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April 15, 2016

15th April 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has announced that they have started joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China sea
    • This comes amid China's territorial claims in the region and opposition to US patrols in the South China sea.
National Affairs
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan’ (Village Self Governance Campaign) to strengthen Panchayati Raj in villages and ensure social harmony in villages. 
    • Note : It was launched on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at his birthplace at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Delhi government banned manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of Pan Masala, Gutkha and all forms of Chewable Tobacco for one year. 
    • The ban is also applicable to unpackaged tobacco products and components of gutkha that "easily facilitate mixing by the consumer".
  • Nashik's Trimbakeshwar temple today lifted the ban on women's entry into the temple’s 'garbhgriha' (sanctum sanctorum) with a clause. 
    • The clause states that women can enter only between 6 am and 7 am and must wear wet cotton or silk clothes while offering prayers. 
  • The 2nd Phase of the Delhi government's odd-even plan aimed at controlling air pollution and traffic congestion has started today. 
    • The odd-even restrictions will be in place until April 30. 
    • During this phase of the odd-even plan, parents driving children to school are exempted and exemptions from the previous phase like cars driven by single women and two-wheelers will continue.
  • Government has reconstituted Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) board.
    • Ram Bahadur Rai, Senior Journalist has been appointed as Chairman of the Board.

  • India and South Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation and mutual assistance in development of Ports
    • It was signed by Union Road, Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and South Korea Oceans and Fisheries Minister Kim Young Suk in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Awards & Honors
  • US Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has won the 'Time 100' poll for the Time Magazine's annual most influential people list
    • Sanders, with 3.3% votes, secured over three times the votes cast for his Democratic party rival Hillary Clinton. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and US President Barack Obama were named in the top 5 of the list.
  • Three Indian businessmen have been named in the Forbes inaugural list of Global Game Changers
    • Co-founder of low-cost IndiGo airlines Rahul Bhatia, Founder of the Serum Institute of India Cyrus Poonawalla and Founder of GEMS Education Sunny Varkey featured on the list.

  • Leading British playwright Sir Arnold Wesker (83), who came to prominence in the late 1950s with his gritty, working class dramas, passed away.
    • He first established his reputation with the Wesker Trilogy at the Royal Court theatre in central London.
    • One of his most successful plays, Chips with Everything, was inspired by his own experiences in the RAF.

Science & Technology
  • The National Institute of Technology (NIT) Sikkim has secured a rare distinction of having a Supercomputer, which is said to be the most powerful and fastest among all the 31 NITs.
    • The supercomputer, named 'Param Kanchenjunga', was formally unveiled by Sikkim Governor Shrinvas Patil at the NIT Sikkim campus at Ravangla in South Sikkim District.
    • Pune-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing 'C-DAC' and the NIT Sikkim have jointly established the supercomputer at a cost of Rs. three crore.
    • The supercomputer is expected to help achieve excellence in engineering education and research in the north-east region.
  • UNICEF has created 'Sofia', a 3D animated child using 500 photos of real children from emergency-hit areas to raise awareness about children affected by conflicts across the world. 
    • The virtual child was named 'Sofia' as it was reported the world's most popular name last year. 
    • The campaign aims to inspire people to become donors to UNICEF as "world parents."

New Appointments
  • Union Government appointed Susmita Pande as the new Chairperson of the National Monument Authority (NMA)
  • Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has appointed as the Chairman and Vodafone India business head Suresh Sethi as Vice chairman of the newly formed payments banks group Industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI).
    • Important Points to Note
      • IAMAI Payments Banks is an innovative model of bringing unbanked population into the formal banking fold.
      • It includes global companies such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn as members, also counts six out of the ten payments banks’ primary licensees as members.
  • Soumen Mitra, a 1988-batch IPS officer took over as the new Police Commissioner of Kolkata after Rajeev Kumar was removed by the Election Commission.
Business & Economy
  • The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Development Bank, has sanctioned a $250 million loan for a renewable energy scheme in India
    • Note : The project will result in the generation of 500 MW of renewable energy and savings of about 8 lakh tonnes of carbon emissions.
  • The Union Government has imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to US 149 dollars on imports of N-Butyl Alcohol from five countries viz. European Union (EU), Malaysia, Singapore and US
    • In this regard, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has issued a notification based on the recommendation of Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD). 
    • Note : DGAD in its investigation had found out that Normal Butanol, or N-Butyl Alcohol exported from five countries mentioned above was found to be below normal value compared to domestic value, thus causing material injury to domestic injury.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched an electronic trading platform, the National Agriculture Market (eNAM), for farmers to sell their produce. 
    • It proposes to integrate 585 regulated agriculture produce market committees within a couple of years.
    • Note : eNAM will allow the farmers to sell their produce to the highest bidders and has been allocated a budget of ₹200 crore.
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