Current News in Brief (1-10 March 2018)

  • Slovakian skier Henrieta Farkasova won the first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Paralympics in Pyeongchang on 10 March 2018. She won the gold medal  in the women’s vision-impaired downhill category. The Paralympics opened on March 9, 2018 with a glittering ceremony that mixed spectacular light shows and fireworks with traditional Korean performances and modern pop music.

  • In Sikkim, the first commercial flight of Spicejet landed successfully at newly constructed Pakyong airport on March 10, 2018. The plane’s landing is seen as a major boost to the state tourism prospect as it is the first time that a commercial flight has made a successful landing at the Pakyong Airport. The 78 seater aircraft which took off from Kolkata was on its first trial landing at Pakyong, about 30 kilometers away from Gangtok.

  • Fire on Maersk’s container ship finally came under control on March 10. It is feared that that missing crew members may be trapped on board ‘Maersk Honam’. The 330-metre, Singapore-flagged vessel caught fire on March 7 and crew members jumped off after they were unable to control the blaze.

  • Former Maharashtra minister and Senior Congress leader Dr Patangrao Kadam, passed away at a Mumbai hospital on March 10. He was 72.  Dr Kadam was a great educationist and founder of several educational institutes, including the Bharati Vidyapeeth at Pune. He had held the portfolios of Cooperation and Forest during the previous Congress-NCP government during 1999-2014.

  • In Nepal, CPN Maoist Centre leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara was elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the bicameral federal Parliament. Mahara was elected unopposed as he was the only candidate to file nomination for the post.  

  • A three-day festival to celebrate Odisha’s culture, tradition, heritage and cuisine commenced in the lawns of the India Gate in New Delhi on March 10. Chief Justice Dipak Mishra was the chief guest of the inaugural ceremony of Odia Parba which was also attended by Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan among other eminent personalities.The second edition of Odia Parba, which the organisers claim is bigger and better than previous year, is based on the theme ‘Odisha’s freedom struggle against British rule from 1804-1947′.

  • Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is to resign after becoming embroiled in a financial scandal, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced on March 9 . Ms. Gurib-Fakim has been accused of using a bank card provided by an NGO to make personal purchases.

  • Sitanshu Kar will be the new principal director general of The Press Information Bureau (PIB), the central government’s publicity wing. He will replace Frank Noronha on  May 1. Incumbent Frank Noronha, who took over in 2014 after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power, will retire on April 30.  

  • Thirty-four prisoners lodged at district and central jails of Varanasi have tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) over the last few months. The incident comes days after 23 prisoners tested positive for HIV in Gorakhpur district jail.

  •  As per Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the total number of lives covered under any type of health insurance policy as on 31st March, 2017 were 43.75 crore which is approximately 36 per cent of India’s population as per Census 2011.  During the year 2016-17, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) was in implementation in 15 States/UTs involving 265 districts, covering 3.63 crore families. 

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has informed that the Basel III capital regulations has been implemented from April 1, 2013 in India in phases, for full implementation by March 31, 2019.

  • The Ministry of Tourism is organizing a music series under the Incredible India Heritage Series in Delhi, Varanasi and Kochi, which are important tourist centres of the country. This  music series   organised through SPIC MACAY would  be  held  over  a period  of  6  weekends with  the objective   to  promote  the  rich  cultural  heritage of  the country  and  to  reinforce  the principle  of ‘Tourism  for  All’.

  • Birla Century’s textile plant at Bharuch, a part of the BK Birla Group, was on March 8 awarded LEED v4 Gold certification by Green Business Certification Inc., making it the first Indian manufacturing facility to obtain this certification for achieving sustainability and reduction in carbon footprint. The first to achieve this globally was Pakistan’s Artistic Fabric & Garment Industries.

  • WHO has now requested drug makers to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) for Bedaquiline and Delaminid, two new-generation drugs, recommended for drug resistant-TB. Under WHO norms, drugs submitted upon such requests and complying with its standards are included in a list for procurement by the UN and other organisations.

  • According to the UP Energy Minister, dedicated police stations for checking power thefts to be run by the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) would come up in the State soon.

  • The Siddaramaiah government on Thursday unveiled the State flag (nada dhwaja) for Karnataka. If approved by the Centre, Karnataka will be the second State to have a flag after Jammu and Kashmir. The red-white-yellow flag has the State emblem at the centre. The proposal will be now sent to the Union Home Ministry for approval since a State has no powers to announce its own flag.

  • Ottamuri Velicham, directed by Rahul Riji Nair, has been adjudged the best film and Lijo Jose Pallissery, who directed Ee Ma Yow, the best director of 2017 at Kerala Film awards.


  • Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology Y.S. Chowdary of the Telugu Desam Party submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March  8. TDP is demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.

  • According to Forbes’ 2018 ‘World’s Billionaires’ list, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s wealth surged a whopping 72.8% to $40.1 billion (₹2,60,622 crore) — highest among the 119 Indian billionaires on the list. Mr. Ambani was ranked 19th globally, up from 33rd position in 2017. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos toppled Bill Gates as the world’s wealthiest person, says Forbes. According to Forbes, India is home to 119 billionaires, 18 more than last year. This year’s list consists of 2,043 of the richest people in the world. The combined net worth of this elite group is a whopping $9.1 trillion, up 18% since last year. Their average net worth is a record $4.1 billion.

