Current Affairs

20 November, 2021

International

Barbados to become 1st Sovereign Nation to Host its Embassy on the Metaverse

Barbados, a Caribbean island nation, is set to become the first sovereign nation to host its Embassy, the world’s first virtual-reality embassy, on the Metaverse. Barbados has signed an agreement with Decentraland, a blockchain metaverse platform to establish a digital embassy. Decentraland is a company that hosts a user-owned, 3D digital world, comprised of 90,601 plots of ‘land’. Barbados is set to open the virtual embassy in January 2022.

India Virtually Participates in 21st Annual COM Meeting of IORA

India Virtually participated in 21st Annual Council of Ministers (COM) Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) led by the Minister of State for External Affairs Dr.Rajkumar Ranjan Singh highlighting India’s contributions towards Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in IORA priority areas.

Objective: To promote peace, security and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region and in Indo- Pacific Region. Bangladesh, as the incoming Chair of IORA, hosted the 21st IORA COM Meeting on 17 November 2021 and the 23rd Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) and its related Meetings from 15 – 16 November 2021, in a hybrid format (in-person & virtual).

About Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
Secretary General – Gatot Hari Gunawan
Established – 1997
Headquarters – Ebene, Mauritius
Ambassador – Salman Al-Farisi

IAF Contingent participates in Dubai Air Show; Akasa Air orders 72 Boeing 737 Max

The Biennial Dubai Air Show, that was held from 14th to 18th November 2021 at the Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, saw the participation of Indian Air Force (IAF) Contingent. The IAF contingent took part in the aerobatics and static displays, alongside Saudi Hawks, Russian Knights & UAE’s Al Fursan.
IAF Contingent – Sarang Team, Suryakiran Team & 3 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas
Akasa Air orders 72 Boeing 737 Max at the Dubai Air Show
On 16th November, Indian Airline company Akasa Air placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 Max at the Dubai Air Show. The $9 billion worth order includes 2 versions of the Boeing Max Aircrafts: 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200, that are expected to be under operation by 2022.
About Akasa Air:
Akasa Air is a proposed airline that is backed by famous Indian Investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
CEO – Vinay Dube
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About United Arab Emirates (UAE):
President – Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Capital – Abu Dhabi
Currency – Emirati Dirham

National

Indian Navy Conducts Security Exercise ‘Prasthan’ in Western ODA off the Mumbai Coast

The Indian Navy conducted a security exercise, called “Prasthan”, in the Offshore Development Area (ODA) off the coast of Mumbai. The exercise is conducted by Headquarters Western Naval Command, every six months. The exercise was conducted on the Mumbai High North (MHN) platform of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) located about 94 nautical miles west of Mumbai.

Objective – To ensure offshore security and integrate maritime stakeholders including the Navy, Airforce, Coast Guard, ONGC, Port Trust, Customs, State Fisheries department and Marine Police, towards refining Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for response to various contingencies that could occur in the ODAs
About Indian Navy:
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Defence Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
About Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC):
ONGC is the largest crude oil and natural gas Company in India
Chairman & Managing Director – Subhash Kumar
Established – 1956
Headquarters – Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Govt Procures Jaguar Flight Simulators from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd

Ministry of Defence signed a contract with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the procurement of two simulators for Jaguar Aircraft at a cost of Rs. 357 crore. The contract is signed for procurement of two Fixed Base Full Mission Simulators (FBFMS) for Jaguar aircraft from HAL for IAF with five years comprehensive annual maintenance contract

Note:
–The first FBFMS with associated equipment shall be completed within 27 months from the signing of the contract at Air Force station Jamnagar
–The 2nd FBFMS shall be completed within 36 months from the contract Air Force station Gorakhpur.
About Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Established – 1964
Headquarters – Benguluru, Karnataka
Chairman & Managing Director – R Madhavan

Economy

AIIB approves USD 150 Million loan for implementing SUSP in Chennai Metropolitan Area

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a USD 150 million loan to the Indian Government of India. The loan amount will be used for the implementation of the Sustainable Urban Services Program (SUSP) for the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA). The Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) includes the core urban services, such as water resource management, water supply and sewerage, urban mobility, solid waste management, and public health.

