1. World Bank extends support to Rajasthan on energy reforms

(i) The World Bank recently decided to extend support to the Rajasthan government on energy reforms.

(ii) This decision was taken following a meeting between World Bank’s country director in India, Onno Ruhl and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

(iii) Ruhl conveyed that a detailed report has been prepared focusing on conventional and non-conventional sources of energy.

(iv)The CM also sought WB’s aid for projects on rural development and new technologies in agriculture, skill development and tourism.

2. Vietnam approaches UN against China

(i) Recently, Vietnam approached the United Nations to file a formal complaint against China’s placement of surface-to-air missile battery on a disputed island in the South China Sea.

(ii) Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “These are serious infringements of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracels, threatening peace and stability in the region as well as security, safety and freedom of navigation and flight.”

(iii) Vietnam had issued diplomatic notes to China’s embassy in Hanoi and UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon to condemn China’s activities.

(iv) So far, China has laid claim over nearly all the islands in the South China Sea, including small islands such as Paracels.

3. Christine Lagarde to serve second term as IMF chief

(i) Christine Lagarde, 60, was named the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a second term, which begins on July 5, 2016. In a statement, IMF said that she was the sole candidate nominated for the post.

(ii) Lagarde, the former French finance minister, took over as the MD of the IMF after the resignation of her predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was involved in a sex scandal.

4. South Korea to build $50m IT park in Pakistan

(i)In order to improve its ties with Pakistan, South Korea has decided to build a $50-million IT park in Islamabad, the nation’s capital.

(ii) South Korean Ambassador Song Jong-Hwan said that the Exim Bank of Korea will provide $50 million for the establishment of the park and South Korean teams will conduct a feasibility study with assistance from the Ministry of IT and the Pakistan Software Exports Board (PSEB).

(iii)Measuring about one million sq. ft., the IT park will attract international companies to develop software and hardware solutions and enhance the country’s IT exports.

5. BRICS Friendship Cities conclave to be hosted in Mumbai

(i) Recently, it was announced that Mumbai will host the BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave from April 14-16 this year.

(ii) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the conclave of BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), which will be an opportunity for the city to be known as an upcoming international finance centre.

(iii)The conclave will be conducted jointly by Mumbai First – a think tank for Mumbai’s development, the state government and the Ministry of External Affairs. Further, the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has been roped in as the knowledge partner.

6. Legendary writer Harper Lee passes away

(i) Recently, legendary American writer Harper Lee passed away at the age of 89. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird became one of the most significant texts on racial problems in southern America.

(ii) Published in 1961 as her first book, it narrated the story of a white lawyer defending a black man falsely accused of rape in the depression-hit American south. The book delved into issues of class, race and the struggle for justice for a black man.

(iii) The book garnered Lee several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom which was conferred on her in 2007 for her contribution to literature.

(iv) In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts, the highest governmental honour given for “outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts”.

7. Kalikho Pul sworn in as CM of Arunachal Pradesh

(i) Recently, President Pranab Mukerjee revoked the President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh following which Kalikho Pul was sworn in as the state’s Chief Minister by Governor J P Rajkhowa.

(ii) Pul, the 8th CM of the state and a dissident Congress leader, claimed the post with the support of 18 rebel Congress MLAs, two independent candidates and 11 BJP MLAs.

8. Amit Mitra elected new chairman of empowered committee on GST

(i)West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra recently was elected the new Chairman of the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers, which is working with the Centre to bring out the goods and services tax (GST) regime.

(ii) Mitra was unanimously elected by other state finance ministers. The position was lying vacant since former Chairman KM Mani resigned as Finance Minister of Kerala in November 2015.

9. NZ captain McCullum scores fastest test century

(i) New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum created a new record by scoring the fastest Test century.

(ii) McCullum made 100 runs from 54 balls on day one of the second Test match against Australia. This was McCullum’s 101st and final Test match before retirement.                                                            

(iii) He surpassed West Indies batsman Sir Vivian Richards and Pakistani cricketer Misbah-ul-Haq, who had both made a 100 runs in 56 balls.

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