Current Affairs in Short: 23 March 2018
The Union Government has decided to declare 2018 as 'National Year of Millets to boost the cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security.
1. Union Government to declare 2018 as National Year of Millets
• The Union Government has decided to declare 2018 as 'National Year of Millets to boost the cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security.
• The information was shared by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh while addressing MPs in a consultative committee meeting in New Delhi on March 22, 2018.
• The Minister said that millet cultivation in India has declined due to change in dietary habits and unavailability of millets.
• As a result of this, level of nutrients like proteins, Vitamin-A, iron and iodine have fell in women and children.
2. HS Prannoy regains world no. 12 ranking
• The world badminton governing body, BWF released its latest ranking list on March 22, 2018.
• The list saw India shuttler HS Prannoy jump up four places to regain his world number 12 spot.
• Indian men's doubles combo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have also managed to break into the top 20 in the latest ranking. Another duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also improved to stand at the 24th position.
• Second-ranked Kidambi Srikanth also narrowed his gap with world no 1 Viktor Axelsen. P V Sindhu however, remained static at the third sport. Saina Nehwal, who was ousted on the opening day of All England Open 2018, also remained static at the 12th spot.
• Sai Praneeth however, slipped to the 15th position due to his first-round exit at All England Open.
3. John R Bolton appointed as new National Security Adviser to US President Donald Trump
• Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John R Bolton has been appointed as the new National Security Adviser to US President Donald Trump, replacing Lt Gen H R McMaster.
• Bolton would be assuming his new role from April 9, 2018. The announcement in this regard was made by President Trump through his twitter handle.
• The announcement of McMaster's ouster is the latest in a string of high-profile White House departures since President Trump took office in January 2017.
• According to reports, Trump and McMaster mutually agreed that the latter will resign as the National Security Adviser. He will retire from the US Army after 34 years of distinguished service.
4. US issues sanctions on China for unfair trade practices
• US President Donald Trump has announced 60 billion US dollar tariffs on China for its alleged unfair trade practices.
• President Trump directed US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to announce within 15 days a proposed list of products to be hit with the tariff raise.
• The USTR has already identified potential targets- 1,300 product lines worth about 48 billion dollars.
• Besides this, Trump also asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to come up with a list of restrictions on Chinese investment.
• The US currently has about 500 billion dollars of trade deficit with China.
5. Delhi HC sets aside Centre's notification disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs
• The Delhi High Court on March 23, 2018 set aside the Centre's notification disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs in the office-of-profit case.
• The ruling was passed by a two-judge bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar, who remanded the plea of AAP MLAs back to the Election Commission which will hear it afresh.
• Terming the Election Commission's recommendation on disqualification as vitiated, the bench stated that there was a violation of natural justice and no oral hearing was given to the MLAs before disqualifying them as legislators of the Delhi Assembly.
6. Punjab Govt observes martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru as 'Youth Empowerment Day
• The Punjab Government observed March 23, 2018, the martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev and Shaheed Rajguru as 'Youth Empowerment Day'.
• In the state-level function organised at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh paid homage to the three freedom fighters.
• To mark the occasion, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also launched a state-wide programme to administer the oath to Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs). Programmes at the district level were presided by the state ministers.
7. Voting for 25 Rajya Sabha seats end
• The voting for 25 Rajya Sabha seats spread over 7 states, which began at 9 am on March 23, 2018 concluded at 4 pm on the same day. The counting of votes was undertaken at 5 PM in the state capitals.
• Among a total of 58 Rajya Sabha seats to be filled, 33 candidates from 10 states were declared elected unopposed on March 15. Seven union ministers including Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar were among them.
• Voting for the remaining 25 seats was held in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Telangana and Kerala.
• While in Uttar Pradesh, 11 candidates are in the fray for 10 seats, in West Bengal six candidates are in the fray for 5 seats.
• In the remaining states, three candidates are contesting for two seats in Jharkhand, five candidates are in the field in Karnataka for four seats and four candidates are in the fray for three seats in Telangana.