April 30, 2021

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

TIANHE MODULE
China launched the core module of its space station, kicking off a series of key launch missions that aim to complete the construction of the station by the end of next year.

About:

  • The Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying the Tianhe module, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan.

  • The Tianhe module will act as the management and control hub of the space station Tiangong, meaning Heavenly Palace, with a node that could dock with up to three spacecraft at a time for short stays, or two for long

  • Tianhe has a total length of 16.6 meters, a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and a take-off mass of 22.5 tonnes, and is the largest spacecraft developed by China.

  • The space station will be a T shape with the core module at the centre and a lab capsule on each side.

  • The station will operate in the low-Earth orbit at an altitude from 340 km to 450 km. It has a designed lifespan of 10 years, but experts believe it could last more than 15 years with appropriate maintenance and repairs.

Important Info :
  • The Chinese space station is expected to be a competitor to the aging International Space Station (ISS) which is a modular space station in low Earth orbit.
  • It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies which included NASA, (US), Roscomos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

NEW SEBI RULE FOR FUND MANAGER COMPENSATION
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has said that a minimum 20% of the compensation of mutual fund managers and other key personnel in an asset management company (AMC) should be in the form of units of the mutual fund schemes they manage.

About:

  • Key personnel here refers to the likes of chief executive officer, chief investment officer, research head and their direct reportees.

  • The compensation of fund managers — at least the variable pay component — is linked to performance. What SEBI has done here is crystallise the rules and extend it beyond fund managers to so-called key employees. Moreover, SEBI has specified the rules of allocation of this 20% by saying that is should be proportional to the assets under management of the schemes in which an employee has a role or oversight.

  • The regulator has also specified that these units offered by way of compensation are locked-in for three years.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
The UK has become the first country to announce regulation of the use of self-driving vehicles at slow speeds on motorways.

About:

  • Britain's transport ministry said that it was working on specific wording to update the country's highway code for the safe use of self-driving vehicle systems.

  • The ministry will start with Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) - which use sensors and software to keep cars within a lane, allowing them to accelerate and brake without driver input.

  • The use of ALKS would be restricted to motorways, at speeds under 60 km per hour.

  • The UK government wants to be at the forefront of rolling out autonomous driving technology and the transport ministry forecasts by 2035 around 40% of new UK cars could have self-driving capabilities, creating up to 38,000 new skilled jobs.

  • However, the dangers of drivers apparently misunderstanding the limits of technology has been an issue in the United States, where regulators are reviewing about 20 crashes involving Tesla’s driver assistance tools, such as its ‘Autopilot’ system.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

KAREN PEOPLE
Ethnic Karen guerrillas said they captured a Myanmar army base today near the border with Thailand.

About:

  • The KNU, which controls territory in eastern Myanmar near the Thai border, is a close ally of the resistance movement against the military takeover that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Its armed wing is called the Karen National Liberation Army.

  • There is a similar situation in northern Myanmar, where the Kachin minority claims to have captured several government outposts and been the target of air attacks.

  • The Karen and the Kachin are two of the bigger minority groups that have been seeking greater autonomy for decades, during which there have been periods of armed conflict punctuated by ceasefires.

  • The Karen are an ethnolinguistic group of Sino-Tibetan language-speaking peoples. These Karen groups reside primarily in Kayin State, southern and southeastern Myanmar.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

GLOBAL IMMUNIZATION STRATEGY
WHO unveils global immunization strategy to save 50 million lives by 2030.

About:

  • A UN-led global immunization strategy was unveiled to reach more than 50 million children who have missed lifesaving jabs against measles and other diseases because of COVID-19 disruption.

  • WHO, along with UNICEF and the vaccine alliance Gavi, said their new global strategy has the potential to save 50 million lives within less than a decade.

  • WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, to avoid multiple outbreaks of life-threatening diseases like measles, yellow fever and diphtheria, it must be ensured that routine vaccination services are protected in every country in the world.

  • A WHO survey showed more than one third of countries were still seeing disruptions to their routine immunisation services.

  • The joint statement said, around 60 mass vaccination campaigns were currently postponed in 50 countries, putting 228 million people, mostly children, at risk of diseases such as measles and polio.

Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

NET ZERO PRODUCERS FORUM
Saudi Arabia will join the United States, Canada, Norway, and Qatar in forming ‘Net Zero Producers Forum’ for oil and gas producers to discuss how they can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

About:

  • Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, will be part of the new platform, which will discuss ways to achieve net zero carbon emission targets to limit global warming.

