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Bangladesh to sign Free Trade Agreement with Nepal
Bangladesh and Nepal have agreed to sign a Free Trade Agreement to enhance trade between the two countries. For this, a committee will be formed to work out the modalities of the agreement. Bangladesh exports commodities worth $38 million to Nepal and imports goods worth around 18 million dollars.
Bangladesh has also agreed to allow Nepal to use it Saidpur airport located in its northernmost district of Nilphamari close to Nepal.

Box office receipts cross Rs.10,000 crore mark for the first time in 2019
Aided by Hollywood films like ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and ‘The Lion King’, for the first time the gross box office (BO) collection in India crossed Rs 10,000 crore mark in 2019, witnessing 11.6% growth over the previous year. As per the latest Box Office Report from media consulting firm Ormax Media, the gross BO across languages stood at Rs 10,948 crore in 2019.
In net terms, the growth was higher, at 18.7% to Rs 9,490 crore, as the GST rates were reduced from 28% and 18% to 18% and 12%, respectively.
Total footfalls in the cinema screens also crossed the 100 crore mark, growing at 8.9% to 103 crore in 2019.
Hollywood showed biggest growth in gross BO (30.5%), touching an all-time high of Rs 1,595 crore in 2019, beating Tamil and Telugu films to gross the second highest share in the pie after Hindi.

FIFA U-17 Women’s Football World Cup to be hosted in 5 cities in November
Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju launched an event in New Delhi to unveil the five host cities for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s Football World Cup which kicks off on 2nd of November this year. The matches of the world cup will be held in five cities including Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Kolkata and Navi Mumbai. The finals of the tournament will be played on 21st of November at Navi Mumbai.
The cities will play host to 16 teams which will compete across 32 matches to lift the coveted title. The official slogan – Kick Off The Dream – was also unveiled during the event.

FM to hold high level meeting to discuss disruption in supply of raw materials from China
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is to hold a meeting of Secretaries to discuss disruption in supply of raw materials from China after outbreak of Novel Coronavirus. Earlier the Finance Minister held a meeting with Industry and other bodies to assess the impact of Novel Corona virus outbreak and any disruptions posed by it to India’s trade.
The Minister said, representatives from pharma, textiles, chemicals, auto, paints and telecom sectors shared their views with regard to impact of the virus. She said during the meeting, chemicals, pharma and solar equipment makers were very vocal about disruption in supply of raw materials from China.

Foodgrain production set to touch a record high
The 2nd Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2019-20 have been released by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
Total foodgrain production is projected to scale an all-time high of almost 292 million tonnes in 2019-20, propelled by record production of both rice and wheat. This is higher by 6.74 million tonnes more than the production of foodgrain of 285.21 million tonnes achieved during 2018-19.

Govt to facilitate doubling of milk processing capacity by 2025
Union Government will facilitate doubling of milk processing capacity from over 53 million tonne to 108 million tonne by 2025. In India, milk production is growing by 6.4 per cent during the last five years and has increased from over 146 million tonne in 2014-15 to over 187 million Tonne in 2018-19.
The Ministry said, about 54 per cent of milk produced is marketable surplus and remaining 46 per cent is retained in villages for local consumption.
Out of the marketable surplus available with farmers, only 36 per cent is handled by cooperative and private sector. It said, there is a need to bring the remaining 64 per cent surplus milk under the organized fold.

Greatest woman golfer, Mickey Wright dies at 85
Mickey Wright, often described as the greatest woman golfer of all times, died at Florida in the United States at the age of 85. Her haul of 13 major victories included four US Women’s Open titles and four US Women’s PGA Championships.
Wright had accumulated 82 titles of Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour titles during a professional career which stretched from 1954 to 1969. She won the 1954 World Amateur Championship before turning professional the following season.

Hero MotoCorp to invest Rs. 10,000 crore in R&D
The country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp announced an investment of Rs. 10,000 crore in the next 5-7 years to be utilised for research and development (R&D) of alternative mobility solutions, building sustainable manufacturing facilities and network expansion.
Since parting ways with Japan’s Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in 2011, Hero MotoCorp has invested $1 billion on new plants, machineries and product development while another $600 million was pumped into R&D.
Hero MotoCorp aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, waste neutral by 2025 and 500 percent water positive by the same year.

Hindi is 3rd most spoken language in the world with 615 million speakers after English, Mandarin
Hindi is the 3rd most spoken language of the world in 2019 with 615 million speakers. The 22nd edition of the world language database Ethnologue stated English at the top of the list with 1,132 million speakers. Chines Mandarin is at the second position with 1,117 million speakers.
Bangla has been ranked as the 7th most spoken language of the world. Bangla has 228 million native speakers.
The current round of the database covers 7,111 living languages of the world.

India’s sugar export may cross 5 million tonne this year
India’s sugar export may cross 5 million tonnes in the marketing year ending September 2019, on higher demand from overseas amid a global deficit of 8-9 million tonne, industry body ISMA said. For the current year, the government has allowed export of 6 million tonne of sugar under Maximum Admissible Export Quota to help deal with the surplus sugar.
The country’s sugar production has reached nearly 17 million tonnes till February 15 of the current marketing year.

