Current Affairs

31 May, 2021

International

World’s First Global, Satellite-Based Reef-Monitoring System Launched By Scientists

Scientists working with the Allen Coral Atlas,a research initiative developed by Arizona State University (ASU), the University of Queensland, the National Geographic Society, Planet, and Vulcan just launched the first global, satellite-based reef surveillance tool to monitor the coral bleaching issue. This tool can track global coral bleaching events in near-real-time and provide an overall view of trends and changes in coral reef health that can be used to inform conservation efforts and policy. It also provides critical information about which reefs are under stress and which ones appear to be more resilient to events like marine heat waves.

Bellatrix Aerospace, a Bengaluru based Space Transportation company has successfully tested India’s 1st Privately Build Hall-effect Thruster, a highly efficient electric propulsion system for microsatellites. The tests were conducted at the Spacecraft Propulsion Research Laboratory (Asia’s largest privately funded lab) set up by Bellatrix at Society for Innovation and Development-Indian Institute of Science (SID-IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka. The propulsion system is ideal for microsatellites weighing 50-500 Kg and can be scaled up for heavier satellites. The current model of the thruster uses Xenon as fuel. The Technology is a critical technology for the Space Taxi that Bellatrix Aerospace is developing.

In May 2021, International Astronomical Union (IAU)’s Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) gave approval for naming 8 features in the Moon with Chinese names around the location where China’s Chang’e-5 Spacecraft landed in December 2020.
i.Chang’e-5 brought back fresh Lunar samples to Earth, which was previously bought 40-years back by the USA’s 1969 Apollo 11 Mission.
ii.The locations are named after China’s famous Astronomers, Scientists, Mathematicians, Cartographers, Mountains, and a Constellation.
About International Astronomical Union (IAU):
Mission – To promote & safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, through international cooperation.
Founded – 1919
Headquarters – Paris, France
President – Ewine van Dishoeck
About China National Space Administration (CNSA):
Administrator – Zhang Kejian
Headquarter – Beijing, China

NATO conducts War Games ‘Steadfast Defender 21’

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is conducting War Games ‘Steadfast Defender 21’ from May-June 2021. Majority of the exercise will take place in Germany, Portugal and Romania.
Objective – to improve the ability of the Allied forces to move quickly across the Atlantic and Europe to protect each other, if need arises. Around 9,000 troops from more than 20 NATO Allies and partners will take part in the exercise. The Forces will be deployed across land and sea from North America to the Black Sea region and off the coast of Portugal. It includes NATO troops, warships, and several Fighter Aircrafts like the F-35.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
i.It is an Intergovernmental Military Alliance between 30 European and North American countries. It is based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April, 1949. The member countries agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by an external party.
About North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Secretary General – Jens Stoltenberg
Headquarters – Brussels, Belgium

National

IIT Ropar & Monash University develop unique detector ‘FakeBuster’

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar, Punjab and Monash University, Australia have developed a unique detector called ‘FakeBuster’ using DeepFake detection technology to detect imposters attending a virtual conference without anybody’s knowledge. It helps to find out faces manipulated on social media to defame or make joke of someone.

MHA Constituted Committee To Propose Separate Section on Hate Speech in IPC

The 5-member Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws headed by Vice Chancellor of National Law University (NLU), Delhi (Currently – Srikrishna Deva Rao).The Committee is appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to reform Indian Penal Code (IPC) is set to propose a separate Section in IPC on ‘Offences relating to speech and expression’.
Purpose – At present there is no definition of what is ‘Hate Speech’ in IPC, The Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws is attempting for the 1st time to define it. Several ‘hate speech’ cases are pending in courts across India, as there is no clear definition of it in the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The committee is set to report its report soon.
About Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA):
Union Minister – Amit Shah(Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat)
Minister of State – G. Kishan Reddy( Secunderabad, Telangana), Nityanand Rai(Ujiarpur, Bihar)

Daily Current Affairs | 31st May 2021

As a special welfare measure, Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ approved the proposal to provide monetary assistance to 11.8 Crore students through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of the cooking cost component of the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme (MDM). INR 1200 Crore has been allocated to State Governments/UT for this purpose.
Beneficiaries – Class 1-8 students who are studying in 11.20 Lakh Government and Government aided schools across India will be benefitted. Each Child will get approximately INR 100 under the One-time welfare measure. The INR 1200 Crore fund has been provided from the Cooking cost component of MDM Scheme. The assistance is aimed at safeguarding the nutritional levels of children and aid them in protecting their immunity during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
About Ministry of Education
Union Minister – Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (Haridwar, Uttarakhand)
Minister of State – Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao (Akola, Maharashtra)

