28 February 2022

Rafael Nadal wins Mexican Open 2022.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal beat British number one Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-4 to win the singles title of Mexican Open 2022 (also known as Acapulco title). This is the 91st ATP title of his career and the third title of the season. 

This is the fourth time that Rafael Nadal has won the Mexican Open title, after winning the previous ones in 2005, 2013 and 2020. 

Men’s double title winners are Feliciano Lopez (Spain) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece).

Source: www.channelstv.com

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Sri Lankan footballer Duckson Puslas found dead in Maldives.

Sri Lankan football player Duckson Puslas has reportedly been found dead in Maldives. 

The 31-year-old defender, who was playing for Club Valencia of Maldives, was found dead in his apartment last tonight.

According to Maldivian media reports, Duckson was not in the lineup of yesterday’s Dhivehi Premier League match due to injuries.

The exact cause of death is yet to be revealed while Maldivian Police are investigating the case.

Yogendran Duckson Puslas was born on April 14, 1990, in Mannar and was a talented footballer who played for the Sri Lankan national team on several occasions. 

He was adjudged the ‘Man Of The Match’ against India in the 2021 SAFF Cup.

In 2020, Puslas signed for Maldivian side TC Sports Club while he later joined Club Valencia of Maldives.

Source: www.adaderana.lk

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Russian forces enter Ukraine's second-largest city.

Russian forces have moved into Ukraine's second-largest city, resulting in street fighting and damage to Kharkiv's infrastructure.

Russian troops had remained on the outskirts of Kharkiv until Sunday, when they moved into the city of 1.4 million people. Videos posted on social media showed Russian vehicles moving across the city and Ukrainian soldiers firing at the Russian forces.

As The Associated Press reported, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office said that Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline. Officials have warned citizens to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze to protect themselves from the smoke.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, said a Russian delegation of diplomats and military officials had arrived in the Belarusian city of Gomel on Sunday. 

Source: https://thehill.com

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Chernobyl power plant captured by Russian forces.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been captured by Russian forces, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Thursday.

"This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today," Podolyak said.

Russian troops took over the power plant while Ukrainian forces battled them on three sides on Thursday after Moscow mounted an assault by land, sea and air in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Source: www.reuters.com

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Poland to boycott World Cup play-off against Russia.

Poland will boycott their World Cup play-off against Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine, with captain Robert Lewandowski saying "we can't pretend that nothing is happening".

Polish football association president Cezary Kulesza has said the team "does not intend" to play the game.

Russia are due to host Poland in Moscow on 24 March, while Ukraine travel to Scotland on the same day.

Source: www.bbc.com

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Cyclone Emnati hits Madagascar.

Winds of up to 135 kilometres per hour (84 mph) battered Madagascar early on Wednesday (24) as Cyclone Emnati made landfall, becoming the fourth major storm to hit the Indian Ocean island in a month.

Emnati struck on the southeastern side of the island, where another cyclone, Batsirai, killed scores of people just under three weeks ago.

More than 30,000 people were evacuated ahead of Emnati's path as a precaution, the government's Office for Risk and Disaster Management said.

But it was later on Wednesday reclassified as a tropical storm as its speed slowed to 100 kmh (62 mph) and there were no early reports of casualties or damage. Emnati was expected to exit into the ocean by Wednesday evening, the meteorological department said.

The island is still recovering from the effects of Cyclone Batsirai, which hit on Feb. 5, killing at least 124 people, damaging or destroying the homes of 124,000 and displacing around 30,000.

Source: www.reuters.com

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Meta blocks Russian state media from running ads worldwide.

Facebook’s parent company Meta announced it’s prohibiting the Russian state media to run ads or monetize on all of its platforms during the conflict with Ukraine. Facebook is another big tech group to announce sanctions against the Russian Federation.

According to the head of the security policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, Russian state media can’t run ads or monetize on the company’s platform anywhere in the world.

Source: https://9to5mac.com

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SpaceX Starlink satellite internet service activated in Ukraine.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that the company's Starlink internet satellites are now active in Ukraine as the country suffers power outages due to Russia's invasion.

Ukraine's vice prime minister asked Musk to provide internet service to the country amid Russian attacks, and Musk delivered, according to a Twitter exchange between the two on Saturday 26 Feb 2022.

Starlink is a satellite-based internet constellation intended to blanket the planet in high-speed broadband and could potentially bring connectivity to billions of people who still lack reliable internet access.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com

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27 February 2022

Biden approves $350 million in military aid for Ukraine.

