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March 20, 2016

20th March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (20th March) is World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People.
  • The 5th 'International Day of Happiness' was observed today by the United Nations to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. 
    • Theme of the year 2016 : Angry Birds Happy Planet
  • Today is World Sparrow Day. 
    • It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.
    • This day is designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations.
    • This year's theme :  I LOVE Sparrows
  • Pakistan's Sindh province has declared a public holiday on March 24 to mark the occasion of Holi.
    • This comes after the Pakistan National Assembly earlier adopted a resolution to take steps to declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as holidays for minorities.
    • Note : This is the first time that Holi has been declared a public holiday anywhere in Pakistan.
  • Kazakhstan has banned smartphones in government offices and police stations to prevent information leak.
    • This move came after "increasingly frequent cases of confidential information being leaked through the WhatsApp mobile application".
  • US President Barack Obama will embark on a historic 3-day visit to Cuba which is expected to open a new era in the relationship between the two countries.
    • Mr Obama, who will be the first US president to visit Cuba in 88 years, will hold talks with Cuban President Raul Castro, followed by a joint press event and a state dinner.
National Affairs
  • Delhi saved around 229 MW of power on Saturday between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm by switching off lights and electrical appliances during the 10th annual Earth Hour
    • BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, both arms of power major BSES, saved 130 MW and 77 MW respectively. 
    • Note : Earth Hour is a global event by WWF to raise awareness about energy conservation.
  • JD(U), Rashtriya Lok Dal, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and Samajwadi Janata Party are reportedly going to merge into one party in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • The United States and the Philippines have announced a new 10-year security pact to allow a rotating US military presence at five bases on the Philippines islands. 
People in News
  • English actor Eddie Izzard finished the '27 marathons in 27 days' challenge in Pretoria, today.
    • The actor, inspired by Nelson Mandela's 27-year prison term, started the challenge on February 22 and covered more than 1174 km running across South Africa. 
    • The challenge was a part of Sport Relief's charity drive, which has managed to raise around $80 million.
Science & Technology
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Jodhpur has developed a sensor capable of detecting radiation levels during a nuclear accident. 
    • The sensor, 'Derald Nuclear', can be fitted on a drone and can detect gamma radiation from a height of 50 m.
Books & Authors
  • Actor Emraan Hashmi today unveiled the cover of his book, 'The Kiss of Life', at an event in New Delhi. 
    • The book is based on how his son managed to overcome cancer. 
    • The 36-year-old actor said, "We are living in a world where the air we breathe, the food we eat, it contributes as a lifestyle to increasing cancer risk."
  • Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has announced that a memoir, on his journey from a small village to Bollywood, will be published in 2017, with writer-journalist Rituparna Chatterjee as a co-author.
Business & Economy
  • The government has formally withdrawn the recognition of Delhi Stock Exchange (DSE) after it was derecognised by markets regulator SEBI in November 2014 for "serious irregularities" in its functioning. 
    • The DSE board had overlooked the "due transfer of shares in demat accounts and receipt of funds by the appointed date", the Sebi order had said. 
    • Note : DSE was incorporated in 1947.
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has given a clean chit to the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), after a scrutiny of its investments in public sector banks. 
    • Earlier, the RBI had expressed concerns over LIC’s investments, saying it can "affect the financial stability” of the economy, after the latter increased its stake in several public sector banks last year.
Awards & Honors
  • An Indian student Geetakshi Arora has been awarded the inaugural Noor Inayat Khan Prize for her excellent dissertation on “Goddess Myths in Graphic Novels: Reimagining Indian Feminity”.
  • Majority stakeholders of UK-based conglomerate Hinduja Group, SP Hinduja and GP Hinduja, have topped the list of the richest Asian-origin entrepreneurs in the UK
    • With an estimated fortune of £16.5 billion, the duo topped the list for the fourth consecutive year. 
    • Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal was second on the list, followed by Sri Prakash Lohia, Chairman of Singapore-based Indorama Corporation.
  • Indian race walker Gurmeet Singh became the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal at the Asian 20 km Race Walking Championships, by defeating Japan's Isamu Fujisawa in the championship's 11th edition today. 
  • Indian badminton player HS Prannoy clinched the 2016 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold after beating Marc Zwiebler of Germany. 
    • This is now the second consecutive year that an Indian has won the Men’s Singles title in Basel after Kidambi Srikanth triumphed here last year.
  • Indian wrestler Hardeep has became the first Indian wrestler since Mausam Khatri 12 years ago to book a quota place for 2016 Rio Olympics in the Greco-Roman category.
  • Nico Rosberg won the 2016 Australian Grand Prix today, with teammate and two-time defending World champion Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finishing in the second and the third position respectively. 
  • India defeated Pakistan by six wickets in ICC World T20.
  • Playing against Pakistan in the ICC World T20 on Saturday, Indian batsman Virat Kohli scored his career's 14th T20I half-century, which is the highest in the history of T20I cricket
    • Kohli took 40 matches to surpass Tillakaratne Dilshan (75 matches), Chris Gayle (46 matches) and Brendon McCullum's (71 matches) 13 half centuries to achieve the feat.
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