Economy

RBI Imposed Rs 10 crore Penalty on HDFC Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 10 crore on HDFC Bank Limited for contravention of provisions of section 6(2) and section 8 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (the Act).
RBI imposed the penalty in the exercise of powers vested with the RBI under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(c) read with Section 46(4)(i) of the Act, after finding irregularities with the HDFC bank’s auto loan portfolio.

UCO Bank Alloted Preferential Shares to Govt for Rs 2,600 crore Capital Infusion

UCO Bank allotted 203,76,17,554 preferential shares (PS) (equity shares of Rs 10 each) to the Government of India at an issue price of Rs 12.76 per share against a capital contribution of Rs 2,600 crore received by the Bank on March 31, 2021. The bank’s board has approved a proposal to raise up to Rs 3,000 crore equity capital in 2021-22 through various means including preferential issue, follow on public offer or qualified institutional placement.
About Preferential Shares(PS):
i.PS are one of the special types of share capital having a fixed rate of dividend (Dividend – It is a share of profits and retained earnings that a company pays out to its shareholders)
ii.PS provide the shareholders with the special right to claim dividends during the company lifetime, and also with the option to claim repayment of capital, in case of the wind up of the company.
iii.As PS have elements of both equity shares and debt, they are also called – hybrid financing instruments, Preference stock, etc.
iv.Like debt carries a fixed interest rate, PS have fixed dividends attached to them with a fixed maturity date (Exception – irredeemable preference shares – do not have any fixed maturity).
About UCO Bank:
Establishment – 1943
Headquarters – Kolkata, West Bengal
MD & CEO – Atul Kumar Goel

Canara Bank Launched 3 Loan Schemes amidst COVID-19

Canara Bank launched 3 categories of loan schemes such as Canara Chikitsa healthcare credit facility, Canara Jeevanrekha healthcare business loan, and Canara Suraksha personal loan scheme, as a part of the fight against COVID-19 to offer healthcare credit, business and personal loan to individuals.
About the 3 categories of loan:
i.Canara Chikitsa healthcare credit facility:
This scheme offers loans from over Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 crore to registered hospitals, nursing homes, medical practitioners, diagnostic centres, pathology labs that are engaged in servicing healthcare infrastructure.
ii.Canara Jeevanrekha healthcare business loan:
Under this, the bank will offer loan up to Rs 2 crore at a concessional interest rate for manufacture and supply of healthcare products viz, medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders, and oxygen concentrators to registered hospitals and nursing homes or other manufacturers, and suppliers.
iii.Canara Suraksha personal loan scheme:
This scheme will provide loans from Rs 25,000 – Rs 5 lakh as immediate financial assistance for COVID-19 treatment.
About Canara Bank:
Establishment – July 1906
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
MD & CEO – L.V.Prabhakar
Tagline – Together We Can
Syndicate Bank was amalgamated into Canara Bank on April 2020

ZebPay Launched India’s First Crypto Based Lending Platform

ZebPay launched India’s 1st lending platform under the cryptocurrency exchange for the investors to invest their coins and earn returns (interest). Currently the exchange will support the bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), tether (USDT) and dai (DAI) tokens. Under the ZebPay Lending Platform, the investors could deposit their Bitcoins/other coins and earn returns like the bank’s fixed deposits(FD). The platform will generate returns on users’ crypto investments based on their selected cryptos, their token and the time period for which it is loaded.
About Cryptocurrency:
i.A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which works as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography.
ii.The first blockchain-based cryptocurrency launched was Bitcoin, it was launched in 2009 by a group ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.
About ZebPay:
Establishment -2014
Headquarters (Global) – Singapore
Headquarters(India) – Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Corporate Office – Victoria, Australia
CEO – Rahul Pagidipati

Sports

Chelsea wins 2020-21 UEFA Champions League Final

Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1–0 in the final, to lift the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League title, on May 29, 2021, played at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal. German forward Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the football match. This is the second Champions League title for Chelsea, after winning the first won in 2012.

