Current Affairs, News & Facts of 28 Mar 2016

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  • India launches first indigenous rotavirus vaccine


    India launches first indigenous rotavirus vaccineHealth Ministry on 26th March launched India’s first indigenous rotavirus vaccine named Rotavac to combat infant mortality due to diarrhoea.  The Rotavirus vaccine was developed indigenously, under a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Science Technology and the Health Ministry. The vaccine is administered orally to infants in three dose course at ages of six, ten and fourteen weeks as part of Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

    The vaccine was being introduced initially in four States — Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh (first state to launch it) and Odisha — and would be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.

    Note : - The Rotavac is in addition to three new vaccines that have been introduced in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine. The IPV has been introduced in six States from Nov. 30, 2015 to provide double protection against polio. The IPV has been introduced in six States from Nov. 30, 2015 to provide double protection against polio.

    About Rotavirus

    Rotavirus which is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. Nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of five.  Immunity develops with each infection, so subsequent infections are less severe.

    Transmission: The virus spreads from person to person due to bacterial and parasiting agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water. 

    Diarrhoea caused by Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age. In India, between 80,000 to one lakh children die due to Rotavirus diarrhoea annually while nearly 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea.

    Besides causing emotional stress to the affected families, it also pushes many Indian families below the poverty line and also imposes significant economic burden on the country.

  • Hockey India Annual Awards 


    Hockey India Annual Awards India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and Deepika won the Dhruv Batra Player of the Year award for men and women, respectively, at the Hockey India second annual awards held in Bengaluru. Both Sreejesh and Deepika were given a cash prize of Rs. 25 lakh.

    Late Capt. Shankar Laxman was posthumously chosen for the 2016 Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award. The award carrying a cash prize of Rs. 30 lakh and a trophy was accepted by his son Manohar Singh Shekhawat. Capt. Laxman, a goalkeeper, was part of the Olympic medal-winning teams of 1956 (Melbourne, gold), 1960 (Rome, silver), and 1964 (Tokyo, gold).

    Other winners 

    1. Baljit Singh Goalkeeper of the Year Award: Savita. Pargat Singh 
    2. Defender of the Year Award: Kothajit Singh. 
    3. Ajit Pal Singh Midfielder of the Year Award: Ritu Rani. 
    4. Dhanraj Pillay Forward of the Year Award: Rani. 
    5. Asunta Lakra Upcoming Player of the Year Award: Harjeet Singh (male), Preeti Dubey (female). 
    6. Jaman Lal Sharma Award for Invaluable Contribution: Baldev Singh. 
    7. President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy

    Note: To celebrate the historic occasion of the Indian women's team qualifying for the Olympics after a gap of 36 years since the Moscow Games, the entire team and the support staff were felicitated with cash reward of Rs. 1.00 Lakh each. 

  • President’s Rule imposed in Uttarakhand


    President’s Rule imposed in UttarakhandThe Centre had brought  the state of Uttarakhand  under President's rule citing a Constitutional breakdown in the wake of a rebellion in the ruling Congress. President Pranab Mukherjee had signed the proclamation under Art 356 of the Constitution dismissing the Congress government headed by Chief Minister Harish Rawat and placing the Assembly under suspended animation.

    Background :

    On March 18, of the 71-member Assembly, 67 members, excluding the Speaker, were present out of whom 35 wanted Division of Votes on the Appropriation Bill. The Division of Votes was sought in writing in advance by the 35 members who also voted against the Bill, despite which the Speaker showed the legislation as passed.

    Following the conflict 9 Congress MLAs rebeled and were disqualified by the speaker under the anti-defection law.This disqualification had reduced the strength of the 70-member house to 61. So the final tally of Congress MLAs was 27 and BJP had 28 MLAs bringing government in minority in the state legislature. 

    President’s Rule :

    Article 356 empowers the President to issue a proclamation of Present’s Rule, if he is satisfied that situation has arisen in which government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. 

