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Current Affairs for 17 February 2016
February 17, 2016
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TAYLOR SWIFT WINS BEST ALBUM AT GRAMMYS WHILE ADELE STRUGGLES

1.Taylor Swift’s 1989 took the album of the year award at the 58th Grammy awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday night. Having opened the show with a version of her hit Out of the Woods, the singer made a defiant acceptance speech which seemed to allude to her argument with Kanye West earlier in the week. The rapper’s new song Famous, referring to Swift, claims: “I made that bitch famous.”

2.Swift pointed out in her speech that she is the first woman to win album of the year twice and added: “I want to say to all the young women out there – there are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.”


 

RAILWAYS TO BUILD 3 PROJECTS THROUGH BUILD-OPERATE-TRANSFER MODEL

1.The Indian Railways has identified the first three projects to be taken up for development through the new build, operate, transfer (BOT) annuity model at an estimated cost of around Rs 2,450 crore.

2.The three targeted projects are developing third line between Nagpur and Wardha (both in Maharashtra), Kazipet (Telangana) and Balharshah (Maharashtra) and, Bhadrak and Nergundi (both in Odisha), a senior Railways Ministry official said. The total estimated cost of development of 357 km third line is around Rs 2450 crore.

3.Under the BOT annuity model for rail projects, the private developer gets a revenue guarantee of 80 per cent of projected revenue at the time of bidding.

4.The developer gets a full right to revenue between 80 and 120 per cent and the Indian Railways do not take any share from it.


NEW SIX-LANE FLYOVER OPENED TO TRAFFIC AT BURARI

1.The Delhi government opened a new flyover at Burari to traffic on Monday. The six-lane flyover is part of the Vikaspuri to Wazirabad elevated corridor in north Delhi.

2.Also, it is part of the project to make the Outer Ring Road signal-free. The entire 20-km Vikaspuri to Wazirabad corridor is expected to be ready by next month.

3.Two parts of the flyover, however, are yet to be opened. These are expected to be ready by March.

4.The PWD said that Rs. 15 crore were saved in constructing the Burari flyover as it was built at Rs. 42 crore as against a sanctioned cost of Rs. 57 crore.


 

EPFO OFFERS 8.8% INTEREST FOR 2015-16, UNIONS PROTEST

1.The central board of trustees of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Tuesday recommended 8.80 per cent rate of return on retirement savings under its watch for 2015-16.

2.Although this is a notch higher than the 8.75 per cent offered by the EPFO to its subscribers at present, the announcement has left the trade unions disappointed as they complain that the financial and investment panel of the EPFO board had earlier recommended interest rate of 8.95 per cent.

3.Mr. Banasure said Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who chaired the Central Borad of Trustees meeting, said 8.80 per cent is an “interim” interest rate. “We demanded the Minister to wait for the audit of the 2015-16 balance sheet before declaring the interest rates. However, he didn’t agree,” he added.

4.The FIAC of the EPFO board had proposed 8.95 per cent rate of return as “feasible” in its meeting held last month.

5.The EPFO has estimated Rs. 34,844 crore as its income meant for distribution of interest to its 8.7 crore subscribers for 2015-16. This includes a surplus of Rs. 1,604 crore which accrued in 2015 to the EPFO’s income beyond the fund’s original estimates.


 

CAPTIVE FLIGHT TRIALS OF ANTI-RADIATION MISSILE SOON

1.Captive flight trials of an advanced, state-of-the-art Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) are planned for April-May this year, and the maiden flight test by year-end by the missile technologists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

2.The air-to-surface tactical missile being developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) will target the enemy’s air defence capabilities by attacking radars and communication facilities.

3.The range of the missile is 100 to 125 km and it will be mounted on combat aircraft Sukhoi (Su-30) and Tejas-Light Combat Aircraft.

4.The missile picks up the radiation or signals of radars and communication facilities and homes on to the targets to destroy them.


