Current Affairs, News & Facts of 31 Mar 2016

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  • Haryana becomes first to launch injectable contraceptive

     

    Haryana becomes first to launch injectable contraceptiveHaryana has become the first state in India to launch injectable contraceptives as a family planning measure across all government healthcare facilities. The new move is a part of  "Project Salamati" launched by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

    Project Salamati is being implemented by Haryana health department, in association with Pathfinder International - a non-profit organisation that deals with family planning and reproductive health. The main aim of the project is to maintain healthy gap between the births of children by using injectable contraceptive.

    Under the Project Salamati, injectable contraceptives would be available free of cost at all primary health centres, community health centres, sub divisional and district hospitals. 

    The project is initially being implemented in nine health blocks of four districts of the state, which includes four health blocks in district Palwal, three in district Mewat, Kurali block in district Faridabad and Khor block in district Rewari. After the success of this project in these districts, it would be implemented throughout the state.

    Health Budget of Haryana: The Haryana government has allocated Rs 3,916.94 crore to the health and family welfare sector in 2016-17 as compared to Rs 2,857.28 crore in the year 2015-16, an increased allocation by 37.1 per cent.

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  • Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke passes away 

     

    Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke passes away Patty Duke, the actress who won an Oscar in 1963 at the age of 16 for her portrayal of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,”  passed away due to Sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69. 

    About Patty Duke

    1. She was born as Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, US. She started her acting career at very early age. One of Duke's earlier acting roles was in the late 1950s, on the soap opera The Brighter Day. 

    2. Her first major role came in 1959, when she portrayed the blind and deaf Keller in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker, which ran for nearly two years (October 1959-July 1961). She won a best supporting actress Academy Award in 1963 for her role. 

    3. She also was known for roles in “Valley of the Dolls,” “My Sweet Charlie” and “Me, Natalie,” as well as for TV’s “The Patty Duke Show,” which was broadcasted from 1963 to 1966.

    4. Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, following which in the last half of her life, she became an advocate on mental health issues, writing a book in 1992 highlighting bipolar disorder and its treatments and helped others struggling with the disease.

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  • Faustin Archange Touadera sworn in as new President of Central African Republic

     

    Faustin Archange Touadera sworn in as new President of Central African RepublicFaustin-Archange Touadera (58) a Central African politician and academic has been sworn in as the new President of Central African Republic (CAR). With this he becomes first elected leader of CAR since Muslim rebels overthrew the government more than three years ago.

    Touadera, a former math professor and prime minister, emerged victorious in the February 2016, runoff elections  by securing nearly 63 percent of the total votes. He had defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent votes.

    About Central African Republic

    Central African Republic is a  former French Colony and one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. Over the past three years, fighting between Muslim and Christian militias has killed thousands and displaced more than 400,000 people. The conflict broke out in 2013 when Muslim Seleka militias ousted then president Francois Bozize, a Christian.

    Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, lumber, and hydropower,  as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world.

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  • CBDT signs 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements

     

    CBDT sings 11 unilateral Advance Pricing AgreementsCentral Board of Direct Taxes ( CBDT) has signed 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA), with taxpayers to bring further clarity to the international taxation regime in the country.

    This takes the total number of APAs, both bilateral and unilateral, to 59.  50 of these agreements have been signed in the current financial year i.e. 2016-17.

    The agreements cover a range of international transactions including corporate guarantees, royalty, software development services, IT enabled services and trading.

    Advance Pricing Agreement : The APA programme was introduced by the Finance Act, 2012 to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in the Indian transfer pricing regime.

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  • Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles species found in Western Ghats

     

    Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles species found in Western GhatsThe group of scientists from the University of Delhi, the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and Gettysburg College, California have discovered a sand-eating tadpole named Micrixalidae in Western Ghats that lives in total darkness, until it fully develops into a young frog. The tadpole belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family.

    Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles

    1. These tadpoles probably remained unnoticed all these years because they lives in total darkness, since they are of fossorial [underground] nature, which in itself is a rare occurrence in the amphibian world.

    2. They get their name  Micrixalidae. from their habit of waving their legs as a sign of territorial and sexual display while sitting on boulders in streams.

    3. They are purple in colour and  possess muscular eel-like bodies and skin-covered eyes, which helps them to burrow through gravel beds. 

    4. Though they lack teeth, they have serrated jaw sheaths, to possibly prevent large sand grains from entering the mouth while feeding and moving through sand. 

    5. These tadpoles have ribs and whitish globular sacs also known as lime sacs for storing calcium carbonate.

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  • Russia approves ONGC's Rs 8,600-crore Vankor oilfield deal

     

    Russia approves ONGC's Rs 8,600-crore Vankor oilfield dealThe Russian Government  has approved ONGC's deal to acquire 15% stake in Russia's second biggest oil field Vankor oilfield from Rosneft.

    The deal that will cost  nearly Rs 8,648.5 crore will give India access to Russia's oil supply, and will give Russian company Rosneft access to the Indian market. Vankor is OVL's fourth-biggest acquisition ever.

    This deal is in addition to another deal that was signed between the OVL and three other oil companies in March 2016. Both these deals will help India secure access to lucrative Russia's oil market, while Rosneft will gain access to the Indian market.

    As per the deal OVL’s stake in Vankor will rise to 26% from the current 15% and will give it about 3.5 million metric tonnes of oil a year while Rosneft will retain the remaining 50.1 per cent and also retain full control of infrastructure of the Vankor oilfield. Prior to the deal, Rosneft, Russia's national oil company, held 100 per cent stake in Vankorneft.

    About Vankor oilfield

    The Vankor oil field, set up in 2004, is the largest oil field that has been discovered and brought to production in Russia in the last 25 years and accounts for 4% of Russian production. The daily production from the field is around 442,000 barrels per day of crude oil on an average. It  is main source supplier to the East Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) Pipeline that is key contributor to the energy needs of China.

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  • Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer poses global risk: WHO

     

    Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer poses global risk: WHOThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that West Africa's Ebola outbreak that has killed about 11,300 people, no longer constitutes a threat to international public health.

    Declaration in this regard was made by Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, who accepted the recommendations of a committee of independent experts and also  called for lifting any travel and trade restrictions affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

    Ebola outbreak: The most widespread epidemic of Ebola virus disease began in Guinea in December 2013 and has continued for over two years. The epidemic was initially centred on country’s remote south-eastern region of Nzerekore but later spread to its neighbouring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone and also seven other countries. It has  killed more than 11,300 people in these three worst hit western African nations.

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  • Htin Kyaw sworn in as first elected President of Myanmar

     

    Htin Kyaw sworn in as first elected President of MyanmarHtin Kyaw, 69, from the National League for Democracy (NLD) has been  sworn in as the first elected civilian (non-military) President of Myanmar after 53 years of military rule.

    He will succeed  former general Thein Sein, who has led the country since 2011. Htin Kyaw is a close aide and adviser of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Apart form Htin Kyaw, Military-nominated Myint Swe who received 213 votes and stood second in the presidential election has been sworn in as the first vice-president while NLD member Henry Van Thio has been sworn in as the second vice-president of the country.

    Nobel Peace laureate and leader of the ruling party Aung San Suu Kyi has been sworn in as foreign affairs Minister. She also is Minister of President’s office, education, and energy and electric power. 

    Even though NLD is having majority in Parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi was not able to become President as the constitution prevents anyone with children who are citizens of another country from becoming president. Both of Suu Kyi's adult sons are British citizens .

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