Current Affairs : 17 Mar 2016 to 07 Mar 2016 - Summary

Current Affairs 17 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • India Aviation 2016 begins in Hyderabad

     

    India Aviation 2016 begins in HyderabadIndia Aviation 2016,  the country's biggest civil aviation show, kicked off in Hyderabad, Telangana. The five day biennial aviation show was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee at Begumpet Airport (also known as Hyderabad Old Airport).

    Theme for the year 2016 : Theme of this edition is "Indian civil aviation sector: Potential as global manufacturing MRO hub."

    Key Facts

     (1) The conference agenda, has been jointly developed by the ministry of civil aviation and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on the lines of Make in India. 

    (2) The event aims to showcase India as a hub for aerospace manufacturing and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhauling) services. It would also highlight the emerging investment opportunities in the Indian aerospace manufacturing market.

    (3) Leading aircraft and helicopter manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, Textron, Embraer, Gulfstream, Dassault, Agusta Westland, Bell Helicopters, Russian Helicopters will take part in the show.

    (4) There will be an international conference and four different business sessions for India aviation. A global CEOs Forum will also be held in conjunction with the show.

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  • Fazle Kabir appointed as Governor of Bangladesh’s Central Bank

     

    Fazle Kabir appointed as Governor of Bangladesh’s Central BankFazle Kabir-eminent Bangladeshi economist and banker has been appointed as the new Governor of  Bangladesh’s central bank. He will succeed former chief Atiur Rahman who had resigned from his post on grounds of moral responsibility for the theft of USD 100 million by unknown hackers from the central bank’s official account with New York Federal Reserve Bank.

    Fazle Kabir : Kabir graduated from University of Chittagong in economics. He started his career in 1980 with Bangladesh Railway as an assistant traffic superintendent. He was appointed as a senior secretary to the ministry of finance in 2012. He had also served on the board of state-owned Janata Bank.

    Background :  On the night of February 4, unknown hackers had breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York using information stolen through the malware. They transferred money valuing around USD 100 million from the nation’s foreign reserves, making it one of the largest cyber heists in history. Of the total USD 101 million -- USD 81 million entered the Philippines and the rest went to Sri Lanka to be used in casino business.

     

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  • US President Barack Obama nominates Merrick Garland for US Supreme Court

     

    US President Barack Obama nominates Merrick Garland for US Supreme CourtPresident Barack Obama has nominated veteran appeals court judge Merrick Garland  to be the next US Supreme Court Justice. He was picked to replace long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. The appointment has to be ratified by the Senate.

    Merrick Brian Garland is viewed as a centrist and moderate. He is praised by senior Republican figures. Currently he is serving as the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

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  • Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan passes away  

     

    Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan passes awayEminent Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan, one of the best-known players of the instrument after the legendary Bismillah Khan, passed away on 16th March 2016 following prolonged illness in Kolkatta, West Bengal. He was 77.

    He had played Shehnai at the inauguration ceremony of Doordarshan television channel in 1973 with Pandit Ravi Shankar and also had rendered its signature tune.

    He had also performed in several countries including Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, France, Tunisia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hongkong and the Philippines. 

    He hailed from a family of renowned Shehnai exponents from Benaras and was known for his innovative style and mastery over the classical and semi-classical and folk music repertoire.

    Awards and Honours: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2009), Bangabhushan award (2012) by West Bengal government etc.

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  • Lok Sabha passes The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016

     

    Lok Sabha has passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seeks to include certain communities in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala and West Bengal. It also has provisions for exclusion of certain communities from Odisha and removal of area restriction in respect of certain communities.

    Article 341: The Constitution provides certain privileges, concessions to the members of Scheduled Castes which are notified under the provisions of Article 341. It empowers Parliament to include or exclude castes from the list of Scheduled Castes in the notification. The article also empowers the President to specify castes which will be deemed as Scheduled Castes through a notification.

    Communities included in the list of Scheduled Castes :

    Chhattisgarh:  Sais, Sahis, Sarathi, Soot-Sarathi, Thanwar communities have been included in the list.
    Haryana :  Aheria, Aheri, Hari, Heri, Thori, Turi  communities have been included in the list.
    Kerala: Peruvannan community has been included in the list and Modification in the area of specification of Malayan community. 
    Odisha: Exclusion of Bariki and Kummari communities from the list.
    West Bengal: Removal of area restriction of Chain community. 

     

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  • PM Modi among TIME’s 30 Influential People on Internet

     

    PM Modi among TIME’s 30 Influential People on InternetPrime Minister Narendra Modi has made it to TIME magazine’s list of “30 most influential people on the Internet” for second year Consecutively. The magazine called Modi an “internet star” boasting more than 18 million Twitter followers and over 32 million Facebook likes. 

    Other celebrities featured on the list include world famous author rapper Kanye West, author JK Rowling, US presidential hopeful Donald Trump and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner.

     

    Complete list of  "Time Magazines 30 Most Influential People on the Internet"

    1. Kanye West (US)
    2. Joy Cho (South Korea)
    3. James Corden (UK)
    4. Laci Green (US)
    5. Josh Holz and Daniel Lara (US)
    6. DJ Khaled (US) 
    7. Johnetta Elzie (US)  
    8. DeRay Mckesson (US) 
    9. J.K. Rowling (UK) 
    10. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (Sweden) 
    11. Donald Trump (US) 
    12. Lele Pons (US)
    13. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) 
    14. Caitlyn Jenner (US) 
    15. Essena O’Neill (US) 
    16. Narendra Modi (India) 
    17. Elise Andrew (UK) 
    18. Ken M (US) 
    19. Lilly Singh (Canada) 
    20. Matt Drudge (US) 
    21. Angie Nwandu (US) 
    22.  Andrew Bachelor (Canada) 
    23. Kayla Itsines (US) 
    24. Peter Bouckaert Kim Kardashian West (US) 
    25. Josh Ostrovsky (US) 
    26. Drake (US) 
    27. Tess Holliday (US) 
    28. Helen Van Winkle (US)

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  • Punjab notifies swine flu under Epidemic Disease Act

     

    Punjab notifies swine flu under Epidemic Disease ActThe Department Of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab government has notified the disease of swine flu (H1N1), under the Epidemic Disease Act. Before issuing the notification, the department constituted a state advisory committee under the chairmanship of Dr D Behera, which observed that swine flu patients, who suffered from other chronic diseases, had a high mortality rate as compared to patients who did not have chronic diseases. It was also observed that patients who were treated by private doctors were referred to higher centres only when they became critical, thereby increasing the death rate.

    As per the notification

    1. All hospitals, government as well as private, will have to inform the department of health about a case of ILI (Influenza like Illness) having chronic diseases, so that such cases are treated at the earliest.

    2. All hospitals will also have to keep a suspected as well as confirmed case of swine flu in isolation to contain the spread of the disease.

    3. The treatment of swine flu is provided free of cost to patients as recommended by the government. All private and government hospitals will have to abide to this notification.

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  • Sir Andrew Wiles wins Abel Prize for solving 300-year-old math mystery

     

    Sir Andrew Wiles wins Abel Prize for solving 300-year-old math mysterySir Andrew Wiles, 62, has won "Abel Prize" the world’s top prize for mathematics and half a million pounds for solving the 300-year-old mystery surrounding Fermet’s Last Theorem which was formulated by French mathematician Pierre de Fermat in 1637.

    Fermat’s Last Theorem : Formulated by the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat in 1637, the theorem states: There are no whole number solutions to the equation xn + yn = zn when n is greater than 2.

    He will receive the prize worth 500,000 Pound (Rs 4.7 crore)  from Crown Prince Haakon of Norway at a ceremony in Oslo in May.

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2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Sports

Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min


Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min


Current Affairs 16 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Credit interest rate on saving accounts every quarter

     

    Credit interest rate on saving accounts every quarterThe Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to pay interest on savings accounts on a quarterly basis or a shorter duration. This move  by RBI will benefit crores of savings account holders as they will earn slightly better returns on their savings bank (SB) deposits. The new regulation would benefit the SB depositors to the tune of Rs. 500 crore or more from the next financial year.

    Loan vs deposit

    Currently interest is credited in savings bank accounts on a half-yearly basis while for loans taken from the banks, the interest is computed at monthly i.e, if a borrower defers payment of interest by two months, the banks charge two months’ interest on the delayed interest. The interest application frequencies on deposit accounts (quarterly or shorter intervals) are different from those for loan accounts (monthly intervals) which is to the benefit of the banks and no way benifital for the depositors.

    Key facts

     (1) Interest rate on savings bank accounts is calculated on a daily basis since April 1, 2010. The public sector banks offer 4 per cent interest on savings deposits, private players offer as much as 6 per cent.

    (2) In 2011, RBI decided to give freedom to commercial banks to fix savings bank deposit rates, but keep a uniform rate on deposits of up to Rs. 1 lakh. On higher amounts, banks are allowed to offer differential rates to depositors.

    (3) Earlier, banks used to give interest of 3.5 per cent on savings accounts on the basis of the least deposit in an account between the 10th and the last day of each month.

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  • P&G stops sale of ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ after government ban

     

    P&G stops sale of ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ after government banFMCG firm Procter and Gamble (P&G) has stopped manufacturing of its popular brand ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ with immediate effect after the government banned (FDC) drugs — paracetamol, phenylephrine & caffeine — with immediate effect.

    In a gazette notification on March 10, the government banned 344 FDC drugs, including commonly-used cough syrups like Phensedyl, Corex and Benadryl, following which pharma majors Pfizer and Abbott stopped sale of their popular cough syrup brands, Corex and Phensedyl, respectively. Vicks Action 500 Extra has the same FDC and is covered under the government's notification. 

    It should be noted that Vicks Action 500 Extra has been a popular choice among consumers for congestion, bodyache and headache due to cold for over three decades.

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  • MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of India

     

    MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of IndiaMinistry of Tourism has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) for the development of Responsible and Sustainable tourism. 

    Couple of years ago the Ministry of Tourism and the Ecotourism Society of India formulated & published the STCI (Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India) and carried it to the grass root level through series of advocacy workshops. 

    Through this MOU, it is expected that sustainable tourism and Responsible Tourism will take the forefront and achieve the commitments of the Ministry’s action plan.

    Under the MoU :

     1. ESOI will prepare a 10-year Road Map for advocacy and certification under the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India. The Road Map will be based on regional workshops held with relevant stakeholders across the country.

