Current Affairs 21st March 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Britain's Prince Harry began a five-day official trip to Nepal on Saturday, meeting with the prime minister and attending a ceremony to mark 200 years of relations between the two nations.Hundreds of people cheered as the 31-year-old prince came out of Kathmandu's airport. He later met with Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli at his official residence and attended a ceremony hosted by Nepal's government.During his trip, Harry will tour areas hit by last year's devastating earthquake and visit a camp for displaced quake survivors. People are hoping his visit will draw attention to Nepal's struggle to recover from the disaster.The April 25, 2015, quake killed nearly 9,000 people, destroyed about 1 million homes and damaged many old temples, palaces and other old structures in Patan and Kathmandu, the capital. Nepalese authorities have been slow to push ahead with rebuilding efforts.The prince will also stay with a family that includes men who served in the British army's famed Gurkha regiments, the unit that Harry served with in Afghanistan.The Gurkhas have served in the British army for 200 years and have a reputation for being brave, tenacious fighters. Thousands of young Nepali men attempt to pass the grueling test to become a Gurkha, but only a few get through.Harry is the first British royal to visit Nepal since the monarchy was abolished in 2008 following street protests. Since then, the Himalayan country has turned into a republic, with a president chosen by a parliament. The prince will meet with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari during his trip.

BHEL   has commissioned another 270 MW unit at Goindwal Sahib coal-fired power project in Punjab.Within one month of the successful commissioning of a 270 MW thermal generating unit in Punjab, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned another 270 MW coal-based unit at the same site in the state.The unit has been commissioned at the 2x270 MW Goindwal Sahib coal-fired thermal power project of GVK Power and Infra Limited (GVKPIL), located at Goindwal Sahib city in Tarn Taran district, near Amritsar in Punjab.BHEL's scope of work in the Goindwal Sahib project envisages design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbines, generators, boilers, associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides Controls and Instrumentation (C&I) and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs).The equipment for the project were supplied by various manufacturing units of BHEL located at Trichy, Ranipet, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Haridwar, while the construction work was carried out by the company's power sector-Northern Region.

US President Barack Obama embarked on a historic trip to Cuba on Sunday, more than a year after Washington reset its foreign policy towards the island following decades of Cold War animosity that almost led to a nuclear war.The three-day trip - the first by a US president in 88 years - was unthinkable until Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in December 2014 to re-establish diplomatic ties.The US broke off ties with the communist nation of 11 million when Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro ousted a pro-American government in 1959.On March 20 2016, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez met Obama at the Jose Marti Airport after Air Force One touched down in Havana, 145 kilometres from the southern US state of Florida.Obama will meet government critics on Tuesday. The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, has been invited. She was among those detained on Sunday.The Cuban government dismisses dissidents as mercenaries seeking to destabilise the country.Plainclothes police blanketed the capital, Havana, with security while public works crews laid down asphalt to fill potholes, as the island nation prepared a red-carpet welcome for Obama and his family.

The Chhattisgarh government has disbursed Rs 1, 821-crore loans to several beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) Yojana (PMMY).In Chhattisgarh, 4,83,792 applications were received for seeking loans under the scheme since its inception,” a senior official in the state’s industry and commerce department.The banks disbursed Rs 1821.50 crore to the beneficaries, the official said, adding that the state government had been encouraging the young entrepreneurs to avail the benefits of the ambitious programme.The scheme was launched in April 2015 and was aimed to provide funding to the non-corporate, small business sector. According to officials, the scheme had been receiving good response in the state as youths were taking keen interest to avail the benefits. Under PMMY, loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs.Three products are available under the PMMY that include Shishu, Kishor and Tarun. The categories signify the stage of growth and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit or entrepreneur. Shishu covers loans of up to Rs 50,000 while Kishor covers above Rs 50,000 and up to Rs 5 lakh. Tarun category provides loans of above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 10 lakh.The state government had designed a grass-root level planning to promote the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for facilitating investment in the sector. Under the strategy designed, the department of commerce and industry had planned to organise workshop in each district in which public representatives have also been invited. The first phase of the programme covering six of the 27 districts in the state was near completion.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh and Cisco on 17 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to design and implement the AP Fiber Net project.The MoU was signed during the launch of phase one of the project by State Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Visakhapatnam. It is aimed at providing broadband connectivity at affordable rates to all households and institutions in the State.It is considered as the first statewide broadband project in India and was launched to realize the vision of Digital Andhra Pradesh.It is aimed at providing broadband on fiber to every house in Andhra Pradesh.As part of the project, on-demand and affordable broadband connectivity of 2 to 20 Mbps to all households and 1 to 10 Gbps to all institutions will be provided by 2018.It will cover 2500 locations and is 22500 km long, reaching 2 million households.Cisco has designed and implemented the network infrastructure for the project using statewide high-speed, aerial-optical fiber leveraging existing electricity distribution assets.The project will bridge digital divide and is expected to significantly boost the economy.The Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Ltd (APSFL) will be the nodal agency to implement the project.Cisco will set up an Internet of Everything (IoE) Innovation Centre in Visakhapatnam to foster regional innovation.The centre will enable partners and startups to build solutions around IoE and engage in rapid prototyping.It will also act as a platform to bring startups, accelerators, developers, researchers, ecosystem partners and the venture community together to showcase possibilities of the Internet of Everything. Cisco will invest in an advanced Technology Center of Excellence and Research Lab in the Institute of Digital Technology (IDT), Tirupati.The centre of excellence will focus on cyber security, smart city and manufacturing solutions.It will help train graduate engineers in advanced digital technologies and solutions and equip them with skill sets required for the digital era.As part of the initiative to boost research, Cisco will sponsor andcollaborate with Andhra University in Visakhapatnam on a 12-month research program.The program seeks to identify and explore the possibility of developing and customizing digital technologies and solutions for rural Andhra Pradesh.The company will expand Cisco Networking Academy in 70 colleges to train approximately 10000 new students in the state of Andhra Pradesh by 2019.The academy will offer cloud-delivered, scalable, high-quality program that helps students learn how to design, build, secure and maintain computer networks and prepare for jobs in the digital economy. It will partner with the State Government for the expansion of Golden Mile Project to develop new applications for smart cities in the Andhra Pradesh.As part of the project, Cisco already started deploying key technologies in the 5 km area including Smart Wi-Fi, Smart Safety and Security, Smart Lighting, Smart Parking, Smart Transports in Vijaywada.

