Current Affairs in Short: 26 March 2019

UK legislators take control of House of Commons to break Brexit deadlock

• Britain’s MPs have voted to take control of the House of Commons business in an unprecedented move to try to find a majority for any Brexit option.
• The government was defeated by 329 votes to 302 on the cross-party amendment, a majority of 27.
• It means that the MPs will get a series of votes to find out what kind of Brexit they will support. However, Prime Minister Theresa May has said there is no guarantee she will abide by their decision.
• Meanwhile, the European Union has announced that it has completed its preparations for Britain leaving the bloc without a separation agreement, as fears of a chaotic no-deal Brexit grow.

United States recognises Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights

• US President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
• Speaking at a White House signing ceremony in Washington, Trump stated that the United States recognises Israel's absolute right to defend itself.
• Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war but its sovereignty over the territory is not recognised by the international community. Trump's move reversed more than a half-century of the US policy over the issue.
• The move is feared to raise a new wave of tensions in the West Asia, especially with key US ally Saudi Arabia rejecting President Trumps’ recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, condemning it as a violation of international law.

ADNOC awards onshore block to Indian consortium

• A consortium of two Indian oil companies, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited have been awarded the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1.
• The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed agreements awarding the exploration rights on March 25, 2019.
• The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council.
• The move is another indication of the growing bilateral partnership between India and UAE in many dimensions.

Delhi government moves SC for constitution of larger bench to decide control of services

• The Delhi government on March 25, 2019 moved the Supreme Court seeking constitution of a larger bench to expeditiously decide the issue of who controls the services in Delhi.
• A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the Delhi government counsel that it will look into the matter.
• The apex court had on February 14 referred to the issue of control of services to a larger bench after delivering a split verdict.
• The two-judge bench had said that the Centre should have the final word on posting and transfer of bureaucrats in the national capital administration, but their disagreement on finer details resulted in a split verdict and the matter got referred to a larger bench.

SC asks Tamil Nadu govt to ensure political parties do not disfigure public places

• The Supreme Court on March 25, 2019 directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that public places, including hilly areas, are not defaced by slogans and advertisements by political parties.
• A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta expressed dissatisfaction over the reply filed by the state government in the matter and stated that it has not acted in a "responsible manner".
• The bench then directed the state government to ensure that there is no disfigurement of public places.
• It directed authorities to ensure that political parties do not disfigure such public places by pasting photographs of leaders and by writing slogans.
• Previously also, the apex court had told the Tamil Nadu government that defacement of public places cannot be allowed by political parties with advertisements and slogans.

Pentagon authorises USD 1 bn for Trump's border wall

• The United States Department of Defense has authorised $1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border. The announcement was made by Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan on March 25, 2019.
• The Department of Homeland Security asked the Pentagon to build 57 miles (92 kilometers) of 18-foot (5.5-meter) fencing, build and improve roads and install lighting to support Trump's emergency declaration as concerns the border.
• Shanahan authorised the commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to USD 1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol.

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