1. India-US Joint Military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ begins
- India-US exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ has commenced in Bikaner district in Rajasthan
- It is the 16th edition of annual bilateral joint exercise of both the armies and will be held till 21st February.
- 15th edition of Yudh Abhyas was held at Seattle, US
- About 250 US and 250 Indian army soldiers are participating in the exercise showcasing their war-related techniques, skills and experience with each other
- It is one of the largest military training and defense cooperation efforts.
Banking & Finance
2. Federal Bank launches ‘FedFirst’ savings account scheme for children
- Federal Bank has launched special savings account scheme for children below the age of 18 years, titled as 'FedFirst'.
- It will develop among children a healthy saving and spending habits, giving them the freedom to save, spend and earn.
- It will have FedFirst contactless Debit Card with a daily cash withdrawal limit of Rs. 2,500, free online facilities including access to internet banking, mobile alerts and e-mail alerts
- POS/e-com limit: Rs. 10,000.
3. South Korea to build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm
- South Korea has approved a plan to build World’s largest wind power plant by 2030
- It will help to foster an environmentally friendly recovery from COVID-19 pandemic and fasten the step to achieve the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
- Estimated cost of the project: 48.5 trillion won ($43.2 billion)
- It will be located in the southwestern coastal town of Sinan
- It will have a maximum capacity of 8.2 gigawatts
- World’s largest offshore wind farm: Hornsea 1, Britain
4. India's first geothermal power project to be established at Ladakh
- India's first geothermal power project named as Geothermal Field Development Project will be established at Puga village of eastern Ladakh.
- Puga has been identified as the hotspot of geothermal energy of India
- One megawatt (MW) power generation capacity will be generated in the 1st phase.
- A tripartite MoU between ONGC Energy, LAHDC, Leh and Power Department of UT Ladakh for establishment and implementation of first phase was signed
- It is planned to commission by 2022.
Summits & Conferences
5. Piyush Goyal co-chairs 1st India-EU High Level Dialogue on Trade
- Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and European Union Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis has co-chaired India-European Union High Level Dialogue (HLD) on trade and investment
- HLD was organised in line with 15th India-EU Leader’s Summit held in July 2020
- Ministers agreed for further deepening of bilateral trade and investment relationship through a series of regular engagements, aiming at quick deliverable for businesses in these tough times.
- EU HQs: Brussels, Belgium
Science & Technology
6. NASA Selects SpaceX to launch its SPHEREx Mission
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected SpaceX to launch its SPHEREx Mission.
- SPHEREx: Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer
- Through this, NASA aims to perform an all-sky survey to measure the near-infrared spectra of approximately 450 million galaxies across the universe and 100 million stars inside our Milky Way galaxy
- It weighs 178 kg and will be launched by Falcon 9 rocket.
Science & Technology
7. Square Kilometre Array Observatory set up World’s Largest Radio Telescope
- Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council has held its maiden meeting and approved for the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope.
- SKAO: New intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy.
- SKAO has 10 countries: Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK.
- French-born Dr Catherine Cesarsky has been appointed as the first Chair of the SKAO Council.
- SKAO HQs: UK
National & International Appointments
8. Bikram Singh Bedi appointed as MD for Google Cloud India business
- Google Cloud has appointed Bikram Singh Bedi as the new Managing Director (MD) for its India Business.
- Prior to this, he was serving as the President Strategy and New Initiatives of Grofers and was the head of India and South Asia for six years.
- He has more than 26 years of leadership experience in this sector.
- He will succeed Karan Bajwa, who has been elevated as Vice president for Asia pacific (APAC) region cloud operations at Google Cloud.
National & International Appointments
9. Michael Bloomberg re-appointed as United Nations Climate Envoy
- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has re-appointed Michael Bloomberg as his Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions.
- He will work to strengthen the group of govts, companies, cities, and financial institutions that are working to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- He will also work to mobilise stronger and more ambitious climate action for 2021 UN Climate Change conference in Scotland in Nov 2021.
Books & Authors
10. Hunter Biden to Release Memoir ‘Beautiful Things’ in April 2021
- United States President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden (51 years) is publishing his memoir titled ‘Beautiful Things’
- It is scheduled to be published in United States on April 6 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
- Hunter Biden has narrated his personal story about how he was a drug addict- from his first sips of alcohol as a child, when he was dealing with the aftermath of family tragedy, to his crack-cocaine use and how he fixed that problem
11. Former US Secretary of State, George Shultz passes away in California
- Former US Secretary of State, George Shultz (100 years) passed away in California
- He significantly shaped foreign policy in the late 20th Century
- He served three former Presidents: Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, in various roles
- His efforts as America's top diplomat from 1982 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan leading to conclusion of Cold War
- He worked on various federal task forces at the request of John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.