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March 19, 2015

18th March 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • China has become the world's third largest exporter of arms after the US and Russia.
    • China overtook Germany, France and the UK in exporting weapons between 2010 and 2014, according to a report published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
    • China now accounts for about 5% of the world's exports of arms.
    • Top 10 Largest Exporters of Major Weapons :
      1. US - 31%
      2. Russia - 27%
      3. China - 5%
      4. Germany - 5%
      5. France - 5%
      6. UK - 4%
      7. Spain - 3%
      8. Italy - 3%
      9. Ukraine - 3%
      10. Israel - 2%
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party claims victory in Israel parliamentary elections.
  • Sri Lankan authorities handed over 168 Indian fishermen and 51 boats to the Indian Coast Guard at the International Maritime Boundary Line.
  • India will hold one of the biggest global yoga meets in China to celebrate the UN’s first International Day of Yoga.
    • Over 10,000 yoga enthusiasts are expected to take part in the meet being organised in Dujiangyan in Chengdu, China’s Sichuan province from 17th June to 21st June 2015.
    • China was one of the 170 countries voted for the UN Yoga Day proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
  • Germany, France and Italy followed Britain in announcing that they plan to join a proposed Chinese-led Asian regional bank, swinging Europe's biggest economic powers behind a project that is viewed with concern in Washington. 
    • Britain last week became the first major Western country to seek membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
    • The announcement of the three major countries brings three more members of the Group of Seven industrial powers on board. 
Awards & Honors
  • Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani was named Young Global Leader (YGL) from India by the World Economic Forum (WEF) 
    • She "rose from sweeping floors in a fast food restaurant to become a top politician in India", WEF said.
    • Others who have been named Young Global Leader (YGL) in the past include British Prime Minister David Cameron, Alibaba Group chief Jack Ma, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google chief Larry Page, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
    • In the list of 187 YGLs for 2015 from across the world, Irani is accompanied by 10 other Indians, including Gaurav Gogoi, an MP and son of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
National Affairs
  • The government has proposed a one-time amnesty for all those who have stashed black money abroad. 
    • The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015 cleared by the Cabinet also proposes stringent action against offenders, including rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years.
    • One-time compliance opportunity to those who have stashed illicit money abroad will be provided. 
    • The evader will be allowed to pay tax and penalty on the amount. 
  • The Delhi High Court has once again refused to stay ban on BBC documentary ‘India’s Daugher’.
    • The court also asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to issue an advisory over the ban. 
    • It has fixed 15th April for next hearing.
  • The National Green Tribunal has passed a string of directions to clear the Railways of the filth which gives it the tag of “biggest open toilet.”
    • The Tribunal empowered the Railways to impose a fine of Rs. 5,000 on anyone found littering or engaging in any other act such as open defecation on tracks or platforms
    • The fine would also be imposed on those residing along the tracks and disposing of waste on railway tracks or property.
  • Rate of Railway platform ticket will be increased from 5 to 10 rupees per person from April, 2015.
  • Maharashtra has announced Local Body Tax (LBT) would be abolished from August 1 and extended tax exemption on essential commodities like rice and wheat in Budget 2015-16.
    • As regards LBT, a compensation of Rs. 6,875 crore will be given to the municipal corporations, excluding Mumbai.
    • This was one of the main electoral promises of the BJP.
New Appointments
  • Kavinder Gupta, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, was elected as the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly.
Science & Technology
  • The indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Astra, was successfully launched from Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft to hit a simulated target at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur in Odisha.
    • The missile was tested to prove the manoeuvring capability against a simulated target and also to validate various subsystems. 
    • All the subsystems like propulsion, navigation, guidance as also the smooth separation of the missile from the aircraft were proved.
    • The all-weather, state-of-the-art missile developed by DRDO can engage and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speed ( 1.2 Mach to 1.4 Mach) in head-on (up to 80 km) and tail-chase (up to 20 km) modes.
    • The 3.8 metre tall Astra is the smallest of the DRDO-developed missiles and can be launched from different altitudes. 
    • It can reach up to 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when fired from sea level.
World Cup
  • South Africa storm into semifinals thrashing Sri Lanka by 9 wickets in Sydney
  • Kumar Sangakkara & Mahela Jayawardhane bid farewell to ODIs
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