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Daily GK Buzz - 14th March 2015

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the restored North-South Rail link of Sri Lanka

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first train from Thalaimannar to Madhu Road in North Sri Lanka.
ii. It marks the completion and restoration of the prestigious project of Indian Railways to restore the North-South Rail link of Sri Lanka after decades of civil war.

iii. The North-South Rail link was completely destroyed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants during the civil war in 1980s.
iv. The rail project connects the Sri Lanka’s Jaffna province to capital Colombo and a branch line connects Thalaimannar to the main rail line.
v. The project has been implemented by Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) International, a subsidiary of Indian Railways.

2. Former Maldives President Nasheed jailed for 13 years

i. Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison after a quick and disputed trial for allegedly ordering a senior judge arrested while in office.
ii. Nasheed has denied ordering the arrest. His supporters said the charges are aimed at eliminating him as a challenger against incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the 2018 presidential election.
iii. Nasheed was the country’s first democratically elected President.

3. TCS appoints Aarthi Subramanian to board of directors

i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Limited, India’s largest software services exporter has appointed Aarthi Subramanian as an executive director on the board of directors.
ii. Subramanian has been appointed for period of three-years and with her appointment the TCS Board strength has become eleven, of which six are independent Directors.
iii.   Prior to this appointment, Subramanian was the global head of the company’s delivery excellence group and was responsible for governance of service delivery, compliance and risk management.

4. Historic bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi unveiled at Britain's Parliament Square

i. A historic bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled today at the Parliament Square here, standing adjacent to iconic leaders like Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

ii. A galaxy of political leaders led by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were joined by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and the Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi at the ceremony to unveil the 9-foot statue of India's Father of the Nation.
iii. Gandhi is the first Indian and the only person never to have been in a public office to be honoured with a statue at the Square.
iv. The statue was unveiled jointly by Cameron and Jaitley as chants of "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram", a popular bhajan that was Gandhi's favourite, reverberated in the air.

5. Japan, France sign defence pact to boost cooperation, joint development

i. Japan and France signed a deal on military equipment and technology transfers, in a move to drive cooperation and joint development of defence gear, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strengthens security ties with major powers.
ii. The agreement will also pave the way for Japan to develop drones and other unmanned equipment together as it seeks to play a greater international military role.
iii. It will also promote joint projects in several fields including unmanned technologies for underwater search missions or surveillance.

6. Government cuts import tariff on gold and silver

i. The government has slashed import tariff value on gold to $375 per 10 grams and silver to $512 per kg following weak global price trends.
ii. The tariff value on imported gold was fixed at $393 per 10 grams and on silver at $549 per kg.
iii. Gold is the second-largest import item for India after petroleum. Higher gold import bill adversely affects the country's current account deficit (CAD).
iv. The government has been repeatedly asking people to desist from buying gold and instead invest in other saving instruments.

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