    2. ESOI, through stakeholder consultations will formulate criteria and classification guidelines for certification for the accommodation and tour/travel operators within the STCI guidelines and later develop standards for Destinations as per the internationally accepted Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

    Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI)

    The Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) was established in 2008 at the behest of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) as a non-profit organization to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country. 

    This national body was formed by a group of eminent professionals from the tourism industry, Government, Parliament and environmentalists & Conservationists.

    ESOI works closely with both Central and State Government bodies as well as relevant institutions and individuals to facilitate and support synergy of policies, initiatives and activities relating to responsible travel.

    MOT recognizes ESOI as their partner in helping develop policy guidelines, code of conduct and ethical practices for Sustainable Tourism, to position India as a Global ecotourism destination.

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  • 15 March: World Consumer Rights Day 

     

    15 March: World Consumer Rights Day Every year 15th March is observed as World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement.

    Participants observe the day by promoting the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and protesting about the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.

    In India, 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day. On this day in 1986, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.

    2016 Theme : The theme for this year is "Antibiotics off the menu". The theme campaigns with Members around the world to stop the sale of meat raised with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.

    Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world and we are heading towards post-antibiotic era, in which important medicines stop working and common infections and minor injuries can be enough to kill us.

    World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) : On March 15, 1962 US President John F. Kennedy gave a  historic speech on consumer rights which led to the creation of the Consumer Bill of Rights. He was the first world leader to do so. Consumer rights activist Anwar Fazal later proposed the observance of a "World Consumer Rights Day" and the day was celebrated for the first time on 15 March 1983,  since then it is celebrated every year.

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  • ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & Pay

     

    ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & PayCountry's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has launched a smartphone-based application which will allow users to make payments by just waving their smartphones at a near field communication (NFC)-enabled merchant terminal. 

    It will provide improved convenience of 'Touch & Pay' as customers are no longer required to carry physical card or cash to pay in stores. The service will soon be made available for over 35 million debit and credit card holders.

    Other lenders, including the countrys largest lender State Bank of India, have launched NFC-based cards. At present there are 40,000 merchant locations accepting NFC-based payments and it is expected that the number will go up to 1 lakh in up to four months.As per RBI regulations governing NFC-based payments, people can pay up to a maximum of Rs 2,000 for a single transaction.

    The customer will have to download the banks Pockets application on his mobile phone and then select the Touch and Pay icon from the menu. 90 per cent of ICICI active mobile banking customers use such phones that run on the Android operating system, on which the technology has been rolled out initially.

    Virtual card

    1. ICICI Bank will be using the Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology to create 'virtual' cards for 'physical' credit or debit cards (Visa/MasterCard) of the Bank, as selected by the customer. While the virtual card bears a different card number, the credit limit and expiry date remains same as the original physical card. 

    2. The virtual card resides in the Bank’s secure cloud server. Using the virtual cards, an ICICI Bank customer can initiate electronic payments from NFC enabled smartphones by just waving his/her phone near a contactless merchant terminal. 

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  • Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016

     

    Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016The Rajya Sabha has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016  which envisages to amend 91-year-old Sikh Gurdwaras Act,1925 to exclude Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in elections to Sikh religious bodies.

    Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 : The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 was a piece of legislation in British India, which legally defined Sikh identity and brought Sikh gurdwaras (houses of worship) under the control of an elected body of orthodox Sikhs.

    The Bill proposes to remove the exception given to Sahajdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to select the members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the Act. Since 1949, Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

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  • Haryana New Secretariat Building gets first Earthquake Warning System in country

     

    Haryana New Secretariat Building gets first Earthquake Warning System in countryHaryana’s new secretariat building in Chandigarh has become the only building in the country to have an early earthquake warning and security system (onsite). The  system Installed and demonstrated by a team from Terra Techcom Private Limited, New Delhi, and Secretary Electronics GmbH, Germany, who have collaborated with India for the project.

    Earthquake Warning System

     (1) The system is already being used in 26 countries around the world and it can give us crucial seconds so that we can evacuate in event of an earthquake. The system works on the principle of detection of primary and secondary seismic waves of an earthquake. 

    (2) The primary waves are fastest kind of seismic wave and the first sign of earthquake but they do not cause any damage they are soon followed by secondary waves that  have the potential to cause damage, which is known to us as an earthquake. 

    (3) The system detects intensity of the primary waves and gives out warning alarm only when the intensity of the secondary waves is high enough to potentially cause damage.

    (4) In case of Earthquake it gets activated automatically and takes step for security and safety of people and infrastructure by shutting off elevators, electricity, gas supply, water supply, opens emergency gates and warns people of an earthquake by signalling an alarm.

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  • UN suspends Maria Sharapova as Goodwill Ambassador after doping allegations

     

     UN suspends Maria Sharapova as Goodwill Ambassador after doping allegationsThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador a week after she was tested positive  for the banned substance meldonium at 2016 Australian Open.  Maria Sharapova had UNDP as it's goodwill ambassador in February 2007.

    New York based UNDP has suspended Sharapova, until the outcome of the investigation into her case is known. However in a statement UNDP has mentioned that they are grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support to their work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery. 

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Current Affairs 15 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Kerala Tourism campaign wins Golden City Gate Award

     

    Kerala Tourism campaign wins Golden City Gate AwardKerala Tourism’s new campaign on responsible tourism titled ‘New Worlds’ has won the prestigious ‘Golden City Gate Award’ at ITB in the German capital of Berlin. Wolfgang Jo Huschert, President, Jury of the Golden City Gate Award presented the award to Abraham George, President, Kerala Travel Mart. 

    The multimedia campaign contains three short films directed by reputed Malayalam filmmaker Anwar Rasheed. It has won the silver prize of this year's Das Golden Stadttor or Golden City Gate, dubbed the Oscar of tourism communication, at the Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin (ITB-Berlin) 2016. 

    Kerala Tourism had earlier won the 'Ulysses' Prize of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its contribution as a global leader to sustainable tourism. 

    Facts about the campaign :

     (1) The 'New Worlds' campaign was launched internationally by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at the World Travel Mart in London. It portrays the importance of such Responsible Tourism initiatives, which have led to several life-changing stories that have become the heart of the campaign.

    (2) The film shows tourists visiting local communities, sharing home-made meals, and watching and engaging in cultural performances. The film attempts to present in a real and authentic environment a set of true stories of transformation and preservation involving tourism and the local communities. 

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  • Kakrapar nuclear plant shut down after coolant system develops leak

     

    Kakrapar nuclear plant shut down after coolant system develops leakUnit 1 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station, in Gujarat was shut down for indefinite period following a rupture in the coolant system. However there was no harmful, radioactive leakage and the backup safety mechanisms kicked in. All safety systems are working as intended. The radioactivity/radiation levels on the plant premises and outside are normal.

    Located in south Gujarat, the Kakrapar atomic power plant consists of two units of pressurised heavy water reactors of 220 MW each. The first reactor was commissioned in September 1992 and it started commercial production in May 1993 while the second  unit was commissioned in January 1995 and began commercial production in September 1995.

    The second unit has been shut since July 2015 for maintenance and after the recent incident Unit-1 too will be out of action until it gets clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

    Heavy water (deuterium oxide D2O) : Heavy water is used for cooling the core of nuclear reactor . It is not radioactive. In its pure form, it has a density about 11% greater than water, but is otherwise physically and chemically similar.

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  • Indian scholar H Deep Saini appointed VC of Canberra University


    Indian scholar H Deep Saini appointed VC of Canberra UniversityNoted Indian scholar and plant physiologist H Deep Saini (60) has been appointed as the fifth Vice Chancellor of the prestigious University of Canberra.

    Mr Saini, who  currently serving as the Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga campus in Canada, will succeed Vice Chancellor Stephen Parker in September 2016 who will step down from the post in July 2016 after over nine years in the service.

    Mr Saini completed his undergraduate and master's degrees at the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, and doctorate in plant physiology from the University of Adelaide. He has received a number of honours including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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  • Renowned British author Anita Brookner passes away

     

    Renowned British author Anita Brookner passes awayBritish award-winning novelist and art historia Anita Brookner passed away away on 10 March 2016. She was awarded the 1984 Man Booker Prize for her novel Hotel du Lac, one of 25 books she wrote after a distinguished career as an art historian.

    Renowned British author and art historian Anita Brookner passed away. She was 87. Brookner had won the Booker in 1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac and was a bestselling author who had written around 25 books.

    About Anita Brookner

    Anita Brookner was born on 16 July 1928  in Herne Hill, a suburb of London. She began writing fiction in her 50s. Her first novel, A Start in Life was published in 1981 at the age of 53. 

    She was the first woman to hold the Slade professorship of fine art at Cambridge University, and taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her most recent work, the novella At The Hairdresser's, was published in 2011.

    Awards and Honours: She was awarded Man Booker Prize in 1984, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1990,  James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2010.

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  • Nobel Prize winner economist Lloyd Stowell Shapley passes away

     

    Nobel Prize winner economist Lloyd Stowell Shapley passes awayAmerican mathematician and Nobel Prize-winning economist Lloyd Stowell Shapley passed away on March 12, 2016. He was 92. He has been regarded by many experts for his contribution in the field of mathematical economics and especially game theory.

    He along with Alvin E. Roth, won the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design". He served in the Army Air Corps in Chengdu, China and received the Bronze Star for deciphering a Soviet weather code.

    About Lloyd Stowell Shapley 

    Lloyd Shapley was born on June 2, 1923, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. He studied mathematics at Harvard but joined the US Army Air Corps during World War II. 

    After the war, Shapley earned degrees from Harvard and Princeton University. His thesis and post-doctoral work introduced the Shapley value and the core solution in game theory.  In 1950, Shapley invented the board game So Long Sucker, along with Mel Hausner, John Forbes Nash, and Martin Shubik.

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Current Affairs 14 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Arab League declares Hezbollah group a terrorist organization

     

    Arab League declares Hezbollah group a terrorist organizationThe Arab League has declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah a "terrorist" group, the move comes after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had adopted the same stance.

    Decision regarding this was taken by Arab League foreign ministers during meeting at the organisation’s seat in Egypt’s capital Cairo. Nearly all 22 Arab League members supported the decision, except Lebanon and Iraq which expressed reservations. The United States, Canada and Australia already have listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group and the European Union (EU) has also blacklisted its military wing.

    Background :

    Hezbollah is a Shia political organisation with an armed wing that fights in neighbouring Syria to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Currently, it is fighting in Lebanon’s neighbouring Syria to support the Government of President Bashar al-Assad. It is backed by Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, with whom relations of Saudi Arabia have worsened this year.

