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A two-day meeting of 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials held in New Delhi
On 11th April 2019, the 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) was held at New Delhi to improve the connectivity and strengthen the cooperation in the maritime sector between Indian and the ASEAN countries.
i. It was co-chaired by Smt. Vijay Thakur Singh, SOM Leader and Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India and H.E. Mrs. Busaya Mathelin, SOM Leader and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand.
ii. India welcomed Thailand for its role as Country Coordinator of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership for the period 2018-2021 and also praised Thailand for the Chairmanship of ASEAN for 2019.
iii. In this Meeting, the senior officials were decided to enhance the cooperation in Renewable Energy and hold an ASEAN-India Conference on Renewable Energy in 2019. In this project, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) will be the co-partners.
iv.This partnership was implemented through the ‘Plan of Action (2016-20) to execute the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity’.
About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
♦ Headquarters: Jakarta, Indonesia
♦ Founded: 8th August 1967
♦ Member Countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Haryana CEO Rajeev Ranjan inaugurates Voter Park in Gurugram
On 11th April 2019, Haryana Chief Electoral Officer Rajeev Ranjan inaugurated India’s first-of-its-kind ‘Voter Park’ in Vikas Sadan building complex, Gurugram, to raise voter awareness by instructing people about the electoral process. At the park, voters will gain information about the polling process and the archives of elections in the country.
i. A model of the electronic voting machine and VVPAT machine have been arranged in the park.
ii. There is a “Selfie Point” in the park,where people can snap selfies publicising the indelible ink mark on their finger after casting their vote.
iii. An Election awareness song “Vote Ka Hai Adhikar, Suno Re Vote Ka Hai Adhikar“. was also launched in the function. Swaty, a student of the Government Women College, Sector-14, Gurugram, has sung the song.
♦ Capital : Chandigarh
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ Governor : Satyadev Narayan Arya
G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meet during 2019 annual Spring Meeting
G-20 conducted the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee and the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting during the 2019 Annual Spring Meeting in Washington, DC.
i. The meeting was held to discuss progress on the work of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and to explain Structural Reform Steps package and the economic policies of the new period.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
ISRO partners with CMFRI and signs MoU to conserve smaller wetlands to combat effects of climate change
For the very 1st time, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has partnered with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) to map, validate and protect smaller wetlands in the coastal region and preserve them through coastal livelihood programmes. This has been done to build a strong foundation against the effects of climate change.
i. The collaborative move of the 2 institutes was part of a national framework for fisheries and wetlands that was recently developed by the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) project of CMFRI.
ii. A release from CMFRI notified that these premier institutes would develop a mobile app and a centralised web portal (that would include a complete database of Indian wetlands smaller than 2.25 hectares).
iii. Smaller wetlands in India cover a total area of more than 5 lakh hectares, with Kerala alone having 2,592 smaller wetlands.
iv. Between the CMFRI and the Space Applications Centre of ISRO, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed.
v. According to the MoU, the main aim of CMFRI and ISRO is to identify and separate the various wetlands and perform the act of conservation of the degraded wetlands through suitable livelihood options eg. coastal aquaculture of shrimp and crab farming.
vi. The app will be used for real-time dynamic monitoring of the wetlands. It will also give advisories to stakeholders and coastal people.
vii. The objective of the NICRA project is to find ways and means to diminish the impact of climate change in coastal region and marine fisheries.
Google Pay partners with MMTC-PAMP to introduce buying and selling of Gold
Google Pay has partnered with Bullion refiner MMTC-PAMP India to initiate buying and selling of gold through the app to make Google Pay more useful for Indian customers. MMTC-PAMP is India’s only London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)-accredited gold refinery.
i. Through this pact, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99 per cent 24-karat gold for any value, which will be stored on behalf of the user in secure vaults by MMTC-PAMP.
ii. Google pay users can now buy and sell gold any time at the latest price.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Image of a crying toddler at US border won the World Press Photo award 2019
On 12th April 2019, An image of a little girl crying, titled “Crying Girl on the Border”, as she and her mother have been taken into custody by US border officials in Texas, won the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year.
i. Veteran Getty photographer John Moore took the picture in the Rio Grande Valley on 12th June 2018.
ii. The little girl in this picture name Yanela and her mother Sandra Sanchez illegally crossed the US-Mexican border last year.
iii. The picture caused a public outcry about Washington’s controversial policy to separate thousands of migrants from their children.
iv. Also, Dutch-Swedish photographer Pieter Ten Hoopen won the “World Press Photo Story of the Year Award” for the image of 2018 mass-migrant caravan to the US border.
v. Last year, photographer Ronaldo Schemidt won the World Press Photo Award with a fiery image of a masked Venezuelan protester in flames.
