Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Current Affairs 16 March 2014

Israel opens border crossing with Gaza

  • Israel opened a border crossing with Gaza to allow the transfer of gas, after the coastal salient’s only power plant shut down for one day due to lack of fuel.
  • Israel closed its border crossings with the Gaza Strip some time back after the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad launched a massive barrage of rockets from the Strip into Israel.
  • Israel agreed to allow the entry of 500,000 litres of diesel and gasoline for the private sector, 160,000 tons of cooking gas, and 200,000 litres of diesel for the power plant.
  • Since Egypt shut down nearly all smuggling tunnels under its border with Gaza, the enclave is all but entirely dependent on deliveries from Israel, financed by the Palestinian Authority.

Car restriction to ease pollution in Paris

  • Motorists in Paris were gearing up for a radical change to their commute after the government introduced alternate driving days to alleviate the veil of smog that has hung over the city for days.
  • The government announced that only cars and motorbikes with registration plates ending in an odd number would be allowed in the greater Paris region.
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles, and cars with at least three people aboard, will be exempted from the measure.
  • The announcement came after five consecutive days of harmful levels of particle pollution over northern France and parts of the south—east.
  • The City of Paris had already made public transport free for the weekend in an effort to get cars off the street.
  • The last time France grounded cars over pollution was in 1997. The measure was highly unpopular.
  • Motorists took to news websites and social networks to voice their disapproval of the measure.

Space debris

  • According to scientists , there may soon be so much debris in orbit around the Earth that future space missions could become impossible.
  • Researchers at the European Space Agency (ESA) have said that the amount of debris from man-made objects is about to reach “criticality”.
  • This means there is so much debris that it is colliding with other debris — generating particles of space junk at an accelerating rate.
  • The scientists said it would eventually surround the planet in so much speeding space junk that swathes of space will become inaccessible.
  • To tackle the problem, the space agency is designing a hunter-killer space probe to track down and destroy defunct satellites and so halt the growth of the burgeoning cloud.

Vijay Hazare Trophy

  • Karnataka annexed a historic triple crown at the Eden Gardens , as the Ranji and Irani Cup champion lifted the STAR Sports Vijay Hazare Trophy for the first time defeating Railways by four wickets in a low-scoring final.
  • Karnataka asked Railways to take first strike and restricted the 2005-06 champion to 157 in 47.4 overs with Man-of-the-Match Abhimanyu Mithun picking up four wickets for 19 runs.

Gold’s import tariff value raised

  • The government has hiked the import tariff value on gold to $445 per 10 grams from at $433 per 10 gram earlier.
  • However, the import tariff value — the base price at which customs duty is determined to prevent under-invoicing — in case of silver has been reduced to $694 per kg from $699 per kg earlier.
  • The tariff value is revised on a fortnightly basis after analysing the global price trend. Gold is the second largest import item for India after petroleum. The government had taken several measures to curb gold shipments to address the high Current Account Deficit (CAD).
  • The Commerce Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to relax curbs on gold imports.

BNP Paribas final

  • Sania Mirza and her partner Cara Black lost to top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan and Peng Shuai of China in straight sets in the women’s doubles final of the BNP Paribas Open.
  • The top seeds prevailed over the fifth-seeded Indo-Zimbabwean combo 7-6(5), 6-2 in a contest that lasted an hour and 30 minutes.

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