  • Eight Indian women have featured in Forbes list of the world’s richest. Forbes’ 2018 ‘World’s Billionaires’ list includes a total of 256 women — an all time high — and their collective net worth topped $1 trillion, up 20% since last year. Among the Indian women, Savitri Jindal and family is the richest with a fortune of $8.8 billion. She is ranked 176th globally. Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the second richest. She is India’s richest self-made woman with a fortune of $3.6 billion.

  • Pope Paul VI, who oversaw sweeping reforms of the Catholic Church in the 1960s, will be made a saint along with a Salvadoran archbishop who was shot dead while celebrating mass. Pope Francis signed decrees giving the go-ahead for the honours on the basis of miracles attributed to each candidate. The Pope put Paul VI on the path to sainthood by beatifying him in October 2014, while Oscar Romero was likewise elevated to the status of “blessed” in May 2015.

  • The world’s oldest known message in a bottle – thrown off a German ship on June 12, 1886 – has been found by a family on a remote beach  in Australia after their car became stuck in the sand. The message was written in German on paper which was bound and tied with a string and kept in a nineteenth-century Dutch gin bottle. The note stated it was thrown off the sailing barque Paula, about 600 miles off coast of Western Australia.

  • Barbie is marking International Women’s Day by honouring some of the inspiring women of the present and the past. The brand’s “Inspiring Women” series includes aviator Amelia Earhart; Mexican artist Frida Kahlo; and Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who broke race and gender barriers. The dolls come with information about the women.

  • Actor-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra is set to launch a digital game show titled iQ Trivia Live, which will be hosted by actor Rohit Roy.  

  • Portsmouth College London has introduced a course on Hinglish, mix of Hindi and English.  It is the first course of its kind to teach the unique hybrid language.

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on March 7 launched a programme for women self-help groups at Thano which will train them in making LED lights. The 5-day programme named LED Gram Light Training programme will train 50 women from 10 SHGS in making LED bulbs, tubelights and chandeliers. 

  • Thirteen cities worldwide are projected to see temperature hikes that could exceed 2°C over the next decade or so, scientists said in a report by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, based at Columbia University. The Belgian city of Leuven faces the highest potential increase among a hundred cities that are part of the study.

  • The India-China bilateral trade has reached $84.44 billion last year, a historic high, notwithstanding bilateral tensions over a host of issues, including the Doklam standoff. The bilateral trade, otherwise dominated by the Chinese exports, was about 40% increase of Indian exports to China in 2017 totalling to $16.34 billion. The bilateral trade in 2017 rose by 18.63% year-on-year to reach $84.44 billion. This is regarded as a landmark, as the volume of bilateral trade for the first time touched $80 billion, well above the $71.18 billion registered last year.

  • The Assam government on March 7 informed the National Green Tribunal that the State government had sanctioned a sum of ₹11 crore for the installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to check the death of animals in road accidents close to the Kaziranga National Park.

  • Members of a small Left students’ group damaged a stone bust of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, in Kolkata on March 7.

  • The clash erupted in public between US and China on  after the U.S. government, citing national security concerns, called for a full investigation into a hostile bid to buy the American chip stalwart Qualcomm — a review that is often a death knell for a corporate deal. The proposed acquisition by the Singapore-based Broadcom would have been the largest deal in technology history. But a government panel said the takeover could weaken Qualcomm and give its Chinese rivals an advantage. 

  • Uk Police believe that a nerve agent was used to deliberately poison a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, Britain’s top counter terrorism officer said on March, in a case that threatens to further damage London’s ties with Moscow.

  • A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea’s mountainous Southern Highlands on March 7 killing at least 18 people, a week after a larger quake flattened villages and killed at least 55 people.

  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has described Turkey as part of a “triangle of evil” along with Iran and hard-line Islamists.

  • On the eve of International Women’s Day, in a move to bolster the security of women passengers, the Delhi government has announced a pilot project under which state-run buses would be installed with Panic Alarm Systems.

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on March 7 approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Public Service Commission of Mauritius. The MoU will strengthen the existing relationship between UPSC and Public Service Commission of Mauritius. It will facilitate sharing of experience and expertise of both the parties in the area of recruitment.

  • White House’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn today resigned over his differences with US President Donald Trump on trade policy. Cohn, who is a Former Goldman Sach executive resigned as the White House National Economic Council director, after differences with the decision of Trump to impose a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and 10 per cent on Aluminium.

  • The Union Cabinet  has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between India and France to facilitate Mutual Recognition of educational qualifications and periods of study undertaken by students in duly approved, recognized and/or accredited educational Institutions within the two countries. (March 7)

  • China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the module will hit. While the US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere early April, the ESA expects the crash will happen between March 24 and April 19. 

