passing on information about suspicious activities, users can also use the app to call for help in case of emergencies.

Police officials, however, caution that the app cannot replace the helpline 100.

Among the main tools the app offers is anonymous reporting of crime.


 

TATA TO BID FOR RS.60,000 CR. COMBAT VEHICLE ORDER

 

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Competition for the Rs.60,000 crore order for the supply of 2,610 Future Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) to the Indian Army has intensified with Tata Motors entering into a strategic agreement with Bharat Forge Ltd. and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) of the U.S. to bid for the project.

Other large Indian companies in the race include Larsen & Toubro and Mahindra & Mahindra. The winning consortium will need to supply these advanced combat vehicles over a period of 25 years.

Tata Motors, which has been supplying combat vehicles to the Indian Army for years, will lead this consortium. Bharat Forge has come on board as a partner while GDLS will bring in its much proven expertise in combat vehicle platforms.

The three partners will bring to the table their respective strengths to make a strong bid for the project, the companies said

The FICV will replace the Indian Army’s Russian-designed BMP (Sarath BMP-II) series armed vehicles that have been in operation since 1980.


 

FRESH EVIDENCE OF STONE AGE CULTURES IN KERALA

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Belying 19th century British geo-archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote’s argument on prehistoric habitation in the State, north Kerala is fast emerging as the site of fresh discoveries of remnants of Stone Age cultures.

Several reasons have been cited to make this possible, particularly the enthusiasm shown by a young archaeological-anthropologist, N.K. Ramesh, who is a senior assistant, Museum Project, Cultural Heritage Department of Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University at Tirur.

Ramesh has been credited with the discoveries of many Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Megalithic, and Neolithic tools and several Megalithic sites in north Kerala. Find include the typical Palaeolithic hand-axe from Vanimel river basin (Kozhikode) and pointed choppers and side scrapers from Anakkayam and Cheerkkayam river basin of Chandragiri (Kasaragod) are some of the first-time evidence of Palaeolithic implements in these districts.


 

INDIA’S FIRST TEST TUBE BABY NOW A MOTHER

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Barely eight hours old, the still-to-be-named baby boy yawned, twitched his nose, sneezed, and at one point, in a sudden generous mood, smiled, sending the cameras trained on him into a tizzy.

Born on Monday at 10.36 am at Jaslok Hospital to India’s first test tube baby Harsha, the baby boy appeared only too familiar with the media attention that his mother had generated when she was born in 1986.

Dr Hinduja delivered the child on Monday, 30 years after she had delivered Harsha at KEM Hospital. Along with Dr Hinduja was Dr Kusum Zaveri: the same team that had delivered Harsha. Dr Hinduja said Harsha and her baby are doing fine. “We had to do a caesarean as the baby was presenting a breech (the head was up and the legs were down). He is a healthy and chubby baby and weighed 3.18 kg at birth,” Dr Hinduja said.

Harsha had an arranged marriage with Divyapal Shah, a businessman, last May. As he hovered around the baby in their hospital room on Monday, he said he was never worried whether Harsha will have problems conceiving.