President Joe Biden instructed the U.S. State Department to release up to an additional $350 million worth of weapons from U.S. stocks to Ukraine on Friday as it struggles to repulse a Russian invasion.

In a memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden directed that $350 million allocated through the Foreign Assistance Act be designated for Ukraine’s defense.

Ukraine has been asking for Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles to shoot down aircraft.

On Saturday, Blinken said in a statement that this third authorization for weapons shipments to Ukraine was “unprecedented.”

The Pentagon said the weapons included anti-armor, small arms, body armor and various munitions in support of Ukraine’s front-line defenders. In addition, a State Department spokesperson said the materiel included anti-aircraft systems.

The United States drew from U.S. weapons stocks to supply Ukraine in the fall of 2021 and then again in December. Over the past year the United States has committed more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, Blinken said.

The Netherlands will supply 200 Stinger air defense rockets to Ukraine as quickly as possible, the Dutch government said in a letter to parliament on Saturday.

Belgium has pledged 2,000 machine guns and 3,800 tons of fuel.

Germany, which had a long-standing policy of not exporting weapons to war zones, approved the delivery of 400 rocket propelled grenades from the Netherlands to Ukraine, the defense ministry in Berlin said.

France has decided to send defensive military equipment to Ukraine to support the country against Russia’s invasion, a French army spokesman said on Saturday, adding that the issue of sending offensive arms was still under consideration.

Source: www.reuters.com

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International Polar Bear Day - 27 February.

Every year on February 27th, International Polar Bear Day raises awareness for the issues that polar bears face. It’s also a day to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint as a way to minimize the effects of global climate change.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has deemed the polar bear a vulnerable species. Sea ice loss due to climate change is the biggest threat to this animal’s survival. Currently, there are an estimated 26,000 polar bears in the world. They live in 19 different populations across the Arctic. About 60 percent of these populations are within or shared by Canada. Polar bears are also found in Alaska, Norway, Greenland, and Russia.

Here are some more facts about polar bears:

  • Hibernating polar bear moms go 8 months without a meal.
  • Female polar bears start a new family about every 3 years.
  • Polar bears can travel up to 19 miles a day for several days.
  • Underneath all that thick translucent fur, polar bears have jet black skin.

One more fact about polar bears is that newborn polar bear cubs weigh just over 1 pound. By the time they are two years old, they weigh hundreds of pounds. An adult male polar bear weighs more than 1,700 pounds.

Polar Bears International (PBI) created International Polar Bear Day in 2011. Part of their goal was to protect denning polar bear families across the Arctic. For this reason, PBI chose February 27th as it coincides with the time period that polar bear moms and cubs are snug in their dens. PBI is a nonprofit polar bear conservation organization. They have headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, and Churchill, Manitoba.

Source: https://polarbearsinternational.org

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World Non-governmental Organization (NGO) Day - 27 February.

Each year World NGO Day is celebrated on February 27th. World NGO Day is an international day dedicated to recognize, celebrate and honour all non-governmental and nonprofit organizations, and the people behind them that contribute to the society all year around. This international day is celebrated in more than 89 countries and over six continents.

Back in 2014, the 27th of February became a historic day for the NGO community worldwide. This  international calendar day, now known as “World NGO day,” was inaugurated for the first time internationally.

NGOs, according to Article 71 of the United Nations Charter, are defined as any organization “independent from government influence and is not-for-profit.”

Source: https://worldngoday.org

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25 February 2022

Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops to “maintain peace”.

Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops to “maintain peace” in two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, hours after the Russian president recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent entities.

In two official decrees, Putin on Monday instructed the country’s defence ministry to assume “the function of maintaining peace” in the eastern regions.

The West has repeatedly warned Russia not to recognise the separatist regions in Donetsk and Luhansk – a move that effectively buries a fragile peace process in the region.

Putin’s announcement paved the way for Russia to openly send troops and weapons to the long-running conflict pitting Ukrainian forces against Moscow-backed rebels.

Source: www.aljazeera.com

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24 February 2022

US Senate Approves Resolution for Ukraine, warning Russia.

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday 17 Feb 2022 to show unwavering support for an independent Ukraine and “condemn" Russian military aggression toward its neighbor as fresh fears emerged of a possible invasion that could spiral toward a European war.

Source: www.usnews.com

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23 February 2022

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz creates history.

