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March 08, 2016

8th March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (8th March) is International Women’s Day.
    • This day is observed to recognise women for their achievements without regard to divisions. 
    • The first National Women's Day was observed by the American Socialist Party on February 28, 1909. 
    • The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day : “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”
  • Germany has announced that it will help India to develop 3 Indian cities as Smart Cities.
    • They are, Kerala's Kochi, Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore and Odisha's Bhubaneswar
    • Important Points to Note :
    • Germany had recently set up a six-member joint committee with Indian officials to identify cities from the smart cities list. 
    • Germany has already been supporting initiatives like Swachh Bharat and is currently India's second largest bilateral donor.
  • With a 12% representation against a global average of 22.4%, India stands at the 103rd place out of 140 countries in the representation of women in its Parliament. 
    • According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organisation of parliaments, the African nation of Rwanda leads the rankings with a 63.8% representation of women in its Parliament.
  • After the ambitious Make in India Week, Mumbai will host another international summit, the BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave, on April 14. 
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the event.
    • The three-day conclave of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) is being touted as another opportunity for the city to showcase itself as an emerging international finance centre.
    • Delegations representing at least two cities from each BRICS country will visit Mumbai during April 14-16, and discuss aspects of urbanisation for Mumbai.

National Affairs

  • The Government today launched 'Mahila E-Haat', a first of its kind online platform from the Women and Child Development Ministry to promote women entrepreneurs, particularly from rural areas
    • Women can sell their products on the platform directly without bearing any cost. 
    • The products can include clothing, organic products or toys.
    • Women and Child Development Minister : Maneka Gandh
  • Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha announced that India will see its first female fighter pilots batch on June 18. 
    • He said the three women trainees who volunteered for the fighter stream are currently in the second phase of training. 
    • Note : Earlier, the Air Chief Marshal had expressed concern that women are "not physically suited for flying fighter planes".
  • Five healthcare ATMs have come up in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as part the Union Health Ministry's pilot programme. 
    • The ATMs will be manned by a health personnel with devices for basic tests using which consultation can be sought from a doctor remotely. 
    • Important Note : The ATM will dispense only free medicines based on a prescription.
  • A 108-feet tall idol of Rishabhdeva, the first Teerthankar of Jains, has entered the Guinness World Records as the world's tallest Jain statue
    • The statue is located atop Mangi-Tungi mountain in Baglan tehsil of Maharashtra and is carved out of a single rock. 
    • Note : Till now, the 57-feet idol of Lord Bahubali in Shravanabelagola was considered the world's tallest Jain statue.
  • The sex ratio in Gujarat has come down to 919 in 2011 from 920 in 2001 as against significant increase of 10 points in the national average during this period, according to the Socio-Economic Review for 2015-16 tabled in the State Assembly recently.
    • With 919 females for every 1000 males, Gujarat ranked 22nd among 28 states as per the 2011 Census.

Awards & Honors
  • Former NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) chief Dr Amrita Patel was conferred prestigious 2016 Mahindra Samriddhi India Agri Lifetime Achievement Award.
    • This award is also known as the Krishi Shiromani Samman.
    • The award was bestowed upon her by Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh for her contribution in the field of agriculture and to increase productivity and rural prosperity.

Business & Economy
  • According to TRAI, India reached a total telecom subscriber base of 1036.41 million by the end of 2015. 
    • This constituted around 97.5% mobile subscribers and 2.4% wireline subscribers. 
  • Various banks have so far disbursed over ₹1.15 lakh crore under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal said today. 
    • Under the scheme, which was launched in April 2015, loans between ₹50,000 and ₹10 lakh are provided to non-corporate small businesses. 
    • PMMY runs under government body Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank (MUDRA).
  • Gujarat has topped the list of 21 states with the most investment potential, followed by Delhi and Tamil Nadu, a report by government think-tank NCAER has revealed today. 
    • The ranking was based on five factors- labour, infrastructure, economic climate, governance and political stability. 
    • While Gujarat topped in governance and political stability, Delhi ranked one in infrastructure and economic climate.
  • Indian Railways has formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project. 
    • The project is estimated to cost about ₹97,636 crore, with 81% of the funding coming by way of loan from Japan. 
    • An SPV, typically a subsidiary of a larger corporation, is a legal entity created to fulfil specific or temporary objectives.
  • Indian Railways’ premium trains Rajdhani and Shatabdi would soon be driven by two engines, instead of one. 
    • While one engine will haul the train from the front, the second engine will be attached to the rear, thereby giving the trains additional speed and reducing journey time significantly. 
    • Important Note : The initiative is part of the Railways’ ‘Mission Raftaar’.
  • ICICI Bank has launched iWork@home, an initiative that allows women employees to work from home for up to a year. 
    • This initiative allows women employees to have access to their required operating systems in a safe and secure manner, creating a seamless office-like environment.

  • Travel solutions provider Thomas Cook India has inked a pact with Western Union Business Solutions and DCB Bank to facilitate international trade payments by small- and medium-sized enterprises.
    • Note : Western Union Business Solutions is a business segment of the Western Union Company.

People in News
  • Harsha Chavda, the first test tube baby of Mumbai, delivered a healthy baby boy today. 
    • The 30-year-old, Chavda, was also India's second baby to be born through the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) procedure
    • Important Note : India's first test tube baby, Durga, was born in Kolkata in 1978.
  • India-born US inventor Dr Shiva Ayyadurai has claimed that he invented the full email system in 1978 and not the recently deceased Ray Tomlinson. 
    • He argued that Tomlinson's internal messaging experiment could only send text messages between computers, which is not email. 
    • He said Tomlinson's employer “rewrote history as it serves to enhance their brand in the lucrative cyber-security market”.

Science & Technology
  • Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards test-fired ballistic missiles from silos across the country today, defying US sanctions on its missile programme. 
    • The test was reportedly intended "to show Iran's deterrent power and also the Islamic Republic's ability to confront any threat against the (Islamic) Revolution". I
    • Note : Iran's last test was criticised as the missiles can carry nuclear warheads.
  • Countdown for the launch of PSLV-C32 to place India's sixth navigational satellite IRNSS-1F in the orbit started at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota this morning. 
    • ISRO's workhorse PSLV-C32 will lift off at 4 PM on Thursday (10th March).

  • Australian golfer Adam Scott won the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Florida, U.S.
  • The world’s first amputee football training camp for kids aged 5 to 16 was held in Dublin
    • More than 40 children from different European countries came together to train for three days. 
  • Indian men’s and women’s teams scripted history by clinching the gold medals at the World Table Tennis Team Championship in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Indian shuttlers Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis won the II Peru International Series 2016 title
    • This is their second career Badminton title and second title of the season, after their Herbalife International Series triumph last week.
  • International Tennis Federation provisionally suspends Maria Sharapova for failing a drugs test at the Australian Open.

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