AIIB investments & projects in India:
i.India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 % of voting rights after China with 26.06 % voting rights and also the largest beneficiary in terms of getting approval from AIIB.
ii.The energy and transport sectors received the highest amount of financing from AIIB.
About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
President– Jin Liqun
Headquarters– Beijing, China
Membership- 104 Members
Commenced Operation- 2016

RBI Released Report of WG on Digital Lending; RBI Withdraws over 100 Redundant Circulars

The Working Group (WG) on Digital Lending including Lending through Online Platforms and Mobile Apps, which was constituted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has submitted its report.
-RBI Withdraws over 100 Redundant Circulars
As per the recommendations of the second Regulations Review Authority (RRA 2.0), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) withdrew more than 100 redundant circulars relate to certain norms concerning Foreign Investment in India by Foreign Portfolio Investors, RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement), Know Your Customer (KYC), and Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT) – Standards.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment– April 1, 1935
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors– Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar\

NPCI & Network International sign MoU for UPI payments in UAE

The Network International, a digital commerce company based in Dubai, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), the international arm of National Payment Corporation of India(NPCI) to facilitate UPI transactions in the UAE.
Objective:
Note – In 2021, Network International also announced its acceptance of India’s payment scheme ‘RuPay’ – to enhance the range of payment schemes acceptance and business for merchants in UAE (United Arab Emirates).

About NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL):

CEO- Ritesh Shukla
Founded– April 3, 2020

BFSL Partnered with NPCI to Launch BoB Credit Cards on Rupay Platform

BOB Financial Solutions Limited (BFSL), a Non-Banking Financial Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Baroda (BoB), has partnered with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch BoB Credit Cards (in two variants of Easy and Premier) on the RuPay platform. Both variants of Credit Cards were launched on the JCB International network to support global acceptance.

About BOB Financial Solutions Limited (BFSL):
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Shailendra Singh

Sports

Mahela Jayawardena, Shaun Pollock, Janette Brittin inducted into ICC Hall Of Fame

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced cricket legends Mahela Jayawardena (Sri Lanka), Shaun Pollock (SA), and Janette Brittin (England) were inducted into the hall of fame. The ICC Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of the legends of the game from cricket’s long and illustrious history. 106 players have been inducted since its launch in 2009.
Why are these 3 are inducted into the hall of fame?

Jayawardene, who retired as one of Sri Lanka’s greatest ever players, was a key member of the team that won the T20 World Cup in 2014 and reached the four other major ICC finals.
Pollock, on the other hand, was one of the finest all-rounders South Africa has ever produced. He was the first player to achieve the double of 3,000 runs and 300 wickets in both Test and ODI cricket.
Brittin, who died in 2017, was a mainstay of the England Test team for 19 years, helping pave the way for women’s cricket from 1979 to 1998. She was the oldest woman to score a Test hundred (at 39 years and 38 days vs Australia in 1998) and the second-oldest to score an ODI hundred (at 38 years and 161 days vs Pakistan in 1997).
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

ICC Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
ICC Founded: 15 June 1909;
ICC Deputy Chairman: Imran Khwaja;
ICC Chairman: Greg Barclay.

South Africa Cricketer AB de Villiers Announced Retirement from All Forms of Cricket

South Africa Cricketer Abraham Benjamin de Villiers (AB de Villiers) (37 years old) has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 19th November 2021. He hails from Pretoria, South Africa. In May 2018 he retired from international cricket.

About AB de Villiers:
i.AB de Villiers made his international debut in 2004 and has represented South Africa in 114 Tests, 228 One Day Internationals (ODIs)and 78 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
ii.He has played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore team in the 2021 Indian Premier League(IPL).
iii.He has captained South Africa in all three formats between 2012 and 2017.
Note: South Africa National Cricket Team is also known as the Proteas.
Records:
i.He holds the record for fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODI cricket and the record for the fastest ODI century in just 31 balls
iii.He is the only batsman ever to average above 50 with a strike rate of above 100 (batsmen with minimum 5000 runs).
Achievements:
i.He holds the joint record for the most ICC Men’s ODI Player of the Year awards won. He won it thrice(2010, 2014, 2015) and is now tied with Virat Kohli.
ii.He was nominated for Sir Garfield Sobers Award for Male Cricketer of the Decade as well as the Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade.

