Current Affairs

20 July, 2021

International

Qatar Airways Became 1st Airline from Middle East to Join IATA’s Turbulence Aware Platform

Qatar Airways joined the Turbulence Aware platform of the International Air Transport Association(IATA), a data resource to help airlines avoid turbulence. It became the first airline from the Middle East to join the IATA Turbulence aware platform which was launched in 2018. The platform helps the airlines to reduce the impacts of turbulence, the main cause of passenger and crew injuries and higher fuel costs. The platform shares the anonymized turbulence data collected from multiple participating airlines which will allow the pilots to choose an optimal flight path avoiding turbulence and fly at optimum level to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emission.

Singapore Unveils One of the World’s Largest Floating Solar Panel Farms

Singapore implemented one of the world’s largest floating solar panel farms, spanning an area equivalent to 45-hectare (111.2 acres) and producing electricity to power the island’s 5 water treatment plants. The project would generate electricity from the 122,000 solar panels on the site. The project aims to multiple its solar energy production by 4 times by 2025 to tackle climate change. Floating solar farms will perform between 5 percent to 15 percent better than land solar farms because of the cooling effect of the water.

National

Uttarakhand Celebrates Shravan Harela Festival 2021, Marks the Beginning of Monsoon

Shravan Harela festival 2021, an important folk festival celebrated across the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand on 16th July which marks the beginning of the monsoon. The word Harela means “Green Leaves”. The day also symbolises the new harvest and it is celebrated by planting the saplings. The Harela festival also commemorates the wedding of Hindu Gods Shiva and Parvathi.

Celebration of Harela Festival:
The Harela is celebrated thrice every year, First Harela is celebrated during Chaitra Navratri in the month of Chaitra, Second Harela is celebrated during Sharad Navratri in the month of Ashwin Third, Shravan Harela is celebrated in the Hindu calendar month of Shravan (late July).

Events: On the occasion of Harela festival, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand planted saplings at the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) Battalion Headquarters at Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
About Uttarakhand:
Rivers– Saryu River, Ganga, Yamuna river, Alaknanda River
UNESCO Sites– Valley of Flowers National Park, Nanda Devi National Park

2nd Edition of CII Conference & Exhibition ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Self-Reliance for Renewable Energy Manufacturing’ held virtually

i.Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized the second edition of Digital Conference & Exhibition ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Self-Reliance for Renewable Energy Manufacturing’ virtually in collaboration with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) under its RE-INVEST agenda and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

ii.As a part of Conference a 15-day Digital Exhibition also initiated showcasing the latest from the Renewable Energy world.
iii.Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh announced that India will exceed its target of reducing carbon emission to 33% set by 2030 under the Paris agreement.
iv.During the inaugural session, a report on ‘A Roadmap for Self-Reliance in RE Manufacturing’ was released which was developed by CII-in partnership with PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd).
About Confederation of Indian Industry (CII):
Establishment– 1895
Director General– Chandrajit Banerjee
Headquarter– New Delhi
Theme 2021-22– Building India for a New World: Competitiveness, Growth, Sustainability, Technology
About Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA):
It is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Establishment– 1987
Headquarter– New Delhi

India’s First Pod taxi to be Launched in UP Between Noida Airport, Film City

India’s 1st Pod taxi service to be launched in Uttar Pradesh (UP) between the upcoming ‘Noida International Airport’(NIA) (Jewar airport) and the proposed ‘Film city’ in Uttar Pradesh (UP). ‘Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority’ (YEIDA) has reported about the final Detailed Project Report (DPR) about the Project. The project will cost Rs.862 crore and it will run around 14.5 km between the airport and film city. On July 17, 2021, Zurich Airport International AG, the Swiss company, signed a shareholder agreement with Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) for the development of the NIA in Jewar, UP.

About Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA):
Establishment – 2001 (Formerly Taj Expressway Industrial Development Authority)
Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Chairman – Arvind Kumar

Economy

Centre releases Rs 75,000 crores to States, UTs as GST compensation

The Ministry of Finance on July 15, 2021, released Rs 75,000 crores to the States and Union Territories (UTs) to compensate them for the shortfall in revenue due to GST implementation.

The amount released by the Ministry of Finance is in addition to the normal GST compensation that is given out on a bi-monthly basis to States out of the actual cess collections, informed the Ministry of Finance.
“Almost 50 per cent of the total shortfall for the entire year was released in a single installment,” tweeted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

SEBI Introduced EL-based Rating Scale for CRAs

To protect the interest of investors in securities, the ‘Securities and Exchange Board of India’ (SEBI) has devised a certain new standardised rating scale viz. Expected Loss (EL) based RatingScale for the Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs). The EL based RatingScale has to be used by the CRAs while rating projects/instruments associated with the infrastructure sector. The EL-based rating symbols and their definitions provided by the CRAs were divided into a scale of 7 levels, spanning from lowest to highest expected loss.

7 Levels of EL Based Rating Scale:

Rating Symbol Definition for Instruments based on the rating symbol over the life of it
EL 1 Instruments Rated ‘EL 1’will indicate the lowest EL, over the life of the instrument
EL 2 Very low EL
EL 3 Low EL
EL 4 Moderate EL
EL 5 High EL
EL 6 Very high EL
EL 7 Highest EL
About Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs):
i.CRAs will be regulated by SEBI through the SEBI (CRA) Regulations, 1999, but SEBI will not be involved in the assessment made by the rating agency.
ii.Credit Rating and Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL) is India’s 1st CRA.

Sports

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins British Grand Prix 2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (Britain) won the British Grand Prix 2021 held at Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, United Kingdom (UK). This is Hamilton’s 8 victory at the British GP (his victory coming in 2008) & overall 99th GP victory. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (Monaco) finished 2nd while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (Finland) finished 3rd. F1 Drivers’ Championship leader Mercedes’ Max Verstappen (Netherlands) crashed out of the race after a collision with Lewis Hamilton. The F1 Championships are organised by Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

1st-ever F1 Sprint Qualifying Race
At the 2021 British GP, for the 1st time ever, a Sprint Qualifying Race was conducted to decide the Grid for the Race (Starting Position of Cars in a race).
About Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA):
President – Jean Todt
Headquarters – Paris, France

Cricket – ICC Welcomes Mongolia, Tajikistan and Switzerland as New Members

Mongolia, Tajikistan and Switzerland were inducted as Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) during ICC’s 78th Annual General Meeting.
With this, the total number of ICC members stands at 106 (12 Full Members, 94 Associate Members). Mongolia and Tajikistan were inducted as the 22nd and 23rd Members of the Asian region, whereas Switzerland is Europe’s 35th Member. Mongolia is set to host the International Youth Green Games in September 2021 in which Cricket has been selected as one of the participating sports.

Background
ICC was established in 1909 (originally called the Imperial Cricket Conference). England, Australia and South Africa were the initial members.
India joined ICC in 1926.
About International Cricket Council (ICC)
Chairman – Greg Barclay
Headquarters – Dubai, UAE

Miscellaneous

CJI NV Ramana launched FASTER to Securely and Electronically transmit Bail and other orders

i.The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana led bench has initiated a secure electronic transmission mechanism namely FASTER (Fast and Secure Transmission of Electronic Records) that will fast forward the process of bail i.e. instantaneous delivery of Supreme Court (SC) orders to concerned prisons, District Courts, High Courts through a secure communication channel in order to save time and efforts.
ii.The bench also had Justices Lavu Nageswara Rao and Ajjikuttira Somaiah (AS) Bopanna.
About Supreme Court of India (SCI):
There are 26 judges in SCI including CJI.
Establishment– 1950
Headquarter– New Delhi

Russia Test Fires Zircon Hypersonic Cruise Missile

Russia successfully test-fired the Zircon (also known as Tsirkon) Hypersonic Cruise Missile from Russian Navy’s Admiral Gorshkov warship in White Sea. The missile successfully hit a target situated more than 350 Kms (217 miles) away. Zircon meaning ‘Invincible’ is a winged, anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile. During the testing, the missile reached speeds of up to Mach 7.

