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CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
EU parliament approves ban on single use plastics
- An EU-wide ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world’s oceans.
- It had already been approved in negotiations with member states and EU officials and it will now be rapidly approved into law. The ban comes into effect from 2021.
- The law sets a target that 90 per cent of plastic bottles will be gathered for recycling by 2029 and that they should be produced with 25 percent recycled material by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030.
- According to the EU Commission, the products prohibited under the law represent 70 percent of the waste that pours into the world’s oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL
India’s Poverty Declines from 55% to 28% as per UNDP report
- According to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2018, India drastically reduced its poverty rate from 55 percent to 28 percent between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
- The report was developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
- India still had 364 million poor in 2015-16, the largest for any country, although it is down from 635 million in 2005-06. Globally, the poverty rate was found to be 23%.
- Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia regions accounted together for 83% (more than 1.1 billion) of all multidimensionally poor people in the world.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATE
Telangana government launches digital portal for MSMEs
- The State government launched a digital business networking portal for MSMEs – Telangana State GlobalLinker (ts-msme.globallinker.com) – to digitise over 2.3 million MSMEs of the State.
- The solution aims to address key challenges faced by MSMEs with the core objective of making their business growth – simpler, more profitable and enjoyable.
- Telangana State GlobalLinker will provide MSMEs – a digital profile (including an online product catalogue an eCommerce store), access to global networking opportunities to find buyers & suppliers, economies of scale on a wide range of business services, access to industry news, articles and discussions.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
Government to infuse Rs. 5,042 cr into Bank of Baroda
- The government has decided to infuse Rs. 5,042 crore into state-owned Bank of Baroda (BoB) ahead of merger of two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with BoB.
- The merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with BoB would be effective from April 1
- According to the Scheme of Amalgamation, shareholders of Vijaya Bank will get 402 equity shares of BoB for every 1,000 shares held. In the case of Dena Bank, its shareholders will get 110 shares for every 1,000 shares of BoB
|Bank of Baroda CEO||P. S. Jayakumar|
|Bank of Baroda Headquarters||Vadodara|
|Bank of Baroda Tagline||India’s International Bank|
Axis Bank opens its 4,000th branch in Pune
- The country’s 3rd largest private bank, Axis Bank, has opened its 4,000th branch in the country in Pune at Eon, Kharadi.
- The new branch was inaugurated by Amitabh Chaudhry, Managing Director and CEO, Axis Bank, and Ravi Narayanan, President and Head Branch Banking, Axis Bank.
- The bank has added 297 branches in the current fiscal across India
|Axis Bank MD & CEO||Amitabh Chaudhry|
|Tagline||Badhti Ka naam Zindagi|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
NTPC launches MTN issue to raise USD 450 million
- State-run power giant NTPC launched a medium term notes (MTN or bond) issue to raise USD 450 million (approx Rs 3,105 crore), which is a part of its USD 6 billion (approx Rs 41,400 crore) MTN programme.
- The funds raised through this MTN issue will be used for capital expenditure by the company. MTN is also known as bonds in overseas markets.
- They carry coupon (rate) of 3.75% per annum payable semi-annually. They are expected to be settled by April 2019.
- The notes will mature on April 2024 and all principal and interest payments will be made in US Dollars.
- The notes will be listed on Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd, India International Exchange (IFSC) Ltd and NSE IFSC Ltd.
- The net proceeds from these notes will be used to finance NTPC’s capital expenditure of ongoing and new power projects, coal mining projects, acquisition of power projects and renovation and modernisation of power stations.
|National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC)|
|NTPC Chairman & MD||Gurdeep Singh|
|NTPC Headquarters||New Delhi|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: AWARDS AND HONOURS
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen honoured with Oxford University’s Bodley Medal
- Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has been awarded the prestigious Bodley Medal, the highest honour bestowed by the University of Oxford’s world-famous Bodleian Libraries.
- The Medal is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fields in which the Bodleian is active, including literature, culture, science and communication.
- This year’s other winner of the Bodley Medal is Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.
- Past winners of the honour include physicist Stephen Hawking, novelist Hilary Mantel and inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION
Ombudsman DK Jain named BCCI’s Ethics Officer on interim basis
- The Supreme Court appointed Retired Justice DK Jain as BCCI’s Ethics Officer on an interim basis.
- He was already appointed last month as the BCCI Ombudsman, will double up as the Ethics Officer until a full-time appointment is made.
Manohar Ajgaonkar appointed as Deputy CM of Goa
- Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar, who switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), was appointed as the state’s new Deputy Chief Minister
- Ajgaonkar has become the second deputy chief minister after Vijai Sardesai in the Pramod Sawant government in Goa.
- The development comes a day after Sudin Dhavalikar was dropped as the Deputy Chief Minister and two MLAs of MGP merged their party’s legislative wing with the BJP.
