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April 11, 2016

9th April 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • British royals, Prince William and Kate Middleton will be on a 7 day visit to India from 10th April. 
    • During this visit, they will participate in a charity cricket match at the Oval Maidan.
    • Note : The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting five Indian cities as a part of their tour, before heading for Bhutan.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry has made a sudden visit to Afghanistan to show support for the Afghan government and its security forces. 
    • He is scheduled to meet President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah, political rivals who share power under the 2014 National Unity Government agreement. 
    • Note : Kerry made a sudden visit to Iraq yesterday.
  • Saudi Arabia and Egypt agreed to build a bridge over the Red Sea
    • The announced bridge will connect the two countries.
    • The planned bridge would help in boosting commerce between the two allied countries. 
    • It will also connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, and result in increasing trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels.

National Affairs
  • The government has amended its norms regarding the information displayed on packaged food item packets
    • As per the amendments, name of manufacturer/ packager/ importer, net quantity of product, manufacturing date, retail sale price and consumer care contacts would have to be displayed prominently in at least 40% of the packet area, effective from July.
  • Union HRD Minster Smriti Irani has launched a web portal to simplify the process of registration and allotment of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs)
    • Publishing houses and authors can now procure ISBNs within a week, where earlier the process used to take a few months.
    • Note : ISBN is a unique 13-digit number used to identify books, displayed in bar-code format. 
  • The Rural Development Ministry has released ₹12,230 crore to the states towards the implementation of MGNREGA
    • This fund release will help the states in managing their wage liability during the last financial year and will help them run the programme during the new financial year, 2016-17.
    • Union Minister for Rural Development : Birender Singh 
    • MGNREGA - Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act
  • Gujarat Governor has given his assent to Six out of the eleven Bills passed in the recently-concluded budget session of state Assembly.
    • These six Bills are,
      • Gujarat Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 
      • Gujarat Electricity Duty (Amendment) Bill, 
      • Gujarat Stamp (Amendment) Bill, 
      • Gujarat Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 
      • Gujarat Tax on Entry of Specified Goods into Local Areas (Amendment) Bill 
      • Registration (Gujarat Amendment) Bill of 2016.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is introducing a Heat Index for the entire country starting this month. 
    • The heat index will be calculated based on humidity levels and actual temperatures. 
    • The index will be available on IMD's website and the heat index data from all weather stations will be updated every three hours, along with warnings on possible health hazards.
  • The Water Film Festival, a part of the India Water Week celebrations, was inaugurated by Uma Bharti (Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in New Delhi).
    • The film festival is organized by the Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS), a PSU under Ministry of Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The Union Government has approved country’s first Metrino Pod project i.e. Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) network for Gurgaon, Haryana. 
    • It will be completely private project and as for financing, the entire investment will be made by the private company that sets up the PRT. 

New Appointments
  • The government has signed up cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to endorse the 'I Support Skill India' campaign.
    • The govt aims to help 40.2 crore youth under the Skill India programme by 2022.
  • Vasu will be appointed as the new Director of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) Academy for a period of two years.

Business & Economy
  • China today offered Sri Lanka 500 million Yuan (approximately ₹513 crore), to assist Sri Lanka in improving investment zones and speeding up the industrialisation process. 
    • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made the offer during a meeting with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Beijing. 
    • The two nations signed seven agreements after the discussion.
  • Dearness Allowance (DA) for central government employees has been hiked to 125 per cent of basic pay, up by 6 percentage points, with effect from January 1, 2016.
    • Note : The decision to release an additional installment of DA to central government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to Pensioners from January 1, 2016, was taken by Union Cabinet on March 23rd.
  • Veteran journalist and author Yogendra Bali has passed away.
    • He has served The Times of India as its roving correspondent till retirement.
    • Some important books authored by him include ‘The Communal Bogey’ with foreword by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Chandra Shekhar: A Political Biography,’ ‘Pawan Chamling: Daring To Be Different,’ and ‘Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji and Freedom Movement of India’.

Places in News
  • After the Bombay High Court had ruled that women cannot be barred from entering the temple ShaniShingnapur temple allows to go into the inner Sanctum.
    • In a land mark decision the court said there should be no gender discrimination as far as entering a place of worship is concerned.
    • The 400-year-old tradition at the temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district has traditionally banned women from entering the shrine’s sacred platform.

Awards & Honors
  • A proposal titled "Venus Interior Probe Using In-situ Power and Propulsion", by Ratnakumar Bugga, an Indian-origin scientist, has been selected for NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts programme
    • The programme, which is aimed at investing in transformative architectural concepts, will award $100,000 to the selected researchers for a nine-month period to analyse and develop their proposed concepts.
  • The birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution and Dalit rights activist, would be observed at the United Nations for the first time with focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) features in the Thomson Reuters top 50 Indian Innovator companies and research organizations for the year 2015.
Science & Technology
  • The Japanese government is set to begin testing a system that would allow foreign tourists to verify their identities and purchase goods and services using a fingerprint
    • The experiment would feature fingerprint scanners at popular tourist centers including souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and other establishments. 
    • The government aims to launch it by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Elon Musk-owned company SpaceX today successfully landed the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea, after launching it to the International Space Station.
    • It's the first time SpaceX has been able to pull off an ocean landing, after four failed attempts. 
    • Important Note : With this, SpaceX has landed its rockets both on ground and ocean.
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