Current Affairs – March 16 2023
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Current Affairs – March 16 2023
1. UN’s List of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Bhutan’s Graduation
Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, is set to be removed from the LDC list on December 13, 2023, becoming the seventh country to graduate from the list.
- Bhutan’s graduation was announced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, based on its sustainable development efforts, including poverty reduction, education, healthcare, and gender equality.
- This graduation is a significant milestone for Bhutan, as it represents the country’s progress in terms of economic and human development.
What is the LDCs List?
The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) list was established in 1971 by the United Nations with the purpose of identifying and supporting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.
2. Sea Dragon 23
The Sea Dragon 23 exercise is a biennial coordinated multilateral anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise for long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
The exercise is hosted by the United States Navy, and it involves the participation of other friendly navies from Japan, Canada, South Korea, and India.
The exercise aims to achieve high levels of synergy and coordination between the participating countries based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific. It is being held from March 15 to 30 this year. This is the third edition of the Sea Dragon Exercise, which was held for the first time in 2015.
Other Participating Aircraft
Aside from the P8I aircraft, other participating aircraft in the Sea Dragon 23 exercise include the P8A of the US Navy, P1 from the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, CP 140 from the Royal Canadian Air Force, and P3C from the Republic of Korea Navy.
3. India & World Bank signs loan agreement for construction of Green National Highway Corridors Project in 4 States
India and the World Bank have recently signed a loan agreement to construct 781 kilometers of green highways across four states in India. The project aims to build the Green National Highway Corridors Project in 4 Indian states. The loan assistance of 500 million dollars will be used for the construction of the highways.
The Green National Highway Corridors Project will promote the use of green technologies and climate resilience to demonstrate safe and environmentally friendly highways. The project aims to establish a new standard for sustainable infrastructure in India.
4. Northeast Railways sets up First Trans Tea Stall
The Northeast Frontier Railways (NEFR) combined with the All Assam Transgender Association recently opened a tea shop led by transgender people located at Guwahati station.
As a part of the government’s “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”, the railway stall was inaugurated by the General Manager of NEFR, Mr Anshul Gupta on March 05, 2023.
It will not only create employment opportunities for trans and queer communities but will also empower, support and elevate them among all members of society.
Trans Tea Stall Inauguration
The collaboration between NEFR and the All Assam Transgender Association is for the empowerment of trans and queer sections of society. The NEFR aims at creating other such visionary ventures in order to promote the equality of the sexes.
5. Eric Garcetti designated as US Ambassador to India
The former leader Eric Garcetti has been made the US Envoy to India, two years after US President Joe Biden elected him.
His reputation was affected owing to the ‘Rick Jacobs Scandal’ and he was excluded from Biden’s cabinet earlier in 2020. As the matter was resolved, the US Senate invoked cloture and made him the representative by 52-42 votes.
He has discerned lectures on world affairs, public policy and diplomacy and later on entered politics. Eric has also served as the US Navy Officer and held several other posts in his lifetime.
6. Indian-born Ravi Chaudhary wins Mandate as Assistant Secretary of US Air Force, US Senators voted 65-29
The United Nations Senators voted for the Indian-American Ravi Chaudhary for the post of Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force. On March 15, 2023 (Wednesday) he won the bid by 65-29 votes. His position has thus been confirmed in the Defence sector of the US Air Force.
Ravi Chaudhary has previously been a flight test engineer and now he will be administering one of the top-notch civilian positions as a leader in the Pentagon.
Senior Positions held by Ravi
In the US Air Force between 1993 to 2015, Ravi Chaudhary accomplished multiple senior staff assignments including operational, engineering, and other designations. When he was a C-17 pilot, he extensively handled global flight operations for instance numerous combat missions in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.
7. RCB ropes in Equitas Small Finance Bank as banking partner for IPL 2023
The news is about the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) partnering with Equitas Small Finance Bank as their banking partner for the IPL 2023 season.
This partnership means that Equitas Small Finance Bank will provide a range of banking services to RCB, including salary accounts, forex, and other related financial services.
8. Honeywell appoints veteran Vimal Kapur as CEO
Honeywell International HON announced that company current president and chief operating officer, Vimal Kapur, will succeed Darius Adamczyk as the new chief executive officer (CEO), effective Jun 1.
He has also been named to the board of directors of HON as of March 13. He has 34 years of experience working for Honeywell across multiple business models, sectors, geographic locations, and economic cycles.
9. GPT-4, a new generation of AI language model announced by OpenAI
GPT4, the most recent release of OpenAI’s large language model, which powers popular apps like ChatGPT and the new Bing, has been announced. According to San Francisco-based research company OpenAI, GPT-4 is more advanced than the previous version and has been trained on more data, costing more to operate.
What does the term GPT stand for?
Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) is a deep learning method that uses artificial neural networks to generate writing that resembles that of a person.
GPT-4, AI language model by OpenAI: Key Points
- As per the company GPT4 “can tackle challenging issues with better accuracy” and is “more creative and collaborative than ever before.”
- In assignments involving creative and technical writing, GPT-4 can generate, revise, and iterate with users. The new launched model can react to both text and graphics.
- GPT-4 may produce analyses, classifications, and captions.
10. SIPRI report 2023: India world’s largest arms importer
India is still the world’s largest importer of military equipment, despite an 11% decline in arms purchases between 2013–17 and 2018–22, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).
The report is released at a time when India has intensified its efforts to become self-reliant in the defence manufacturing sector. This year’s defence budget included about Rs 1 lakh crore for domestic purchases, compared to Rs 84,598 crore, Rs 70,221 crore, and Rs 51,000 crore in the three years prior.
SIPRI report 2023 – Importers
According to data published by the think tank that tracks weapons imports over a five-year period, India had the biggest percentage of the world’s arms imports in the past five years at 11%, followed by Saudi Arabia (9.6%), Qatar (6.4%), Australia (4.7%), and China (4.7%).
SIPRI report 2023 – Exporters
In the past five years, the US exported 40% of all military goods worldwide, followed by Russia (16%), France (11%), China (5.2%), and Germany (4.2%), according to new Sipri data. From 2013–17 and 2018–22, American armament exports increased 14% while those of Russia decreased 31%. India imported 37% fewer goods from Russia.
11. FIFA president Gianni Infantino re-elected for another term
Gianni Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president until 2027 by acclamation, after highlighting his strong financial performance as a reason for keeping a CEO in their position for life.
The decision was made by the congress of 211 member federations, who have seen their annual funding from FIFA increase from $250,000 to $2 million since Infantino’s first win in 2016.
12. Actor Sameer Khakhar who played role of Khopdi in ‘Nukkad’ passes away
Sameer Khakhar, an experienced actor who had worked in theater, television, and movies, has passed away. He is most remembered for his portrayal of the character “Khopdi” in the popular TV series “Nukkad.”
The actor, who most recently appeared in the Prime Video series “Farzi,” was 71 years old and spent some time studying to become a software developer in the US in the 1990s.