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Current Affairs Quick Recap – March (Week III)

CURRENT AFFAIRS – March Week III

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Current Affairs

Awards and Honours

  • Fourteen Indian-origin investors find place in a list of top 100 global venture capitalists (VCs) compiled byCB Insights, a research firm that tracks VC and angel investments.
  • Indian software engineer has won the first prize in a UN competition aimed at engaging the public in sharing ideas about how to visualize the interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Four Indians – Kanika Dewan, Dhivya Suryadevara, Shaurya Veer Himatsingka andSheetal Amte-Karajgi– have made it to the list of over 121 young global leaders recognised by the World Economic Forum.
  • Todd Haynes’ atmospheric lesbian love story, Carol, has been named the best LGBT film of all timein a top 30 list that stretches to a Weimar-era pupil-teacher romance from 1931.
  • Priyanka Kakodkarand Raksha Kumar were named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain award for women journalists.
  • According to the TIME Magazine’s report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the most influential people on the Internet.
  • The Assassin, a movie about a highly-trained female assassin swept the Asian Film Awards in Macau.
  • Tikka Shatrujit Singh, the royal scion of Kapurthala’s Ahluwalia dynasty, has been conferred with the prestigiousKnight of the Legion of Honour for his “extraordinary work in the exchanging the French lifestyle and Indian culture with each other.”
  • Union urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu has been conferred with the Skoch Lifetime Achievement Award at 43rd SKOCH summit held in New Delhi.
  • DataWind Inc., the leader in delivering Internet access to emerging markets, has been recognized for the tablet brand with maximum consumer pull. The award was presented to DataWind during the Tele Analysis Device World 2016, Confluence of Indian Device Ecosystem, in New Delhi.
  • Cairn India has remained in the top deciles of safety performance amongst peer group companies for the FICCISafety Systems Excellence Award in Manufacturing.
  • DLF Mall of India (Noida) has won the award for ‘Best Retail Project of the Year – 2015’ at CNBC Awaaz Real Estate Awards held in Mumbai.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modiconferred ‘Krishi Karman Award” to the government of Himachal Pradesh for its landmark achievement in showing highest production of food grains in year 2014-15, despite adverse weather conditions and rain-fed farming in the state.
  • Geetakshi Arora, an Indian-origin student was awarded the inaugural Noor Inayat Khan Prize. The Prize consists of 1,000 pounds for a dissertation which was in “keeping with the spirit” of the famous World War II

Appointments

  • Ashley Juddwas appointed by the United Nations as their latest Goodwill Ambassador.
  • Award-winning action heroine Michelle Yeohhas been appointed as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador.
  • Ending months of speculations, Amar Abrolwill replace Mittu Chandilya as its CEO of AirAsia India with effect from next month.
  • The government of Bangladeshhas appointed former finance secretary and Sonali Bank chairman Fazle Kabir as governor of the central bank for four years.
  • Ace fashion designer Ritu Berihas been appointed as the advisor for Khadi promotion. The Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises is implementing several schemes for the holistic development and promotion of khadi.
  • Times of India Group’s digital wing, Times Internet, has appointed former COOGautam Sinhaas the CEO.
  • FC Barcelona’s player Lionel Messihas been named Huawei global ambassador.
  • Pfizer Indiahas announced the appointment of S Sridhar as the company’s managing director with effect from March 18 for a term of five years.

