Current Affairs Weekly (10-16 May, 2021)

National

India launches anti-dumping probe for PV cells from China, Thailand, Vietnam

  • India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), an entity under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has launched an anti-dumping probe into solar cells from China, Thailand and Vietnam, based on a request by domestic manufacturers.
  • The application was filed by the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA).
  • The manufacturers have been seeking the imposition of anti-dumping duties to protect them from material injury caused by such imports at unfairly low prices.

Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission

  • Government is supporting the augmentation of manufacturing capacity for COVAXIN production under Mission Covid Suraksha.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission COVID Suraksha was announced to accelerate the development and production of Indigenous COVID Vaccines.
  • This is being implemented by Department of Biotechnology, at Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, BIRAC, New Delhi.

India’s coronavirus variant spread to 44 countries: WHO

  • According to the World Health Organisation, the Indian coronavirus variant (B1617), which has now been declared a “variant of global concern” has spread to 44 countries.
  • The B1617 variant, first identified in India in October, has been detected in over 4500 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database.
  • The Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) is a German non-profit organisation, launched in 2016 as a database for sharing flu genomes.
  • The WHO’s SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group determined that viruses within the lineage B1617 area variant of concern.
  • The B1617 variant was, till now, deemed a ‘variant of interest’ by the WHO. It now has been added to the list of other Covid-19 “variants of concern” — UK (B117), South African (B1351) and Brazilian (P1) variants.
  • The B1617 variant was declared as a variant of concern based on early evidence of higher rates of transmission, including its observed rapid increases in prevalence in multiple countries.

Monkey Census

  • The Wildlife Institute of India recently conducted a “Monkey Census” in the state of Haryana.
  • The “Monkey Census” was a part of the “Wildlife Census of Haryana-2021”.
  • The Census for the first time was conducted using a mobile application called “Wildlife Census Haryana”.

Ist BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) Meeting amongst BRICS Countries

  • Shri Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Labour and Employment chaired the 1st BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) Meeting held on12 May 2021 inNew Delhi in virtual format.
  • India has assumed BRICS Presidency this year.
  • The prime agenda for the discussions were Promoting Social Security Agreements amongst BRICS Nations, Formalization of labour markets, Participation of women in labour force and Gig and platform workers – Role in labour market.

NAIMISHA 2021

  • National Gallery of Modern Art will start a month-long online summer workshop- NAIMISHA 2021 soon.
  • Culture Ministry has said that this unique art fiesta will provide a platform to create and engage with the arts.
  • The idea behind designing and delivering online interactive programmes is to provide a creative outlet to children, and indeed all interested adults.

12 to 16 weeks gap between to Covishield doses: NTAGI

  • The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended to increase the gap between two doses of Serum Institute of India’s Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, to 12 to 16 weeks.
  • Currently, the interval between two doses of Covishield is four to eight weeks.
  • NTAGI has also recommended that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are waiting to take the vaccine should defer vaccination for six months after recovery.  
  • It said that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any COVID-19 vaccine and that lactating women can be inoculated any time after delivery.

Zeolite imported Rome to Bengaluru

  • India recently Imported 35 tonnes of Zeolite used in Oxygen Production plants from Rome to Bengaluru.
  • Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals.
  • They are microporous material that is used as adsorbents and catalysts.
  • The Zeolites are naturally formed when the volcanic rocks react with alkaline ground water.

NHRC issues notice to Centre and UP, Bihar govts over bodies found floating in Ganga

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Centre as well as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Governments over the complaint about several dead bodies found floating in the Ganga River.
  • It said the practice of disposal of bodies in the sacred river Ganga is clearly in violation of guidelines of the National Mission for Clean Ganga project of Ministry of Jal Shakti.

India participates in the third Arctic Science Ministerial

  • The Ministry of Earth Science recently announced that India participated in the Arctic Science Ministerial meeting.
  • The Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan represented India at the meeting.
  • India shared plans for research and long-term cooperation in the Arctic during the meet.

State

18 Elephants dies in Assam due to Lighting

  • Around eighteen Asian elephants died in Nagaon district of Assam recently.
  • These elephants died in Kundoli proposed Reserve Forest located in Bamuni hillock.