Miscellaneous

Sourav Ganguly appointed as the new Chairman of ICC Cricket’s Committee

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President and former cricketer Saurav Ganguly was appointed as the Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricket Committee. He succeeded Anil Kumble, a former Indian cricketer who stepped down after serving a maximum of three continuous, 3-year terms.
Other decision taken by the ICC Board:
i.The ‘ICC Women’s Committee’ will be known as the ‘ICC Women’s Cricket Committee’ and will assume all decision making responsibility for women’s cricket reporting directly to the CEC (Chief Executives Committee).

Johnny Grave, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cricket West Indies has been appointed to the ICC Women’s Cricket Committee.

ii.The ICC Board also approved ‘first-class status’ and ‘list A classification’ to women’s cricket to align with the men’s game.
iii.The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Ramiz Raja will be a part of the ICC Working Group appointed by the Board to review the status of cricket in Afghanistan. The group comprises Imran Khwaja (Chairman), Ross McCollum, Lawson Naidoo and Ramiz Raja.

About International Cricket Council (ICC):
Chairman- Greg Barclay
CEO- Geoff Allardice
Headquarters- Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Founded- 15 June 1909

Russia successfully test fires ‘Zircon’ Hypersonic Cruise Missile & Anti-Satellite Missile

Russian Navy successfully test fired the ‘Zircon’ Hypersonic Cruise Missile from Frigate – Admiral Gorshkov warship, that rightly hit the test target placed in the Russian Arctic waters. Previously, Russia also successfully conducted similar tests using the ‘Zircon’ missile from the Nuclear Submarine – Severodvinsk in the Barents Sea.
Russia destroys Satellite using ASAT system – ‘Nudol’
On 15th November, Russia destroyed its own satellite in low-earth orbit using an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile named ‘Nudol’, which led to formation of a cloud of space debris that could potentially destroy other orbiting satellites & the International Space Station (ISS).
i. This is Russia’s 1st successful intercept of a satellite.
About Russia:
President – Vladimir Putin (Term – 6 years)
Capital – Moscow
Currency – Ruble / Rouble
Monuments – Catherine Palace (Saint Petersburg), Kremlin and Red Square(Moscow)

72nd National Book Awards: Jason Mott, Tiya Miles & Malinda Lo won National Book Awards 2021

The 72nd edition of the National Book Award was organised as a virtual event by the National Book Foundation.
Jason Mott won the 2021 National Book Award for fiction for his novel “Hell of a Book”, a narrative about a black author’s adventure while travelling around in a book tour.
Highlight:
i.Tiya Miles has won the 2021 National Book Award for nonfiction for her book titled “All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake”. The book features the history of a family through a cotton sack that an enslaved woman gave to her daughter in the 19th century when they were about to be sold apart.
ii.Malinda Lo has won the 2021 National Book Award for young people’s literature for her book titled “Last Night at the Telegraph Club”, a story of same-sex, cross-cultural love set in the 1950s.
Winners of 2021 National Book Awards:

Category Book Author
Fiction Hell of a Book Jason Mott
Non-Fiction All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake Tiya Miles
Young People’s Literature Last Night at the Telegraph Club Malinda Lo
Poetry Floaters Martín Espada
Best Translated Literature Winter in Sokcho Elisa Shua Dusapin and translator Aneesa Abbas Higgins
(translated from French)

Note: All finalists receive $1,000, a medal, and a citation written by the judging panel; winners gets $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.
National Book Foundation’s Honorary prize:
i.Author-playwright Karen Tei Yamashita was honoured with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. The award was presented by Thanh Nguyen.
ii.Author-Librarian Nancy Pearl has been honoured with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. The award was presented by Ron Charles.
About National Book Awards:
National Book Awards, established in 1950, are the American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization.Every year, the National Book Foundation partners with The New School’s Creative Writing Program to present readings by each of the National Book Awards Finalists.

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Daily Current Affairs | 20th January 2022

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