FEBRUARY 2018-PERSONS IN NEWS
- Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades won a second five-year term.
- With all votes counted, the conservative had 56 percent of the vote against 44 percent for the leftist-backed Stavros Malas.
- Anastasiades, 71, steered the Cypriot economy to recovery after it was plunged into crisis in 2013, days after he was first elected.
- Cyprus emerged from a bailout programme from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in 2016. As leader of the island's Greek Cypriot community, Anastasiades also oversaw peace talks with the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot controlled north.
- The Communist Party of Nepal (UML) Chairman KP Sharma Oli has become new Prime Minister of Nepal.
- President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Oli in Kathmandu.
- This is the second time Mr. Oli has become the prime minister.
- He had served as prime minister from October 2015 to August 2016.
- In 275-member House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, Left Alliance secured almost two third majority by winning 174 seats.
- It had also secured an overwhelming majority in National Assembly, the upper house of the parliament with 39 out of 59 seats. The formation of new government after historic elections is expected to begin a new era of political stability in the Himalayan nation.
- Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi has scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.
- An Indian Air Force official said, she flew a MiG-21 bison in her first solo sortie from IAF's Jamnagar base in Gujarat on 19th February. She is one of the three in the first batch of female pilots, besides Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, who were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron in 2016.
- They were commissioned as flying officers after the government took the decision in 2015 to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis in
- Three women pilots had undergone strenuous training programme to fly fighter jets. The IAF has already selected the next batch of three women trainee pilots for the fighter stream.
- Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale on 29th January took charge as the Foreign Secretary.
- Mr Gokhale, an Officer of 1981 batch Indian Foreign Service was serving as the Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs prior to his new assignment as Foreign Secretary.
- He will have a two-year tenure.
- He succeeded S Jaishankar who was given one-year extension in January last year.
- Mr Gokhale had played a key role in negotiations to resolve the Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese armies last year. He also served as India's Ambassador to China, Germany and worked in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi and in New York.
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched a book 'Exam Warriors' in New Delhi penned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The book aims to instill confidence in the students and prepare them to face the difficult moments during examinations and life.
- Mr Modi decided to write the book after receiving a good response to his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' addresses on All India Radio in which he focused on bursting stress during exams.
- South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has resigned.
- He announced the decision in a televised address to the nation, after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party threatened to eject him from office via a parliamentary vote of no confidence on 15th February.
- He was the country's President for the last 9 years, has been under increasing pressure to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC's new leader. Mr Zuma's resignation followed weeks of intense public pressure to step down amid long-standing corruption allegations.
- Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn suddenly resigned on 15th February, in what he described as a bid to smooth reforms, following years of violent unrest that threatened the ruling party's hold on Africa's second most populous nation.
- The resignation - unprecedented in Ethiopia's history - followed a wave of strikes this week in towns near the capital and demonstrations successfully demanding the release of more opposition leaders.
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