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April 24, 2015

24th April 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (24th April) is World Day For Animals In Laboratories (also known as World Lab Animal Day).
    • This day was established in 1979 by the British National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS).
    • The date 24th April was chosen to observe this day, as it marked the birthday of former NAVS president Hugh Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding.
  • Switzerland‬ became the World's Happiest Country.
    • The country topped the 3rd annual World Happiness index.
    • It was closely followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada.
    • Togo, Burundi, Benin and Rwanda, with civil-war wracked Syria, were least happy. 
    • The third World Happiness Report, released by the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network today, ranked 158 countries based on Gallup surveys from 2012-15 and analyzed the key factors contributing to happiness levels.
    • During this survey, they considered the Life expectancy, social connections, personal freedom and the economy.
  • Russia and Argentina have signed a series of framework agreements on economic and energy co-operation following talks in Moscow.
    • The agreements include Russian investment in a hydroelectric plant and a nuclear power plant in Argentina.
    • There was also a memorandum of co-operation on defence.
    • Argentine President : Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
    • Russian President : Vladimir Putin
  • India and France today began 'Varuna', a 10-day naval exercise,  that will see 12 Rafale fighter jets in action off the Goa coast along with a host of naval assets of both countries.
    • This is the 14th edition of 'Varuna'.
    • This exercise started with the arrival of four French naval ships at Goa including aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2.
    • Note : India has decided to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition for the Indian Air Force.
National Affairs
  • Today (24th April) is National Panchayati Raj Day.
    • This date marks a defining moment in the history of decentralization of political power to the grassroots level.
    • Note : The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24th April, 1993 has institutionalized Panchayati Raj through the village, Intermediate and District level Panchayats.
  • The Rajya Sabha today unanimously passed a private member's bill to protect the rights of transgender.
    • The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill- 2014 seeks to provide for the formulation
      and implementation of a comprehensive national policy
      for ensuring overall development of the transgender persons and their welfare.
    • The bill also provides two percent reservation in primary, secondary and higher eduction and in government jobs. 
    • Establishment of Employment Exchange, National and State Commissions for Trasngender Persons and Special Transgender Rights Courts are other main features of the Bill.
    • Note : With the passage of the bill, Rajya Sabha created history today as the last private member's bill was passed in 1970.
      • The last such Bill passed by Parliament was The Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968’ that became an Act on August 9, 1970.    
  • First Battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles celebrated its bicentenary at Pathankot, today.
    • Hundreds of serving and veteran soldiers of all ranks both from India and Nepal attended the ceremony.
    • The Battalion was raised on this day in 1815 from the remnants of Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa’s forces who valiantly fought the British at the Malaun Fort near Shimla.
  • The incidence of tuberculosis disease in India is around 2.1 million cases annually, as per latest World Health Organisation (‪WHO‬) estimates.
    • Health Minister : J P Nadda
Business & Economy
  • The Reserve Bank of India has revised the priority sector lending norms which direct banks to lend to certain segments by prescribing targets as a percentage of their total business.
    • The new norms require banks to ensure that 8% of their loans go to small and marginal farmers.
  • To boost landline business, state-run telecom operator BSNL has announced unlimited free calling scheme during night hours from its fixed line phones to any operator including mobile phones anywhere in the country from 1st May 2015.
    • The scheme would be operational between 9 PM to 7 AM and would cover all type of connections, BSNL said in a statement.
  • National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with e-commerce giant Snapdeal to roll out digital marketing courses, aimed at helping small and medium business and artisans wanting to take the online route to become entrepreneurs.
  • India, a net importer of urea, is set to become an exporting nation in the next 5 years with an addition of 10 million tonnes (MT) in fertiliser production capacity at an estimated investment of Rs 60,000 crore.
    • Fertiliser Minister : Ananth Kumar  
New Appointments
  • 37 year old Indian-American Vivek Murthy was sworn-in as the U.S. Surgeon-General today.
    • He became the youngest-ever in-charge of the country’s public health.
    • Dr. Murthy, who took the oath on the Gita, is now the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama administration.

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