2013 - February 7 to 15 Current Affairs


International Issues 

Researchers from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg in the second week of February 2013 discovered the largest prime number of the world, beating an earlier record of largest prime number by more than 4 million digits. The findings of the researchers were a part of Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). 

GIMPS is a distributed computing project which was specifically formulated for finding out a certain kind of prime number which was first identified in 17th century. All the prime numbers in the world can be divided by themselves and 1 only. However there are certain rare kinds of prime numbers called Mersenne primes which have the form 2 multiplied by itself p times minus 1, where p denotes a prime number. The new number now shot to 2 multiplied by itself 57885161 times minus 1 and this broke the record of finding the new and even larger primes. 

The new largest prime number discovered by the researchers has more than 17 million digits and is an only 48th Mersenne prime found so far. It is the 14th discovery by GIMPS. The earlier record of 2 multiplied by itself 43112609 times minus 1 was also discovered by GIMPS back in 2008 and it had just a few less than 13 million digits. GIMPS discovered all the top ten largest Mersenne primes. 



The largest saltwater crocodile of the world, named Lolong died in Philippines on 10 February 2013 just 17 months after it was captured and put for tourists on display. Lolong measured 6.17 metres or 20.24 feet. 

The largest crocodile of the world died because of illness that is not known. It is believed that Lolong was over 50 years old. 



Operation Three Star: Code name given to secret plan for executing Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013. 



The sanctions-hit Iran on 12 February 2013 called on for destruction of all atomic weapons of the world. The decision came soon after North Korea declared that the country had staged the most powerful nuclear test yet available with it.



12 February 2013: World Radio Day was observed to increase awareness about the importance of radio. World Radio Day was observed on 12 February 2013 to raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through it and enhance networking among broadcasters. 

On the 18th of December, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the 2011 resolution adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming the 13th of February as World Radio Day, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946. 



The two-day International Conference on Traditional Medicine for South-East Asian Countries concluded with the Adoption of Delhi Declaration in New Delhi on 13 February 2013. The Delhi Declaration was made for fostering the development of Traditional Medicine of the region. 

Agenda’s of Delhi Declaration on Traditional Medicine for the South-East Asian Countries: 

 • For appropriate use of traditional medicines in the health care delivery system impartial development and promotion of national policies, strategies and interventions 

 • Development of institutionalized mechanism for exchange of information, expertise and knowledge with active cooperation with WHO on traditional medicine through workshops, symposia, visit of experts, exchange of literature and more

 • To pursue harmonized approach for the education, research, documentation, practice and regulation of traditional medicine along with the involvement of practitioners of health services of the traditional medicine 

• Identification of the possible ways for promotion of mutual recognition of educational qualifications that is awarded by recognized Universities, monographs, pharmacopoeias and relevant databases of traditional medicine 

• The declaration included development of a common document for reference on traditional medicines for the south East Asian nations 

• To identify and develop the scopes of regional cooperation for training and capacity building of traditional medicine experts 

• To encourage sustainable development and resource augmentation of medicinal plants in the South East Asian regional countries 

• To establish regional centers as required for capacity building and networking in the areas of traditional medicine and medicinal plants 

• To exchange views, experiences and experts for integration of traditional medicine into national health systems in accordance with national policies and regulations 

The conference was attended by the representatives of South-East Asian countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, DPR Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, Maldives and Thailand. 



National Issues 

The Union Cabinet of India on 6 February 2013 gave its nod to the proposal of decreasing the headcounts to 100 in habitations under the government's flagship programme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, PMGSY. Under this program (PMGSY) habitation with population of 100 tribals and more in eighty-two naxal-hit would be connected via all weather roads. 

Earlier, under the PMGSY program the tribal areas with a population graph of more than 250 people in the naxal-affected reasons were covered. The decision of decreasing the head counts in different area came after it was pointed out by Kishore Chandra Deo, the Tribal Affairs Minister that maximum habitations in these areas had a population graph of less than 250 people. 



NPCA: National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 7 February 2013 approved the proposal for the merger of National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) and National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP) to develop a new scheme named National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA)

The estimated cost to bring this plan into operations during the 12th Plan Period is 900 crore rupees. The Government of India and the State Governments would be sharing the costs in a ratio of 70:30 and in case of the North-Eastern states the ratio is 90:10. 