 

XAVIER UNIVERSITY COLLABORATES WITH ARIZONA MANAGEMENT SCHOOL

1.Thunderbird School of Global Management, a highly acclaimed global business school of Arizona State University, USA, has selected to associate Odisha-based Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, (XUB) to start its first management programme from India.

2.Thunderbird and XUB will be offering two programmes — Master of Global Management programme and Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management — in dual degree mode from August this year. While a student will spend first year in the XUB, Thunderbird will take care of the second year of the programme. The course fee is close to Rs.50 lakh.


 

NDA WINS SEVEN ASSEMBLY SEATS IN BY-POLLS IN 8 STATES

1.The results of the Assembly by-elections announced on Tuesday sprang a few surprises and gave cause for worry for the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress in Karnataka.

2.Both lost two of the three seats they had contested and held in the past.

3.The BJP and its allies won seven of the 12 seats in eight States.

4.The Congress and the BJP wrested two seats — Deoband and Muzaffarnagar — from the SP in Uttar Pradesh. The SP, however, retained Bikapur in Faizabad district.

5.In Deoband, Congress candidate Maviya Ali Khan won, while Kapil Deo Agarwal of the BJP won in Muzaffarnagar. The SP’s Anand Sen Yadav, a former Minister in the BSP government, won in Bikapur. Notably, in the 2014 by-polls in Uttar Pradesh, a few months after the Lok Sabha elections, the SP won nine of the 12 seats. In 2015, it won Charkhari and Pharendra.


 

EX-UN CHIEF BOUTROS GHALI DEAD

1.Former United Nations secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali died at a hospital in Cairo on Tuesday, officials said. He was 93. UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed him as a “respected statesman” and a “memorable leader who rendered invaluable services to world peace and international order”.

2.Boutros-Ghali was earlier admitted to the hospital with a broken pelvis, the BBCreported citing Egypt’s state news agency.

3.His death was confirmed by Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN and current president of the UN Security Council.

4.A former Egyptian foreign minister, Boutros-Ghali was the first Arab to serve as UN chief.


 

IRAN IN THE BELT AND ROAD LOOP AS FIRST TRAIN FROM CHINA ARRIVES

1.The first train from China’s trading hub of Yiwu has arrived in Tehran on Monday, signalling Iran’s firm integration in the Beijing led-Belt and Road connectivity initiative along the New Silk Road.

2.The train ferrying 32 containers completed its 14-day journey, covering over 10,399 km, after passing through the arid landscape of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia.

3.Iranian Railway Minister, Mohsen Pourseyyed Aqai, pointed out on Monday that the train, covering 700 km a day, had demonstrated that it was possible to substantially slash transit time for goods arriving in Iran from China. Compared to the railway option, cargo ships, setting sail from Shangahi take nearly 45 days to arrive at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.


FM INAUGURATES NON-TAX REVENUE E-PORTAL

1.With the Prime Minister’s Office setting a target to switch at least 90 per cent of all official transactions to paperless mode by the end of 2016, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a new e-platform for non-tax receipts.NTPC made the maiden payment on the portal developed by the Controller General of Accounts, by remitting Rs.989 crore as an interim dividend to the government.


 

SOUTH ASIAN GAMES: INDIA FINISH ON TOP WITH 308 MEDALS

1.India’s regional supremacy went unchallenged as the hosts were crowned overall champions for the 12th consecutive time, after notching up a record-breaking haul of 308 medals, at the South Asian Games.

2.With women boxers scooping all the three gold medals on offer and the judokas also bagging two gold and two silver on the last day of the Games, India’s final tally stood at 188 gold, 99 silver and 30 bronze medals.

3.It was a massive jump in medal count for the Indians, who had won 175, including 90 gold, in the previous edition of the Games in 2010.

4.At the distant second spot was Sri Lanka with a haul of 186 medals (25 silver, 63 silver and 98 bronze). Pakistan held on to the third spot with a final count of 106 medals (12 gold, 37 silver and 57 bronze).