Former Sri Lankan Army Chief Sarath Fonseka was conferred the highest military rank of Field Marshal by the Government. He was awarded this title by President Maithripala Sirisena at a state ceremony held in the Colombo. With this Fonseka became the first Sri Lankan to receive this highest military title which is honorary in nature.
Fonseka is credited for being the force behind ending the 26-year Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 by defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels. After retiring from Army, Fonseka had entered politics and had contested 2010 Presidential election against then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Following the controversial defeat in this election he was court martialled and was jailed for alleged corruption and treason charges by then Rajapaksa led government. But the new government led President Maithripala Sirisena after coming to power in January 2015 had dropped all the charges against Fonsek and had reinstated his court martialled army rank using the executive powers.
He had joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1970 as a cadet officer. Since then during his 40-year career he had served various posts in Army. He was 18th Commander i.e. Chief of the Sri Lanka Army and was in office from 2005 to 2009. Fonseka also has served as Chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka. He was in office from July 2009 to November 2009.
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has given coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) nod to the 6,000-MW Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.
The clearance was granted by MoEFCC for constructing an intake and outfall facility in the plant. This intake channel will be 100 metre wide and 10 metre deep and a discharge facility comprising of Condenser Cooling Water Discharge tunnels will be 8 metre diameter and 6 kms in length for each two units and a total of 18 kms each for units.
MoEFCC also has proposed to construct a small barge handling marine facility having a draft of 3-4 metres. It will help for receiving and handling over dimensional consignments (ODCs) during the construction stage of the plant and will be in the form of a shore-based wharf type or an open-piled jetty system.
MoEFCC also asked NPCIL to examine possibilities of deploying ultrasonic devices with the help of National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) to divert the aquatic life from entering into the sea water intake in connection. The ministry also has asked filters to be provided at intake to prevent entry of marine life along with the sea water.
It should be noted that this environmental clearance for the plant is seen as a big boost for NPCIL that has been facing severe opposition from local farmers and social activists
Katherine Viner has been appointed as editor-in-chief of The Guardian newspaper. She will be 12th editor-in-chief and the first woman to run the newspaper in its 194-year history.
Viner will succeed Alan Rusbridger who is stepping down after 20 years and taking over as Chair of the Scott Trust which owns the Guardian.
Prior to this appointment Viner was serving as deputy editor of the Guardian and editor-in-chief of Guardian US.
She had joined the Guardian in 1997. Since then she had served at various posts in the newspaper including editor of G2, Guardian’s daily supplement, deputy women’s editor and editor of the Guardian Weekend magazine.
She was also a deputy editor of the title as well as editing the Saturday edition of the newspaper from 2008 until 2012. She also was responsible for launching the Guardian’s Australian operations.
Pranab Mukherjee on 21 March 2015 conferred one Kirti Chakra awards and 11 Shaurya Chakra awards on armed forces personnel. Among these 11 awardees three of them were conferred posthumously for gallantry.
The awards were given to defence personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty at a Defence Investiture Ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Kirti Chakra- It is the second highest peace time gallantry award i.e. awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle.
Shaurya Chakra- It is the third highest peacetime gallantry award i.e. awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy.
Every year World Water Day is marked on 22 March. It is observed to preserve and ration consumption of water.
The theme for this year is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. Under this theme the year 2015 provides an important opportunity to consolidate and build upon the previous World Water Days and highlight water’s role in the sustainable development agenda.
India has become the third-largest steel producer in the world by overtaking United States (US) in first two months of year 2015. It was revealed in the Data compiled by World Steel Association (WSA).
In the past five years, India was the fourth-largest steel producer behind China, Japan and the US. In 2009, US had snatched the third position from India.
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