Farmers often struggle for basic information like weather updates, crop prices and expert advice, ending up often relying on hearsays.A new mobile app—Kisan Suvidha—launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will prove helpful for farmers in this regard but they must own a smartphone.The app is likely to have many takers as India is second largest smartphone market in the world with 87 million mobile Internet users in rural areas.The app has a simple interface and provides information on five critical parameters—weather, input dealers, market price, plant protection and expert advisories. An additional tab directly connects the farmer with the Kisan call centre where technical graduates answer their queries.The design is simple and neat.To begin with, a farmer has to register the mobile number, choose a language—at present limited to Hindi and English—and enter details of the state, district and block or sub-district.A tap on the weather button shows details of temperature, humidity, wind and rainfall for the current day and the forecast for the next five days. Additionally, a farmer can get extreme weather alerts like hailstorms or unseasonal rains—a useful tool for farmers. For instance, after harvesting, farmers often leave their cereal crops in the field to dry. Prior information on freak rains can help them save their crop.The market price button shows latest price of all crops traded in a mandi or registered agriculture market of the particular district a farmer belongs to. Additionally, he gets to see the maximum price in the district, state and the entire country on a particular day.For small farmers, who often sell their produce to local traders, this could be an important bargaining tool. Also, farmers can decide on whether to take their produce to the mandi or delay it based on information on current prices.Other information points are useful too. The plant protection button gives pest, weed and disease-related information as well as management practices for each stage of crop development—from nursery to harvesting. A farmer from, say Ganganagar district in Rajasthan, can scan the information for all major crops grown in the district like mustard, wheat and vegetables.The agro advisory section shows messages for farmers from district agriculture officials and state universities in their local language. These primarily deal with crop management practices based on the prevailing situation, say a remedy for a widespread pest attack or imminent showers.Farmers can also access names and mobile numbers of input dealers selling pesticides, seeds, fertiliser and machinery. This is a handy tool—farmers can now make a call and compare prices and availability before they actually head out to purchase these inputs.The agriculture ministry, which developed the app, describes it as an “omnibus for quick and relevant information”. Adding more local languages will take it a step further.

Joining the league of global technology giants who are making a beeline to invest into and nurture the booming India startup ecosystem, US networking major Cisco has committed $100 million over the next 18 to 24 months. The series of investments will include $40 million that will be used to fund early-stage and growth-stage companies in the country, and train around 250,000 students by 2020. The rest of the funds will go towards opening six new innovation labs and three centres of expertise, apart from collaborating with universities and making other investments for skill development, Cisco announced on Friday in the presence of its executive chairman John Chambers. Cisco will collaborate closely with state governments on strategic initiatives, it said. "India is well positioned to lead in digitisation," said Chambers. India may have been slow to adopt technology but it is leapfrogging now as compared to other Asian countries, he said. "The entire economy is burgeoning because of digital economy," said Chambers who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He praised the government's flagship projects of Make in India, Digital India and Start up India.Dinesh Malkani, president at Cisco India and SAARC, said the company has expertise in areas such as security, cloud, and the Internet of Things which it can lend to emerging companies. "There is a lot of scope for development in IP driven technology software companies in India.The $143-billion firm has over 10,000 people in India. It is also setting up a manufacturing base in Pune to locally make products to "support the Digital India vision" and aims to eventually make it an export hub. Regulators and law makers have to understand that the decisions that they make today can't be the decisions that they would have made few years ago... They have to be educated about the implications and eventual fallouts... Governments and regulators and industry will have to come together and work together on this," he said. Several technology majors are investing in India.In February this year, Oracle global chief Safra Catz announced a $400 million expansion of their India facility, a host of incubation centres for startups and an extensive training programme to groom young talent in the country. 

