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WHO issues $56 million plan to combat Zika virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that $56 million were needed to combat the Zika virus until June, including for the fast-tracking of vaccines, diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads.
The funds, including $25 million for the WHO and its regional office, would also be used to control the mosquito-borne virus that has spread to 39 countries, including 34 in the Americas.
The WHO expects the funds to come from member states and other donors and said that in the meantime it has tapped a new emergency contingency fund for $2 million to finance its initial operations.

Global teacher prize: Indian among contenders

A file photo of Robin Chaurasiya, founder of Kranti, who will compete with teachers from other countries to win the USD 1 million prize. The top 10 have been narrowed down from 8,000 nominations and applications from 148 countries from around the world. The prize will be announced at a ceremony in Dubai on March 13.  The prize was created last year as a kind of Oscars for the teaching profession by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation.

Thirty-million-year-old fossil flowers found

Scientists have discovered the first-ever fossil specimens of an “asterid” — a family of flowering plants that gave us everything from the potato to tomatoes, tobacco, petunias and our morning cup of coffee.
The two 20-30 million-year-old fossil flowers found perfectly preserved in a piece of amber came from the dark side of the asterid family — they belong to the genus Strychnos, which ultimately gave rise to some of the world’s most famous poisons, including strychnine and curare.

Obama expected to visit Cuba in March: report

U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to make a historic visit to Cuba next month — the first sitting American president to go to the island nation in 80 years — as the two Cold War-era foes make efforts to normalise their ties, a media report has said.

Now, we can help DiCaprio win an Oscar! In a game, of course.

A Leonardo DiCaprio video game has been created in which players help the star to try to win an Oscar.The Hollywood actor is yet to win an Academy Award in his life, which has been well documented, but a new game, ‘Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage’, enables gamers to help the star get his hands on one of the elusive prizes, reported Femalefirst.The arcade-style platform game see players make a mocked-up DiCaprio figure run along the red carpet towards an Oscars statue by simultaneously tapping the G and H keyboard buttons.

South Asian Games: India finish on top with 308 medals

India’s regional supremacy went unchallenged as the hosts were crowned overall champions for the 12th consecutive time, after notching up a record-breaking haul of 308 medals, at the South Asian Games. With women boxers scooping all the three gold medals on offer and the judokas also bagging two gold and two silver on the last day of the Games, India’s final tally stood at 188 gold, 99 silver and 30 bronze medals . It was a massive jump in medal count for the Indians, who had won 175, including 90 gold, in the previous edition of the Games in 2010.

Haryana to set up police stations in industrial parks to check unrest

The government of Haryana is setting up police stations within industrial parks and an industrial intelligence unit that would look out for any signs of festering industrial unrest to improve security for investors.

HCL buys Volvo’s IT biz

India’s fourth largest IT services company HCL Technologies said it had acquired the external IT business of auto major Volvo. Anant Gupta, President & CEO, HCL Technology.

Ringing Bells’ smartphone to cost Rs. 251

Noida-based smartphone maker Ringing Bells is set to unveil India’s most affordable smartphone on Wednesday, priced at Rs.251, a move that is set to disrupt the booming Indian mobile handset market. The 3G handset, Freedom 251, features a 4-inch display, Qualcomm 1.3-GHz quad-core processor and 1 GB RAM, according to details shared by the company. The Android Lollipop-based handset will have an onboard storage of 8 GB with support for expandable memory of up to 32 GB.

It features a 3.2-MP rear and a 0.3-MP front facing camera and a 1,450-mAh battery.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikkar will introduce the smartphone Freedom 251 in the market.

The mass market device will come with preinstalled apps including Women Safety, Swachh Bharat, Fisherman, Farmer, Medical, WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube.

Bookings for the Freedom 251 will start on Thursday.

Previously, the company has launched the most affordable 4G smartphone for Rs.2,999.

At present, smartphones available in the market are priced around Rs.1,500. Last year, DataWind had announced that it is teaming up with Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications (RCOM) to launch the world’s most affordable smartphone, priced at Rs.999. The phone is yet to hit the market.

Established last year, Ringing Bells will start with the assembly of handsets in Phase-I and aims at full indigenous development of the feature-rich smartphones.

Tiruchirapalli city wins Behavioural Change Communication Award

Tiruchirapalli city in Tamil Nadu has won best city performer in Behavioral change Communication Award. The award was bestowed upon Trichy city commissioner Vijayalakshmi from Union Minister of urban Development Venkaiah Naiadu in the Swach Sarvekshan function.  Tiruchirapalli city has shown the way in cleanliness and hygiene. It also is open defecation free city and strictly follows effective solid waste management. Special awareness was created to tell people to use public toilets and individual toilets. The city has ranked third in clean city award and is among the 15 leader cities along with Mysuru (1st), Chandigarh (2nd) and New Delhi (4th). City corporation workers are also doing a commendable job to keep city clean by removing solid waste on time from waste boxes. Solid waste management initiatives implemented in city also have been applauded by the Union Urban Development Ministry.

Nidar: India launches 'lightest gun' weighing 250g

Boosting the 'Make in India' initiative, the Rifle Factory Ishapore, has indigenously developed country's lightest revolver 'Nidar' which weighs merely 250 grams, much lighter than 'Nirbheek' (500 grams), which was exclusively designed for women.The premier Indian small arms manufacturer, will launch the revolver on February 2 and both men and women having valid arms license can buy it, at one-third price of .32 caliber Nirbheek which cost around Rs 1,22,000.       The .22 caliber Nidar is lightest revolver ever made in India with cheapest price tag of Rs 35,000 only. The revolver is capable of firing eight rounds loaded in a revolving chamber against Nirbheek which has only six rounds capacity.

The ancient ‘Silk Road’ is back in business as new train connects China to Tehran

        "30 days less than a typical sea voyage"

The first train connecting Iran and China loaded with Chinese goods arrived in Tehran Monday, reviving the ancient Silk Road trade route and highlighting the economic possibilities for Iran since the lifting of international sanctions, AFP reports. The 5,900-mile trip from eastern Zhejiang province took 14 days, or 30 days less than a typical sea voyage between Shanghai and the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, according to the head of the Iranian railway company, Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi.Tehran is not the train's final stop, though. According to Aqayi, the plan is to lengthen the routes into Europe, which would give Iran the opportunity to raise even more money from passing trains. The country recently sent its first shipment of crude oil to Europe via shipping container, Bloomberg reports.
        China was one of the few world powers that did not have sanctions against Iran. More than a third of Iran's foreign trade is with China, which is Tehran's top oil customer. A spokesperson for Iran's rail company told AFP that future trains from China would arrive with greater frequency, starting at once a month and increasing from there. The leaders of both countries agreed to a 10-year, $600 billion trade partnership last monThe Silk Road is an ancient network of trade routes dating back to 220 BCE, connecting China to the Mediterranean Sea. It was a significant player in the rise of both Eastern and Western civilizations, including China, India, Greece, Rome, and Persia. In 2013, the president of China proposed the idea of creating a new Silk Road through Russia and the Ukraine into Europe. Under the title "One Belt, One Road," this plan is China's new national vision to improve its connectivity to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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