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- Counterfeiters have expertly replicated half of the security features of the new Rs. 2000 notes, a consignment of fake Indian currency notes seized on the Bangladesh border recently reveals. The Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) intercepted four consignments of Rs. 2000 notes between December 2016 and January this year from areas near Malda district. More than half of the 17 RBI-listed security features have been replicated. In genuine currency, there are 13 features on the front (or obverse) side including two for visually impaired and four on the reverse.
- Manish Garg, a researcher from India has taken the first definitive step to produce high-speed electronic devices that can operate one million times faster than modern electronics. The researchers used laser light to generate very high frequency electric current inside a solid material. The electrons were found to be moving at a speed (frequency) close to 1,015 (one million billion) hertz; the best achievable speed in modern transistors is only 109 (one billion) hertz. The results were published in Nature.
- A Universal Basic Income (UBI) will be an efficient substitute for a plethora of existing welfare schemes and subsidies, according to the annual Economic Survey. In a chapter ‘Universal Basic Income: A Conversation With and Within the Mahatma,’ the Survey dwelt at length on the pros and cons of introducing UBI in India before concluding that it was “a powerful idea whose time even if not ripe for implementation is ripe for serious discussion.”
- The government has marginally revised upwards the GDP growth for 2015–16 to 7.9% from the earlier estimate of 7.6% after factoring in the latest data on agriculture and industrial production.
- The Income Tax Department (ITD) announced the initiation of its Operation Clean Money, the e-platform the Department will be used to analyse deposits made during the demonetisation window.
- Bangladesh will push ahead with a controversial plan to relocate tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to a remote island despite warnings it is uninhabitable and prone to flooding. The government has set up a committee comprising state officials in the coastal districts, ordering authorities to help identify and relocate undocumented Myanmar nationals to Thengar Char in the Bay of Bengal.
- Austria’s governing coalition has agreed to prohibit full-face veils in courts, schools and other “public places” as part of a package of reforms drawn up after more than a week of negotiations. The coalition of Social Democrats and the centrist People’s party also agreed to ban police officers, judges and magistrates and public prosecutors from wearing head scarves in the interest of appearing “ideologically and religiously neutral”.
- Researchers have discovered microscopic sea animal Saccorhytus, the earliest known ancestor of humans along with a vast range of other species. The exquisitely well preserved fossilised traces of this 540-million-year-old creature were discovered. This balloon-like sea is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and eventually to humans.
- India and Russia have held high-level consultations on counter-terrorism issues in New Delhi. Both sides shared views and assessment on the threats posed by increasing terrorist activities including India’s concern on state-sponsored, cross-border terrorism. The Indian delegation was led by Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) while the Russian delegation was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Oleg V. Syromolotov.