Dr A K Singh Receives Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 For Contributions In Life Sciences, Aerospace and Aeronautics.
On 11th April 2019, Dr A K Singh, director at Life Sciences, DRDO has been honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 during 4th APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave at Chandigarh University, Mohali. He has made notable contributions in Internal Decorporation of Fission Produced Radionuclides and Infection Imaging. The conclave was organised by the university to note World Creativity and Innovation Day.
i .He has contributed to more than 57 research publications and patented more than 18 project.
ii. To detect the infectious lesion, he discovered a “Diagnobact” Kit. And also introduced Pharmacosyntigraphy, i.e. application of nuclear medicine imaging in drug research.
4th Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave :
i. For Best Innovative Project Awards 2019, 965 innovative projects competed against each other.
ii. Pankaj Sharma bagged the first position and Best Innovation of the Year Award 2019, for Smart Trolley Bag project.
iii. Pratul and Abhishek shared second place.Pratul acquired award for for Automatic Toilet Cleaner project and Abhishek won for prototype model for Accident Management System respectively.
iv.Third prize was jointly won by Vaibhav and Daniyal for ‘treatment of textile affluent and plastic with bio-mass to help in controlling water and air-pollution’.
v. Ravinder Tonk, a faculty of Department of Mechanical Engineering got Best Innovation of the Year Award in faculty category for developing Smart Elevator.
vi. Second place won by Simrandeep Singh, faculty from Electronics & Communication Engineering.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation :
♦ Founded: 1958
♦ Jurisdiction: India
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Professor Najma Akhtar named as the first woman vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI)
On 11th April 2019, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration Professor Najma Akhtar has been appointed as the first women vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) for a period of five years by the President of India. She will succeed Talat Ahmad.
i. Jamia Millia Islamia was founded in 1920 in Aligarh and this appointment took place under the Statutes of Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988.
ii. She is a gold medalist from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and was the founder director of State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT), Uttar Pradesh
iii. She held posts of faculty and Controller of Examinations and Admissions and Director, Academic Programmes at AMU.
iv. Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla is the Jamia Millia Islamia University’s (JMI) chancellor.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
PayU acquires Wibmo for USD 70 million
On 12th April, 2019, PayU, Digital payments security and payment facilitator has acquired Wibmo, a US-based financial technology for USD 70 million (Rs 484 crore) to assist the company scale-up its business.
i. Under the agreement, Wibmo will continue to serve all of its clients as a wholly-owned subsidiary of PayU.
ii. The accession integrates PayU’s strong merchant network and Wibmo’s leadership for digital transaction security solutions to offer payments solutions in India for growth markets.
Telecom Department sanctions merger of TTSL and Bharti Airtel
The Telecom Department has sanctioned the merger of TTSL (Tata Teleservices Limited) consumer mobility business with Bharti Airtel, subject to the condition that Sunil Mittal led firm provides bank guarantees of about Rs. 7,200 crore.
i. The contract is mostly associated with one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) and some deferred airwave charges.
ii. Manoj Sinha, telecom minster has conditionally approved the merger and that letters mentioning the guarantees were sent to Tata Teleservices Limited and its listed unit Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (TTML).