    Few days back Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leadar, accused Saudi Arabia of pressuring Lebanon to silence his group, which made Saudi Arabia very angry as very few in gulf dare to say against its royal family.

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  • India, US launch Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship

     

    India, US launch Fulbright-Kalam Climate FellowshipIndia and the US have launched the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship,  an initiative to advance bilateral cooperation on climate change. The fellowship will enable will enable up to 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers to work with US host institutions for a period of 6-12 months.

    The fellowship, named after the late Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, was launched as part of a commitment made by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both the countries. The fellowship will be operated by the binational US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright programme.

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  • Lt Gen N P S Hira appointed Deputy Chief of Army

     

    Lt Gen N P S Hira appointed Deputy Chief of ArmyChief of the Army's Northen Command, Lt Gen N P S Hira has been appointed as Deputy Chief of Army Staff and would assume office on March 14. He is currently posted as Chief of Staff of Northern command at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.

    He was commissioned in the Sikh Light Infantry and has a rich experience of counter insurgency operations in JK and in the North East region, as well as conventional operations in Western Command. 

     (1) He commanded the Battalion in Assam (Op RHINO) during high violence period. The unit bagged 32 gallantry awards and COAS citation under his command.

    (2) He has commanded the 10 Infantry Division in the JK on Line of Control with distinction for which he was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. 

    (3) He had commanded 12 Infantry Brigade deployed on the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector. The Brigade earned an Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and many more gallantry awards during his command.

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  • National Led Bulbs Scheme named as UJALA

     

    National Led Bulbs Scheme named as UJALAPiyush Goyal Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy announced the name ‘UJALA’ for the LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP), which is currently running successfully in over 120 cities across India. UJALA, an acronym for Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All, is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).

    The National LED programme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs.

    EESL has already distributed over 7.47 crore LED bulbs across the country resulting in energy savings of more than 2.66 crore kWh every day and has helped avoid peak demand of over 1944 MW. This has helped in reduction of over 21,550 tonnes of CO2 per day which is estimated to have a cost savings of Rs 10.64 crore per day.

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  • Anand Mahindra conferred with France's highest civilian award

     

    Anand Mahindra conferred with France's highest civilian awardMahindra & Mahindra Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra has been conferred with Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by French Government.

    Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India, conferred the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) on Anand G Mahindra in recognition of his outstanding national and international achievements. 

    Mahindra is recognised as one of the most prominent business leaders in India, who has turned Mahindra & Mahindra into a global company of outstanding repute.

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  • Justice Ajit Singh sworn-in as Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court

     

    Justice Ajit Singh sworn-in as Chief Justice of Gauhati High CourtJustice Ajit Singh has been sworn in as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court. The oath of office to the Chief Justice was administered by Assam Governor P B Acharya as per the provisions laid down in Article 129 of  the Indian Constitution.

    He was appointed by President Pranab Mukherjee following recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur. The Gauhati High Court includes the High Courts of Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

    About Justice Ajit Singh Justice

    Born in 1956, Justice Singh enrolled as an advocate in 1979. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in 2002 and as a permanent Judge in 2003. He was transferred to the Rajasthan High Court in March 2014.

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  • India to supply 18 meter-gauge diesel-electric locomotives to Myanmar

     

    India to supply 18 meter-gauge diesel-electric locomotives to MyanmarIndia will supply 18 metre gauge diesel electric locomotives to Myanmar, which will help Myanmar to meet increasing demand for passenger and freight traffic. In this regard, a contract was signed on March 4, 2016 at Naypyitaw, Myanmar, between RITES, an Indian public sector undertaking under the railway ministry and Myanmar Railways. 

    (1) The supply contract is a vital project being funded under an existing line of credit extended to Myanmar by India. 
    (2) These locomotives will be manufactured by Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, with several modern features like microprocessor controls, fuel-efficient engine and ergonomic cab design. 

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  • Services wins Santosh Trophy, 2016

     

    Services wins Santosh Trophy, 2016Defending Santosh Trophy champions Services  has won the 70th edition of Santosh Trophy Football Championships by defeating Maharashtra by 2-1 goal score, in the final match played at SEC Railway Stadium, Nagpur (Maharashtra). 

    They have appeared in the Santosh Trophy finals 10 times, and have won the trophy five times, 1st in 1960-61, second in 2012, third in 2013, fourth in 2015  and fifth in 2016.Services took away Rs 5 lakh for winning the tournament while Maharashtra got Rs 3 lakh for finishing runners-up.

    About Santosh Trophy

    Santosh Trophy is an annual Indian football tournament contested by states and government institutions. The first winners were Bengal, who also lead the all-time winners list with 31 titles to date. Trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh (that is now in Bangladesh), who had been the President of the Indian Football Association, the football organisation of Bengal and the donators of the trophy.

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  • NITI Aayog launches ‘Women Transforming India’ campaign, in partnership with the UN

     

    NITI Aayog launches ‘Women Transforming India’ campaign, in partnership with the UNNITI Aayog - Government of India’s premier think-tank - has launched the ‘Women Transforming India’ initiative on the eve of International Women’s Day (8th March) in partnership with the United Nations and MyGov.

    Under the initiative :

    (1) Through the initiative, NITI Aayog is seeking for entries in the form of written essays/stories (not exceeding 500 words), accompanied by photographs that set a context to the narrative. These stories should reflect new ground broken by women in empowering themselves/others.

    (2) A shortlist of 8-10 best entries by a jury will be put to poll on MyGov.in to determine the top three entries. The final winning entry will be determined by a jury constituted by NITI Aayog.

    (3) Winning entries will receive a certificate of appreciation from NITI Aayog and the UN in India. Change makers may also have a chance to interact directly with policy makers in the Government of India, to enable affect positive policy action.

    Comment : This initiative is also a step forward in furthering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have Gender as a stand-alone goal. NITI Aayog has been entrusted with the responsibility to plan, monitor and coordinate SDG efforts across Central Ministries and State governments.

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  • PM Narendra Modi inaugurates three major railway projects in Bihar 

     

    PM Narendra Modi inaugurates three major railway projects in Bihar Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated three major railway projects in Bihar at an estimated cost of Rs 7000 crore. 

    These projects are :-

     (1) Rail-cum-road bridge at Patna over the River Ganga: It is 4.56 km long. 

    (2) Rail-cum-road bridge at Munger. 

    (3) Additional bridge at Mokama over the River Ganga: It is double line Railway Bridge. 

    Total cost of these three bridges is about Rs 7200 crore and these bridges will go a long way in giving connectivity to north and south Bihar.There are three bridges over the entire 460 km length of the river Ganga in Bihar - one road bridge at Naugachia, a rail-cum-road bridge at Mokama and the third road bridge Mahatma Gandhi Setu at Patna. The inadequate number of bridges had become one of the reasons hindering the development of Bihar which is one of the most populous state in the country.

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  • Allahabad High Court celebrates 150th foundation year  

     

    Allahabad High Court celebrates 150th foundation yearThe Allahabad High Court celebrated its 150th foundation day today on 14th March 2016. President Pranab Mukherjee was the Chief Guest of the celebrations. Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur and Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda were among some of the dignitaries who attended the function. On this memorable occassion, Reserve bank of India released a 10 rupees coin. Postal department released a postage stamp and a Souvenir of the High court.

    About Allahabad High Court

    (1) The Allahabad High Court was established in 1869, after seat was shifted from Agra to Allahabad. It was originally founded as the High Court of Judicature for the North-Western Provinces at Agra on 17 March 1866 by the Indian High Courts Act 1861 replacing the old Sadr Diwani Adalat.

    (2) Sir Walter Morgan, Barrister-at-Law and Mr. Simpson were appointed the first Chief Justice and the first Registrar respectively of the High Court of North-Western Provinces.

    (3) It is fourth-oldest High Court in India after Calcutta, Madras and Bombay established under Indian High Courts Act 1861. Currently it is the highest judicial body of Uttar Pradesh and it has also a bench in Lucknow.

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  • Lin Dan wins 2016 All England Badminton title

     

    Lin Dan wins 2016 All England Badminton titleLin Dan - professional badminton player from China has won the prestigious 2016 All England Badminton title in the men’s singles category by defeating teammate Tian Houwei with a score of  (21-9, 21-10) in the final match played at Birmingham, England. It was his overall sixth All England badminton title and earlier he had won it in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012.

    Winners in other category :

    Men’s Doubles category: Russian pair Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov bagged 2016 All England Badminton title in men’s Doubles category by defeating Japanese pair Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa with a score of (21-23, 21-18, 21-16 )

    Women’s singles category: Nozomi Okuhara from Japan has swon the title by defeating Wang Shixian from China with a score of  21-11, 16-21 and 21-19.

    Women’s Doubles category: Japanese pair of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi have won the title by defeating Chinese pair Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang with a score of (21-10 and 21-12)

    Mixed Doubles category: Indonesian pair of Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto has won the title by defeating the pair of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen from  Denmark with a score of  21-12 and 21-17.

    All England Open Badminton Championships

    The All England Open Badminton Championships is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious badminton tournaments. The first tournament held in Guildford in 1898, since then it is played annually. The tournaments were halted only twice during World War I from 1915 to 1919 and World War II from 1940 to 1946. Initially the championship was started in only three categories- Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles but in the year 1900 ndividual Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles titles were added. 

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  • China to set up International Maritime Judicial Centre

     

    China to set up International Maritime Judicial CentreChina’s apex court will create an “international maritime judicial center” to handle territorial disputes and  protect its sovereignty and rights at sea. Announcement in this regard was made by China’s top judge Zhou Qiang at the annual meeting of the national legislature National People’s Congress (NPC). However the authority of any such stature is unlikely to be recognised by the many neighbours with whom China has territorial disputes.

    China’s Supreme Court has decided to set up its own International Maritime Judicial Centre (IMJC) to handle territorial disputes and protect its sea rights. It was announced by China’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang at the annual meeting of the national legislature National People’s Congress (NPC). This move will help China to bolster its claims in the disputed South and East China seas and also help it become a maritime power.

    Background

    China claims a large part of South and East China Sea, creating multiple overlaps with areas claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. The tensions have risen recently over China’s aggressive land reclamation continues to build artificial islands, airport runways and facilities on disputed reefs. 

    Generally international maritime disputes between countries are usually brought before the United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Philippines currently has a case lodged against China at the UN's Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague but Beijing has refused to participate in the tribunal, saying the court has no power to rule on the matter.