  • The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has supported North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) to set up a dedicated Venture Fund for the North Eastern Region (NER) with a corpus of Rs.100 crore. (March 7)

  • Scientists have identified a gene, amino-acid kinase 2, that is responsible for neuro developmental disorders, including autism, and may help in developing treatments. The findings showed that alterations of the gene TAOK2 plays a direct role in these disorders.

  • Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Vishvanath Shetty was stabbed in his office in Bengaluru on March 7. Police have arrested the assailant Tejraj Sharma and rushed the Lokayukta to a private hospital.

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on March 7 approved the signing of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France.  The Agreement is expected to be signed during the forthcoming State visit of the French President to India.

  • The Japanese Navy said on March 6, that it had for the first time appointed a woman as commander of a unit that includes Izumo, the country’s biggest warship. Ryoko Azuma, 44, will command four warships making up a division with a total of 1,000 crew members.

  • A recitation of the great epic Mahabharata was performed in Urdu at Tihar jail in New Delhi on March 6. ‘Dastan e Karan‘ was performed by Mehmood Farooqui, written by him during his incarceration in the Tihar prisons.

  • Wreckage from the USS Lexington, a U.S. aircraft carrier which sank during World War II, has been discovered in the Coral Sea. The wreckage was found on March 4, by the team’s research vessel, the R/V Petrel, some 3,000 meters (two miles) below the surface more than 800 km off the eastern coast of Australia. 

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 40 lakh on State Bank of India for non-compliance of its directions on detection and impounding of counterfeit notes. An RBI notification issued from Mumbai today informs that the action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance found at two of the bank’s currency chests.

  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has made a five-fold increase in a journalist welfare scheme from 20 lakh to one crore rupees. The scheme provides financial assistance to scribes and their families in times of extreme hardships. The increase will be effective from April 1. The scheme covers journalists accredited to the Press Information Bureau, state governments, UTs, and non-accredited journalists working for a minimum five continuous years as news editor, reporter, photographer, cameraman and freelance journalist.

  • Mervat Bukhari became the first Saudi woman to work at a gas station, something unimaginable not long ago. The kingdom, where conservatives once bridled at even limited freedoms for women, is in the midst of reforms that mark the biggest cultural shake-up in its modern history.

  • Veteran actor Shammi, who acted in over 200 films and some popular television serials, died on March 6 after a prolonged illness. She was 89. Born as Nargis Rabadi in a Parsi family, she featured in many popular films, including Ustad Pedro, Bhai- Bahen, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi, Half Ticket, and others.

  • Mofam, a financial services company, will be rolling out ‘Bfund’ to support film financing. Bfund is targeting a ₹120-crore fund size for Bollywood movies and ₹80 crore fund for Tollywood films. 

  • Private sector lender Bandhan Bank has received markets regulator SEBI’s go ahead to raise an estimated amount of over ₹2,500 crore through an initial share sale.

  • Ahead of International Women’s Day, the South Central Railway (SCR) management on March 6, named the little-known Chandragiri station near as the “all-women railway station” in the zone. As SCR General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav formally handed over the responsibilities to a team of enterprising women, Chandragiri became the first station in Andhra Pradesh to get the privileged status, as Begumpet got the tag for Telangana the same day.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi would honour the district administrations of Rajasthan’s Sikar and Jhunjhunu for improving sex-ratio. Mr. Modi will felicitate the districts during his visit on March 8 for their efforts towards ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign. 

  • The four-day-old Sacred Baboon (Papio hamadryas) was treated in VISAKHAPATNAM. Rarely seen in India, the Vizag zoo has at present five females (apart from the two young ones) Baboons, which were brought from Germany in 2014. It had recently lost the only male.

  • Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon has landed in trouble after allegedly shooting for a commercial in a ‘no camera zone’ on the premises of the 11th century Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswara.

  • ”Queen bee syndrome” — the phenomenon of women discriminating against other female coworkers as they rise in seniority — may be getting worse, a study has found. As women have increased their ranks in the workplace, most will admit to experiencing rude behaviour and incivility. 

  • Nearly a fifth of Europe’s wood beetle species face extinction because the old, decaying trees they depend on have been cleared from forests. Eighteen per cent of the 700 beetle species surveyed were found to be at risk. A report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature said that the 3,000 known species of saproxylic beetles need dead and decaying wood at some point during their life cycles.

  • Neil Basu, a senior Indian-origin Scotland Yard officer (UK), was appointed as the counter terrorism chief. He will take charge as the force’s National Lead for Counter Terrorism and the Head of the Met Police’s Specialist Operations after the resignation of Mark Rowley on March 21.

  • The World Trade Organization agreed to set up a panel to determine whether India has complied with its ruling in a case about domestic content requirements for solar modules. In 2016, India lost a case after the WTO stated that power purchase agreements signed with solar firms for its National Solar Mission did not meet international norms.

  • Five-time NBA champion and the former Lakers star Kobe Bryant won an Oscar on March 4 in the animated short category for Dear Basketball, a poem he wrote after ending his 20-year career on the court in 2016. As executive producer, Bryant, who shared the award with Disney animator Glen Keane, accepted the statuette from Star Wars star Mark Hamill.

