Current Affairs April 21 2019

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India ranked 17th in the global startup ecosystem from 37
On 20th April 2019, India ranked at 17th position among 100 countries in 2018, from the 37th spot in 2017 in the Startup Ecosystem Ranking for 2019 as per the data released by StartupBlink.

Global-startup-ecosystem-RankingKey Points:
i. The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada are the top three countries ranked the first, second and third respectively in terms of global rankings.
ii. This ranking was based on the strength of its startup ecosystem.
iii. Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Mumbai are the cities with the most vibrant startup ecosystems in India. Bengaluru ranked the top startup city in India at 11th spot, while New Delhi followed it at 18th spot and Mumbai at 29th rank.
iv. Total 3800 new startups were launched in India during 2018 and Overall, Indian startups received $11 bn of funding through 743 deals in 2018 according to Inc42 DataLabs.

A Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report has been released by the US Department of Justice
The Attorney General William Barr of US has released 448 pages redacted version of Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Election” which claims that the special counsel found no evidence of Russian meddling in US election in 2016. A special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate the Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Key Findings by Special Counsel Robert Mueller
i. According to a special counsel Robert Mueller, the Russian government interfered through the Internet Research Agency in the 2016 US election in ‘sweeping and systematic fashion’.
ii. Earlier the aim of Russian interference is to undermine the US electoral system but in early 2016 the aim was to favour Trump as a President of US and harm Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
About US
♦ Capital: Washington D.C
♦ Currency: US Dollar

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

D&B report cited Business Sentiments down by 7.7% for Q2 in 2019
According to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) report, business sentiments on the country’s financial and macroeconomic conditions continue to decline in the second quarter of 2019 as compared to the second quarter in 2018. D&B Composite Business Optimism Index conclude 78.4 scores during Q2 2019 as compared to 85.0 during Q2 2018, a decline of 7.7%.
Key Highlights
i. According to D&B report, the business sentiments were improved by 6.3% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
ii. The Q1 decline in the business sentiments was because of the unfolding of bank frauds and the tightening norms of Letter of Comfort (LoC) and Letter of undertaking (LOU) which result in the liquidity reduction.
iii. The marginal improvement in the business sentiment in Q2 as compared to Q1 was mainly due to monetary and liquidity easing, a steady inflow of foreign investments, increased forex reserves among others.
About Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)
♦ Headquarter: New Jersey, United States
♦ CEO: Anthony Jabbour

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Indian-American Professor Sree Sreenath inducted into 2019 class of  Cleveland International Hall of Fame
Professor SreeSreenathProf. Sree N Sreenath, President of Sewa International since 2009, has been inducted into the 10th class of Cleveland Hall of Fame along with five other inductees – Paul Burick, Ingrida Bublys, Dr. Akram Boutros, Richard Fleischman and Marilyn Madigan from over 100 nominations.
i. Sreenath, Faculty at Case Western Reserve University, inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contributions in applications in systems biology, global issues and sustainable development on April 16th by Ramesh Shah of the Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio.
ii. He earned BE in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University and is currently serving as Director of  Case GEMNI (Graduate Engineering & Management National and International) Programme at Case Western Reserve University.
About Sewa International:
♦ Area:  Charitable Organisation
♦ Founded  :  2003
♦ Chairman : Ramesh Mehta

The Intellectual Property Rights Cell (IPR Cell) of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) selected for the National Intellectual Property Award 2019
On 19th April 2019, The Intellectual Property Rights cell (IPR cell) of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has been selected for the National Intellectual Property Award 2019 for its contributions in best facilitation for registration of Geographical Indications and promotion of registered GI in the country.
Key Points:
i. This award comprising prize money of Rs 1 lakh and will be presented in a function to be held in New Delhi on 26th April, World Intellectual Property Day 2019.
ii. The award was constituted by the Indian Intellectual Property Office under the central ministry of industry and commerce to confer the persons and organizations working in the field of patents, trademarks and Geographical Indications (GI).
iii. KAU IPR cell which is headed by Dr.C.R.Elsy, who had won special citation for GI-related activities from Controller of general patents, trademarks, and GIs in 2018 and also won the Plant Genome savior awards in 2016.
About Kerala
♦ Capital: Thiruvananthapuram
♦ Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Dance form: Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Thiruvathirakali, Chakyar Koothu Koodiyattam, and Ottamthullal.