National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) The Union Government of India merged National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) to develop a new program named National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA). 

The formation of the NPCA was done with the objective of conserving aquatic ecosystems (lakes and wetlands) by implementing sustainable conservation plans. To govern the implementation uniform policy and guidelines will be framed. 



The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Manish Tewari on 7 February 2013 launched the MyIndia Initiative-A Digital Volunteer Programme to reach out the people in the social media space. The initiative from the I&B Ministry is aimed towards disseminating and delivering the messages of development to the citizens by registering them as volunteers them on the social media platforms. The initiative is an effort to make the citizen contribute positively towards nation building and this would initiate a principle of participative governance across the nation. 

The I&B Ministry on 8 February 2013 also tried to reach out the citizens for the first time via Live Twitter Conference on the eve of 3rd Community Radio Conference. This was the first ever conference of such type by any of the Ministry’s of Government of India. Community Radio: Road Travelled & way forward was the topic for community radio conference and it lasted for a period of 30 minutes from 4 pm to 4:30 pm. 



Ministry of Civil Aviation on 8 February 2013 released Shubh Yatra, an exclusive monthly bi-lingual (Hindi & English) inflight magazine of Air India. It covers travel, lifestyle, culture and entertainment in all colour and spice. This is the new name of the inflight magazine. 



Finance Minister P Chidambaram on 9 February 2013 launched the much-awaited Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme in Mumbai. The move will encourage new investors to put their money in the stock market. The scheme, which was announced in the Budget 2011-12, seeks to provide tax benefits to first-time investors in stock market. 

Under the scheme, an individual with an income of less than 10 lakh rupees would get tax incentives for investing up to 50000 rupees in the stock market. 

As per the notification issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India on the scheme, there would be a lock-in period of one year on investments made under the scheme. 



The Delhi Declaration of the first South Asian Autism Network (SAAN) for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) conference concluded in New Delhi on 11 February 2013. 

 The Delhi Declaration is as follows: The members of South Asian Autism Network (SAAN), during New Delhi Declaration took into consideration facts like: 

• To reiterate the commitment of nations to the concept of all human beings being born free and equal in rights and dignity as enshrined in: 
a. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, 
b. The Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, 
c. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2007, 
d. The Declaration of 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations General Assembly 2007 
e. The Dhaka Declaration on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities of July 2011 

• They reiterated towards its commitment for safeguarding every citizen from discrimination and social exclusion ensuring their inclusion in all spheres of life 

• They noted down their concerns related to the increased occurrence of autism and disorders related to it as well as the absence of population based mechanisms to detect the accessible interventions on time 

• To develop a community based model for early detection, intervention and care for Autism which can surely improve the outcome and become a model for different types of developmental disabilities 

• The concern for making the appropriate services accessible to children and their families, making it affordable, and increase the human and material costs for communities, families and nations because the scientific evidences for early intervention of the children with autism have increased at a large scale 

 • To consider the stigma, discrimination as well as social exclusion that children and their families can face on a daily basis 

The Participant nations undertook: 
• A commitment to themselves to include ASD in all mainstream policies and programmes of their nations for addressing the issues related to early childhood development in all spheres of community life 

• To develop measures for early detection and surveillance services at every level •
 Evaluation and implementation of the efficacious and effective programs for addressing the life cycle needs of person with ASD 

• The member countries agreed to undertake collaborative research on all aspects of autism 

• To strive to improve Awareness, develop collaborative networks for Advocacy and Legislation/Policy changes if required, on ASD which will also provide a platform for the voices of persons with ASD and their families 

• Implementation of the Dhaka Declaration on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities of 2011, in both letter and spirit.



Priority Sector Lending (PSL) to Minorities increased considerably from 10.60 percent of total PSL in 2007-2008 to 15.01 percent in 2012-2013. Priority Sector Lending (PSL) to minorities belongs to one of the schemes which are covered under the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for Welfare of Minorities. 

An increase was observed because of lending of 171960.71crore Rupees as on September 2012 to the minorities. Self-employment initiatives were created and sustained because of bank credit. The increase was observed because of sustained efforts of government of India. 



The 9th edition of Aero India 2013, a five-day aviation show organised by the Defence Exhibition Organization of the Ministry of Defence ended at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bangalore on 10 February 2013 after displaying its magnificent aerobatic skills and belongings that created a chance of winning potential business tie-ups and networking. 