Banking and Economy

  • ICICI Bank, Ferrari tie up for credit cards – The Ferrari Credit Cards, which will be available in two variants — Ferrari Platinum Credit Card and Ferrari Signature Credit Card — will be offered to elite customers, who are enthusiasts of the iconic luxury brand.
  • Kotak Mahindra Group ties up with Canada Pension Plan for investment in Indian stressed assets
  • RBI said Banks to Pay interest on savings accounts every quarter – While public sector banks offer 4 per cent interest on savings deposit, private players offer as much as 6 per cent.
  • Public sector lender SBI has tied up with taxi-aggregator Uber to provide instant vehicle finance to‘driver-partners’ on the latter’s platform. The scheme would encourage skilled drivers to overcome liquidity crunch and excess documentation requirements to become an entrepreneur.
  • HDFC Bank Ltd has launchedSmartUp, a dedicated banking solution for startups,  in association with Zone Startups India, a startup accelerator in Mumbai.
  • ICICI Bank has unveiled the country’sfirst contactless mobile payment solution to enable its credit and debit customers make in-store contactless payments by just waving their smartphones near an NFC-enabled merchant terminal.
  • IDBI Bank has launched a first-of-its kind “G-Sec investmentfacility through ATM for retail investors.” The facility will provide easy access to retail investors to invest in Government Securities, the public sector bank said in a statement.
  • The Reserve Bank of India revised rules pertaining to revival of advances to small businessesand asked lenders to form district-level committees to resolve stressed loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • According to the data from credit information bureau CIBIL, more than 5,600 borrowers, who owe banks close to Rs 60,000 crore, have been declared wilful defaulters by lenders as on December 31.
  • The Reserve Bank has provided some relief to banks holding bonds of debt-riddenState Electricity Boards(SEBs) that were issued to them as part of the cleaning up exercises of these power utilities.
  • Hitachi to setup ATM making firm in India – The new company has been set up with a capital of Rs 100 crore and is set a target to produce 1,500 units of ATMsper month at the end of calendar year 2016.
  • Aadhaar enabled e-KYC (Know Your Customer) process could save over Rs 10,000 crore for banks and telecom operatorsover the next five years, says a survey.
  • Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)has become the first bank to commence the sale of Indian Gold Coin (IGC) in the domestic market.
  • The Reserve Bank said it is discontinuing a two-year-old provision where banks had to submit data pertaining to NEFT transactions by walk-in customers not having an account with them.
  • Seeking to attract more foreign investment, the government has relaxed FDI norms for insurance sector by permitting overseas companies to buy 49 per cent stakein domestic insurers without prior approval.
  • The government has formally withdrawn the recognition of Delhi stockExchange, more than a year after capital market regulator Sebi derecognised the bourse citing “serious irregularities” in its functioning.
  • Insurance regulator IRDAis satisfied with the investments of LIC in public sector banks.
  • India’s current account deficitnarrowed to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the fiscal third quarter, from 1.5% in the year earlier as trade deficit contracted.

