1. India celebrates 66th Republic Day; Barack Obama witnesses military might
i. India today celebrates its 66th Republic Day and showcased before the chief guest US President Barack Obama and the world its military might and cultural diversity with a splendid display of land and naval weaponry, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.
ii. Obama was the first ever US President to attend the parade as Chief Guest on the second day of his three-day visit.
iii. For the first time in the history of India’s Republic Day, all-women contingent from the three forces Army, Air Force and Navy marched down in the parade.
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Navy contingent was led by Lt Commander Sandhya Chauhan.
Air Force contingent was led by Squadron Leader Sneha.
2. The uncommon man: RK Laxman (1921-2015)
“Since childhood I do not remember wanting to do anything else except draw,” R.K. Laxman says in his autobiography, The Tunnel of Time.
i. Eminent cartoonist, illustrator and humorist Rasipuram Laxman passed away in Pune. He was 94.
ii. He is best known for creation of iconic character The Common Man, for his daily cartoon strip, You Said It in The Times of India(TOI). It was started in 1951. This character held a mirror to the society and targeted politicians for more than five decades.
iii. His creations also include the sketches drawn for the television adaptation of Malgudi Days.
iv. He is recipient of Padma Vibhushan (2005) and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts (1984).
3. Libby Lane, first female bishop of England consecrated
i. Church of England has consecrated Reverend Libby Lane as its first female bishop in a ceremony held at York Minster (a Gothic cathedral) in northern England.
With this consecration, Church of England ended its 500 year old male dominated tradition and considered as a historic move towards widening female participation in the Church.
ii. In this regard General Synod- the law-making body of the Church of England had given nod to this legislation in November 2014 which was passed by UK Parliament in October 2014.
4. Miss Colombia crowned Miss Universe 2015 in Miami
i. Miss Colombia Paulina Vega, has been crowned Miss Universe, beating out first runner-up Miss USA Nia Sanchez and contestants from more than 80 other countries.
ii. With this, Vega became the second beauty queen from Colombia to win the title. Luz Marina Zuluaga was the first Colombian to win the crown in 1956.
iii. The 22-year-old is the granddaughter of a legendary tenor, Gastun Vega.
iv. Three of the last six Miss Universe titles have gone to Venezuela, where beauty pageants are big business.
5. Modi to hold first meeting of NITI Aayog on February 6
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will spell out the functional roadmap of the newly created NITI Aayog at its first meeting being scheduled on February 6, 2015.
ii. The members of the Aayog would have first hand experience of Mr. Modi’s expectation from the new body and also help them in finalising the plan of action of the new body which was formed on January 1.
iii. The ex-officio members of the Aayog are Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
iv. The Aayog’s special invitees are Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani.
6. Major Mukund Varadarajan, Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh posthumously awarded with Ashok Chakra
i. Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh were on 26 January 2015 posthumously awarded with the highest peacetime military honour the Ashok Chakra by President Pranab Mukherjee.
ii. In April 2014, Major Mukund Varadarajan had killed three terrorists in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was an officer in the 44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles (22 Rajput) of the Indian Army. However, he died after being severely hurt in the operation.
iii. In August 2014, Naik Neeraj Singh died after heavy fire from terrorists. He was leading a search operation in general area Gurdaji of Kupwara district. He was serving in the 57th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles.
About Ashok Chakra
Ashok Chakra is India’s highest peacetime military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
The decoration is awarded either to military or civilian personnel and can be awarded posthumously.
The Ashok Chakra medal is circular gold gilt with the chakra (wheel) of Ashoka in the center surrounded by a lotus wreath and with an ornate edge.
7. Anti-austerity Syriza party wins Greece’s general elections
i. In Greece, anti-austerity Syriza party has won general election. In this election Syriza party has won about half the seats in Parliament.
ii. While the earlier ruling government led by outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of centre-right New Democracy party has been placed second.
Something about Syriza party:
It was formed in 2004 as an umbrella group. Syriza- an acronym means the Radical Coalition of the Left.
It is led by Alexis Tsipras and first came to prominence following the 2008 Greek riots.
In this general election, Syriza Party has promised to end Greece’s painful austerity measures and wants to renegotiate its debt.
8. Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme retired from Football
i. 36-year-old Argentine player Juan Roman Riquelme retired from football on 26 January 2015. Legendary Argentine represented his country in 2006 World Cup in Germany.
ii. He debuted for Argentina’s national team in 1996 against Colombia and went on to represent Argentina 51 times and scored 17 goals.
iii. He also was the Captain of Argentina’s football team that won the Gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
iv. He was named as South American Player of the Year and Argentine Player of the Year four times.
9. Obama wraps up three-day India visit, departs for Saudi Arabia
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama do a ‘Namaste’ before boarding Air Force One
i. US President Barack Obama left India for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after a three-day visit focused on improving relations between the world’s largest democracies.
ii. The US president had been due to visit the Taj Mahal while in India, but cut short his visit to offer his condolences to the royal family following the death of King Abdullah and to pay his respects to the new Saudi king.
iii. Obama addressed a gathering of about 2,000 students at the Siri Fort auditorium on the last day of his visit.