1. Russia Launches Cargo Ship to International Space Station (ISS)
Russian space agency Roskosmos has successfully launched Progress MS-08, an unmanned cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS).
It was launched onboard of Soyuz-2.1a rocket from Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
Soyuz-2.1a has four strap-on boosters and core engine, all fueled by mix of kerosene and liquid oxygen.
2. Venezuela, Libya Suspend from Voting in UN General Assembly
Due to millions of dollars in unpaid dues to the world body, Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the UN General Assembly for the third time in three years.
Venezuela must pay a minimum of USD 25,200,296 to restore its voting rights and Libya must pay at least USD 6,594,842.
Venezuela is mired in an economic and political crisis and Libya has two rival governments, each backed by an array of militias.
3. Global Sea Level Surging at Faster Rate : Study
As per a new assessment based on 25 years of satellite data, the global sea level is not rising at a steady rate; it is accelerating a little every year.
The study was done by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the US which was published in the journal PNAS.
The study measured that the sea level rate is increasing by about 0.08 millimeters per year (mm/year).
That could mean an annual rate of sea level rise of 10 mm/year, or even more, by 2100.
This acceleration is mainly driven by rapid melting in Antarctica and Greenland which has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100 as compared to projections that assume a constant rate to more than 60 cm instead of about 30.
The study highlighted that if the oceans keep on to growing at this pace, sea level will rise 65cm by 2100.
Hence, it could be enough to cause noteworthy trouble for coastal cities.
4. India & Russia Celebrate 70 Years of Bilateral Relations in Agriculture
India and Russia have celebrated the 70 years of bilateral relations in the field of agriculture at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.
Minister of State for Agriculture Gajender Singh Shekhawat and his Russian counterpart Sergey Beletskiy has inaugurated the Russian Machinery Museum and visit a Cattle Breeding Centre.
In 1956, The Central State Farm (CSF) was set up in ‘Suratgarh’ with the assistance from erstwhile USSR.
Russian scientists helped in laying the foundation of agriculture in the deserts of Thar, which brought about a change in the agriculture farming in nearby areas including the fringe area of Punjab.
5. Over 8% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in January: Govt
According to the tourism ministry, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in January 2018 was 10.66 lakh (8% higher) as compared in January 2017 (9.83 lakh), and in January 2016 (8.45 lakh).
The highest percentage of tourists came from Bangladesh (16.36%) followed by the US (14.10%), the UK (10.81%), Canada (4.63%) and the Russian Federation (4.49%).
The ministry compiles monthly estimates of foreign tourist arrivals including those with e-tourist visas, on the basis of their nationality and the port.
The estimates are based on data received from the Bureau of Immigration.
6. Taj Mahal Introduces Rs 200 Fee for Main Mausoleum, Hikes Entry Fee
According to the Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra will have to pay more from 1st April this year.
The entry fee for domestic tourists has been raised from existing 40 rupees to 50 rupees.
The union govt. has decided to introduce a 200 charge for those wishing to see the main mausoleum of the heritage site.
As of now, there is no separate fee for entry to the main mausoleum, where the graves of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal lie.
The move is aimed at preserving the Taj Mahal and effecting better crowd management.
7. President Ram Nath Kovind Hosts the LPG Panchayat at Rashtrapati Bhavan
President Ram Nath Kovind hosted the ‘LPG Panchayat’ at Rashtrapati Bhavan, organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
The objective of the Panchayat is to provide a platform for LPG consumers to interact with each other.
Each LPG Panchayat has about 100 LPG customers coming together to discuss safe and sustainable usage of LPG, its benefits and the link between clean fuel for cooking and women’s empowerment.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is expected to conduct at least 1 lakh Panchayats across the country before 31st March, 2019.
8. India to Host 2018 Theatre Olympics for the First Time
According to the Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, India will host the 8th edition of ‘Theatre Olympics 2018’ from 17th February to 8th April,2018 at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi.
It is a platform for theatrical exchange, a gathering place for students and masters, where a dialogue despite ideological, culture and language differences, is encouraged.
The event will be organized by the National School of Drama under the aegis of Union Ministry of Culture with a total budget of Rs 51.81 crore.
The theme of the 8th Theatre Olympics will be “Flag of Friendship”.
The event will witness performances in 30 different Indian languages, 15 foreign languages as well as in non-verbal languages.
The event will travel to 17 Indian cities with 450 shows, 600 ambiance performances and 250 power packed youth forum shows.
9. India Post Payments Bank to Enable Digital Payments in Post Offices by April 2018
The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) will enable Digital Payments in Post Offices by April 2018.
It will provide digital payment services at the doorstep with the help of Postmen and Gramin Dak Sewaks (GDS).
IPPB will also enable more than 17 crore active account-holders of Post Office Savings Bank to make digital payments like the benefits of NEFT, RTGS, UPI and bill payment services.
10. Chandrashekhara Kambara Elected New President of Sahitya Akademi
Kannada litterateur and Jnanpith award-winning writer ‘Chandrashekhara Kambara’ has been elected as the president of the Sahitya Akademi.
He has replaced Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari (famous Hindi writer).
Mr. Kambara was awarded with Sangeet Natak Akademi (in 1983), Sahitya Academy (in 1991), Padmashree (in 2001), and Jnanpith Award (in 2011).
He was also the founder Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi.
11. National Green Tribunal Acting Chairperson Justice U D Salvi Retires
Acting chairperson of National Green Tribunal (NGT) Justice Umesh Dattatraya Salvi retired after completing a five-year tenure.
Justice Salvi enrolled as an advocate in March 1977 and worked as Additional Public Prosecutor in Thane.
Justice Salvi was elevated as a judge of the Bombay High Court in 2009 and appointed as a Judicial Member of the National Green Tribunal on February 14, 2013.
12. Kei Saito Suspended from Winter Olympics for Doping
In the ongoing Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Games, Japanese speed skater, Kei Saito (21-year) tested positive for acetazolamide, an unauthorized diuretic which can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.
Earlier, Saito was summoned before a CAS tribunal and suspended from the Games pending a full investigation.
Now, he would fight to prove his innocence because he does not remember taking the drug and it was incomprehensible.