  • A U.S. aircraft carrier  USS Carl Vinson arrived in Vietnam on March 5 for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, dramatically underscoring the growing strategic ties between the former foes at a time when China’s regional influence is rising. The arrival of the vessel marks the biggest U.S. military presence in Vietnam since 1975.

  • The Reserve Bank of India imposed a penalty of ₹3 crore on Axis Bank for non-compliance of Income Recognition and Asset Classification (IRAC) norms. Besides. The central bank also imposed a penalty of ₹2 crore on Indian Overseas Bank for non-compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. These penalties were imposed on February 27.

  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on March 5 that will raise its defence budget this year by a hefty 8.1% over 2017, signalling the country’s intent to build world-class armed forces. He also said the country will target a growth rate of around 6.5% in 2018 that would lift 10 million people out of poverty.

  • The Rajasthan government has decided to implement a dress code in State-run colleges from academic year 2018-19.

  • The Haryana government on March 5 announced that a Cooperative Election Authority would be set up in the State for supervising the election process in cooperative bodies.

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development has invited suggestions on rationalising curriculum for Classes 1 to 12. “The suggestions can be made from March 5, 2018, till April 6, 2018.

  • According to the Ministry of Water Resources, under Namami Gange Programme, following 12 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) have been completed and commissioned during 2015-16 to 2017-18. The additional treatment capacity generated through these installed Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) is 137.35 Million Litres Per Day (MLD).

  • The Pacific island nation Marshall Islands said that it became the first country in the world to recognise a cryptocurrency as its legal tender when it passed a law in the last week of February 2018 to create the digital “Sovereign,” or SOV. In the nation of 60,000, the cryptocurrency will have equal status with the US dollar as a form of payment. Venezuela in February 2018 became the first country to launch its own cryptocurrency when it launched the virtual ‘Petro’, backed by crude oil reserves.

  • The government will constitute a group to suggest necessary changes in the policy for Special Economic Zone (SEZs). The SEZs are export hubs and contribute significantly to the country’s total outbound shipments.


  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Smiriti Irani has inaugurated 2018 edition of FICCI Frame in Mumbai. 


  • Air India operated a flight on the Kolkata-Dimapur-Kolkata route on March 4 with an all-women cockpit and cabin crew, in view of the ongoing International Women’s Week.  


  • Saudi Arabia hosted its first marathon for women on March 3 as the conservative kingdom seeks to boost female sports in a far-reaching modernisation drive. Hundreds of women runners, many of them dressed in traditional Islamic attire, raced in eastern Al-Ahsa region. The aim of the marathon was to promote running and introduce the concept of sports for all, for a healthier way of life. 


  • China set its GDP growth rate for 2018 at around 6.5 per cent, same as last year. The world’s second-largest economy is aiming to reduce risks to its financial system from a rapid build-up in debt. he Chinese economy, which is slowing down every year, grew by 6.9 per cent last year.


    Irrfan Khan on March 5 said that he is suffering from a rare disease and will share details when there is a conclusive diagnosis. 


  • Viswanathan Anand has lifted the Tal Memorial rapid trophy in Moscow. The win came after an easy final round draw against Boris Gelfand of Israel. Anand finished with six points out of a possible nine, scoring four wins and four draws.


  • The first ever screen acting course for actors from Nepal at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune has concluded  on March 3. 


  • WhatsApp had introduced the Delete for Everyone feature last year in November. In this feature, the users were allowed to delete a sent message within 420 seconds or 7 minutes. However, the company has updated its feature allowing the users to delete a sent message in 4096 seconds, that is, 68 minutes and 16 seconds to be exact


  • The first 4G network on Moon is being planned by telecom company Vodafone to support a mission by PT Scientists in 2019 and it has appointed Nokia as its technology partner.  Berlin-based company, PT Scientists is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to achieve the first privately-funded Moon landing. Mission to the Moon is due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Vodafone said in a statement.


  • The Karnataka government has opposed the demand to declare the Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swamy Dargah near as an exclusive Hindu place of worship, accepting the report submitted by an expert committee headed by Justice Nagamohan Das.. The controversy began in 1975 when the State government decided to transfer the shrine from the Muzrai Department to the Wakf Board. Till then this had been a pilgrimage visited by both Hindus and Muslims. Hindus treated it as the abode of Dattatreya Swamy, while Muslims considered it the place of Dada Hayat Mir Qalandar.

  • A skin bacteria — commonly found on healthy human skin — may help protect against skin cancer, scientists say. The team discovered the S. epidermidis strain produces the chemical compound 6-N-hydroxyaminopurine (6-HAP). Mice that received intravenous injections of 6-HAP every 48 hours over a two-week period experienced no apparent toxic effects, but when transplanted with melanoma cells, their tumour size was suppressed by more than 50% compared to controls.

