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Current Affairs: 14th March 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Mar 15th, 2015

1- Historic statue of Mahatma Gandhi unveiled at Parliament Square in London

A historic bronze statue of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled at the Parliament Square in London. It was unveiled jointly by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

M K Gandhi is the first Indian and the only person who had never held a public office to be honoured with a statue at the Parliament Square. The statue is placed adjacent to the statues of iconic leaders like Britain’s former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and anti-apartheid icon and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.

Key features of statue

  • It is 9 foot long statue made up of bronze.
  • Crafted by British sculptor Philip Jackson.
  • It is based on a number of photographs of Mahatma Gandhi and particularly on photograph of him standing outside the London offices of the British prime minister in 1931.

2- Union Government appoints MC Mary Kom as Brand Ambassador for the North East

Union Government has selected legendary boxer and five-time world boxing champion MC Mary Kom as Brand Ambassador for the North East Region. It was announced by Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh at a two-day business summit in New Delhi.

MC Mary Kom was selected to showcase the potential of the North East region which can offer Rs. 2.4 trillion business opportunities across various sectors.

About MC Mary Kom

  • Her full name is Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom and belongs Kom tribal community of the north-eastern state of Manipur.
  • Mary Kom is nicknamed Magnificent Mary. She is Five-time World Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships.
  • She had won a bronze medal in 2012 London Olympics in the flyweight (51 kg) category and was only Indian woman boxer to qualify for this category.
  • She is also first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the 2014 Asian Games held at Incheon, South Korea.
  • Awards-For her precious contribution to the sport of boxing (sports), she has been conferred with Padma Bhushan (2013), Padma Shree (2010) and Arjuna Award for Boxing (2003).

3- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the restored North-South Rail link of Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 March 2015 flagged off the first train from Thalaimannar to Madhu Road in North Sri LankaIt marks the completion and restoration of the prestigious project of Indian Railways to restore the North-South Rail link of Sri Lanka after decades of civil war. The North-South Rail link was completely destroyed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants during the civil war in 1980s.

Key facts

  • The rail project connects the Sri Lanka’s Jaffna province to capital Colombo and a branch line connects Thalaimannar to the main rail line.
  • The project has been implemented by Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) International, a subsidiary of Indian Railways.
  • Indian Government had provided line of credit to this project as part of India’s bid to establish better connectivity between SAARC nations.
  • This project will also play significant role in establishing connectivity between both nations as ferry service soon will be started from north-western Sri Lankan town of Talaimannar (the closest point to India) and Rameshwaram.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Anuradhapura shrine. Prior to inaugurating this rail service, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the sacred Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura shrine.
    This is first time that an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Anuradhapura. The sacred Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura shrine was planted as a sapling of the original Bodhi tree, under which Lord Gautam Buddha had achieved enlightenment.

4- Pakistan tests 1st indigenous armed drone Burraq and laser guided missile Barq

Pakistan successfully tested its first indigenously built all-weather armed drone named Burraq and a laser guided missile named Barq. By successfully testing of Burraq, Pakistan became the 9th country in the World to develop an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) domestically.

About Burraq

  • Developed by a venture of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM).
  • It is named after the flying horse of Islamic tradition.
  • Burraq has ability to fly in all types of weather conditions.
  • It has capability to strike its targets with pinpoint accuracy.
  • With Barq laser-guided missile mounted on it, Burraq can hit moving targets as well as stationary targets with pinpoint accuracy.
  • UCAV Burraq was first flight tested in May 2009.
  • At present, Pakistan has several types of unarmed surveillance drones in operation but Burraq and Shahpar are its domestically developed UCAVs.

5- Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed sentenced to 13-year imprisonment

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was sentenced to 13-year imprisonment by country’s criminal court under the anti-terrorism laws.

He was charged under the island nation’s Anti-Terrorism Act, 1990 for his order to arrest a Criminal Court judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012. The case against Nasheed was based on the investigation report of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives into kidnapping of the Judge.
He was arrested for same charges on 22 February 2015 after court had issued warrant to stop him fleeing the country. Mohamed Nasheed is Maldives first democratically elected President. He was in office from 2008 to 2012. He had resigned in 2012 after a mutiny by police and troops, followed weeks of protests over the arrest of Judge Abdullah Mohamed on corruption allegations.

6- Japan, France sign defence pact to boost cooperation, joint development

Japan and France have signed an arms transfer agreement for military equipment, services and technology.

The defence pact seeks to boost cooperation and joint development between both countries in order to strengthen security ties. The agreement will also pave the way for Japan to develop drones and other unmanned equipment together as it seeks to play a greater international military role. It will also promote joint projects in several fields including unmanned technologies for underwater search missions or surveillance.

Japan and France also have agreed to step up broader military cooperation and anti-terrorism efforts. In the past, Japan had signed similar arms equipment and technology transfer agreements with the Britain, United States and Australia.

7- Law Commission Report pitches for stronger Election Commission

Law Commission of India in its 255th report on electoral reform has pitched for stronger Election Commission of India (ECI). The report was submitted to Ministry of Law and Justice by Law Commission Chairman Justice A P Shah.

Recommendations of 255th Report of Law Commission with respect to ECI

  • Appointments of Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) and all Election Commissioners (ECs)- It should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee.
  • The collegium or committee shall consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha) and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  • Seniority based elevation- The elevation of an EC should be on the basis of seniority. If senior EC is not appointed due to unfit reasons, the three member collegium or a committee give reasons in writing.
  • Equal constitutional protection to all members of the ECI- Equal constitutional protection must be given to all members of the ECI in matters of removability from office.
  • In this regard, Article 324(5) of the Constitution should be amended.

Other Recommendations of 255th Report

  • Independent candidates often referred as dummy candidates to be debarred from contesting elections.
  • Paid news to be made an electoral offence that can lead to disqualification under Representation of People Act, 1951.
  • Several changes should be made in election funding legislation.
  • Candidates must disclose all contributions received by them from any person or company, and from the political party.
  • Companies planning to fund a political party must place their plans before shareholders for approval. In this regard The Companies Act, 2013 must be amended.

8- Dr. Alka Beotra nominated as member of WAADS executive board

India’s Dr. Alka Beotra has been nominated as a member of the World Association of Anti-Doping Scientists’ (WAADS) executive board. She is only Asian in the six-member executive board of WAADS and will have tenure of 3 years starting from March 2015. At present, Dr. Alka Beotra is Scientific Director of National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).

About World Association of Anti-Doping Scientists (WAADS)

  • The WAADS is an international organisation that comprises anti-doping scientists from all the WADA-accredited labs across the world.
  • Purpose- It provides assistance to combat the issue of doping in sport.
  • It also seeks to allow WADA-accredited laboratories to interact within their own group.

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