Defence Minister of India, A K Antony inaugurated the Air Show on 6 February 2013. During the inauguration ceremony of the 9th Edition of Aero India show, Aero Space Policy of Karnataka state was unveiled by the Defence Minister of India, A K Antony. 



The State Government of Haryana exempted Value Added Tax (VAT) on Wheat that is given to the beneficiaries of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) under Public Distribution System (PDS) on 13 February 2013. It’s expected that this exemption would tune up about 1.50 crore Rupees in a year. 



Seventeenth Convocation of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) was held on 14 February 2013 in Bangalore. Chief Guest of the convocation was the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad. 

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)

•National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) is a deemed university, designated as Institute of National Importance by an Act of Parliament.

•NIMHANS laid its foundation on 14 February 1974. 

•Specialty of NIMHANS is in the discipline of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in India. 

•NIMHANS in 2012 started free legal aid services called NIMHANS Centre for Well-Being with 15 high-tech laboratories. 



Sanskrit Caravan was launched in New Delhi on 14 February 2013 by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor for promoting, preserving as well as propagating Indian languages such as Sanskrit and Urdu. 

Sanskrit Caravan was launched as a part of Indian Heritage Caravan, which is actually an initiative of Press Council of India chairman and former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju. Idea Communication was the sponsor of the event. Earlier in February 2013, Justice Markandey Katju had also inaugurated Urdu Caravan from Delhi to Bhopal as well as Mumbai. 



Bilateral Issues 

The Health Ministers of India and Bangladesh signed a MoU on Health in New Delhi on 12 February 2013. 

The main areas of cooperation between the two Governments will include the following: 
• Exchange of medical doctors, other health professionals and experts.
• Development of human resources. 
• Exchange of information on health. 
• Medical and health research development. 
• Regulations of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. 
• Health promotion and disease prevention. 
• Fostering cooperation for the development of culturally sensitive and effective public and professional awareness campaign including clinical are practices and best practices guidelines for healthcare providers and caretakers to benefit individuals and families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities 
• Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon. 

Moreover, the cooperation between India and Bangladesh in the fields of health and medical sciences will be promoted through the following means: 

• Exchange of scientific materials and information. 
• Joint collaboration in the area of research in medical science. 
• Institution level cooperation in the field of medical treatment, scientific research and training. 
• Exchange of health specialists and professionals. 
• Participation of specialists / professionals in seminars, workshops, conferences and meetings to be organized by both the parties. 
• Training for doctors and health workers by both the parties in the areas where they have relevant expertise and excellence. 
• Other areas of cooperation in the fields of health and medical sciences as mutually agreed upon.” 



India and Japan on 12 February 2013 decided to strengthen cooperation in tourism sector and explore the new areas and opportunities in the sector by working together in different fields like the field of human resource development, investment in the tourism sector, exchange of tour operators and exchange of information related to tourism. 

The decision was made during a meet of the Japanese Senior Vice-Minister of Tourism, Hiroshi Kajiyama with the Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi in India. The two also discussed issues related to singing of an agreement/MoU. India and Japan had been an important tourism market for each other in the recent past and Japan accounts to be among the top ten inbound tourist generating market for India. 



India and France on 14 February 2013 agreed to strengthen counter terrorism and intelligence cooperation between the two countries during the visit of French President Francois Holllande to India. Both nations exchanged views on a number of bi-lateral, regional and multilateral issues. 

India and France also reviewed progress on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed. 

Both the nations also concluded negotiations on the short range surface to Air missile to be co-produced in India. They also agreed on the need to reinvigorate economic engagement between the two countries. Moreover, they had in-depth discussion on the defence cooperation issue including submarines and missiles. 

Other Important India-France Agreements 
• Both the nations agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of the modernisation of the railway, high speed corridors and network upgradation of railway stations. 
 • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and France's CNES under the space cooperation programme, jointly identified the means to pursue further cooperation. 
• A pact was changed to increase exchanges between the sportspersons, artists, architects, researchers, teachers, students to improve people-to-people contacts. • The cooperation between various Indian and French educational institutions was finalised. 
• MoU was signed between Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and France's CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) 
• CFA(Credit Facility Agreement) was signed for the Bangalore Metro Rail Project, Phase-1 between Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the French Development Agency(AFD) 



Ministry of Railways, Government of India and the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF), the French National Railways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 14 February 2013 in order to facilitate technical cooperation in Railways to each other. Chairman, Railway Board, India and Chairman and CEO SNCF from the French side signed this MoU. The MoU was signed when the President of France, H.E. Francois Hollande was present. 