  • India had been on track to meet its target of 100 Gigawatt (GW) of solar energy capacity by 2022 but momentum has been severely eroded in the last few months, according to industry players. Issues such as uncertainty around import duties and future tax rates on existing power purchase agreements have dampened investor sentiment. The Director General (Safeguards) had earlier this year recommended imposing a 70% safeguard duty on imported solar cells, panels and modules for a minimum period of 200 days. No decision has been taken yet on this.

  • Disability rights activist Javed Abidi passed away in Delhi on March 3. He was 53. During the past two decades, he executed this agenda in every campaign that he spearheaded, under the banner of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and the Disability Rights Group (DRG).

  • Argentine Juan Martin del Potro clinched his 21st career title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson in the Mexican Open final on March 3. In the women’s final, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko defended her crwon with a 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over Stefanie Voegele.

  • Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder has decided to end his international football career after 14 years and a record 133 caps during a golden era for his country.

  • Kangra (A. Sandesh astride) clinched the Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Horse racing) in a record time in Kolkata on March 3. The winner is owned by Mr. Marthand Singh Mahindra, Mrs. Rina Mahindra & Mr. P. Prabhakar Reddy and trained by Attaollahi.

  • Christian Coleman confirmed his status as the most exciting young sprinter in the post-Usain Bolt era when he stormed to 60m glory on March 2 as Ethiopian track legend Genzebe Dibaba bagged a golden world indoor brace.

  • On the opening day of the ISSF World Cup at Guadalajara in Mexico, Shahzar Rizvi of India clinched the gold medal with a world record score in his maiden ISSF World Cup appearance. The Meerut-based Rizvi shot a world record 242.3 in the 10 metre air pistol event’s final to beat reigning Olympic champion Christian Reitz of Germany to win the top prize. The German had a score of 239.7. Pistol ace Jitu Rai won the bronze in the event with a score of 219, as three Indians made it to the finals of the season’s first World Cup. 

  • David Ogden Stiers, a prolific actor best known for playing a surgeon on the “M.A.S.H.” television series, has died. He was 75. Stiers died after battling bladder cancer.

  • China will begin recruiting civilian astronauts for its military-backed space programme and plans to increase the number of crewed missions to around two a year. New astronauts will include maintenance engineers, yload specialists and pilots, Mr. Yang, who became China’s first man in space in 2003, said.

  • The terror out fit ‘Support Islam and Muslims’ has claimed responsibility for the twin attacks in Burkina Faso. The group, led by the Malian leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, said it carried out the attacks on the French embassy and Burkina Faso’s military HQ in the capital Ouagadougou on March 2, 2018, which left eight soldiers dead.

  • India’s exposure to US government securities rose sharply to a high of 144.7 billion US dollars at the end of 2017. According to latest official data, the country remained the 12th largest overseas holder of such securities, just behind oil-rich Saudi Arabia, whose holding stood at 147.4 billion dollars in December 2017.  Figures compiled by the US Treasury Department show that the holding of India went up to 144.7 billion dollars in December last, an increase of little over 26 billion dollars compared to the year-ago period. In 2017, neighbouring China was the largest holder of US government securities with holdings to the tune of 1.18 trillion dollars, followed by Japan at 1.06 trillion dollars.

  • Delhi government has appointed a six-member state inspection committee under the chairmanship of the director of Women and Child Development, WCD, department, who is also member secretary of state child protection society. The committee will conduct random visits to all facilities housing children in the national capital and get feedback from the kids there. According to WCD department, the panel will conduct inspections of child care institutions once every three months and submit its report to district child protection units or the state government for action.

  • The sea level may rise twice as high by 2100 as previously estimated because of climate change, a NASA study says. According to findings detailed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, rise in sea level may increase by up to 65 centimetres in the next 80 years, which will do to cause significant problems for coastal cities.

  • The World Bank had called the Citarum the “most polluted river in the world” a decade ago and research has shown it to have high levels of toxic chemicals which include 1,000 times more lead than the U.S. standard for safe drinking water, as an estimated 280 tonnes of industrial waste are dumped in it every day.

  • Based on data from Hyper Suprime-Cam, a gigantic still camera in the Subaru Telescope, scientists from across the world have started to make an ‘unprecedentedly wide and sharp’ dark matter map. 

  • The skyrmion, a type of magnetic-moment knot, which was postulated nearly 40 years ago, has been observed in a lab. Resembling ‘ball lightning’, this structure formed when a Bose Einstein condensate of Rubidium-87 atoms was subjected to an appropriate magnetic field.

  • A team of investigators has found that the mcr-1 drug resistance gene, which encodes resistance to a drug that is used as a last resort, has been found for the first time in Shigella flexneri, a gram-negative bacterium. Shigella is one of the leading causes of diarrhoea worldwide.

  • A report in the journal eNeuro claims that scientists have made an artificial sea-slug, which they call cyberslug. The cyberslug apparently reacts to food much like a real sea-slug, just as when it encounters others of its kind. The research was carried out by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

  • The Queen Bee Syndrome, a phenomenon most widely reported in office spaces, refers to women being uncivil or treating female co-workers unfairly. 

