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Current Affairs in Short: 20 March 2019

Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh has created history in Canada by entering the House of Commons as the first non-white leader of a major opposition party in the country. The 40-year-old was elected as the leader of the New Democratic Party in the federal by-elections, held on February 25.

Mar 20, 2019 16:38 IST
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Indian-origin Jagmeet creates history, enters Canadian Parliament

• Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh has created history in Canada by entering the House of Commons as the first non-white leader of a major opposition party in the country.
• The 40-year-old was elected as the leader of the New Democratic Party in the federal by-elections, which were held on February 25.
• The arrival of the leader, wearing a turban, into the house on March 18 was cheered by all the members.
• His induction into the house on March 18, coincided with the induction of a senior woman member into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet.
• Singh's first words as an elected lawmaker were about last week's terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.

World Sparrow Day observed

• The World Sparrow Day was observed globally on March 20, 2019. The Day is observed every year on the same date in order to raise awareness about the bird. The need for marking this day was felt due to the tremendous decrease in its population.
• The day is being observed this year with the theme 'I Love Sparrows'. The theme has been inspired by the hope that more people will celebrate the relationship between people and sparrows.
• The initiative was started by Nature Forever Society (NFS) of India, founded by Mohammed Dilawar, an Indian conservationist. He started his work by helping the house sparrow in Nashik. He was named one of the "Heroes of the Environment" for 2008 by Time for his efforts.
• The idea was to earmark a day for the house sparrow to convey the message of conservation of the house sparrow and other common birds.
• The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010 in different parts of the world. The day was celebrated by carrying out different various kinds of activities and events like art competitions, awareness campaigns and sparrow processions as well as interactions with media.

Two young Indian shuttlers break into top 100 in latest BWF rankings

• Young Indian shuttlers Lakshya Sen and Riya Mookerjee on March 19, 2019 broke into the top-100 among men's and women’s singles players in the latest World Badminton Rankings.
• Making a massive jump of 28 places, India's Lakshya Sen is currently placed at the 76th position, while Riya Mookerjee climbed up 19 spots to be placed 94th.
• In the women's singles rankings, P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are static at the sixth and ninth positions respectively.
• In the men's singles rankings, India's highest placed shuttler Kidambi Srikanth remained static at the 7th position, while Sameer  Verma is placed at the 14th position and B Sai Praneeth moved up three places to be placed 19th.
• They are followed by H S Prannoy at the 24th position, Subhankar Dey at 43rd, Parupalli Kashyap at 48th, Ajay Jayram at 52nd and Sourav Verma at the 53rd position.
• Japan's Kento Momota is leading in the men's chart while Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying is topping the women's singles list.

Abu Dhabi to host T10 Cricket League

• The Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi will be hosting an exclusive T10 Cricket League for the next five years, starting with the 2019 season.
• So far, there were two short formats in cricket including ODI and T-20. Now, a third format, T-10 has been introduced.
• Abu Dhabi Cricket, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi, has signed a five-year agreement with the organisers of the T10 Cricket League. '
• The shortest form of the game will now be played exclusively at Zayed Cricket Stadium. The first match of the T10 League 2019 will be held on October 23.

Italy to join China's Belt and Road initiative despite US objections

• Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged on March 19, 2019 to make Italy the first group of seven nations to join China's ambitious Belt and Road initiative, despite objections from the United States and concerns within his governing coalition.
• Speaking to parliament, Conte said that Italy's signing of a memorandum of understanding for the infrastructure-building venture, which is due to happen during the upcoming visit by the Chinese premier, would not in the least put into question Italy's position within the strategic trans-Atlantic alliance or with European partners.
• Italy's signature would be considered a major legitimation of the project that envisions overland and maritime routes connecting China with Europe.
• Previously in 2018, the European governments had declined to sign a joint declaration on the "Belt and Road" at a forum held in Beijing. They had said that it lacked standards on financing and transparency.

UN patent data show Asia innovation surge

• The United Nations revealed recently that more than half of all international patent applications filed in 2018 came from Asia, a further sign of innovation shifting from west to east.
• In the latest annual breakdown of patent filings released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), US remained the leading individual country for applications in 2018. However, on a regional basis, Asia's surge continued.
• According to the agency's Director General Francis Gurry, Asia is now the majority filer of international patent applications via WIPO. This underscores the historical geographical shift of innovative activity from west to east.
• WIPO's complex system of registering international patents involves multiple categories. In the main category-the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the US led the way with 56,142 applications, followed by China (53,345) and Japan (49,702).
• India registered the largest innovation jump of any country in 2018, as patent applications jumped more than 27 per cent to 2,013 from 1,583 in 2017.

Afghanistan records maiden Test win

• Afghanistan's cricket team on March 18, 2019 recorded its maiden Test win after beating Ireland by seven wickets in a one-off game at Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
• The test victory came to Afghanistan nine months after making its debut in the traditional format. The nation scored 314 in the first innings. Chasing 147 for victory, it achieved the target in second innings, scoring 149 for 3.
• On the other hand, Ireland scored 172 in the first innings and 288 in the second innings. Afghanistan's Rahmat Shah was named the Man of the Match for his twin fifties.

Steel Ministry organises vigilance conclave

• The Union Ministry of Steel had organised a two-day vigilance conclave in New Delhi, which concluded on March 19, 2019.
• The Conclave was aimed at sensitising the officials of Steel PSUs on the basic principles and procedures to be followed while taking important administrative and commercial decisions relating to various functions including procurements, contracts, personnel and finance.
• In the 2-day conclave, basic issues concerning vigilance, adherence to rules and regulations relating to public procurements, transparency in tendering processes, e-procurement, GeM, GFR, e-auction, ethics in governance, complaint handling system and other matters of importance were deliberated upon.
• The conclave saw participation from around 100 senior officials of the PSUs of the Steel Ministry, namely SAIL, RINL, NMDC, MECON, KIOCL, MOIL, MSTC, FSNL, Bird Group of Companies and OMDC.

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