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Research paper on ‘NASA Twins’ reveals that spaceflight has an effect on the human genome
A paper on ‘NASA Twins’ has revealed that spaceflight has an effect on the gut microbiome; the effects however appear to be significant and temporary.
i. The research findings have been published in the journal named ‘Science’ in which results from 10 other research teams are there that examined the nature of the human body’s response to spaceflight.
ii. The goal of the study is to determine the physiological and psychological health impacts of long-term spaceflight by comparing the effect of space on one twin to the impact of the environment of earth on another twin.
iii. The twins involved in the study were 2 fifty-year old astronauts (at the time of the study): Scott Kelly ( he flew a 1-year mission aboard the International Space Station which ended in March 2016) and his twin brother, Mark Kelly who stayed on Earth while his brother was in orbit.
iv. Stefan Green was the 1st author of the research study managed the genetic sequencing and analysis of the gut microbes.
v. The research findings stated that isolation and confinement are some of the main obstacles related to long-term space missions and these factors negatively affect the astronaut gut microbiome.
vi. It was also found that living in a microgravity environment (during spaceflight) can: damage DNA, impact individual genes, increase the length of telomeres (the shielding caps that protect the chromosomal endings in humans), thicken artery walls and increase inflammation.
vii. But the vast majority of these changes are transient and disappear within just a few months of returning to the Earth’s environment.
Scientists Developed a New Novel Sensor to Detect Dangerous Chemicals
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US have manufactured a tiny spectrometer that can be used in smartphone-sized devices to identify dangerous chemicals based on a unique “fingerprint” of emitted and absorbed light. The study has been published in the Journal Nature Communications.
i. This single shot spectrometer has an advanced capability called hyperspectral imaging, i.e, the device can collect every information about each individual pixel in an image to identify materials.
ii. Every element’s spectral fingerprint holds a unique wavelength of light, and the ability of the device to sense that light is what has enabled researchers to reveal the required data.
iii. The tiny spectrometer measures 200 micrometres on each side (roughly one-20th the area of a ballpoint pen tip) and delicate enough to occupy directly on a sensor from a typical digital camera.
iv. The device is developed by a specially designed materials that forced incoming light to bounce back and forth several times before reaching the sensor and as a result of that size of the device reduced.
Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mark Boucher: inducted by MCC as honorary life members for outstanding achievements in cricket
MCC (the Marylebone Cricket Club) has bestowed the honour of ‘Honorary Life Members’ to Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq and South Africa’s Mark Boucher for their exemplary achievements in the field of cricket.
i. Former Pakistan skipper and batsman, Inzamam-ul-Haq played 119 Test matches, captained them from 2001-07 and scored 8,829 runs at an average of 50.16, inclusive of 25 centuries.
ii. Inzamam-ul-Haq made his international debut in 1991 and featured in Pakistan’s successful 1992 World Cup campaign. He played in a total of 378 ODIs, scoring 11,739 runs at an average of 39.5 and thus became 6th in the list.
iii. In 2007, since his retirement from international cricket, he was the head coach of Afghanistan team, after which in 2016, he became Pakistan’s chief selector.
iv. Now on becoming an honorary life member of MCC, Inzamam-ul-Haq joins the list of great Pakistan cricketers, namely, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi.
About Mark Boucher:
i. Former South African wicketkeeper and batsman, Mark Boucher was the first glovesman to take 500 catches in the longest format in Test Cricket.
ii. He made his debut in 1997, after which he went on to play 146 Test matches and scored 5498 runs, taking 530 catches and 23 stumpings. He holds the combined-format international record for wicket-keeping dismissals- total of 998.
iii. Boucher, now a coach of the Titans in South Africa has joined his countrymen, namely, Allan Donald, Jonty Rhodes, Shaun Pollock and Daryll Cullinan as an Honorary Life Member of MCC.
Renowned Hindi poet Pradeep Choubey passed away aged 70
On 12th April 2019, Hindi poet Pradeep Choubey passed away at the age of 70 in his home due to a cardiac arrest.
i. He was born on August 26, 1949, in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district.
ii. He was also suffering from cancer.
iii. To pursue his passion for poetry, he quit his job at Dena Bank.
Paripooranand Painuli, Former Congress MP and freedom fighter passed away
Eminent Paripooranand Painuli, former Congress MP and freedom fighter passed away on 13th April, 2019, at his residence in the Vasant Vihar, Delhi at the age of 94.
i. Painuli was known for his participation in the Quit India Movement at 17 age and also led a non-violent movement against the Tehri-Garhwal state in 1949.
ii. He was born on 19th November, 1924, and was elected to the 5th Lok Sabha in 1971.
