This Daily Current Affair Capsule aims to be a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.

 

National Important Current Affairs – 19 March 2018

■ The New Year festivals of Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Cheti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba are being celebrated in different parts of the country. The day also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings to all Kashmiri Pandits and the Sindhi community on the occasion of Navreh and Cheti Chand. It is observed as the New Year’s day in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (as Ugadi), in Maharashtra and Goa as (Gaudi Parva), by Sindhis as Cheti-Chand and in the northern parts of India as Chaitra Shukla, the first day of the lunar fortnight of Chaitra.

Navreh is the lunar new year which is celebrated in Kashmir and many other parts of the country. This coincides with the first day of the Chaitra (spring) Navratras. The Kashmiris celebrate the second of Navaratras to commemorate a victory of their greatest and famous king – Lalitaditya – with great festivity, pomp and gaiety. Navreh, which is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Nava-Varsha’, marks the beginning of the new year and the onset of spring season. On this day, the Kashmiri Pandits throng temples to offer prayers to Goddess Nav Durga.

Cheti Chand, is the beginning of the Hindu new year for the Sindhi Hindus. Also known as Jhulelal Jayanti, the festival is a sign of the onset of spring and harvest just like Gudi Padwa and Ugadi.

 

■ The YSR Congress has proposed a no-confidence motion against the NDA government on the issue of granting special category status to Andhra Pradesh. This is the first no-confidence motion will be the first such move during the tenure of this NDA government.

About no-confidence motion: A no-confidence motion is a parliamentary motion which is moved in the Lok Sabha against the entire council of ministers, stating that they are no longer deemed fit to hold positions of responsibility due to their inadequacy in some respect or their failure to carry out their obligations. No prior reason needs to be stated for its adoption in the Lok Sabha. At least 50 MPs would need to stand up and support the move. If there are 50 MPs in favour, the motion is admitted and the speaker allots a date for discussion on the motion. The prime minister or ministers reply to the charges made. The mover has the right to reply. After the debate, the speaker puts question to the house and ascertains the decision of the house by voice vote or a division. A Motion of No-confidence need not set out any grounds on which it is based. Even when grounds are mentioned in the notice and read out in the House, they do not form part of the no-confidence Motion.

The Rajya Sabha does not have a procedure for moving of an adjournment motion, censure motion or no-confidence motion against the Government.
Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha lays down the procedure for moving a Motion of No-Confidence in the Council of Ministers.
There is no mention of a no-confidence motion in the constitution.

 

■ The Maharashtra government has decided to ban the use of plastic by bringing amendments to the Solid Waste Management Act 2016 and the Plastic Carry Bags (Manufacture and Usage) Rules 2006.

The highlight of the ban is that both manufacturers and users will be penalized. The penalty is a fine ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000 and a jail term of three months. It will be the responsibility of local bodies and the state pollution control board (MPCB) to implement this ban. This ban would cover the production, use, storage, sale, distribution, import and transportation of plastic. This ban covers disposable plastic cups, plates, spoons and flex, but excludes garbage bin liners and PET bottles. Other exclusions include: plastic used to cover medicines, forest and horticulture products, solid waste, tree saplings and the use of plastic in special economic zones for export purposes would be exempt from the ban.

 

■ The Odisha government will collaborate with the Thailand-based Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for strengthening its early warning services and enhancing preparedness for management of hazards in the State. The Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) and RIMES would forge a partnership in the field of drought monitoring and early warning for different natural disasters.

RIMES is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in the Asia Pacific and Africa Region. Presently, India is chairing RIMES. OSDMA can strengthen its database for more effective management of natural disasters. Odisha faces risk of tsunami originating from the Andamans. RIMES is already working with the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority.

About RIMES(Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System):

RIMES, an inter-governmental body registered under the United Nations. It is being owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in Asia Pacific and Africa Region. The programme unit of the agency is located in Thailand.
RIMES evolved from the efforts of countries in Africa and Asia, in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, to establish a regional early warning system within a multi-hazard framework for the generation and communication of early warning information, and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards. At present, India is chairing RIMES.

