Latest Current Affairs – March 20 2018
1. Climate change could create 14 crore migrants: World Bank
More than 14 crore people across south Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America could be forced to migrate by 2050 due to climate change, the World Bank has said. However, the climate-driven migration crisis could be prevented if “we take action now and act boldly”, it added. The three regions account for 55% of the developing world’s population.
2. Government scraps 20% sugar export duty to boost sales
The government has scrapped the 20% sugar export tax to help boost overseas sales in a year of surplus production. India is expected to produce a record 29.5 million tonnes of sugar in the current 2017-18 marketing season, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association. India is notably the world’s second-largest producer of sugar after Brazil.
3. Greece establishes its first space agency
Greece has established the Hellenic Space Organisation, the country’s first space agency in an effort reportedly aimed at rebuilding the economy. With the establishment of the agency, Greece aims to make gains in various sectors, including telecommunications, defence, medical applications, agriculture, among others, ?inister of Digital Policy Nikos Pappas said.
4. Sunil Nayyar becomes first Indian MD of Sony India
Sony India has appointed Sunil Nayyar as its first Indian Managing Director. Nayyar, who currently holds the position of head of retail experience at Sony North America, will replace Kenichiro Hibi from April. Nayyar joined Sony in 1995 as part of Sony Gulf’s sales team responsible for North and East Africa, Lebanon, Russia and Syria among others.
5. UK woman wins ‘world’s best teacher’ award, gets ?6.5 crore
A London woman named Andria Zafirakou has been named the world’s best teacher and received $1 million (?6.5 crore) in prize money at a Dubai award ceremony. Zafirakou has been credited with visiting pupils’ homes, holding extra lessons and organising sports clubs for girls from conservative communities. The ceremony was attended by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others.
6. Delhi govt launches app to find singing, dancing talent
The Delhi government has launched a mobile app called “Delhi’s Date with Democracy” with an aim to allow applicants from all parts of the city to showcase their talent. “There is no age limit and interested candidates can start sending their entries in both categories- singing and dancing, from tomorrow onwards,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
7. World’s last surviving male northern white rhino euthanised
The world’s last male northern white rhino, 45-year-old Sudan, was euthanised in Kenya after his condition worsened and he was unable to stand. His muscles and bones had degenerated and his skin had extensive wounds, researchers said. Sudan had been part of an effort to save the subspecies from extinction with the help of the two surviving females.
8. World’s longest sandstone cave found in Meghalaya
A 24,583-metre-long cave that was discovered in 2016 in Meghalaya has been found to be the world’s longest sandstone cave by the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association. Called Krem Puri, it is also the second largest cave in India. It is over 6,000 metres longer than the current world record-holder for the longest sandstone cave, the Cueva Del Saman in Zulia, Venezuela.
9. Award-winning Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh passes away aged 83
Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh has passed away at the age of 83 in New Delhi after a prolonged illness. Singh, known for his poetry collection titled Akaal Mein Saaras, was a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1989 and the Jnanpith Award in 2013. He was also a former professor at the Department of Hindi Language at JNU.
10. British-era Robertsganj station in UP renamed as Sonbhadra
The Union Home Ministry has given its approval to rename Robertsganj railway station in Uttar Pradesh as Sonbhadra. This is the second railway station in the state to be renamed within a year, with the first one being the Mughalsarai railway station that was renamed to Deen Dayal Upadhyay station in August 2017.
11. Kohli wins Instagram’s ‘Most Engaged Account’ award
Indian captain Virat Kohli’s Instagram account, which has over 19.8 million followers so far, was named the ‘Most Engaged Account’ as part of the 2017 Instagram Awards in India. The award was given to Kohli as his account saw the biggest number of engagements including likes and comments on the content that he shared in the past year.
12. US bans transactions involving Venezuela’s cryptocurrency
US President Donald Trump on Monday issued an executive order banning all US transactions involving Venezuela’s cryptocurrency ‘Petro’. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had announced the creation of the oil-backed cryptocurrency in a bid to bypass the US sanctions imposed on the country. Venezuela has been facing the worst economic crisis in recent history.
13. President releases commemorative coins on Nabakalebar festival
President Ram Nath Kovind has released commemorative coins in denominations of ?10 and ?1000 on Lord Jagannath’s Nabakalebar festival. The President, who is visiting Odisha, released the coins during the centenary celebration of Rastriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Puri.
14. Ptilomera nagalanda: New species of water strider found in Nagaland
Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of water strider from Nagaland. The species, named Ptilomera nagalanda Jehamalar and Chandra, was found in the river Intanki, Peren district.
Water striders are a group of insects adapted to life on the surface of water, using surface tension to their advantage. Scientists working on the water striders say that their presence serves as an indicator water of water quality and they are found on water surface.