    In such case  the State comes under the direct control of the central government. Subsequently, executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor, who has the authority to appoint retired civil servants or other administrators, to assist him

    In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, failure of constitutional machinery results in Governor's rule, imposed by invoking Section 92 of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Indian-American appointed as President, CEO of Bank of the West


    Indian-American appointed as President, CEO of Bank of the WestIndian-American Nandita Bakhshi has been appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of the West, a subsidiary unit of French banking giant BNP Paribas. She will replace Michael Shepherd who has been appointed as chairman of the BNP Paribas USA, a new holding company for all BNP Paribas subsidiaries in the United States.

    About Nandita Bakshi

    1. She earned a bachelor's degree in History at the University of Calcutta and a masters in International Relations and Affairs at Jadavpur University.

    2. Prior to her appointment she had held several leadership roles at TD Bank, the most recent being executive vice president and head of North American direct channels where she was responsible for driving innovation in direct and electronic channels to improve digital adoption and provide customers a unified banking experience.

    3. Ms Bakhshi had earlier held executive positions at Washington Mutual in Seattle which is now JP Morgan Chase; FleetBoston, which is now Bank of America; First Data Corp, Home Savings of America and Banc One Corp.

  • Syrian army 'recaptures city of Palmyra from ISIS


    Syrian army 'recaptures city of Palmyra from ISISSyrian government forces backed by heavy Russian air support have regained control of the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.

    Palmyra, known as the "bride of the desert", is a UNESCO designated World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins. The site used to attract tens of thousands of tourists a year before the conflict started in 2011.


    1. In May 2015 Palmyra came under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which later destroyed a number of the site's buildings. After seizing Palmyra last year, IS blew up two of the site's treasured temples, its triumphal arch and a dozen tower tombs which sparked a global outcry as this was a attack on global cultural heritage.

    2. The location of the city of Palmyra was strategically important for ISIL as it was located on the  road between Syria’s capital Damascus and the oil rich eastern city of Deir al-Zour. Oil and gas produced from the fields located in Deir al-Zour, Syrian government used to generate electricity for areas under its control in the west of the country. 

  • India-born academician Surya Deva appointed UN Adviser on Human Rights and Businesses


    India-born academician Surya Deva appointed UN Adviser on Human Rights and BusinessesAn India-born academician Surya Deva has been appointed as the United Nations (UN) Adviser on Human Rights and Businesses.

    He was appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as the Asia-Pacific representative of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

    Mr. Deva is an associate professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong and his research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development.

    He recently wrote a background paper for India’s National Framework on Business and Human Rights and in 2014, he was elected a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Constitutional Law.

  • Iran to boost security and trade ties with Pakistan


    Iran to boost security and trade ties with PakistanIranian President Hassan Rouhani and  Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif  have mutually agreed to boost bilateral cooperation on regional security and trade during talks in Islamabad.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on official state visit to Pakistan and is the first visit by an Iranian head of state in 14 years.

    Key facts

    1. The two leaders are expected to discuss a controversial  multi-billion dollar gas pipeline from Iran, through Pakistan to India. Work has stalled on the Iran-Pakistan section, which was designed to help Pakistan meet its energy needs. Iran has invested over $2bn in the project, but Pakistan has yet to finish construction on its half of the pipeline.

    2. Both countries have agreed to fight extremist and terrorist groups in their countries’ shared border. They also announced the opening of two new crossing points to encourage trade long hampered by sanctions. The opening will contribute to economic integration in the region and also promote tourism and other economic opportunities.

    Geopolitical scenario

    1. Pakistan, a majority Sunni country, had traditionally close economic and political ties with the Saudi Arabia (Sunni Muslim nation) which is hostile to Iran, a Shia power.

    2. However in the current scenario Pakistan is trying to maintain a delicate balance promoting ties with Iran since, West Asia region is indulged in sectarian rift especially between Iran which is Shia Muslim nation and Saudi Arabia a Sunni Muslim nation.

    3. Saudi Arabia accuses Tehran of supporting Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen against the internationally recognised president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of mostly Gulf Arab states in an air-campaign against the Houthis in the conflict, which is widely seen as a proxy Saudi-Iran war.

    4. Pakistan which has the largest and only nuclear-armed army in the Muslim world had refused a Saudi Arabia to join its anti-Houthi military coalition as it would be against Iran although Pakistan had vowed to stand ready to defend any aggression against Saudi Arabia.


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