Current Affairs Weekly (5-11 April 2021)

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National

INYAS launches mass awareness campaign about COVID 19

  • Department of Science & Technology (DST) launched a multipronged nationwide mass awareness campaign on April 6 with information packages to bust myths about COVID 19 vaccination in 11 languages, including English and Hindi, make the immunization programme successful.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign organized by Indian National Young Academy of Sciences (INYAS)will be carried out through COVACNEWS android-based mobile app made by INYAS for ensuring information at the fingertips.
  • A pan-India info-graphic video and audio competition with motivation to transform information into better readable and effective formats is also being organised along with the GYAN TEEKA webinar series dedicated to increase awareness about vaccines through eminent speakers and open statement on COVID-19 vaccination.

ICCR has unveiled ‘Little Guru’ app, world’s first Gamified Sanskrit learning App

  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) celebrated its 71st Foundation Day recently.
  • On the occasion, the ICCR has unveiled ‘Little Guru’ app, world’s first Gamified Sanskrit learning App which was jointly launched in Beijing by Ambassador Vikram Misri and renowned Chinese scholar on Sanskrit and India studies, Professor Wang Bangwei.
  • Little Guru will be a gamified app based on an interactive platform which will make Sanskrit learning easy, entertaining, and fun. 
  • This app will help people who are already learning Sanskrit or those who are desirous to learn Sanskrit to do so in an easy manner based on games, competition, rewards, peer to peer interactions, etc.

NITI Aayog releases Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) handbook

  • NITI Aayog launched the first-of-its-kind Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) handbook in India April 9.
  • The handbook is an invitation to Indian business leaders to embrace ODR.
  • ODR is the use of digital technology and techniques of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, to resolve disputes outside of courts, especially in “small and medium-value cases.

CSIR adopts 295 Atal Tinkering Labs established by Atal Innovation Mission nationwide

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog’s flagship 295 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) were officially adopted today by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) across the country in an ambitious step towards inculcating scientific research and innovation culture among students.
  • CSIR with their 36 labs have adopted 295 ATLs and their students across the country.
  • This is going to be a path breaking opportunity for young innovators across India to learn from the best minds and scientists of the nation.
  • The opportunity will enable innovative students to become living inspirations for their school, families, and local communities.

Madhukranti Portal

  • The Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched the Madhukranti portal and Honey Corners of NAFED to promote the Honey Mission in India.
  • The Madhukranti portal is an initiative of National Bee Board. It is operated under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission.
  • The portal has been developed to achieve the traceability source of honey and bee hive products on the digital platform.

India protests against U.S. naval exercise sans consent

  • In an unexpected move, the US Navy conducted a freedom of navigation patrol in Indian waters without India’s prior consent, declaring that it was intended to challenge India’s “excessive maritime claims”.
  • India and the US have fundamental differences in coastal states’ rights to stop foreign military ships from conducting military activities within their EEZ.
  • India ratified the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1995.
  • The US has not ratified UNCLOS.
  • The unusual point of the current development was that this was the first time in recent memory that the US navy has publicly acknowledged that a military ship has entered India’s EEZ.

Ramesh Pokhriyal launches NanoSniffer, a microsensor based explosive trace detector

  • Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched NanoSniffer, the world’s first Microsensor-based Explosive Trace Detector (ETD).
  • The Nanosniffer has been developed by NanoSniff Technologies which is an IIT Bombay incubated startup.
  • The completely indigenous Explosive trace detector device (ETD) – NanoSniffer can detect explosives in less than 10 seconds and it also identifies and categorizes explosives into different classes.
  • It detects all classes of military, conventional and homemade explosives. NanoSniffer gives visible & audible s with sunlight-readable color display.

Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021 notified

  • The Government of India has notified Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021.
  • In India, the copyright regime is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright Rules, 2013.
  • The Copyright Rules, 2013 were last amended in the year 2016.
  • The amendments have been introduced with the objective of bringing the existing rules in parity with other relevant legislations.