National Round-Up

  • MoU Signed between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of India.
  • UP Cabinet approves Kanpur Metro project, senior citizen policy – The Cabinet also cleared the UP State Senior Citizen Policy that seeks to safeguard the interests of the senior citizens by setting up old age and protection homes where 25 per cent seats will be reserved for the BPL category.
  • Drug majors Pfizer and Abbott stopped sale of their popular cough syrups Corex and Phensedyl respectively, after the government banned over 300 fixed dose combinations (FDCs) drugs.
  • RUSA scheme for achieving equity, access, quality in higher education – A total of 115 Universities and 1218 colleges have been approved by RUSA PAB for infrastructure grants.
  • The bill to include certain communities in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala and West Bengalwas passed by the Lok Sabha.
  • The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, five days after its passage by Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks toprotect the interest of the home buyers by enhancing transparency and fixing the accountability of developers, brokers and consumers.
  • In a move designed to protect the domestic industry, the government imposed anti-dumping duty of up to7 percent on import of plastic-processing machines from Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam for five years.
  • A bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha which envisages to amend91-year-old Sikh Gurdwaras Act to exclude Sahajdhari Sikhs from voting in the elections to Sikh religious bodies.
  • Journalists now need not go to counters for booking train tickets as the Indian Railways launched e-booking for scribes on concessional passes available to them.
  • More than 400 e-commerce companies are leveraging the extensive reach of the Department of Posts (DoP) in an effort to deliver their consignments at every nook and corner of the country.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the World Sufi Forumin New Delhiwhere more than 200 Indian and international delegates, including Sufi Shuyukh, spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and masters of Sufism, are participating.
  • Seeking to promote helicopter -tourism, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation and Pawan Hans have joined hands under an agreement that would allow flyers to book tickets through IRCTC website.
  • Public sector units (PSUs) such as Nalco and Hindustan Copper Ltd have proposed to invest more than Rs 10,000 crore in the mining sector.
  • According to the United Nations’ World Happiness Index 2016, India ranks 118th out of 156 countrieson a global list of the world’s happiest nations.
  • TheFICCI-KPMG India Aviation Report said the country is well on its way to become the third largest aviation market by 2020.
  • Bodh Gayawill host a Buddhist Conclave during March 29-31, 2016. The conclave will be organised by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality(FAITH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), and the target will be to develop the Buddhist Circuit in Uttar Pradeshand Bihar in India, and Nepal, with foreign investment in the segment.
  • The Government of Indiahas signed a loan agreement with the World Bank forMadhya Pradesh citizen access to responsive services project.
  • The government has slashed interest rates payable on small savings including Public Provident fundand Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) in a bid to align them closer to market
  • The Indian government has quietly taken US non-profit Ford Foundationoff its watch list. The move comes only days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to the US to meet with President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washingtonlater this month.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tomorrow (19 March) inaugurate three-day ‘Krishi Unnati Mela’providing information on new farm schemes and technologies that will help farmers double their incomes within the next few years.
  • The Supreme Court allowed the publication of the photos of governor, chief minister and the ministers of the department concerned in government advertisements.
  • Aiming at effective use of space technology in remote sensingand graphic information system (GIS) based applications, Railways is set to join hands with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Railway stations at Surat(Gujarat) and Beas (Punjab) have been adjudged the cleanest stations in a survey conducted by the Indian Railways across 407 stations.
  • The World Health Organizationhas suspended the approval of tuberculosis drugs made by India’s Svizera Labs, a major supplier to developing countries, following an investigation into standards.
  • Airplane maker Airbus SASwill set up a pilot and maintenance training centre in theNational Capital Region at a cost of $40 million for the first phase, to support India’s need for new Airbus pilots.
  • Benhur Samson, an NRI, has set up India’s first Gay marriage bureaufor homosexuals to help gay people find the right match for them.
  • On March 18, Indian Air Force (IAF) put up its greatest ever show of air power. The event was witnessed by the President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cabinet ministers and political leaders, and the entire military brass.
  • Member (Planning) Sudhir Rahejahas been given the additional charge of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman after R K Srivastava’s tenure was curtailed suddenly by the government.
  • The Chhattisgarh government has disbursed Rs 1, 821-croreloans to several beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) Yojana (PMMY).
  • Cinema exhibition chainPVR cinemas and mobile payments and commerce platform Paytm have announced a strategic relationship that will bring PVR’s movie tickets to Paytm’s e-commerce platform as a part of its nationwide foray in the online movie ticket segment.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Kisan Suvidha mobile applicationfor farmers. It will provide information on subjects such as weather, market prices, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and agriculture machinery. 