Cairn India has remained in the top deciles of safety performance amongst peer group companies for the FICCISafety Systems Excellence Award in Manufacturing. The awards, which are dedicated for best safety and occupation health systems act as a motivation and a catalyst for adopting best safety practices and systems in the manufacturing sector.Addressing delegates and safety professionals from different sectors at the conference, Dr V K Saraswat said, "Safety in the unorganized sector remains an area of concern and there is a need to bring in cultural change to ensure that the best safety systems are adopted."He added that hazard engineering can be introduced as a subject in education to ensure that safety practices are given priority in the workplace and to bring in cultural change.The success of Cairn's safety program has been largely dependent on a four-fold approach to safety, which relies on creation of procedures and systems to manage the safety of employees, processes and assets, right and timely training of employees to mould safe behavior, provision of the right equipment to do the job, including personal protective gears and developing a monitoring mechanism that consistently investigates and improves upon the findings of safety incidents.Cairn India considers safe transportation of its people and its products as an integral part of responsible care. Continuous efforts to improve road and transport safety are therefore part of the company's overall objective to improve safety performance throughout its business.

Shareholders of telecom operator Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), which runs the MTS brand, today approved the merger of the company with Reliance Communication in a meeting convened by the Rajasthan High Court. SSTL shareholders have approved the merger scheme with RCom at the meeting.An SSTL spokesperson said the meeting in Jaipur was convened by the high court to seek approval of the SSTL shareholders to merge the company with Reliance Communications. As per initial indications, members of the company have duly approved the merger process through voting by way of poll at the meeting and through e-voting. However, a formal declaration can only be made after all the ballot votes have been counted.The RCom-SSTL merger deal has already been cleared by the Competition Commission of India and Sebi. Now, it needs to be cleared by the Rajasthan High Court and the Bombay High Court .Once approval from these courts comes by, RCom will approach the Department of Telecom for final paperwork. The deal between RCom and SSTL is valued at around USD 690 million (Rs 4,500 crore) and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016. SSTL will hold about 10 per cent stake in the new entity and pay off its existing debt before completing the deal. While SSTL will pay off its existing USD 500 million debt, RCom will assume the liability to pay the government instalments for SSTL spectrum amounting to Rs 392 crore per annum for the next 10 years. Russian tycoon Vladimir Evtushenkov-controlled AFK Sistema currently holds 56.68 per cent stake in SSTL while the Russian government owns 17.14 per cent. The Shyam Group has 23.98 per cent and the rest is owned by small investors.The deal will make RCom the largest holder of the 800/850 MHz band for wireless 4G services and help it not just compete with present players but consolidate its position ahead of commercial launch of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio

The agreement between the EU and Turkey to tackle the migrant crisis has formally come into effect.Under the deal, migrants arriving in Greece are now expected to be sent back to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum or their claim is rejected.The influx of people crossing to Greek islands grew ahead of the deadline, and Greece said immediate implementation of the deal would not be possible.All irregular migrants into Greece crossing from Turkey from 20 March 2016 will be sent back. Henceforth migrants’ arrival will be individually assessed by the Greek authorities. The EU will resettle Syrian migrant for each Syrian returned to Turkey. In this case priority will be given to those who have not tried to illegally enter the EU. By June 2016, it will be mandatory for Turkish nationals to have access to the Schengen passport-free zone. It will not be applicable to non-Schengen countries like Britain. The EU is to speed up the allocation of €3 billion ($3.3 billion) in aid to Turkey to help migrants’ crisis. Both signatory sides have agreed to re-energise Turkey’s bid to join the European Union (EU) bloc. In this regard formal talks will begin in July, 2016. Since January 2015, millions of migrants and refugees have entered the EU by boat from Turkey to Greece via Mediterranean Sea route. Thousands are stuck in Greece as their route north has been blocked. This deal ensures Turkey, which houses nearly 3 million Syrian refugees to get financial aid.

