Current Affairs March 14, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of March 14, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD-2019) and its 60th anniversary, American toymaker Mattel has released a new range of barbies to honor 20 female role models across 18 countries speaking 14 different languages. Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar has been selected as a Barbie Role Model to help inspire the next generation of girls. She is the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games gymnastics medal. Others honoured in the latest dolls include Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka of Japan, German double Olympic gold medallist cyclist Kristina Vogel, Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira, Mexican mountaineer, writer and lecturer Karla Wheelock and British activist & supermodel Adwoa Aboah. Mattel has been slowly trying to bring more diversity into their line to present the true representation of real-life women instead of one single standard.

2. According to the premier Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s latest report, a total of 155 countries imported major arms in 2014–18. Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest arms importer from 2014-18, which accounted for 12% of the total imports during the period. While, India at 2nd spot accounted for 9.5% of the global total. The top five arms importers — Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria— accounted for 35% of total arms imports in 2014–18. The report noted that despite the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan, arms imports decreased for both countries in 2014-18 compared with 2009-13. Pakistan stood at the 11th position, accounting for 2.7% of all global imports. In its report on ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers 2018’, the institute also identified the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China as the five top arms exporting nations in 2014–18 - accounted for 75% of all arms exports.

3. By using Indian multi-wavelength space observatory AstroSat, the astronomers from Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai have identified a new population of ultraviolet stars in the globular cluster NGC 2808. Globular clusters are collections of thousands to millions of stars, moving as one unit. These stars are tightly held together by gravity of the cluster itself, and are believed to have formed together at roughly the same time. The NGC 2808 is one of the most massive globular clusters that we know of, and is located at a distance of 47,000 light years from us. This cluster was observed by the team of researchers using the UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) on-board AstroSat. So far, AstroSat has taken images of over 2,000 individual stars in NGC 2808 through various ultraviolet filters. AstroSat is the India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. It was launched in September 2015. It orbits in low earth equatorial orbit at altitude of 650 km and has mission life of 5 years. It observes universe in the optical, Ultraviolet (UV), low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

4. Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has been honoured with the ‘Yashwantrao Chavan National Award 2018’ for his contribution to economic development. He was presented the award at a function on 12th March 2016 on the occasion of the 106th birth anniversary of Yashwantrao Chavan, who was the first chief minister of Maharashtra. The award is given every year by the Yashwantrao Chavan Prathisthan to individuals and institutions in recognition of their outstanding contribution to national integration, and social and economic development, among others.

5. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently launched new Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030 aimed at protecting people in all countries from the threat of influenza. The strategy will provide a framework for WHO alongside countries and other partners to work to prevent seasonal influenza, control the spread of the infection from animals to humans and prepare for the next pandemic. A global influenza pandemic was listed as one of the WHO’s top ten threats to global health in 2019. Influenza is one of the world's greatest public health challenges.Every year across the globe, there are an estimated 1 billion cases, of which 3 to 5 million are severe cases, resulting in 290 000 to 650 000 influenza-related respiratory deaths. WHO recommends annual influenza vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza.

6. India’s first integrated community-based HIV treatment centre and clinic for LGBTQ has recently inaugurated at Humsafar Trust’s office in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The centre is supported by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Family Health International 360. The centre will give free counselling and provide Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). ART is the use of HIV medicines to treat the infection, and is recommended for everyone who is infected with virus and delays the progression of the disease. The centre will not only facilitate access to treatment among the most-at-risk communities, including transgenders and sex workers, but also provide the free HIV medications distributed by NACO. The acronym ‘LGBTQ’ stands for - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.

7. Jammu-born film director and novelist Ved Rahi has been selected for prestigious ‘Kusumagraj’ national award for literature. The award is instituted by the city-based Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) and carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, a memento and a citation. It is named after Jnanpith-laureate Marathi poet and playwright late VV Shirwadkar, popularly known as ‘Kusumagraj’. Born in Jammu in 1933, Rahi has penned seven novels in Dogri. He was given the Sahitya Akademi award for his Dogri novel, ‘Aale’ in 1983. Rahi also made the film ‘Veer Savarkar’ (2001), a biopic on the life of revolutionary Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He was director of the 1991 Doordarshan television serial, ‘Gul Gulshan Gulfaam’. Rahi has written dialogues for several Bollywood movies, including ‘Bezuban’, ‘Charas’ and ‘Mom ki Gudiya’.

8. As per the latest report by the World Gold Council (WGC), India has the 11th largest gold reserve with the current holding pegged at 607 tonnes. However, India is the world’s largest consumer of gold. The top slot is occupied by the U.S., which boasts of gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3,369.7 tonnes. Italy and France complete the top five lists with reserves of a little over 2,400 tonnes each. India’s overall position in terms of total gold holding would have been tenth had the list included only countries. Whereas, International Monetary Fund (IMF) is included and is third on the list with total gold reserves of 2,814 tonnes. Pakistan, with its gold reserves of 64.6 tonnes, occupies the 45th position. The WGC is market development organization for the gold industry. It is headquartered in London, United Kingdom (UK).

9. The Union Cabinet has recently approved the proposal for accession of India to (i) The Nice Agreement concerning the International classification of Goods and Services for the purposes of registration of marks, (ii) The Vienna Agreement establishing an International Classification of the figurative elements of marks, and (iii) The Locarno Agreement establishing an International classification for industrial designs. The accession to the Nice, Vienna and Locarno Agreements will help the Intellectual Property (IP) office in India to harmonise the classification systems for examinational of trademark and design applications, in line with the classification systems followed globally. It would give an opportunity to include Indian designs, figurative elements and goods in the international classification systems. The accession is expected to instill confidence in foreign investors in relation to protection of IPs in India. The accession would also facilitate in exercising rights in decision making processes regarding review and revision of the classifications under the agreement.

10. The 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships will be held in New Delhi from March 17-19, 2019. It is being organized by Ministry of Commerce & Industry in association with Confederation of Indian Industry and EXIM Bank of India. The event will mark the deepening of India-Africa economic and business ties and pave the way for a whole range of cross-border project partnerships. The Conclave will mark the pre-eminence of India-Africa partnership in the area of ‘South-South Cooperation’, at a time when the global economy is faced with intractable challenges that stem from rising protectionism and trade conflicts. It is expected to see the participation of 400 plus delegates from Africa and around 300 delegates from India. The B2B meetings at this Conclave are expected tobe held on more than 500 project proposals from Africa.

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