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April 01, 2016

1 April 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Saudi Arabia and the United States have imposed joint sanctions targeting the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
    • The announcement marks the second time that the United States and Saudi officials have coordinated their actions to disrupt the finances of Islamist militant groups in Southeast Asia.
  • As per a study published in The Lancet medical journal, over 640 million people in the world are obese
    • The number of people whose body mass index (BMI) is over 30 (obese) has increased to 641 million in 2014 from 105 million in 1975. 
    • Note : Over one in ten men and one in seven women are obese.
  • Myanmar Parliament's Upper House today passed a bill that seeks to give National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi similar powers to that of a Prime Minister
    • The bill, that still needs to be cleared by the Lower House, makes a specific reference to the 70-year-old Nobel laureate. 
  • North Korea has officially announced that it is blocking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and some other South Korean and "sex and adult" websites. 
    • Note : Facebook and Twitter have been informally blocked in the nation for months, and North Koreans can access the government-sanctioned intranet.
National Affairs
  • Prevention of Blindness Week 2016 is being celebrated from Friday (1st of April) to the Thursday (7th of April).
    • This campaign is planned by the Government of India for increasing the awareness towards the blind people.
  • Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced plans to set up a 'Department of Happiness' to infuse "positivity" into the lives of people. 
    • He said the department will organise yoga, cultural and meditation programmes. 
    • Note : He got this inspiration from Bhutan which gave the world the concept of Happiness Index way back in 1970s.
  • The Supreme Court  today ordered the continuation of the ban on registration of diesel vehicles above 2000 cc in NCR
    • The court set the next hearing for April 2. 
    • The court also indicated that it may impose environment cess on luxury diesel vehicles if the ban is lifted. 
  • All tobacco products produced from April 1 will have 85% pictorial warnings on the packaging space, as a central notification comes into effect today. 
    • Note : A Parliamentary committee had earlier suggested 50% warning on both the sides. 
  • The ban on countrymade liquor in Bihar will take effect today after the state's liquor law was amended recently. 
    • However, Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will continue to be available only in state-owned shops within urban limits. 
    • Note : Under the new law, manufacturers and suppliers can be sentenced to death if consumption of illicit liquor causes death or injury.
  • Maharashtra tied up with the Tata Trusts to link all government colleges and medical colleges with the latter's national cancer grid
    • Note : Maharashtra is India's first state to join the initiative. 
    • The national cancer grid links all existing and proposed cancer care centres to create a uniform line of treatment for cancer patients across India.
  • Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that the 1,260 km of roads maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD) will be vacuum cleaned from today as he launched the 'Greening Delhi' initiative
    • Note : Around 120 acres of roadside areas will get pollution-absorbing plants and trees under the initiative, aimed at curbing air pollution in the national capital.
New Appointments
  • Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti will be sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir on April 4th. 
    • This comes after a two-month long deadlock on government formation after the death of CM Sayeed.
Business & Economy
  • According to research firm IHS, India has become the world’s fourth-largest spender on defence, following a 13.1% increase in its 2016-17 defence budget. 
  • The Reserve Bank of India was established on this day (1st April) in the year 1935, during the British Rule in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
    • It is India's central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee. 
    • The RBI was also the central banks for Burma until April 1947 and Pakistan until June 1948.
  • The Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy has launched a ‘Startup India’ web portal and mobile app
    • The platform will act as a single window for startups to register themselves within 24 hours, avail government incentives and receive information about incubation facilities and tax benefits. 
    • It will also let startups receive notifications from different departments and funding agencies.
  • According to a Finance Ministry report, India's total external debt stood at $480.2 billion at December-end. 
    • While the government (sovereign) external debt stood at $90.7 billion, non-government debt amounted to $389.5 billion. 
    • Note : US dollar denominated debt accounted for 57.6% of the total external debt, followed by Indian rupee (28.7%), Japanese Yen (4.1%) and Euro (2.3%).
  • According to data released by the Controller General of Accounts, India's fiscal deficit in April-February stood at ₹5.73 lakh crore, 107.1% of the full-year target. 
    • In comparison, the figure was 117.5% in the previous fiscal. 
    • Note : The deficit figure tends to exceed the budgeted target nearer to the end of fiscal year, but gets adjusted against tax inflows in March.
 Science & Technology
  • India's fastest train, the Gatimaan Express, is scheduled to hit the tracks on April 5. 
    • The train will run between Delhi and Agra at a maximum speed of 160 km/h. 
    • As earlier planned to run from New Delhi and reach Agra in around 90 minutes, the train will now begin from Hazrat Nizamuddin and reach Agra in 100 minutes.
  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today announced that , Two more regiments of the short-range supersonic missile BrahMos will be inducted into the Army within 15 days.
    • The missiles have been developed by India's DRDO and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia under the BrahMos Aerospace. 
    • They can fly as low as 10 metres above the ground and hit the surface targets.
  • In a first, researchers in the US have revealed the structure of the Zika virus, providing aid to the development of treatments to combat the disease. 
    • The discovery could help in designing vaccines and developing better diagnostic tests for the virus. 
    • According to the report, the virus is represented by a spherical structure resembling that of the Dengue virus.
  • Iraqi-British Architect Zaha Hadid (65) passed away. 
    • The Time magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential thinkers in 2010. 
    • Hadid, who had a neo-futuristic architectural style, was the first woman recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is widely regarded as the Nobel Prize for architecture.
  • New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott has announced his retirement from one-day international cricket. 
    • The 37-year-old hit a six from the penultimate ball against South Africa in the 2015 World Cup semi-final to lead Kiwis to their first finals appearance (This shot was voted as Zealand's sporting moment of 2015). 
    • He scored 1,976 runs and took 39 wickets in 83 ODIs.
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