Anupam Shrivastava will continue as Chairman and Managing Director of state-run BSNL for another four years following the government's decision after review of his first year of performance at the PSU's helm. Anupam Shrivastava is confirmed as Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for the balance period of his tenure after expiry of the first year on January 15, 2016," a BSNL order dated March 16 ,2016.Shrivastava, last year, was appointed CMD of BSNL for a period of five years or till the time of superannuation age of 60 years. However, there was a condition that his confirmation as CMD would be taken up after review of his performance at the end of his first year of tenure. During Shrivastava's tenure, BSNL reported an operating profit of Rs 672 crore for 2014-15, aided by a fall in administrative costs and jump in revenue. It had posted an operating loss of Rs 691 crore in 2013-14, though in 2012-13 it declared an operating profit of Rs 916 crore. BSNL's income from services increased by 4.16 per cent in 2014-15 compared to the previous fiscal. BSNL has increased mobile network capacity under Phase-7 of its expansion plan and is setting up wifi hotspots on revenue sharing basis. The company has further started phase 7 plus under which it expects to install 21,000 mobile towers with an investment of Rs 2100 crore. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 March 2016 conferred National Krishi Karman Awards for the year 2014-15 in New Delhi. The awards were presented to 8 State Governments, which were received by the Chief Minister of respective states.The objective of these awards is to encourage and motivate the states to enhance production and productivity of rice, wheat, pulses and coarse cereals and oilseeds.Total foodgrain production.1.Category I States (production greater than 10 million tonnes): Punjab and Uttar Pradesh,2.Category II States (production between 1 and 10 million tonnes):Assam and Orissa  ,3.Category III States (production less than 1 million tonnes): Tripura Each award winning state received a trophy, a citation and a cash award of 5 crore rupees.4.Individual Crops Rice - Chhattisgarh,Wheat - Haryana, Pulses - Maharashtra and Rajasthan Coarse Cereals – Karnataka .Each award winning state received a trophy, a citation and a cash award of 2 crore rupees.Krishi Karman awards : These awards were instituted in the year 2010-11 to reward the best performing States in foodgrains and individual crops of Rice, Wheat, Pulses and Coarse Cereals. Krishi Karman awards are given to Best performer States for raising country's food grain production.The awards comprises of three awards for total food grain production and four awards for production of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses - the crops that constitute the food grain.In addition to the above Commendation Awards are also given to States which achieved production and productivity higher over their previous highest in 4-5 years, yet could not qualify for Krishi Karman Awards. The amount for Commendation Award is 1 crore rupees for each State.

Union Environment Ministry on 18 March 2016 notified new Plastic Waste Management Rules to curb over 6000 tonnes of uncollected plastic waste generated daily by industries.It made the rules related to usage and production of plastic to be more stringent as it tries to bring in more eco friendly society.Rules related to plastic waste management to give thrust on plastic waste minimization, source segregation,recycling, involving waste pickers, recyclers and waste processors in collection of plastic waste were also reviewed and revised.Rural areas have been included and Gram Panchayats were given responsibility and the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) is introduced.Responsibility of waste generators is being introduced.It also banned plastic carry bags thinner than 50 microns and the producers are asked to keep record of vendors to whom they supply raw material for manufacturing carry bags, plastic sheets and multilayered packaging to curb manufacturing of the products in the unorganized sectorThe rules also have the provision to fine retailers and street vendors who provide their products in plastic packaging which do not conform to the new rules.Individual and bulk (waste) generators like offices, commercial establishments, industries are to segregate the plastic waste at source and should  handover the segregate waste and pay user fee as per bye-laws of the local bodies. Persons organising public events like marriages, public gatherings are responsible for the management of waste generated during these events. Minimum thickness of the plastic bags increased from 40-50 microns.Introduction of collect back system of plastic waste by the producers/brand owners as per extended producers’ responsibility, Plastic bags will be available only with shopkeepers pre-registered with local bodies.Manufacturing and use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic to be phased out in two years.The Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules 2016 are issued by the Union environment ministry will replace the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011. Under the new EPR concept, producers are responsible for collecting waste generated from their products.

