1. India and Myanmar to strengthen defence ties
i. India and Myanmar have announced plans to strengthen their defence cooperation during a joint consultative commission (JCC) meeting held in New Delhi. This meeting was chaired by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
ii. Both countries to work together on effective border management especially on the issue of cross-border insurgency and terrorism. India has reaffirmed to provide defence assistance program as part of its Goodwill Diplomacy to Myanmar in order to modernise their Armed Forces.
iii. Investments of Indian companies in sectors like power, ports, agro-industries, mining, forest products, construction industry, highways, consumer goods, oil and gas, manufacturing, plantation, hospitality and ICT will be encouraged.
iv. Recently, defence cooperation between both neighbours has grown after changes in political reforms of Myanmar under President Thein Sein, which has made them less reliant on China.
2. EU approves 7 Billion Euro Short-Term Loan to Greece
i. European Union (EU) has approved a short-term loan of 7.16 billion euros to Greece after it was backed by the 28 member states. This loan will allow Greece to pay its huge debt to European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) till new bailout plan is ratified.
ii. The loan will be given through the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) which is a rescue fund set up during the first time bailout of Greece in 2010. But presently it covers the whole of the 28 EU member nations and not just the 19 eurozone members.
iii. This loan fund will be officially for three months, but looking at present debt crisis of Greece it can be sustained until 20 August 2015.
3. RBI, Central Bank of Sri Lanka ink currency swap agreement
i. Reserve Bank of India has signed a special currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBS). Under this agreement, Sri Lankan bank can draw up to 1.1 billion dollars for a maximum period of 6 months. It was signed with an intention to mitigate the possible currency volatility in the spirit of strengthening bilateral relations and economic ties of India with Sri Lanka.
ii. It should be noted that, this special arrangement was signed in addition to the existing Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for the SAARC member countries.
iii. Earlier in March 2015, RBI had signed similar Currency Swap Agreement with Sri Lankan bank for 400 million dollars under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework within the overall limit of 2 billion dollars.
iv. This Currency Swap Framework is signed between SAARC member countries. It seeks to provide a backstop line of funding to member countries in order to meet any balance of payments and liquidity crises.
4. India's first private air freight station all set to open in Chennai
i. India’s first air freight station in the private sector has come up at Irungattukottai near Chennai. The first AFS in the country was set up in 2007 inside Central Warehousing Corporation in the city.
ii. Set up by the city-based Indev Logistics at a cost of Rs.50 crore, the AFS will reduce congestion at the gateway airports and the carrier operators can choose the AFS as a final destination for cargo delivery.
iii. The major advantages of the AFS include faster evacuation of cargo from the major gateway airports; an integrated supply chain, minimised transaction logistics cost; and tracking of the mobility and movement of the cargo.
iv. All activities, including Custom documentation and examination, cargo acceptance check, security checks, cargo palletisation and warehousing will be carried out at the AFS, said Xavier Britto, Chairman, Indev Group, at the soft launch of the AFS on Friday.
5. Veteran Telugu playback singer V Ramakrishna passes away
i. Veteran Telugu playback singer Vissamraju Ramakrishna passed away due to cancer. He was 68. He had sung many memorable songs for legendary south Indian actor turned politician N T Rama Rao and other top stars.
ii. He had sung about 5,000 songs in his nearly 4 decades long career. His debut movie song as playback singer was “Vayase Oka Poolathota” in Vichitra Bandham (1972). He was also has sang number of popular devotional songs.
iii. His famous songs are in Andala Ramudu, Mutyala Muggu and Alluri Sitarama Raju films. His songs in N T Rama Rao’s film, Pothuluri Veerabrahmendra Swamy Charitra were a runaway success.
6. CCI imposes Rs 671 crore penalty on four state-run insurance companies
i. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 671 crore on four public sector insurance companies-National Insurance Co, New India Insurance Co, Oriental Insurance Co and United India insurance company for indulging in anti-competitive practices.
ii. The competition regulator these insurance companies guilty of rigging a tender floated by the Government of Kerala in 2009 for selecting insurance service provider for implementation of the 'Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna'.
iii. The case was taken up by the Commission suo moto pursuant to an anonymous information alleging cartelization by four public sector insurance companies in relation to a tender issued by the Government of Kerala for the implementation of RSBY and CHIS schemes.
7. Jules Bianchi: F1 driver dies from Suzuka crash injuries
i. French Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has died, nine months after suffering severe head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
ii. Bianchi, 25, had been in a coma since crashing his Marussia into a recovery vehicle at October's rain-hit race.
iii. He is the first F1 driver to die from injuries sustained in a Grand Prix since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at Italy's Imola circuit in 1994.
iv. Bianchi made his F1 debut with Marussia in 2013 and was also a member of the Ferrari young driver academy after previously working as a test driver for the team.