The 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has clinched the Rio Open tennis title after defeating Diego Schwartzman in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The seventh-seeded Alcaraz defeated third-seeded Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 to become the youngest ATP 500 champion since the category was created in 2009. It is the second tour-level title of the teen’s career following his breakthrough in Umag last year.

Alcaraz converted five of his six break points in the match. Overall, he won 55 per cent of his return points to put constant pressure on his veteran opponent.

Source: www.tennis365.com

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NASA-ESA's solar orbiter captures largest 'solar prominence eruption'.

The Solar Orbiter spacecraft, a joint project of the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) has captured the largest solar prominence eruption ever observed in a single image together with the full solar disc.

This latest event took place on 15 February and extended millions of kilometres into space. The eruption most likely originated from the side of the sun facing away from earth. Hence,  the coronal mass ejection was directed away from Earth.

The imagery was captured by the 'Full Sun Imager' (FSI) of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) on Solar Orbiter. FSI is designed to look at the full solar disc even during close passages of the Sun.

Solar prominences are large structures of tangled magnetic field lines that keep dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the Sun's surface, sometimes taking the form of arching loops. They are often associated with coronal mass ejections, which can wreak havoc with our technology and everyday lives if directed towards the earth.

Source: www.helsinkitimes.fi

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Kenya becomes the 7th African fishing nation to ratify the Work in Fishing Convention.

Kenya has become the 20th ILO Member State and the seventh African fishing country to ratify the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188). 

The Convention, which entered into force on 16 November 2017, provides the international legal framework for decent work in the fishing sector. It aims to ensure that the 38 million fishers worldwide who work on commercial fishing vessels enjoy decent working and living conditions on board. 

It sets out minimum requirements regarding, among other things, conditions of service (such as rest periods, written work agreements, regular salary, repatriation), accommodation and food, occupational safety and health, medical care at sea and ashore and social security. protection, (which should be at the same level as workers ashore).

Ratification documents were received at the ILO on February 4, 2022 and the Convention will enter into force in Kenya on February 4, 2023. 

Convention No. 188 has also been ratified by Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Congo, Denmark. , Estonia, France, Lithuania, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand and United Kingdom.

Source: https://keywesttarponfishing.net

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Philanthropist Bill Gates honored by Pakistan.

Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates has been conferred with Hilal-e-Pakistan, the second-highest civilian honour in the country, for his efforts to help eradicate polio in Pakistan. 

Gates was on a day-long visit to Pakistan and has met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also visited the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) that oversees efforts to curb Covid-19.

Gates appreciated Pakistan’s success against Covid-19 despite resource constraints and the initiatives and measures for public health safety. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a major contributor in worldwide polio eradication through Gavi, the vaccine alliance. 

Source: https://thefrontierpost.com

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Ronaldo becomes first ever to reach 400 million followers on Instagram.

Portuguese star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has set another record as his Instagram followers reached the 400 million mark, making him the first person ever to reach the milestone, Mail Online reported.

Even before surpassing 400 million, the Manchester United footballer was still the most followed celebrity on Instagram with a count of over 3 million. However, Ronaldo’s Instagram following witnessed a major leap a day after he celebrated his 37th birthday.

Ronaldo shared a glimpse of his 37th birthday celebrations with partner Georgina Rodríguez.

The star footballer has 3,242 posts, with an average of 10 million likes for each post. The celebrity himself follows only 500 Instagram accounts.

After Ronaldo, American celebrity Kylie Jenner is the second most-followed person on Instagram with over 308million followers. Whereas, the top footballer Lionel Messi ranks third with 306 million Instagram followers.

Source: www.marca.com

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22 February 2022

Israel successfully tests naval air defense system.

Israel on Monday 21 Jan 2022 said it successfully tested a new naval air defense system, intercepting a series of threats in what officials called a key layer of protection against Iran and its proxies in the region.

The "C-Dome" system is a naval version of the Iron Dome, which has been used to shoot down rockets fired from the Gaza Strip for the past decade. The C-Dome is being installed on Israel's latest-generation corvette warships, which protect Israel's coastline and offshore natural gas assets in the Mediterranean.

The tests simulated a number of incoming threats, including rockets, cruise missiles and drones, the Defense Ministry said.

Source: www.wsbtv.com

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France, European allies announce military withdrawal from Mali.

France and its allies in a European force have announced they will begin withdrawing troops from Mali after nearly 10 years fighting armed unrest.

