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Current Affairs for 14 March 2016
March 14, 2016
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I HAVE MORE SIKHS IN CABINET THAN MODI: CANADIAN PM

There were also 17 Sikh MPs elected in the election in Canada in October last year, the highest number of Sikhs ever elected.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, known for his witty repartees, told an American audience here that he has more Sikhs in his Cabinet than his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

The quip came when Mr. Trudeau was taking 10 questions from students at the American University in northwest Washington during his state visit to the U.S.

During the half-an-hour session at the university on Friday, a student named Jahan from the Punjab province of Pakistan told Mr. Trudeau that it was really great to see so many Punjabis in his Cabinet.

There were also 17 Sikh MPs elected in the election in Canada in October last year — 16 from the Liberal Party of Canada and one Conservative — the highest number of Sikhs ever elected.


63 CAVALRY CELEBRATES DIAMOND JUBILEE

63 Cavalry or ‘Tresath’, as the elite armoured unit of the Army is popularly called, on Sunday celebrated its sixtieth anniversary here.

In a ceremony christened, Heritage Review, cavalrymen paid tribute to their veterans. Heritage equipment was reviewed by Lt Gen K. J. Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, a defence spokesperson said.

Vintage tanks and armoured cars were paraded during the event.

These included the World War-II vintage American Cadillac tank ‘STUART-VI’, the British Humber armoured car and Daimler armoured car popularly known as ‘Dingo’.

American M-113 Bradley caught the attention of everyone present on the occasion, he said.


EXOMARS: ‘GIANT NOSE’ TO SNIFF OUT LIFE ON MARS

Space engineers are making final preparations for the launch of a robot spacecraft designed to sniff out signs of life on Mars.

The probe, ExoMars 2016 — the first of a two-phase exploration of the Red Planet by European and Russian scientists — is scheduled to be blasted into space on a Proton rocket from Baikonour cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0931 GMT on Monday.

The spacecraft consists of a module called Schiaparelli that will test heat shields and parachutes in preparation for future probe landings on Mars and a second main component, the Trace Gas Orbiter or TGO, that will analyse the planet’s atmosphere. In particular it will seek out the presence of the gas methane which, on Earth, is produced by living organisms.


 

VIJENDER CLINCHES FOURTH SUCCESSIVE KO WIN

There was no stopping Indian boxing star Vijender Singh as he notched up his fourth successive knockout professional win by pummelling Hungary’s Alexander Horvath in under three rounds here.

Vijender had little trouble outpunching his opponent, who failed to get up after being thrown off balance by his body blows in the third round of the six-round contest of the middlewight (75kg) category late on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Indian, who went into the contest on the back of three successive knockout triumphs, continued to be a cut above his rivals, who talk big but deliver little inside the ring.

The 20-year-old Horvath, with an experience of seven pro fights, had been drinking snake blood to prepare himself but it seemed the bizarre routine helped little in countering the ferocity of India’s first Olympic and World Championships bronze medallist.

Vijender walked into the arena to the trademark beats of popular Bollywood song ‘Singh is King’ and was cheered vociferously by the sizeable Indian community present inside.

The Indian took barely a few seconds to get a measure of his rival and once that was done, Vijender landed some telling jabs to unsettle Horvath, who spat out his gumshield twice in the opening round itself.

Vijender did exceptionally well in commanding the pace of the bout and managed to drain the Hungarian in the second round itself.


 

ALL ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS: LIN DAN WINS SIXTH TITLE; NOZOMI OKUHARA FIRST

Lin Dan earned his sixth All England badminton title when he routed Chinese teammate Tian Houwei 21-9, 21-10 in the final on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Nozomi Okuhara of Japan marked her 21st birthday with her first All England title after beating two-time champion Wang Shixian of China 21-11, 16-21, 21-19 in their thrilling final.

The final was the longest women’s singles of the tournament at 99 minutes, and Okuhara acknowledged the crowd probably got tired watching it, but she expected that. It took her 76 minutes to beat Wang for the first time last month at the Asia team championships.


 

PARAMILITARY FORCES TO GET WOMAN OFFICERS

After declaring reservation for women in constabulary in paramilitary forces, they can now also be inducted as officers in combat roles in all five Central Armed Police Forces.

The Union Home Ministry recently published new rules allowing women to apply as direct-entry officers in border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the only paramilitary which hitherto did not allow women to join in supervisory combat roles owing to its task of guarding the difficult Sino-India border.

Among five of the Central Armed Police Forces, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal have been allowing women to apply as direct-entry officers. Now, by allowing women to apply as direct-entry officers in ITBP, all restrictions have been lifted on women.


 

‘DEVELOPED WATERWAYS WILL CHANGE INDIA’

Gadkari says government will raise around Rs. 70,000 crore to develop sea, river fronts.

The government is looking to harness the country’s 50,000 kilometres of sea and river fronts as waterways and mulling over innovative ways to raise around Rs. 70,000 crore to develop these stretches in the first phase, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Parliament, by passing the crucial bill to declare 111 rivers across the country into National Waterways last week, has paved the way for development of these stretches as transport carriers. So far, only five of the river stretches had been declared as National Waterways.

Mr. Gadkari said by promoting water transport, logistics cost, which was 18 per cent in India as compared to barely 8-10 per cent in China and 10-12 per cent in European countries, would come down significantly.

The reforms in the sector would be visible in a few years, he said. Water transport was not only environment-friendly but also much cheaper, he said. It would cost Rs. 1.5 a km to carry cargo by road and Re. 1 by rail. Through waterways, the cost would be a mere 25 paise a km.


 

RSS OPPOSES QUOTA FOR THE AFFLUENT

Reservation has empowered Dalits, says Suresh Joshi

At a time when the country has been jolted by agitations by dominant communities like Jats in Haryana and Patels in Gujarat for reservation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said here on Sunday that the prosperous should not ask for the benefits of reservation.

“When prosperous groups ask for reservation, then it seems the line of thought is not correct. Those who are prosperous should actually help weaker sections of society. When instead of this they ask for reservation for themselves, I think it is a lack of thought about the values Dr. B.R. Ambedkar espoused,” RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi said in response to a question.

His statement is at odds with some BJP leaders’ tacit assurances on reservation for Jats at the height of the recent Jat agitation in Haryana.

He, however, backed reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, asserting this had led to empowerment over time, with students of these groups now doing well academically.

This sought to put to rest the controversy over the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat months back that there be a review of who had benefited from reservation and to what extent.