19th Mar 2018 – Current Affairs Today


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National Current Affairs

President releases commemorative coins on Nabakalebar festival

President Ram Nath Kovind has released Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 10 commemorative coins on the occasion of Nabakalebar festival at a function held in Puri, Odisha.

  • These coins were release to mark the festival which is a symbolic recreation of sibling deities — Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.
  • Nabakalebara festival is an ancient ritual that is observed in the Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha at predefined time according to Hindu Calender.
  • It is usually comes in every twelve to nineteen years based on the auspicious two months of Ashadha in a year called as Purusottam month as per the Hindu calendar.


Varuna 2018: Indian Navy hosts bilateral naval exercise with French Navy

The Indo-French joint naval exercise Varuna-18 was held in Arabian Sea off Goa coast. It was aimed to explore measures to facilitate operational-level interactions between their armed forces and increase mutual cooperation, considering the common global threats.

  • Varuna-18 was conducted in three sea areas, including the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean.
  • The exercise was conducted in three phases and included anti-submarine, air defence and asymmetric engagement exercises.
  • The first phase of the exercise was held in Arabian Sea. The second phase was held off the Chennai coast in Bay of Bengal in April 2017 and third near France’s La Reunion Island in South Western Indian Ocean in May 2018.
  • This edition of exercise saw participation of French submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne from French side.
  • The Indian Naval was represented by destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, INS submarine Kalvari, P8-I and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as the Mig 29K fighter aircraft.


7th Women Science Congress inaugurated at Imphal

Governor of West Bengal, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi inaugurated the 7th Women Science Congress at the ongoing 105th session of Indian Science Congress in Imphal.

  • Shri Tripathi pointed out that representation of women in science and technology is less than expected. He added that proper education, motivation and maximisation of human resources are the need of the hour.
  • Representing the Ministry of Science & Technology, Scientist ‘F’, Smt. Namita Gupta pointed out that the Ministry has launched the India-US Fellowships in December 2017 to encourage research by women in the field of science and technology.
  • The Governor of West Bengal also released a souvenir of Women Science Congress on the occasion.


International Current Affairs

Gulf Shield 1 military exercise of 23 countries held in Saudi Arabia

The Gulf Shield – 1 military exercise of 23 countries including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states was held in Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia. It was organised by Ministry of Defence of Saudi Arabia.

  • The one month exercise was largest military drill in region as it saw participation of participation of ground, naval and air forces of participating countries.
  • The multilateral exercise was aimed to raise military readiness of participating countries, modernise joint mechanisms and enhance coordination and cooperation. It also aimed to exchange expertise in fields of planning, organizing, and implementing different training activities.
  • It also enhanced skills of participating elements and developed their abilities to carry out symmetric and asymmetric tasks in different fields of operations in order to secure vital goals and protect maritime borders and corridors.
  • The exercise comes within armed forces joint-training plan with brotherly and friendly countries, to exchange experiences and enhance military cooperation in order to reach the highest levels of efficiency and combat readiness.


Banking & Finance

Axis Bank announces new representative office in Sharjah

Axis Bank has announced a new representative office in Sharjah.

  • The third largest private sector lender said the representative office in Sharjah, its third in the UAE, will focus on remittances business.
  • Axis Bank said the representative office can be used by the diaspora in the northern emirates.
  • There are over 3 million NRIs in the UAE which makes it an interesting business proposition.
  • The bank has 20 per cent market share in the USD 12 billion dollar-a-year inward remittances market from the UAE.



Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Ofloxacin import from China

The Revenue Department in the Finance Ministry has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of ‘Ofloxacin’, a pharma product used in treatment of certain infections from China.

  • It was imposed for three years following recommendations of Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) to protect domestic producers from below-cost shipments.
  • In its probe DGAD had found that Ofloxacin exported to India from China was below its normal value, resulting in dumping. It had caused material injury to the domestic industry.


Appointments & Resigns

Vladimir Putin secures record win in Russian presidential election

Vladimir Putin has extended his grip on Russia for another six years after an overwhelming victory in Sunday's presidential election.

  • His fourth term as president will extend until 2024, making him the first Kremlin leader to serve two decades in power since Josef Stalin.
  • Putin sailed to victory against the backdrop of wall-to-wall support from state media and with no serious challenger.
  • Putin, a former KGB spy, has dominated Russian politics for 18 years and the 65-year-old was already the country's longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.


Li Keqiang elected China’s Prime Minister for second term

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has been elected for a second term in office to steer some of the major structural reforms in government and the Communist Party of China (CPC) that are being marshaled by President Xi Jinping.

  • Li was elected as Prime Minister by the carefully handpicked members of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s parliament. He received 2,964 votes in favour and two against.
  • The lawmakers also approved the appointment of Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia as vice chairmen of the apex Central Military Commission (CMC), which imparts strategic direction to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).



Indian Wells 2018

The Indian Wells Masters, also known as BNP Paribas Open and the WTA Indian Wells Open, is an annual tennis tournament held in March at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, United States.

  • Former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro stunned top-ranked Roger Federer to win his first Indian Wells title and second consecutive ATP crown.
  • Unseeded Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese player to win the Indian Wells final, routing Russian Daria Kasatkina for her first WTA Tour title.

Winners list:

Category Winner Runner Up
Men's Singles Juan Martin Del Potro
Roger Federer
Women's Singles Naomi Osaka
Daria Kasatkina
Men's Doubles John Isner (United States)
Jack Sock (United States)
Bob Bryan (United States)
Mike Bryan (United States)
Women's Doubles


Hsieh Su-wei (Chinese Taipei)
Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic)
Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
Elena Vesnina (Russia)



India clinch Nidahas Trophy final

Wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik (29 runs off eight balls) played a brilliant cameo towards the end as India beat Bangladesh by four wickets in the final of the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

  • The drama unfolded in the last over when India needed five runs off the last ball. Karthik slammed a flat six over extra cover to clinch the issue.