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Current Affairs for 20 February 2016
February 20, 2016
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HARPER LEE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD AUTHOR, DIES AGED 89

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1.Harper Lee, whose 1961 novel To Kill a Mockingbird became a national institution and the defining text on the racial troubles of the American deep south, has died at the age of 89.

2.Lee, or Nelle as she was known to those close to her, had lived for several years in a nursing home less than a mile from the house in which she had grown up in Monroeville, Alabama – the setting for the fictional Maycomb of her famous book. The town’s mayor, Mike Kennedy, confirmed the author’s death.

3.Until last year, Lee had been something of a one-book literary wonder. To Kill a Mockingbird, her 1961 epic narrative about small-town lawyer Atticus Finch’s battle to save the life of a black resident threatened by a racist mob, sold more than 40m copies around the world and earned her a Pulitzer prize. George W Bush awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 2007.


 


NEPAL PRIME MINISTER KP SHARMA OLI ARRIVES ON 6-DAY INDIA VISIT

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1.In his first overseas trip after assuming charge of the top office, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli arrived in New Delhi on a six-day visit during which he will hold extensive talks with the Indian leadership with a major focus on mending ties hit by issues relating to the Himalayan nation’s new Constitution.

2.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received Mr Oli, accompanied by a 77-member delegation, at the airport, reflecting importance India attaches to the visit.

3.Mr Oli and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold extensive talks on a range of issues tomorrow following which both sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to step up cooperation in several key sectors.

4.It is expected that India will ask Nepal to complete the “unfinished task” of making the Constitution more inclusive to address the concerns of the Madhesi community which share close family and cultural ties with Indians.


 

INCOME TAX DEPT. TO SET UP WORLD-CLASS FORENSIC LAB

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1.Faced with the challenges of tackling new-age economic offences and evasion, the Income Tax Department plans to set up a forensic laboratory of international standards in Mumbai. The proposal was tabled at a recent meeting of all directorates of income tax (investigation), western region, in Mumbai. Senior officials said it could take about a year to have the lab up and running.

2.The state-of-the-art lab will help tax sleuths crack passwords, carry out mathematical hashing, recover files and identify file signatures. Senior I-T officials said there is an urgent need to set up such a lab, with most assesses’ data being maintained in a digital form. The digital data is not only easy to modify in the event of a search or survey but is also protected by encryptions most of the time, officials said.

3.The forensic lab will also, officials said, be equipped with Forensic Duplicators, which can duplicate four sources of hard disk drive to 16 targets simultaneously with a speed of 5-6 GB per minute. The department is likely to acquire highly-configured computer systems with in-built write blockers, extra USB ports, pre-installed forensic software to acquire and analyse data collected during inspectors’ search and survey.


 

ISRO UPBEAT AS INDIGENOUS CRYO ENGINE PASSES TEST

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1.Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) bid to acquire the capability to launch heavier satellites into orbit received a boost on Friday with the successful hotbed test of the cryogenic engine for the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 rocket.

2.The long-duration test at the ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri lasted 640 seconds.

3.Using Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants, the high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) generates power of approximately 2 MW. Developed at the Liquid Propulsion System centre (LPSC) here, the engine had already undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance.

4.The biggest rocket made in India, the Mk3 will be capable of launching four-tonne satellites into geosynchronous orbit.


 

FORMER INDIAN MILITARY PERSONNEL TO GUARD RELIANCE INDUSTRIES’ ASSETS

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1.The $57-billion Reliance Industries, the holding company led by Mukesh Ambani, has hired 16,000 former Indian defence personnel and commandos to protect its energy and economic assets.

2.These ex-military men, drawn from the army, navy and air force, are veterans of several operations including the Kargil war, the Akshardham (Ahmedabad) terrorist attack and 26/11 counterterrorist operations, according to Reliance sources who didn’t want to be named.

3.Reliance has created a new business vertical, christened Global Corporate Security (GCS), which apart from these services personnel, will include information security experts to protect the company’s data assets too. A company source told The Hindu that the IT experts are trained to deal with security challenges and technological risks the company will face in the future.

4.Mr. Ambani, India’s richest person with personal assets of $18.9 billion according to the Forbes Rich List, has Z-category security and his company’s Jamnagar refinery, one of the largest in the world, is protected by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) since the time it received terror threats from across the border.