  • In the past, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the kingdom aims to reduce its carbon emissions by generating 50% of the country's energy from renewables by 2030.

  • US President Joe Biden unveiled plans to cut emissions by 50%-52% from 2005 levels at the two-day climate summit kicked off on Earth Day and attended virtually by leaders of 40 countries.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

MACS 1407
Indian Scientists have developed a high-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean.

About:

  • This newly developed variety called MACS 1407 is suitable for cultivation in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and North-Eastern states and its seeds will be made available to farmers for sowing during the 2022 Kharif season.

  • In 2019, India produced around 90 million tons of soybean, widely cultivated as oil seeds as well as a cheap source of protein for animal feed and many packaged meals and is striving to be among the world’s major producers of soybean.

  • High-yielding, disease resistant varieties of the legume can help achieve this target.

  • Scientists from MACS- Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi have developed this variety.

Source : DD News
Economy

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

FIRST-EVER ELECTRIC TRACTOR
Central Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institute, Budni (Madhya Pradesh) has tested the first-ever electric Tractor in the Institute.

About:

  • The institute received the application for an electric tractor under Confidential Test initially.

  • Accordingly, the institute has tested the tractor & released the Draft Test Report in February, 2021.

  • Central farm Machinery Training & Testing Institute, Budni (MP) has obtained the NABL Certificate of Accreditation for CMVR Test Laboratory on 30th March, 2021.

  • Electric tractor will be more environment friendly than other types of tractors.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

WORLD'S OLDEST WATER
World's Oldest Water Found in Canada Sheds Light on the Beginning of Life.

About:

  • A 2016 study by Canadian geologists is eliciting significant interest, for the clues it offers in the search for alien life, especially on Mars.

  • The research is based on a discovery made by Dr Barbara Sherwood Lollar of the University of Toronto, who in 2009 extracted from a Canadian mine water that is 1.6 billion years old– the oldest to be found on our planet.

  • The discovery of the water 2.4 km below the Earth’s surface has since been heralded as one of great importance, given its ramifications on what we know about the origin and evolution of our planet, the nature of water and life, as well as the possibility of finding life on Mars.

  • Sherwood Lollar had been carrying out research at the Kidd Creek mine, located on the 2.7 billion-year-old Canadian Shield, one of the world’s largest continental shields – meaning the oldest and least tectonically active parts of the Earth’s crust.

  • Researchers then conducted studies on the sample, finally settling at the 1.6 billion years figure.

  • Investigations into the highly saline water led to a pathbreaking discovery: scientists found that chemolithotrophic microbes– bacteria that can thrive in the most extreme surroundings– had been able to survive in the subterranean liquid.

  • The Canadian Shield, on which the Kidd mine is located, in the past used to form an ocean floor, as per the report. Over millions of years of flux, however, its horizontal seabed became vertical, now preserved in the mine’s rock walls from which the water sample was extracted.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 30, 2021

AYUSH 64
Ayush Ministry has said that scientists have found that AYUSH 64 is useful in the treatment of asymptomatic, mild and moderate COVID-19 infection as an adjunct to standard care.

About:

  • AYUSH 64 is a poly herbal formulation developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences.

  • Initially the drug was developed for Malaria in the year 1980 and now is repurposed for COVID-19.

Source : All India Radio
Health

April 29, 2021

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2021
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a gazette notification stating that the provisions of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, would be deemed to have come into effect from April 27.

About:

  • The Bill amends the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991. The Act provides a framework for the functioning of the Legislative Assembly and the government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

  • The Bill amends certain powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor.

  • Restriction on laws passed by the Assembly: The Bill provides that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the Legislative Assembly will imply Lieutenant Governor (LG).

  • Rules of Procedure of the Assembly: The Act allows the Legislative Assembly to make Rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly. The Bill provides that such Rules must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.

  • Inquiry by the Assembly into administrative decisions: The Bill prohibits the Legislative Assembly from making any rule to enable itself or its Committees to:
    • consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the NCT of Delhi and

    • conduct any inquiry in relation to administrative decisions.



  • Assent to Bills:
    • The Act requires the LG to reserve certain Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President.

    • The Bill requires the LG to also reserve those Bills for the President which incidentally cover any of the matters outside the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly.



  • LG’s opinion for executive actions:
    • The Act specifies that all executive action by the government, whether taken on the advice of the Ministers or otherwise, must be taken in the name of the LG.

