1. Rohan More becomes first Asian to swim across Ocean Seven
• Pune-based Indian long-distance swimmer, Rohan More, has become the first Asian and the youngest to swim across the Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand.
• More managed to get a chance to swim across the Cook Straight on February 9, 2018, after a long wait due to bad weather conditions.
• Despite a sudden drop in water temperature, he covered the distance in eight hours and 37 minutes.
• With this achievement, More also became the ninth person in the world to swim across Cook Strait.
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. 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.
4. Venezuela, Libya suspended from voting in UN General Assembly
• Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the UN General Assembly for the third time in three years because of millions of dollars in unpaid dues to the world body.
• The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed the General Assembly in late January that 14 countries including Venezuela and Libya were in arrears.
• The Assembly spokesman Brenden Varma confirmed on February 14 that Venezuela and Libya have lost their vote in the 193-member global organisation as a result.
• According to a letter from Guterres to the Assembly President, Venezuela must pay a minimum of 25,200,296 US dollars to restore its voting rights and Libya must pay at least 6,594,842 US dollars.
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. India inks loan agreement with NDB for $100mn for Rajasthan Water Project
• India has signed the second loan agreement with New Development Bank (NDB) for 100 million dollars for Rajasthan Water Sector Restructuring Project for Desert Areas.
• This is the first tranche loan approved by the NDB under the Multi Tranche Financing Facility of 345 Million dollars for this project.
• The project implementation period is six years. Rajasthan government will implement the project primarily through its Water Resources Department.
• The objective of the project would be to rehabilitate the 678 kilometre long Indira Gandhi Canal system built during 1958 to 1963 to prevent seepage, conserve water and enhance water use efficiency as mandated by both national and state level policies on water use.
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