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Current Affairs March 29 2019

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Current Affairs March 29 2019


Interaction of India with ambassadors and High Commissioners of European and Oceania Countries in New Delhi
On 28th March 2019, an Interactive session was held between India and ambassadors & High Commissioners of European and Oceania Countries in New Delhi. The aim of the interactive session was to take economic ties with European and Oceania countries to a next level. Various trade negotiations were also discussed in the session.
Key Points
i. Bilateral trade between India and Europe is of USD 130.1 Billion and import and export between the countries has registered double digit growth.
ii. India is the fifth largest exporter for Australia and major exports from India to Australia include refined Petroleum, Business services and Pharmaceutical.
iii. Companies from Oceania, have invested around 1034.2 million US Dollars in India market between April 2000 and December 2018.
About European Union
♦ Capital: Brussels
♦ President of Council: Donald Tusk
♦ President of the Parliament: Antonio Tajani


Pentagon diversion of US $1 Billion for US-Mexico border Wall
The Pentagon,the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence has notified that it has authorized to shift US $1 billion from a military personnel account to establish a new wall of 57 mile and 18 foot high fence at the southern U.S. Mexico border.
Key points
i. This wall would prevent illegal migration and drug trafficking from Mexico.
ii. Department of Defense has authorised the Army Corp of Engineers to begin planning and construction for the project.
iii. The department will direct the funds towards fencing along the Yuma and El Paso sections of the border.
About United States
♦ Capital- Washington, D.C.
♦ President- Donald Trump
♦ Currency- US Dollar

US signed agreement with Oman to use its Southern Ports
The United States Navy has signed an agreement with Oman to use the southern Omani ports which will allow American ships and warplanes to take advantage of omani ports and airports.

Key points
i. This deal is aimed at bolstering Omani-American military relations.
ii. The deal will benefit the facilities offered at some of the Sultanate’s ports and airports during visits of the US military vessels and aircraft, particularly in the port of Duqm.
About Oman
♦ Capital- Muscat
♦ Currency- Omani Rial

Ottawa hosted 16th meeting of the Canada-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism
The 16th meeting of the Canada-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and its Expert Sub-group was held in Ottawa on 26th and 27th March to provide detailed briefings on their respective nation’s counter-terrorism priorities, strategies and legislative frameworks.

Key points
i. The meeting has reviewed the threats posed by terrorist groups worldwide and in their respective countries and regions.
ii. In this meeting, India and Canada have signed an agreement on a Joint Action Plan outlining to strengthen collaboration in counter-terrorism.
About Canada
♦ Capital – Ottawa
♦ Currency- Canadian Dollar
♦ PM- Justin Trudeau

Google has launched global advisory council for AI and Tech Ethics
Google has constituted an eight-member Advanced Technology External Advisory Council that will examine the ethical challenges related to artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies.

Googlei. The aim of the council is to provide recommendations for Google and other companies and researchers regarding the AI.
ii. The council will meet four times, beginning in April and will publish its report by the end of 2019.
About Google:
♦ Parent organization – Alphabet Inc.
♦ Headquarters – Mountain View, California, United States
♦ CEO – Sundar Pichai
♦ Founders – Larry Page, Sergey Brin


Govt decides to infuse Rs 5042 Cr into Bank Of Baroda ahead of the merger
On 28th March 2019, The government has decided to infuse a capital of 5,042 crore rupees into state-owned Bank of Baroda ahead of its merger with two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank,with Bank of Baroda which would be effective from 1st April 2019.
Key Points:
i. With this initiative, the share price of Bank of Baroda rose 6.21% to 129.10 compared to the previous close of 121.55 on BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange).
ii. According to the Scheme of Amalgamation, shareholders of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will get 402 equity shares and 110 equity shares of BoB respectively for every 1,000 shares held.
About Bank of Baroda
♦ HeadquartersAlkapuri, Vadodara
♦ MD and CEO: S. Jayakumar
♦ Tagline: India’s International Bank


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.


