Current Affairs of 31st March 2016

1. PM Narendra Modi unveils Asia’s largest optical telescope ARIES at Nainital March
1. Asia’s largest and first of its kind optical telescope Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) was unveiled at Devasthal in Nainital District, Uttrakahnd. It was remotely activated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel from Belgium.
2. Aries telescope was joint collaborative technological effort between Indian and Belgian scientists.

2. India’s first indigenously developed sonar dome flagged off
1. India’s first indigenous composites sonar dome, a ship’s underwater eyes and ears, was flagged off by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The sonar dome was dedicated to the nation dedicated to the nation and will be delivered to Mazgaon Docks, Mumbai for use in the warships of Indian Navy.
2. The sonar dome is dsigned and produced by a Defence and Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) lab based in Pune. It is a first of its kind in the country to be manufactured by the Goa-based composites manufacturing company Kineco.

3. Faustin Archange Touadera sworn in as new President of Central African Republic

1. Faustin Archange Touadera (58) took the oath of office as the new President of Central African Republic (CAR). With this he becomes first elected leader of CAR since Muslim rebels had overthrown the government in early 2013. 
2. His presidency puts an end to a two-year transitional government that came into force in early 2014. Touadera is well respected former mathemathics Professor. He had served as Prime Minister as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013.

4. Oscar winning actor Patty Duke passes away

1. Acclaimed Actor and singer Patty Duke passed away due to Sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69. She had won Academy award (Oscar) in 1963 at the age of 16 for her portrayal of deaf blind political activist Helen Keller in The Miracle worker.
2. She also was known for roles in Valley of the Dolls, My Sweet Charlie and Me, Natalie. She was also known for TV show The Patty Duke which aired more than 100 episodes from 1963 to 1966.

5. EIB announced loan of 33 billion rupees for Lucknow metro

1. European Investment Bank (EIB) announced that it will invest 33 billion rupees (450 million Euros) for the first metro line in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. This investment will be EIB’s largest ever financing in India.
2. The announcement was made by President of the bank, Werner Hoyer at the 13th India-EU summit held in Brussels.
This agreement to construct the Lucknow metro was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was on a one day visit to Belgium to attend India-EU summit.
3. The 450 million Euros long-term loan will be used to finance the first metro line in Lucknow, including both construction of the 23km long new metro line and a fleet of metro trains.The line is the first part of an expected broader metro network planned for the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India.

6. France announced to end Operation Sangaris across Central African Republic in 2016

1. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that France will end its Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic in 2016.
2. The decision was taken in view of the achievement of the objective of its military intervention in the country. The mission was launched with the objective of restoring security in the country after three years of communal violence.
3. The announcement came alongside the swearing-in ceremony of Faustin-Archange Touadera as the first elected President of the nation in three years.
4. The pullout will be in parallel with the buildup of the 12000-strong UN force, MINUSCA, and the European Union's training mission (EUTM RCA). At present it has been reduced from 2500 at its peak in December 2013 to 900. Around 300 French troops will remain in CAR, who will rejoin MINUSCA and take part in EUTM RCA.

7. 13th India-EU Summit held in Brussels

1. The 13th India-European Union Summit was held in Brussels, Belgium. In the summit, India was represented by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
2. The European Union (EU) was represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
The leaders endorsed the EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 that sets out a concrete road-map for the EU-India Strategic Partnership for the next five years.

Outcomes of the 13th India-EU Summit

• The European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to extend 450 million Euros in loan for the construction of the first metro line in Lucknow.
• The EIB gave its nod to set up the Bank’s regional representation for South Asia in New Delhi.
• The leaders agreed to further the negotiations on early conclusion of the EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
• The EU and India expressed their confidence in the arbitration procedure on the Italian Marines case currently underway in the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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