Current Affairs 21 March to 31 March

  1. First ever High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) held in Jakarta, Indonesia
    The Government of Indonesia has hosted the first ever High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) in its capital city Jakarta. The themeof the HLD was “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Inclusive Region”. It was inaugurated by Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla

i. The Dialogue saw the participation of representatives from India, Australia, US, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand and China apart from 10 member ASEAN countries.
ii. The objective behind this meet was to urge all participating governments to talk openly about their plans for increasing cooperation and for building trust in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean region.
The Indo-Pacific region is comprised of three-fifth of the world’s population with gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to US$52 trillion.
Static GK – Indonesia
♦ Currency – Indonesian rupiah
♦ President – Joko Widodo
♦ Prime Minister – Post abolished in 1959

2 ) India slips 7 spots and ranked 140th in Happiness Report
On 20th March 2019, United Nations released World Happiness Report where India is ranked 140th out of 156 nations. India shows a 7 spot decline along with five other countries.

Key Points           
i. For the second consecutive year, Finland topped the list. Denmark ranked second followed by Norway, Islands and The Netherlands.
ii. The report was released on World Happiness Day(Mar 20) by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
iii. Pakistan ranked 67th, Bhutan 95th, China 93rd, Bangladesh 125th and Sri Lanka 130th  while South Sudan ranked last in the World Happiness Report.
iv. Income, freedom, Social support, trust, healthy life expectancy and generosity are the six key variables assessed for the report. The results of the report are correlated with factors including social security and GDP.
About United Nations
♦  Headquarters: New York, United States
♦  Secretary General: Antonio Guterres

3) Chennai City crowned I-League Champion
On 20th March 2019, Chennai City FC crowned as the l–League Champion by All India Football Federation (AIFF) in Chennai. The I-League aka Hero I-League is the men’s top most professional football league in India. The owner of Chennai City FC is Rohit Ramesh.
Highlights
i. Chennai City FC player Pedro Manzi and Churchill Brothers FC player Willis Plaza won the I-League special awards as the top goal scorer. 

4.) Sardar Singh Former hockey captain appointed in Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Standing Committee
On 20th March 2019, former India hockey captain Sardar Singh along with 13 Indian Olympic Association (IOA) members, have been named in various Standing Committees of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) at its 38th General Assembly which held in Bangkok.

Key Points:
i.
 Sardar Singh has been appointed in the athletes standing committee, Rajeev Mehta who is IOA’s secretary general appointed in the culture standing committee, Hockey India secretary general Mohd Mustaque Ahmad is in the media standing committee, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwala and Lalit Bhanot have been appointed in the sports for environment and sports standing committees respectively for four-year term (2019 to 2023).
About Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)
Headquarters: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Founded: 16 November 1982
Membership: 45 National Olympic Committees

5) Abu Dhabi signed to host T10 League for next five years
The T10 cricket League is set to be played in Zayed Cricket Stadium of Abu Dhabi for the next five years, starting from 2019 season. The first match in the T10 League will be held on 23rd October 2019.

Key Points
i. Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADU) partnered with the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) has entered into a five year agreement with organizers of the T10 league for 5 years.
ii. T10 is the shortest form of cricket which was first played in UAE in 2017.

6) Special Olympics World Games 2019 held in Abu Dhabi 
The 15th Special Olympics World Summer Games 2019 for athletes with Intellectual disabilities held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates with motto “Meet the Determined”. The event saw the participation of 190 countries. The next Special Olympic Games are set to take place in Swedenin 2021.

Key Points
i. India wins 368 medals at the Special Olympics World Summer Games including 85 gold, 154 silver and 129 bronzeJitendra Pawal won a gold medal in the 200m race.
ii. Medals are won in Judo, Athletics, Cycling, Aquatics, Powerlifting, Basketball Traditional, Table Tennis, Roller skating, Badminton, Handball Traditional and Football 7 Side Female competitions in the game.
iii. Out of 24 Olympic type sports which featured the World Cup, India participated in 14 types. It is for the 9th time India has participated in the Special Olympics.
iv. India participated in Judo and Futsal for the first time. 
About United Arab Emirates
♦ Capital – Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency – Dirham

7) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observed on March 21
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March to raise awareness about the negative consequences of racial discrimination.  In 2019, it was observed with a theme “Mitigating and countering rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies”.

i. The day commemorates the Sharpeville massacreon 21 March 1960, which involved killing of 69 people by police, at a peaceful demonstration against the Apartheid regime (a regime which embraced racial discrimination) in Sharpeville, South Africa.
ii. The UN General Assembly proclaimed the day as a UN Day of observance in 1966.