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Current Affairs 12 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Rajya Sabha passes Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015

     

    Rajya Sabha passes Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015Rajya Sabha approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 that promises to protect the interests of the large number of aspiring house buyers.The Rajya Sabha has passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 to protect the interests of consumers and curb the malpractices in the real estate sector. 

    The bill seeks to create a uniform regulatory mechanism across the country and enhance the growth of construction sector. It also ensures to bring transparency and accountability in the real estate sector to access capital and financial markets essential for its long term growth.The Bill aims to bring about transparency in the real estate sector, thereby encouraging investments by foreign and domestic financial institutions and protecting the interests of home buyers.

    Real Estate Bill, 2015

     (1) Real Estate Bill, 2015 bars developers from advertising and selling homes in projects until they have obtained all approvals from local authorities.  In case of delays in completion of projects on time, developers will have to pay the same penal interest rate as the buyer does. 

    (2) 70 percent of the money collected from buyers would be deposited in an separate account  and it will be utilised only for construction and paying for land, thus putting an end to the widespread diversion of funds to other projects.

    (3) The bill establishes state level regulatory authorities called Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) and tribunals called Real Estate Appellate Tribunals (REAT) which will have authority to settle disputes.

    (4) At the time of registration, the developer will have to disclose all relevant information including promoter details, project plans, implementation schedule, land status, layout, approvals and agreements among others, thus empowering buyers with the information they need. 

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  • Project ‘Mausam’ aims to explore Multi-Faceted Indian Ocean ‘World’

     

    Project ‘Mausam’ aims to explore Multi-Faceted Indian Ocean ‘World’Project ‘Mausam’ which is the intiative of Ministry of Culture with Archaeological Society of India (ASI), aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean. It will be extended from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka to the Southeast Asian archipelago. 

    Project ‘Mausam’ is not aimed to counter China’s Silk Route strategy. Instead it focuses on monsoon patterns, cultural context, maritime trade routes and coastal landscapes and examines key processes and phenomena that link different countries along the Indian Ocean littoral as well as the coastal centres that connect hinterlands.

    Project ‘Mausam’ was launched in the 38th Session of World Heritage Committee meeting which was held at Doha, Qatar in June, 2014. It is the project of Ministry of Culture project with Archaeological Society of India (ASI) as the nodal agency. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum will be associate bodies for research support.

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  • Arab League names Egypt's Ahmed Aboul Gheit as new chief

     

    Arab League names Egypt's Ahmed Aboul Gheit as new chiefVeteran Egyptian diplomat Ahmed Aboul-Gheit has been selected as the new secretary-general of Arab League. He was voted unanimously by 22 member states of Arab League. Although secretary-general can be elected by obtaining a minimum two-thirds majority of member states, but the group prefers to have unanimous agreement.

    Aboul-Gheit, who was the last foreign minister of Egypt under former president Hosni Mubarak, was only contender for the post at its ministerial meeting held in Cairo, Egypt. He will replace Nabil El-Araby, Egyptian diplomat whose term ends in July 2016 as he rejected the second term.It is a long-held protocol that Egypt, as host of the Arab League, nominates the chief of the Arab League, which has been almost exclusively led by Egyptians.

    What is Arab League ?

    The Arab League, formally, the League of Arab States is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. 

    Objective : The League's main goal is to draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries.

    Formed : It was fromed on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. 

    Membership : Currently, the League has 22 members, although Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011.

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  • Plastic degrading bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 identified

     

    Plastic degrading bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 identifiedA team of Japanese researchers has successfully identified a bacterium species capable of breaking down plastic-poly(ethylene terephthalate) or PET.  The results were published in the journal Science.

    Discovery of Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6

     (1) Shosuke Yoshida from the Department of Applied Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto, Japan and his team collected 250 debris-contaminated samples from a PET bottle recycling site after which they looked for microorganisms that relied on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth.

    (2) They identified a distinct microbial consortium that contained a mixture of bacteria species that degraded the PET film surface at 30°C; 75 per cent of the PET film surface was broken down into carbon dioxide at 28°C.

    (3) From the microbial consortium, the researchers isolated a unique bacterium "Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 "that could almost completely degrade a thin film of PET in a short span of six weeks at 30°C.

    (4) The bacterium uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradable-resistant polymer PET. First enzyme helps the bacterium to adhere to the PET and produce an intermediate substance through process of hydrolysis. The second enzyme then works with water and acts on this intermediate substance. 

    Comment : Human-made PET has been littering the environment for the last 70 years and in 2013 about 56 million tonnes of PET were produced worldwide. PET makes up almost one-sixth of the world’s annual plastic production of 311m tons, although PET is recycleable but only just over half is ever collected for recycling and far less actually ends up being reused.

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  • Astronaut Scott Kelly announces retirement

     

    Astronaut Scott Kelly announces retirementAfter spending nearly a year in space, Scott Kelly, the astronaut who spent U.S. record 520 days in four flights in space, is set to retire on 1 April from his regualr service as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During his one-year trip, Scott Kelly posted hundreds of images, mostly of Earth from orbit, on social media.

    The 52-year-old Kelly spent a U.S.-record 340 days in orbit on the International Space Station to see how the human body holds up for long periods of time in space. His results are being compared to those on the ground from his twin brother, Mark, who is a retired astronaut.

    Kelly was Commander of the International Space Station on the one year mission until February 29, 2016, when he passed control to Timothy Kopra. In October 2015, he set the record for the total number of days spent in space by an American astronaut, 382. Kelly spent 340 consecutive days in space.

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  • India, IMF sign pact to set up regional training centre

     

    India, IMF sign pact to set up regional training centreIndia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have a signed a pact to set up South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) in New Delhi with an aim to enhance capacity development and training officials in dealing with macro-economic and financial issues.

    MoU in this regard was signed between Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The training centre will help address existing training requirements and respond to demand for IMF training in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, while bringing the region’s training volume on par with those of other regions.

    The training centre will  become the focal point for planning, co-ordinating and implementing IMF’s capacity development activity in the region on a wide range of issues, including macro-economic and fiscal management, monetary operations, financial sector regulation and supervision, and macro-economic statistics.

    Funding : Funding of the project will come from regional member countries and development partners. The Australian Agency for International Development, the Republic of Korea and India have pledged financial support for the centre.

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  • Wikipedia to develop a speech engine for visually impaired users

     

    Wikipedia to develop a speech engine for visually impaired usersWikipedia has announced that it is collaborating with researchers from Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology to develop an open, crowdsourced speech engine that will make the online encyclopedia more accessible to the visually impaired.

    This move by wikipedia will benifit 25 percent of its user base, aproximately 125 million people monthly will benefit from the new service. Although the engine will be optimized for use on Wikipedia itself, any site running MediaWiki software will be able to integrate it as well.

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Current Affairs 11 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana 

     

    Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana - Scheme for Providing Free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households.

    Under the scheme, Rs 8000 crore has been earmarked for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL households. The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households.

    The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories. This Scheme would be implemented over three years, namely, the FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. 

    Benifits of the scheme : Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country. This measure will empower women and protect their health. It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking. It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.

    Impact of cooking based on fossil fuels :

    (1) In our country, the poor have limited access to cooking gas (LPG). The spread of LPG cylinders has been predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas with the coverage mostly in middle class and affluent households. But there are serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuels. 

    (2) As per the reports of WHO about 5 lakh deaths in India alone due to unclean cooking fuels. Most of these premature deaths were due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

    (3) Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses in young children. According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour. 

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  • Ex-SC judge Balbir Singh Chauhan new Law Commission chairman

     

    Ex-SC judge Balbir Singh Chauhan new Law Commission chairmanFormer Supreme Court judge Balbir Singh Chauhan (66) has been appointed as the Chairman of the 21st Law Commission of India (LCI). Currently he is heading the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal. Chauhan was  judge of the Supreme Court from May 2009 to July 2014, he also served as the Chief Justice of Odisha High Court from July 2008 to May 2009.

    The term of the 20th Law Commission ended on August 30 last year and the Union Cabinet approved creation of the 21st Law Commission on September 9, for period of 3 years with effect from 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2018. 

    Composition of 21st Law Commission of India (LCI): The commission will have (i) 1 full-time chairperson (ii) 4 full-time members (iii)  Secretaries: Department of Legal Affairs, Legislative Department and Legislative Department as ex offcio Members (iv)  5 Part time Members. 

    Role : It will look at the issue of revamp of the criminal justice system and  recommend a bail law to ensure uniformity in the procedure of granting the relief as these two issues are pending with it for a long time.

    Law Commission of India (LCI)

    Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. The first commission was constituted in 1955 and since then the Commission is reconstituted every three years and is usually headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or former Chief Justice of a high court.

    It is usually headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or former Chief Justice of a high court.  The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.

    Till date various  Law Commissions have submitted 262 reports which have made important contribution towards codification and progressive development of law in the country. Previous law commission was  headed by Justice A P Shah, Former Chief Justice (CJ) of Delhi High Court  whose enure ended on 31 August, 2015.

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  • Rest of India wins Irani Cup Cricket Title

     

    Rest of India wins Irani Cup Cricket TitleRest of India has clinched Irani Cup Cricket Title 2015-16 by defeating Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai, by 4 wickets. In the final match played at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, "Rest of India" chased the record victory target of 480 set by Mumabai and won the match by making 482 runs for 6 wickets.

    This successful chase was also the best-ever run-chase in the Irani history, bettering Rest of India’s 424, chasing target set by Delhi at the Ferozshah Kotla in 1982-83. 

    About Irani CupThe Irani Cup started during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship . It was named after the late Z.R. Irani, who was associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from its inception in 1928, till his death in 1970. Z R Irani, long time treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India and a keen patron of the game.

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  • Cabinet approves cyber security deal with UAE

     

    Cabinet approves cyber security deal with UAEThe union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given it's approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on technical cooperation in cyber space and combating cyber crime. 

    The MoU was signed between both countries in February 2016 to enhance technical cooperation between India and the UAE in cyber space and combating cyber crime comes in the wake of the serious threat of cyber crime on the security, interest and safety of the people.

    Under the MoU both the countries will cooperate mutually in combating cyber crime, particularly through coordination and exchange of information in relation with cyber crime and training in cyber crime investigation.

    Nodal agency : The ministry of home affairs will be the nodal agency on the Indian side responsible for the implementation of this agreement while from UAE side Directorate General of Criminal Security under aegis of Ministry of Interior and the State Security Department will be the nodal agency.