Haryana notifies Black Fungus as notified disease

  • The Black Fungus disease has been declared as notified disease in the state of Haryana.
  • In other words, the Government Authorities have to be informed about each case of Black Fungus Disease.
  • It will help authorities to collect information of the spread of the disease, monitor the disease and set off early warnings.

Punjab willing to join COVAX facility

  • The State Government of Punjab is planning to join COVAX facility in order to increase its COVID-19 supplies.
  • The COVAX facility has so far been operating only at the level of nations.
  • The facility works to prevent vaccine nationalism.
  • It aims to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines reach both low-income level and high-income level countries.

Malerkotla: Punjab’s 23rd District

  • Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced the creation of Malerkotla, a new district in his state.
  • It has been carved out of the state’s only Muslim-majority town, 35 km from Sangrur district.
  • Adjoining Amargarh and Ahmedgarh will also be part of Punjab’s 23rd district, according to the announcement during an event on Eid-ul-Fitr.

ITBP land to Uttarakhand for Ropewaybetween Dehradun and Mussoorie.

  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the transfer of land of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, ITBP to Government of Uttarakhand for development of Aerial Passenger Ropeway System between Dehradun and Mussoorie.
  • The proposed Ropeway is a mono-cable ropeway of 5580 meters length between Purkul Gaon, Dehradun and Library, Mussoorie.

Mission Oxygen of Maharashtra

  • The State Government of Maharashtra has recently launched the “Maharashtra Mission Oxygen”.
  • Under the mission, the daily production of the state is to be increased to 3,000 tonnes.
  • Under the mission, at least one new plant is to be established in each division.

Assam-The first state to adopt digital reporting system to

  • The Assam State Disaster Management Agency and the UNICEF has jointly developed an Online Flood Reporting System.
  • With this, Assam becomes the first state to adopt digital reporting system to find out impact indicators during floods.
  • The new system will report flood levels in Assam on a daily basis.

DSR Technique to be applied in Punjab

  • DSR Technique is Direct Seeding of Rice Technique.
  • This year Punjab Government has decided to bring one hectare of land under DSR technique.
  • This is being done as the Government is expecting shortage of migrant labour.

International

Chinese Rover lands on Mars

  • Recently, the Chinese Spacecraft Tianwen 1 landed on Mars successfully.
  • It was launched in July 2020 on a Long March 5 rocket.
  • Tianwen 1 has been orbiting Mars for three months.
  • The lander that carried the Zhurong rover touched down the Martian surface successfully.
  • It landed in the Utopia Planitia region.

Pablo Picasso’s “Woman Sitting Near a Window” sold for USD 103.4 million

  • Pablo Picasso’s “Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese)” was sold for USD 103.4 million at Christie’s in New York.
  • The painting, completed in 1932, was sold after 19 minutes of bidding for USD 90 million, which rose to USD 103.4 million when fees and commissions were added.
  • The sale confirms the special status of Picasso, who was born in 1881 and died in 1973.

The Heartbeat Bill in Texas (USA)

  • Texas (USA) recently passed the controversial Heartbeat Bill.
  • The bill bans abortions after the heartbeat of the embryo is detected.
  • It is usually detected after 6 weeks of gestation.
  • North Dakota became the first state in the USA to pass the Heartbeat Bill.

Australians facing attack from millions of mice.

  • In some places in Australia, the mice are pouring out like a rain as the farmers are cleaning their silos.
  • Thus, the name “Mice Rain” came into practice.
  • This huge population increase of mice is causing severe damages to the stored food grains.

Israeli’s Iron Dome

  • Israel-Philistine conflict escalated recently.
  • It all began with Israeli Police installing a barricade at the Damascus Gate.
  • Later the tensions escalated due to the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli police.
  • The Hamas group from Gaza retaliated with rockets.
  • These rockets were intercepted by Israeli Iron Dome.
  • Iron Dome is an air defence system which can neutralise any missiles or rockets.
  • It is a short-range ground air-to-air defence systemused to counter rockets, mortars, aircraft, helicopters, mortars artillery and unmanned vehicles.

Vineyard Wind Project: USA

  • Vineyard Wind Project is a 2.8 billion USD project.
  • It is the first major Offshore wind farm.
  • The project aims to install 84 turbines in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It is to be set up 12 Nautical miles off the coast of Matha’s Vineyard.

