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April 20, 2016

19th April 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela has announced that the country will adopt international tax reporting standards by 2018.
    • He also said an expert committee will be set up in six months to improve transparency.
  • During the 2016 Rio Olympics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to promote the ‘Make in India initiative’. 
    • The Indian Embassy in Rio will host several cultural exhibitions to highlight the country’s progress in self-sustenance. 
    • A kabaddi match, involving India’s best players, will also be showcased, in an attempt to push the sport towards Olympic legitimacy.
  • The 14th meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China was held in Moscow, Russian Federation.
    • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Union Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India Sushma Swaraj, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Wang Yi took part in the meeting.
    • Note : The Ministers decided to hold the next trilateral meeting in India.

National Affairs
  • Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai has said that the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme may soon become a permanent feature in the national capital. 
    • Note : The government is also considering covering two-wheelers under the rule, he added.
  • Maharashtra government has decided to ban setting up new sugar mills in all eight districts in the drought-hit Marathwada region for five years.
    • Maharashtra also plans to make drip-irrigation compulsory for sugarcane farms in the state.
  • PM Narendra Modi has inaugurated a superspeciality hospital in Jammu and Kashmir's Katra district
    • Named Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, the medical centre has 230 beds and over 20 different streams of medicine and surgery. 
    • Set up with an investment of about ₹300 crore, it also has the provision for rain water harvesting and solar energy utilisation.
  • The Centre has decided to release 55% of its annual MGNREGA allocation of ₹38,500 crore for 2016-17 by June. 
    • This decision was taken as severe drought conditions in many parts of the country are expected to increase demand for work. 
    • Further, of the ₹21,000 crore released, ₹12,000 crore will reportedly be used by states to pay off arrears.
  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged all its doctors not to put advertisements guaranteeing treatment to patients
    • The circular was issued by the IMA after the Maharashtra Medical Council suspended a doctor couple for three months for promising "guaranteed pregnancy" on their website. 
    • Important Note : According to Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, advertisements by doctors are prohibited in any media.
  • Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has inaugurated a conference on child adoption in Shillong which was aimed at familiarising the stakeholders with the adoption programme in north-east states.
    • The one-day conference was attended by the Social Welfare and Women and Child Development Ministers from the North Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (CGRBMS) formally launched in New Delhi .
    • It was launched by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK).
    • It will work as a Think-tank to coordinate all activities within the Ganga river basin, including science, technology, research, innovation, social and investment related aspects.
Science & Technology
  • India's first satellite, Aryabhata, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation, was launched on this day (April 19, 1975), by the Soviet Union. 
    • Weighing 360 kg and built to conduct experiments in X-ray astronomy, aeronomics, and solar physics, Aryabhata re-entered the Earth's atmosphere in 1992. 
    • Note : The satellite was named after an Indian mathematician-astronomer who is believed to have discovered 'zero'.
  • US-based Binghamton University scientists have developed a new system that can identify people by their brain waves with 100% accuracy
    • The team recorded several volunteers' brain activity while they saw images designed to evoke unique responses, and found that their brains reacted differently to each image. 
    • The system might help in security systems for authentication purposes, researchers said.
  • YouTube has rolled out support for live streaming of 360° videos on its platform. 
    • Through this, users can experience concerts, faraway locations and sports events in real-time. 
    • The company has also launched support for spatial audio for on-demand videos that allows users to listen along as they do in real life.

Business & Economy
  • The Tirupati Balaji temple management has deposited 1,311 kg of gold with the Punjab National Bank under the three-year short term Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS)
  • The US investment bank downgraded private sector ICICI Bank and public sector Bank of Baroda (BoB) to so-called equal weight because of expectations that these banks will have to provide more money to cover for non-performing assets (NPAs) in the current and next fiscal year.
  • The RBI has tweaked its norms allowing banks to provision fraud cases within four quarters from the quarter in which it was detected. 
    • Currently, banks should immediately provision for the entire amount due to it or for which it is liable after fraud identification. 
    • Further, 861 bank fraud cases involving ₹4,920 crore were reported in the first half of 2015-16.
  • Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC), the public sector enterprise that raises funds for the Indian Railways, has appointed lead managers to issue offshore bonds or rupee-denominated bonds(Masala bonds).
    • The lead managers are JP Morgan, Deutsche, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Standard chart and SBI Caps.

  • Five-time Emmy award winning TV actress Doris Roberts (90) passed away.
    • She was famous for her role "Marie Barone" in American television sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • A pioneer of salsa music Ismael Quintana (78) passed away.
    • He known for hits such as “Puerto Rico,” “Adoracion,” “No se compara” and “Maestro rumbero”
  • Laureus World Sports Awards 2016
    • Sportsman of the year - Novak Djokovic 
    • Sportswoman of the year - Serena Williams  
      • Important Point to Note
        • Both of them have won three grand slams in the 2015 season, with Djokovic winning 82 out of 88 matches, and Serena claiming 53 wins against four losses. 
        • This was the third Laureus trophy for both players.
  • Hawk-Eye technology will be used to decide whether the ball has crossed the goal-line at this year's European Championship
    • The British company's camera-based system, used in tennis and cricket and at the 2014 World Cup final, will be installed in all 10 stadiums hosting the tournament in France.
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