  • Columbia University researchers have identified a huge family tree spanning 11 generations based on data from a collaborative genealogy website. This is the largest single-family tree established so far. With 13 million people under its canopy, it is of the order of the population of Bengaluru. 

  • Evolution mostly deals with divergence of new species from older ones. A 20-year-long study published in NatureCommunications shows that two distinct lineages of raven have merged in ‘speciation reversal’. The California and Holarctic lineages had diverged for about 1-2 million years and have now merged.

  • Rembrandt, a well-known name in European art history, has an Indian connection that not many may know about. From 1656 to 1661, the Dutch artist quietly made 25 drawings based on Mughal miniatures from India. And now, the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, United States, is gearing up to showcase the 23 remaining works in an exhibition titled, ‘Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India’, which will be on view from March 13 to June 24.

  • The Emoji Movie has received Hollywood’s most famous frown, the Razzie Award, for worst picture of 2017, making it the first animated feature in 38 years to earn the top dishonor. Tom Cruise’s attempted reboot of the Mummy franchise landed him worst actor.

  • Top Spanish conductor Jesus Lopez Cobos, who wielded the baton at a clutch of top ensembles including the Spanish National Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, has died of cancer aged 78.

  • The estimated cost of measures to limit Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions can be more than offset by reductions in deaths and disease from air pollution. It would cost $22.1 trillion to $41.6 trillion between 2020 and 2050 for the world to hold average global warming under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), a team projected in The Lancet Planetary Health journal. For the lower, aspirational limit of 1.5 degree Celsius, the cost would be between $39.7 trillion and $56.1 trillion, they estimated. 

  • Advanced patented medicines used to treat Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB) are available to only about 1,000 patients out of the tens of thousands who need it, because the innovator-manufacturers are not ready to licence Indian drug-makers who can sell them at affordable prices. Bedaquiline and Delaminid, the new-generation drugs, are recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for DR-TB patients.

  • Researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on two 5,000-year-old mummies from Egypt. The illustrations are of a wild bull and a Barbary sheep on the upper-arm of a male mummy, and S-shaped motifs on the upper-arm and shoulder of a female. The discovery pushes back evidence for the practice in Africa by 1,000 years.


  • Goa is celebrating Shigmotsav which began on March 3. Shigmotsav or Shigmo is one of the several cultural festivals of the coastal state and is celebrated through colours, costumes, music, dance and parades. 

  • South Korean President describes Japan’s use of “comfort women” during World War 2 as a “crime against humanity”.  Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan’s 1910-45 colonisation of the peninsula and the use of “comfort women”, Japan’s euphemism for women – many of them Korean forced to work in its wartime brothels.


  • Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the fields of arts and politics.  The annual Political and Public Life Awards instituted by Britain’s Asian Voice weekly newspaper was presented at a ceremony in the UK’s Parliament complex in London on 2nd March.

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh launched the social media of “Namaste Shalom”, a magazine devoted to India-Israel relations, on March 2. The festive occasion of Holi coincided with the Jewish festival of Purim. The magazine is edited by former MP Shri Tarun Vijay. Israeli Ambassador to India, Mr. Daniel Carmon and other dignitaries were also present.

  • India have won the inaugural IBSF Snooker Team World Cup title. The Indian combine of Pankaj Advani and Manan Chandra defeated Pakistan in the best-of-five final played in Doha on March 2.


  • The Madras High Court has directed the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to consider, within six months, the representation of the fishermen community of Tamil Nadu to include them in the list of Scheduled Castes. The court passed the order on a plea moved by the Fisherman Care, an organisation working for the welfare of fishermen. 

  • The Kerala child rights body has registered a suo motu case against Attukal temple’s annual Kuthiyottam ritual, which involves minors being pierced, during Pongala festivities and said it would examine if children’s rights were violated during the practice.

  • A London-based historian who was sent a skull out of the blue in 2014 and put together the fascinating story of Alum Bheg, a soldier blown to pieces by the British during the 1857 uprising, is keen to send it back to India for a respectful burial. The historian was given the skull by the family that took over the Kent pub, The Lord Clyde, and a 170-word note identified it as that of Alum Bheg, a havildar of the Bengal Native Infantry.

  • The freezing conditions have claimed seven lives in Slovakia, six in the Czech Republic and five each in Lithuania and France over the past week. Other deaths were recorded in Spain, Italy, Serbia, Britain, the Netherlands and Norway.

  • In Himachal Pradesh, more than 150 cattle perished in a fire incident in Dodra village of Shimla district on March 2.

  • In Karnataka, senior IFS officer S Manikandan, who was the Conservator of Forests and Director of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve was killed by a wild elephant in the jungles on March 3. The incident took place in Nagarhole national park when the officer had gone to assess the damage to forests caused by fire near Kakanakote close to Kabini backwaters.

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal has announced to link wages of Anganwari workers with wholesale price index, which will regularly update their wages. He  also announced to categorise services of Anganwadi workers into semi-skilled and skilled. Ccategorization of services of Anganwadi workers will help them to receive all such benefits of provident fund and health services.

  • Navjot Kaur has clinched first gold medal for India in the Asian Wrestling championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She defeated Imai Miyu of Japan 9-1 in the final of women’s 65 kg freestyle. 