8) World Down Syndrome Day observed on March 21
World Down Syndrome Day is observed annually on March 21 to raise awareness about Down syndrome, a congenital disorder caused by having an extra 21st chromosome. This year the focus of the day was on “Leave no one behind” by creating opportunities for people with Down syndrome to live fulfilling lives.
i. The day was first recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) on March 21, 2007 then from 2012 onwards, UN General Assembly decided to designate 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day.

9) World Poetry Day observed on 21st March
World Poetry Day observed on 21st March 2019 to encourage the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry throughout the world.
i. In the year 1999, UNESCO, in its 30th General Conference in Paris, has declared this day to support linguistic diversity and to safeguard endangered languages.
About UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization):
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France

10) International Day of Forests observed on 21st March 
International Day of Forests(IDF) 2019 was observed on 21st of March 2019 all over the world.

i.Theme for International Day of Forests: “Forests and Education – Learn to Love Forests”.
ii. It has been organized since 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly with an aim to raise awareness and educate people about the importance of forest for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.

11) India’s GDP growth forecast trimmed to 6.8% for FY20 by Fitch
Fitch rating in its Global Economic Outlook, has decreased the India’s economic growth forecast to 6.8% from 7% earlier for FY19-20 (1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020).
i. Fitch also slashed GDP growth forecast for FY19 (ending March 2019) to 7.2% from 7.8% that was projected in the December edition.
ii. For FY21, the economic growth of India is fore casted at 7.1% from earlier 7.3%.
iii. The key reason behind the decrease in growth forecast is the cutting of interest rates by 0.25 percentages by RBI in February 2019 after adapting dovish monetary policy.

12) Seven Indian names marked in “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019”
The “100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy” list is comprised of seven Indian names including Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Dr Harsh Vardhan, who took important measures to combat climate change. The list is prepared by Apolitical, a peer to peer learning platform for governments.
i. The tenure of Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal escalated renewable energy through the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme.
ii. While Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan has motivated scientists to develop new technologies to tackle  environmental problems, which resulted in making India a leader in environmental preservation.

i. The 25 years old Indian origin Varshini Prakash also made it to the list.
ii. The list has been topped by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Congresswoman, US Congress) followed by Anne Hidalgo (Mayor, Paris) and Anthony Nyong (Director for Climate Change and Green Growth, African Devlopment Bank Group)

13) PhonePe appointed Aamir Khan as Brand Ambassador
On 21st March 2019, India’s fastest growing payments platform PhonePe appointed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as its brand Ambassador.

Key Points
i. PhonePe is the official co-presenting sponsor for VIVO IPL 2019. It is planning to launch a series of new advertisements with a mass appeal by its ambassador on the benefits of digital payments.
ii. Bangalore headquartered PhonePe is a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) based online payment system for electronic fund transfer launch by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

14) ‘Mi Pay’, a UPI-Based Payments App launched by Xiaomi in India
On 20th March 2019, Xiaomi launched Mi Pay, a UPI (Unified Payments Interface) Based mobile payment service in India to send money from one bank account to another or between UPI (Unified Payments Interface) accounts.

Key Points:
i. The service provider of this application is ICICI Bank.
ii. It was certified by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
iii. A customer can pay various types of bills, make DTH recharge with the help of this application.
About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
 Founded: 2008
 COO:  Praveena Rai
 Headquarter: Mumbai
About Xiaomi:
 Establishment – 2010
 Headquarters: Beijing, China
 CEO: Lei Jun

15) A new ‘Shiksha Vani’ application was launched by CBSE 
On 22 March 2019, a new application named ‘Shiksha Vani’ was launched by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to publicize crucial information to students and parents in a timely manner”. As a part of it, the app has already uploaded the circular regarding the evaluation procedure for the 2019 Board Examinations.

About Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) 
 Formation: 3rd November 1962
 Headquarters: New Delhi
 Chairperson: Anita Karwal

16) A book titled ‘The Great Disappointment: How Narendra Modi Squandered a Unique Opportunity to Transform the Indian Economy’ written by  Salman Anees Soz launched
On 20th March 2019, ‘The Great Disappointment: How Narendra Modi Squandered A Unique Opportunity to Transform the Indian Economy’ book released by economic commentator and Congress member Salman Anees Soz.

  1. This book is the evaluation of P.M Modi’s impact on Indian economy in 5 years.The book has been published by Penguin Random House India.

17) Indian word ‘chuddies’ added to Oxford Dictionary
On 21st March 2019, The Indian English word ‘chuddies’ recognized as official English word by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The word is one of the new 650 entries announced by the OED.
Key Points
i. The contribution of word “chuddies” to the English vocabulary was made by a show which was aired on BBC in the mid-1990s named ‘Goodness Gracious Me’. The show received the gold award for comedy in 1997.
ii. The word underpants or means short trousers or shorts. It qualifies as a regional vocabulary because it is a mixture of English and Hindi which is an example of Queen’s Hinglish.

18) World Water Day (WWD) 2019 observed on 22nd March
Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) is an initiative taken by Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs to focus on water supply, sewerage facilities, storm water drains to reduce flooding, creating and upgrading green spaces and other facilities in the urban areas.

  1. Theme for World Water Day 2019 is “Leaving no one behind”.
    ii. In the year 1993, it was first observed by United Nations General Assembly.
    United Nations General Assembly
    Headquarters: New York City, New York, United States
     Founder: United Nations
     Founded: 1945, New York City, New York, United States

19) Delhi IGI Airport becomes the 12th busiest in the world as per ACI report
In accordance with the preliminary world airport traffic rankings for 2018 released by Airports Council International (ACI), the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) of New Delhi has elevated 4 ranks to reach at 12th spot in terms of busiest airport as compared to 2017’s 16 spot.

  1. The list of world’s busiest airports by passenger trafficranking has been topped by Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (US) followed by Beijing Capital International Airport (China) and Dubai International Airport (UAE).
    ii. In 2018, India has followed US and China to become the world’s third-largest aviation market in terms of passenger throughput.

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20) Microsoft able to translate digital information into DNA
On 22nd March 2018, Microsoft developed a storage device in partnership with the University of Washington that can translate digital information into DNA.

Key Points:
i. The software used in the system converts the 1’s and 0’s of digital data into DNA sequence (A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s) and stored it as a liquid.
ii. The device converted the word ‘Hello’ into DNA which took 21 hours.
About Microsoft Corporation
CEO: Satya Nadella
Founded: 4 April 1975, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Headquarters:Redmond, Washington, United States
Founders:Bill Gates, Paul Allen

21) World Meteorological Day observed on March 23
World Meteorological Day is observed annually on March 23 to commemorate the establishment of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1950. The day also underlines the efforts of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services for the safety and well-being of society.

i. The theme 2019 was “The Sun, the Earth and the Weather”.
ii. The day was first observed in 1961.
About World Meteorological Organization
Head – David Grimes
 Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
 Parent organization: United Nations Economic and Social Council

22) Italy’s Earth-Watching PRISMA Satellite launched by Vega Rocket 
On 21st March 2019, Italy’s new Earth-observation satellite named PRISMA (Precursore Iperspettrale della Missione Applicativa) launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana by 98 foot (30 meters) tall Vega rocket which was developed by the joint venture of Italian Space Agency OHB Italia SpA and the European Space Agency LEONARDO SpA.

Key Points: 
i. PRISMA is an electro-optical instrument, which is designed to take medium resolution photos to give information about environmental monitoring, natural resources, pollution and crop health.
ii. The PRISMA satellite will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit.

