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Indian armed forces successfully conducted first night trial of nuclear-capable surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile Prithvi-II from a defence test facility off Odisha coast.

Equipped with state of the art guidance system the missile was test fired from a mobile launcher positioned at the launching complex III (LC-III) of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 8.30 pm. Mounted on a Mobile Tatra transporter-erector Launcher (MTL) the indigenously developed missile was fired in a real-time situation by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian army in full operational configurations.

This was second test of the missile in two weeks and the test came a day after successful trial of 2,000 km range Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni-II from Abdul Kalam Island.

Prithvi-II, capable of attacking targets at a range of 350 km, is India’s first developed and inducted indigenous surface-to-surface strategic missile. The test proved the reliability of the weapon and reconfirmed its operational readiness which means it can be fired anytime and in any terrain in short notice.

The night trial is highly significant as all preparations are done in dark so that it can be invisible to enemies. This was first trial of Prithvi-II during night and it has met all mission parameters as coordinated.

Guided all through by an accurate Inertial Navigation System (INS) and controlled by the thrust vector control and Aero-dynamic control systems, the missile reached the predefined target in the Bay of Bengal with a very high accuracy of better than 10 meters. The single stage liquid propelled weapon developed by DRDO was inducted into the Armed Forces in 2003 and is into series of production since then. One of the missiles drawn from the inventory was used for the test.

All the radars, electro-optical systems located along the coast have tracked and monitored all the parameters of the missile throughout the flight path. A naval ship located near the target in the sea witnessed the final event. The 8.56 meter long missile with a diameter of one metre has the capability to carry one tonne of warhead. The missile thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engine uses an inertial guidance system while the warhead uses a radar correlation terminal guidance system. 

Cash-strapped Venezuela became the first country to launch its own version of bitcoin, a move President Nicolas Maduro celebrated as putting his country on the world’s technological forefront.

In its first hours on the market, the so-called 'petro' racked in $735 million worth in purchases, Mr. Maduro said without providing details.The petro is backed by Venezuela’s crude oil reserves, the largest in the world, yet it hit the market as the socialist country sinks deeper into an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation and food shortages that put residents in lines for hours to buy common products.Mr. Maduro is hoping the petro will allow the ailing OPEC member to skirt U.S. sanctions as the bolivar currency plunges to record lows and it struggles with hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.

Mr. Maduro did not give details about the initial investors and there was no evidence presented for his figure. He added that tourism, some gasoline sales and some oil transactions could be made in petro.The petro’s unveiling played out before a live studio audience inside the presidential palace Miraflores, complete with red carpets and a splashy set prominently displaying a crafted marketing symbol.Mr. Maduro received a brief demonstration on the sophisticated computer technology needed to support the digital currency, and he heard from a Russian executive of a company that will run the platform.

The President also authorised payments in cryptocurrency for Venezuela’s consulate services and fuel on the border, saying it is just the “kryptonite” Venezuela needs to take on Superman code for the imperialist United States.

Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman.

If all the initial coins offered for sale are grabbed by investors, it could potentially bring several billion dollars into a government mired by cash shortfalls and skyrocketing inflation. The government has promised that Venezuelans will be able to use the coins to pay taxes and public services. But with the Venezuelan minimum wage hovering around $3 a month, it’s unlikely citizens will buy in large amounts.

The 44th edition of Khajuraho dance festival began at the UNESCO world heritage site in a glittering ceremony. Governor of Madhya Pradesh Anandiben Patel inaugurated the 44th edition of the festival by lighting the traditional lamp.

The performance by Raja-Radha Reddy – Kuchipudi dancing couple - enthralled the audience even as the former was also conferred with the National Kalidas award.This was followed by Kathak performance by Arushi Nishank from Dehradun and Bharatnatyam by Lakshmi Vishwanathan.

This was followed by Kathak performance by Arushi Nishank from Dehradun and Bharatnatyam by Lakshmi Vishwanathan.The world famous dance festival will continue till February 26. The Dance Festival from February 20-26 at the temple town in Chhatarpur district - being organised by the culture department of the Madhya Pradesh government - will showcase classical dances, including Kathak, Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Mohiniattam to name a few.

This year, the Art Mart (which is part of the festival) would showcase paintings of international artists from Germany, France and China. Modern Indian contemporary dance forms were added in the festival in the recent times.

During the festival, dance performances are held in an open-air auditorium, usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to the Sun God and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.The Khajuraho temples, built by the Chandela dynasty between 950 AD and 1050 AD, are world-wide known for their erotic sculptures.

The sale of first batch of electoral bonds will take place from March 1-10 at designated branches of State Bank of India, the finance ministry.The government had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme on January 2 this year. As per provisions of the scheme, a person, who is a citizen of India or an entity incorporated/ established in India can purchase electoral bonds.SBI has been allowed to issue and encash electoral bonds initially at its four authorised branches. The bonds will be sold at main branches of SBI in four metro cities -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

The first issue of the scheme will be opened in March 2018 in place of January 2018 for the first quarter of 2018. Accordingly, the first sale of electoral bonds will commence from March 1, 2018 for a period of 10 days i.e. up to March 10, 2018.As per the scheme, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2017-18, only registered political parties, which have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly of the state, will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.

The bond shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly, with other individuals.

The electoral bonds are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties and bring transparency in political funding.An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment would be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period.The bond deposited by any eligible political party into its account would be credited on the same day.

A supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle test loop facility, touted to be India’s first supercritical-CO2 Brayton cycle test bed, and perhaps the first ever coupled with a solar heat source, was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru by Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan.

Supercritical carbon dioxide-based power generation is said to offer an efficient alternative to conventional steam-based power plants. The early-stage research is being pitched as being potentially useful for meeting the future energy needs of the country and for reducing the carbon footprint of power generation significantly.

The laboratory scale test loop was developed by a research group at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research, IISc, as part of the Indo-U.S. consortium called Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States. Funding was provided by the Department of Science and Technology, GoI.

The new-generation high-efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam-based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly.While the current day's thermal power plants would use steam to carry the heat and turn a turbine to generate power, the research makes use of supercritical CO2 (SCO2) instead of steam to generate more power.

Supercritical refers to the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31 C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres, which makes it twice as dense as steam.