Malayalam film “Bhayanakam” won the best cinematography award at Beijing International Film Festival
On 20th April 2019, Malayalam film Bhayanakam (Fear) which was directed by Jayaraj won the best cinematography award at the Beijing International Film Festival and had also won the best cinematography award at the 65th National Film Awards.
Key Points:
i. Nikhil S Praveen did the cinematography. The film portrayed the visits of the First World War veteran to a small village in the backwaters of Kerala’s Kuttanad as a postman during the World War-II.
ii. The festival also screened five Indian films which included Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar, Aparajito, Love per Square Foot, and Ittefaq.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Former Cricketer Ravi Shastri appointed as a Corporate Ambassador of the Dubai based ‘RAKEZ’
Head Coach of the India National Cricket Team, former Indian Cricketer and TV commentator, Ravi Shastri, also known as “Champion of Champions” was appointed as Exclusive Corporate Ambassador to the Indian Business Community of Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) in Dubai.

Ravi Shastrii. Indian companies in RAKEZ are carrying on operations in various fields, namely, 1,600 in the commercial field, around 1,000 in services, more than 350 in general trading and around 100 in the industrial sector.
ii. RAKEZ in UAE is one of the leading hubs for businesses operating in commercial, service & consultancy field that uniquely offers customizable solutions to free zone and non-free zone businesses with Ramy Jallad as the CEO of RAKEZ Group.
Ravi Jayadritha Shastri’s achievements:
i. He played for the India National Cricket Team between 1981 and 1992 in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and was a member of India’s World Cup winning team in 1983.
ii. Ravi Shastri was awarded “Champion of Champions” when India won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia in 1985. In the same season, on 10th January 1985, he equaled West Indian Garry Sobers’s record of hitting 6 sixes in an over in first-class cricket.
iii. In domestic cricket, Ravi Shastri played for Mumbai cricket team and led them to the Ranji Trophy title. In 2014, he became the director of Indian cricket team for a period of eight months from India’s tour of England till the 2015 World Cup.
iv. On 13 July 2017, Ravi Shastri was appointed as the head coach of an Indian cricket team.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

US scientists used HIV to make gene therapy that cured eight infants of “bubble boy” disease
US researchers have used HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) to develop a gene therapy that cured 8 infants who were treated at St. Jude and at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco of a rare combined immunodeficiency disease termed as “bubble boy” disorder.
i. Results of the research were developed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee hospital and were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
ii. The disorder is termed as “bubble boy” after David Vetter, born in 1971, had to live in a sterile plastic bubble because the disease made him extremely vulnerable to infectious diseases outside the bubble. He died at age 12 after a failed bone marrow transplant.
iii. Previously, untreated babies with this disorder had to live in completely sterile conditions and died as infants but now with gene therapy, it can be cured soon after birth.
What is the “Bubble Boy” syndrome?
Terminations:
“Bubble boy” or SCID (Severe combined immunodeficiency) is also known as alymphocytosis, Glanzmann–Riniker syndrome,  severe mixed immunodeficiency syndrome, and thymic alymphoplasia.
How is it caused?
SCID  is caused by a mutation in the ‘Interleukin-2 receptor Subunit Gamma Gene’ (IL2RG) that produces a protein which is crucial for normal immune system development.
i. The disease affects 1 in 200,000 newborns, mostly males and without any treatment, it often kills the child in the first 2 years of life.
Treatment:
i. The gene-therapy treatment first collects the baby’s bone marrow, then replaces the mutated gene ‘IL2RG’ with a corrected copy by inserting  the “correct” gene into an altered version of one of HIV virus.
ii. Thus, with this treatment, the babies born with ‘SCID-X’ with very little immune protection,  now have fully functional immune systems including T (thymus cells) and B(bone marrow- or bursa-derived cells) cells and natural killer (NK) cells after gene therapy treatment.

SPORTS

The 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion, Asbel Kiprop banned for 4 years for doping
The International Association of Athletics Federation Disciplinary Tribunal (IAAF) has banned the 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion and 3-time world champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya for 4 years for doping until February 2022.
Asbel Kipropi. Kiprop was suspended by IAAF’s Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) in May 2018 after having tested positive to blood-boosting Erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition test in Kenya in November 2017. His backup “B” sample also tested positive for EPO.
ii. Asbel Kiprop was awarded gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics after race winner Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain failed a doping test and had his medal taken off.

