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March 2018 Persons in News

  • J.S. Rajput appointed as India’s representative to the Executive Board (EXB) of UNESCO
    Government has nominated Professor J S Rajput, former Director NCERT, as India’s representative to the Executive Board (EXB) of UNESCO. Professor J S Rajput is an eminent educationist with rich experience in various fields including UNESCO. 

    Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar during his participation in the General Conference of UNESCO meeting last year actively mobilised support from various nations for India’s membership to the Executive Board, by meeting their Ministers. 

    The Executive Board has a four-year term of office and 58 seats. It is one of the constitutional organs of UNESCO and is elected by the General Conference. 

    The executive board examines the work for the organization and the corresponding budget estimates. In practice, the executive board is the main organ responsible for all policies and programmes of UNESCO. 

  • Supreme Court has appointed Justice Jawad Rahim, judicial member of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) 
    The Supreme Court has appointed Justice Jawad Rahim, judicial member of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), as the acting chairperson of the green panel. The new acting chairperson will discharge his duties until a regular appointment is made and will take part in selection process of other members of the NGT. 

  • Myanmar’s Parliament has elected Win Myint as the country's next President 
    Myanmar's Parliament has elected Win Myint as the country's next President, a week after the resignation of his predecessor. Win Myint, a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been a Speaker in the Lower House since 2012 and was widely tipped for the top job. 

    But his role will be essentially ceremonial, with Ms Aung San Suu Kyi acting as de facto President. Htin Kyaw resigned as President last week, amid growing health concerns. Parliament then had seven days to choose a successor, and voted from a short-list of the three vice-presidents on 28th March

    Earlier last week, Win Myint, had been made a Vice-President, a further sign he was likely to assume the Presidency. 

  • Vladimar Putin 
    Russian President Vladimir Putin stormed to victory in presidential election, giving him another six years in power. Putin, who has ruled Russia for almost two decades, won more than 75% of the vote according to preliminary results. 

    He is well ahead of his nearest rival Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin at 13.2%. But opposition cried foul alleging ballot stuffing and other cases of fraud. The Kremlin pushed for high turnout to give greater legitimacy to Putin's historic fourth term. About 107 million Russians were eligible to cast ballots and turnout was 60% before polls closed in Moscow. 

    The Russian strongman ran against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons. 

    The election came with Russia facing increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions. 

  • Htin Kyaw
    Myanmar's President Htin Kyaw, one of the most loyal allies of the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has resigned due to ill health

    Htin Kyaw, was sworn in as Myanmar's official president in 2016 after Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won landmark elections. 

    During his two years in office he's essentially acted as a proxy for Aung San Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from holding the presidency because her children are foreign nationals. A new position, State Counselor, was created to enable the long-time opposition politician to take a leading role in government. 

    Htin Kyaw's resignation comes as international pressure increases on Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do something to ease the suffering of the country's minority Rohingya population. 

    Almost 700,000 of the Muslim ethnic minority have crossed the Bangladesh border in the last six months, fleeing what the UN has described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" by Myanmar troops. 

    The Myanmar military, which shares power with Aung San Suu Kyi, has denied the allegations, blaming the violence on members of the Rohingya militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ASRA). 

  • Kedarnath Singh: 
    Jnanpith awardee and renowned Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh passed away in New Delhi on 18th March after a prolonged illness. 

    Kedarnath Singh was one of India’s most prominent modern Hindi poets besides being an essayist and a well-known critic. 

    Born on 7 July 1934 in village Chakia of Ballia district in eastern Uttar Pradesh he won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1989 for his poetry collection Akaal Mein Saras and the Jnanpith Award in 2013. 

    Kedarnath had been a professor and head of the Department of Hindi Language at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Indian Languages Centre. His works include collections of poems such as Zameen Pak Rahi Hai, Baagh, Tolstoy aur Cycle, Yahan se Dekho and Abhi Bilkul Abhi. 

    Among his essays and stories are Kalpana aur Chhayavad, Kabristan Mein Panchayat, Hindi Kavita Mein Bimb Vidhan and Mere Samay ke Shabd. 

  • Bidya Devi Bhandari: 
    Nepal’s first woman president Bidya Devi Bhandari was on 13th March re-elected for a second term in office with an overwhelming majority. 

    Incumbent President Bhandari, the Left alliance’s candidate, was elected with more than a two-thirds majority as she defeated her Nepali Congress (NC) rival Kumari Laxmi Rai in the presidential election. 

    Bhandari secured 39,275 votes while the NC’s Rai garnered 11,730 votes, Election Commission spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal said. 

    Bhandari, won since her nomination was backed by the ruling Left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and other fringe parties. 

    She became Nepal’s first woman president in 2015. Bhandari was elected twice in parliamentary elections in 1994 and 1999. 