International Round-Up

  • The UN Security Council views Russia’s decision to begin withdrawing from Syria as a positive step.
  • China to set up maritime ‘judicial centre’ – The top court gave few details in its announcement, but said the centre would help China become a “maritime power”.
  • Mother Teresa to be made a saint : Pope announced – Last December, he cleared the way for sainthood for the Nobel peace laureate, who died in 1997 at the age of 87 and was known as “saint of the gutters”.
  • Myanmar’s parliament has elected Htin Kyaw as the country’s first non-military president since the army took power in a 1962 coup.
  • President Obama nominated Merrick B. Garlandto be the nation’s 113th Supreme Court justice.
  • China is building a tsunami alert centre in South China Sea and the facility in the disputed region has been approved by the UN.
  • The Obamaadministration has tightened the US trade embargo on North Korea, explicitly placing sanctions on the Pyongyang government, its ruling party and broad sectors of the country’s economy.
  • Brazilians have protested in several cities against President Dilma Rousseffafter she named her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da SilvaChief of Staff.
  • Turkey and the EU have reached a controversial deal European leaders hope will stop the flow of refugees to the continent in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara.
  • General Lori Robinsonhas been officially named as the next nominee to lead US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), setting her up to be the first woman to lead a combatant command in Pentagon
  • Vladimir Putin’s homegrown credit-ratings firm is up and running and foreign competitors are already feeling the heat.
  • The Hinduja brothershave emerged as the richest Asian-origin entrepreneurs inBritain for the fourth consecutive year with an estimated personal fortune of 16.5 billion pounds.
  • Swedish furniture retailing giant IKEA will contribute 4 million euro (Rs 92.84 crore)to provide safe water and sanitation to one million people in India and Indonesia through Water.Org.

India and the World

  • Plans to liberalise tradebetween India and China, the world’s two fastest-growing large economies, have gathered momentum with both sides exchanging offers on removal of a chunk of tariff lines on goods imports.
  • Russian energy giant Rosneft OJSChas agreed to sell substantial stakes in twoSiberian oil and gas fields to state-run Indian oil companies, advancing India’s efforts to safeguard its energy security through the acquisition of overseas assets.
  • To popularise AYUSHsystem of medicine across the world, the ministry will enter into an agreement with WHO and a partnership with United States for research in AYUSH medicines for treatment of cancer.
  • Stung by the bitter lessons from Madhesi blockade of India trade points that caused acute fuel shortage, Nepal signed a transit and transportation treaty with China for its third-country commerce — a move that is likely to end New Delhi’s monopoly over the landlocked Himalayan nation’s trade through Haldia port in Kolkata.

Science and Technology

  • ExoMars 2016 spacecraft successfully launched by ESA-Roscosmos – The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli will travel to Mars together before separating on 16 October at distance of 900 000 km from the planet.
  • A team of scientists from Washington has found that rotten or damaged tomatoes could soon be rescued from the bin and used to generate electricity.
  • The National Research Development Corporation(NRDC)of the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology signed a License Agreement with Kudos Laboratories India for commercialization of Ayush-82, an ayurvedic formulation for prevention and management of  Diabetes.
  • Formula One outfit Red Bulland British luxury carmaker Aston Martin have announced a technology partnership to build an Aston Martin-branded supercar.
  • Global IT company Cisco  announced a $100 million investmentplan for India to support the next phase of digitisation in the country.
  • Mobile wallet and digital payments player FreeCharge has announced the launch of its ‘Çhat and Pay‘ feature.
  • The Indian government has amended its Drugs and Cosmetic Rules (DCR), 1945, and done away with the repeat tests on animals for drugs which have already been approved by the other countries.
  • One American and two Russians blasted off for their six-month stay on theInternational Space Stationfrom
  • Nine “monster” stars which are 30 million times brighter than the Sun have been spotted by British astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • In a breakthrough, a ‘man-made’ sun experiment in Chinahas successfully produced long pulse plasma discharge at a temperature of more than 50 million degrees — the longest discharge at such a high temperature.
  • Aurobindo Pharma Ltdhas received final approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture and market Naproxen Sodium Tablets USP, 220 mg (OTC).

Snippets from the States

  • Haryana’s new secretariat inChandigarh has become the only building in the country to have an early earthquake warning and security system (onsite).
  • The Punjab government notified swine flu (H1N1)under the Epidemic Disease Act.
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidulaunched the first phase ofFiber Grid project to provide broadband connectivity at cheap rate.
  • Goa government classified the country liquor, Fenias Heritage Spirit of Goa.  Feni is the form of spirit produced exclusively in the coastal state.
  • Union Health Minister JP Naddalaunched Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines for the quick diagnosis of Tuberculosis within two hours.
  • Cisco has signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradeshgovernment to set up an Internet of Everything (IoE) Innovation center in Visakhapatnam.