Changsei 2C rocket launched by China

  • China recently launched Yaogan satellite named Changsei 2C rocket from the Xichang satellite launch centre.
  • Yaogan satellites are a series of Chinese Reconnaissance satellites.
  • Reconnaissance satellite is a spy satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications.
  • The satellite is to be used for electromagnetic environmental surveys and other related technical tests.
  • China launched three Yaogan-30 satellites and Tianqi-12 satellite in its Long March 2C.
  • It was launched from Jiuquan Launch Centre in Gobi Desert.

First Private Astronaut Mission

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently signed an agreement with Axiom Space.
  • Under the agreement, Axiom is to send its astronauts to International Space Station.
  • This is the first private astronaut mission to the space station.
  • The mission has been named as Ax-1.

Economy

PM Kisan Scheme: PM releases 8th instalment of ₹ 19,000 cr for farmers

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released the eighth instalment of financial benefits worth Rs 19,000 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme to benefit more than 9.5 crore farmers.
  • It includes first-time beneficiaries in West Bengal.
  • Under the PM-KISAN scheme, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is provided to the eligible beneficiary farmer families, payable in three equal 4-monthly instalments of Rs 2,000 each.
  • In this scheme, Samman Rashi of over Rs 1.15 lakh crore has been transferred to farmers’ families so far.

UN:  India will be world’s fastest growing major economy in 2022

  • United Nations has said that India will be the world’s fastest growing major economy in 2022.
  • In its mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), United Nations projected that the Indian economy will grow at 10.1 per cent in the calendar year 2022.
  • China has been projected to grow at 5.8 per cent, a slowdown from 8.2 per cent in 2021.
  • The report said that India will register a 7.5-per cent growth rate in calendar year 2021.

Science and Environment

Cyclone Tauktae

  • Severe cyclonic storm Tauktae has wreaked havoc in at least five Indian states, including Gujarat and Maharashtra in the past two days.
  • Cyclone Tauktae (pronounced as Tau’Te) has got its name from India’s neighbouring country Myanmar, which means “Gecko”.
  • Gecko is a highly vocal lizard in Burmese dialect.
  • Global bodies like–World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia, and the Pacific give names to cyclones.
  • Besides, regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMC), as well as tropical cyclone warning centres, also prepare the names of cyclones.
  • The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is among six RSMCs in the world that have been mandated to name tropical cyclones in the north Indian Ocean region.
  • The WMO and UN ESCAP comprise India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Pakistan, and Oman.
  • The next cyclone will be called ‘Yaas‘, a name was given by Oman. After that, cyclone ‘Gulab‘ will make landfall in the region. Pakistan has suggested cyclone Gulab’s name.

New dinosaur found in Mexico was ‘very communicative’: study

  • A new species of dinosaur identified by Mexican paleontologists is believed to have been “very communicative” and used low-frequency sounds like elephants to talk to each other.
  • The specimen, which has been named Tlatolophusgalorum, is thought to have died around 72 million years ago in what is now Mexico’s northern state of Coahuila.
  • The discovery is still under investigation, but research about the ancient reptile has already been published in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research, according to the INAH.

Sputnik roll out begins, to cost ₹995 per dose

  • India’s third Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Sputnik V, was launched on recently at a price of Rs 995 a dose (inclusive of taxes) for the imported version by Dr Reddy lab.
  • The two-dose vaccine, given 21 days apart, has an efficacy of 97.6 per cent, according to RDIF and the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

African Swine Fever struck Meghalay

  • The African Swine Fever has stuck Meghalaya.
  • Earlier, it had struck Mizoram.
  • It was first detected in Africa in 1920s.
  • The disease is transmitted through direct contact.

India has most cities in the world vulnerable to environmental risks

  • Asian cities face the greatest risk from environmental issues including air pollution and natural disasters, according to a report by research firm Verisk Maplecroft.
  • Of the 100 most vulnerable cities, 99 are in Asia.
  • Of those, 37 are in China and 43 are in India, the world’s first and third biggest emitters of greenhouse gases respectively.
  • Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, topped the list of combined risk based on all nine factors analyzed by Verisk Maplecroft.
  • India is home to 13 of the 20 riskiest cities in the world, a result of its extreme levels of air and water pollution.
  • Lima is the only city outside Asia among the top 100 most at-risk cities overall.
  • Glasgow was ranked the safest among the 576 cities examined for that factor.