Abhay Thakur appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Benin
- Shri Abhay Thakur has been appointed as next Ambassador of India to Republic of Benin
- Thakur, a 1992 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer, presently working as High Commissioner of India to the Federal Republic of Nigeria
|Benin Currency||CFA franc, West African CFA franc|
|Benin President||Patrice Talon|
Policy X.com appointed legendary cricketer ‘Virender Sehwag’ as its Brand Ambassador
- An online insurance web aggregator PolicyX.com has roped in legendary cricketer Virender Sehwag as it’s Brand Ambassador.
- It has launched its biggest marketing campaign, spread across the insurance products basket of term insurance, health insurance, life insurance, car insurance and others.
- CEO & Founder of PolicyX.com is Naval Goel.
Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM assumes charge as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO)
- Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM NM has assumed charge as Director General Naval Operations
- He is a graduate of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 01 Jul 85. He will succeed Satish Namdeo Ghormade.
- The Flag Officer has experience as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) specialist officer at onboard INShips Himgiri, Agray,and Ganga.
- He is a recipient of the Nao Sena Medal in 2011 and the AthiVishistSeva Medal in 2019.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: RANKING AND INDEX
Adani becomes first Indian port operator to record 200 MMT cargo movement
- Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has recorded cargo movement of more than 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) at nine ports along the east and west coasts, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone.
- Their projections were to reach this milestone by 2020 but they could achieve it ahead of schedule.
- APSEZ plans to double the growth up to 400 MMT by 2025
Skytrax World Airport Awards announced Singapore’s Changi Airport named best, New Delhi’s IGI at 59th
- Singapore’s Changi Airport has been crowned the world’s best aviation hub for the seventh time in a row, while New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport featured at number 59, according to the Skytrax World Airport Awards.
- At number two on the list is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), up one place from 2018. This hub also won World’s Best Domestic Airport and World’s Cleanest Airport.
- Breaching the top three is Incheon International Airport, down one place from its second-place spot in 2018. Incheon remains a stalwart of the airport rankings, also nabbing an award for World’s Best Transit Airport.
- New Delhi’s IGI Airport was eight points up this year after featuring at the 66th spot in 2018.
- The other Indian aiports in the list were Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 64, down one point from the previous year, the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport at 66, up 10 points and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport at 69, down five points.
Vijaywada Railway Station Gets ‘Gold Rating’ For Green Measures
- Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest railway junctions in the country, has received Gold Rating by the Indian Green Building Council.
- The IGBC-CII, with the support of the Environment Directorate of Indian Railways, developed the Green Railway Stations Rating System to facilitate adoption of green concepts, thereby reduce the adverse environmental impact due to station operation and maintenance and also enhance the overall commuter experience.
- Vijayawada Railway Station was ranked fourth in the Indian Railways for cleanliness among A-1 category stations.
- The station boasts of 100 per cent LED lighting,five star rated fans, pumps and motors and solar water heating systems.
|Andhra Pradesh Capital||Hyderabad, Amaravathi|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SUMMITS AND CONFERENCE
Nepal Investment Summit to be organised on March 29-30 in Kathmandu
- The Government of Nepal is organizing 3rd edition of ‘Nepal Investment Summit 2019’ on March 29 -30 in Kathmandu.
- The main objective of the event is to project Nepal as a favourable investment destination.
- Summit will unveil potential opportunities for investment in various sectors in Nepal including Hydropower, Tourism, Infrastructure, Industry, Transport, Agriculture and Information and Communication Technology.
- About 600 foreign delegates and investors from 40 countries are participating in the Summit with maximum participation from China and India.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
IIT-Delhi researchers develop AI-based detector for malaria, TB, cervical cancer
- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-based low-power electronic hardware system that can help in detecting malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal parasite and cervical cancer in a few milliseconds.
- The research focuses on building a neuromorphic system which can be used for healthcare access in resource-constrained areas with limited access to human specialists.
- The portable device is trained to detect microorganisms in the biological samples.
- It was built on Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer attached to an infrared-sensitive camera.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SPORTS
31-year-old Hopman Cup replaced by new ATP Cup
- The city of Perth in Western Australia (WA) will no longer play host to the Hopman Cup, Tennis Australia confirmed.
- The 31st edition of the tournament was the last edition of the game and ended in January 2019.
- Instead, the mixed tournament format will be replaced with an all men’s event called the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Cup.
- Played across three cities, Perth will join Sydney and Brisbane as the hosts of the new competition which is set to feature 100 of the world’s top male players.
Break dancing and three other makes next move to Olympic status at Paris 2024
- The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended adding breakdancing, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
- This decision was taken by the IOC’s executive board in the meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland. Final Decision will be taken after the end of 2020.
|International Olympic Committee (IOC)|
|IOC President||Thomas Bach|
|IOC Headquarters||Lausanne, Switzerland|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARIES
Russian cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky passed away
- Soviet-era cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky has passed away
- He was one of the first group of military pilots chosen to join his country’s space program
- He first flew to space in June 1963 as a member of the Vostok-5 crew. Bykovsky flew again in 1976 and a final time in 1978, spending nearly 21 days in orbit in his combined flights.
- He was a recipient of the Hero of the Soviet Union and Order of Lenin awards.