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  • India, Bangladesh sign USD 2 billion Line of Credit

     

    India, Bangladesh sign USD 2 billion Line of CreditIndia and Bangladesh have signed a new USD 2 billion credit agreement  to implement socio-economic development projects in Bangladesh and strengthen bilateral relations.

    This line of credit would provided by Export Import Bank of India (Exim Bank), the Indian government's external lending arm. It is Exim Bank’s biggest ever credit facility to another country. 

    The credit line would be used to finance development in the power sector, railways, road transportation, information and communication technology, shipping, health and technical education sectors.

    Exim Bank is also in the process of extending $1.60 billion in buyer's credit to an India-Bangladesh joint venture to build a 1,320 megawatt thermal power plant project in Bangladesh. 

    Background : The announcement regarding new credit line to Bangladesh was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 during his official visit to Dhaka. It follows India's $1 billion in assistance provided to Bangladesh in 2011 for infrastructure development. 

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  • National Waterways Bill Passed By Parliament

     

    National Waterways Bill Passed By ParliamentParliament has passed National Waterways Bill, 2015 that  provides for enacting a central legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways as the national waterways in addition to five existing national waterways.

    Under it, 106 additional inland waterways will be added to the list of national waterways, taking the number to 111. It would boost movement of goods and passengers via rivers and expectedly reduce the transportation costs substantially.

    Inland waterways mainly comprise rivers, lakes, canals, creeks and backwaters they are recognised as a fuel efficient, cost effective and environment friendly mode of transport but unfortunately it has received lesser investment as compared to roads and railways.

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  • Union Cabinet approves for signing and ratification of BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters

     

    Union Cabinet approves for signing and ratification of BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal MattersThe Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing and ratification of the Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been designated as the Central Authority under Article 15 of the Convention. 

    After signing as well as ratification of the Convention from the Indian side, the Instrument of Ratification will be deposited to the Secretary-General of. BIMSTEC and the Convention shall enter into force on 30th day of the deposit of last instrument of ratification. 

    About BIMSTEC

    Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) comprises of seven countries viz., Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. 

    Established: 6 June 1997. 
    Headquarters: Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

    Objectives of  BIMSTEC Convention : The Convention aims to extend widest measures of assistance to each other through mutual cooperation for enhancing capability and effectiveness of the Member States in investigation and prosecution of crimes, including crimes related to terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crimes.

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  • Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar Bill 2016 

     

    Aadhaar Bill 2016 The Lok Sabha passed the Aadhaar Bill 2016  ensuring targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services. The bill has been tagged as a money bill. 

    Since Aadhaar Bill 2016 has been tagged as money bill its passage will not be stalled by the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is short of a majority.

    Aadhaar Bill 2016

    When enacted, the Bill intends to empower the government in providing targeted services to the intended beneficiaries by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar Id. It will be given to every person, who has stayed in India for 182 days in the year preceding the date of application.

    Making Aadhaar mandatory for availing Financial and Other Subsidies will eliminate the loop holes involved and bring down its subsidy bill, which has been budgeted at Rs.2.5 trillion in 2016-17. It will also help push India towards a cashless economy.

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  • Railways launch online ‘clean my coach’ service

     

    Railways launch online ‘clean my coach’ serviceIndian Railways has recently launched an online “clean my coach” service that allows travellers to get their compartments cleaned by sending an SMS or by using an app or a designated website.

    This service empowers the citizen to get an important service on board and is in line with the objectives of the ‘Digital India’ programme.

    As per the scheme, for any cleaning requirement in the coach, passengers have to send an SMS on a mobile number 58888. Alternatively, passengers can use the android app or Web page www.cleanmycoach.com for logging the request. Following this, a passenger’s request is immediately acknowledged via SMS on mobile phone along with a code.

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Current Affairs 10 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • First ever NCC Girls Everest Expedition Flagged Off 

     

    First ever NCC Girls Everest Expedition Flagged Off The first ever all-girl National Cadet Corps (NCC) Mount Everest expedition by the Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh in New Delhi.

    The team led by Col Gaurav Karki, along with fifteen service personnel and ten girl cadets would reach Nepal on 31 March 2016 and after a long trek to Base Camp from 08 to 25 April 2016 is likely to summit the peak between 15 and 25 May 2016. 

    Mountaineering Expedition as an adventure activity was introduced in NCC in the year 1970. Since then, NCC conducts two mountaineering expeditions every year, one each for boy and girl cadets thus having launched more than 70 expeditions to various peaks. 

    Background : Director General NCC Lt. Gen. A. Chakravarty had proposed the conduct of first ever NCC Girls Expedition to Mt Everest in 2014. All India trials at 25 selected hubs were carried out and 100 girl cadets were nominated to undergo the Customised Mountaineering Course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling. Based on their performance, 40 girl cadets were selected for the first Pre-Everest Expedition. 

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  • Maiden Maritime India Summit to be held in Mumbai

     

    Maiden Maritime India Summit to be held in Mumbai'Maritime India Summit 2016' the maiden flagship initiative of the Ministry of Shipping will be held in Mumbai from April 14-16. The summit will provide a unique platform for participants to explore potential business opportunities in Indian Maritime Sector.

    This Summit will attract more than 2000 participants from 57 countries which will include senior government officials and policy makers, CEOs of Indian and global Maritime industry, industry experts, thought leaders and distinguished speakers from across the world.

    The conference will project vast investment opportunities in each of the Indian Maritime States and Union Territories. South Korea is the partner country for the summit. 

    Earlier in February 2016, the Ministry of Shipping had launched website for maiden summit to facilitate investors and participants to access detailed information about the summit.

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  • Parliament passes Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015

     

    Parliament passes Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015Parliament has passed the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill 2015 that extends the ambit of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to include services, processes and products while ensuring production of world class goods. The Bill replaces the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.

    The bill was first passed in Lok Sabha during winter session in December 2015 and later in Rajya Sabha in February 2016 now since the bill has got clearence in both the houses it will go Presidential assent as per provisions laid down under Article 111 of the Constitution.

    Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015

    The bill establishes Bureau of Indian Standards as a national body that will formulate, implement and certify certain standards of quality for goods, services, articles, processes and systems.

    The Bureau would be a licensing authority for quality standards. A person may apply to the Bureau for a license to use a standard mark, or a certificate of conformity, depending on the good, article, process, etc

    The Bill allows the central government to notify certain goods, articles, etc, which will need to compulsorily carry a standard mark.

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  • Reliance Defence, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Limited 

     

    Reliance Defence, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Limited The licensing committee of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has approved 12 industrial licences to the Reliance Defence, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Limited which will manufacture wide range of Defence equipment required by the Armed Forces.

    DIPP has approved these licences to the Strategic Business Units (SBU) under Reliance Defence Limited to address defence programmes in India and overseas.

    Industrial licences approved

    In aerospace segment : The company has got licence for manufacture of military aircraft and helicopters to address the aircraft requirement of the Indian Navy pegged at Rs 9,000 crorer and light utility helicopters pegged at more than Rs 20,000 crore. The defence forces have requirement of 160-200 medium to heavy helicopter, valued at Rs 50,000 crore.

    In land systems : Reliance has got licences for manufacturing of missiles & all terrain combat vehicles which includes short, medium and long range missile systems.

    In naval systems : The company has got licences for air independent propulsion technology and hull penetrators and connectors along with motor shafts and propulsion systems. Reliance naval systems is already working on C4I, underwater systems, weapons, radars and electro optic systems.

    For the export market : Reliance Strategic Electronics Division (SED) plans to manufacture night vision devices (NVDs) and surveillance devices. 

    In case of unmanned aerial systems, the company is targeting different requirement from the Indian Navy, army and the Air Force. The company plans to develop an infantry combat vehicle to address the domestic and global requirements.

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  • Women travelling alone can now request change of berth

     

    Women travelling alone can now request change of berthThe Southern Railway has launched an initiative under which a women passenger  travelling on long-distance overnight trains can request change of her berth if she is experiencing discomfort.  

    For this an officer has been appointed who will receive feedback from women passengers and if there is a problem the officer-in-charge would coordinate with the travelling ticket examiners and with their colleagues in other divisions on the route and ensure that berths were allotted to the woman who made a request for change. The woman officer, in the rank of Assistant Commercial Manager, could be reached at Ph: 90031 60980.

    However in case of any problems caused by the co-passengers, a woman could always contact the railway helpline 182 and also the Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force control rooms.

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  • Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos passes away

     

    Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos passes awayBrazilian Latin jazz percussionist, vocalist and berimbau player- Nana Vasconcelos passed away due to lung cancer in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife. He was known for his notable work as a solo artist and major role in free spirited jazz and world music of the 1970s and 1980s. 

    He was 8 time Grammy Award-winner and his work as a backing musician with Pat Metheny, Don Cherry, Egberto Gismonti, Gato Barbieri and Milton Nascimento is recognised throughout the world. The American jazz magazine DownBeat named him percussionist of the year every year from 1983 to 1991.

    About Nana Vasconcelos

    Vasconcelos was born in Recife, Brazil on August 2, 1944. He started learning music with his musician father and by the time he was 12 he was playing a drum kit, performing at bars with local groups. Nana rose to national prominence after he moved to Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s and started playing with Nascimento.

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  • RBI inks information exchange MoU with Bank of Israel

     

    RBI inks information exchange MoU with Bank of IsraelThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a pact with Bank of Israel for exchange of information pertaining to banking supervision.

    It was signed by Hedva Ber, Supervisor of banks on behalf of Bank of Israel and Parvathy V Sundaram, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Supervision on behalf of Reserve Bank of India.

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bank of Israel (BOI) for exchange of information pertaining to banking supervision.

    It was signed by Parvathy V Sundaram, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Supervision on behalf of RBI and Hedva Ber, Supervisor of banks on behalf of BOI. 

    With this, the RBI has signed 32 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and one Statement of Co-operation. The Reserve Bank has entered into an MoU, Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and Statement of Co-operation with supervisors of a few countries to promote greater co-operation and share supervisory information.

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  • Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti begins

     

    Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti IV beginsThe fourth edition of Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI has began at Magelang, Indonesia . It will be conducted for 13 days from 10 to 23 March 16, 2016. 

    Aim of the exercise: The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between the armies of India and Indonesia and to enhance the ability of Indian and Indonesian Army to undertake joint tactical level operations in a Counter Insurgency environment under United Nations Charter. 

    Indian Army platoon strength contingent will carry out cross training with a platoon from the Airborne battalion of the Indonesian Army. The Indian Contingent has been put through a rigorous training schedule to prepare it for the exercise which includes combat conditioning, firing, tactical operations, tactical skills and special heliborne operations training.