    • The Bill adds that on certain matters, as specified by the LG, his opinion must be obtained before taking any executive action on the decisions of the Minister/ Council of Ministers.



Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

PYTHON-5
DRDO conducts maiden trial of Python-5 Air to Air Missile.

About:

  • Tejas, India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, added the 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its air-to-air weapons capability on April 27, 2021.

  • Trials were also aimed to validate enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas. The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios.

  • Derby missile achieved direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, thereby validating their complete capability. The trials met all their planned objectives.

Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

ASSAM’S EARTHQUAKE
After the earthquake of 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale, Assam's Sonitpur was again struck by six tremors.

About:

  • An earthquake of magnitude 2.7 on the Richter scale struck Assam's Sonitpur . The epicentre of the quake was 38 kilometres West-Northwest of Tezpur at a depth of 11 kilometres.

  • The preliminary analysis shows that the events are located near to Kopili Fault closer to Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT).

  • According to NCS, the area is seismically very active falling in the highest Seismic Hazard zone V associated with collisional tectonics where Indian plate subducts beneath the Eurasian Plate.

  • HFT, also known as the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT), is a geological fault along the boundary of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The Kopili Fault is a 300-km northwest-southeast trending fault from the Bhutan Himalaya to the Burmese arc.

  • The historical and instrumentally recorded earthquake data (NCS catalogue) reveals that the region is affected by moderate to large earthquakes and the most prominent events among those are the July 29, 1960, Assam earthquake of magnitude 6.0.

Important Info :
  • The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) is an office of India's Ministry of Earth Sciences. The office monitors earthquakes and conducts seismological research.
  • The Seismology Division and Earthquake Risk Evaluation Centre of the India Meteorological Department merged with NCS in August 2014 to more effectively monitor and research seismological activity.
Source : Times of India
Geography

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

MANOJ DAS
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of Shri Manoj Das, a noted educationist, popular columnist and prolific writer.

About:

  • Manoj Das (1934 – 2021) was an Indian author who wrote in Odia and English.

  • In 1971, his research in the archives of London and Edinburgh brought to light some of the little-known facts of India's freedom struggle in the first decade of the twentieth century led by Sri Aurobindo for which he received the first Sri Aurobindo Puraskar (Kolkata).

Important Info :

Awards:

  • In 2000, Manoj Das was awarded the Saraswati Samman.
  • He was awarded Padma Shri in 2001 and Padma Bhushan in 2020 for his contribution in the field of Literature & Education.
  • Kendra Sahitya Akademi has bestowed its highest award (also India's highest literary award) i.e Sahitya Akademi Award Fellowship.
Source : Times of India
Environment

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
The 85-minute documentary feature, My Octopus Teacher, which won the best documentary award at the recently concluded Academy Awards, is about the relationship that developed between a human being and a wild octopus.

About:

  • My Octopus Teacher is a 2020 Netflix Original documentary film directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, which documents a year spent by filmmaker Craig Foster forging a relationship with a wild common octopus in a South African kelp forest.

  • At the 93rd Academy Awards, it won the award for Best Documentary Feature.

Important Info :

Kelp forests

  • Kelp forests are under water areas with a high density of kelp, which covers a large part of the world's coastlines. They are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth.
  • Smaller areas of anchored kelp are called kelp beds. Kelp forests occur worldwide throughout temperate and polar coastal oceans.
  • Kelps are large brown algae seaweeds that make up the order Laminariales.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

MAHARASHTRA’S TWO-CHILD NORM FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
A woman officer from the Maharashtra Prison Department was dismissed from service after an inquiry revealed that she violated the Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) rules because she suppressed the information from the authorities that she has three children.

About:

  • The Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) Rule of 2005 defines a small family as wife, husband and two children and stipulates that a person is not eligible for a job with Maharashtra Government if he or she has more than two children after 2005.

  • Maharashtra is one of the few states in the country that have a ‘two children’ policy for appointment in government jobs or even for the elections of some local government bodies. Other states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Gujarat, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Assam being the latest addition to the list in 2019.

  • The set of norms came into force in Maharashtra as Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) Rules on March 28, 2005. The rules mandate filing a small family declaration at the time of applying for a government job.

  • The definition of child under these rules does not include adopted children.

  • The rules make the Small Family norm an additional essential requirement for Groups A, B, C, D of Maharashtra government employees.

Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

ARTICLE 217 (1)
The President of India, in exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution of India, appointed Smt. Justice Vimla Singh Kapoor, Additional Judge of the Chhattisgarh High Court, to be a Judge of the Chhattisgarh High Court, with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.

About Article 217:

Title: Appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court

(1) Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State, and, in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the chief Justice, the chief Justice of the High court, and shall hold office, in the case of an additional or acting Judge, as provided in Article 224, and in any other case, until he attains the age of sixty two years Provided that

(a) a Judge may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office

(b) a Judge may be removed from his office by the President in the manner provided in clause ( 4 ) of Article 124 for the removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court;

(c) the office of a Judge shall be vacated by his being appointed by the President to be a Judge of the Supreme Court or by his being transferred by the President to any other High Court within the territory of India

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

NavIC
National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training (NTIPRIT), the apex training institute of Department of Telecommunications, Government of India conducted a webinar on April 28, 2021 on the topic "NavlC — Opportunities for the Telecom Industry" in collaboration with ISRO and Telecom Industry.

About:

  • NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system established and maintained by ISRO.

  • It covers India and a region extending up to 1 ,500 km beyond Indian mainland (primary coverage area).

  • It provides position accuracy better than 20 m (20) and timing accuracy better than 50 ns (20).

  • The actual measurements demonstrate accuracy better than 5 m and 20 ns respectively.

  • NavIC based applications are being used in various civilian sectors, including, transport, map applications, and timekeeping. Some examples for NavlC enabled mobile phones include the Redmi Note 9 series from Xiaomi, the Realme 6 series, the OnePlus Nord, etc.

  • NavlC is an indigenous positioning system that is under Indian control. There is no risk of the service being withdrawn or denied in a given situation.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

AGRICULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund has crossed the Rs. 8000 crore mark after receiving 8,665 applications worth Rs. 8,216 crores. The largest share of the pie is contributed by Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) (58%), agri-entrepreneurs (24%) and individual farmers (13%).

About:

  • The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a medium - long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.

  • The duration of the scheme is from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).

  • Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE for loans up to Rs. 2 Crores.

  • Eligible beneficiaries include farmers, FPOs, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
April 29, 2021

MORARJI DESAI NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF YOGA
The Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga under Ayush Ministry is offering online Yoga training programmes. These online Yoga training programmes are health-promotive and anxiety-relieving.

About:

  • Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) is an autonomous Institution fully funded by Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India.

  • MDNIY aims to promote deeper understanding of Yoga philosophy and practices based on classical Yoga amongst people. MDNIY is a focal Institute for Planning, Training, Promotion and Coordination of Yoga Education, Training, Therapy and Research in all its aspects.

  • The Institute was started in 1970, in the form a hospital, opened by the now defunct Central Council for Research in Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, under the Vishwayatan Yogashram.

  • In 1998, the institute was further renamed as the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga with expanded mandates.

Source : All India Radio
Health

April 28, 2021

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

WORLD MILITARY SPENDING
Total global military expenditure rose to $1981 billion last year, an increase of 2.6 per cent in real terms from 2019, according to new data published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

About:

  • The five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62 per cent of global military expenditure, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom.

  • The 2.6 per cent increase in world military spending came in a year when global gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 4.4 per cent (October 2020 projection by the International Monetary Fund), largely due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • In 2020 US military expenditure reached an estimated $778 billion, representing an increase of 4.4 per cent over 2019. As the world’s largest military spender, the USA accounted for 39 per cent of total military expenditure in 2020.

Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

DADUDAN GADHVI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of famous Gujarati poet Dadudan Gadhvi.

About:

  • Dadudan Pratapdan Gadhvi, also known as Kavi Dad, was a Gujarati poet and folk singer from Gujarat.

  • His complete works are collected in Terva (2015) and Lachhanayan (2015).

  • He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2021.

Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

ARTICLE 223 OF THE CONSTITUTION
The President of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 223 of the Constitution of India, appointed Justice Rajesh Bindal, senior-most Judge of Calcutta High Court, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from 29th April, 2021.

About:

  • This follows the retirement of Shri Justice Thottathil Bhaskaran Nair Radhakrishnan, Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court. A notification in this regard has been issued by Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice.

  • Article 223 in The Constitution Of India deals with Appointment of acting Chief Justice.

  • According to it, when the office of Chief Justice of High Court is vacant or when any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties of the office shall be performed by such one of the other Judges of the Court as the President may appoint for the purposes. 

