Friday, February 28, 2014

Current Affairs 27 February 2014

Resignation of India’s navy chief

  • India’s navy chief, Admiral D.K. Joshi resigned as chief of the Indian navy, owning “moral responsibility for the accidents and incidents during the past few months”.
  • Admiral Joshi is the first Indian military commander to have resigned since General Kodandera Subayya Thimmaiah in 1959 -- and the only to have his resignation accepted by the government.
  • The naval chief's resignation came hours after a fire on board the newly-refitted Sindhuratna claimed the lives of two naval officers and injured seven -- the third in a series of submarine accidents, including an explosion on the Sindhurakshak which exploded and sank in Mumbai’s naval dockyard in August, 2013, killing 18 crew. Last month, the Sindhughosh ran ground on its way to Mumbai harbour, though without loss of life.
  • The Navy has long complained of delays in submarine fleet modernisation, at a time when regional navies, notably China, are dramatically expanding their fleets. India also does not have a full-fledged submarine rescue vessel.

Anti-gay bill controversy in Arizona

  • Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill that would have protected people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gay and lesbian customers, ending a proposal that put America’s deep polarisation over gay rights on stark display.
  • The bill backed by Republicans in the state’s Legislature set off a national debate over religion and discrimination, and opponents called it an open attack on gay people.
  • Similar bills are making their way through several state legislatures. Some are intended to protect gay-marriage bans, others to protect individuals or businesses who, for religious reasons, don’t want to serve same-sex couples.
  • Three Republicans who voted for the bill last week changed course and urged Ms. Brewer to veto it. They said in a letter to Brewer that while the intent of their vote “was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”
  • The Center for Arizona Policy, a powerful social conservative group that backs conservative Christian legislation and is opposed to gay marriage, argues the law is needed to protect against increasingly activist federal courts and simply clarifies existing state law.
  • Arizona’s voters approved a ban on gay marriage as a state constitutional amendment in 2008. A lawsuit challenging the ban is still in its early stages.
  • Arizona is one of 29 states with such constitutional prohibitions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New prime minister to be appointed by Ukraine

  • The Ukrainian parliament was due to appoint Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a key figure in the protests that led to the ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych, as interim prime minister.
  • Mr. Yatsenyuk (39) and other proposed cabinet members were nominated by anti-government protest leaders who presented them from the stage on Kiev’s Independence Square, the base for the demonstrations that led to the departure of Mr. Yanukovych on the weekend.
  • The political developments in Kiev come after Russia announced a combat-readiness drill along the border with Ukraine.

Foreign currency deposit rates lifted in China

  • In a move to further liberalise foreign currency deposits, China’s central bank said it will remove interest rate ceilings on smaller foreign-currency deposits in Shanghai Free Trade Zone from March 1 as part of long-anticipated financial reforms.
  • Deposits of less than USD 3 million owned by businesses and agencies registered in the zone or by individuals who have worked in the zone for more than one year will receive the same rate of interest, the Shanghai branch of the People’s Bank of China.
  • Currently, regulatory caps apply to one-year or other shorter-term deposits in US dollars, Japanese yen, euros and Hong Kong dollars.
  • China launched the Shanghai pilot free trade zone last year as a part of its new set of fiscal reforms to halt the economic slowdown and revitalise the world’s second largest economy.

Discovery of 715 new planets

  • NASA's Kepler mission has announced the discovery of 715 new planets.
  • These newly verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.
  • Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system roughly two decades ago, verification has been a laborious planet-by-planet process.
  • Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water.
  • One of these new habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and 5 percent as bright as our sun. Kepler-296f is twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.
  • This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1700.
  • Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets.

Asia Cup 2014

  • Powered by skipper Virat Kohli's stupendous 136-run innings, India registered a massive 6-wicket victory over Bangladesh in their Asia Cup match in Fatullah .
  • Chasing solid 280-run target, India were boosted by an impeccable 213-run partnership between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane that saw the former reach his 19th ODI century with the help of 16 smashing boundaries and two scintillating sixes.

New Pak chief selector : Rashid Latif

  • Former Pakistani Test captain Rashid Latif has been appointed as the chief selector of the Pakistan national cricket team and also tasked with helping in the fight against corruption.
  • The whistleblowing former player, who played 37 Tests and 166 ODIs for Pakistan as a wicketkeeper-batsman, is known for taking a stand against match-fixing, which has dogged cricket in Pakistan over the years.
  • According to Sport24, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release stated that Latif would become the chief selector with effect from April1 to fill the vacancy after the appointment of another former captain, Aamir Sohail, was cancelled by the new PCB chairman Najam Sethi .


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