There were four main areas which were identified in MoU and these were: 
• Station renovation and operations 
• High speed and semi-high speed rail 
• Suburban trains 
• Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure High Speed Cooperation Programme 
• A project called High Speed Cooperation Programme was decided upon as well. The project will be funded by SNCF with assistance from French Ministry of Finance. 
• Under the programme, an operations and development feasibility project will be carried out on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail. 

The Memorandum of Understanding remains valid for 5 years. It is extendable by 1 year with the mutual consent. Under this MoU, certain cooperation projects will also be undertaken by India and France. The French delegation led by SNCF Chairman also visited Central Railway and Western Railway in Mumbai on 15 February 2013. Apart from signing the MoU, the two nations also decided for better trade cooperation. 



Banking Issues 

YES Bank, the fourth largest private sector Bank of India was awarded the Financial Institutions Syndicated Deal of the Year 2012 in its Asia Pacific Region. The award was given for 155 million US dollar syndicated loan. 

The award was given away by Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (APLMA), which is a leading trade association for syndicated loan market in this region. The award ceremony was held in Hong Kong. The 155 million US dollar loan which was syndicated by YES bank was distributed across 9 different countries from 14 banks. 



The Union Cabinet of India on 7 February 2013 approved raise in the authorized capital of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nabard to 20000 crore rupees from 5000 crore rupees. 

The authorized capital was increased with the aim to enlarge the operations and broadening the activities of NABARD. 



The Government of India and the World Bank on 11 February 2013 signed a 60 million US dollars credit agreement for the Karnataka Watershed Development Project II (KWDP II) to further improve watershed planning and management in project areas. 

The Project will improve government watershed operations in 930 micro-watersheds covering 465000 ha across 7 districts of Karnataka. This project builds on the successful experience of earlier Bank-supported Karnataka Watershed Development Project I, also known as Sujala, which helped improve the lives of 230000 farmers by increasing crop yields by about 25 percent, and raising household incomes of small and marginal farmers by 40 percent. 

KWDP II will focus on improving the performance and results of IWMP by introducing new tools and approaches for integrated watershed planning, incorporating more information about water resources into the planning process, facilitating better convergence of IWMP with other government programs such as NREGS, and helping farmers increase agricultural productivity. The project will cover about 465000 ha and 160000 farmer households in 7 districts. 



Economic Issues 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) on 7 February 2013 revealed that the economic growth of India is estimated to fall to 5 percent in 2012-2013 financial year, which is a lowest figure in 10 years. A fall in the economic growth is because of the poor performance of the services, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its advance forecast of the national income chopped off the gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate to 5 percent for financial year which will end on 31 March 2013. This is much less than the GDP of 6.2 percent in 2011-2012 financial year. This is said to be the worst performance of economy of India since 2002-2003 when the economic growth was 4 percent. 

The major share of India’s GDP comes from the services sector. The services sector is estimated to record a growth of 5.2 percent in 2012-2013 fiscal year against 7 percent of 2011-2012 fiscal year. As far as the industry sector is concerned, it is expected that the growth would decrease to 1.9 percent in 2012-2013 FY. 

The farm sector growth will fall down to 1.8 percent. It is important to note that the official projection of the economic growth of India is much lower than budgetary estimate as well as projections of the central bank of India and other organisations. In the union budget for financial year 2012-2013 which was presented in March 2012, the government pegged India’s economic growth at 7.6 percent. 

Also in the quarterly monetary policy review which took place in the first week of February 2013, the Reserve Bank of India projected the growth of 5.5 percent for 2012-2013 financial year. In the meanwhile, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had projected the economic growth of 5.7 percent. 

 In first half of 2012-2013 FY, the economy of India grew by 5.4 percent. However, as per the latest estimate, the growth would be around 4.6 percent in second half of 2012-2013. Industry bodies in the meanwhile asked the government to press for the reform process in order to revive the economic growth. 