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCE INITIATIVE (SCRI)
India, Japan and Australia formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) to build resilient supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region as they seek to reduce dependence on China.

About:

  • The SCRI aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience with a view to eventually attaining strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the region.

  • Expansion of the SCRI may be considered based on consensus, if needed, in due course.

Source : LiveMint
International

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

‘LARGE AREA CERTIFICATION’ SCHEME
14,491 ha area of UT of A&N Islands becomes the first large contiguous territory to be conferred with organic certification under ‘Large Area Certification’ scheme.

About:

  • Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) is working to identify Traditional Organic Areas to transform them into certified organic production hubs.

  • The Government of India has certified 14,491 ha of such area under Car Nicobar and Nancowry group of islands in UT of A&N Islands.

  • This area becomes the first large contiguous territory to be conferred with organic certification under the ‘Large Area Certification’ (LAC) scheme of the PGS-India (Participatory Guarantee System) certification programme.

Important Info :

“Large Area Certification” (LAC) programme

  • Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare under its flagship scheme of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) has launched a unique quick certification programme “Large Area Certification” (LAC) to harness these potential areas.
  • LAC is a Quick certification process that is cost-effective and farmers do not have to wait for 2-3 years for marketing PGS organic certified products.
  • Under LAC, each village in the area is considered as one cluster/group. Documentations are simple and maintained village-wise.
  • All farmers with their farmland and livestock need to adhere to the standard requirements and on being verified get certified en-mass without the need to go under conversion period.
  • Certification is renewed on annual basis through annual verification by a process of peer appraisals as per the process of PGS-India.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW)
Human Rights Watch said that Israel is committing the crime of “apartheid” by seeking to maintain Jewish “domination” over Palestinians and its own Arab population.

About:

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, and the group often works on behalf of refugees, children, migrants, and political prisoners.

  • Human Rights Watch in 1997 shared in the Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and it played a leading role in the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions.

  • Human Rights Watch was co-founded by Robert L. Bernstein and Aryeh Neier as a private American NGO in 1978, under the name Helsinki Watch, to monitor the then-Soviet Union's compliance with the Helsinki Accords.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

Ct VALUE
Among various scientific terms that the Covid-19 pandemic has made part of the public vocabulary, one is the ‘Ct value’ in RT-PCR tests for determining whether a patient is positive for Covid-19.

About:

  • Short for cycle threshold, Ct is a value that emerges during RT-PCR tests, the gold standard for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

  • According to the ICMR advisory, the Ct value of an RT-PCR reaction is the number of cycles at which fluorescence of the PCR product is detectable over and above the background signal.

  • The Ct value refers to the number of cycles after which the virus can be detected. If a higher number of cycles is required, it implies that the virus went undetected when the number of cycles was lower.

  • The lower the Ct value, the higher the viral load — because the virus has been spotted after fewer cycles.

  • According to the ICMR, a patient is considered Covid-positive if the Ct value is below 35. In other words, if the virus is detectable after 35 cycles or earlier, then the patient is considered positive.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

STERLITE COPPER PLANT
The Supreme Court allowed Vedanta Limited to operate its oxygen production units at the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

About:

  • The Sterlite Copper plant has been shut for three years following public protests and police firing that killed 13 protesters in May 2018.

  • The Supreme Court decision follows a submission by Vedanta Limited, which cited the ongoing crisis for medical oxygen triggered by a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

  • Vedanta Limited, citing the medical oxygen crisis, asserted that it could produce 1,000 tonnes of oxygen if the plant was allowed to reopen.

  • Sterlite Copper had been facing protests ever since its inception in 1994. The local community’s concerns include hazardous industrial operations that produce toxins such as lead, arsenic and sulphur oxides, pollution of the environment, and their impact on public health.

  • Following a gas leak in March 2013, the state government ordered shutting down of the plant, and the Supreme Court fined Sterlite Rs 100 crore for flouting environmental norms the following month, but the plant was in operation in June again. It was shut down again following the violent protests and police firing in May 2018.

Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

INFLIXIMAB
People who take a commonly-prescribed drug for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should not assume they are protected after a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, say the authors of a large-scale study that found many had poor antibody responses.

About:

  • The research measured antibody responses after vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in 865 people treated with infliximab, an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) biologic drug, prescribed to around two million people worldwide.

  • One of the brand names under which infliximab is marketed is Remicade, which has got regulatory clearance in India.