Four-time runners-up, SSP Chawrasia broke the jinx to lift the Hero Indian Open with a two-stroke victory at the prestigious tournament at the Delhi Golf Course here on March 20,2016.The 37-year-old came up with a sedate one-under 71 in the final round to edge out defending champion Anirban Lahiri (69) and Korea's Jeunghun Wang (68). The victory also secured his European Tour card.The victory gave Chawrasia a prize purse of $276,660 and European Tour playing privileges for the remaining current and two more years.He is expected to break into world rankings 150 to have a strong chance to make India’s Rio Olympics squad.The Solheim Cup is the Women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup.Tiger Woods holds the record at -18 for the US Masters.Golf is one of the two only sports to be played on the moon. Javelin is the other sport that was reportedly played on the moon.The most successful Indian golfers are Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri. Singh won three titles on the European Tour, four on the Japan Golf Tour, and six on the Asian Tour.The main tournament is the Hero Indian Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Gurmeet Singh created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20km Race Walk Championships as he won the men’s event with his season’s best effort. The 30-year-old Gurmeet clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds. He beat Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa (1:20:49) in a close fight in the last 5km. Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Sheiko won the bronze medal in 1:21:52.Gurmeet’s feat was the first time in 34 years that an Indian has won a gold in either an Asian Championships or Asian Games in this event.Hakam Singh and Chand Ram won a gold each in 20km road walk in 1978 and 1982 Asian Games respectively. Since then, no Indian has won a gold at the continental level in this event.Gurmeet was also sixth time lucky as he finally stood atop the podium after winning a silver and two bronze medals in his earlier five attempts in this championships.He finished seventh in his first appearance in 2011, silver in 2012, a bronze each in 2013 and 2014 and ninth last year.In the women’s 20km walk race event, National Games champion and Rio Games-bound Sapna finished fourth in a time of 1:35:57. China’s Rui Liang won the gold in 1:28:43 while Kumiko Okada of Japan (1:30:03) and South Korean Jeongeun Lee (1:33:53) took the silver and bronze respectively. National record holder and Rio Olympics bound athlete Khushbir Kaur, who won a bronze medal in the women’s race here two years ago, withdrew from this year’s competitions due to injury.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Bangladesh bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny for bowling with an illegal action with an immediate effect. They were suspended after independent assessments have found that their bowling actions of is illegal. Their international suspensions will also be recognized and enforced by all the members for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction. The assessments were performed at the ICC-accredited testing centre at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai. In the assessment it was found that Sunny’s (left-arm spinner) elbow extension for a majority of his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the ICC Regulations. Taskin’s (pace spearhead) most of the deliveries were also found illegal.

The International Day of Forests, the 21st day of March, was established by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012.This celebration awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.The observance of the day is also used to communicate the vital role forests play in to sustain and protect us i.e. in environmental sustainability, food security and poverty eradication.Theme for 2016: “Forests and water”. The theme highlights importance of forests as key factor to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life. It also marks the joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day (22nd March).The first International Day of Forests was observed on 21 March 2013.Forests cover one third (about 31% of global land area) of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Being the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, forests are a home for more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Around the world, 1.6 billion people including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures depend on forests for their livelihood. Despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits of forests, the global deforestation continues at an alarming. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. Water Sources: Forested watersheds and wetlands supply around 75% of the world’s accessible freshwater. Forests generally act as natural water filters. About one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas. Climate change is altering forests role in water flows and the availability of water resources

Ace Indian shuttler HS Prannoy (World no 13) has won the prestigious 2016 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament in the men’s single category. In the final match played at Basel, Switzerland, he defeated Marc Zwiebler (World no 7) of Germany 21-18, 21-15 score. It was his second Grand Prix Gold title after the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold won in 2014.He is  23-year-old .Women’s Single: He Bingjiao from China won the title by defeating Wang Yihan from China by 21-16, 21-10 score.Men’s Doubles: Denmark pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen won the title by defeating Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin by 21-15 and 21-8 score.Women’s Doubles: Japanese pair of Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito won the title by defeating Japanese pair of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao by 21-16, 12-21 and 21-12 score.Mixed Doubles: Chinese pair of Wang Yilu and Chen Qingchen won the title by defeating Thailand pair of Bodin Issara and Savitree Amitrapai by 21-19, 16-21 and 15-21 score.

Former Prime Minister of Denmark Anker Joergensen passed away on 20 March 2016 in Copenhagen. He was 93.Joergensen served as the Prime Minister of the country from 1972 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 1982.In 1950, Joergensen became a member of a trade union. He led the Danish Workers Union, SiD, between 1968 and 1972. While he served as the chairman of the Danish Workers Union, he was elected to the Parliament of Denmark for the first time in 1964.Following the European Union Referendum of 1972 about whether Denmark should join the EU, Joergensen succeeded Jens Otto Krag as Prime Minister of Denmark. Joergensen held the position for 14 months until the 1973 election when he was succeeded by liberal Poul Hartling.After just over a year in opposition, he returned as Prime Minister of Denmark with a Social Democratic minority government.

