Latest Current Affairs – March 16 & 17 2018
1. India’s trade deficit narrows to $12 billion in February
India’s trade deficit narrowed to $12 billion in February from $16.3 billion in the previous month, government data showed on Thursday. Imports for the month of February stood at $37.8 billion, up 10.4% whereas exports stood at $25.8 billion rising 4.5%. The rise in imports was led by higher crude oil prices, the government added.
2. Slovak PM Robert Fico resigns
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has officially resigned, less than three weeks after the murder of an investigative reporter and his fiancée shocked the nation. President Andrej Kiska formally accepted the resignation of the 53-year-old social democrat-turned-populist, who ran the Slovak government for 10 of the past 12 years. Kiska asked Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, a member of the outgoing premier’s Smer-SD party, to form a new government.
3. India ranks 78th on WEF Energy Transition Index
India has been ranked at 78th, lower than its emerging market peers like Brazil and China, among 114 countries on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) energy transition index that was topped by Sweden. The report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition, ranks countries on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability. According to the report India has taken “bold measures” to improve energy access, energy efficiency, and to improve the deployment of renewable sources of energy.
The overall list was topped by Sweden, followed by Norway at the 2nd position and Switzerland at the 3rd rank. Other countries on the top 10 include Finland (4th), Denmark (5th), the Netherlands (6th), the UK (7th), Austria (8th), France (9th) and Iceland (10th).
4. China develops artificial heart with rocket technology
Chinese scientists have developed an artificial heart using rocket technology and it is currently undergoing testing after thorough experiments on animals. The heart was developed jointly by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) and the Teda International Cardiovascular Hospital in North China’s Tianjin.
The artificial heart uses magnetic and fluid levitation from a rocket system, and the “aerospace heart” is expected to move to clinical trials during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). The magnetic and fluid levitation technology can reduce the friction in the device to increase the working efficiency and extend the life span of the power generator. This technology can reduce damage to the blood and enable the blood pump to work longer.
5. Sach-Gaurav: India’s first cloned Assamese buffalo born
A cloned Assamese buffalo male calf was born for the first time, the Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes claimed. The calf was born to a Murrah buffalo. Indian Council of Agricultural Research-CIRB is a central institute and it has a mandate to conserve superior animals of all buffalo breeds.
ICAR-CIRB Director Inderjeet Singh said this was the second cloned male produced by ICAR-CIRB after Hisar-Gaurav, born December 11, 2015. Hisar-Gaurav was producing quality semen from the age of 22 months and ten females of the institute’s herd were pregnant with its frozen semen.
6. Lok Sabha passes Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017
The Lok Sabha has passed a bill that seeks to increase the maximum limit of gratuity of employees in the private and public sector from the present Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
The bill seeks to increase the maximum limit of gratuity of employees in the private sector and in public sector undertakings and autonomous organisations under the government, who are not covered under Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, at par with the central government employees.
The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 was enacted to provide for a scheme for the payment of gratuity to employees engaged in factories, mines, oilfields, plantations, ports, railway companies, shops or other establishments who have rendered a minimum five years of continuous service with an establishment employing ten or more persons. The present upper ceiling on gratuity amount under the Act is Rs 10 lakh.
7. Lok Sabha passes Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017
The Lok Sabha passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2018 by a voice vote. The Bill seeks to remove conditions of specific performance is limited right, which may be given by court at its discretion and permit specific performance by courts as general rule. It adds limited liability partnership (LLP), a new entity formed from amalgamation of two existing LLPs, one of which may have entered into a contract before the amalgamation.
8. LaQshya program launched to improve quality of maternity care
The Union Health Ministry recently announced the launch of LaQshya, a programme aimed at improving quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatre. The programme, the Ministry claimed, will improve the quality of care for pregnant women in labour rooms, maternity operation theatres, and obstetrics Intensive Care Units and High Dependency Units.
India has improved maternal survival as Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) reduced from 301 maternal deaths in 2001-03 to 167 in 2011-13, an impressive decline of 45% in a decade.
9. Nepal gain ODI status with win over Papua New Guinea
Nepal gained One-Day International status after beating Papua New Guinea in the ICC World Cup Qualifier tournament. Spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who was bought by IPL side Delhi Daredevils registered figures of 4/29. Scotland and United Arab Emirates (UAE) retained their One-Day International status until 2022 by reaching the Super Six of the qualifier tournament.
10. Deepa Malik becomes Asian rank 1 in javelin F-53 category
Indian para-athlete Deepa Malik, who top-scored in the discus throw Asia Ranking 53 category and secured second place in the Asian Games combined category event 51/52/53 of the World Para Athletics Grand Prix 2018, now wishes to refine her discuss throw skills.
After throwing her career-best 8.01 metres, Malik also qualified for the Asian Para Games 2018 for discus throw, which is to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia in October. Notably, this was Malik’s first attempt at discus throw.
11. Sierra Leone 1st country to use blockchain tech in elections
The African nation of Sierra Leone has become the world’s first country to use blockchain technology in elections in a trial aimed at ensuring transparency. The technology was used in last week’s presidential elections, tracking the results and then relaying the data to the Electoral Commission. Russia also plans to use Blockchain technology in its upcoming presidential elections.
12. India pipped by Poland to host 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup
Poland pipped India in the race to host the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup after members of the world governing body’s main decision-making panel – the FIFA Council – voted in favour of the European nation in its meeting in Bogota, Colombia. Poland received nine votes as against India’s five.
India, having hosted the U-17 World Cup last year, had hoped to use the interest generated from the first ever FIFA tournament on its soil as the selling point for its bid. The event last year had seen record attendance figures for any age-group World Cup.
13. Xi Jinping re-elected as China President with no term limit
China’s Parliament has unanimously re-elected Xi Jinping as the country’s President after removal of presidential term limits last week. Jinping, who is allowed to hold the post for life, last year became China’s most powerful leader since the country’s founder Mao Zedong after his political ideology was added to the ruling party’s constitution.
14. Two day Global Digital Summit at Kochi
In an attempt to place Kerala in the digital world map, the state government will organize its first global digital summit, #FUTURE, in Kochi. The summit will be attended by over 2,000 professionals, entrepreneurs, academicians, key influencers and other stakeholders from across the globe. The summit, organized by High Power IT Committee (HPIC) and constituted by the state with Infosys co-founder S D Shibulal as chairman, will be attended by former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan and Infosys chairman and UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, among others.
15. Krishi Unnati Mela begins in Delhi
Doubling the income of farmers by 2022 is another goal that the government is pursuing with gusto. A 3-day Krishi Unnati Mela began in the national capital with the aim of bringing the latest farming technology to the fields.
The centre is putting in sincere efforts to ensure welfare and progress of the farmers as the Modi govt aims to double their income by 2022.to achieve this the govt has to ensure that allied sectors like animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy farming ring in more revenues which eventually would bring in ‘achhe din’. The government has ensured that the schemes are implemented at ground level so that the real beneficiaries are covered.