Tashigang becomes the World’s highest Polling station
Tashigang at an altitude of 15,256 feet has now became the world’s highest polling station in the sleepy hamlet of Buddhist-dominated Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
Key points:
i. Tashigang polling station falls in one of the 17 assembly segments that form the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.
ii. This polling station covers two villages of Tashigang and Gete. As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women.
About Himachal Pradesh
♦ Capital- Shimla
♦ CM- Shri Jai Ram Thakur
♦ Governor- Acharya Dev Vrat


Rustom Irani appointed as Hitachi Payment Services’ Managing Director
On 29th March 2019, Rustom Irani, the CEO of Cash Business of Hitachi Payment has been appointed as the new Managing Director of Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. (Hitachi Payments). He will succeed Loney Antony.
Key Point:
i. Rustom served as the Chief Operations Officer of Hitachi Payment Services, before assuming the role of the CEO of the company’s Cash Business in April 2018.
ii. He worked with MindTree as the Senior Vice President in the IMTS business, also worked with Sify, Yahoo India, and Citibank India’s Technology Division.
About Hitachi
♦ Headquarters:Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
♦ CEO:Toshiaki Higashihara
♦ Founded:1910
About Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd
♦ Founded:2005
♦ Parent organization:Hitachi

Indian Test Cricketer, Mayank Agarwal, appointed as Brand Ambassador of Aeronutrix’s Fast&Up 
On 29th March 2019, Indian Test Cricketer, Mayank Agarwal, appointed as Brand Ambassador of Aeronutrix’s Fast&Up Rope for the growth of the fast-moving healthcare goods business in India.
Key Points:
i. He has a record of making 1000 runs on the domestic season in 2017-18, within a single month.
ii. This sports nutrition brand is backed by innovative Swiss technology.


PFC has been named as the India’s second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after SBI
After acquiring majority stake in REC Ltd (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), centre backed Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has become the India’s second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after State Bank of India (SBI), based on market capitalization.

i. PFC has bought the 52.63% controlling stake in REC through Rs 14,500 crore deal with Union government.
ii. The REC’ shares were acquired at Rs139.50 per equity share price. 70% of the deal was financed through cash inflows and the balance through debt.
iii. This acquisition has impacted union government beneficially, as it exceeded the disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for the fiscal year 2018-19.
Related Points:
♦ PFC CMD – Rajeev Sharma
♦ REC CMD – Ramesh V Penumaka


Hyper local connectivity app “Bhonga” initiated in Mumbai
A hyper-local connectivity app called “Bhonga” has been developed by Mumbai-based Company Linkus Infratech, to connect users to their neighborhood people in the city even without an Internet connection.
i. “Bhonga” is a Marathi word which means megaphone or loudspeaker.
ii. This app automatically provides the lists the user living within the radius of one kilometre. The app supports voice notes as well as photos.
iii. Anyone can open their phone and send a message that is delivered to other users in the neighbourhood, wherever they are.
iv. The app is available for Android as well as iOS users and supports Hindi and English languages.


United Nations‘ weather agency, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its annual ‘State of the Global Climate Report’
On 28th March 2019,a new report on ‘the state of the Global Climate in 2018’, of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has warned that the physical and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating day by day.
Key Points:
i. It is the 25th annual record of the Global climate.
ii. In this report, there is a significant impact on temperatures, as 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and almost 1 degree C above from the period of 1850 to 1900.
iii. It was reported that for the effect of greenhouse gases, temperatures may increase up to 3 – 5 degrees C compared to the previous record by the end of the century also, the sea levels were 3.7 milimeters higher than in 2017.
iv.In 1994, when the statement was first released, the Carbon dioxide levels were at 357.0 parts per million but in 2017, it was 405.5 parts per million. Also, it is expected that greenhouse gas concentrations will increase in upcoming years.
v.UN Secretary-General  Antonio Guterres warned countries to come with concrete plans at an upcoming climate summit, which will be held on 23 September to tackle the climate crisis.
About World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
♦ Founded23 March 1950
♦ HeadDavid Grimes
♦ Parent organizationUnited Nations Economic and Social Council
♦ HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland


Mixed team event Hopman Cup,an indoor hardcourt tennis tournament, replaced by the ATP World Team Cup after 31 years
On 28th March 2019, the unique mixed teams Hopman Cup (Tennis tournament) in Perth has been replaced by the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Team Cup after 31 years.
Key Points:
i. Now three cities Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth will host the new men-only tournament (ATP World Team Cup) final.
ii. The ATP world team cup will be played from 3rd January for 10 days in the lead-up to the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, which will start in 2020.
iii. Hopman Cup was named after Australian tennis player Harry Hopman. This year Swiss pair Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic won the Cup.