    Selected Indian unit has had varied operational experience in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist operations in the Northern, Western and Eastern theatres. The exercise will be conducted as joint Counter Insurgency operations exercise in urban and rural scenario and encompass various facets of tactical Counter Insurgency operations.

    Background : Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI is conducted as part of military diplomacy between Indian and Indonesian Army alternatively in India and Indonesia respectively. The exercise is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India. The second edition was conducted in Indonesia in 2013 and third in India in 2014

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Current Affairs 09 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Mumbai to host BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave

     

    Mumbai to host BRICS Friendship Cities ConclaveMumbai the financial capital of India will host three days long "BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave" from April 14 to 16, 2016.

    The Conclave will be attended by the top Urban Policy makers and Planners from BRICS Nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This is the second major international summit hosted by Mumbai in 2016 after the 'Make In India Week' last month.   

    The three-day conclave will be organised by Mumbai First, a think-tank working to find solutions for city’s development. "BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave" is a joint initiative of Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Government of Maharashtra. Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate the conference, which will be attended by representatives of at least two cities from each of the BRICS nations. 

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  • Union Government announces to withdraw tax proposal on EPF

     

    Union Government announces to withdraw tax proposal on EPFFacing mounting criticism, the Narendra Modi government has decided to roll back the Budget proposal to tax Employees' Provident Fund or EPF withdrawal.

    The decision regarding roll back was nnounced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha clarifying NDA government’s stand on the issue. 

    The government has also withdrawn the proposal to limit tax-free contributions by the employer to the provident fund account of an employee to Rs.1.5 lakh a year. However, government has not changed its plan to tax National Pension Scheme (NPS) withdrawals.

    Background : Presenting the Union Budget for 2016-17, the finance minister had proposed to tax withdrawal of 60 per cent of accumulations in the EPF after April 1, 2016 while remaining 40 percent would be tax free . The move was hugely criticised by Opposition parties as well as by employee unions.

    However, the budget had proposed that employees would be exempted from the tax if they re-invests 60 percent of the EPF in a pension or annuity fund. The main objective behind this proposal was to create a pensioned society, especially among employees in the private sector who have no provision for pension.

    Employee Provident Fund (EPF)

    It is a retirement benefit scheme for salaried employees under which employee and employer contribute fixed amount of the employee towards EPF. This amonut or percentage to be contributed is pre-set by the government. Any company with over 20 employees is required by law to register with the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

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  • Karnataka launched Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Yojana

     

    Karnataka launched Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish YojanaThe Karnataka Government has  launched Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Yojana to provide free treatment to road accident victims for the first 48 hours in the nearest government or private hospital.

    The scheme has been named after Harish Nanjappa who donated his eyes moments before his death. He was severely injured and begged for help but got no help from anyone but even than he donated his eyes moments before his death.

    Under the scheme

    1. Immediate medical relief would be provided to the victim during the "Golden Hour" with financial aid up to Rs 25,000 during the first 48 hours of treatment. 

    2. A software covering hospital registration, patient registration, claims submission and packages will be installed for the proper implementation of the scheme.

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  • Amrita Patel gets Mahindra Samriddi India Agri Lifetime Achievement award

     

    Amrita Patel gets Mahindra Samriddi India Agri Lifetime Achievement awardPadma Bhushan award winner and former chairperson of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Dr Amrita Patel has been conferred upon the prestigious 2016 Mahindra Samriddhi India Agri Lifetime Achievement Award also known as the Krishi Shiromani Samman for her purposeful contribution that made a difference in the field of agriculture to increase productivity and rural prosperity. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh conferred the prestigious award on her at a function held in New Delhi.

    Amrita Patel is currently serving as Chairperson of  Charutar Arogya Mandal. Earlier she had served as Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from 1998 to 2014. 

    Dr Patel had played a pivotal role in the implementation of Operation Flood, the largest developmental programme in the world that transformed the lives of millions of marginalised and small farmers and milk producers. The programme helped to promote, finance and deliver a variety of supporting services to a national cooperative dairy structure.

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  • Maria Sharapova provisionally banned after failing drugs test at Australian Open

     

    Maria Sharapova provisionally banned after failing drugs test at Australian OpenRussian professional tennis player and former world number one female tennis player, Maria Sharapova (28) has been provisionally banned from tennis after she revealed that she tested positive at the Australian Open for a recently banned drug that she has been taking for 10 years for health reasons.

    The drug is called meldonium, a substance that has been added in the forbidden list by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 1 January 2016.

    She had been using it under the name of mildronate and was unaware of both the different name and the fact it is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list.

    Sharapova has won total 35 singles titles and five Grand Slam titles, two at the French Open and one each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. She is currently ranked world No. 7 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

    About Meldonium :

    Meldonium also known as Mildronate, was developed years ago in Latvia to treat patients with heart conditions brought on by a lack of oxygen in their blood. It has become popular with athletes who use the oxygen-enhancers to improve endurance, especially when working out. Since January 2016, it has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances from use by athletes.

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  • Telangana, Maharashtra ink MoU for five irrigation projects

     

    Telangana, Maharashtra ink MoU for five irrigation projectsMemoranda of Understanding (MoU) between Telangana and Maharashtra has been signed on setting up an inter-state water board on Godavari projects, ending decades of discord between the two States on utilisation of water in the river Godavari and its tributaries. 

    Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis signed five MoUs, which will cover both the ongoing and new projects.

    Facts about the MoU :

    1. The MoU will facilitate construction of five barrages on Godavari river and its tributaries Penganga and Pranahita as these projects have been pending for four decades due to inter-state river disputes.

    2. Under another agreement, Telangana will build Pranahita barrage as part of Pranahita-Chevella project near Tummidihatti in Adilabad district to irrigate about 2.5 lakh acres of uplands.

    3. The MoU allows Telangana to construct Thammidihatti barrage up to the height of 148 meters  in Adilabad district across Pranahita a tributary of Godavari  and Medigadda barrage up to the height of 102 meters in Karimnagar district across Godavari. 

    4. Both the states have signed a pact for the construction of Medigadda barrage as part of Kaleshwaram project, a component of the redesigned Pranahita-Chevella. This project will tap about 160 TMC ft water from Godavari.

    5. The barrage would allow irrigation of 16.4 lakh acres in Telangana and over 50,000 acres in some tribal areas of Maharashtra with the help of four small lift irrigation schemes.

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  • Germany to develop Kochi, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar as Smart Cities

     

    Germany to develop Kochi, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar as Smart CitiesGermany has announced that it will partner with India to develop Kochi (Kerala), Bhubaneswar (Odisha) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) as smart cities. These three cities are among the top 20 cities selected by Urban Development Ministry which are to be developed as smart cities. 

    Announcement in this regard was made by State Secretary in Germany’s Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Gunther Adler in New Delhi at the second meeting of the Indo-German Working Group on Urban Development. 

    Germany had earlier set up a six-member joint committee with India to identify the cities which it could develop as smart cities. The committee had two representatives of Urban Development Ministry, one from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, and three from Germany. 

    Germany is India's second largest bilateral donor after Japan with a record commitment of 1.5 billion Euros (Rs 11,0000 crore) agreed last year.

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  • Railways forms SPV to execute bullet train project

     

    Railways forms SPV to execute bullet train projectIndian Railways have formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project. The entity has been named the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited. Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to participate in the equity for the SPV, while the Railways will have 50 per cent. 

    Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project

    The bullet train is expected to cover the 508km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in about two hours, running at a maximum speed of 350kmph and operating speed of 320kmph. Currently, Duronto takes about seven hours to cover the distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

    Estimated budget of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project is about Rs 97,636 crore in which 81 per cent of the funding will come by way of a loan from Japan. It is a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years' moratorium period.

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  • Haryana signs MoUs for over Rs 18,000 crore investment

     

    Haryana signs MoUs for over Rs 18,000 crore investmentThe Haryana government has signed 11 MOUs involving a total investment of Rs 18,159 crore with different companies on the first day of the two-day ‘Happening Haryana Global Investors’ Summit-2016’ held in Gurgaon. These MoUs were signed in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

    These agreements includes

    1. MoU of Rs 15,000 crore for financial services signed with ICICI Bank.

    2. MoU of Rs 2,000 crore MoU for electronics, IT and IT enabled services (ITeS) with Bharti Airtel.

    3. MoU involving an investment of Rs 283 crore was signed with Star Wire (India) Limited  for manufacturing special and critical steel adopting high-tech technologies.

    4. MoU of Rs 200 crore was signed with Minda Kosei Aluminium Wheel Private Limited for automobile parts, and alloy wheels.

    5. MoU of Rs 150 crore with Plasser India Private Limited for manufacturing unit for track maintenance machines.

    6. MoUs of Rs 100 crores each were signed with Minda Industries Limited and Mindarika Private Limited for automobile parts switches. 

    7. MoU of Rs 80 crore was signed with TG Minda Private Limited for automobile parts rubber hoses and an MoU was also signed with Snapdeal for e-commerce.

     

     

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  • Iran conducts several ballistic missile tests

     

    Iran conducts several ballistic missile testsIran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired several ballistic missiles test from silos across the country. The test was intended "to show Iran's deterrent power and also the Islamic Republic's ability to confront any threat against the (Islamic) Revolution, the state and the sovereignty of the country.

    With this Iran has breached United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that compel it to refrain from any work on ballistic missiles for 8 years.

    However it was terminated after a nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 nations but a new resolution then came into force under which Iran is "called upon" not to undertake any work on missiles "designed to" deliver nuclear weapons.

    Theoretically missile of a certain size could in theory be used to carry a nuclear warhead but Iran says its missiles are for use solely as a conventional deterrent. Iran claims to have ballistic missiles with a range of 2,000km (1,250 miles) that can target Israel and US military bases in the Middle East.

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Current Affairs 08 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • Galaxy 13.4 billion years away breaks cosmic distance record 

     

    Galaxy 13.4 billion years away breaks cosmic distance record An international team of astronomers have shattered the cosmic distance record by discovering the farthest galaxy ever about 13.4 billion light-years away, from a time when the universe was just 400 million years old after the Big Bang. The Galaxy which has been named "GN-z11" is located in the direction of the constellation of Ursa Major.

    The team of astronomers who have discovered the galaxy includes scientists from Yale University, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), and the University of California. The team’s findings have been accepted for publication in an upcoming edition of the Astrophysical Journal. 

