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1. Portugal nominated ex-refugee chief Antonio Guterres for UN Secretary-General
1. Portugal Government on 29 February 2016 nominated former Portuguese Prime Minister and head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres as a candidate for General Secretary at United Nations.
2. Guterres served as Prime Minister in 1995-2002 and as UN Refugee Agency High Commissioner in 2005-2015.
With this, Guterres joined a list of six mostly Eastern and Central European candidates to succeed Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2017. Ban took the office in January 2007.
3. According to the UN Charter, the UN Security Council recommends a candidate to the General Assembly, where he or she must garner no less than two-thirds of the votes to be appointed Secretary General.
2. India signed MoU with World Bank for Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project
1. The Zoji La tunnel was in news in the first week of March 2016. It was in news because the Union Government has ordered rebidding of the strategic 10050-crore rupees tunnel contract in Jammu and Kashmir, which was earlier given to IRB Infrastructure.
2. The decision to rebid the tunnel project was taken at a meeting, presided by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
As some doubts were raised in respect of the project, rebidding was ordered to maintain complete transparency and uphold probity in public life.
3. Zoji La is 9 km from Sonamarg and provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir. It runs at an elevation of approximately 3528 metres, and is the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway.
3. Zero Discrimination Day observed with theme Stand out
1. Zero Discrimination Day was observed across the world on 1 March 2016. The day was observed with the theme - Stand Out.
2. Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to join together against discrimination and celebrate everyone’s right to live a full and productive life with dignity. It calls for fair and just societies and urges people to value, embrace diversity and recognize the diverse set of talents and skills that each person brings.
4. Three British scientists win 2016 Brain Prize
1. Three British scientists have won a prestigious 2016 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize (also known as Brain Prize) for giving vital insight how the human brain remembers, learns and navigates.
2. These scientists are
Timothy Bliss: He is a visiting worker at the Crick Institute in London.
Graham Collingridge: He is professor of neuroscience in anatomy at the University of Bristol. He is also head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto.
Richard Morris: He is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh
5. Military Exercise Force Eighteen begins in Pune
1. The multinational Military Exercise Force Eighteen conducted by Indian Army has started in at Pune, Maharashtra. In this seven-day military exercise (till March 8, 2016) over 300 participants from 18 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Plus countries are participating. Participating countries 2. ASEAN countries along with ASEAN Plus nations viz. India, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Russia and US . 10 ASEAN countries from South East Asia are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
6. IFC launches Uridashi Masala Bonds
1. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bonds (Japanese bonds). These masala bonds were launched to mobilise 30 crore rupees from Japanese retail investors and will be sold to Japanese household investors.
2. The proceeds from these bonds will be used for promoting private sector development in India. JP Morgan is the sole arranger of the bonds and Daisen Hinomaru Securities is its distributor.
3. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors by Indian corporates for raising money from overseas investors. They do not face currency fluctuation risks. Corporates mainly use it as alternative to external commercial borrowings (ECBs) that are to raised and repaid in dollar or other currency terms. But ECBs face currency risk due fluctuations in exchange rate.
7. Hashim Thaci elected as President of Kosovo
1. Hashim Thaci has been elected as the President of Kosovo by the Parliament of the country in the third round. He will succeed Atifete Jahjaga. In the third round, 81 Members of Parliament (MPs) off total 120 took part and Hashim Thaci secured 71 votes of them, proving required simple majority.
2. With this, Hashim Thaci becomes fourth President of Kosovo after the country had unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Prior getting elected as President he was serving as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Government led by Isa Mustafa, which had assumed office in December 2014.
8. India at 90th rank in terms of energy security, access: WEF
1. India has been ranked at the 90th place in a list of 126 countries compiled by WEF on the basis of their ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy, which was topped by Switzerland.
2. The latest Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report, explored the energy architecture of 126 countries based on their ability to provide energy access across three dimensions of the "energy triangle" - affordability, environmental sustainability, security and access.
3. The list was topped by Switzerland followed by Norway and Sweden in the second and third place, respectively.
4. Others in the top 10 include France (4th), Denmark (5th), Austria (6th), Spain (7th), Colombia (8th), New Zealand (9th) and Uruguay (10th).
5. Among the BRIC nations, Brazil was the top performer as it was ranked at the 25th place, followed by Russia (52nd), India (90th), China (94).