23) Book titled “Every Vote Counts” by Navin Chawla launched by Hamid Ansari in New Delhi
On 23rd March 2019, former Chief Election Commissioner of India Navin Chawla’s book ‘Every Vote Counts’ was launched by former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari in New Delhi.

  1. This book is about how the electoral machinery works in India.
    ii. The book has been published by HarperCollins India.

24) March 24 observed as World Tuberculosis Day
On 24th March 2019, World Tuberculosis Day was observed to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis.World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund and Stop TB launched a joint initiative ‘Find. Treat. All. #End TB’ on the World TB day.

Key Points
i. The theme for World Tuberculosis Day 2019 was  ‘Its time’ which drew the attention of the global leaders towards the immediate need to end the global epidemic tuberculosis.
ii. India achieves 84% fall in TB deaths among HIV affected patients by 2017. The global efforts to combat TB was successful by saving around 54 million lives since 2000. It reduced the mortality rate by 42%.
iii. Centre and State Government working together to make India TB-free by 2025,which is a five year ahead of the global target.
About World Health Organization
 Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland
  Head: Tedros Adhanom

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25) International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade observed on 25th March
On 25th March 2019, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was observed all over the world to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and to honour and to remember people who suffered for the slavery system.

Key Points:
i. The theme for International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2019 was “Remember Slavery: The Power of the Arts for Justice”.
ii.The day was first observed in 2008, which was recognized by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) after adopting a resolution in 2007.


26) MITRASHAKTI – VI, a Joint training exercise between Indian and Sri Lanka Army held in Diyatalawa in Sri Lanka
From 26 March to 08 April 2019, the joint training exercise MITRASHAKTI – VI between Indian and Sri Lanka Army is being held at Diyatalawa in Sri Lanka to strengthen interoperability, mutual understanding and built a better relationship between both the armies.

Key Points:
i. An Indian contingent of 120 Army personnel, including 11 officers took part in this exercise.
ii. It is an annual event held in India and Sri Lanka alternatively. The previous exercise (MITRASHAKTI – V) was held at Pune, India where 120 personnel of Sri Lanka Army had participated.
iii. The exercise will also help to build excellence in tackling terrorism, conduct of joint tactical operations and building combat skills.
About Sri Lanka
 Capitals: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
 Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
 Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
 President: Maithripala Sirisena

27) India becomes the 4th country to conduct A-SAT missile test “Mission Shakti” successfully
On 27 March 2019, India has proved its capability of defending its outer space assets afterDefence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted a successful Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test “Mission Shakti” from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island (earlier, Wheeler island) in Odisha. It took just 3 minute.This is India’s first successful Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test.

  1. The target was hit by the DRDO developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile, in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a “Hit to Kill” mode at a height of 300 km from the earth’s surface. The satellite used as target in the mission was one of India’s existing satellites.
    ii. Mission Shakti is a joint programme of DRDO and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    iii. There are many countries which have A-SAT capability but it has been demonstrated by only 4 countries: United States, Russia, China and India.
    Related PointInternational law on weapons in outer space
    The principal international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons. India is a signatory to this treaty. So, adhering to this, this test is just a credible deterrence against threats to India’s space based assets.

28) To boost Electoral Process, Social-networking site Facebook launches two new tools “Candidate Connect” and “Share You Voted”
On 27th March 2019, Facebook launched two new tools called “Candidate Connect” and “Share You Voted”, specifically for Indian users to encourage civic engagement on its platform during the general elections 2019.
Key Points:
i. A new video feature “Candidate Connect” enable voters to see 20-second videos from candidates in their constituencies and the “Share You Voted” which will help people to find polling station information.
ii. The moves will help to prevent fake news and to make sure that it doesn’t impact the general election in India.
iii. These new tools are available in 12 local languages across India.
About Facebook
 Founded: February 4, 2004
 Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, U.S.
 Founder: Mark Zuckerberg

29) Singapore airport named world’s best aviation hub for the seventh time
On 28th March 2019, Skytrax World Airport Awards named Singapore’s Changi Airport as the the world’s best aviation hub for the seventh time in a row, while Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi climbed 8 places to rank at 59th Position.

