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10 & 11 March 2020 Current Affairs

International :
  • United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a United States' resolution on the recent deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban, a rare endorsement of an agreement with a militant group. The US military has begun withdrawing troops as part of the pullout agreed in the February 29 pact with the Taliban. 

    In the resolution, the Security Council urged the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to advance the peace process, including by participating in intra-Afghan negotiations through a diverse and inclusive negotiating team composed of Afghan political and civil society leaders, including women. The United States is keen to end its longest-ever conflict and under the terms of a deal signed in Doha last month all foreign forces would quit Afghanistan within 14 months -- provided the Taliban stick to their security commitments.

  • ‘Joy Bangla’ to be national slogan of Bangladesh. The High Court of Bangladesh has ordered that ‘Joy Bangla’ will be the national slogan of Bangladesh. The two judge bench of High Court asked the authorities to take necessary steps so that all the people holding constitutional posts and state officials use ‘Joy Bangla’ after their speeches on national days and other appropriate occasions. The court also directed the authorities to ensure that teachers and students use the slogan after assembly. 

    ‘Joy Bangla’ was the main slogan during the liberation war of Bangladesh fought against Pakistan in 1971. The first President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also used ‘Joy Bangla’ in his speeches and specially during his historic 7th March speech in 1971 declaring the goal of independence for Bangladesh.

National :
  • The University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS) of Shivamogga developed 'Sahyadri Megha,' a new red variety of paddy, as a part of its initiative to prevent a decline in the area under paddy cultivation. The new red variety of paddy is resistant to blast disease and is rich in nutrients. 

    Sahyadri Megha :
    1.) Sahyadri Megha variety of paddy is developed under the hybridization breeding method by crossing Jyothi variety with Akkalu, a native disease-resistant, and protein-rich paddy variety.

    2.) The research work for the development of high-level resistance to blast disease was commenced in 2009.

    3.) The new variety of paddy was approved by the State-level Seed Sub-Committee. The new variety will be made available for farmers from the coming Kharif season.

    4.) The aroma and taste of the new variety paddy was verified and found satisfying.

    5.) The new variety of paddy will be notified under the Indian Seed Act 1966, and it will become a part of the seed chain.

    6.) It is expected that the Sahyadri Megha variety will fetch a good price for its nutrition values, aroma, and taste as it is disease-resistant, the cultivation cost will be low.

  • Gujarat has topped the Solar Roof Top Plants nationwide. The state government has launched dedicated schemes to achieve renewable energy targets. At present, more than 50,915 rooftop solar plants have been installed in Gujarat. 

    Key Highlights :
    • The state government has launched a scheme called "Surya Gujarat" to increase the use of solar energy at the domestic level. The scheme aims to cover more than 8 lakh domestic consumers by 2022.

    • It also provided a 40% grant to projects of capacity between 3 KWhr to 10 KWhr. Maharashtra has the highest number of solar rooftop power plant installations at 5,513, after Gujarat. 

    • Gujarat has topped the list with 64% or 2/3 of total domestic solar rooftop installations of 79,950 systems installed across the country.

    • According to Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy RK Singh, 50,915 systems have a total capacity of 177.67 MW. However, the combined capacity of the installed rooftop solar systems is 322 MW.

Economy :
  • FDI inflows recorded highest ever for fiscal year 2018-19. The total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow was over 318 billion US dollars between 2014 and September 2019 representing nearly 50 percent of the cumulative FDI in India since April 2000. In 2018-19, the FDI inflow stood at a record 62 billion US dollars, highest ever recorded for a fiscal year. 

    Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said FDI can be one measure to track the growth of Make in India. The initiative was launched in 2014 for promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation.

  • Jack Ma becomes Asia's richest person. Mukesh Ambani lost USD 5.8 billion in net worth due to the crash of share prices. The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has become Asia’s richest man.

Persons :
  • Ashraf Ghani sworn in as Afghanistan President for second term on March 10, 2020.

  • Jack Ma becomes Asia's richest person. Mukesh Ambani lost USD 5.8 billion in net worth due to the crash of share prices. The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has become Asia’s richest man.

Awards :
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conferred the 4th Edition of the Women Transforming India Awards (WTI) on 8 March 2020, the International Women`s Day. The awards recognized women from diverse fields, including healthcare, education, and food tech, amongst other fields. 

    WTI Awards was initiated in the year 2018. It is awarded under the support of the Women Entrepreneurship Platform. The theme for the year is "Women and Entrepreneurship." The Platform identifies inspiring stories of successful women entrepreneurs. It processes a review of applications, jury, and super jury rounds with assistance from mentors and partners of the Women Entrepreneurship Platform.

Science & Technology :
  • Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) launched the Vigyan Jyoti scheme on 8th March 2020. The scheme aims to encourage women to pursue science. 

    Vigyan Jyoti: Vigyan Jyoti is an initiative that will create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education. Under the scheme, Selected women from more than 500 districts will be given opportunities to attend science camps at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), NITs, and other leading institutions of science and technology education where women are not adequately represented. 

    TIFAC: TIFAC was set up in 1988. It functions under the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology. It foresees the technological innovation in select technology areas that were of national importance.

  • CSIR-National Physical Laboratory has developed a bi-luminescent security ink which glows in red and green colours when illuminated by two different excitation sources at 254 nano meters (nm) and 365 nm, respectively. 

    The ink was prepared in a batch of 1kg and given to Bank Note Press (BNP), Dewas, a unit of Security Printing Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (SPMCIL), New Delhi. The ink is found comparable to the standards that are in use. The formulation can be used to check the authenticity of passports, Government documents, tamper evident labels, identity cards, etc.

  • Music may decrease delirium, a form of acute brain failure with no effective treatment that especially affects patients on ventilators in the intensive care unit (ICU), according to a study published in the journal, American Journal of Critical Care. The study, noted that critically ill individuals who listened to slow-tempo, relaxing music with 60 to 80 beats per minute had decreased need for sedatives, fewer days of delirium, and were more awake. 

    According to the researchers, including those from Regenstrief Institute in the US, patients intubated with ventilators in the ICU experience pain, anxiety and physiologic stress, which are usually treated with drugs that can contribute to delirium. The patients also noted that music made them feel more normal and calm as well as giving them a sense of control, the study reported.



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