No use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19: WHO

  • The Health Minister of Goa recently recommended the use of “Ivermectin” to all people above the age of eighteen years.
  • However, the World Health Organisation has warned against its use now.

NASA Spacecraft Osiris-Rex coming to Earth

  • The NASA Spacecraft called the “Osiris-Rex” has started a two-year long journey back to the earth.
  • The spacecraft reached asteroid Bennu in 2018.
  • The mission was launched to study asteroid Bennu. The mission spent 2.5 years mapping the surface of Bennu.
  • In 2020, the scientists directed Osiris Rex to drop down and collect sixty kilo grams of regolith (top soil).
  • It is the most hazardous asteroids currently known to the earth.

Persons/places

Professor MS Narasimhan: Famous mathematician Professor MS Narasimhan has passed away on May 16. Known for the Narasimhan-Seshadri theorem, the mathematician was the only Indian to receive the King Faisal International Prize in the field of science.

Indu Jain:TIMES GROUP Chairman Indu Jain died of Covid-related complications recently. Indu Jain took over as the company chairman in 1999 after the death of her husband Ashok Jain, the owner of Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited. She also headed the board of trustees of BharatiyaJnanpith Trust.

Sachin Waze: He is a police officer whohas been dismissed recently from service by the Mumbai Police Commissioner under Article 311 (2) (b).Sachin Waze was arrested by the National Investigation Agencyin connection with Mukesh Ambani Terror Scare case and also in relation to the murder of Mansukh Hiran.

V Chandrasekhar: Arjuna award-winning former India table tennis player V Chandrasekhar died due to COVID-19 related complications, family sources.Chandra, as he was popularly known, was a three-time national champion.

PadmakumarMadhavan: He has been appointed as the CEO of Bad Bank. The Bad Bank is a proposed entity of the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARC).Currently Mr Nair is serving as the Chief General Manager in charge of Stressed Assets of SBI.

HomenBorgohain: Assamese writer, journalist and Sahitya Akademi awardee — passed away at a private hospital in Guwahati.

Awards/Honours

Miss Universe 2020

  • Andrea Meza of Mexico has been crowned the Miss Universe, 2020.
  • The 69th edition of Miss Universe was held on May 16, 2021 in Florida, United States.
  • Julia Gama of Brazil was the runner up and JanickMaceta of Peru finished third.
  • Miss India AdlineCastelino made it to the top four.

NukluPhom of Nagaland won Whitley Awards, 2021

  • Whitley Awards are called “Green Oscar”.
  • The Whitley Award 2021 has been won by NukluPhom, the only Indian to receive this award.
  • He belongs to the state of Nagaland.
  • It is presented to recognise grass root level conservation leaders.
  • NukluPhom is creating “Biodiversity Peace Corridors”. The main objective of the extend the “Yaongyimchen Community Biodiversity Area”.

Sports

High jumper Tejaswin Shankar clinches gold at Big 12 Championships in US

  • Indian high jumper Tejaswin Shankar has claimed a gold medal at the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Manhattan, USA.
  • Representing Kanasas State University, Tejaswin cleared 2.28 metres, making a facility record.
  • It was also the season’s finest performance for the Indian but a centimetre short of his personal best and the current national record of 2.29m which he created in 2018.

Leicester beat Chelsea to claim first FA Cup

  • Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the “historical achievement” of his side in beating Chelsea 1-0 to lift the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s 137-year history.

Nadal, Swiatek crowned Italian Open champions

  • Rafael Nadal and IgaSwiatek won the Italian Open singles titles after heavily contrasting finals in Rome.
  • Nadal overcame arch-rival Novak Djokovic 7-5 1-6 6-3 in the duo’s 57th career meeting after Swiatek demolished Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 in a mere 46 minutes.

Manchester City crowned Premier League champions for 3rd time in four seasons

  • In the English Premier League, Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Manchester United crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Leicester.
  • City have already won the League Cup this season and can secure a treble if they beat Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29.

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