India observes 4-day ‘Tika Utsav’

  • In a bid to intensify the fight against the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, India will observe a four-day ‘vaccine festival’ (Tika Utsav) in the country.
  • It will continue till April 14.
  • The Tika Utsav is being observed with an aim to inoculate a maximum number of eligible people against the viral disease.\

Project RE-HAB

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has announced that the project of Khadi and Village Industries (KVIC) called RE-HAB has become a grand success.
  • Thus, it is to be implemented in other states as well. This includes Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
  • Project RE-HAB is Reducing Elephant Human Attacks using Bees. It was launched at four spots in the Nagarhole National Park of Karnataka.
  • The project aims to prevent elephant human conflicts without creating harm to either of them.

ASI to probe into Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque dispute

  • Recently, A Varanasi court ordered an archaeological survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Gyanvapi mosque premises to resolve a lingering dispute involving the two shrines.
  • The order was given by a senior division civil court on a plea pending before it since 2019.
  • In his order, a senior civil judge of the fast-track court in Varanasi asked the Uttar Pradesh government to get examined the disputed premises by a five-member team of the Archaeological Survey of India at its expense.
  • The court also stipulated that at least two members of the five-member team of eminent archaeologists should be from the minority community.

Climate Change platform for poor countries

  • The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have launched a platform to advise the poor countries on funding for conservation and climate activities.
  • Both the financial organizations will use the platform to factor climate change into negotiations about reducing debt burdens of poor countries.
  • The Climate change platform is highly important as several poor countries are struggling to shore up their food supplies and infrastructure due to climate change.

Arjun Munda launch Tribal Health Collaborative- ‘Anamaya’

  • Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda launched ‘Anamaya’- the Tribal Health Collaborative through video conference today.
  • A multi-stakeholder initiative supported by Piramal Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Anameya’ will converge efforts of various Government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities.

Joint Hydrographc Survey in Mauritius by INS Sarvekshak

  • The INS Sarvekshak is on a deployment to Mauritius for undertaking Hydrogrpahic surveys along with Mauritius.
  • It will also provide training to the Mauritian personnel on advanced hydrographic equipment and practices during the deployment.
  • INS Sarvekshak has visited Port Louis and commenced the hydrographic survey of “Deep Sea Area off Port Louis”.
  • The Hydrographic surveys help in the measurement of ocean features that affect marine dredging, maritime navigation, offshore oil exploration and drilling and other related activities.

International

Philippine and U.S. soldiers will conductBalikatan military exercise

  • Philippine and U.S. soldiers will conduct a two-week joint military exercise, resuming the annual training event after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic.
  • Unlike previous exercises, however, this year’s “Balikatan” (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) drills to test the readiness of their militaries to respond to threats such natural disasters and militant extremist attacks, will be scaled down.

First female Arab astronaut

  • In a first, the UAE leader has named its first female astronaut for a space programme.
  • Noura al-Matroushi has been named as the first-ever female astronaut of the country, who has been selected out of 4,000 other applicants in the UAE.
  • Noura al-Matroushi will be accompanied by Mohammed al-Mulla.
  • Both of the chosen astronauts will undergo training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Iran has started up advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges

  • Iran has started up advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in a breach of its undertakings under a troubled 2015 nuclear deal, days after the start of talks on rescuing the accord.
  • President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the three cascades of 164 IR-6 centrifuges, 30 IR-5 and another 30 IR-6 devices at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant in a ceremony broadcast by state television.

Solidarity Tax on Pandemic Winners By IMF

  • The International Monetary Fund recently announced Solidarity Tax on Pandemic Winners.
  • The companies that prospered during COVID-19 crisis have topay additional tax to show solidarity towards those hit hardest by the pandemic.
  • The solidarity tax was introduced in Germany in 1991 after the East and West Germany were joined together. It was collected for only one year.
  • It shall be imposed to reduce social inequalities that increased during the recent health crisis.
  • The Solidarity Tax was introduced by IMF citing Germany’s Solidarity tax after reunification.

