Date: 2/27/2019

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  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken off Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank from the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework allowing them to resume their normal lending activities.
  • The Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) met on 26th Feb. to review the performance of banks under PCA and noted that the government has infused fresh capital into various banks including some of the banks currently under the PCA framework.
  • "PSBs turnaround continues! Strategy enables PSBs Allahabad and Corp Banks to exit PCA.
  • Both need to continue to maintain better performance and improved prudential controls for clean banking," Banking Secretary Rajeev Kumar tweeted.
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  • Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected Nigeria's President, results showed 26th Feb., after a delayed poll that angered voters and led to claims of rigging and collusion.
  • Buhari, 76, took an unassailable lead of more than four million votes as the last states were yet to be declared, making it impossible for his nearest rival, Atiku Abubakar, to win.
  • The win was confirmed as Abubakar won in the very last state to declare Rivers in the south but could not claw back the deficit.
  • Supporters of Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) gathered at his campaign headquarters in the capital, Abuja, to celebrate even before the final results were announced.
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  • The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad has set up the world’s first gene bank that is powered entirely by solar energy.
  • Spread across 4,500 sq metres, the gene bank is powered by a 500 kW solar power plant generating 60,000 units per month. A gene bank is a type of bio-repository that preserves genetic material of plants and animals.
  • The ‘greening’ of the gene bank was funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and is expected to reduce power-related expenses by up to 75%, which will amount to huge savings over the next few decades.
  • Gene banks need constant cooling systems which sometimes need to be at temperatures of minus 20 degrees. They are home to in vitro storage of plants, freezing cuttings from a plant or stocking of seeds.
  • Such banks are critical to global food security as they conserve genetic resources of major crop plants.
  • The facility in Hyderabad is the largest in the world for ICRISAT’s mandate crops or those which can address food security issues in the semi-arid and tropics of Africa and Asia.
  • These areas which are collectively known as tropical drylands are home to two billion people out of which 600 million are considered to be poor. Their geographical focus area spreads across 55 countries and 6.5 million sq km.
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  • Animals living in the deepest ocean trenches have been found with plastic fragments in their gut, according to new research published 27th Feb. showing how manmade pollution reaches into the bowels of the planet.
  • More than 300 million tonnes of plastics are produced annually, and there are at least five trillion plastic pieces floating in our oceans.
  • Because deep-sea exploration is expensive and time-consuming, most studies on plastic pollution up until now had been close to the surface, showing a widespread level of plastic contamination in fish, turtles, whales and sea birds.
  • Now a British team of researchers say they have discovered cases of plastic ingestion among tiny shrimp in six of the world’s deepest ocean trenches.
  • In the Mariana Trench east of the Philippines, the deepest depression on Earth, 100 percent of the animals studied had plastic fibres in their digestive tracts.
  • “Half of me was expecting to find something but that is huge,” said Alan Jamieson, from Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.
  • Jamieson and his team normally spend their time looking for new species in the depths of the ocean.
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  • NASA has selected a $42 million mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet.
  • Space weather is important because it can have profound impacts affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids.
  • The new experiment will, for the first time, obtain global observations of an important driver of space weather in a dynamic region of Earth’s upper atmosphere that can cause interference with radio and GPS communications, NASA said in a statement.
  • The Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) mission will cost $42 million and is planned to launch in August 2022, attached to the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS).
  • From its space station perch, AWE will focus on colourful bands of light in Earth’s atmosphere, called airglow, to determine what combination of forces drive space weather in the upper atmosphere.
  • Researchers once thought that only the Sun’s constant outflow of ultraviolet light and particles, the solar wind, could affect the region.
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  • Premier League leaders Liverpool must showcase their title credentials on 27th Feb. night, with in-form Watford making the trip to Anfield.
  • The Reds had the opportunity to open up a three-point lead over Man City on 25th Feb, but they came up short away to Man United.
  • While a 0-0 draw was far from a disastrous result it still meant Liverpool leapfrogged their title rivals there are concerns surrounding their current form.
  • With 11 league games remaining this season every match is huge and the midweek visit of Watford represents a must-win game.
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  • The second edition of the Indian Sign Language dictionary was released on 27th Feb, providing the hearing impaired people with 6,000 words in Hindi and English along with their corresponding graphic representation.
  • The first edition of the first-of-its-kind dictionary was launched with 3,000 words on March 23, 2018.
  • With the second edition, the dictionary now comprises 6,000 Hindi and English words and their corresponding graphic representation which are used in daily life.
  • The dictionary has been developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD)
  • The ISL dictionary is also available on ISLRTC's YouTube channel. Around 1,000 videos have been uploaded already and the rest are in the process of being uploaded.
  • Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot applauded the efforts of the ISLRTC in bringing out such a useful dictionary for hearing impaired people.

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