The Union Finance Ministry in second week of February 2013 decided to pay an additional cash subsidy of 25000 crore rupees for the state owned fuel retailers. The subsidy package is being given to help the retailers in making up of the revenue that they lost while selling cooking and auto fuel below cost in the current fiscal year of April to December 2012. 

A comfort letter was issued on 7 February 2013 by the Union Finance Ministry to the Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL) that sanctioned sanctioning 25,000 crore rupees as the part of the revenue lost by them on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost or at subsidized cost. 

The sanctioned subsidy meets about 44 percent of the revenue lost by the three firms of 124854 crore rupees together on the Sale of cooking and auto fuels in a period of April to December in 2012. As per the latest sanctions reveled IOC, BPCL and HPCL would get 13474.56 crore rupees, 5987.25 crore rupees and 5538.19 crore rupees respectively. 



MCX-SX, the third bourse on the equities and equity derivatives trading block debuted on 11 February 2013. 

It is the third national stock exchange of India after Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange. 

MCX-SX started its trading in shared of 1116 listed companies against 1665 companies in National Stock Exchange and 5191 companies in Bombay Stock Exchange. MCX-SX Index MCX-SX Index is called SX40. 

This is like Sensex of BSE and Nifty of NSE. SX40 is formulated for measuring the economic performance through polished presentation of different industries as well as sectors based on ICB, which is a leading international classification from FTSE-100 of Britain. 



Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the stock market regulator of India on 13 February 2013 ordered freezing of bank accounts and attachment of properties of two Sahara group firms Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd., and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd. and its Chairman Subrata Roy as well as top executives Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary after it failed to refund more than 24,000 crore rupees to investors. 



The inflation rate of India dropped down to the three year low in the chart to 6.62 percent in January 2013 from the 7.18 percent, measured in December 2012. The inflation was measured based upon monthly Wholesale Price Index. 

The official Wholesale Price Index for All Commodities (Base: 2004-05 = 100) in January, 2013 rose by 0.4 percent to 169.2 (Provisional) from 168.6 (Provisional) for the previous month. Slowing exports and decline in investments and low demand in the domestic market have been a major factor in slipping down the growth rate of India. 

The two factors have affected the manufatruing as well as service sectors of India. The growth forecast for the running fiscal year that would end on 31 March 2013 was lowered by the India’s Statistical Office to 5 percent. 

The Reserve Bank of India also changed its forecast from 5.8 percent to 5.5 percent. To revive a fresh air in the slowing down economic conditions of India, the Reserve Bank took a major step of lowering the key interest rate from 8 percent to 7.75 percent; this was the first step in nine months. The Policy makers have also taken afresh steps to revive the slowing economic conditions of the nation. 



Business Issues 

GAIL (India) Ltd and EDF Trading on 7 February 2013 announced that they signed a MoU to jointly get hold of the oil and gas assets in North America. 

The MoU will also help in development of these assets. Both these companies will additionally be the partner in trading as well as optimization of LNG and US gas. 

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between GAIL (India) Ltd and EDF Trading on 2 February 2013. 



Parle-G in February 2013 became the first Indian FMCG brand that crossed 5000 crore Rupees mark in terms of retail sales in one year. Parle Products were launched in 1939 when the British ruled India. 

Factually, Parle Products in 2012 sold 5010 crore rupees worth glucose biscuits at the retail price, surpassing the domestic sales of Godrej products and Dabur, while at the same time also selling thrice more products than Maggi. 



Twitter on 11 February 2013 launched its first pay-by-tweet service in partnership with the American Express. The service is designed to allow the cardholders to purchase products by tweeting #hashtags. 

Twitter and Amex have came together to create an integrated e-commerce payment mechanism in twitter and Amex cardholders would have an access to the offers made on the website by the merchants. 



Reckitt Benckiser (RB) on 13 Feb 2013 signed a global partnership deal of 8-million US dollars with Save the Children for 2013 to support vulnerable children below the age of five. It will be done through large-scale health, hygiene and child protection programmes. It will provide local support in more than 40 countries in the world. 

The global initiative with Save the Children, Healthier Kids, Happier World, will organise many national level activities to increase funds and awareness focusing on big picture programmes that reach the most disadvantaged children across the world including most remote areas. 