India offices of MNCs like DHL, Google and Marriott ranked among the top workplaces in Asia, while as many as 10 Indian companies including Lupin, M&M and InterGlobe Enterprises made it to the list under the '25 Best Large Places to Work' category. According to the 2nd annual list of the Best Workplaces in Asia-Pacific, DHL took the top slot among multinationals, while Salesforce led the Small & Medium list and Atlassian, the Large Companies segment. The best multinational workplaces in Asia include - DHL, Omnicom, Google, EMC, Marriott, NetApp, Hyatt, MARS, American Express and SAP. Interestingly, the Indian offices of 8 out of these 10 MNCs made it to the list. In the best large workplaces list had as many as 10 Indian companies including Godrej Consumer Products, Lupin and InterGlobe Enterprises. Other Indian company on this list were RMSI Private Ltd, Forbes Marshall, Lifestyle International, Bajaj Finance, Silver Spark Apparel, Ujjivan Financial Services and Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors. For employees at Asia's Best fairness-related workplace features, such as an impartial appeals process, equal treatment regardless of job level, and fair promotions, are closely associated with people's willingness to give extra to get the job done.More than 900 companies across 9 Asian countries and over 200,000 employees participated and were evaluated against the Trust Index assessment and the Culture Audit Management Questionnaire. The list was finalised using this combination of confidential and random employee responses and data on various aspects of work culture and people practices. 

The Hinduja brothers have emerged as the richest Asian-origin entrepreneurs in Britain for the fourth consecutive year with an estimated personal fortune of 16.5 billion pounds. The India-born brothers G P Hinduja and S P Hinduja topped the 'Asian Rich List 2016' released here last night and the annual rankings showed that they had added one billion pounds to their personal fortune in a year to be worth an estimated 16.5 billion pounds. The 'Asian Rich List' assesses the total wealth of Britain's top 101 richest Asians and is compiled by UK-based publishing house Asian Media and Market. Steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal was ranked second in the list, released by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Navtej Sarna. The fortune of Mittal, however, has plummeted by 3.3 billion pounds to finish with 6.4 billion pounds. Leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul is listed as 15th richest with fortune worth 500 million pounds. This year's analysis showed that the UK's richest Asians have their fortunes worth 55.54 billion pounds up from 54.48 billion pounds in 2015. The highest riser and a new entry is Cyrus Vandrevala, with 2 billion pounds at number five. He moved to London with his wife Priya, having made his money in the US in the internet business. He is now in private equity and real estate. Sri Prakash Lohia, chairman of the Indorama Corporation, is listed 3rd richest with fortune worth 3 billion pounds. The Arora brothers - Simon, Bobby and Robin - owners of discount retail chain are 4th richest with a fortune worth 2.1 billion pounds. According to the Asian Rich List, Gopi Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja group does not think that wealth should be measured only or even mainly by how much there is in someone's bank account. 

To popularise AYUSH system of medicine across the world, the ministry will enter into an agreement with WHO and a partnership with United States for research in AYUSH medicines for treatment of cancer.AYUSH is a very important sector and it should be propagated worldwide.To popularise AYUSH system of medicine across the world, the AYUSH Ministry is entering into an agreement with the WHO.MoUs have already been signed with several countries for bilateral cooperation in the field of traditional medicine.Central Research Councils and National Institute in the AYUSH Systems of Medicine along with the National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB), Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporations Limited (IMPCL) amongst others are showcasing their strengths in research, education and development of such products.The announcement was made by AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik. He was speaking after inaugurating the National Arogya Fair at Auto Cluster Development and Research Institute (ACDRI), PCMC, Chinchwad in Pune.The Arogya fair aims to create awareness among the people about efficiency of the AYUSH Systems, their cost effectiveness and the availability of herbs and plants used for prevention and treatment of common ailments.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix, after a huge crash for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. A bad start dropped Lewis Hamilton from pole to sixth but he fought to second.Rosberg took advantage when the race was stopped following Alonso’s high-speed barrel-roll to switch strategy and overhaul early leader Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.Rosberg’s 15th career victory was also his fourth in succession after the German won the final three races of last season.His team mate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton finished second, some eight seconds behind after recovering from a chaotic start that pushed the defending world champion back to sixth at the first turn.The race arguably turned as a result of the terrifying accident involving Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez of new team Haas on lap 17.Hamilton had been in imperious form through practice and qualifying. He was out of the reach of his rivals as he re-found the form that had won him his third world title in 2015, but which he lost in the final three races of last season when he stopped working as hard once the title was won.The two-time champion was clearly shaken but, although he limped away from his car, he was uninjured.

