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March 21, 2016

21st March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The fourth 'International Day of Forests' is being observed today.
    • This day was initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and trees. 
    • As per the UN, around 1.6 billion people, including over 2,000 indigenous cultures, depend on forests for their livelihood.
    • Theme for 2016 : Forests and water
  • Today (21st March) is World Puppet Day.
  • World Poetry Day is being observed today.
    • This day was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999.
    • The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.
  • World Down Syndrome Day is being observed today.
  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observed across the world today.
    • On this day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws.
    • Proclaiming the day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
  • China today agreed to build the first ever rail link to Nepal
    • The nations also signed a transit trade deal. 
    • The deal, and nine other agreements aimed at reducing landlocked Nepal's total dependence on India, were signed during Nepal PM KP Oli's China visit. 
    • This came after a nearly six-month long "unofficial blockade" due to Madhesi protests crippled Nepal.
  • United States President Barack Obama is on a visit to Cuba.
    • He is the first US President to visit the country in 88 years
    • Obama met Cuban President Raúl Castro today and discussed economic and democratic reforms.

National Affairs
  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA) will be implemented in 10 more states from April 1 this year, said Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan today. 
    • Important Note : With this, the total number of states implementing NFSA will be 21
  • India has distributed scholarships to over 800 Bangladeshi students under the 'Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme'.
    • Important Points to Note
      • The Indian Government in 2006 initiated the scholarship scheme to strengthen the historic legacy that both countries share in fighting and winning the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War against Pakistan.
      • Under the scheme, descendants of freedom fighters get selected on merit basis to pursue undergraduate studies.
      • It is estimated that over 9500 students have been benefited from the scheme so far. 
      • Under the scheme, more than 130 million takas have been distributed so far.

Places in News
  • India's Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve has been added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserve among 20 new sites. 
    • Located in the Western Ghats, the site was established in 2001. 
    • It includes peaks reaching 1,868 metre above sea level and is home to 2,254 species of higher plants. 
    • Of the 18 biosphere reserves in India, nine are included in UNESCO's network.

  • Former Prime Minister of Denmark Anker Joergensen (93) passed away.
    • He served as the Prime Minister of the country from 1972 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 1982.

New Appointments
  • Fashion designer Ritu Beri has been appointed as the advisor to the union government's statutory body Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for promotion of khadi within India and globally. 
  • US President Barack Obama has decided to nominate Air Force General Lori J Robinson to lead all military forces in North America.
    • With this move, she will be the first woman to lead a military combatant command.

Science & Technology
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched 'Kisan Suvidha' app for farmers to provide information on weather, market prices, seeds, fertilisers, crop protection and agricultural machinery. 
    • The app will also send extreme weather alerts to farmers. 
    • Market prices of commodities in the nearest market and the maximum price in state as well as India will also be available on the app.
  • A new drug to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), Bedaquiline, will be made available from today.
    • Bedaquiline became the first TB drug to get a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in over 40 years. 
    • The drug will be available in six public hospitals across India. 
    • Important Note : India has the highest prevalence of TB in the world.

  • Hockey India today announced the 18-member Indian Hockey team that will take part in the 25th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
    • While Sardar Singh will lead the team as Captain, SV Sunil will be supporting him as the Vice-Captain. 
    • Note : The tournament will be held in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia from 6 to 16 April.
  • 'Bharat Kesri Dangal', a freestyle wrestling tournament, began in Gurgaon today. 
    • A total of 78 wrestlers will participate in the three-day competition, which is being organised by the Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Department to commemorate the martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev
    • A total of 91 matches will be played for the ₹1 crore top prize.
  • Akhilesh Das Gupta, the president of the Badminton Authority of India (BAI), announced a ₹5 lakh prize for HS Prannoy, who won the men's singles title at the Swiss Open in Basel on Saturday. 
    • Note : Prannoy, who won his career's second Grand Prix title at the Swiss Open, now has a chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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