A statement signed by France and its African and European allies and published on Thursday said that “multiple obstructions” by the ruling military government meant that the conditions were no longer in place to operate in Mali.

The decision applies to both France’s Barkhane force in the Sahel and the Takuba European force that Paris had been trying to forge along with its allies.

Source: www.nytimes.com

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Winter Olympics Games 2022 in Beijing concluded.

The closing ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games was held on February 20, 2022, at National Stadium (known as the Bird’s Nest) in Beijing. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, was held from 4 to 20 February 2022. The Games featured a record 109 events across 15 disciplines in 7 sports. The venues of the Games were distributed across three zones- Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. The Presidency of the Games was formally handed over to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, in Italy, to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Norway has topped the medal table for the second successive Winter Olympics, winning a total of 37 medals, including 16 golds. This is a new record for the most amount of gold medals won at a single Winter Olympics.

Germany finished second with 27 medals overall, while the host nation China finished third with 15 medals.

Source: www.nytimes.com

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Vladimir Putin recognises Ukrainian separatist regions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to formally recognise the independence of two rebel-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine, breaching the 2015 protocol that ended the conflict in Donbas and further inflaming the tensions between the two countries.

The Kremlin later said Putin would send forces to the region to "maintain peace" though it was unclear when they would enter the country.

Putin made the announcement to recognise the separatist regions — the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics — at the end of a long speech, broadcast live, where he laid out his view of the threats to Russia from an encroaching West; painted a picture of a pro-European Ukraine with a broken economy where the sizeable Russian minority are oppressed; and said Ukrainian and NATO forces could potentially attack Russia with missiles at short notice.

President Putin had signed the paperwork earlier on Monday 21 Feb 2022, and has asked the Russian parliament to ratify his decision as soon as possible.

Source: www.euronews.com

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Emma Terho and Seung Min Ryu re-elected Chair and Vice-Chair of IOC Athletes’ Commission.

Meeting in Beijing following the election of two new members, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission (AC) today re-elected Emma Terho (Finland, ice hockey) as its Chair and Seung Min Ryu (Republic of Korea, table tennis) as first Vice-Chair, and elected Sarah Walker (New Zealand, cycling) as second Vice-Chair of the Commission. 

In December last year, the IOC Executive Board (EB) accepted the proposal by the IOC AC to create a second Vice-Chair position. This is open to both the elected and the appointed Commission members, providing more inclusivity for the IOC AC’s appointed members. The IOC AC Chair and first Vice-Chair positions remain open only to the elected members of the Commission.

Elected to the AC at PyeongChang 2018, Emma Terho took the lead of the Commission after the elections held during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She was subsequently elected as a member of the IOC Executive Board. Terho is a five-time Olympian and former captain of the Finland women's ice hockey team, winning a bronze medal at both the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998 and Vancouver 2010. She will head the Commission until the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Elected to the IOC AC at Rio 2016 and then as Vice-Chair in Tokyo 2020, Seung Min Ryu is a Korean table tennis player who won gold in the men's singles at Athens 2004, a team silver medal at London 2012 and a team bronze medal at Beijing 2008.

Source: https://olympics.com

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World Thinking Day - 22 February.

Every year on February 22nd Girl Scouts from across the globe participate in World Thinking Day. These girls gather together to discuss issues that affect young women.

The history of the Girl Scouts dates all the way back to 1912. This is when Juliette Gordon Low met the founder of Boy Scouts, Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England. Upon Low’s return to her Georgia home, she knew she had to start a similar organization for girls. That same year, she gathered 18 girls together and told them all she had learned about this new outdoor and educational youth program. At the time, “Daisy” as many affectionately called her, was 51 years old and nearly deaf.

The first small troop of Girl Scouts was culturally and ethnically diverse. This was a big deal, considering women were not even allowed to vote. These girls participated in basketball, hiking, and camping. More importantly, the girls lent a helping hand to those in need. They also worked together to improve the world around them. Since its small beginnings, Girl Scouts numbers have flourished in over 100 countries. There are currently 2.6 million Girl Scouts and more than 50 million alumni.

Girl Scouts first began celebrating this day in 1926. This is the year that delegates from different countries gathered together at Camp Edith Macy in New York. During this meeting, the delegates agreed that February 22nd would be known as a special day for Girl Scouts. This international day of friendship has become a way to speak on issues that affect young women and fundraise for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Each year there is a special theme for the day. 

