1. March 18 - International Museum Day is observed across the world to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society. The theme of 2018 was ‘Museums and Hyper Communication – New Approaches and New Public‘.
1. Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar was sworn in as fifth Chief Justice of High Court of Manipur. Justice Sudhakar hails from Panapakkam village in Vellore district. He graduated with Bachelors’ Degree in Life Sciences from Loyola College and obtained law degree from Madras Law College. He was enrolled as advocate in 1983. He was appointed as judge of Madras High Court in 2005 and as judge of High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in 2016. In 2018, he was appointed as acting Chief Justice of High Court of J&K.
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1. Northeast Frontier Railway of Indian Railway has started operating one lease Parcel Cargo Express Train (PCET) connecting northeastern part of the country to West Coast on fortnightly basis. The PCET will enable farmers from northeast to market their lucrative products like tea, betal nuts, pineapple, jute, horticulture products, cane furniture etc. at retail markets in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Pune. Its route will cover New Guwahati in Assam to Kalyan in Maharashtra. It was launched on line of Government’s priority to provide connectivity to northeast region and empowering local industries of this region.
2. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued advisory to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Lakshadweep archipelago (UT) over cyclonic storm ‘Sagar’. It is the first cyclonic storm of season to develop in Indian waters. The cyclonic storm was developed as low pressure area in Arabian Sea which gained strength and intensified into depression and later into a cyclone ‘Sagar’.
3. The word ‘AYUSH’ was adopted in Hindi and English languages for scientific and technical purposes by the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT). CSTT approved ‘ayush’ word with meaning “Traditional and Non-Conventional Systems of Health Care and Healing which include Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, Homoeopathy etc”. The decision follows a proposal from Ministry of AYUSH in this regards. Now the word will be officially used in all Government communications.
4. India was estimated 211 cases of tuberculosis (TB) per 1,00,000 people in 2016 according to World Health Statistics 2018 released by World Health Organisation (WHO). Cases reported in India were lower than neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar which recorded 221 and 361 cases respectively in this category. However, Nepal and Bhutan recorded fewer number of TB cases per 1,00,000 population than India. India has pledged to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of global target set by WHO.
5. Nipah Virus (NiV) infection was detected for the first time in the state of Kerala. Its traces were found in blood and body fluid samples of two persons who died of viral fever in Kerala’s coastal Kozhikode region. It was confirmed by laboratory results from National Institute of Virology, Pune. Nipah virus (NiV) infection is zoonotic disease that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus are natural host of the virus.
6. Supreme Court has approved Centre’s draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states/UT viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It ordered Central Government to notify the scheme before the monsoons.
7. Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project( 300MW) in Bandipora District of Jammu & Kashmir was inaugurated by PM Modi . It is 37 m high concrete faced rockfill dam (CFRD) constructed on Kishanganga River in Jhelum River basin in Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir. Its construction was started in 2007 and completed in 2016. It has underground power House with 3 Units of 110 MW capacity each (330 MW). Its all units were synchronised in May 2018. It will provide a free power of 13% to the state, which will be around Rs. 133 crore per year. He also laid foundation stone of 1000 MW capacity Pakal Dul Power Project. Pakal dul project will be largest Hydro Power Project in J&K on completion. It will be also first storage project in J&K. Its project cost is shared by Government of India as well as the Government of J&K. Pakal Dul Dam is proposed 167m concrete-face rock-fill dam (CFRD) on Marusadar River, a tributary of Chenab River in Kishtwar district of J&K. The primary purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power generation. Its underground power house has four units each of 250 MW capacity (total 1000 MW).
8. The construction of Rs 6,809 crore Zojila tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh was inaugurated by PM Modi. It will be India’s and Asia’s longest and strategic bi-directional road tunnel, which will provide all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir’ s Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. Its objective is to provide safe, fast and cheap all whether connectivity to strategically important Leh region in J&K which at moment is limited to at best six months because of snow on mountainous passes and threat of avalanches. It will reduce time taken to cross Zojila pass from present three and half hours to just fifteen minutes. It will be situated at altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway (NH-1A). It consists of 14.150 km long two-lane bidirectional single tube tunnel with parallel 14.200 km long egress (escape) tunnel, making it Asia’s longest bidirectional road tunnel.
9. India’s first Centre for Energy Regulation (CER) was set up by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur with the help of Government of United Kingdom. The first of its kind centre in India aims at providing independent advisory on policy and regulatory matters in the power and energy sector.
10. Under zero-subsidy Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme, the State run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has distributed over 30 crore light emitting diode (LED) bulbs across country. The distribution of 30 crore LED bulbs have led to energy savings of over 38,952 million kWh, annually, amounting to energy savings of Rs. 15,581 crore.