    The combination of Hubble’s and Spitzer’s imaging shows that GN-z11 is 25 times smaller than the Milky Way and has just one per cent of our galaxy’s mass in stars. GN-z11 is growing fast, forming stars at a rate about 20 times greater than our galaxy does today.

    Earlier,  the team had estimated GN-z11’s distance by determining its colour through imaging with Hubble and Nasa’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Now, for the first time for a galaxy at such an extreme distance, the team used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to precisely measure the distance to GN-z11 spectroscopically by splitting the light into its component colours.

    How distance in space is measured ?

    Astronomers measure large distances by determining the “redshift” of a galaxy. This phenomenon is a result of the expansion of the universe; every distant object in the universe appears to be receding from us because its light is stretched to longer, redder wavelengths as it travels through expanding space to reach our telescopes. The greater the redshift, the farther the galaxy.

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  • Air India operates ‘world’s longest all-women flight’

     

    Air India operates ‘world’s longest all-women flight’Air India the flag carrier airline of India has set a world record as it flew the "world's longest" all-women operated and supported flight, ever.

    The flight, travelled a non-stop journey of around 14,500 kilometre between Delhi and San Francisco in close to 17 hours. The flight was operated as part of International Women's Day celebrations.

    This was for the first time, on the world’s longest non-stop flight, that entire flight operations from cockpit crew to cabin crew, check-in staff, doctor, customer care staff, ATC (air traffic control) and the entire ground handling were handled by women.

    The flight was under the command of Kshamta Bajpayee and Shubhangi Singh, along with First Officers Ramya Kirti Gupta and Amrit Namdhari. Air India has about 3,800 women employees, including pilots, cabin crew, engineers, technicians, doctors, security personnel and executives.

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  • New categorisation system for industries based on Pollution Index

     

    New categorisation system for industries based on Pollution IndexMinistry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released a new four-colour classification scheme for industries based on their pollution potential. 

    The criteria for categorising industrial sectors based on the Pollution Index, which takes into account emissions (air pollutants), effluents (water pollutants), hazardous waste and consumption of resources.

    The Pollution Index (PI ) of any industrial sector is measured from 0 to 100. Increasing value of PI denotes the increasing degree of pollution load from the industrial sector. 

    Under the new categorisation system :-

    (1) Industries that pollute the most have been put in the red category.
    (2) Industries that pollute moderately have been put in the orange category.
    (3) Industries with low pollution load have been placed in the green category.
    (4) Industries that operate without causing any pollution have been categorised as white.

    Classification of Industries :

    (A) 60 industries, including sugar, thermal power plants, paints and others, which have a pollution index score of 60 and above, will be in the red category.
    (B) 83 industries like coal washeries and automobile servicing which have scores ranging between 41-59 will be in the orange category.
    (C) Industries like aluminium utensil manufacturing and dal and flour mills, which have a pollution index score of between 21 and 40, have been kept in the green category.
    (D) 36 industries like air coolers and cotton and woollen hosiery, which have a pollution index score of upto 20, have been kept in the white category.

    Advantages of the new system

    The existing system was creating problems because it did not reflect the actual pollution caused by the various units but the new system categorises Industries based on their pollution load.

    White industries, which are practically non-polluting, will not require Environmental Clearance (EC) and Consent. That will help them get funds from lending institutions. 

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  • Capital Local Area Bank becomes India's first small bank to start operations 

     

    Capital Local Area Bank becomes India's first small bank to start operations Jalandhar-based Capital Local Area Bank (CLAB), has emerged as the first entity to have received the Reserve Bank of India's licence to start operations as a small finance bank.

    CLAB ltd, which claims to be the largest local bank in the country, in five districts of Punjab and three more would be opened by March 31.

    The bank plans to have 216 branches and total business of Rs 11,800 crore in the next five years. During the first five years as a small finance bank, it will focus on northern region. From day one, it will keep all its branches open for all seven days a week. 

    Background

    In September 2015, RBI has granted in principle approval to 10 entities including CLAB ltd to operate as small finance banks. As a small finance bank, CLAB ltd, will provide basic banking services to small farmers and micro industries. The in-principle approval granted by RBI will be valid for a period of 18 months.

    10 entities that  have been granted the licence by RBI : The name of the applicants that have been granted the licence include-  Au Financiers, Capital Local Area Bank, Disha Microfin, Equitas Holdings, ESAF Microfinance and Investments, Janalakshmi Financial Services, RGVN (North East) Microfinance, Suryoday Micro Finance, Ujjivan Financial Services and Utkarsh Micro Finance.

    About Small Finance Bank :

    Small Finance Bank will undertake basic banking activities of accepting deposits and lending to unserved and under-served sections.  It will mainly target small business units, marginal farmers and unorganised sector entities through high technology-low cost operations. The maximum loan size and investment limit exposure to single and group obligators cannot be more than 10 per cent and 15 per cent of its capital funds.

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  • Indian scientists develop Herbal drug to treat dengue

     

    Indian scientists develop Herbal drug to treat dengueIndian scientists have developed, a herbal medicine against Dengue, which accounts for 50 per cent of the global population estimated to be at risk from the disease. The drug was developed using alcoholic extract of Cissampelos pariera Linn (Cipa extract) derived from velvetleaf, a species of flowering plant. 

    The project was undertaken jointly by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and Ranbaxy Research Laboratory, and employed traditional Indian medicine system Ayurveda. 

    Clinical results : The drug proved to be potent inhibitor of all four Dengue Virus (DENVs). The preliminary evaluation of the clinical relevance of Cipa extract showed it had no adverse impact on platelet count and RBC viability. It also showed no evidence of toxicity in Wistar rats, when administered doses as high as two grams/kilogram body weight for up to a week.

    Scientists are now gearing for the next step, which is to hold clinical trials and toxicity studies of the drug after approval from Union Ministry of Ayush and Drug Controller of India (DCI) for commercial production.

    Dengue : Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease which poses a significant global public health risk. India represents 50 per cent of the global population estimated to be at risk of dengue.  Severe dengue can prove to be potentially fatal and cause very high virus load, reduction in platelet counts and haemorrhage.

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  • Four ‘extinct’ plant species rediscovered

     

    Four ‘extinct’ plant species rediscovered4 species of Impatiens (Kasi Thumba) plants that were believed to have gone extinct many decades ago were rediscovered from the Western Ghats recently.

    The rediscovered plants, Impatiens concinna, Impatiens sasidharanii, Impatiens neo-modesta , and Impatiens sasidharanii var hirsuta , were found to have great medicinal values. These plants, usually found 2,000 ft above sea level, are short-lived and will be seen only one quarter of a year.

    A team of researchers led by K.M. Prabhukumar and Indira Balachandran, taxonomist and director respectively of the Centre for Medicinal Plants Research, Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala made the rediscovery during explorations at Dhoni Hills of Palakkad and Nelliampathy.

    Facts to know :

     (1) Impatiens concinna, found 6,000 ft above sea level, was discovered first time in Kerala. It was described as critically endangered in an article published in the Current Science 

    (2) Impatiens neo-modesta was found from the peaks of Nelliampathy.The findings were published in the Italian journal Webbia: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Geography.

    (3) Impatiens sasidharanii var hirsuta  and Impatiens sasidharanii were found from Nelliampathy forests . They have been named after N. Sasidharan, former scientist of the Kerala Forest Research Institute.

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  • SoftBank splits into two subsidiaries

     

    SoftBank splits into two subsidiariesJapanese investment bank SoftBank Group Corp has announced a major reorganisation of its businesses. It is palnning to separate its profitable domestic mobile business from its global business, which includes a majority stake in US mobile operator Sprint Corp.

    This move will shift SoftBank’s stakes in U.S. wireless carrier Sprint and Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group Holding to a new global operations management subsidiary. SoftBanks’ Japanese assets, including Yahoo Japan Corporation, will funnel into a separate domestic operations management company.

    The domestic operations subsidiary will be headed by current SoftBank Group director Ken Miyauchi, while the global operations subsidiary will be led by current SoftBank president and COO Nikesh Arora.

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  • ICICI Bank offers ‘work-from-home’ for women  

     

    ICICI Bank offers ‘work-from-home’ for womenIndia's largest Private Sector Lender, ICICI Bank has launched work-from-home programme to prevent women employees from dropping out of its workforce.

    For this the company has deployed face recognition technology that will facilitate women to work from home and provide access to the bank’s core banking servers. 

    Internal surveys shows that women leave the organisation  on account of childcare, maternity, or because of long commuting but this application will facilitate them to work from home.

    The platform is designed not only to recognise the employees face but it also logs her out if she leaves her seat or if another face appears within range of the camera. The technology has been developed by ICICI Bank in collaboration with IIT Delhi.

    Key facts :-

    Employees working from home can carry out multiple tasks such as checking documents for disbursement of loans, image-based verification of cheques for clearance, first-level scrutiny of documents for opening of accounts and processing of export-import documents for payments.

    Women managers with children up to 3 years of age as managerial responsibilities at times require them to travel outside city limits, for client interactions, business reviews or training will be provided with the cost of travel and stay of the child and a caregiver.

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  • Gender gap in jobs, wages remain unchanged in 20 years: ILO report

     

     

    Gender gap in jobs, wages remain unchanged in 20 years: ILO reportInternational Labour Organization has released a report titled - "Women at Work: Trends 2016" which says that gender equality in the workplace remains elusive.

    The report highlights that millions of women worldwide are not getting the same kind of quality, well-paying jobs as men. 

    New data in 178 countries present a gloomy picture of the current state of working women. The report shows the gender gap in employment, wages and social protection has changed little in 20 years.

    The report says that women are overrepresented in clerical service and sales work, which are among the lowest paying jobs.

    However significant progress has been made by women in education during the past two decades, but this has not translated into improvements at work.

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Current Affairs 07 Mar 2016 Mar 2016

  • India kicks off Raisina Dialogue 2016 at New Delhi

     

    India kicks off Raisina Dialogue 2016 at New Delhi

    The inaugural session of Raisina-Dialogue 2016, envisioned to be India's flagship conference of geopolitics and geo-economics had began in New Delhi. It is a three day conference  held jointly by Ministry of External Affairs, India and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think tank based in India. 

    The inaugural dialogue was hosted between March 1st and 3rd, 2016  in New Delhi. It was attended by speakers from 40 countries including Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Bangladeshi foreign Minister Mahmood Ali. 

    Theme of Raisina-Dialogue 2016 :  “Asia: Regional and Global Connectivity”

    The conference is being seen as the government’s attempt to rival conferences around the world  such as the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, and the Munich Conference on national security. 