2022 Theme of World Thinking Day: "Our World, Our Equal Future: The environment and gender equality"

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org

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21 February 2022

JPMorgan is the first bank to enter the Metaverse.

JPMorgan has become the world’s first bank to set up shop in the metaverse. The largest bank in the US has opened a lounge in the blockchain-based world Decentraland. Users can create their virtual avatars, build virtual spaces and roam in the lounge christened ‘Onyx Lounge’ after its suit of Ethereum-based services. The lounge also features a digital image of the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon.

Metaverse is a virtual universe where users can do multiple activities like socialising, shopping or even attending events through their avatar. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are becoming more pocket-friendly, and both technologies have together contributed to a significantly enhanced user experience.

JPMorgan begins its assessment of “metanomics” by pointing out that the average price of a parcel of virtual land doubled in the latter half of 2021, jumping from $6,000 in June to $12,000 by December across the four main Web 3 metaverse sites: Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium Space and Cryptovoxels.

Source: www.coindesk.com

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International Mother Language Day - 21 February.

Every year on February 21st, International Mother Language Day draw awareness for linguistic and cultural diversity. It’s also a day to promote multilingualism.

A mother language is the first language that someone speaks. A person’s mother language helps to define a person’s identity. Some think of their mother language as a thing of great beauty. This is especially true if they live in an area where their mother language is not spoken. For them, their mother language is a way to stay connected to their homeland and their culture. 

Out of the 6,000 languages in the world, 43 percent of them are endangered. These endangered languages will become extinct in the future. Languages become endangered for several reasons. 

In November of 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed International Mother Language Day. Bangladesh inspired the day. February 21st, 1952 marks the date when the Bangalis fought for their language to become recognized. On February 29th, 1952, Bengali became the second official language of Pakistan.

The theme of the 2022 International Mother Language Day, “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”. 

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com

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20 February 2022

International Darwin Day - 12 February.

International Darwin Day celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on 12 February 1809, and it is a day to celebrate science and humanity. Charles Darwin, the English naturalist, changed the field of natural history by putting forth the theory of evolution by natural selection. It will be a day of celebration, activism, and international cooperation for the advancement of science, education, and human well-being.

Darwin Day will be observed by the United Nations and its members as an opportunity for international partnerships through the common language of science for the common good of all.

The mission of International Darwin Day is to inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.

He was best known for his contributions to evolutionary biology. He is recognized for his theory of Evolution.


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Legendary singer and music composer Bappi Lahiri passed away.

Veteran Indian singer and composer, Bappi Lahiri has passed away at the age of 69. He was lovingly called Bappi Da in the industry is known for delivering iconic songs in several films of the late 1970s-80s like Chalte Chalte, Disco Dancer, and Sharaabi. His last Bollywood song was Bhankas for the 2020 film Baaghi 3.

The singer is known for his gold chains. His real name was Alokesh Lahiri. He joined BJP in 2014. He was declared a BJP candidate from Srerampur (Lok Sabha constituency) in West Bengal for the 2014 Indian general election and lost.

 

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India adds 54 more Chinese apps to ban list.

India has blocked access to 54 mobile apps, mainly Chinese but also including Singapore-based Sea Ltd's (SE.N) "Free Fire" mobile game, over security concerns, government sources said.

Since the start of political tension with China in 2020 following a border clash, India's ban list, which initially had 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, has expanded to cover 321 apps. 

India believes user data was being sent via the apps to servers in China, one of the government sources, who sought anonymity in line with policy

Source: www.reuters.com

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WHO launches Quit Tobacco App.

The World Health Organization has launched on 15 Feb 2022 ‘Quit Tobacco App’ to help people kick the cigarette butt and give up use of tobacco in all forms - including smokeless and other newer products. 

The app, the first such by WHO, and the first that targets all forms of tobacco, helps users to identify the triggers, set their targets, manage cravings, and stay focused to quit tobacco.  

Tobacco is the world’s leading cause of preventable death, and kills nearly 8 million persons every year. It claims 1.6 million lives in the WHO South-East Asia Region which is amongst the largest producers and consumers of tobacco products. 

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCD) including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. Tobacco users are also at higher risk of complication and severe disease in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

With a focused approach to control tobacco, as part of regional flagship to reduce NCD burden, countries have been accelerating implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and MPOWER package, a set of six cost-effective and high impact measures to reduce demand and supply of tobacco and tackle the tobacco epidemic. 