Zircon Missile
Tsirkon hypersonic Cruise Missile is developed & manufactured by NPO Mashinostroyeniya. It is capable of hitting targets at sea and on land, it has a range of 1000 kms and is capable of flying at the speed of Mach 9. It is set to be deployed on both warships and submarines.
About Russia
President – Vladimir Putin
Capital – Moscow
Currency – Russian Ruble

ICCR launches ‘Kala Vishwa’ Virtual Platform for Traditional & Folk Artists

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) launched a new Virtual Platform called ‘Kala Vishwa’ to reach out to traditional folk artists, local artists/artisans. It was launched from ICCR’s Mumbai Centre. The ‘Kala Vishwa’ campaign aims to give artists coming from rural areas a virtual platform to perform during the challenging time of COVID-19. ‘Kala Vishwa’ series will be in the virtual mode and can be viewed on ICCR’s social media platforms. Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President of ICCR & Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children and Youth & Sports inaugurated the first programme under the ‘Kala Vishwa’ campaign. Kala Vishwas is a special campaign under the ‘Horizon Series’ and will be held for a duration of 6 months. It will focus on Traditional art forms of Maharashtra and Goa.

About Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)
It is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of External Affairs.
Director-General – Dinesh K Patnaik
Headquarters – New Delhi

Lebanon’s PM-designate Saad Hariri Resigned as Crisis Escalates

Lebanon Prime Minister (PM)-designate ‘Saad Hariri’ resigned due to an intense political crisis and inability to form a government.
Note – According to Mercer’s 2021 Cost of Living City Rankings –Beirut, the capital of Lebanon has become the world’s 3rd most expensive city for foreign workers (Expatriates).
About Lebanon:
Capital – Beirut
President – Michel Aoun
Currency – Lebanese pound

Eswatini’s King Mswati III Appointed Cleopas Dlamini as New PM of Eswatini

Mswati III, the King of Eswatini and the head of the Swazi Royal Family has appointed Cleopas Dlamini as the new Prime Minister(PM) of Eswatini (commonly known as Swaziland), Africa’s only remaining absolute monarchy. Cleopas Dlamini succeeds Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, who died on 13th December 2020. He takes over from Themba Masuku who has been serving as the acting prime minister of Estawani since the death of Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini. Previously, he has served as the Chief Executive of the Public Service Pension Fund.
About Eswatini:
Prime Minister– Cleopas Dlamini
Capital– Mbabane & Lobamba
Currency– South African Rand & Swazi Lilangeni

Overview of 74th Cannes Film Festival 2021

The 74th Cannes Film Festival 2021 was held from July 6-17, 2021 at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès Convention Center in Cannes, France.
i.American director & Screenwriter Spike Lee served as Jury President of Cannes Film Festival 2021.
ii.French Actress Doria Dillier was the host of the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
iii.‘Night of Knowing Nothing’ directed by India’s Payal Kapadia won the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) award for best documentary at the Film Festival.
iv.Former Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the virtual ‘India Pavilion’ during the 74th Cannes Film Festival, organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting jointly with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
Cannes Film Festival

It is an Annual Film Festival held in Cannes, France, and has been held since 1946. The Palme d’Or & Grand Prix are the 2 major awards given at the festival. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival was cancelled.

Major Awards 2021
Palme d’Or – Titane, Director – Julia Ducournau
Best Director – Leos Carax, Annette
Best Screenplay – Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car
Best Actress – Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in The World
Best Actor – Caleb Landry Jones, Nitram

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