Former Liverpool captain Tommy Smith passed away aged 74
On 12th April 2019, Liverpool legend Tommy Smith who was famously nicknamed the ‘Anfield Iron’ passed away at the age of 74 at Green Heyes nursing home in Park Road, Waterloo, Crosby after fighting a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
i. He was born on 5th April 1945 in Liverpool, England.
ii. He spent 18 years with Liverpool and won four league titles and one European Cup.
iii. He helped Liverpool to win the first of their five European Cups in 1977.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Jeff Kinney comes out with a book ‘Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid:Rowley Jefferson’s Journal’
Jeff Kinney, an eminent author has emerged out with a new book titled “Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal”. The book is written from the opinion of Rowley Jefferson, the best friend of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ supporter Greg Heffley.
i. This book is Jeff Kinney’s first outside of his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. It has been published by Amulet Books.
ii. The book is written in Kinney’s trademark humour. It will also mark around 350 black-and-white illustrations.
The World Allergy Week 2019, observed from 07-13 April 2019 on Theme: “The Global Problem of Food Allergy”
World Allergy Week is an annual global initiative of the World Allergy Organisation (WAO) and is being observed worldwide between 7th to 13th of April, 2019. The theme for this year is “The Global Problem of Food Allergy“.
i.The prime objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of the effect of allergic diseases and related disorders in our communities and provide support for the proper training, diagnosis, management, and prevention of the diseases.
ii.The World Allergy Organization (WAO) addresses a different theme every year to mark the need for greater awareness among communities. In order to bring this to fruition, the WAO provides the general public and the physicians with a webinar, infographic material and additional information to provide education and dissipation of awareness on the topic.
iii.In 2019, World Allergy Week Webinar was held for 2 hours in English on 12th April.
More about the World Allergy Week
♦ WAO first hosted “World Allergy Day” in July 2005 in association with the biennial World Allergy Congress. It is celebrated annually on 8 July.
♦ The establishment of World Allergy Week was approved by the WAO Board of Directors in 2011.
Centenary of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre observed on 13th April 2019
On 13th April 2019, the 100th anniversary of Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre also known as the Amritsar massacre was observed.
i. On 13th April 1919 a huge number of people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to celebrate the harvest festival of Baisakhi and to protest against the Rowlatt Act.
ii. On that event, troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Dyer opened fire at the people.
iii. Dominic Asquith, the British High Commissioner to India, laid a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial to mark the centenary of the massacre.
iv. Also, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the Jallianwala Bagh massacre as a “shameful scar” on British Indian history.
Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Fauji’ Director, Colonel Raj Kapoor, Passes Away
On 10th April 2019,the Actor-cum-Director, Colonel Raj Kapoor,87, has passed away at a Hospital in Delhi due to age-related issues. He directed Shah Rukh Khan’s television debut, Fauji. He produced many serials and appeared in full-length and ad films.
i. He published a novel “When Shiva Smiles“a few years ago. He also had written an essay in Samar Khan’s book titled “SRK – 25 Years of a Life“.
ii. He acted in the movie LahuKe Do Rang (1979).
An autobiography of noted social worker Sankurathri Chandrasekhar, named ‘Ashakiranam,’ released
On 11th April 2019, ‘Ashakiranam’ (A Ray of Hope), an autobiography of noted social worker Sankurathri Chandrasekhar, was released by Religious scholar Chaganti Koteswara Rao.
i. The autobiography was translated into Telugu by Godavarthi Satyamurthy and reviewed by the writer and literary critic Vadrevu Veeralakshmi Devi.
Writer, Orator and Former Kerala Additional Chief Secretary D Babu Paul Passes Away
On 13th April 2019, Former additional chief secretary and writer Dr.Daniel Babu Paul,77, has passed away at a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram due to a heart ailment. He was the author of the first Malayalam Bible Dictionary ‘Veda SabdaRathnakaran’. In 2001,he published the autobiography ‘Katha Ithuvare’.
i. Paul was a member Ombudsman for local self-government institutions of Kerala during 2000-2001 and he is a member of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).
ii. He had also worked as the Vice Chancellor of Kerala University, Chairman, Transport Commissioner, Finance Secretary and Cochin Port Trust.
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