Daily Current Affairs - 04th Mar 2018

Advani-led India beat Pakistan to win Snooker Team World Cup

  • The Indian combine of Pankaj Advani and Manan Chandra staged a remarkable recovery to pip Pakistan in the final of the inaugural IBSF Snooker Team World Cup. After being 0-2 down in the best-of-five final played , India found themselves in a deeper hole at 0-30 down in the third frame.
  • In the fourth frame, even though Advani found himself in a spot of bother when trailing 1-20 against Babar Masih, he took charge of the proceedings and displayed his mastery once again by clearing the table with a 69 break.
  • This made India draw parity with Pakistan and it all boiled down to the final frame to determine the first winners of the inaugural event.

Assam govt. extends AFSPA by six months

  • The Assam government announced extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act by another six months in the Sate.
  • According to a statement, the Home and Political Department of Assam, through a notification issued on February 28, declared the entire State a “disturbed area” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
  • The Armed Forces (Special Powers) (AFSPA) Act , gives special rights and immunity to security forces in carrying out various operations in “disturbed” areas, has been extended by up to six months unless withdrawn earlier.

Bharati Defence delivers interceptor boat to Coast Guard

  • Bharati Defence and Infrastructure Ltd (BDIL) delivered an interceptor boat – C-162 – to Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at BDIL jetty in Mangaluru. It is fifth interceptor boat delivered by BDIL’s Mangaluru shipyard to ICG. The sixth boat will be delivered after three-and-a-half months of the delivery of the fifth boat.
  • The vessel will be based at Kochi, Kerala and will be used for patrolling purposes. It can accommodate 11 crew members. The vessel was launched in January 2018 and has successfully completed the harbour and sea trials.

Centre moots Spice Park for turmeric

  • The Centre has agreed to set up a special cell in the Spices Board for Telangana government to take care of issues related to turmeric farmers. The government also proposed to set up an exclusive Spice Park for turmeric in Telangana.
  • Telangana is a top producer of turmeric in the country. Farmers, however, end up selling the produce at a lower rate in the absence of protection from the market volatility.
  • “If the State government comes forward, centre will set up a park for turmeric under the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme,” Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu said.

India and Vietnam inked 3 agreements

  • India and Vietnam resolved to work jointly for an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific along with an efficient and rules-based regional security architecture, seen as a message to China over its growing military expansion in the region.
  • After wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the two strategic partners inked three pacts providing for cooperation in nuclear energy, trade and agriculture, besides deciding to boost ties in oil and gas exploration.
  • Their discussions focused on steps to further strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership by expanding cooperation across all sectors.

Indian shooter Shahzar Rizvi clinched gold with a world record score

  • Indian shooter Shahzar Rizvi clinched gold with a world record score while Jitu Rai grabbed bronze in 10m air pistol men's final in the ISSF World Cup at Guadalajara in Mexico.
  • Striking a score of 242.3, Meerut-based Shahzar made sure that he gave India a taste of gold and kept his cool to achieve his target. Earlier, three Indian shooters Shahzar, Jitu and Om Prakash Mitharval had made it to the final round of the competition. A total of 404 athletes from 50 National Olympic Committees are participating in the in the 12-day competition. India has fielded a 33-member squad.

Marshall Islands to launch world-first digital legal tender

  • Marshall Islands in Pacific Ocean is set to become first country in world to recognize cryptocurrency as its legal tender and adopt transparent crypto monetary system. The parliament of island has passed law to create the digital currency called “Sovereign” with symbol SOV to raise some hard cash to pay bills and boost economy.
  • The Marshall Islands is partnering with Israeli fintech startup Neema to launch its SOV. It will have equal status with US dollar as form of payment.
  • Venezuela was the first country to officially launch its own cryptocurrency named Petro, backed by crude oil reserves but its validity as legal tender is not yet known.

Mega-colonies of 1.5 million penguins discovered in Antarctica

  • Huge “mega-colonies” of penguins have been discovered near the Antarctic peninsula, hosting more than 1.5 million birds. Researchers say it shows the area is a vital refuge from climate change and human activities and should be protected by a vast new marine wildlife reserve currently under consideration.
  • The huge numbers of Adélie penguins were found on the Danger Islands in the Weddell Sea, on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is a difficult place to reach and has seldom been visited. But scientists, prompted by satellite images, mounted an expedition and used on-the-ground counts and aerial photography from drones to reveal 751,527 pairs of penguins.

NASA launches advanced weather satellite for western U.S.

  • NASA launched world’s most advanced weather satellite to safeguard the western U.S.
  • The first spacecraft in the series, GOES-16, has been monitoring the Atlantic and East Coast for the past year for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . The same first-class service is now coming to the Pacific region.
  • GOES-S is the second satellite in an approximately $11 billion effort that’s already revolutionising forecasting with astonishingly fast, crisp images of hurricanes, wildfires, floods, mudslides and other natural calamities.

