1. World Bank cuts global growth forecast to 2.4 %
i. The World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has slashed the global growth forecast of 2016 by 0.5 % to 2.4 %.
ii. According to WB group, the world economy will grow at 2.4% in 2016 and at 2.8% in 2017. The cut in the forecast was due to advanced economies experiencing mediocre growth, while low commodity prices, weak global trade, and stilted capital flows also impacted.
iii. However, India will remain one of the fastest growing major economies, ahead of China, for the next three years, the report said. But it lowered India’s growth projections marginally by 0.2% to 7.6% for 2016-17 and 7.7% in 2017-18, citing the drag by exports on economic activity.
2. India ranked 141 on Global Peace Index
i. India has been ranked 141 on the 2016 Global Peace Index, falling behind countries like Burundi, and Serbia on the 163-country list.
ii. India was ranked 143 on last year's list. Prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the list names Syria as the least peaceful country.
iii. Meanwhile, Iceland was named the world's most peaceful country.
3. India becomes third largest oil consumer
i. According to recently released BP Statistical Review of World Energy India has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest oil consumer.
ii. With the demand of 4.1 million barrels a day (BPD), India is the third-largest consumer behind the United States (19.39 million BPD) and China (11.96 million BPD).
iii. India accounted for 4.5% of world oil consumption in 2015 and its oil demand galloped 8.1% in 2015. India’s oil demand growth had surpassed China’s 6.3 per cent expansion.
4. ADB approves $100 mn loan for irrigation system in TN
i. Asian Development Bank has approved a USD 100 million (around Rs. 660 crores) loan to strengthen a key irrigation system and improve water management in the Vennar sub-basin of Cauvery Delta in Tamil Nadu.
ii. The Cauvery delta, on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, is known as the ‘rice bowl’ of the state, with over 70 % of the delta population engaged in farming and fishing, but access to water is unreliable and flooding common during the monsoon season.
iii. The statement released by ADB noted that the project will strengthen the embankments of six major irrigation water channels in Vennar system to make them more resilient to floods and upgrade water regulators, sluices, and pump stations.
5. Pakistan tops in 2016 Malware Infection Index
i. Pakistan has topped the list of 19 countries figuring in the 2016 Malware Infection Index (MII) in the Asia-Pacific region.
ii. The index for the Asia-Pacific region was released by technology giant Microsoft in which India was placed at 8th position.
iii. The index identifies the key malware threats in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks markets in Asia-Pacific according to how much they are affected.
6. International Monetary Fund approved 1.5 billion US dollar loan to Sri Lanka
i. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved 1.5 billion US dollar loan to Sri Lanka.
ii. For this IMF has already transferred 168 million US dollars as the first Instalment with immediate effect to support the country’s economy, which is showing "signs of strain".
iii. The Executive Board of the IMF has accepted this 36-month extended arrangement under its Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with Sri Lanka for an amount equivalent to 1.1 billion under special drawing rights (US$ 1.5 billion). The remaining part of the US $1.5 billion loans will be available in six installments subject to quarterly reviews. There will be an additional 650 million US dollars support in other multilateral and bilateral loans, bringing total support to about 2.2 billion US dollars.
7. Thailand becomes the first Asian country to eliminate mother to child HIV: WHO
i. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that Thailand has become the first Asian country to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission.
ii. In this regard, Thailand’s Minister of Health was presented with the certificate of validation during a ceremony, which took place on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in New York.
iii. Previously, Cuba was the only other country and the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission under the WHO’s criteria back in July 2015.
8. Names of 4 new Periodic Table elements announced
i. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has announced the names proposed for the new elements, whose discovery helped complete the seventh row of the Periodic Table in December last year.
ii. The names proposed for the elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 were Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts) and Oganesson (Og) respectively.
9. Putin awards UN chief Ban Ki-Moon with the order of friendship
i. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree awarding the Order of Friendship to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
ii. The decoration was awarded to Ban for special merits in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between peoples.
iii. The order, set up in 1994, is meant to reward Russian citizens and foreign nationals for outstanding accomplishments in strengthening peace and cooperation with Russia, as well as for charity activities.
10. Naresh Goyal Re-Elected To IATA Board Of Governors
i. Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal has been re-elected to IATA's Board of Governors.
ii. This would be the 5th successive tenure for Goyal at the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Board of Governors.
iii. Goyal is the only representative from India on this board. Goyal will serve a three-year term, lasting until the close of IATA's 75th AGM in 2019.
11. Tamil Nandu Gets New Chief Secretary
i. Tamil Nadu government has announced P Rama Mohana Rao as the new Chief Secretary of the state.
ii. Rao will also hold full additional charge of Vigilance Commissioner and Commissioner for Administrative reforms.
ii. Besides, Incumbent chief secretary K Gnanadesikan has been posted as chairman and managing director of Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO). While, K N Venkataramanan (a retired IAS official), has been designated as Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.
12. G Kalyanakrishnan took over as New Chief Executive for Nuclear Fuel Complex
i. G Kalyanakrishnan has taken over as New Chief Executive of Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), Hyderabad. Prior to this assignment, he was the Deputy Chief Executive for Nuclear Fuel Complex.
ii. He has replaced N. Saibaba, who retired on completion of two years of the extended period of service.
iii. Kalyanakrishnan will also be the Chairman of the NFC Board. He is a chemical engineer from the Regional Engineering College, Warangal in 1980. He has joined the 24th batch of 1980-81 Training School of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai.
13. Former Kerala Assembly Speaker T S John passed away
i. Former Kerala Assembly Speaker T S John has passed away at a hospital at Chertala in Alapuzha.
ii. He was a leader of a faction of the Kerala Congress (Secular), had also served as a minister from October 19, 1978, to October 27, 1978, in the A K Antony cabinet.
iii. He was a lawyer by profession and was one of the founder members of Kerala Congress and was elected to the assembly from Kalooppara constituency four times. He became a Member of the Assembly for the first time as a Kerala Congress Member.
14. Veteran Journalist KK Katyal passes away
i. Veteran journalist KK Katyal has passed away after a brief illness in Delhi. He was 88 years old.
ii. Mr. Katyal had worked with various newspapers including The Statesman, Hindustan Times and The Hindu, where he had joined just after Emergency and retired on superannuation as Associate Editor in 2004. He had a stint with United States Information Services as well.
iii. He was originally from Jhang, Pakistan and was the founder of the India chapter of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA). He was awarded the G K Reddy Memorial prize in 1994 by the then Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao for his insightful columns and analytical write-ups.
15. Sharapova banned for two years over doping
i. Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova was banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation.
ii. The ban comes after the Russian tested positive at the Australian Open 2016 for using the banned substance meldonium.
iii. The suspension has been backdated to January 26, 2016, the day Sharapova failed her drugs test.