As per the WHO Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Use 2000-2025 (4th edition, 2021) WHO South-East Asia Region recorded the fastest decline in tobacco use but continued to have the highest 432 million tobacco users, or 29% of its population. The Region has 266 million smokeless tobacco users of the 355 million globally. The growing use of new and emerging products such as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/ ECigarettes, sheesha/hukkah are additional challenges to tobacco control. 

The Region has expanded tobacco surveillance to monitor tobacco use prevalence and tobacco control policies.  Thailand was the first in Asia to implement Plain Packaging. Timor-Leste, Nepal, Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka have implemented large-sized graphic health warnings on tobacco packs. Six countries have banned ENDS (electronic cigarettes). Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka are working towards moving tobacco farmers away from growing tobacco. Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste have established and scaled-up tobacco cessation services. 

The ‘WHO Quit Tobacco App’, launched during WHO’s year-long ‘Commit to quit’ campaign, is the latest tobacco control initiative by the WHO South-East Asia Region.   

Source: www.who.int

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Chinese President sent a Congratulatory Letter to the Chinese and Sri Lankan Political Parties.

On February 17, 2022, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the Chinese and Sri Lankan political parties celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact.

Source: www.fmprc.gov.cn

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World Day of Social Justice - 20 February.

Every year on February 20th, the World Day of Social Justice promotes the importance of fair and just relations between the individual and society. The day also tackles issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender equality, human rights, and social protections.

On November 26, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly declared that February 20th was to be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.

The theme for World Justice Day 2022 is ‘Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment’.


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World Pangolin Day - 19 February 2022.

World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the “Third Saturday of February” every year. In 2022, the annual World Pangolin Day is being celebrated on 19 February 2022. It marks the 11th edition of the event. The day aims to raise awareness about these unique mammals and speed up conservation efforts. Pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.

Pangolins are the only mammal to be covered in scales. To protect themselves, they curl into balls like hedgehogs. Their name comes from the Malay word ‘pengguling’ meaning ‘something that rolls up’. They are the most smuggled mammal in the world because people want their meat and scales. A pangolin’s tongue can be longer than its body when fully extended is can be 40 cm long.

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Pluto Day - 18 February.

Every year, Pluto Day on February 18th celebrates the discovery of the former planet. Up until 2006, the dwarf planet was considered one of the nine planets in the solar system.

Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer, discovered Pluto. He made the discovery at the Lowell Observatory on February 18th, 1930 84 years after the discovery of Neptune. Pluto was named for the Roman god of the Underworld. On March 19, 1930, Lowell Observatory officially announced the discovery of a 9th planet.

On August 24th, 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) reduced Pluto to a dwarf planet.

Pluto Day commemorates the anniversary of its discovery each year on February 18th, 1930.

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com

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World Anthropology Day - 17 February 2022.

Every year on the third Thursday in February, World Anthropology Day allows anthropologists to celebrate their discipline and share it with the world.

Anthropology is the study of humans, human behavior, and societies in the past and present. Anthropologists take a broad approach to understanding different aspects of human experience. Their goal is to understand our human origins, our distinctiveness as a species, and our great diversity. There are many reasons for the study of anthropology. Studying humans, societies, and their behaviors provide a better understanding of our world. The past is studied to help interpret the present.

Anthropology is divided into three subfields:

  • Sociocultural – interprets the content of particular cultures
  • Biological – studies a variety of aspects regarding human biology
  • Archeology – studies the remains of past and present cultural systems

Studying these subfields allows anthropologists to use each other’s knowledge to better understand why humans act the way we do, and how it affects our physical, cultural, and social environments. Anthropologists have superior research skills. They also have skills in observation, analysis, critical thinking, and writing. Anthropologists are usually very gifted at dealing with people from other cultures.

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) came up with National Anthropology Day in 2015. The following year, they changed it to World Anthropology Day. The AAA felt this was a better fit as anthropology is important for the whole world, not just one country. The day has always been held the third Thursday in February. This is a day that classes are in session, so that schools and universities can participate. The goal was also to avoid religions and national holidays, as well as other competing days.

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com

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19 February 2022

Keegan Petersen, Heather Knight ICC players of the month for January 2022.

South Africa’s Test sensation Keegan Petersen and England women’s team captain Heather Knight were voted ICC Players of the Month for January 2022. In the men’s category, South African batter Keegan Petersen was a sensation during the home Test series against India. He ended the series as the highest run-scorer with 276 runs and was named the Player of the Series.