J&K woos investors with ample land
With just 242.25 acres of land under industry in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory administration is wooing investors by opening a 6,000-acre land bank for setting up multiplexes, processing units, food parks, film production centres, schools, information technology parks and medical complexes.

Kothari tipped to be CVC; Julka is CIC
Retired IAS officer Sanjay Kothari is tipped to be the new chief vigilance commissioner (CVC), while former information and broadcasting secretary Bimal Julka will be the new chief information commissioner (CIC).
Mr Kothari, a 1978-batch retired IAS officer of Haryana cadre, is currently secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Mr Bimal Julka, a former IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, who is currently serving in CIC as one of the information commissioners, has been elevated as the chief information commissioner in the information body. The two newly-appointed officials are likely to have a fixed tenure.

Sachin Tendulkar’s 2011 world cup moment becomes Laureus best sporting moment
Indian cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar being carried on the shoulders of his teammates following India’s world cup triumph in 2011 was voted as the Laureus best sporting moment in the past 20 years.
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh presented the trophy to Tendulkar.
First held in 2000, the Annual Laureus Sports Awards honour the greatest and most inspirational sporting triumphs of the year.

Special Economic Zones continue to take lead in expanding exports
The Special Economic Zones, SEZ continue to take the lead in expanding the exports for the country. Even in the midst of a volatile global economy, SEZs in India have shown resilience and have achieved 100-billion-dollar worth of exports so far.
Sectors that saw healthy growth in this financial year include gems and jewelry, trading and Logistics, leather and footwear, non-conventional energy, textiles and garments. Petrochemicals constitute a major segment of SEZ exports, however, growth was muted in this segment this year which may be attributed to the softening of global crude prices.
There are 241 SEZs operational in the country.

Sub-group of terror financing watchdog FATF recommends continuation of Pak in ‘Grey List’
A sub-group of the global terror financing watchdog FATF has recommended the continuation of Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’ for its failure to check terror funding. The decision was taken at the meeting of the FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG), held at the ongoing Paris plenary. The final decision will be taken on Friday when the FATF takes up issues concerning Pakistan.
Pakistan was placed on the ‘Grey List’ by the FATF in June 2018.

Sunil Kumar wins gold in 87-kg Greco Roman category in Asian Wrestling Championships
Greco Roman wrestler Sunil Kumar opened India’s medal account in the Asian Wrestling Championships at New Delhi by winning a Gold. He beat Azat Salidinov from Kyrgyzstan in the final of the 87 kg category.
The Indian wrestlers who crashed out today were Mehar Singh, Sajan and Sachin Rana in different weight categories.

Yes Bank to exit Nifty from March 27
National Stock Exchange (NSE) said that private lender YES Bankwill cease to be a part of Nifty50 index from March 27 and will be replaced by Shree Cement. YES Bank was dropped from Sensex in December 2019. The exchange also excluded Ashok Leyland, Indiabulls Housing Finance, L&T Finance Holdings, Vodafone Idea and YES Bank from Nifty 100 index, and replaced them with Adani Transmission, IDBI Bank, Info Edge, Larsen & Toubro Infotech and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.

Actor and TMC politician Tapas Paul passes away
Veteran Bengali actor and former Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal passed away at the age of 61 at a private hospital in Mumbai. In a career spanning over three decades, Paul had worked with veteran actors Prosenjit Chatterjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Ranjit Mallick and Raakhee Gulzar.
He made his Bollywood debut in Hiren Nag’s “Abodh” (1984) opposite Madhuri Dixit Nene.
He was elected as the MLA from Alipore Assembly seat in 2001.

Afghanistan: Ashraf Ghani secures 2nd term as President
Afghanistan’s independent Election Commission announced that Ashraf Ghani has won a second term as President of the country. The Election Commission said, Ghani garnered 9,23,592 votes, or 50.64 per cent of votes that took place 28th of September last year. The country’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah received 7,20,841 votes, or 39.52 per cent of votes.
Ghani and Abdullah head a fragile national unity government that was put together under the US pressure after both leaders claimed victory in Afghanistan’s 2014 elections.
Nearly 1.8 million Afghan citizens voted in the election out of some 9.6 million eligible voters.

AIFF receives ‘Grassroots Charter Bronze Level’ membership of AFC
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has received the “Grassroots Charter Bronze Level” membership of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The Asian sports governing body has confirmed this in a letter to the AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.
This declaration accords AIFF the right to promote its grassroots events and activities with the support and recognition of the AFC in accordance with the applicable terms of the AFC Grassroots Charter.

Australia appoints former New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell as next high commissioner to India
Australia has appointed former New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell as the next high commissioner to India. Mr O’Farrell will succeed Harinder Sidhu who has been in the office since 2016.
Ms. Payne appreciated two-way investment between the two countries, valued at 30.7 billion dollars and the contribution of around 700,000 people of Indian Origin living in Australia.



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