World Sparrow Day is a day designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations, observed on 20 March.It is an international initiative by theNature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.The Nature Forever Society was started by Mohammed Dilawar, an Indian conservationist who started his work helping the house sparrow in Nashik, and who was named one of the "Heroes of the Environment" for 2008 by Time for his efforts.The idea of marking a World Sparrow Day came up during an informal discussion at the Nature Forever Society's office. The idea was to earmark a day for the house sparrow to convey the message of conservation of the house sparrow and other common birds and also mark a day of celebration to appreciate the beauty of the common biodiversity which is taken so much for granted. The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010 in different parts of the world. The day was celebrated by carrying out different various kinds of activities and events like art competitions, awareness campaigns, and sparrow processions as well as interactions with mediaWorld Sparrow Day also has a broader vision to provide a platform where people who are working on the conservation of the house sparrow and other common birds can network, collaborate and exchange conservation ideas which will lead to better science and improved results. It aims to provide a meeting ground for people from different parts of the world to come together and form a force that can play an important role in advocacy and in spreading the awareness on the need of conserving common biodiversity or species of lower conservation status.Sparrow Awards :To encourage efforts made towards this cause and to selflessly conserve the environment, NFS has instituted the first Sparrow Awards in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on 20 March 2011. In 2013, one of the key facilitators who has joined forces with NFS and supports Sparrow Awards is Sustainuance magazine. The Editor-In-Chief of the magazine, Shashwat D.C. who convened the event and handed out the award to the winners stated, These awardees are unsung heroes who come from all walks of life. And what is remarkable is that they usually work without any government funding and do not seek any recognition.

Indian wrestler Star Yogeshwar Dutt on March 19,2016, secured an Olympic quota place for India with a gold-medal finish in the men’s 65kg freestyle category on an otherwise disappointing day for the country’s grapplers in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in Astana.Yogeshwar became the second Indian wrestler after Narsingh Yadav to book a berth for the Rio Games, to be held later this year.In the road to the final at the Asian Qualifying tournament, Yogeshwar defeated Ju Song Kim 8-1 and then in the quarter-finals the Indian wrestler defeated Xuan Dinh Nguyen of Vietnam by fall.The score was 12-2. In the semi-final, Yogeshwar overcame Seungchul Lee of Korea 7-2.The final against China’s Lee, Yogeshwar outclassed his opponent by 7-0.According to the rules, the last two wrestlers remaining in the competition seal an Olympics berth for their country.China’s Yeerlanbieke Katai, who Dutt will fight against in the final, has in the process also earned himself and China an Olympic berth in the 65 kg category.Yogeshwar Dutt (born 2 November 1982) is an Indian wrestler from Haryana.He started wrestling from a very young age of 8 years. His inspiration was Balraj Pehlwan who was from his native village and he was trained under the guidance of coach Ralph.He won the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Men’s 60kg Freestyle wrestling.He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013.He won Gold Medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has conducted its flagship day-night exercise ‘Iron-fist 2016’ at Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan. The day-night exercise demonstrating IAF’s combat and fire power was conducted in the presence of Hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event comprised 6 packages depicting 6 different themes in which more than 180 aircraft, including fighters, transport and helicopters of IAF participated. They are Fly Past: It depicted the great journey of the IAF over 8 decades with the aircraft of yesteryear flying wing to wing along with the latest acquisitions of the IAF. Net Enabled Operations: It showcased the indigenously developed Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWCS) of aircrafts. It also displayed multiple aircraft weapon delivery demonstration of precision based bombing at simulated enemy targets. Air Defence Operations: The multi-layered Air Defence Operations of the IAF was demonstrated by the Flight Refuelling aircraft (IL-78 FRA) along with two Su-30 aircraft and the indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’. Combat Support Operations: It showcased the very important role played by the IAF in support of the ground forces using live weapons. The assault landing capability of C-130 J aircraft and fire fighting capability of the Mi-17V5 were also displayed. Flying Displays: It displayed aerobatic displays by the Sarangs, Suryakirans and the Su-30. All Weather Operations: The night capabilities of the IAF were also displayed with number of targets were engaged in this phase by fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters using rockets as well as bombs. The event mainly showcased more than 22 types of platforms and Weapons Systems of IAF.  Frontline fighter aircraft including Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-29, Attack helicopters, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and high tech AWACS were displayed during the show. IAF’s indigenous project – Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) “Tejas” was also a part.  Transport aircraft like An-32, IL-76, IL-78, Embraer and C-130J also participated.

An Indian-origin student was awarded the inaugural Noor Inayat Khan Prize consisting of 1,000 pounds for a dissertation which was in “keeping with the spirit” of the famous World War II heroine.Geetakshi Arora of SOAS South Asia Institute has won the first Noor Inayat Khan Prize, the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust announced in London on March 18,2016.The Trust is awarding the annual prize to the post-graduate student from SOAS, University of London, working in the area of gender studies and South Asian history.The prize which consists of 1,000 pounds and a certificate -- is for a dissertation which is in keeping with the spirit of Noor Inayat Khan, a descendant of Tipu Sultan.Noor was born in Moscow in 1914 to Indian father Hazrat Inayat Khan and American mother Ora Ray Baker. She was a secret agent in World War II and was sent behind enemy lines. She operated from Paris, doing crucial work for the allies.Noor was betrayed, arrested and killed in Dachau Concentration Camp at the age of 30.Her last word was ‘Liberte’.Noor was a Sufi and believed in non-violence and religious harmony. Hazrat Inayat Khan was a descendant of Tipu Sultan, the famous 18th-century ruler of the kingdom of Mysore.In November 2012, after a high-profile campaign by the Trust, Princess Anne unveiled a memorial to Noor in Gordon Square in London, near the house where she lived.The Square, which is part of the University of London, is often visited by students.Geetakshi was presented the award in Delhi by Michael Hu, head of SOAS South Asia Institute.