World Cup 2022 Security Deal signed between Qatar and France in Doha
On 28th March 2019, FIFA (The Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup 2022 security agreement aimed at building a strategic partnership for the preparation of the world cup and management of the security of event, signed between Qatar and France.

The agreement was signed after the meeting of Qatar Prime Minister, Sheikh Abdallah bin Khalifa al-Thani and French Prime minister, Edouard Philippe.

Australia’s Tim Cahill retired from his Football Career
Australia’s top goalscorer, 39-year-old, Tim Cahill has announced his retirement from football to focus on a career in media and coaching.He retired from International Football last year.
Tim CahillThe Final stint of Tim Cahill came in India playing for Jamshedpur FC at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Chelsea and Argentina striker, Gonzalo Higuain retired from international football
On 29th March 2019, 31 years old Chelsea and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain has announced his retirement from international football citing family reasons.
Gonzalo HiguainKey Points:
i. He was born on 10th December 1987 in Brest, France
ii. He scored 31 goals in 75 Argentina appearances.
iii. Last year at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, he played for Argentina where they defeated Nigeria 2-1.
About Argentina national football team
♦ Founded:1901
♦ Head coach:Lionel Scaloni
♦ Captain:Lionel Messi


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.

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


Journalist Prafulla Rajguru passed away at the age of 82
Veteran journalist, academician, social worker and columnist Prafulla Rajguru has passed away at the age 82 due to hip injury in Jorhat, Assam.
i. In 1997, he had retired as the head of the English department from DCB Girls College in Jorhat, and then he joined Assamese daily ‘Amar Asom’, where he served till year 2000.
ii. He was also the founder President of Jorhat Press Club and served as its adviser till his death.

Mumbai activist HS D’Lima passed away aged 84
On 26th March 2019, Mumbai activist HS D’Lima who fought against illegal constructions and slumification of Mumbai’s gaothans passed away at the age of 84 years.
Key Points:
i. He was from Andheri Gaothan, Maharashtra.
ii. He was attacked with knives and stabbed in the back because of his activism against noise pollution.
About Maharashtra
♦ Capital:Mumbai
♦ Governor:  Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ National park: Chandoli National Park, Gugamal National Park, Nawegaon National Park, Tadoba National Park.


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
♦ CapitalAgartala
♦ GovernorKaptan Singh Solanki
♦ Chief MinisterBiplab Kumar Deb
♦ Wildlife Sanctuary: Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary, Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary

Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Mukesh Sahu launched a new initiative called ‘Enajori’ in Guwahati
On 29th March 2019, Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Mukesh Sahu launched a new initiative called ‘Enajori’ at Janata Bhawan, Dispur in Guwahati for persons with disabilities with an aim that ‘No Voter to be Left behind’.
Key Points:
i. The initiative to make Lok Sabha Elections accessible to Persons with Disability (PwD) voters is a joint initiative of Assam CEO and Social Welfare Department.
ii. Under this initiative a comprehensive mapping of PwDs will be done by consulting with Booth Level Officers, Divyang Sarothis and a woman mascot-Chandraprabha, to help the PwD voters for barrier-free and inclusive accessible elections.
About Assam
♦ CapitalDispur
♦ Chief MinisterSarbananda Sonowal

ECI appoints Special Central Police Observer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Election Commission of India has appointed Shree K K Sharma (IPS 1982 Retd DG Border Security Force) as the Central Police Observer for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.He would oversee the deployment and other security related issues in both the states.
K K Sharma was earlier nominated for the States of West Bengal and Jharkhand but his appointment was objected by the opposition parties of both states.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital- Amaravati. 
♦ CM- N. Chandrababu Naidu.
♦ Governor- E.S.L. Narasimahan
About Telangana
♦ Capital- Hyderabad
♦ CM- K. Chandrashekar Rao
♦ Governor- E.S.L. Narasimham.