OBITUARY

Famous Bengali Folk Singer Amar Paul died at the age of 97
Amar Paul, an eminent Bengali folk singer passed away due to cardiac arrest in SSKM Hospital at Kolkata, West Bengal at the age of 97.
Singer Amar paulKey Highlights
i. He was born on May 19, 1922, at Brahmanbaria, presently in Bangladesh. In his childhood, he had taken music lessons from his mother Durgasundari Paul and later he learned folk music from Suren Chakraborty and Mani Chakraborty and classical music from Ayat Ali Khan.
ii. In the early 1950s, he joined All India Radio as a folk singer and also lent his voice to the number of films including Satyajit Ray’s famous movie “Hirak Rajar Deshe” which brought him instant fame.
iii. He was awarded by Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to the folk music of West Bengal. He honored with numerous other awards including West Bengal State Academy of Dance, Music and Visual Arts, and Lalan Puraskar for folk music.
About West Bengal
♦ Capital: Kolkata
♦ Governor: Keshari Nath Tripathi
♦ Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee
♦ Dance Forms: Baul, Purulia Chhau, Santhali, Mundari, Gambhira, Gajan, Durga Puja Dhak, Dhol Badan
♦ Important National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries: Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Jaldapara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

IMPORTANT DAYS

April 21 observed as National Civil Service Day
National Civil Service Day is observed every year on April 21. The function was organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and Pensions during which PM gave “Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration” to best civil servants. The first time this award was given in 2006 at the function in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Since then, we celebrate National Civil Service Day every year on April 21.But this year, it was not observed on 21st April 2019 due to Lok Sabha elections.The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances has stated that it will be celebrated once the new government takes over or may even consider clubbing this year’s celebrations with the next year’s programme.

National Civil Service Dayi. April 21 is observed as a National Civil Service Day every year because on the same date in 1947, Home Minister Sardar Patel inaugurated the All India Services and addressed the first batch of probationary officers at All India Administrative Service Training School at Metcalfe House, New Delhi and called bureaucrats as the “steel-frame of India”.

Administrative Professionals (Secretary’s) Day 2019 observed on April 21
On 21st April 2019, Secretary’s day or Admin Day was observed across India through community events and social gatherings to recognize the work of secretaries, receptionists, administrative assistants, and other administrative support professionals. The day of its observance varies to countries.
i. In the United States, it is celebrated annually on the Wednesday of the last full week of April (April 22 – 26, 2019).
ii. First National secretaries week celebrated on June 1 to 7 in 1952 and first Admin day is observed on June 4, 1952, which is sponsored by National Secretaries Association.

World Creativity and Innovation Day observed on 21st April 
On 21st April 2019, the World Creativity and Innovation Day was observed to encourage people to use creativity in problem-solving for all issues related to achieving the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
Key Points:
i. On 27th April 2017, the United Nations (UN) recognized 21st April as an official World Creativity and Innovation Day and 2018 marks the first year the UN was observed WCID.
ii. The day was first commemorated in over 50 countries around the world on 21st April 2002.  In 2006, this day became a week starting from 15th April, which is Leonardo Davinci’s birthday; an icon of cross-disciplinary creativity in the arts and sciences.
iii. Marci Segal, a creativity expert, saw a headline in the newspaper “Canada in Creativity Crisis” and after reading that she came up with this idea of creating World Creativity and Innovation Day which was in April 2002.

STATE NEWS

Sahitya  Akademi honours Veteran authors from Chandigarh
On 20th April 2019, The Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi (CSA) honored veteran authors from Chandigarh at Punjab Kala Bhawan. Former president of the National Sahitya Akademi Prof Vishwanath Prasad Tewari conferred awards to the writers in different segments in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and Sanskrit by presenting them a citation, a shawl and a cash prize of Rs 51,000 each.
i. Five writers, Dr Chaman Ahuja (Urdu), Dr Om Prakash Vasishta (Punjabi), Professor Tejwant Singh Gill (English), Dr Prasoon Prasad (Hindi) and Professor Virender Kumar Alankar (Sanskrit) were given the award of recognition for their lifelong contribution in the field of literature.
ii. Other Awards are:
Best Book Award in English (Novel ) – Masha Kaur
Best Book Award in Hindi (Novel)- Shashi Prabha
Best Book Award (Poetry)-Amarjeet Amar
Best story -Pragya Sharda
Best children’s literature – Anita Surbhi
Best Translation – Jang Bahadur Goyal
Best children’s literature (Punjabi)-Daljit Kaur Saini
Best Book Award in Punjabi (Novel)- Narender Pal Singh Komal
Best Book Award in Punjabi (Poetry) -Subhash Sharma
Best Translation in Punjabi -Arvinder Johal
Best Book Award in Urdu (Poetry)- Professor S S Bhatti
About Chandigarh:
♦ Formation: 1 November 1966
♦ Nickname: The City of Beauty
♦ Famous Folk Dances : Giddha, Sammi, Bhangra, Teeyan, Jhumar, Gatka, Dhamal, Luddi, Kikili, Julli and Dankara.
♦ Major Festivals : Baisakhi, Lohri, HollaMohalla, Gurpurab, BhaiyaDooj(Tikka), Teeyan, KarwaChauth

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