1. West Bengal becomes first state to opt out of National Health Protection Scheme
• The state of West Bengal on February 13, 2018 became the first one in India to opt out of the Union Government’s National Health Protection Scheme that was announced in Union Budget 2018-19.
• The announcement was made by the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who said that the state will not waste its hard earned resources to contribute its share to the programme.
• Banerjee said that the centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40 per cent of the fund has to come from states but questioned that why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own.
• The West Bengal government has already enrolled 50 lakh people under its own Swasthya Sathi programme.
2. Tri-service maritime exercise 'Paschim Lehar' begins
• The Tri-service maritime exercise ‘Paschim Lehar’ was initiated off India’s western coast on February 12, 2018.
• The main objective of the exercise was to build interoperability between the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard.
• Around 40 ships, submarines and fighter aircraft participated in the exercise.
• In the initial phase, the exercise included a number of weapon firings, including missile, gun and torpedo firings.
• The second phase has been structured to validate and refine the operational plans of the Western Naval Command.
3. Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as new President of South Africa following resignation of Jacob Zuma
• Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), was been sworn in as the new President of South Africa on February 15, 2018.
• He was elected as the new president of South Africa by the ruling party members after the resignation of Jacob Zuma.
• The country's 400-member parliament, dominated by the ruling party, elected Ramaphosa to complete his predecessor's term, which ends in 2019.
• The ANC has finished first in every national vote since the end of the Apartheid system.
• The 65-year-old Ramaphosa became country's deputy President in 2014.
• In December 2017, he narrowly defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the race to replace South African President Jacob Zuma as the head of the ruling party.
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4. UP Government announces massive job openings
• The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on February 16, 2018 announced massive vacancies within the state government.
• Addressing his maiden budget speech at the state’s Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister announced to bring 1,37,000 vacancies for teachers and 1,62,000 vacancies in the state police department soon.
• The CM also set aside a corpus of Rs. 250 crore for facilitating start-ups.
• The Chief Minister also assured to improve the law and order situation in the state.
5. Odisha to sponsor national hockey teams for next 5 years
• The Chief Minister of Odisha announced on February 15, 2018 that the state government will sponsor the Indian National Hockey teams for the next five years.
• The CM made the announcement while unveiling new jersey for the teams for the upcoming Hockey World Cup in Odisha.
• The CM added that hockey in Odisha is more than a sport, it is more like a way of life, especially in the tribal regions of the state where children learn to walk with hockey sticks.
• Odisha was the host city of Hockey World League in November 2017 and it is also the sponsor of the Men's Hockey World Cup this year, which is scheduled to be held between November 28 and December16, 2018.
6. Hubble captures Neptune's foul-smelling storm as it dies
• NASA's Hubble space telescope has captured Neptune's mysterious foul-smelling dark storm, shrinking out of existence.
• Immense dark storms on Neptune were first discovered in the late 1980s by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft.
• Since then, only Hubble has had the sharpness in blue light to track these elusive features over the years.
• Hubble found two dark storms that appeared in the mid-1990s and then vanished.
• This latest storm was first seen in 2015, but is now shrinking.
• According to NASA, this is the first storm that has been photographed as it is dying.