1. New Afghan Parliament building attacked by militants
(i) Recently, in a major attack that caused heavy damage, Taliban militants fired three rockets into the Afghanistan’s Parliament compound in Kabul.
(ii) The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and said it caused heavy casualties. However, lawmakers in Afghanistan asserted that no one was reported wounded.
(iii) The members of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, were holding a meet when the attack took place. The country’s Parliament building was developed with aid from India and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2015.
2. USAID and Asian Development Bank sign pact to develop solar park in India
(i) The US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a pact with the Asian Development bank with the view to provide 5,681 crore (USD 848 million) to develop solar parks across India.
(ii) This forms a part of the clean energy infrastructure in the country and the agreement to that effect was signed between Jonathan Addleton, Mission Director, USAID for India and M Teresa Kho, Country Director, India Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank (ADB).
(iii) As per the press release of US Embassy, “Through the agreement, USAID will align the technical resources of two of its programs to support ADB’s investments in the development of solar parks and renewable energy transmission infrastructure in states at the forefront of India’s efforts to promote clean energy.”
3. Direct shipping service launched between India-Bangladesh
(i) The direct shipping service between India’s Krishnapatnam and Bangladesh’s Chittagong port was recently launched giving a fillip to Indo-Bangladesh maritime trade ties and bilateral cooperation.
(ii) The direct services is expected to markedly reduce the transportation cost thereby improving the already promising exports of cotton, steel, tyres, minerals, and other goods to Bangladesh. It is estimated that close to 50 per cent cotton imported by Bangladesh is from India.
(iii) This development has come as a welcome news for traders from both the sides as it will reduce the cost substantially.
(iv) Member of Bangladesh Parliament Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury, Bangladesh’s Neepa Paribahan chief executive officer Md. Sirajuddin Rahaman, Krishnapatnam port chief executive officer Anil Yendluri and chief operating officer S. Subba Rao were present at the event, which marked the berthing of the first historic vessel named MV Harbour-1 which arrived at the Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal (KPCT) in Nellore.
4. Two Andhra Pradesh’s villages to be fully solar powered by this year
(i) In a first, two villages in Andhra Pradesh Toorputallu and Pedhamyanavanilanka, will be electrified completely on solar power by the end of 2016.
(ii) These two villages have been adopted by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, under the Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) and they will be the first two villages in the country to be run 100 per cent on Solar Power.
(iii) Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the view to develop the villages in India. As per the scheme each Member of Parliament will take the responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in three villages by 2019.
5. ISRO to launch a record 22 satellites in single mission by May 2016
(i) In a recent development India’s national space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced a launch of record 22 satellites in a single mission by May 2016.
(ii) This information was given by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director K Sivan in his media interaction recently. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s workhorse Polar rocket PSLV C34 carrying India’s Cartosat 2C will also include 21 satellites from other countries including US, Canada, Indonesia and Germany as co-passengers.
(iii) The launch of these 22 satellites would be made from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Previously, US Space agency NASA had sent 29 satellites to the orbit in a single launch on 2013 setting a world record. ISRO has previously sent 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
6. Indian origin Nandita Bakshi appointed President and CEO of Bank of West
(i) Recently, 57-year-old Indian-American Nandita Bakshi was appointed as the President and CEO of Bank of West, which is a unit of the French multinational bank BNP Paribas. Bakshi will replace Michael Shepherd.
(ii) She is expected to join as the CEO-in-training on April 1 and officially take charge on June 1 this year. Bakshi received the New England News ‘Woman of the Year’ award in 2002 and was previously with TD Bank as its executive vice-president and head of North American direct channels.
(iii) She has also held several leadership positions at Washington Mutual which is now J P Morgan Chase, Fleet Boston which is now Bank of America, First Data Corp, Home Savings of America and Banc One Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Calcutta and a Master’s in International Relations and Affairs at Jadavpur University.
7. 63rd National Film Awards, Big B bags Best Actor award
(i) The 63rd National Film Awards were recently conferred, actor Amitabh Bachchan bagged the Best Actor award for his performance in the film ‘Piku.’
(ii) This is his fourth national award, the other three being for his performance in films like ‘Agneepath’, ‘Black’, and ‘Paa’.
(iii) The Best Actress award was won by Kangana Ranaut for ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’. Sanjay Leela Bhansali bagged the Best Director honour for the historical drama ‘Bajirao Mastani’.
(iv) Telugu director SS Rajamouli’s ‘Baahubali’ won the Best Feature Film award, while ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ bagged the Best Hindi Film award. ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ won the Best Popular Film award.
8. Second Annual Hockey India awards conferred
(i) The second annual Hockey India awards was held in Bengaluru recently. The award winners included late Captain Shankar Laxman, he won the coveted Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award.
(ii) PR Sreejesh and Deepika won the Dhruv Batra Player of the Year Award for Men and Women respectively.
(iii) The Hockey India Jugraj Singh Award for Upcoming Player of the Year (Men-under 21) was won by Harjeet Singh and Asunta Lakra Award for Upcoming Player of the Year (Women-under 21) was bagged by Preeti Dubey, among others.
9. Sergey Karjakin wins FIDE chess candidates tournament in Moscow
(i) In the recently concluded FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin won the game.
(ii) In the final round Karjakin defeated American grandmaster Fabiano Caruana. With this, now, Karjakin will play with incumbent world champion, Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen in a match for the world chess crown in the United States in November 2016.
(iii) Sergey Karjakin, is a Ukraine born chess player. He is also known as a former chess prodigy and holds the record for the world’s youngest Grandmaster ever as he qualified for this title at the age of 12 years.
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