Current Affairs Today 1 : Major General Menon will head UN’s Disengagement Observer Force
On 2 February 2016 Major General Jai Shanker Menon of India was appointed as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced his appointment.
Menon succeeds Lieutenant General Purna Chandra Thapa of Nepal, who will complete his assignment on 7 February 2016.
He will bring to his new position an extensive command experience and knowledge of peacekeeping affairs at the national and international levels.
About Major General Jai Shanker Menon
- Between 2012 and 2013, he was General Officer, Commanding of an Infantry Division.
- Held a number of other command positions, including Commandant of the Regimental Training Centre, Brigade Commander and Battalion Commander.
- Served at an international level at different positions, in 1993 as Military Observer in the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) and from 2007 to 2009 at United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
About United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
- Established on 31 May 1974 by Security Council resolution 350 (1974), following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan.
- From then on, UNDOF has remained in the area to maintain the ceasefire between the Israeli and Syrian forces and to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement.
Current Affairs Today 2 : NIIF, Rusnano signed MoU to set-up Russia-India High Technology Private Equity Fund
On 2 February 2016 National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RUSNANO OJSC of Russia.
Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said, Russia-India High Technology Private Equity Fund was set-up for:
- Joint implementation of investments into projects in India
- To cooperate in various sectors
- Facilitate high-technology investments in India.
- Establish a joint working group to further develop teamwork between them
- Work on the progress of the definitive agreements based on the principles outlined in the Memorandum.
About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd
- The Union Government established NIIF as a Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.
- Financed from Government’s own contribution
- Expected to have equity participation from both foreign and domestic strategic anchor partners with Government’s share being 49%.
- Initial authorized corpus of NIIF is of Rs. 40000 crore, which may be raised from time to time.
- Objective is to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects both Greenfield and Brownfield, including stalled projects and other nationally important projects in India.
- A Russian development institute
- Interested to invest in projects in the field of high technologies and defense including the projects aimed at establishment of manufacturing industrial enterprises in India.
Current Affairs Today 3 : Govt to set up BG Research Lab to understand earthquake mechanics in Koyna region
On 2 February 2016, Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences inaugurated the construction work of Borehole Geophysics Research Laboratory (BGRL) at Hazarmachi, Karad of Maharashtra.
BGRL is being developed at Karad to understand and address the challenges of the seismological problems (natural calamities) of societal bearing in the Koyna Region through drilling investigation.
Conceptualized as part of the Ministry’s programme of Scientific Deep Drilling in Koyna Intra-plate Seismic Zone for geographical investigations and modeling dedicated to earthquake research in the area.
About the BGRL Programme
- A unique approach to understand the mechanism of earthquakes in the Koyna region
- Proposed to drill deep boreholes to reach the depths of earthquakes in the region and set-up a deep borehole observatory.
- Direct observations in the source zone of the earthquakes will provide new and critical information to model these earthquake mechanisms.
- Goal is to emerge as an Institution of international repute related to earthquake research.
About Koyna region
- Koynanagar is a town near the Koyna Hydroelectric Project in Maharashtra.
- The area is one of the most seismically active in Maharashtra and the country.
- Lies in Zone IV of earthquake hazard zoning.
- Reservoir triggered earthquakes have been occurring persistently in the region since the impoundment of the Shivaji Sagar Lake in 1962.
- In 1967, the region faced a quake of magnitude 6.3, which was the largest triggered earthquake of the area.
- Several thousand small and large earthquakes have occurred in the region
Current Affairs Today 4 : Titli became 1st Indian film to win Best First Foreign Film by FSCC
Indian film-maker Kanu Behl’s directorial Titli bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award on 1 February 2016 conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016 (FSCC).
Titli has earlier won at various international film festivals at places like: Bordeaux, New York, Hawaii, Spain and Turkey.
- A 2015 Bollywood drama film
- Written and directed by Kanu Behl,
- Co-produced by Dibakar Banerjee Productions Pvt. Ltd and Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films banner.
- Features actors like Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi in lead roles.
- The story revolves around Titli, the youngest member of a violent car-jacking brotherhood, who plots a desperate bid to escape the family business.
About French Syndicate of Cinema Critics
- Awards 4 prestigious prizes each year including Best French Film, Best International Film, Best First Foreign Film and Best Short Film.
- Every year organizes the International Critics’ Week, the oldest parallel competitive section of the Cannes Film Festival.
Current Affairs Today 5 : Alphabet Inc. becomes world’s most valued public company
Shares of Alphabet Inc. opened almost 3% higher to become the world’s most valuable public company, replacing Apple Inc on 2 February 2016.
The shift occurred in extended trading of 1 February 2016 after Alphabet released their 4th quarter earnings report that highlighted the robust growth of the digital ad market. They earned 4.9 billion US dollars on revenue of 21.3 billion US dollars in the 4th quarter.
At after-hours levels on 1 February 2016, Alphabet’s market cap hit about 570 billion US dollars, eclipsing Apple’s market cap of roughly 535 billion US dollars. Shares of Apple opened down almost 1% on 2 February 2016.
About Alphabet Inc.
- An American multinational conglomerate created in 2015
- Parent company of Google and several other companies previously owned by or tied to Google.
- Based in California
- Headed by Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
- Reorganization of Google into Alphabet was completed on 2 October 2015.
- After the restructuring, Page became CEO of Alphabet and Sundar Pichai took his position as the CEO of Google.
- Shares of Google’s stock have been converted into Alphabet stock
- They trade under Google’s former ticker symbols of GOOG and GOOGL.