 

■ The 5th edition of Nadi Mahotsava has started at Bandrabhan of Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh by Nitin Gadkari, who is Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. The 2-day mahotsava with various sessions of discussion is taking place for the conservation of Narmada River.

 

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has released the Andhra Pradesh Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report 2017. The State has secured an Index value of 0.0825 (value ranges from 0 to 1; 0 being the best and 1 being the worst). It is equivalent to 51st rank globally. By conducting MPI study, the Andhra Pradesh has become the first Indian state to conduct a household survey exclusively to estimate the MPI at the State and district levels.

India, with an Index value of 0.1911 is at the 66th position. The study was conducted by the Vision Management Unit (VMU) of the Planning Department in collaboration with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) of the University of Oxford, UK.

 

International Current Affairs Capsule – 19 March 2018

■ The United Nation’s Committee for Development Policy (CDP) has announced that four countries will be recommended for graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category. These are Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon Islands. The Committee will send its recommendations to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for endorsement, which will then refer its decision to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

These countries will move up from the ranks of poorest nations due to their increasing national earning power as well as access to better health care and education.

The LDCs are assessed using three criteria: health and education targets; economic vulnerability and gross national income per capita. Apart from this, two more countries, Vanuatu and Angola, are also scheduled for graduation in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

 

■ NASA has drawn up plans to build a huge nuclear spacecraft, named Hammer spacecraft, that is capable of shunting or blowing up dangerous space rocks and safeguarding life on Earth, to protect the planet from a potential Asteroid impact.

About the Hammer spacecraft:

The spacecraft named Hammer (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) is an eight tonne spaceship which could deflect a giant space rock, if it happens to hit Earth. The spacecraft has two ways of dispatching an asteroid collision threat. The first involves hitting the asteroid, and then steering it off-course so it doesn’t end up hitting Earth.
The second – and more dangerous – would see the HAMMER detonating its on-board nuclear warhead to change the asteroid’s course.

The new spacecraft could be useful in 2035, when scientists say there is a 1 in 2,700 chance the Bennu asteroid will hit us. The space boulder is currently circling the sun at 63,000mph, and has a very slim chance of plummeting into Earth. Bennu is around 500m in diameter.

Note that: Earth is hit by asteroids with surprising regularity but most are too small to do much damage or fall in unpopulated areas.

 

■ A new research conducted by researchers from Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO) have developed a new model to quantify Yellow Fever dynamics across Africa. They have found that the burden of yellow fever in any given area is known to be heavily dependent on climate, particularly rainfall and temperature which can impact both mosquito life cycle and viral replication. These Yellow fever dynamics use not only annual averages of these climatic measures,  seasonal dynamics.

  • The new model integrated the effects of temperature on mosquito behavior and virus transmission, and looked at monthly variation in temperature rainfall, and vegetation throughout the year across Africa.
  • The model has confirmed and quantified that, even in areas with high transmission potential for yellow fever, the risk varies throughout the year.
  • In conjunction with forecasted data, could highlight areas of increased transmission and provide insights into the occurrence of large outbreaks.
  • When used in conjunction with forecasted data, the model predictions could be useful for focusing both surveillance efforts, and the pre-positioning of material and equipment in areas and periods of particularly high risk.
  • This would allow the facilitation of early interventions in emerging yellow fever outbreaks — which is key to prevent large scale outbreaks.

About Yellow Fever: Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by the aedes and Haemogogus mosquitoes. It is not always easy to diagnose, especially at the beginning, since its symptoms can often be confused with those of malaria, dengue fever, or other haemorrhagic fever. However, some patients will suffer from a jaundice specific to the disease, which explains why the term “yellow” is used. To date, there is no treatment against yellow fever.

