The Daily Brief – 26th February, 2017

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  • As smuggling networks strengthen, India continues to bear the ignominy of being the source of the illegal trade and export of tortoises and freshwater turtles (TFT). Researchers perused 223 reported seizures by authorities between 2011-15. Most of the seizures were in India, while the rest were from Bangladesh, Thailand and China. Of the amphibians seized, the turtles were established as having come from India. Within India, the Gangetic Plains accounted for 46% of all seizures, with Lucknow and Kanpur being major hubs. Researchers said this was linked to tightening of the enforcement (including an active Special Task Force) in Uttar Pradesh and the Gangetic belt. There is a tradition of turtle poaching in this area given the diversity of TFT population along the river.
  • India and Germany have ratified the Social Security Agreement (SSA), which will come into force from May 1 this year, to help promote more investment flows between the two countries. The SSA will also integrate the provisions of the 2008 social insurance pact that exempts detached workers of the two countries from making social security contributions in either countries so long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries.
  • Buoyed by the elimination of polio six years ago and maternal and neonatal tetanus and yaws in 2016, India has now set an ambitious target of eliminating measles and controlling congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), caused by the rubella virus, by 2020.
  • Darjeeling has opened the country’s first hill station bicycle path, with views of the world’s highest mountains as cycling grows in popularity among Indians. Darjeeling is reportedly the first hill station in the country to get such a trail.
  • The High Court of Bombay at Goa has introduced online payment of court fees through e-payment gateway in coordination with the Goa Government and National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • School buses will now have to be equipped with GPS, CCTV arrangements and speed governors as per the revised guidelines issued by the CBSE to ensure greater safety of children. These guidelines have been issued on the directions of Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar after a recent school bus accident in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The government has announced to bailout IDBI Bank with Rs. 3,000-crore capital infusion to enable the bank to have better capital-adequacy ratio and further enhance credit growth.
  • The government has roped in actress Shilpa Shetty as a brand ambassador for the Indian government cleanliness initiative ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.
  • Rajasthan has become the second largest crude oil producer in the country after the offshore field Bombay High, Governor Kalyan Singh said in the Assembly by highlighting the achievements of the state government. Mr. Singh stated that oilfields in the state were producing nearly 90 lakh tones oil annually, which is 24% of the total domestic crude oil production.
  • Virendra Sharma, an Indian-origin British MP was conferred with the first Dr Satya Paul Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to India-UK ties.
  • India made a rousing start at the 6th Asian Para-Road Cycling Championship, bagging all three medals in the 12.8 Km Individual Time Trial on the opening day of the tournament at Bahrain. Abhishek from Chandigarh won the gold medal, Divij Shah from West Bengal won silver and Harinder Singh from BSF bagged the bronze medal.
  • Sriram Balaji clinched the singles title, beating Vishnu Vardhan, and then partnered him to win the doubles crown in the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures, also winning the title.
  • South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers became the fastest man to score 9,000 One Day International runs as he led his side to a 159-run victory over New Zealand.
  • A nationwide military operation ‘Radd-ul-Fasaad’ was launched by the Pakistan Army to eliminate terrorists and ensure the security of Pakistan’s borders.
  • Pakistan and Turkey have signed 10 agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields, including exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering, hydrocarbon and defence cooperation. A joint declaration on Turkey-Pakistan Strategic Relationship for Peace and Prosperity was also issued at the end of the meeting resolved to fight against terrorism.
  • In a first of its kind development of a cross-border zip line in the world, a an international zip line named as Limite Zero has been created to connect Spain and Portugal.
Image result for african black rhinoceros
The African Black Rhinoceros (Wikipedia)
  • As the value of rhinoceros horn touches $65,000 per kg, poaching has begun to drive the African black rhinoceros to “the verge of extinction” – not just by reducing its population size, but by erasing 70% of the species’ genetic diversity. Genetic variation is the cornerstone of evolution, without which there can be no natural selection, and so a low genetic diversity decreases the ability of a species to survive and reproduce.

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