Persons 

Zhuang Zedong, the table tennis legend died in Beijing on 10 February 2013 following lengthy fight with cancer. He was aged 72 years. Zhuang Zedong is a three-time world table tennis champion. He won a range of events in 1960s. He was renowned for chance meeting with Glenn Cowan, the US table tennis player during 31st World Table Tennis Championships in 1971. 

Zhuang Zedong and Ping-Pong Diplomacy Zhuang Zedong remained a crucial figure in ping-pong diplomacy of 1971 and is popularly also called the Architect of Ping-Pong Diplomacy. Ping-pong diplomacy means exchange of the table tennis (ping-pong) players between China and US. This was done to normalise relations between these two countries. 



US Marine General Joseph Dunford took over the command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan at a change over ceremony in Kabul on 10 February 2013. He succeeded US Marine General John Allen who became the longest-serving ISAF commander in the eleven year old war against terror in Afghanistan by completing 19 months at the office. General Dunford previously served in various capacities in the U.S. Marine Corps including as its Assistant Commandant. 



The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee appointed Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty as the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi on 12 February 2013. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty is the IAS officer of 1970 batch and retired from the designation of Secretary to Government of India. 



Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) appointed Subodh Kumar Agrawal as its new President and K. Raghu as its new Vice-President on 12 February 2013. 



Mohan Parasaran, the Additional Solicitor General was on 13 February 2013 appointed as the Solicitor General of India after senior advocate Rohinton Nariman resigned from his designation. 



Sports 

The 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics World Winter Games finished on 5 February 2013 after a week of competition among differently-abled athletes. The games took place from 29 January 2013 to 5 February 2013. Almost 200000 spectators witnessed the games in venues- Pyeongchang and Gangneung. 

India returned with 46 medals in 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games at Pyeong Chang, South Korea. The differently-abled athletes of India won 46 medals in all- 13 gold, 17 silver and 16 bronze from mentally-challenged 2200 athletes participating from more than 120 nations in the games. The medal tally of India doubled from World Winter Games 2009. 

These games were completed in eight categories of sports- alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, figure skating, short track speed skating, floor hockey and floorball. Various celebrities participated in the games to support these athletes. Some of the popular faces were former NBA All-Star Yao Ming and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. In its closing ceremony, figure skating superstars Kim Yu-na and Michelle Kwan were also present. 



Sachin Tendulkar on 8 February 2013 equaled the record of Sunil Gavaskar of 81 first class hundreds in first class cricket at Mumbai. He managed to equal Gavaskar’s record after scoring an unbeaten 140 runs in Irani Trophy against Rest of India in the first innings of the tournament of Mumbai team. 



Lydia Ko, the teenager became youngest winner of a women's European Tour golf event by winning at New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch on 10 February 2013. This is her third victory of the professional title. 



India maintained their number one spot in the ICC ODI Championship table in the latest rankings issued in Dubai on 11 February 2013. Both India and England have same 119 rating points, but England lags behind on the basis of decimal points. Australia and South Africa follow the top two teams closely with 116 and 112 points respectively. 



ITPA- Indian Tennis Players Association Indian Tennis Players Association (ITPA), a collective body of Indian Tennis players was designed on 11 February 2013. The ITPA would be responsible to represent the concerns and professional interests of its members. The association is being constituted as there exist no particular structure in tennis to represent or address the issues of the tennis players in India. The modeling of the ITPA is done on the basis of (Association of Tennis Professionals) ATP and will operate on the basic principle of self governance and consultative dialogue, to arrive at decisions that impact the professional tennis of the country. 

ITPA - Indian Tennis Players Association The ITPA is being constituted under section 25 company and the membership is opened for all former and current, national and international tennis players. The association is being constituted as a non-profit body and the founding members include Davis Cup winners Jaidip Mukerjea, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman, Prahlad Srinath and Mustafa Ghouse, Enrico Piperno, Rohan Bopanna, Manisha Malhotra, AITA vice-president Karti P. 

Chidambaram and Aditya Sachdeva (High Performance Coaching Director). Every member of the body have equal voting rights for election of a general body to identify ITPA’s operations. Jaidip Mukerjea is elected as the interim President of the body and will be on the post till the formative period of ITPA and until the general body and general council meets formally. 



