2nd March 2016

1. IFC launches Uridashi Masala Bonds

1.The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bonds (Japanese bonds). 

2.These masala bonds were launched to mobilise 30 crore rupees from Japanese retail investors and will be sold to Japanese household investors. 

3.The proceeds from these bonds will be used for promoting private sector development in India. JP Morgan is the sole arranger of the bonds and Daisen Hinomaru Securities is its distributor. 

What are masala bonds? 

1.Basically, bonds are instruments of debt that are typically used by corporates to raise money from investors. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors by Indian corporates for raising money from overseas investors. 

2.They do not face currency fluctuation risks. Corporates mainly use it as alternative to external commercial borrowings (ECBs) that are to raised and repaid in dollar or other currency terms. 

3.But ECBs face currency risk due fluctuations in exchange rate. International Finance Corporation (IFC) It is an international financial institution that offers investment, asset management and advisory services to encourage private sector development in developing countries. 

4.India is IFC’s largest client country which has played a prominent role in country’s capital-markets development. 

5.In India, IFC mainly focuses on boosting financing in infrastructure and logistics, promoting financial inclusion, and expanding access to high-quality and affordable healthcare.

2.Military Exercise Force Eighteen begins in Pune

1.The multinational Military Exercise Force Eighteen conducted by Indian Army has started in at Pune, Maharashtra. 

2.In this seven-day military exercise (till March 8, 2016) over 300 participants from 18 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Plus countries are participating. 

3.Participating countries ASEAN countries along with ASEAN Plus nations viz. India, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Russia and US . 

4.10 ASEAN countries from South East Asia are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Key facts 

1.Exercise Force Eighteen is the largest multinational ground forces exercise to be conducted on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operations (PKO). 

2.It is conducted by India as part of its ambitious Look (Act) East policy and it is one of the largest multi-national military exercises conducted in the country. 

3.The exercise will allow the armies of these countries to develop a common understanding in handling any complex situation. 

4.The exercise is part of a concerted attempt by India towards constructive joint efforts of ASEAN Plus militaries to enhance the peace and security of the region. 

Note: Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt .Colonel Sofia Qureshi. She is the first women officer to lead Indian contingent in such exercise. Exercise Force Eighteen The multinational military exercise is an outcome of 2015 ADMM Plus (ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting). During this meeting all participating countries had planned to conduct two separate exercises for Humanitarian Mine Action and UN Peace Keeping Operations in 2016.

3.Three British scientists win 2016 Brain Prize

1.Three British scientists have won a prestigious 2016 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize (also known as Brain Prize) for giving vital insight how the human brain remembers, learns and navigates. 

2.These scientists are Timothy Bliss: He is a visiting worker at the Crick Institute in London. 

Graham Collingridge: 
a.He is professor of neuroscience in anatomy at the University of Bristol. 
b.He is also head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto. 

Richard Morris: 
a.He is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh Key highlights of their research Shown how neurons in the hippocampus collaborate and provide a basis for understanding how humans remember

3..Hippocampus is located deep in the centre of the brain.

4. It is the brain’s learning portal that enables us to store information. Shown a phenomenon that is called long-term potentiatione. how the connection between brain cells in the hippocampus can be strengthened through repeated stimulation. 

5.Their research also provided better tools for understanding serious diseases such as depression, epilepsy and drug addiction. About Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize largest prize for neuroscience in the world. 

6.It is bestowed upon one or more scientists who have distinguished themselves by an outstanding contribution to European neuroscience and who are still active in research. 

4. Peru declares emergency after oil spill in two River

1.Government of Peru has declared emergency for three weeks after a major oil pipeline burst in the country’s northeast region affecting two rivers Chiriaco and Morona. 

2.The pipeline burst has spilled over 3,000 barrels of crude oil into the rivers which are the main source of water and food for several indigenous communities in this region. 

3.Declaration of emergency will provide humanitarian help to these affected communities as government has warned communities not to eat fish from the polluted waters of these rivers. 

4..The pipeline that spilled the crude oil is owned by Petro Peru, a state-owned oil company and was built more than 30 years ago. It is used to transport between 5000 and 6000 barrels of oil per day.