Current Affairs 22nd March, 2019

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1. Navroz Celebration

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The Prime Minister of India has greeted nation on the occasion of Navroz.

More about Navroz

  • It is a Parsi New Year festival.

  • While the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle Easterns celebrate the festival on March 21, the first day of the Zoroastrian calendar, in India there is another version of the festival that is followed according to the Shahanshahi calendar and falls during the later months of the year.

  • The dates change every year since the calendar doesn’t account for leap years.

  • Also known as Pateti.

  • The festivities on this day symbolize happiness, harmony and amity for the Parsi community.

  • The time of the festival is decided in Iran and then it is passed on to the entire Zoroastrian population in the world.


2. Social Media Platforms present “Voluntary Code of Ethics for the 2019 General Election”

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The Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), presented a “Voluntary Code of Ethics for the General Election 2019” to Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora and other Election Commissioners.

Background

The Code of Ethics has been developed as a follow up to the meeting with IAMAI and representatives of Social Media Platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat and TikTok etc.

About the Code

 The ‘Code of Ethics” has been developed to ensure free, fair & ethical usage of Social Media Platforms to maintain the integrity of the electoral process for the General Elections 2019. The Code voluntarily agreed upon by the Participants comes into operation with immediate effect.

What is the possible impact?

Image result for 2. Social Media Platforms present “Voluntary Code of Ethics for the 2019 General Election”

  • The Platforms have committed to process any violations reported under Section 126 of RP Act, 1951 within three hours as per Sinha Committee recommendations.  

  • The Platforms have also agreed to create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism for the ECI and appoint dedicated teams during the period of General Elections for taking expeditious action on any reported violations.

  • Participants have also agreed to provide a mechanism for political advertisers to submit pre-certified advertisements issued by Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.

  • The Code of Ethics also promises to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements.

  • IAMAI has agreed to coordinate with participants various steps mentioned in this code. Participants have also committed to voluntarily undertake voter awareness campaigns.


3.  South China Sea

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Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the disputed South China Sea

Background

Vietnam and China have for years long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters, called the East Sea by Vietnam.

History of South China Sea dispute

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  • China laid claim to the South China Sea (SCS) back in 1947. It demarcated its claims with a U-shaped line made up of eleven dashes on a map, covering most of the area. Later, the Communist Party, which took over in 1949, removed the Gulf of Tonkin portion in 1953, by erasing two of the dashes from the original eleven dashes to make it a nine-dash line.

  • The ‘nine-dash line’ stretches hundreds of kilometers south and east of its southerly Hainan Island, covering the strategic Paracel and Spratly islan. China asserts its claims over the Paracel and Spratly island groups by citing 2,000 years of history, when these two island chains were regarded as its integral parts.

  • This historical claim by China has been rejected by Vietnam- instead, Vietnam justifies its own claims, on the basis of written records, which, in its view, establishes its administration over the area since the 17th century.

  • The dispute around the South China sea primarily engages the following countries directly- China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan. The extra-regional countries who are also affected by the dispute, and who have legitimate interests in the region, include, the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.

  • The maritime interests of these countries are heavily invested in the Sea Lanes of Communication in the South China Sea. It is thus, this issue holds an important sway in that of a secure and peaceful Asia.


4. Indians in UN Peace Keeping Force

Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) organised a training session with the aim of raising awareness about preventing breast cancer among the women of Shaba in south-eastern Lebanon.

Their work of appreciation

Keeping bovines safe: An Indian Army doctor, posted as a U.N. peacekeeper, treats a cow in Bor, South Sudan. PTI

  • Going beyond their call of duty, Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN missions in Lebanon and South Sudan have earned appreciation for undertaking activities to benefit local communities, including raising awareness about breast cancer and teaching farmers methods of goat rearing.

  • Since there are no female doctor posted with the Indian Battalion, resources from other UNIFIL battalions operating in the Mission’s eastern sector were pooled in to conduct the training.

Work of Indian Peacekeepers in  UN Mission in South Sudan

  • Indian peacekeepers deployed with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) spoke to farmers in the Upper Nile area about new methods to generate income through goat rearing, with the aim of helping the local communities improve their methods of livelihood.

Indian Peacekeeping Force effort in helping Women – Distribution of Solar Lamps

  • As a part of activities marking the month of the woman, the Indian battalion deployed with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) distributed household solar lamps to women in Mashango, a remote village in North Kivu where there is no electricity.

Indian Peace Keeping Force

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  • India is among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions deployed in about nine peacekeeping missions.

  • The highest number of personnel is deployed with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).


5. NEET score valid for three years

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The National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) score is valid for three years for Indian students wanting to pursue undergraduate medical courses abroad.

Clearing the long-existing confusion about the validity of the NEET score, a notification by the Medical Council of India — Board of Governors stated: “Result of NEET shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of result, entitling a candidate to pursue MBBS or equivalent medical course including pre-medical/language course, if any, followed by MBBS or equivalent medical course.”