  • Andrej Kiska
    Slovak President Andrej Kiska accepted the resignation and asked the Peter Pellegrini, Fico's deputy prime minister, to form a new government. The move is meant to keep the current three-party coalition in power and avoid the possibility of an early election. 

  • Xi Jinping: 
    China’s Parliament on 17th March unanimously elected Xi Jinping as President for a second consecutive term, paving the way for a new leadership line-up that includes his trusted ally Wang Qishan as Vice-President. 

    All the 2,970 delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC) voted for Mr. Xi as President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Mr. Xi is already the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). 

    In an unprecedented move, President Xi took a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People. 

    Lawmakers also unanimously elected Li Zhanshu, Mr. Xi’s former chief of staff, as the next chairman of the NPC. The post becomes especially relevant as the burden of passing new legislation is expected to mount, in tune with President Xi’s focus on “rule of law” as the template for China’s governance in the new era. 

    The reforms also include setting up a new immigration agency, as well as a merger of China’s banking and insurance regulators under a China banking and insurance regulatory commission.

  • Stephen Hawkins
    Renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge on 14th March, 2018. The theoretical physicist is known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity. 

    He contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live but he went on to study at Cambridge and became one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein. 

    Mr Hawking was the author of several popular science books, including 'A Brief History of Time', which sold more than 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. 

    The physicist had won the Albert Einstein Award, the Wolf Prize, the Copley Medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize. His life story was the subject of the 2014 film 'The Theory of Everything', starring Eddie Redmayne. 

  • Conrod Sangma: National People's Party leader Conrod Sangma will be the next Chief Minister of Meghalaya. Mr. Sangma has the support of 34 newly elected legislators including from the BJP, HSPDP, United Democratic Party, Peoples Democratic Front along with an Independent candidate. However Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that more MLAs are likely to join them. 

    All these party leaders met Governor Ganga Prasad in Raj Bhawan to stake claim to form the next government. NPP has won 19 seats in assembly polls. A former minister of Meghalaya, Conrod Sangma is the son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma. He is currently the Lok Sabha member from Tura constituency. He said, development of the state will be his main priority. We spoke to senior BJP leader Nalin Kohli in Shillong on the formation of new government. 

  • Neiphiu Rio: Nagaland Governor PB Acharya has appointed Neiphiu Rio as the Chief Minister of the state. The Governor stated that he has received letters of support in favour of Rio from MLAs of BJP, JD (U) and an Independent besides NDPP legislators. 

  • Biplab Kumar Deb: The BJP State President, Biplab Kumar Deb, was unanimously elected as the leader of the Legislature Party in a meeting of the newly-elected members of BJP and its ally - Indigenous People's Front of Tripura in Agartala on 6th March. 

    The meeting also decided that Jishnu Debbarman will be the Deputy Chief Minister. 

  • Niephui Rio: People’s Democratic Alliance, PDA’s leader Niephui Rio has been sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Nagaland on 8th March and State BJP Legislatures leader Y. Patton has been appointed as Deputy Chief Minister. 

    Nagaland Governor PB Acharya administered the Oath of office and Secrecy to Niephui Rio and 10 of his Cabinet Ministers apart from Deputy Chief Minister at Kohima Local Ground. 

  • Biplab Kumar Deb: In Tripura, the first ever BJP-led government headed by Biplab Kumar Deb assumed office on 9th March. Chief Minister Deb and eight other ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Tathagata Roy at a ceremony, held at Assam Rifles ground in Agartala. Jishnu Debbarma took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister. 

  • Suresh Prabhu: Commerce and Industries Minister Suresh Prabhu has been assigned the additional charge of the Civil Aviation Ministry. 

    The post had fallen vacant after President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the resignation of Telugu Desam Party's Ashok Gajapathi Raju. 

  • Sridevi: Veteran Actress Sridevi passed away on 24th February. Sridevi was considered one of the very few Indian female superstars capable of huge box office success without the support of a male hero. She starred in more than 150 films, including such Bollywood classics as Mr India, Chandni, ChaalBaaz, Sadma,Lamhe, English Vinglish and MOM. In 2013, the Indian government awarded her the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour. 

  • Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi: 
    Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi, the 69th pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt, passed away on 28th March in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Born as Sri Subramaniyam on July 18, 1935, at Irul neeki in Tiruvarur, Jayendra Saraswathi was the head of the Kanchi Mutt established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. 

    He became the younger pontiff on March 22, 1954 and became elder pontiff in 1994. Jayendrar wanted to solve the Ayodhya issue in a peaceful manner. He will be succeeded by the 70th Shankaracharya of Kamakoti Peetam traditionally referred to as Kamakshi. The Kanchipuram mutt is a pilgrimage for Hindus all around the world and particularly in south India.
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