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Current Affairs for 21 March 2016
March 22, 2016
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HIGH FLYING: DELHI AIRPORT BAGS ‘BEST STAFF’ AWARD

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The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here has bagged the ‘Best Airport Staff in India and Central Asia’ Skytrax Award for the second consecutive year.

This is the second award in a row for the Delhi airport, which was recently adjudged the world’s number one airport in its category by the Airports Council International (ACI).

The award was handed over to the private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) by Skytrax during an International Airport Award ceremony organised this week in Cologne, Germany. Skytrax is the world’s largest airport customer satisfaction survey, which recognises product and service quality in airports worldwide.

The airport operator has won another first prize in the ‘Kaizen Competition’ under the Renovative Category in the 26th Kaizen Conference and Competition, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), for creating a dummy aircraft, used for conducting mock drills, through available scrap material from the Airport.


 

DRDO TO OPEN 5,000-ACRE RANGE IN CHITRADURGA BY MID-YEAR

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A part of the 5,000-acre DRDO Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga is now ready to be inaugurated around June.

It will begin activities for a few flight projects in about six months and expand the range in stages, a top DRDO official said here on Saturday.

The ATR, costing a total of Rs. 2,500 crore, is being developed at Challakere taluk of Chitradurga, about 200 km from here.

Tamilmani, Director-General (Aero R&D) who heads the dozen or so labs of the DRDO aeronautical cluster, said on the sidelines of a seminar that runway, air traffic control tower and test installations together costing Rs. 350 crore had been constructed at the campus.

With this, the DRDO can start testing some of the indigenous products being developed, including the naval and trainer versions of the Light Combat Aircraft, the unmanned air vehicles Rustom 1 and 2; and the Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems meant for surveillance.


 

UNESCO UPDATES PROTECTED BIOSPHERE RESERVES LIST

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The United Nation’s cultural body UNESCO has added 20 new sites to its network of protected biosphere nature reserves, including two in Canada and two in Portugal.

The status was conferred during a two-day meeting in Lima that ended on Saturday, which brought the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 across 120 countries.

In Canada, the Tsa Tue area in the country’s Northwest Territories that includes the last pristine arctic lake was added to the list, as was the Beaver Hills region of Alberta, which has a landscape formed by a retreating glacier.

Britain’s Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea in a biologically diverse marine environment, and Mexico’s Isla Cozumel were also selected for the network.

And in Portugal, the entire Island of Sao Jorge, the fourth largest in the Azores Archipelago, was designated a reserve in addition to the Tajo River region between Portugal and Spain.


 

PANTRY CARS TO BE SHUNTED OUT UNDER NEW CATERING POLICY

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Pantry cars on trains may soon become history as passengers could opt for a variety of food alternatives, ranging from ready-to-eat meals to local cuisines. A government-appointed committee to revamp the existing catering policy has said the Railways should not “micro-manage” catering policies to the extent of fixing the food menu on different trains.

Recommending that passengers on all trains must receive tea or coffee kits as presently provided on premium trains, the panel said meals may be provided as an option on the Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains.

The Railway Ministry has started work on implementing the recommendations submitted by the panel led by R. D. Sharma, chief commercial manager of the Central Railways, and a new catering policy will be released soon, officials said. The committee has suggested that the Railways take a slew of steps to check exorbitant pricing of meals. For instance, meals may be priced in the multiples of Rs. 10.


CABINET OKAYS REDEVELOPMENT OF BDD CHAWLS

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The State cabinet on Thursday cleared the redevelopment of the 100-year-old Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls in south-central Mumbai.

The State has appointed the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) as the nodal agency for the project, paving the way for a new set of guidelines for chawl redevelopment under the development control rules (DCR).

The profits arising out of redevelopment will be shared between the government and MHADA at a ratio of 70:30.

The cabinet-approved proposal has now been forwarded to a high-power committee headed by the Chief Secretary, who will decide on the question of tenement size, floor space index, and funding for the project.