For the women’s award, England skipper Knight beat off competition from Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu and West Indies star Deandra Dottin to be named ICC Player of the Month for January 2022. Knight captained England in the one-off Ashes Test against Australia in Canberra and finished as the highest run-getter.

Source: www.icc-cricket.com

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The United States has just released an Indo-Pacific Strategy document.

The United States has just released an Indo-Pacific Strategy document, reiterating the importance of the region under President Joe Biden. Even though the document states the United States “will focus on every corner of the region, from Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, to South Asia and Oceania, including the Pacific Islands,” it’s obvious that Southeast Asia is very much in the heart of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Many of the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states are specifically mentioned, with the Philippines and Thailand as US treaty alliance partners in the region. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are considered leading regional partners.

Unlike the AUKUS announcements, where China loomed in the background largely unmentioned, the new strategy document is explicit that China’s “coercion and aggression spans the globe, but it is most acute in the Indo-Pacific”. Beijing is singled out for aggressive behaviour, threatening neighbours in the South and East China seas, leading Washington to declare it will assist allies and friends in the region.

Source: www.lowyinstitute.org

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18 February 2022

The One Ocean Summit - 2022.

The President of the French Republic organised a One Planet Summit dedicated to the ocean, was held in Brest, France on 9-11 February 2022. 

The “One Ocean Summit” was held in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the support of the United Nations.

The goal of the One Ocean Summit was to raise the collective level of ambition of the international community on marine issues and to translate our shared responsibility to the ocean into tangible commitments.

Source: www.oneoceansummit.fr

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17 February 2022

Colombo’s first Water Sports Centre launched by Lanka Sportreizen at Port City.

A multifaceted water sports centre was launched at the Port City premises in Colombo amidst an exclusive gathering on Friday 11th Feb 2021 by Lanka Sportreizen (LSR), Sri Lanka’s only travel and tourism agency related to sports tourism. The Water Sports Centre, Colombo’s first-of-its-kind, opened to the public from this week, will be offering dozens of water-based recreational and training activities.

Source: www.ft.lk

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Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy.

European scientists say they have made a major breakthrough in their quest to develop practical nuclear fusion - the energy process that powers the stars.

The UK-based JET laboratory has smashed its own world record for the amount of energy it can extract by squeezing together two forms of hydrogen.

If nuclear fusion can be successfully recreated on Earth it holds out the potential of virtually unlimited supplies of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.

The experiments produced 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds (11 megawatts of power).

This is more than double what was achieved in similar tests back in 1997.

It's not a massive energy output - only enough to boil about 60 kettles' worth of water. But the significance is that it validates design choices that have been made for an even bigger fusion reactor now being constructed in France.

Source: www.bbc.com


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Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2021.

The Democracy Index is based on 60 indicators, grouped into five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture..

Countries are given a rating on a zero to ten scale, and the overall index is the average of the five total category scores.

Each country is then grouped into four types of regime, based on their average score: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

Sri Lanka ranked at 67th position for Flawed Democracy category with 6.14 score.

2021 Rankings

     Top 5                            Country                           Score

  • 1                          Norway                                 9.75
  • 2                          New Zealand                          9.37
  • 3                          Finland                                  9.27
  • 4                          Sweden                                  9.26

     Bottom 5                   Country                                   Score
  • 163                         Central African Republic  1.43
  • 164                         Dem. Republic of Congo         1.40
  • 165                         North Korea                         1.08
  • 166                         Myanmar                         1.02
  • 167                         Afghanistan                         0.32
Source: www.eiu.com


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16 February 2022

Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of HIV, dies aged 89.

Luc Montagnier, the French virologist credited as a co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has died aged 89.

Montagnier was jointly awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for his work in isolating the virus that causes Aids.

He was lauded for this work, but later criticised for unscientific claims about autism and Covid-19.

The virologist first began working on the virus in the early 1980s while at France's Pasteur Institute, a non-profit research foundation.

Source: www.bbc.com


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Suranga Lakmal to retire from all forms of International Cricket.

Former Sri Lanka Test Captain Suranga Lakmal has informed Sri Lanka Cricket that he will retire from all forms of International Cricket following the completion of the upcoming Sri Lanka Tour of India 2022.

Suranga Lakmal played for Sri Lanka across all international formats, making valuable contributions to the betterment of the national team.

Source: https://srilankacricket.lk

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