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March 16, 2016

15th March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today is World Consumer Rights Day.
    • In India this day is celebrated as Viswa Upabhokta Adhikar Diwas. 
    • On March 15, 1962 US President John F. Kennedy gave a speech on consumer rights which led to the creation of the Consumer Bill of Rights.
    • Consumer rights activist Anwar Fazal later proposed the observance of a "World Consumer Rights Day" marking that date, and from 15 March 1983 consumer organizations began observing that date as an occasion to promote basic rights of consumers.
    • Theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2016 : Antibiotics off the menu
  • A WHO (World Health Organization) study has found that almost one in four deaths (around 12.6 million) every year are caused due to environmental risks. 
    • The study also found that two-thirds (around 8.2 million) of these are due to non-communicable diseases which have seen a significant rise in 10 years. 
    • Note : This reportedly is the first major WHO assessment of environmental risks after 2006.
National Affairs
  • Aiming to reduce road accidents by 50% by 2020, the Gujarat government  has announced the Road Safety Policy 2016
    • The government will implement the provision of fitness certificates for commercial vehicles, and introduce air ambulances in the future. 
  • Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani has decided to rope in the Indian Army to teach patriotism in universities controlled by the government
    • Central universities were earlier directed to hoist the Indian flag on campus. 
  • The Lok Sabha today passed the Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill.
    • As per this bill, a real estate regulator for monitoring transactions and settling disputes between buyers and builders will be set up. 
    • A single window approval system is also being developed for ensuring timely completion of housing projects. 
    • Note : The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill earlier this week.
  • The government aims to bring over 50% of farmers under insurance cover through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in the next two years. 
    • Important Note : The scheme, which will be implemented from April 1, will replace the existing two government agriculture insurance schemes. 
    • Currently, 23% of farmers are covered under various schemes.
  • Defexpo India 2016, the ninth in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition, will be held at Naqueri Quitol in Quepem taluka of South Goa from March 28-31, 2016.
    • This is for the first time that the Expo will travel to Goa from Delhi.
    • For this edition, countries like USA, Russia, Sweden, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Portugal amongst others have confirmedtheir participation.
  • Delhi has topped the list for crimes against foreign tourists with 135 reported cases registered in 2014, while Goa stood second with 66 cases, as per the data by the National Crime Records Bureau. 
  • Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has announced that the number of child labourers has dropped by 64% to 4.5 million over 10 years. 
    • The Minister also urged the Parliament to approve the proposed changes to the thirty-year-old child labour prohibition law. 
    • The government seeks to ban all child labourers below 14 and impose harsher punishments for violations.
  • Maritime India Summit 2016 (MIS 2016), the maiden flagship initiative of the Union Ministry of Shipping, will be organised from 14 to 16 April 2016 at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mumbai
    • Important Note : Republic of Korea is the partner country for MIS 2016.
    • The summit will provide a unique global platform for investors to explore potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime Sector.
  • The UP Government announced to conduct a campaign titled Gauraiya Diwas on March 20th, at school levels to create awareness about the conservation of birds. 
New Appointments
  • Myanmar's Parliament today elected National League for Democracy's (NLD) Htin Kyaw as the President, making him the first civilian in over 50 years to lead the country
  • Altico capital, a non banking finance company has named veteran banker Naina Lal Kidwai as its new independent non executive director on its board.
Business & Economy
  • The governor of Bangladesh Bank, Atiur Rahman, has resigned after $81 million was stolen from the central bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February. 
    • His resignation comes days after he claimed the Bangladesh Bank did not inform him of the heist, wherein unknown hackers transferred the amount to casinos in the Philippines.
  • The Mines Ministry has announced that it will auction 22 mineral blocks in the country during April-May. 
    • The mineral blocks include two of limestone in Chhattisgarh, 14 of iron ore in Karnataka and 6 of limestone in Andhra Pradesh.
    •  Further, seven states have identified 42 blocks for the next phase of the auction to be held during the next fiscal.
  • Private Equity investments in India during 2015 stood at $19.5 billion, the highest-ever annually, according to the PwC MoneyTree India report. 
  • The State Bank of India has released arrears worth ₹1,465 crore to 7.75 lakh defence pensioners under the 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) scheme, according to the government guidelines. 
    • This is the first installment of the arrears in the OROP scheme, which the government announced in November 2015 for over 24 lakh defence ex-servicemen and 6 lakh war widows.
  • Consumer products company P&G today announced that it has halted the sale and manufacture of its Vicks Action 500 Extra, following the Health Ministry's ban on 344 fixed-dose combination drugs. 
    • The combination of the product is included in the list, the company said. 
    • Meanwhile, an antibiotic combination marketed in India by US pharma major Abbott Laboratories also got banned.
  • Lloyd Stowell Shapley, an American mathematician and Nobel Prize-winning economist passed away.
    • Shapley, who contributed to the fields of mathematical economics and especially game theory, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2012.
  • The Booker prize-winning British author and renowned art historian Anita Brookner passed away.
    • Brookner, who won the Booker in 1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac, was a bestselling author and wrote more than 25 novels.
Awards & Honors
  • Pope Francis today announced that Mother Teresa will formally be declared a Roman Catholic Saint on September 4 this year. 
    • The Pope cleared the way for Mother Teresa's Sainthood last year by recognising her healing of a Brazilian man as a 'miracle'. 
    • Important Note : Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 for her work in the slums of Calcutta.
  • Sanjay Gupta, the Jagran Group CEO and Dainik Jagran editor was presented with the Editor of the Year award at the 4th Indian Advertising Association (IAA) Awards in Mumbai.
Science & Technology
  • Google today removed an app from its Play Store that was reportedly used by Pakistani intelligence agencies to spy on the Indian Army
    • Called SmeshApp, it was reportedly used during the Pathankot airbase attack to access classified information. 
    • The app allows third party access to personal information including text messages, location, phone logs and photos
  • Dubai has announced to host the Robot Olympics in December 2017.
    • Officially dubbed ‘World Future Sports Games’, the three-day event aims at building sports leagues for robots and will be held every two years.
    • The first-of-its-kind initiative will feature nine competitions including driverless car racing, robotic soccer, robotic swimming, robotic table tennis and robotic wrestling.
  • Playing against New Zealand in the opener of the ICC World T20 today, India crossed the 400 T20I wickets mark (excluding run outs), thereby becoming the seventh-highest T20I wicket-taking nation
    • The list is topped by Pakistan with 624 wickets. 
    • For India, Ravichandran Ashwin is the highest contributor with 47 wickets, followed by Irfan Pathan's 28 and Yuvraj Singh's 27.
  • The United Nations has suspended tennis player Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador following her admission that she tested positive for the banned substance 'meldonium' at the Australian Open in January. 
    • Sharapova, who was a part of the UN Development Programme for the past nine years, focused her efforts to help the survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

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