In doing so, the cabinet also cancelled three circulars with regard to redevelopment projects issued by the Congress-NCP government in 1999. “We hereby give in-principle approval to the redevelopment proposal and the building plan approval for the same,” the cabinet note reads. For the purpose of deciding the eligibility criteria for the beneficiaries, the cabinet also appointed Collector as the nodal officer.


 

NICO ROSBERG WINS AUSTRALIAN GP

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Formula One’s season-opening race ended in rancor and controversy on Sunday as initial second-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull was disqualified for a breach of fuel regulations, five hours after Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took the checkered flag.

Ricciardo’s exclusion from the results tarnished what had been a day of celebration for local fans, who were jubilant that the Red Bull driver had apparently become the first Australian to finish on the podium at his home race.

Red Bull immediately announced it would appeal the decision.

The exclusion capped a day of shocks at the Albert Park street circuit.


 

GURMEET SINGH CREATES HISTORY

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Gurmeet Singh on Sunday created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20km race walk championships as he won the men’s event with his season’s best effort.

The 30-year-old Gurmeet clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds. He beat Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa (1:20:49) in a close fight in the last 5km. Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Sheiko won the bronze medal in 1:21:52.

By winning the Asian title, Gurmeet has made a strong case for himself for selection in the Rio Olympic Games.

Nine Indians have so far bettered the Games qualifying standard in men’s 20km race walk and only three will make it to the final in Rio.

In the women’s 20km walk race event, National Games champion Sapna finished fourth in a time of 1:35:57.

China’s Rui Liang won the gold in 1:28:43 while Kumiko Okada of Japan (1:30:03) and South Korean Jeongeun Lee (1:33:53) took the silver and bronze respectively.


 

PRANNOY CLINCHES SWISS GRAND PRIX GOLD

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Up-and-coming shuttler H.S. Prannoy clinched his second Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament title by notching up a straight-game victory over Marc Zwiebler of Germany in the summit clash of the Swiss Open here On Sunday.

Seeded 13th in the $120,000 tournament, Prannoy outclassed seventh-seeded Zwiebler 21-18, 21-15 in a 45-minute final.

The 23-year-old Prannoy, who had won the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold in 2014, has been in fine touch with wins over higher ranked players, including Rajiv Ouseph of England.

Prannoy surged to a 7-4 lead in the first game before the German, ranked 19th as compared to the Indian’s 27th, fought his way back into the match. The Indian raised his game a few notches, at 18-18, and took three straight points to take the opening game 21-18.

In the second game, Prannoy led from start to finish with the German playing the catch-up.

Prannoy opened up a 3-0 lead and then increased the gap to 13-8. Though Zwiebler narrowed down the gap, Prannoy was in no mood to squander the advantage and took three straight points towards the end to clinch the second game and the match.


 

TIBETANS-IN-EXILE VOTE FOR A NEW POLITICAL LEADER

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Thousands of Tibetans-in-exile around the world voted for a new Parliament as well as for their choice of ‘Sikyong’ (term for the so-called Prime Minister-in-exile) on Sunday, with more than 90,000 eligible to vote, a majority of them in India.

Final results for the 45 parliamentary seats are expected by April 27th, while the Sikyong results may be in by mid-April, as votes are collated from U.S., South America, Europe and other regions.

Since the Dalai Lama gave up his political role in 2011, rifts have grown on the future of the Tibetan movement.


 

INDIA’S AGASTHYAMALA AMONG 20 UNESCO WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVES

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India has been campaigning for the inclusion of the reserve in the network for the past few years.

The sustained campaign to include the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR) in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves (BR) has eventually paid off.

The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve was included at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere programme of UNESCO that concluded in Peru on March 19.

The ABR covers the Shendurney and Peppara wildlife sanctuaries and parts of the Neyyar sanctuary in Kerala and the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.

India has been campaigning for the inclusion of the reserve in the network for the past few years.