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1. Union Government nod for building of 82000 houses for poor in urban areas of 163 cities
1. The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation sanctioned construction of around eighty two thousand houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in urban areas of 163 cities.
2. The cities are in West Bengal, Telangana, Bihar, Mizoram, Rajashtan, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. State wise number of houses sanctioned
• West Bengal - 27830 houses
• Telangana – 22817
• Bihar – 13315
• Mizoram – 8922
• Rajasthan – 6052
• Uttarakhand - 484
3. According to the Ministry, the construction will involve an investment of over four thousand crore rupees, of which, the Union Government will provide an assistance of 1226 crore rupees. These 1226 crore rupees will be provided under the Prime Minister's Awas Yojana (Urban).
2. World Bank announced $150 million to combat Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean
1. The World Bank Group announced 150 million US dollars in funding to combat Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The funding is aimed at supporting the countries in the region that are projected to incur losses up to 3.5 billion US dollars or 0.06 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 due to the spread of Zika virus.
2. The World Bank announced funding as it was observed that a group of countries highly dependent on tourism—notably in the Caribbean—could suffer losses in excess of 1 percent of GDP.
3. Earlier, on 1 February 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over Zika virus outbreak and urged international community to provide additional support to stem the impact of the virus.
3. Nepal decided to constitute 11-member political committee over provincial demarcations
1. Nepal Government decided to constitute an 11-member-political committee to study the demarcation of federal states on the constitution. It will also review the disputed provisions within the country’s new constitution that was adopted on 20 September 2015.
2. The 11-member will be chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa and will also include representatives from the agitating Madhesis. Moreover, the committee will decide its terms of reference (ToR) on its own.
3. The committee is mandated to prepare its report and suggest recommendations within three months after it gets full shape.The full shape to the committee will be given after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is back from his visit to India that started on 19 February 2016. Oli is on his first foreign visit since he became prime minister in October 2015.
4. Scientists discovered five Jupiter-like Planets
1. The team, led by Pierre Maxted of the Keele University in Staffordshire of UK, discovered five new Jupiter-like planets that orbits very close to their host stars. The discovered planets exhibits similar characteristics that of our solar systems biggest planet. The findings of the discovery were published online in the arXiv journal.
2. The planets were studied in their light curve by using the Wide Angle Search for Planets-South (WASP-South) instrument—an array of eight cameras observing selected regions of the southern sky. The instrument is located at the site of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), outside Sutherland in South Africa.
5. Polish film director Andrzej Zulawski passed away
1. Polish film director Andrzej Zulawski passed away in Warsaw, Poland after a long struggle with cancer. He was 75.
2. Zulawski was known for an idiosyncratic approach to storytelling and blending surrealism, horror and psychic excess in the emotionally savage films like That Most Important Thing: Love, Possession and My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days. He often went against mainstream commercialism in his films, and enjoyed success mostly with European art-house audiences.
6. Indian-origin Ashutosh Tiwari-led Utah Engineers discovered 2D Semiconducting Material made of Tin Monoxide
1. Engineers belonging to the University of Utah, the USA, discovered a new kind of 2D semiconducting material for electronics that is made up of the elements tin and oxygen or tin monoxide (SnO).
2. The discovery was made by a team of engineers led by Indian-Orgin Ashutosh Tiwari and published online on 15 February 2016 in the journal Advanced Electronic Materials.
3. The only one atom thick 2D SnO material allows electrical charges to move through it much faster than conventional 3D materials such as silicon and will facilitate development of much speedier computers and smartphones.
7. US President Obama signed a new law imposing sanctions against North Korea
1. United States (US) President Barack Obama signed off a new law imposing new sanctions against North Korea. The new law is titled North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.
The new law prescribing sanctions is aimed at punishing North Korea for its provocative recent nuclear test and rocket launch.
2. The law was passed by the US Congress on 12 February 2016 after North Korea refused to stop its nuclear programme.
8. Former West Indies cricketer Andy Ganteaume died
1. Andy Ganteaume, the former West Indies and Trinidad & Tobago wicketkeeper-batsman, passed away in Santa Margarita, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. He was 95.
2. Ganteaume was West Indies' oldest living Test cricketer, and the world's second oldest, after South Africa's Lindsay Tuckett.
9. Veteran singer Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passes away
1. Veteran singer Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal following old-age related ailments. He was 107. He was a highly acclaimed Hindustani classical singer of Gwalior Gharana who had created around 2,000 compositions and was also a prolific writer and poet under the pseudonym Rasan Piya.
10. Google’s Project Loon begins its operations in Sri Lanka
1. Google’s Project Loon began its operations in Sri Lanka after first helium-filled balloon landed in Pupuressa area in Gampola town. It was one of three balloons that were put up in Sri Lankan airspace for trials to provide high-speed internet service after it was launched from South America.
2. Project Loon is a pet project of search engine giant Google for providing Internet access to rural and remote areas using high-altitude helium-filled balloons. These balloons will be placed at an altitude of about 18 km in the stratosphere where wind speed is low and turbulence is minimum. Each balloon can provide full wireless broadband internet coverage up to an area of 40 km and are powered mainly by solar panels.
11. Union Cabinet gives nod to Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016
1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002. In this regard, Government is going to introduce Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament in pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015.
2. These amendments will give voting rights to people who became Indian citizens following the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh. Amendment of Delimitation Act, 2002 will enable Election Commission of India (ECI) to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the Cooch Behar District of West Bengal.
12. Aditya Birla Nuvo forms JV with Idea Cellular for payments bank
1. Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd (ABNL) today announced formation of a joint venture with group firm Idea Cellular to set up a payments bank.
2. Last year in August, RBI had given in-principle approval to the company to set up a Payments Bank under the guidelines for licensing of Payments Banks.
3. The company jointly with Idea Cellular Ltd has incorporated a new subsidiary for the aforesaid purpose in the name and style of Aditye Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd