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March 18, 2016

18th March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (Friday of the second full week of March) is 9th World Sleep Day.
    • Aims :
      • to celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep 
      • to draw society attention to the burden of sleep problems and their medicine, education and social aspects
      • to promote sleep disorders prevention and management
    • This day was introduced in 2008 by the World Association of Sleep Medicine.
    • Theme of 2016 : Good Sleep is a Reachable Dream
  • The Bangladesh government is going to organise programmes in eight different locations in India to honour the contributions of Indian soldiers during the 1971 war.
  • Chile's lower house of Congress has approved a proposal that lifts a ban on abortion in cases of rape, when there is health risk for the mother, or when the foetus is not viable.
    • Important Points to Note :
      • Despite being predominantly Catholic, Chile allowed abortion until 1989.
      • But the practice was banned by General Augusto Pinochet in one of the last acts of his military government.
  • The largest nuclear security centre in the Asia-Pacific region opened in Beijing, China today. 
    • Financed jointly by China and the US, the centre is capable of training about 2,000 nuclear-security staff. 
    • The site will enable international exchanges on nuclear security, demonstrate advanced technology and promote peaceful use of nuclear power. 
    • The construction of the centre had begun in 2013.

National Affairs
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today launched India’s first state-wide broadband project called AP FiberNet
    • Aiming to provide cheap broadband connectivity, the project will offer 15 Mbps internet to households at ₹149 per month and 100 Mbps internet to offices at ₹999 per month. 
    • This will be operational in the Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts by April.
  • The Supreme Court today allowed the use of pictures of Chief Ministers, Governors and Cabinet ministers in the government's media advertisements
    • The SC had earlier ruled that the advertisements could only have pictures of the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. 
    • The earlier order was aimed at removing the association between government policy and politicians.
  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the 6th National Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi today.
    • The conference will bring together Community Radio Operators, policy makers, Ministries, Departments, International bodies like UNICEF and UNESCO and other stakeholders for exchange of ideas and cross learning.
    • Theme of the conference : ‘Community Radio in India: Towards Diversity and Sustainability’.
  • The Indian Air Force today demonstrated its combat and fire power capabilities as part of the mammoth Exercise Iron Fist 2016.
    • The exercise was witnessed by President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of India's armed forces, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the deserts of Pokhran, Rajasthan.
  • Punjab's Assembly today unanimously passed a resolution against construction of the proposed Sutlej-Yamuna link canal
    • Punjab also recently returned Haryana's cheque for the construction of the canal to share water. 
    • This comes just after the Supreme Court directed that the existing state of the land, which was acquired for building the canal, be maintained until the dispute is resolved.

New Agreements
  • India has entered into a social security agreement with Australia.
    • Under this agreement, employees of India deputed to Australia and vice versa will not have to make double social security contribution.
    • Note : With this, Australia has become the 14th country with which India has a social security agreement in force. 
    • The others in the list include Korea, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungry, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.
  • India signed loan agreement of 35 Million dollars with the world bank for Madhya Pradesh citizen access to responsive services project. 
    • The objective of the project is to improve access and quality of public services in the state.

New Appointments
  • Bangladesh Government has appointed Former Secretary of Finance Division Fazle Kabir as the new Governor of Bangladesh Bank, country’s central bank. 
    • He will succeeds Atiur Rahman who had resigned after taking moral responsibility over the cyber theft from the central bank’s official account with New York Federal Reserve Bank.
  • Times Internet, Times of India Group's digital wing today appointed former Chief Operating Officer, Gautam Sinha as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
    • Note : Former CEO Satyan Gajwani has been promoted as the company's Managing Director. 
  • Ace fashion designer Ritu Beri has been appointed as the advisor for Khadi promotion.
  • AirAsia India appoints Amar Abrol as new CEO to replace Mittu Chandilya

Business & Economy
  • The RBI has relaxed its norms for banks holding bonds of debt-ridden State Electricity Boards (SEBs)
    • Banks have reportedly been allowed to keep Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) bonds under the Held-To-Maturity (HTM) category
    • HTM refers to a part of debt holdings which are not subjected to daily price movement and can be held by banks till maturity.
  • The interest rate on Public Provident Fund (PPF) was cut from 8.7% to 8.1% today. 
    • Important Note : The government also slashed interest rates on several other small savings schemes, including that of the Kisan Vikas Patra from 8.7% to 7.8% and the 5-year senior citizen scheme from 9.3% to 8.6%. 
    • Further, several post office deposit interest rates were also slashed.
  • The Maharashtra government today exempted sugar exporting mills from paying cane purchase tax for the 2015 to 2016 marketing year, which began in October. 
  • Note : The Maharashtra government levies 3% purchase tax on sugarcane.
  • Cuba's Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez has announced plans to eliminate the 10% tax imposed on US dollars entering the country
    • Note : The United States had recently announced that it would ease the financial and trade restrictions it had imposed on Cuba.

Awards & Honors
  • Advisor to the Chairman of multinational group LVHM Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Tikka Shatrujit Singh was today conferred the Knight of the Legion of Honour, France's highest honour, by French Ambassador François Richier in New Delhi. 
    • Singh was accorded the top honour for his "extraordinary work in exchanging the French lifestyle and Indian culture with each other".

Science & Technology
  • China is building a tsunami alert centre in South China Sea.
  • Russia has slashed its space budget for 2016 to 2025 by 30%, from 2 trillion rubles ($29.24 billion) to 1.4 trillion rubles ($20.68 billion). 
    • It will delay a manned flight to the moon by five years, and eliminate plans to develop a reusable rocket. 
    • The move comes as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, "all is not well with the economy."

  • New Zealand's Martin Guptill became the 4th highest six-hitter with a total of 73 in T20Is, after hitting four in his 39-run innings against Australia in the World T20 today. 
    • Guptill is now level with Australia's David Warner. 
    • He has also registered the highest number of sixes in 2016 in T20Is with 20 against his name so far.

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