Key Points
i. The Skytrax World Airport Awards are voted for by customers in a global airport customer satisfaction survey and the awards were distributed at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2019 in London.
ii. Tokyo International Airport(Japan) was ranked at the second spot whereas Incheon International Airport(South Korea) ranked at the third spot.

30) Nobel Prize recipient Amartya Sen honoured with Oxford University’s Bodley award 
On 27th March 2019, Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has been honoured with the prestigious Bodley Medal, the highest honour bestowed by the University of Oxford’s world-famous Bodleian Libraries for his contribution in literature, culture, science, and communication.
Key Points:
i. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in welfare economics and social choice theory.
ii. The other winners of the Bodley Medal are Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, physicist Stephen Hawking, novelist Hilary Mantel and inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee.

31) Researchers from University of Texas has discovered two planets using AI 
Astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with Google have discovered two hidden planets in the data collected by the Kepler space telescope. They have created an algorithm that has explored the data taken by Kepler to find out signals that were missed by traditional planet-hunting methods.
About newly discovered Planets:

  • K2-293b – It orbits a star 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius.
  • K2-294b – It orbits a star 1,230 light-years away, also located in Aquarius.
  • They both are hot planets and have short orbital periods. They are slightly larger than Earth.
  • They are discovered from the Kepler’s extended mission, called K2.

About the study:
After getting the confirmation of the existence of these planets through AI, the team then used ground-based telescopes to further confirm that the planets are real. These observations were done with the 1.5-meter telescope at the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory in Arizona and the Gillett Telescope at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. The study led by Anne Dattilo, is published in the The Astronomical Journal.

32) Commerce Ministry unveils Blockchain-based app for Coffee farmers
The commerce ministry has unveiled a blockchain-based coffee e-marketplace which will facilitate farmers to integrate with markets to get aware of fair prices for the commodity.
Key points
i. It will reduce the number of layers between coffee growers and buyers and help farmers double their income.

33) Book “Indian Fiscal Federalism” authored by Dr. Y. V. Reddy and Dr. G. R. Reddy has been released
The Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das launched the book “Indian Fiscal Federalism” authored by Dr. Y.V. Reddy and G.R. Reddy. The launch event of the book was addressed by the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission NK Singh, in New Delhi.

i. Dr. Y.V. Reddy has served as the Governor of RBI during 2003-2008 and as the Chairman of the 14thFinance Commission of India.
ii. Dr. G.R. Reddy is serving as the Advisor (Finance) to the Government of Telangana.

34) In child marriage incidents, Tripura ranks second highest in India
Tripura has been ranked at second place in India,in terms of child marriages among girls between the age of 15 and 19 years, according to a report released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Young Lives – an international study on childhood poverty.The survey has been coordinated by the team of University of Oxford.
Key Points:
i. Tripura occupies 21.6 percent which is significantly higher than the national average of 11.9 percent of child marriage incidents.
ii. Its four districts namely Dhalai, South Tripura, North Tripura, and West Tripura have the highest number of child marriage.
About Tripura
 Capital: Agartala
 Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki
 Chief Minister: Biplab Kumar Deb
 Wildlife Sanctuary: Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary, Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary

35) The single-use plastics are banned by the European Parliament
On 28th March 2019, The European Parliament has banned the single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers that despoils beaches and pollutes oceans.

Key Points:
i. This ban will be effective from 2021 in all EU member states.
ii. The law sets a target to gather 90 percent of plastic bottles for recycling by 2029 and plastic bottles should be produced with 25 percent recycled material by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.
About European Union
Headquarters:City of Brussels, Belgium
Founded: 1 November 1993, Maastricht, Netherlands

36) Shangai becomes 1st district with 5G coverage
On 30th March, 2019, China’s Shanghai claimed to have the world’s first district with 5G coverage and a broadband gigabit network. It has conducted trial runs of the 5G network in Shanghai’s Hongkou district.

i. The trial runs of the 5G network started in Shanghai’s Hongkou district.
ii.5G base stations had been deployed over the last three months to ensure full coverage in Hongkou.
iii.Shangai’s 5G network is backed by state-run telecom carrier China Mobile.

 

 

 

 

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