  • Anti-TNF drugs are effective treatments for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, but by suppressing the immune system, they can reduce vaccine effectiveness and increase risk of serious infection, the researchers have suggested.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
April 28, 2021

PYRASOL
The foundation stone of the Integrated Solar Dryer and Pyrolysis pilot was laid by Dr. K J Sreeram, Director, CSIR- Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai.

About:

  • The pilot is part of the Indo-German project ‘Pyrasol’ launched to transform urban organic waste into biochar and energy in smart cities. It was awarded to CSIR-CLRI by the Indo-German Science & Technology Centre.

  • The project will ultimately lead to technology development for the joint processing of Fibrous Organic Waste (FOW) and Sewage Sludge (SS) of Indian smart cities into hygienic and highly valuable biochar associated with energy recovery, carbon sequestration and environmental improvement.

  • Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC) was established by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India & Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Govt. of Germany to facilitate Indo-German R&D networking with emphasis on industry participation, applied research and technology development.

  • IGSTC through its flagship program ‘2+2 Projects’, catalyses innovation centric R&D projects by synergising the strength of research and academic institutions and public/private industries from India and Germany.

Source : PIB
Economy

April 27, 2021

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

PROJECT DANTAK
Project DANTAK is commemorating its Diamond Jubilee in Bhutan.

About:

  • Project DANTAK was established on April 24, 1961 as a result of the visionary leadership of His Majesty the Third King and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. DANTAK was tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in the Kingdom.

  • DANTAK completed the road connecting Samdrup Jongkhar to Trashigang in 1968. In the same year, Thimphu was connected to Phuentsholing by DANTAK. Many Bhutanese had also volunteered to work with DANTAK.

  • Some other notable projects executed by the project include the construction of Paro Airport, Yonphula Airfield, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication & Hydro Power Infrastructure, Sherubtse College, Kanglung and India House Estate.

  • The medical and education facilities established by DANTAK in far flung areas were often the first in those locations.

  • Over 1,200 DANTAK personnel laid down their lives while constructing important infrastructure in Bhutan.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

93rd ACADEMY AWARDS
U.S. road movie Nomadland emerged as the big winner at the Oscars on Sunday with three major prizes, including a history-making award for director Chloe Zhao.

About:

  • Chloe Zhao makes history as first woman of colour to get best director award. She is also only the second woman to win best director after Kathryn Bigelow, who broke the glass ceiling in 2010 when she won the prize for The Hurt Locker.

  • Zhao’s drama about marginalised Americans roaming the West in vans was honoured for best picture, director and actress for Frances McDormand, who now is in elite company with her third Academy Award.

  • Hopkins’ win at 83 for his shattering portrayal of a dementia sufferer in The Father makes him the oldest actor to win a competitive Oscar in history.

Important Info :

List of winners of the 93rd Academy Awards:

  • Best picture: Nomadland
  • Best actress: Frances McDormand
  • Best actor: Anthony Hopkins
  • Best supporting actress: Yuh-Jung Youn
  • Best supporting actor: Daniel Kaluuya
  • Best director: Chloe Zhao
Source : Indian Express
Awards

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

SINGLE CRYSTAL (SX) COMPONENTS
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed single crystal blades technology and supplied 60 of these blades to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as part of their indigenous helicopter development program for helicopter engine application.

About:

  • It is part of a program taken up by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a premium laboratory of DRDO, to develop five sets (300 in number) of single crystal high pressure turbine (HPT) blades using a nickel-based super alloy.

  • Helicopters used in strategic and defence applications need compact and powerful aero-engines for their reliable operation at extreme conditions.

  • To achieve this, state-of-the-art Single Crystal Blades having complex shape and geometry, manufactured out of Nickel based superalloys capable of withstanding high temperatures of operation are used.

  • Very few countries in the world such as USA, UK, France and Russia have the capability to design and manufacture such Single Crystal (SX) components.

  • Special ceramic composition had to be formulated for making strong ceramic moulds which can withstand metallostatic pressure of liquid CMSX-4 alloy at 1500°C and above during casting operation.

Source : outlook
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

PRIVATE SECTOR BANK
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) fixed the tenure of MD, CEO and whole-time director (WTD) in a private sector bank at 15 years and prescribed the maximum age of 70 years for such functionaries.

About:

  • These directives form part of the instructions issued by the RBI with regard to the chair and meetings of the board, composition of certain committees of the board, age, tenure and remuneration of directors, and appointment of the WTDs.

