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1. DJ Pandian appointed AIIB Vice-President
1. Former IAS officer D J Pandian has been appointed vice-president and chief investment officer (CIO) of Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). He is retired IAS officer of Gujarat cadre and had served as chief secretary of the state. He also had worked on deputation with the World Bank. He was also the MD of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC).
2. China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders of AIIB, taking 30.34%, 8.52%, 6.66% stake respectively. Their voting shares are 26.06%, 7.5% and 5.92% respectively.
2. Bharat Biotech unveiled first vaccine candidate Zikavac for Zika Virus
1. Indian biotechnology company Bharat Biotech claimed that it has achieved a breakthrough in developing a vaccine to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
2. Bharat Biotech developed world’s first, two promising candidates ZikaVac vaccines for Zika infection.The company is probably the first in the world to file for global patent for the two vaccines.
3. One of the possible vaccines is recombinant, which means it is created by genetic engineering, while the other was inactivated, and will enter pre-clinical trials in animals in two weeks.
The company announced that it could make available the inactivated vaccine in two years if the Indian Government fast-tracked the regulatory approvals once the pre-clinical trials proved to be successful.
3. Canadian province of Prince Edward Island & Ontario signed MoUs in Chandigarh
1. Canadian Provinces of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Ontario in first week of February 2016 inked Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in Chandigarh. The MoUs were inked during the India visit of the premiers of PEI and Ontario Wade MacLauchlan and Kathleen Wynne respectively.
2. MacLauchlan and Wynne were leading a week-long trade mission to India with a focus on building economic and education relationships between the two nations. During the visit the duo premiers met with several leaders of India like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior Ministers.
3. The meetings were focused on cultivating relationships with India in renewable energy, sustainable development, food products, and post-secondary education.
4. EU approved 3.3 billion euros funding to Turkey to cope with Syrian refugee crisis
1. The European Union (EU) approved 3.3 billion Euros in funding to help Turkey cope with the issue of Syrian migrants. At present, Turkey is home to around 3 million Syrians who fled the country since the beginning of the civil war in 2011.
2. The funding is aimed at curbing flow of asylum seekers into the Europe by tightening its borders with Turkey.
3. Under the deal, the EU's executive is contributing one billion euros to the fund, while the 28 member states will contribute the rest.
4. The funding is part of a deal reached in October 2015 between the EU and Turkey to stem the flow of refugees crossing into Greece on their way to northern Europe.
5. India to participate in Cobra Gold 2016 military exercise in Thailand
1. The term Cobra Gold was in news on 3 February 2016 as India confirmed its participation in the annual amphibious military exercise in 2016.
2. The decision in this regard was conveyed to Thailand, the host country, during Vice President Hamid Ansari’s visit to the country.
3. It is the largest Asia-Pacific military exercise and held in Thailand every year. It is among the largest multinational military exercise in which the United States participates.
6. Union Government sets up two committees to ensure consistency in tax policies
1. The Union Government has constituted two new committees namely Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) and Tax Policy Council (TPC) to streamline the taxation policy and administration. These committees have been constituted based on the recommendation of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) on taxation reform.
2. Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) The TPRU will be headed by Revenue Secretary. It will carry out . studies on various topics of fiscal and tax policies. It will assist the TPC in taking appropriate policy decisions and shall prepare tax proposal and analysis of legislative intent.3. Tax Policy Council (TPC) The TPC will help the government in identifying key policy decisions for taxation. It shall aim to have a consistent and coherent approach to the issue of tax policy. It will look at all the research findings coming from TPRU and suggest broad policy measures for taxation. The council will be headed by Union Finance Minister. It shall have 9 members – Minister of State for Finance, Commerce Minister, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman, Chief Economic Advisor and Finance Secretary.