World No. 73 Horacio Zeballos defeated Rafael Nadal 6-7 (2) 7-6 (6) 6-4 to win his first ATP World Tour trophy in VTR OPEN 2013 on 10 February 2013 in Vina del Mar, Chile in Men’s Singles. Horacio Zeballos became the second first-time winner in ATP World Tour 2013. The first one was Australian Bernard Tomic who won at Apia International Sydney. 



Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, the London paralympics silver-medallist and Padma Shri awardee was appointed as the brand ambassador of nutrition company Herbalife on 15 February 2013. 



Awards 

Pandit Ravi Shankar, the sitar legend was honoured with the posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy award. His daughter sitarist Anoushka Shankar accepted the award on his behalf on 9 February 2013 ahead of the Grammy’s show that took place in Los Angeles on 10 February 2013. 


Environmental Issues 

Research conducted by the Durham University and BirdLife International in its finding concluded that change in the climate is causing a threat to the survival of various Asian bird species including the ones found in India. These species do not just need the complete protection of protected and important sites but also the management of wider countryside. The research also warned that in case of extreme situations, these birds would be required to be moved physically to climatically-suitable areas. A study was conducted for 370 species of Asian birds. 

These are the species where conservation is a prime cause of concern in biodiversity hubs like lower Mekong River basin regions in certain parts of Nepal and India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Bhutan as well as eastern Himalayas. The findings of the study showed that for survival of these bird species it was important to properly manage the conservation sites. It was shown that at least 45 percent and up to 88 percent of these 370 bird species would face a decrease in the availability of suitable habitats, which in turn would lead to change in the species composition in certain areas. As far as India is concerned, there are in all 466 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) which are identified for hosting the different kinds of avian species, most of which also belong to the endangered category. 

BirdLife International described that even though the important sites like these will sustain the bird species but change in the climate will lead to a modification in the site for which the species will be suitable. Therefore there is a need to adapt the conservation management. 



The Environment Ministry constituted a committee that will review better legal protection to elephant reserves as well as the corridors in India under the green laws which are already present. The committee was constituted after National Board for Wildlife raised concerns about absence of any legal cover for the elephant corridors and reserves. 

The central government has already identified two-third elephant reserves which cover 69582 sq km of area. The size of these reserves varies from 450-6724 sq km. These reserves not just include the forest patches of various kinds but also the tea plantations, revenue land, agricultural land, villages and townships. 



Defence 

Pakistan on 11 February 2013 successfully test fired short range surface-to-surface missile Hatf IX (NASR). The test fire took place with consecutive launches of two missiles from multi-tube launcher. 

NASR has 60 km range with the capability of in-flight manoeuvring. It also has the capability of carrying nuclear warheads having apt yields, with higher efficiency. 


Science & Technology 

First bionic man of the world called Rex was unveiled on 7 February 2013 at London's Science Museum. The bionic man was created using 1 million US dollar limbs as well as organs. Prosthetic legs and ankle came from MIT, synthetic blood from Sheffield University, spleens, pancreas and artificial kidneys from University College London, retinas from Oxford University and artificial lungs came from Swansea. 

Rex has a human face with brown eyes and a height of 6.5 feet. It was designed jointly with assistance from 18 universities and companies. Rex gave a hope that it was possible to replace the body parts with the artificial alternatives, for the very first time. 

The internal organs of Rex such as artificial lungs, bladder and pancreas were in line of development. It is important to note that it is not possible for certain technology to function without the help of human input. For example bionic hands require signals from brain and muscles to work properly. Other parts however, such as pancreas and heart can be designed to work automatically. Rex would remain in display at London's Science Museum from 7 February 201 to 11 March 2013. 



NASA on 9 February 2013 announced that its Mars rover Curiosity drilled into the surface of the planet for first time. The drilling was a part of endeavor to learn whether the Martian surface, which has solar system like that of Earth, supports microbial life or not. The drilling into Martian surface took place for the first time on 8 February 2013. 



NASA scientists discovered the youngest black hole in our galaxy, Milky Way in February 2013. This youngest black hole is merely 1000 years old and just 26000 light years away from our planet. 

According to the new data revealed by Chandra X-ray Observatory of NASA, the distorted remains of supernova could contain most recent or the youngest black hole formed in our galaxy. The remains known as W49B are a result of rare explosion due to which matter ejects at very high speed along poles of rotating star. 


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