11. e-Visa scheme have successfully earned Rs1,400 crore as revenue, according to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). e-Visa scheme provides pre-authorization of visa to foreigners prior to travel to India. The scheme is implemented by foreigners division of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to improve efficiency and transparency of various services being provided to foreign nationals. 19 lakh tourists made use of e-Visa scheme in 2017 and fees are divided into four slabs of zero, $25, $50 and $75, which were fixed on reciprocity and depending on nationality.
12. H D Kumaraswamy who heads the Congress-JDS coalition is set to become the chief minister for a second time on May 23, 2018 with the resignation of BS Yeddyurappa from CM’s post after failing to gather the required numbers to form a majority government. Governor Vajubhai Vala has directed Kumaraswamy to prove the majority on the floor of the House in 15 days but he plans to do it much before.
1. Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes inaugurated his country's Israel embassy in Jerusalem. With the decision, the nation becomes the third one to take the controversial step of moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
2. An extraordinary summit in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss recent Israeli violence against Palestinian protestors in Gaza Strip by the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The summit was convened at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
3. World’s first floating nuclear power station was unveiled by Russia at port city of Murmansk. It will be loaded with nuclear fuel at Murmansk and will be towed to port of Pevek in autonomous Chukotka region in Russia’s far northeast in Arctic Circle region. Akademik Lomonosov was constructed by Russian state nuclear power firm Rosatom. It is named after Russian Academician Mikhail Lomonosov. It has length of 144 metres and width of 30 metres. It has displacement of 21,500 tonnes and crew of 69 people. For power generation, it has been fitted with two modified KLT-40 naval propulsion nuclear reactors (each of 35 MW capacities) together providing up to 70 MW of electricity and 300 MW of heat.
4. The 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers was held in Durban, South Africa. It was attended by from BASIC countries and Michal Kurtyka of Poland, next president of Conference of Parties (COP-24) under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The grouping is a bloc of four countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China. India was represented by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan. BASIC countries decided to preserve integrity of historic 2015 Paris Agreement, including principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and equity.
Science and Technology/Defence:
1. According to a new study, emissions of one of the chemicals that can cause a hole in the ozone layer are on the rise, despite an international ban on the chemical by the 1987 Montreal Protocol. The gas, Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is a member of the family of chemicals most responsible for the giant hole in the ozone layer that forms over Antarctica every September. According to the researchers, further work is required to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC-11 are increasing and if something can be done about it soon.
2. A relay satellite designed to establish a communication link between earth and a planned lunar probe that will explore the dark side of the moon was launched by China on 21st May,2018. The satellite, known as Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, will settle in an orbit about 455,000 km from earth and will be the world’s first communication satellite operating there.
3. India has decided to include Artificial Intelligence in its defence forces with an aim to enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces after US, Russia and China. A task force has been set up under the chairmanship of N Chandrasekaran to finalise the specifics and framework of the project.
4. India is among hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused sharp decline in availability of freshwater according first of its kind study of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre by using an array of NASA satellite observations to track global hydrologic changes. Scientists had used 14 years of observations from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spacecraft mission, a joint project of NASA and German Aerospace Centre, to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world.
5. A special unit called Bastariya Battalion (numbered 241) to combat Naxals activities in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh has been commissioned by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 241 Bastariya Battalion comprises total 739 local tribal youths including 198 women combatants (33% female candidates as per government policy) selected from four highly Naxal infested district in Chhattisgarh, i.e Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Sukma. This is for first time CRFP has raised special battalion that includes local representation to enhance combat capabilities in Naxal-hit area of Bastar district.
6. India successfully test-fired the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a test range along the coast of Odisha. The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher stationed at Launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur on 21st May 2018.
1. India is the sixth wealthiest country in the world with total wealth of $8,230 billion according to AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review. Top 10 wealthiest countries: US ($62,584 billion), China ($24,803 billion), Japan ($19,522 billion), UK ($9,919 billion), Germany ($9,660 billion), India ($8,230 billion), Australia ($6,142 billion), Canada ($6,393 billion), France ($6,649 billion) and Italy ($4,276 billion).
1. Anil Kumar Jha was appointed as full time Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Coal India Limited (CIL) by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). He will be in office till January 31, 2020.
2. Senior bureaucrat Amit Khare (a 1985 batch IAS officer) has been appointed as the new Secretary of the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
3. Rajinder Singh has been named as the new President of Hockey India. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Hockey India .He has been chosen for the post following Mariamma Koshy’s resignation from the post.