Only 13% of tiger conservation areas meet global standards

  • Only 13 per cent of the tiger conservation areas met the global standards of an accreditation system, the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS), a new survey of current management methodologies at 112 sites located in 11 tiger-range countries, including India.
  • The survey is the first and largest rapid assessment of site-based tiger conservation across Asia and has been driven by 11 conservation organisations and tiger-range governments that are part of the CA|TS coalition.
  • The CA|TS was developed in response to the need for stringent conservation procedures for protection of the big cat through a partnership between governments and conservation organisations to assess the levels of effective management, among others. Of the 112 global sites surveyed, only 12.5 per cent was currently able to meet the full CA|TS criteria.

Paschim Lehar: Tri-service maritime exercise concludes

  • Tri-service maritime exercise Paschim Lehar conducted by Indian Navy concluded off western coast in Arabian Sea. The objective of the exercise was to build interoperability between Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard.
  • The three-week long exercise tested operational readiness of Indian Navy’s Western Command and execution of its operational plans, logistics and administrative plans.
  • The exercise enabled testing and revalidation of operational plans and manoeuvres in a hostile maritime scenario on India’s Western seaboard. It also rehearsed defence of Indian offshore assets like oil rigs, escort operations of merchant ships and coastal defence.

RBI lifts per-borrower loan cap for MSMEs

  • In view of the increasing importance of the services sector and to encourage banks to lend more to this sector, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to do away with the per borrower loan limits to Micro/ Small and Medium Enterprises (Services) for classification under priority sector lending.
  • So far, loans to Micro/ Small and Medium Enterprises (Services) up to Rs.5 crore and Rs.10 crore, respectively, were classified as priority sector lending (PSL).
  • Since the per borrower loan limits to Micro/ Small and Medium Enterprises (Services) have been removed, all bank loans to MSMEs engaged in providing or rendering services as defined in terms of investment in equipment under the MSMED Act, 2006, will qualify under priority sector without any credit cap, the RBI said in a notification.
  • Priority Sector lending usually includes lending to segments such as agriculture; micro, small and medium enterprises; export credit; education; housing; social infrastructure; and renewable energy.

Russia, China to create joint data centre for lunar projects

  • Russia and China have agreed to create a joint data center for lunar and deep space projects, Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced.The projects will involve Russian and Chinese scientific and industrial bodies and companies.
  • Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) also signed an agreement of intent on cooperation over moon and deep space research, at the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF) in Tokyo.
  • The countries will also look into the possibilities of providing assistance for each other's lunar programs. That would include the launch of the Russian Luna-26 orbiter in 2022, and the Chinese planned landing on the south pole of the moon scheduled for 2023.
  • In 2017, Roscosmos and the CNSA signed a program of bilateral cooperation for 2018-2022, which includes space garbage monitoring and research into the moon, deep space and satellites, among other issues.

Shatrughan Sinha wins lifetime achievement award in UK

  • Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the fields of arts and politics at a ceremony in the UK’s Parliament complex.
  • The annual ‘Political and Public Life Awards’ presented by Britain’s Asian Voice weekly newspaper, now in its 12th year, recognises individuals who have made a significant impact on public life or made a difference in their local communities.
  • Among the other winners of the year included Pakistani-origin UK Cabinet minister Sajid Javid, who was named Cabinet Minister of the Year.

Venkatesh Prasad steps down as BCCI junior national selection committee chairman

  • Former India pace bowler Venkatesh Prasad tendered his resignation from the post of chairman, junior national selection committee, less than a month after the country won the ICC U-19 World Cup.
  • Prasad cited personal reasons for stepping down and has also mentioned that he doesn’t want to fall under the purview of ‘Conflict of Interest’.

World Wildlife Day

  • The World Wildlife Day is observed every year on 3rd March to celebrate and raise awareness about the world’s wild fauna and flora. It is celebrated to mark the signing of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on this day in 1973.
  • The theme for this year is ‘Big Cats: Predators under Threat’. Big cats are among most widely recognized and admired animals across the globe. These predators are facing many and varied threats, mostly caused by human activities.
  • The World Wildlife Day was designated by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 68th session on 20 December 2013. On this day in 1973, CITES was adopted.
  • CITES is international agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species. Its aim is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.

“Namaste Shalom”, a magazine on India-Israel relations launched

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh launched the social media of “Namaste Shalom”, a magazine devoted to India-Israel relations.
  • The festive occasion of Holi coincided with the Jewish festival of Purim. The magazine is edited by former MP Shri Tarun Vijay.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh announced that a food processing centre with collaboration of Israeli expertise will be inaugurated in Aizwal, Mizoram next week on 7th March. This will be the first such centre in the North East region of India that is being established with Israeli collaboration.