  • Tripura Fisheries and Cooperation minister Khagendra Jamatia passed away on March 2. amataia was a CPI(M) candidate from the Krishnapur constituency in the February 18 assembly election.


  • Armenian lawmakers elected  Armen Sarkisian a largely figurehead president to succeed Serzh Sarkisian as he seeks to extend his grip on power under a new parliamentary system of government. The ambassador to the United Kingdom, Armen Sarkisian – who is no relation to the current leader – garnered 90 votes in the 105-seat legislature, and will assume presidential duties after his predecessor steps down in April.

  • Jammu and Kashmir government has announced an ex-gratia relief of four lakh rupees each to the next of kin of three persons, who lost their lives in a snow avalanche in Lashkote forests of Lolab in North Kashmir.

  • The mega annual cultural festival ‘India by the Nile’, organised to celebrate Indian culture and its diversity, will begin in Cairo in the second week of March with the main focus on classical culture this year.  The 12-day event, the biggest foreign festival in Egypt, will host a wide range of events and starts on March 6. The festival which provides audiences an Indian cultural experience and encourages artistic collaborations between India and Egypt will be held in several cities such as Cairo, Alexandria and Port.

  • President of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang arrived at Bodh Gaya in Bihar on March 2 on a three-day visit to India.

  • Loving Vincent is the world’s first animated feature film painted by hand — all 65,000 frames — in the distinct style of Vincent van Gogh is vying for an Oscar.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled an array of new nuclear weapons on March 1. As per the President, a nuclear attack on any of Moscow’s allies would be regarded as an attack on Russia itself and draw an immediate response.

  • A long-lost portrait of a Nigerian princess dubbed the “African Mona Lisa” sold at auction in on 28 February for £1.2 million (₹10.7 crore), exceeding estimates and setting a record for the artist. The 1974 painting of Adetutu “Tutu” Ademiluyi, by Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu, was expected to fetch up to £300,000 when it went under the hammer at Bonhams auction house.  The portrait of Tutu is a national icon in Nigeria.

  • The moon may have emerged from a massive, doughnut-shaped cloud of a vapourised rock called synestia, rather than created out of the aftermath of a collision, a new study suggests. The canonical model has been challenged in a paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research.

  • Sri Lanka has appointed commissioners to a special panel tasked with investigating war-era disappearances. The Office of Missing Persons was officially launched on February 28 by President Maithripala Sirisena.

  • The Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece that has spent nearly all of the past 500 years in Paris, could soon embark on a rare tour of France. The  move is a part of a travelling exhibition of prestigious artworks

  • Holi and Dola Purnima celebrations in rural areas of Ganjam district in Odisha provide a platform for folk dancers and theatre troupes to showcase their talents. At Badakusasthali, the celebrations are part of a biennial folk festival started 136 years ago. Every night during the festival, the deities from the Radha-Krishna temple are taken out for a procession.

  • An all-women railway station being launched at Phirangipuram on the Guntur-Narsaraopet (Andhra Pradesh) line. The station would be handed over to an all-women crew – from the station master to the signalling staff to the ticket-checking employees. This will the only the third-of-its-kind railway station in the country after Jaipur’s Gandhi Nagar and Mumbai’s Matunga, the all-women station is set to create history.

  • A new train named ‘Arunachal Express’ between Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh and Anand Vihar Terminal in the national Capital was on 1 March flagged off by Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju.

  • SBI has increased the one-year marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) by 20 bps to 8.15%, the ICICI Bank hiked it by 10 bps to 8.3%. MCLR is the benchmark rate to which all the loan rates are linked. Rates in all other tenures of MCLR have also been increased. Most loans are linked to one-year MCLR. This is the first time banks have increased MCLR since it was introduced in April 2016 as the benchmark rate.

  • The 69th head of the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi passed away on February 28. He was 83. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi was born the first son to Mahadeva Iyer and Saraswathi at Irulneeki hamlet in Tiruvarur district on July 13, 1935, and was named Subramaniyam. When he was 13, in 1948, he was identified as the successor to his predecessor in the mutt, Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi.

  • Noted Odia bhajan singer Arabinda Muduli passed away early on 1 March. was 56. A musician, singer and lyricist, Muduli enthralled the audience with devotional songs and had won the hearts of millions of people in Odisha and elsewhere. Born on September 1, 1961, at Khanati in Khordha district, he was a devotee of Lord Jagannath and sang only bhajans. He was a disciple of legendary bhajan singer Bhikari Bal.

  • India’s economy grew 7.2% in the three months ended December 31, the fastest pace in five quarters, regaining its status as the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

  • Facebook has removed the page of a Myanmar monk once dubbed the “Buddhist Bin Laden” for his incendiary posts about Muslims. Wirathu, a prominent face of Myanmar’s Buddhist ultra-nationalist movement, had amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on the network, using it as a platform to attack Muslims, singling out the stateless Rohingya minority.