Sports Point

  • FIFA is seeking to claim “tens of millions of dollars” in bribe money seized by U.S. federal prosecutors.
  • Defending champions Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis crashed out of the Indian Wells Masters after suffering a shock straight sets defeat in the women’s doubles event at Indian Wells.
  • The UN has suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador following the Russian tennis star’s admission that she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s leading IT services provider, announced athree year partnershipwith the Virgin Money London Marathon to enhance the digital experience delivered to marathon participants.
  • India wrestling star Yogeshwar Dutthas qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 65 kg weight category in freestyle category.
  • Mercedes’ Nico Rosbergwon a dramatic Australian Grand Prix, after a huge crash forMcLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
  • Novak Djokovicand Victoria Azarenka rolled to easy victories in the BNP Paribas Open, with the top-ranked Serb collecting his record fifth title and Azarenka winning for the second time to get back into the world’s top 10.
  • Bangladesh pace sensationTaskin Ahmed and left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny were suspended for bowling with an illegal action by the ICC, dealing a massive blow to the team’s campaign in the ongoing World Twenty20.
  • SSP Chawrasiaclinched the Hero Indian Open title with a two-stroke win and also secured his Full European Tour card at the Delhi Golf Course.
  • Indain shuttler HS Prannoyclinched his second Grand Prix gold badminton tournament title by notching up a straight game victory over Marc Zwiebler of Germany in the summit clash of the Swiss Open.
  • Gurmeet Singhhas created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20 km Race Walk Championships as he won the men’s event with his season’s best effort.
  • Indian wrestler Hardeepsprang a surprise by booking an Olympic quota place for India in Greco-Roman wrestling, which is not the country’s forte, after finishing with a silver medal in the 98kg category on the last day of the Asian Olympic Qualification championship.

Obituary

  • Lloyd S. Shapley, 92, Nobel Laureate and a Father of Game Theory, Is Dead
  • Anita Brookner, art historian and Booker prize winner, dies age 87
  • Eminent Shehnai exponentUstad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan, one of the best-known players of the instrument after the legendary Bismillah Khan, passed away in Kolkata following prolonged illness.
  • Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of legendary singer Frank Sinatraand an artist himself, has died.
  • Meir Dagan, the former longtime chief of Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, has died of cancer at the age of 71.
  • World famous magician Paul Danielshas passed away at the age of 77 due to brain tumour. 
  • Anker Jorgensen, Denmark’s prime ministerbetween 1972 and 1973 and again between 1975 and 1982, died on Sunday aged 93.

Important Days

  • March 15 – World Consumer Rights Days
  • March 18 – World Sleep Day
  • March 20 – International Day of Happiness
  • March 20 – World Sparrow Day
  • March 21 – World Puppetry Day
  • March 21 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • March 21 – International Day of Forests

Tit-Bits

  • M&M enters farm equipment rental biz – The start-up will connect farmers either through an app or a call (call centre).
  • As part of efforts to spread the message of energy conservation, Delhiites will join a billion people in over 6,000 cities across the globe to observe the Earth Hour this Saturdayby switching off electrical appliances between 30 PM and 9.30 PM.
  • Realty portal comhas acquired property analysis platform Properji.comfor an undisclosed amount and plans to come up with reports for more than 10,000 projects in six metros that would help prospective buyers in taking right decision.
  • A team of scientists including a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)research associate announced the discovery of a new species of pale goldcolored frog from the cloud forests of the high Andes in Colombia.
  • Taxi-hailing app Olaexpects its newly-launched affordable service ‘Micro’ alone to overtake rival Uber in terms of number of rides in a month’s time.
  • India’s “unique” Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserveis among 20 new sites added by the UN’s top cultural body UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

 

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