An Indian Professor has become the president of a scholarly group in the US dedicated to international studies.Professor TV Paul took over as the 56th president of International Studies Association (ISA), at its annual convention at Atlanta, Georgia this week.In his address, which among others was attended by former Canadian Prime Minister, Joe Clarke, Mr Paul called on international relations scholars to explicitly deal with grand strategies of peaceful change more effectively, especially in the context of the rise of new powers such as China and India.Born in Kerala, Mr Paul in his speech encouraged scholars with historical understanding to offer ideas for policy makers about which strategy produced conflict and which strategy generated unnecessary violence.The James McGill Professor of International Relations at McGill University, Montreal, Canada he is a leading scholar of international security, nuclear proliferation, and South Asia.In his speech he called upon the International Relations discipline to become the lead source of ideas for peaceful change and not to leave strategy to a narrow group of politicians, their advisors and diplomats who sometimes lack deep vision or historical understanding.The need for strategies for peaceful change is growing in a complex, globalised world, and with the rise of China, India and the resurgent Russia along with several other pivotal centers of power and transnational forces challenging peace.He was ISA's vice president during 2013-14, founding Director of the McGill/-University of Montreal Center for international Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and founding Editor of the Georgetown University Press book series: South Asia in World Affairs.

Vladimir Putin’s homegrown credit-ratings firm is up and running and foreign competitors are already feeling the heat. Moody’s last week announced it would shutter its joint venture in Moscow of 12 years and Fitch said it will probably stop issuing local ratings on Russian companies, the same day ACRA, which stands for Analytical Credit Rating Agency, applied for a license to operate in Russia.In the past three weeks, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Ltd. have said they plan to stop issuing local ratings rather than agree to having their Moscow branches regulated by the Russian government at the cost of breaking international sanctions. Russia is squeezing the business of foreign-ratings assessors since downgrades it condemned as politically motivated last year pushed the sovereign below investment grade for the first time in more than a decade.The Bank of Russia announced plans to start a company immune to “geopolitical risks” in July after S&P and Moody’s cut Russia’s rating to junk amid a slump in oil prices and sanctions imposed over Ukraine.ACRA’s board is headed by an American, Karl Johansson, who advised the Russian government while at Ernst & Young LLP in Moscow. Ekaterina Trofimova, a former banking analyst for Russia and former Soviet states at S&P, will run the new venture.Twenty-seven shareholders, including Sberbank, Raiffeisenbank and Severstal PAO among others, will each have 3.7 percent of 3 billion rubles ($44 million) of the authorized capital.

India has entered into a social security agreement with Australia under which employees of India deputed to Australia and vice versa will not have to make double social security contribution.With this, Australia has become the 14th country with which India has a social security agreement in force. The others in the list include Korea, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungry, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.The agreement, marking another big step to enhance ease of doing business, was notified by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation in January and will be in effect from January 1, 2016.The agreement provides inter-alia for posting i.e detachment up to a period of 60 months for employees of both the countries," EPFO said in an order dated March 16.As per the order, the employees of one country deputed by their employers to the other country on short-term assignment for a pre-determined period of up to 60 months need not remit social security contribution in that country.Thus the employers are saved from making double social security contributions for the same set of employees thereby enhancing competitiveness of their products and servicesEPFO has been identified as the agency to implement the provisions of the agreement in India and has been authorised to issue 'certificate of coverage' to the employees of Indian establishments posted to Australia.The employers who have already deputed or intend to depute their employees to Australia can avail themselves of this facility.

21 March: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination : The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2016 was observed on 21 March 2016 with the theme Challenges and Achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. In 2016, the day is marked by the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001. On 21 March 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws.The United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and proclaimed the day in 1966.The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in South Africa.It is the most comprehensive framework for fighting racism and related forms of intolerance and discrimination.It represents the firm commitment of the international community to tackle the issues related to intolerance and discrimination, and serves as a basis for advocacy efforts worldwide.It contains a broad range of measures aimed at combating racism in all of its manifestations, and underscores the human rights of all groups suffering from racial discrimination. The document emphasizes their right to participate freely and equally in political, social, economic and cultural life.

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