  • A powerful and emotional letter written by Mahatma Gandhi in 1926, in which he discusses the existence of Jesus Christ, is up for sale in the United States. Typed in faint ink and with a bold, unaffected signature, the letter was part of a private collection for the past several decades and is now being sold by the Pennsylvania-based Raab Collection.  Nathan Raab, principal at the Raab Collection, described the letter as the embodiment of Gandhi’s vision for a world of religions at peace. 

  • Justice Ajay Rastogi was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of Tripura High Court at Raj Bhavan in Agartala on March 1. Governor Tathagata Roy administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new Chief Justice in presence of dignitaries following the retirement of Justice T. Vaiphei a day before.

  • Tata and Boeing Aerospace limited has rolled out its state of the art production facility at Adibhatla on the outskirts of Hyderabad on 28 February. The facility is the joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems and Boeing’s first equity joint venture in India. Set up in over 14000 square meters, the joint venture will co-produce Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselages and other aerostructures, as well as pursue integrated systems in aerospace.

  • North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons. The evidence of a North Korean connection comes as the US and other countries accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons on civilians, including recent attacks in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta using what appears to have been chlorine gas. The supplies include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by UN investigators.

  • US President Donald Trump  announced that he has appointed Brad Parscale as the campaign manager for his re-election committee for the 2020 polls

  • A Turkish court jailed a paedophile a record 572 years for abusing 18 children at the school where he worked. The court in Adiyaman province convicted the janitor after it was found he raped children and would sneak into some of the pupils’ beds.

  • The finance ministry directed state-run banks to examine all bad loan accounts exceeding ₹50 crore for possible fraud, a fallout of the multi-billion dollar scam at Punjab National Bank (PNB) that went undetected for seven years.

  •  British director Lewis Gilbert, the man behind the award winning movie Alfie, has died aged 97. After initially starting out as a child actor, Gilbert switched to directing and worked for the Royal Air Force’s film unit on documentaries. He is best remembered for the James Bond movies You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker. He was awarded the Commander of the British Empire award in 1997. 

  • Twenty-three inmates of the Gorakhpur District Jail have been found to be HIV positive in the past eight months and are being treated at a hospital.

  • According to the Prime Minister of India, the bilateral trade between India and South Korea in 2017 reached $20 billion, the “first time in six years”.

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 28 February arrested Karti Chidambaram for allegedly helping INX Media in scuttling punitive action by the finance ministry during the tenure of his father P Chidambaram as Union finance minister. The CBI has alleged that INX Media, then owned by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, received ₹305 crore from offshore entities by way of Foreign Direct Investment without an approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which has now been disbanded

  • The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has terminated the services of National Film Development Corporation’s (NFDC) managing director, Nina Lath, on grounds of irregularities. The ‘procedural lapses’ that the ministry found on part of NFDC included release of advertisement spots to selected private channels in excess of 5% limit prescribed in the electronic media policy, non refund of 15% commission to the client ministry, and charging ₹4.29 crore in excess of actual expenditure from the ministry. Lath was appointed as the MD of NFDC in 2006.

  • Telecom operator Aircel filed for bankruptcy on 28 February, the latest episode in India’s telecom consolidation, marked by exits, fire sales and mergers that began with the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. One of India’s oldest telcos, Aircel filed an application at the Mumbai bench of National Company Law Tribunal along with its units, citing high unsustainable debt, price wars, legal and regulatory challenges.

  • US President Donald Trump’s Communications Director Hope Hicks has resigned . The announcement of resignation came a day after Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee on allegations related to the Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • The voting in Meghalaya on February 27 assembly poll was 84.8% with women turning out in larger numbers than men. This is, however, still lower than 2013’s turnout of 86.82%.

  • Three-time chief minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, who has recently elected unopposed in Nagaland Assembly elections, has resigned from his Lok Sabha seat.  He was an elected member of Lok Sabha from Nagaland parliamentary constituency of Nagaland,  and his resignation has been accepted by the Speaker with effect from February 22, 2018.

  • The Union Cabinet  has been apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Renewable Energy between India and Fiji on 28 February.  The MoU was signed on 24th May, 201 7at Suva, Fiji. Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.

  • The Union Cabinet on 28 February approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Macedonia on cooperation in the field of Health. The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation:- 1. Capacity building and short term training of human resources in health; 2. Exchange & training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals andexperts; 3. Assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities and 4. Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.

  • The Union Cabinet on 28 February approved the proposal for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Jordan on cooperation in the field of Health & Medical Science.

  • The Union Cabinet on 28 February approved the proposal for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Jordan on Cooperation in the Field of Manpower. The MoU will be valid for a period of five years, incorporates provision of automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Technical Committee.

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found GDA to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(1) read with Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Competition Act, 2002 for abuse of its dominant position by imposing unfair condition on the allottees from economically weaker sections in its Pratap Vihar Residential Housing Scheme.

  • Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju on 27 February inaugurated a first of its kind, Aviation Multi Skill Development Centre at the Chandigarh Old Airport Terminal building. The centre is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the Airports Authority of India. It is set up in collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation and supported by the Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council of India.