Caribbean VolcanoLa Soufrière Erupts

  • A volcano in the southern Caribbean that had been dormant for decades erupted in a billowing blast of gray smoke, spewing clouds of ash for miles and forcing thousands to evacuate
  • The volcano, known as La Soufrière, on the northern tip of the main island of St. Vincent, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, had started showing signs of renewed activity in late December.
  • The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of which lie within the Caribbean Sea and some of which lie on the edge of the Caribbean Sea where it borders the North Atlantic Ocean).

US Navy

US Navy conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in Indian Ocean Region

  • The US Navy recently conducted Freedom of Navigation Operation in the Indian Ocean Region near Lakshadweep.
  • During the operation, the US warship entered the Exclusive Economic Zone of India without seeking prior consent from India.
  • The warship that entered Indian EEZ was a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones.
  • According to the UNCLOS, countries cannot prevent ships from using Exclusive Economic Zone. However, according to Indian laws, any foreign military must inform before conducting any activity in the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
  • The US Government said that the US forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on daily basis. All such operations are designated in accordance with international law.

Forbes list: India’s 10 richest billionaires

The Forbes recently released its list of wealthiest people in the world. Forbes is an American business magazine owned by the Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family.

The following are the top ten richest billionaires in India according to Forbes:

  • Mukesh Ambani. Net Worth: 84.5 billion USD
  • Gautham Adani. Net Worth: 50.5 billion USD
  • Shiv Nadar. Net Worth: 23.5 billion USD
  • Radhakishandamani. Net Worth: 16.5 billion USD
  • Uday Box. Net Worth: 15.9 billion USD

Forbes list of richest World Billionaires

  • Jeff Bezos. Net Worth: 177 billion USD
  • Elon Musk. Net Worth: 151 billion USD
  • Bernard Arnault. Net Worth: 150 billion USD

BRICS Finance Ministers Meet, 2021

  • India recently hosted the BRICS Finance Ministers Meet.
  • This was the first BRICS meet under the chairmanship of India in 2021.
  • As 2021 BRICS Chair, India aims to focus on strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation based on continuity, consolidation and consensus.
  • India will host the BRICS meeting for the year 2021.
  • The 2021 BRICS Summit is the thirteenth summit of the grouping.
  • Also, 2021 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the international grouping.  This is the third time India is hosting BRICS Summit.

World Economic Outlook by IMF

  • The International Monetary Fund recently released the World Economic Outlook titled “Managing Divergent Recoveries”.
  • The report has predicted GDP growth of India for the current fiscal year 2022 to be 12.5%.
  • This is 1% higher than the previous projection of 11.5% in January 2021.
  • This is the highest among the emerging economies and also among the elite group of advanced economies.
  • Also, the growth projection of India for the year 2023 has been increased from 6.8% to 6.9%.
  • Earlier the IMF had predicted the growth rate of India to be 6.8%.
  • The global economy is to grow at 6% in 2021 and is expected to moderate to 4.4% in 2022. In 2020, the global economy contracted by 3.3%.

UAE’s first nuclear unit starts commercial operation

  • UAE’s first nuclear unitBarakah unit 1 entered commercial operation recently.
  • Construction of the plant began in 2012.
  • Unit 2 has now completed the fuel loading process and is working through all of the required processes prior to start-up, which is scheduled for later this year.

Facebook Data leak, 2021

  • The personal data of more than 533 million Facebook users has been leaked online recently.
  • The exposed data included personal information of the Facebook users from more than 106 countries.
  • This also included records of 32 million users in the US, 11 million in UK and 6 million in India.
  • The current data leak is being considered as the biggest data breach as the phone number of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was found in the leaked data.
  • Also, his birth date and marriage details have been hacked.

E9 Education Ministers Meet

  • Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre is to attend the Education Ministers meet of E9 countries. The meeting is to be held under the following theme:
  • Theme: E9 initiative: Scaling up digital learning to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4
  • During the meet, the leaders are to create an initiative on digital learning and skills.
  • The initiative is to target marginalised children and youth.
  • The initiative will mainly accelerate three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting objectives.
  • E9 is a forum of nine countries. It was created to achieve the goals of “Education for All” initiative of UNESCO.
  • In E9, E stands for Education and 9 represents nine member countries.
  • The member countries of E9 initiative are Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Mexico and Nigeria.
  • The E9 initiative was launched at the EFA Summit in New Delhi.

State

Odisha launches ‘mask abhiyan’ against Covid-19

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched 14-day ‘mask abhiyan’.
  • It is a part of efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in view of rising cases and urged people to strictly follow the safety guidelines.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases the ‘Odisha Itihaas’

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the Hindi translation of the book ‘Odisha Itihaas’ written by former chief minister ‘Utkal Keshari’ HarekrushnaMahtab at New Delhi.
  • The Prime Minister said it is important that the diverse and comprehensive history of Odisha should reach the people of the country.

3 out of every 1000 pregnant women are testing HIV positive in Meghalaya’: Assembly panel

  • Assembly’s Committee on Women Empowerment has asked the state government to come up with a new scheme to rehabilitate commercial sex workers and to address the issue of HIV/AIDS which is increasing at an alarming rate in the state.
  • The Committee has found that three out of every thousand pregnant women in the state are testing positive for HIV in the state.
  • The Committee was led by Ampareen Lyngdoh.

Economy

ADB approves $484-mn loan to improve connectivity, maintenance of CKIC

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $484 million to improve transport connectivity and road maintenance in the Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) in Tamil Nadu.
  • The CKIC is part of India’s East Coast Economic Corridor, which stretches from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu and connects India to the production networks of Southeast and East Asia.

Central Mine Planning and Design Institute gets Permission for Drone use

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation recently granted permission to the Central Mine Planning Design Institute to survey the coal field areas of Coal India Limited.
  • According to the permission granted, the drones shall be deployed to monitor the mapping and surveying activity, inspection of coalfield.

G-sec acquisition programme by RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced a Government Security Acquisition Programme, GSAP 1.0.
  • As per the programme the central bank will purchase government bonds of worth Rs 1 trillion (or one lakh crores of rupees).
  • The first purchase of Rs 25,000 crore is to be made on April 15, 2021.
  • The GSAP 1.0 will provide more comfort to the bond market.
  • It will also help to reduce aggregate cost of borrowing for the centre and states in fiscal year 2022.

Awards/Honours

BAFTA Film Awards

The British Academy Film Awards were presented on April 10 and April 11 by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

  • Best Picture: ‘Nomadland’
  • Best Director: Chloe Zhao for ‘Nomadland’
  • Best Actress: Frances McDormand for ‘Nomadland’
  • Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins for ‘The Father’

Dutee Chand to Get Chhattisgarh Veerni Award

  • Dutee Chand, the Jakarta Asian Games silver-medalist in 100 and 200 metres will receive Chhattisgarh Veerni Award soon.
  • The award, instituted by the Chhattisgarh state government, recognises contribution of Indian women in different fields, including sports.
  • In 2019, the Odisha sprinter became the first Indian woman to win gold medal at the World University Games held in Italy.
  • Dutee, who holds the national record of 11.22 secs in 100m, is aiming to achieve Tokyo Olympics qualification time of 11.15 secs in the coming months.

Persons/places

Prince Philip: Queen Elizabeth II’s husbandPrince Philip, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace has announced.The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, was at the Queen’s side for more than her six decades of reign.

Nethra Kumanan: She became the first Indian woman ever to qualify for the Olympics in Sailing when she finished first in the laser radial class at the Mussanah Open.

Appointed/Elected

Nguyen Xuan Phuc: He is the man behind Vietnam’s successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has been formally sworn in as president in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.

S Ramann: The Government of India recently appointed S Ramann as the Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries and Development Bank of India.

Justice N V Ramana:He was recently appointed as the Chief Justice of India. He is to assume charge on April 24, 2021. He is to take charge a day after the retirement of CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde. Justice Ramana is to take over as the 48th Chief Justice of India.

Sports

North Korea Decides “Not to Participate” In Tokyo Olympics

  • North Korea will not attend this year’s Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The isolated North’s participation in the last Winter Games, hosted by the South in PyeongChang, was a key catalyst in the diplomatic rapprochement of 2018.

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