15. C-437: Indian Coast Guard commissions interceptor boat
The Coast Guard has commissioned an interceptor boat at Porbandar as part of its efforts to strengthen the security umbrella of the West coast. Indian Coast Guard Ship C-437 would strengthen the security umbrella of the West coast and also help augment patrolling to prevent illicit activities such as infiltration, smuggling and illegal fishing.
16. NITI Aayog releases SATH-E Roadmaps
SATHE to introduce System-wide Governance Transformation in School Education
NITI Aayog will release comprehensive roadmaps and detailed timelines for its initiative ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E)’ project. These roadmaps, which operate between 2018 to 2020, lay out detailed interventions which will taken by the three participating States- Jharkand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha – aiming to become ‘Role Model States’ in school education.
17. Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Ofloxacin import from China
In order to protect domestic producers from below-cost shipments, India has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of Chinese pharma products that are being used in the treatment of certain infections.
In a notification issued by the revenue department in the Finance Ministry it has been proposed that the duty on import of ‘Ofloxacin’ from china will be in the range of $2.58 to $9.48 per kilogram for 3 years. The anti-dumping duty has been imposed following the recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD).
18. CISF launches mobile app for lost items at airports
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched its lost and found mobile app for passengers at 59 airports across India. The app, named UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance), offers three facilities – lost and found items at airports, tracking complaints or request status and technical consultancy in security, and fire services.
19. Philippines withdraws from International Criminal Court
President Rodrigo Duterte has called on countries that ratified the Rome Statute to follow his example and withdraw from the treaty as he stressed that the International Criminal Court would not have jurisdiction over him.
Duterte claimed that the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, was sponsored by the European Union because the bloc is making up for its “past sins.” He said the EU, which has expressed concerns over the deaths tied to his brutal war on illegal drugs, stole the oil of the Arabs and sowed division in the Middle East.
20. 56-yr-old is 1st ISRO woman to spend 403 days in Antarctica
Fifty-six-year-old Mangala Mani has become ISRO’s first woman scientist to spend 403 days in Antarctica. Mani was the only woman in the 23-member expedition team that went to Indian research station, Bharati, in 2016. During the selection process, Mani was sent to high altitude places like Badrinath for acclimatisation and was made to carry heavy backpacks to check her endurance.
21. EU and UK agree to finish Brexit transition by Dec 2020
The UK has reached a legal agreement with the European Union (EU) to end the Brexit transition by December 31, 2020. The transitional period will begin from March 29, 2019. The agreement also gives EU citizens arriving in the UK during the transition the same rights and guarantees as those who arrive before Brexit.
22. Deepika wins Most Followed Account at Instagram India Awards
With 22.4 million followers, actress Deepika Padukone won the ‘Most Followed Account’ award at the first ever Instagram Awards held in the country. In the Most Followed Account category, Priyanka Chopra came in second with 22 million followers and Alia Bhatt stood third with 20.9 million followers.
23. World’s largest jet engine completes first test flight
GE Aviation’s GE9X, world’s largest jet engine, has completed its first test flight in the US. The GE9X features a front fan with 11.2 feet diameter and 16 fourth-generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. The engine can push 100,000 pounds of thrust and is 10% more efficient than the GE90 engine used on the current generation of passenger jets.
24. First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction inaugurated
NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar inaugurated the First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi. The two-day workshop is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority and Government of Japan.
25. Unseeded Osaka tops Kasatkina to win first WTA title
Unseeded Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese player to win the Indian Wells final, routing Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-2 for her first WTA Tour title. World number 44 Osaka rolled over Kasatkina, breaking her serve four times and winning the battle of the 20-year-old rising stars in just 70 minutes. She was only the fourth unseeded player to reach the Indian Wells final, with the most recent before her being Kim Clijsters in 2005.
26. Del Potro outlasts Roger Federer to claim Indian Wells title
Former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro stunned top-ranked Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/2) to win his first Indian Wells title and second consecutive ATP crown. The 29-year-old from Argentina handed Federer his first match defeat of 2018 and extended his own win streak to 11 matches, including a title run earlier this month at Acapulco. Del Potro was competing in his first Indian Wells final since 2013, when he lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
World number eight Del Potro is back in the rankings top 10 after dropping to 1,045th before beginning his comeback from three left wrist surgeries in 2016.
27. Big relief to Farmers: Urea subsidy to continue till 2020
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves continuation of Urea Subsidy scheme till 2020 at a cost of 1 lakh 65 thousand crore rupees; Cabinet nod also given for direct benefit transfer for disbursement of fertiliser subsidy.
For sustained agricultural growth, the availability of fertilizers to farmers at affordable prices is an absolute must. With urea being the only controlled fertilizer,it is sold at statutory notified uniform sale price. The implementation of DBT in Fertilizer sector will reduce diversion and plug the leakages.