    The conference focussed on Asia's physical, economic, human, and digital connectivity and will attempt to discover opportunities and challenges for the region to manage its common spaces. It will provide platform to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s Integration with the whole world.

    Raisina-Dialogue :The conference name comes from Raisina Hill, the elevation in New Delhi, which is the location of both the Government of India as well as the presidential palace of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, which inspired the design of the conference symbol.

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  • India moves to WTO against US on temporary working visa issue

     

    India moves to WTO against US on temporary working visa issueIndia has filed a complaint in the WTO against the US decision to impose high fees on temporary working visas, which would impact Indian IT professionals as it makes Indian IT companies less competitive in that market.

    The current measures imposed by US appear to be "inconsistent" with the terms, limitations and conditions agreed by the US in its commitments under the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services).

    Dispute settlement procedure:

    The request for consultations is the first step in a dispute at the dispute settlement system of the WTO as consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation.

    If consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request the Dispute Settlement Body to establish a panel of experts to study the dispute. The US has 10 days to respond to the trade dispute filed by India.

    Background :

    Last year, US President Barack Obama had signed into law a US $1.8 trillion spending package which among other things introduces a hefty US $4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and US $4,500 for L1 visa.

    Under this law, companies having more than 50 employees and having more than 50 per cent of their US employees on H-1B and L1 visas were forced pay the new fee from April 1, 2016. H-1B and L1 visas are temporary work visas for skilled IT professionals to work in US and India is the largest user of both H1B and L1 visas.

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  • President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates conference regarding the role of  women legislators

     

    President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates conference regarding the role of  women legislatorsPresident Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a national conference on 'Women Legislators: Building Resurgent India' in New Delhi. The conference, intends to hone the skills of legislators to perform their legislative and non-legislative roles with greater effectiveness.

    Facts about the conference :

    The two-day conference will provide women legislators a platform to interact with their counterparts from across the country as also women union ministers, chief ministers, MPs and eminent women from the judiciary and the bureaucracy.

    The conference is likely to be attended by more than 300 women members of Parliament and state legislatures and legislative councils, union ministers and chief ministers.

    The conference will equip women legislators with latest knowledge in relevant areas and motivate and guide them in their twin roles as legislators and as agents of socio-economic progress. 

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  • UP Assembly passes Revenue Code Bill

     

    UP Assembly passes Revenue Code BillUttar Pradesh Assembly has  passed  UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Bill 2016,  replacing an ordinance that will allow Dalits to sell their land to non-Dalits in the state. The bill allows  Dalits to sell their land to non-Dalits  without approval of the administration even if they are left with less than 3.5 acre of land.

    To safeguard land ownership of Dalits and protect them from being forced to sell their land to upper caste persons, the existing land revenue laws did not allow them to sell their land to OBCs and Upper Castes if their remaining land was less than 3.5 acres but now Dalits would be able to sell their land to non-Dalits without the approval of the administration.

    Key provisions :

    The bill ensures speedy jusicial procedure for  land revenue disputes so under the new law, Revenue Officer (Judicial) will be appointed to adjudicate all land related cases.

    The bill ensures that even women gets equal rights of land ownership so in the land record of each owner, the share of the each land holder like wife, unmarried daughter etc will be mentioned. 

    The bill also has provision that allows land owners lease out their land for share-cropping purpose without the fear of losing it after 12 years.

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  • Myanmar grants operating licenses to SBI

     

    Myanmar grants operating licenses to SBIIndia’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI)  is among four new foreign banks given preliminary approval to open 100 per cent-owned branches in Myanmar.

    Other Asian banks are Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, Sun Commercial Bank of Taiwan and Shinhan Bank of South Korea. 

    Now with this approval the total number of foreign banks allowed to conduct business inside Myanmar is 13. In late 2014 licenses were granted to nine foreign banks, also all from Asian countries. 

    Myanmar is home to 24 private local banks and four state owned banks. In April last year, Japan's Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ became the first foreign bank in decades to open a branch in Myanmar.

    The approval gives the banks 12 months to demonstrate that they can fulfill business plans laid out in their application to Myanmar's government, if the government would be satisfied than only they will be granted permanent licenses.

    Myanmar's powerful military nationalised all banks when it seized power in 1962 but since 2011 after end a half-century of harsh military rule, Myanmar has launched political and economic reforms, prompting the West to lift most of the sanctions and enhance capital flow to spur investment and promote economic growth.

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  • Malayalam actor Kalabhavan Mani passes away

     

    Malayalam actor Kalabhavan Mani passes awayPopular Malayalam actor and folk singer Kalabhavan Mani passed away at hospital in Kochi, Kerala  due to liver and kidney failure. He was 45.

    He has acted in over 200 films, including Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu films. He was known for his comedy, character and villain roles. 

    At a glance: Kalabhavan Mani 

    Mani was born in Chalakudy, Kerala on 1 January 1971. He started his career as a mimicry artist with the drama group Kalabhavan, known for being the first organized performing mimicry group in Kerala.

    He started his acting career in the Malayalam film Aksharam as an auto driver and later became an active artiste in South Indian films. He had acted in 200-odd Malayalam films.

    Awards and honours : National Film Awards (2000), Kerala State Film Awards (1999),  Filmfare Awards (2002).

     

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  • Patna Pirates wins maiden Pro Kabaddi League title

     

    Patna Pirates wins maiden Pro Kabaddi League titleThe Patna Pirates lifted their maiden Pro Kabaddi League by defeating U Mumba with a score of  (31-28) after a thrilling 40-minute play in the final match played at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. Patna Pirates team is owned by Rajesh Shah and play their home matches at the Patliputra Sports Complex, Patna.

    Manpreet Singh : Captain of Patna Pirates.

    Anup Kumar : Captain of U Mumba.

    Key highlights :

    (1) Rohit Kumar of Patna Pirates was awarded Best Raider .
    (2) Mohit Chillar of U Mumba the Best Defender of the Match.
    (3) Rishank Devadiga of U Mumba finished as the most successful raider with 106 points. 
    (4) Puneri Paltan was placed at the third place after defeating Bengal Warriors. 

    Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) :

    The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is a professional kabaddi league in India, based on the format of the Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament.  It is known as the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi for sponsorship reasons. The first edition of the tournament was played in 2014 with eight franchises representing various cities in India. It was won by Jaipur Pink.

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  • India win Asia Cup title for sixth time

     

    India win Asia Cup title for sixth timeIndia has won the 13th edition of the Asia Cup by defeating Bangladesh by 8 wickets in the final match played at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh. India has won Asia Cup  for a record sixth time. 

    Asia Cup, 2016, was the 13th edition of the Asia Cup, the fifth to be held in Bangladesh, and the first to be played using the T20 format.

    In 13th edition of Asia Cup 4 teams had participated including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates who qualified from a qualifier played from 19 to 22 February, 2016. India has won Asia cup for 6 times, Sri Lanka for 5 times while Pakistan has won the Match twice.

    Twist in the match

    In the final match Bangladesh by batting first posted the target of 120 runs for five wickets in 15 overs to India. The match was reduced to 15-over-per side due to rain.

    Chasing down S Dhawan did really well and scored 60 runs of 44 balls while Kohli scored 41 off 28 balls but the twist in the match came when Bangladesh dismiss Shikhar Dhawan with India still needing 22 runs from 14 balls.

    After Dhawan got out, M.S. Dhoni took the ground and finished the match in grand style. M.S. Dhoni scored 20 off just 6 balls with 1 four and two huge sixes.

    Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan. 
    Man of the series: Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh). 
    Most runs in the series: Sabbir Rahman (176) of Bangladesh. 
    Most wickets in the series:   Al-Amin Hossain (11) of Bangladesh.
    Captain of India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
    Captain of Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza. 

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  • Dogri poetess Padma Sachdev awarded 2015 Krutitava Smagra Samman

     

    Dogri poetess Padma Sachdev awarded 2015 Krutitava Smagra SammanRenowned Dogri poetess and writer Padma Sachdev has been  awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for the year 2015. The award was given by Bharatiya's Bhasha Parishad in Kolkata for her outstanding contribution in literature and great service to Dogri Language. The award was presented to her by West Bengal Governor Sh. Keshari Nath Tripathi. The award carries an amount of Rs. one lakh, a shawl and citation.

    About Padma Sachdev

    Padma Sachdev born in 1940 in Jammu, is the first modern woman poet of Dogri language. She also writes in Hindi. She has published her several poetry collection including Tavi Te Chanhan (1976), Nheriyan Galiyan (1982), Pota Pota Nimbal (1987), Uttar Vahini (1992) and Tainthian (1992). 

    Awards and Honours : She was honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971 for her poetry collection  Meri Kavita Mere Geet (My Poems, My Songs) .  She has also received the Padma Shri, the Indian fourth highest civilian award in 2001 and  Kabir Samman for poetry for the year 2007-08 by Government of Madhya Pradesh.

    About Dogri language

    Dogri is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about five million people in India and Pakistan. In India it is mainly spoken in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and some parts of northern Punjab. Dogri speakers are called Dogras, and the Dogri-speaking region is called Duggar

    Dogri is one of 22 official languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of Constitution. Along with Maithili, Santali and Bodo it was inserted in Eighth Schedule by 92nd Constitutional amendment Act, 2003. 

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  • New snake species discovered in Western Ghats

     

    New snake species discovered in Western GhatsA new species of burrowing snake named Melanophidium Khairei or Khaire’s Black Shieldtail of the genus melanophidium has been discovered from the Northwestern Ghats and correctly identified after a gap of 144 years.

    The snake has been named after Neelimkumar Khaire, the legendary founder of Pune based Katraj Snake Park and Indian Herpetological Society.

    The snake belong to family Uropeltidae, which comprises all species which are burrowers and live mostly underground. It is found in evergreen forests  but rarely above ground in southern Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka.

    The discovery is the result of meticulous efforts of last 15 years by David Gower of Natural History Museum, London and his colleague Mark Wilkinson, Giri, Ashok Captain of Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai and Indian Herpetological Society, Pune.

    New snake species discovered in Gujarat

    Two researchers from Mumbai and three others from Gujarat  have confirmed the discovery of a new snake species named Wallaceophis gujaratensis.  The new snake genus, Wallaceophis is named after Alfred Russel Wallace for his pioneering work on biogeography, and for co-discovering the theory of natural selection. 

    Based on scalation, tooth number, bone morphology and DNA, the snake was identified as belonging to a group of colubrid snakes that include racers, royal snakes and whip snakes. There are more than 1,800 species of Colubrid snakes across the world.

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