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March 02, 2016

2nd March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • India is organising an international dialogue in Delhi during 10th & 11th March 2016 to present a model of 'no strings attached' assistance to developing countries that is unlike the western model of conditional assistance followed by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.
    • Several experts on development related subjects from Asia, Africa and South America will be part of the conference.
  • India has reduced its financial aid to Nepal by 40% in its general budget for 2016-17 fiscal year to ₹300 crore.
    • While the reduction in aid follows Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli's visit to India, the government has reportedly also reduced financial aid to other South East Asian countries excluding Maldives.
  • UN Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura today announced that the United Nations will conduct the next round of Syria peace talks on March 9.

National Affairs
  • Haryana Government has changed the name of Mustafabad village in Yamuna Nagar district of state to Saraswati Nagar.
    • This new name was derived from mythological Saraswati River. 
    • The village is located about 20 kms from the Yamuna Nagar district headquarters. 
    • The revenue records of state government claimed the old dried-up riverbed of mythological Saraswati River exists near the village.
  • The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation is planning to turn 100 ancient water tanks around the state into tourist hubs. 
    • In 16 months, the water bodies will reportedly be de-silted, and developed into amusement parks. 
    • The hills around them will be developed for adventure sports.
  • The government has revised the 'Indian Customs Declaration Form' to include drones in the list of prohibited and dutiable goods, making it mandatory for the flyers to declare them from April 1. 
    • The revision has been made considering drones as a major security risk. 
    • Duty-free allowance of foreigners has also been increased to ₹15,000 from the existing limit of ₹8,000.
  • Maharashtra government today approved the 'Prohibition on Social Boycott Bill' to tackle with social boycotting based on caste and community. 
    • Under this bill, the maximum punishment for social boycotting will be 7 years in prison or fine up to ₹5 lakh. 
    • Victims can now file a complaint with the Magistrate and the verdict should be out in six months.
  • Tamil Nadu government today launched internet services to every household through the state-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation.
    • Each household can get the services of broadband available in various packages, priced between Rs 299 and Rs 899 every month, inclusive of service tax.

Awards & Honors
  • Noted science journalist Pallava Bagla was today conferred with The national award for "Outstanding Efforts in the Field of Science and Technology Communication on Electronic Medium" for his efforts in science and technology communication on television.
  • Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, with a net worth of $20.6 billion, emerged as India's richest person in the Forbes’ 2016 list of the world’s billionaires. 
    • He was placed 36th on the global list, and led a pack of 84 billionaires from India, including Sun Pharmaceutical MD Dilip Shanghvi ($16.7 billion) and Wipro chairman Azim Premji ($15 billion).
  • The Kerala State Film Awards 2015 were announced.
    • The best actor award was bagged by Dulquer Salmaan for his performances in the movie "Charlie" while the best actress award   was bagged by Parvathy Nair for her role as Kanchana in "Ennu Ninte Moideen".

People in News
  • Vineet Taneja, Chief Executive Officer of domestic handset maker Micromax has resigned from his position. 
    • Taneja had joined Micromax in July 2014 after heading the cellphone business at Samsung India and Bharti Airtel. R

Science & Technology
  • NASA astronaut Scott Kelly today returned to Earth after spending 340 days in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS)
    • Kelly has become the first US astronaut to spend the most time in space, at a total of 520 days. 
    • Note : Kelly had left for the station on March 27, 2015 to study the effects of microgravity on the human body.
  • The US Department of Defense has invited experts to a 'Hack The Pentagon' event in an attempt to test the cybersecurity of its public websites. T
    • he experts invited are US citizens who will undergo background checks before testing Pentagon networks. 
    • Defense Secretary Ash Carter said this pilot programme will help strengthen USA's digital defenses and improve national security.

Business & Economy
  • Indian Railways today launched bar coding system for unreserved tickets to prevent revenue leakage and bring transparency in the ticketing system.
    • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said bar coding of unreserved tickets, one of the rail budget 2016-17 commitments, will be launched in three stations of the city - New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin.
    • The IT-based bar coding project has been introduced as a pilot project at nine ticket counters in these stations.
  • Zimbabwe's Treasury officials revealed that the country's banks currently face cash shortages after they stopped importing foreign currencies. 
    • Fewer people are reportedly depositing savings and banking institutions are limiting ATM withdrawals. 
    • Note : Since 2009, Zimbabwe has abandoned its own dollar after recording 500 billion percent inflation and switched to foreign currency.
  • Peer-to-peer marketplace app Mercari has become Japan’s first pre-IPO startup unicorn after raising 8.4 billion yen (about $75 million) at a valuation of over $1 billion. 
    • Launched in 2013, Mercari lets users buy and sell products including fashion, electronics and handmade items.
  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh today announced that the government is planning to set up new nuclear power plants in Bihar, Haryana and Punjab
    • The government also aims to increase the nuclear power generation capacity by three times in ten years. 
  • The government informed the Rajya Sabha today that they have collected over ₹5 crore as fine under various provisions of tobacco prohibition law between April 2012 and September 2015. 
    • The amount was collected for more than four lakh violations. 
      • Note : The National Tobacco Control Programme is currently under implementation in 108 districts across 31 states in the country.
  • In a bid to deal with a spike in prices, the government is going to buy 15,000 tonnes of onions from farmers to create a buffer stock
    • The stock would reportedly be utilised for market intervention in the event of a price rise during lean months.

  • South African spinner Aaron Phangiso has been suspended for the first two matches of the T20 series against Australia. 
    • The ICC deemed his action illegal after his arm was found to be extending beyond the allowed 15 degrees. 
  • Amir Hussain Lone, who lost both his arms at the age of eight in an accident in his father's cricket bat making sawmill, is the current state para-cricket team captain of Jammu and Kashmir
    • The 26-year-old uses his feet to field and bowl, and bats by holding the bat between his shoulder and neck.

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