Water and medicines can be given to target the symptoms, such as fever or dehydration. Vaccination is the best option to prevent outbreaks of the disease and to protect people against it. Other strategies to combat the disease include mosquito population control, with the large scale use of pesticides and mosquito nets, as well as the treatment of stagnant water sources.

 

Turkish-backed forces have taken full control of the centre of the Syrian-Kurdish city of Afrin. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that units of the Free Syrian Army took control of Afrin. The two-month Turkish-led operation has aimed at ridding the border region of a Kurdish militia that Turkey considers a terrorist group.

 

■ Russian President Vladimir Putin has stormed to victory in the presidential election, giving him another six years in power. President Putin has ruled Russia for almost two decades. He has won more than 75 per cent of the vote. This election came with Russia facing increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions.

Note that: Putin has been in power, either as president or prime minister, since 2000.

 

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 19 March 2018

■ The Indian government has inked $120 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for completion of projects to improve Rail Infrastructure along high-density corridors and operational efficiency of Indian railways.
This loan has a 20-year term, including a grace period of 5 years and has annual interest rate determined according to ADB’s London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) based lending facility, and commitment charge of 0.15% per year.

 

West Bengal has bagged the top spot in the Domestic Ease of Doing Business — an index created by the central government in collaboration with the World Bank. The top ten states according to the ranking are:

  • West Bengal
  • Chattisgarh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Haryana
  • Rajasthan
  • Gujarat
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Jharkhand
  • Telangana
  • Karnataka

 

Sports Current Affairs – 19 March 2018

KL Rahul has been named as the ‘Cricketer of the Year’ in the 6th edition of Wisden India Almanack. Beside this, Shantha Rangaswamy, India’s first woman superstar – first lady to captain the Indian women’s team– has been inducted into the Wisden India Hall of Fame alongside Erapalli Prasanna.

 

■ The 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games have come to a close with a celebration of disabled athletes who broke down barriers during the 10-day competition. The closing ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, titled “We Move the World,” saw New Zealand’s para-alpine skier Adam Hall and Finland’s para-Nordic skier Sini Pyy honoured with the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award.

Note that: The Paralympic flag was handed over to Beijing, which is the next host of the Winter Paralympics in the year 2022.

 

■ India beat Bangladesh by four wickets to win the Nidahas Cricket Trophy in Colombo. India won in a gruelling final of the T20 Tri-series title with Dinesh Karthik’s last-ball six.  This is the eighth victory of India against Bangladesh in a T-20 format.

 

■In Cricket, Reigning Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha have lifted their maiden Irani Trophy. On the final day of the match in Nagpur today, they beat Rest of India by virtue of their massive first innings lead.

About Irani Trophy: The fixture is played annually between the incumbent Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India Team. The Z. R. Irani Cup (earlier called Irani Trophy) tournament was conceived to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship and was named after the late Z. R. Irani.

 

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 19 March 2018 “

Q1. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched a mobile app ‘Lost and Found’ for lost items at airports across India. The CISF is directly under which Union Ministry?
A) Ministry of Corporate Affairs
B) Ministry of Defence
C) Ministry of Home Affairs
D) Ministry of Urban Development

Q2.Which Indian para-athlete has recently secured the No. 1 rank in Asia in F53 Javelin category?
A) Rinku Hooda
B) Deepa Malik
C) Karamjyoti Dalal
D) Pooja Khanna

Q3. India was the world’s largest importer of major arms during 2013-17 and accounted for 12% of the global total. Which among the following countries accounted for the largest share of India’s imports of arms during the same period?

A) France
B) Russia
C) Israel
D) USA

Q4.What is India’s rank in the WEF Energy Transition Index 2018?
A) 55th
B) 69th
C) 78th
D) 47th

Q5.Which Indian Chessmaster has clinched the 33rd Reykjavik Open Chess Tournament 2018?
A) Pentala Harikrishna
B) S. P. Sethuraman
C) Baskaran Adhiban
D) Vidit Santosh Gujrathi

Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!

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