Today Current Affairs 1st March 2016

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Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht will take over as head of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) tomorrow at a ceremonial parade to be held at the Naval Base. Bisht will assume charge as Flag Officer Commanding-in -Chief (FOC-in-C) of ENC and succeed Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, who will be retiring after 40 years of illustrious career in the Navy He served as Director General of Indian Coast Guard (DGICG) before being appointed FOC-in-C of the city-based command, which recently hosted the International Fleet Review- 2016 (IFR). IFR, held under the helm of Soni, saw participation of 50 countries and 24 foreign naval ships.

Zero Discrimination Day is observed on March 1 every year to promote diversity and recognizes that everyone counts. Organizations like the United Nations (UN) actively promote the day with various activities to celebrate everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs.  This year’s theme is Stand Out and encourages everyone to stand for fair and just societies.Zero Discrimination Day was launched by UNAIDS, a United Nations program on HIV and AIDS, in December 2013. It was adopted by the UN the following March and is now observed annually. Zero Discrimination Day calls for transformative action.

The self-driving Lexus was trying to navigate around sandbags at an intersection near its headquarters in Mountain View, California when it struck the side of a bus, according to a report Google filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on February 14.The vehicle, Google said, was traveling at less than two miles an hour, while the bus was moving at 15 miles an hour.This is reportedly the first time a Google car has caused an accident in autonomous mode.

Tata Consultancy Services a leading IT services, consulting and business solutions organization today announced that it has been recognized as a Global Top Employer by the Top Employers Institute. This makes it one in only eight organizations worldwide to have achieved this status. In its assessment of 1,072 companies worldwide, the Top Employers Institute rated TCS as an exceptional performer across nine core Human Resources (HR) areas: talent strategy, workforce planning, on-boarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development, career and succession management, compensation and benefits and company culture. TCS, which employs over 344,000 professionals from 125 nationalities, has received this rating across all its largest markets. It has earned a Top Employer certification in 24 countries located in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was on 28 February,2016 elected uncontested as the president of Biju Janata Dal(BJD) for the 7th consecutive term.Patnaik was the lone candidate to file nomination papers for the post. The organisational polls of the BJD were held in five phases. Besides the Odisha Chief Minister, names of 80 executive members were also announced by the party's state election officer Pratap Keshari Deb.

President Pranab Mukherjee will be the chief guest at the 40th anniversary celebrations of Indian Civil Accounts Service here tomorrow, an official announcement said.The function being organised by the Controller General of Accounts will have Finance MinisterArun Jaitley and his deputy Jayant Sinha present.The Indian Civil Accounts Service was set up in 1976.

New research in France, gives the first evidence that Zika virus might cause a severe neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.The study was carried out using blood samples from 42 patients who became ill in a previous outbreak. The study said, patients developed the neurological problems around six days after Zika infection.Leading scientists described the study as compelling. Zika was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation in early February.

Academy Award-winning actor George Kennedy (91) has died of old age in Boise, US, the actor's grandson Cory Schenkel confirmed on Sunday. Born in 1925 in New York, Kennedy won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1968 for his role in 'Cool Hand Luke'. His other popular films include 'The Dirty Dozen', 'The Naked Gun' and 'Earthquake'.

MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) has decided to establish a research chair at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneswar. An MoU to this effect was signed between Prof M S Swaminathan, Founder of MSSRF and Achyuta Samanta, founder of KIIT & KISS today, a release from KIIT said. This is the first initiative of MSSRF to establish research chair in any private institute, it said. As per the MoU, the two institutes will work jointly for promotion of knowledge and skill empowerment for less privileged children in India. They will develop a resource centre for imparting knowledge on biodiversity and climate change to the children. Further, MSSRF and KISS will engage in food and nutrition security-based on community-based intervention and research

Moderates close to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won key seats in the country’s parliament, dealing a setback to hard-liners opposed to the Iranian leader’s policy of more openness to the West.In the first parliamentary election since Mr. Rouhani’s government reached a nuclear deal in July with the U.S. and other world powers, the results were on track to produce a parliament in which his alliescould outnumber conservatives and hard-liners in the 290-seat parliament.>President Rouhani's allies won 85 seats while the moderate conservatives won 73, giving them the majority in the 290-seat Parliament. Iran's moderates can also appoint the Supreme Leader with their 50-seat majority in the 88-member clerical body Assembly of Experts.

Actor-comedian Kumarimuthu breathed his last here on Sunday at a private hospital. He was 77.“He passed away on Sunday night at Kauvery hospital due to some age-related ailments,” a source close to the actor said. Known for his comic roles, Kumarimuthu starred in nearly 50 films in his career spanning over three-decades.He was best known for his signature laugh.Some of his best films are Idhu Namma Aalu, Sahadevan Mahadevan, Oru Oorla Oru Rajakumari andMarumagan.In his brief stint in politics, Kumarimuthu was a member of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Car racer Armaan Ebrahim on 28 February 2016 was awarded the Motorsports Man-of-the-Year Trophy at ceremony organised by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). Ebrahim was presented with the Raymond Gautam Singhania Rolling Trophy and cash prize of 2 lakh rupees for his performance in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series.On the other hand, B.I. Chandhok received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to motorsports in the country.

Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on 29 February 2016 received three international awards, including for best airport by size in the Asia Pacific region.The ranking was announced by the ACI -- a trade association of the world's airports founded in 1991 -- for the 2015 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards.Delhi airport has retained the world's number one position for the second consecutive year in 25 to 40 Million Passengers Per Annum category. The two other awards are for best airport by size & region Asia Pacific (25-40 MPPA) and second best airport by region (Asia Pacific). In retaining the title, the IGIA scored 4.96 on a scale of 1 to 5 in the ASQ survey.

Rahul Sachdev on 29 February 2016 won the 1st All India Open Invitational Snooker Championship 2016 in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.This tournament was organized by Billiards and Snooker Association of Aurangabad and had no relation with Cue Sports India.Rahul defeated Pushpender Singh of Railways in the final with 5-3 Score. Though Pushpender emerged as a strong contender and had lost only one frame before reaching the final while Rahul scored a break of 104.

Union Government on 29 February 2016 constituted a committee to consider Scheduled Tribe status to six Communities of Assam. The committee will be headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ministry of Home Affairs, Mahesh Kumar Singla. The committee will recommend the modalities for granting of Scheduled Tribe status to six Communities namely Koch Rajbongshi, Moran, Matak, Tai Ahom, Chutia and Adivasi (Tea Tribes) in Assam.The Committee will submit its report by 31 May 2016.The committee will consult with the Government of Assam and suggest the modalities for the required reservations, of shifting the existing reservation for these communities from OBC to ST.

Government has decided to accord statutory status to Aadhaar to ensure that benefits of the government subsidies directly reach the needy.Till date over 98 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated. Per day average of 26 lakh biometric and over 1.5 lakh e-KYC transactions are made. Aadhaar numbers have been seeded in 11.19 crore DBTL accounts out of total 16.5 crore DBTL beneficiaries.The statutory status will provide a legal foundation to Aadhaar for expanding its use for a range of developmental purposes..There is already a National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The New Development Bank set up by BRICS countries aims to lend up to USD 2 billion this year starting in about two months and the multilateral lenders first loan to India could be for a green solar energy project, its president K V Kamath said. "For this year, if we can approve one-and-a-half to two billion dollars I will be happy. We are six months into setting up the bank. We do not want to take steps which are too fast," Kamath told PTI.While the bank is in the process of finalising its set of loans to green projects from each of the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- India’s first loan could be for a solar project, the eminent banker hinted."The projects we are looking at are all green projects. They are primarily in solar. A variety of initiatives were placed before us by the government," he said. Kamath, 68, said the bank is also looking for water projects and thereafter road projects to fund. The bank will release the first set of loans by April this year.

Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya on 26 February 2016 presented the Annual State Budget 2016-17 in the legislative assembly. The finance minister announced a total expenditure of 158713.04 crore rupees for the year 2016-17 and appropriation of 170753.99 crore rupees.The state government announced VAT reduction on number of items like CSD cars, soya milk and dialysis machine, while making battery-operated vehicles tax-free. Tax on battery-operated cars and rickshaws was done away with an aim to check growing population. A revenue surplus of 3509.81 crore rupees was estimated for the year 2016-17.

The Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) will be raising the proposed Rs 10,000-crore corpus for ‘Stand Up India Fund’ from RBI, which will be disbursed to Dalit and women entrepreneurs. Sidbi Chairman and Managing Director Kshatrapati Shivaji said “We are working to have the corpus in place for the Stand Up India Fund corpus. It will be raised from the Reserve Bank through the priority sector lending shortfalls“.Under the scheme announced by Prime Minister NarendraModi earlier this year, each bank branch has been mandated to lend to one micro-enterprise promoted by a woman and SC/ST entrepreneur.

The seventh Indo-Seychelles joint training exercises, aiming to improve interoperability between both armies in counter-insurgency operations, has concluded at Victoria, Mahe Island in Seychelles. Focused on interoperability in drills pertaining to counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, a number of activities and exercises were conducted during the joint training.It culminated today with a cordon and search operations, enmeshed with hostage rescue operations in an anti-piracy setting at Cape Ternay, with realistic orchestration of events extending over two days in an urban insurgency environment, an Army statement said. 

The United Arab Emirates will take on Pakistan in the sixth match of the Asia Cup Monday at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.UAE posted a total of 129/6 in 20 overs which Pakistan chased down with eight balls to spare, after fifties from man-of-the-match Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal. Mohammad Amir finished with figures of 2/6 in his four overs.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched the Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer for $35. The third-generation model features Bluetooth 4.0, built-in WiFi support and a faster 1.2 GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 processor. The low-cost, credit card-sized device was first launched exactly four years ago as an easy point-of-entry for budding programmers and can be plugged into a computer monitor or TV.

The Visa on Arrival for Japanese nationals is being launched from. 1st March, 2016. This facility will be available at six airports viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. This facility can be availed for the purposes of business, tourism, conference and medical. Validity of this visa after entry will be for a period of 30 days. The facility being given to Japanese will be an upgradation of e-Tourist Visa currently offered to citizens of 150 countries.

London Olympian Basant Bahadur Singh Rana clinched the gold medal in men’s 50km race walk event on the second and final day of the National Championships in Jaipur. Delhi walker Rana clocked 4 hours seven minutes 24 seconds to finish first but he must have been disappointed as he could not touch the revised Olympics qualification time of 4:06:00 on a fast Jaipur course which saw as many as seven men’s 20 km race walkers breached Rio Games cut-off mark.The 32-year-old Rana has a personal best of 3:56:48 which he clocked a in the 2012 London Olympics, which was a national record then.