  • The RBI said it would come out with a Master Direction on Corporate Governance in banks in due course.

  • The post of the MD & CEO or WTD cannot be held by the same incumbent for more than 15 years.

  • Thereafter, the individual will be eligible for re-appointment as MD & CEO or WTD in the same bank, if considered necessary and desirable by the board, after a minimum gap of three years, subject to meeting other conditions.

  • It added that during this three-year cooling period, the individual shall not be appointed or associated with the bank or its group entities in any capacity, either directly or indirectly.

  • With regard to upper age limit for MD & CEO and WTDs in the private sector banks, the RBI said that no person can continue in such positions beyond the age of 70. The maximum age limit for chairman and non-executive directors has been fixed at 75 years.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

LADAKH IGNITED MINDS PROJECT
To provide better educational opportunities for Ladakhi students, the Indian Army has initiated the project Ladakh Ignited Minds: A Centre of Excellence and Wellness.

About:

  • On behalf of Indian Army, Fire and Fury Corps has signed a couple of MoUs with partner Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and executing agency, a Kanpur based NGO, National Integrity and Educational Development Organization (NIEDO), in Leh.

  • The project is aimed at providing better training facilities to disadvantaged Ladakhi students to give them opportunity to study in niche educational institutes.

  • Fire and Fury Corps of Indian Army with the support of HPCL and execution agency NIEDO will provide a holistic training for Ladakhi youth.

  • In the first batch, comprising 20 girls, 45 students from Leh and Kargil districts, would get training for JEE and NEET entrance examinations.

Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

SOMALIA
Somalia, already fragile after decades of civil war and an Islamist insurgency, is facing its worst political crisis in recent years after the failure to hold planned elections in February.

About:

  • President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, best known by his nickname Farmajo, has faced harsh criticism from foreign allies after signing a law approved by parliament which extended his mandate by two years.

  • The clashes — mainly in the northern neighbourhoods of Sanca and Marinaya and the busy KM4 crossroads in the centre — began after dozens of opposition supporters marched in protest against Mr. Farmajo’s term extension.

Important Info :
  • Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa.
  • It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the Northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest.
  • Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland.
  • Its Capital is Mogadishu.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

CSIR-CMERI, DURGAPUR
The CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur has indigenously developed Oxygen enrichment technology which may be effective for treating COVID-19 patients.

About:

  • The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (also known as CSIR-CMERI Durgapur or CMERI Durgapur) is a public engineering research and development institution in Durgapur, West Bengal.

  • It is a constituent laboratory of the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

  • This institute is the only national level research institute in the field of mechanical engineering in India.

  • The CMERI was founded in 1958.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

HERD IMMUNITY
Does “herd immunity” really protect from subsequent waves? The answer is not a simple yes or no. It depends on how widespread the virus is in a community and its transmission rate.

About:

  • When a person gets vaccinated against a disease, their risk of infection is also reduced – so they’re also less likely to transmit the virus or bacteria to others.

  • As more people in a community get vaccinated, fewer people remain vulnerable, and there is less possibility for an infected person to pass the pathogen on to another person.

  • 'Herd immunity', also known as 'population immunity', is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when immunity develops in a population either through vaccination or through previous infection.

  • Herd immunity does not mean unvaccinated or individuals who have not previously been infected are themselves immune.

  • Instead, herd immunity exists when individuals who are not immune, but live in a community with a high proportion of immunity, have a reduced risk of disease as compared to non-immune individuals living in a community with a small proportion of immunity.

  • In communities with high immunity, the non-immune people have a lower risk of disease than they otherwise would, but their reduced risk results from the immunity of people in the community in which they are living (i.e., herd immunity) not because they are personally immune.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

KRISHNAMURTHY SANTHANAM
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has expressed grief over the demise of an Indian nuclear scientist Krishnamurthy Santhanam.

About:

  • Krishnamurthy Santhanam was an Indian nuclear scientist and the field director of Defence Research and Development Organization during the tests of Pokhran-II.

  • The Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 1999.

Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 27, 2021

SAHEL
Chad, the former French colony is now prime outpost of the West in fighting Islmamist militants across the Sahel. France still has a strong military presence in the sahel region.

About:

  • The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.

  • Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.

  • The Sahel part of Africa includes from west to east parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, and the extreme north of Ethiopia.

Source : Indian Express
Geography
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