Ravi Shastri Authored A Book Titled ‘Stargazing: The Players In My Life’

Cricket legend, commentator and one of Team India’s most successful coaches, Ravi Shastri has penned a book titled ‘Stargazing: The Players in My Life’.It will be published by Harper Collins India.
About The Book:
i.The Book is about some 60 extraordinary talents that Ravi Shastri has met from across the world who have inspired him.
ii.It is co-authored by RaviShastri and sports journalist Ayaz Memon and illustrations are featured by Shiva Rao and it is expected to be out in 2021.
About the author:
Ravi Shastri is a former cricketer and commentator, and current head coach of the India men’s national cricket team.

Miscellaneous

International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2021 – May 29

The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers is annually observed across the globe on 29th May to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel contribution towards the UN and to honour the peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of service to the UN since 1948. The theme of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2021 is “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.”
Background:
i.The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/57/129 in 2002 and proclaimed the 29th of May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
ii.The first International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was observed on 29th May 2003.

New Book Titled “Savarkar: A contested Legacy (1924-1966)” Authored by Vikram Sampath

Bangalore based Historian Vikram Sampath has authored a new book titled “Savarkar: A Contested Legacy (1924-1966)”, the 2nd & concluding volume of the life and works of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar(Veera Savarkar). The release of the book was announced on the occasion of the 138th birth anniversary of Veer Savarkar, the Hindutva ideologue.
The book is published by the Penguin Random House India.
About the book:
i.The book covers the life story of Veer Savarkar, one of the most contentious and iconoclastic political thinkers from 1924 to his death in 1966.
ii.The book features the research data of Vikram Sampath collected from the unaccessed documents from archives across India and the world & works in Marathi & other Indian language.
About Vikram Sampath:
i.Vikram Sampath has established the Archive of Indian Music, India’s first digital sound archive for vintage recordings.
ii.He is the founder-director of the Bangalore Literature Festival, Indic Thoughts Festival and the ZEE Group’s ARTH: A Culture Fest.

DG NCC Mobile Training App 2.0 Launched By Defence Secretary

Directorate General National Cadet Corps (DG NCC) Mobile Training application Version 2.0 was launched by the Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar in New Delhi.
Objective: To conduct countrywide online training to the NCC cadets. To provide easy access to training material and to assist in carrying out training during the pandemic.
About DG NCC App:
i.DG NCC Mobile Training App Version 2.0 will be bilingual (Hindi and English) with 130 training videos.
ii.It has new pages for ease of navigation on the app.
iii.Precis and Frequently Asked Questions in Hindi have also been added.
iv.Also a query option is added by which a cadet can post his/her question related to the training syllabus and the same will be answered by a panel of qualified instructors.
Note: DG NCC Mobile App Version 1.0 for training was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on August 27, 2020, in order to assist online cadet training.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for uniforms will soon be made available to transfer uniform allowances directly to the bank accounts of the cadets.

Bellatrix Aerospace Tests India’s 1st Privately built Hall-effect Thruster

Bellatrix Aerospace, a Bengaluru based Space Transportation company has successfully tested India’s 1st Privately Build Hall-effect Thruster, a highly efficient electric propulsion system for microsatellites. The tests were conducted at the Spacecraft Propulsion Research Laboratory (Asia’s largest privately funded lab) set up by Bellatrix at Society for Innovation and Development-Indian Institute of Science (SID-IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka. The propulsion system is ideal for microsatellites weighing 50-500 Kg and can be scaled up for heavier satellites. The current model of the thruster uses Xenon as fuel. The Technology is a critical technology for the Space Taxi that Bellatrix Aerospace is developing.

Colonel Assimi Goïta named as the Transitional President of Mali

The Constitutional court of Mali has named Colonel Assimi Goïta, the interim Vice President of Mali who led the military coup as the transitional President of Mali.
He ousted the transitional President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane in the 2nd military coup of Mali in 9 months.
About Assimi Goïta:
i.Assimi Goïta has been serving as the leader of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, who overthrew Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in the 2020 Military coup.
ii.Assimi Goïta became the Vice President of the transition in September 2020.
iii.He led the 2021 coup against Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane who failed to consult him about the cabinet reshuffle.
About Mali:
Transitional President– Assimi Goïta
Capital– Bamako
Currency– West African CFA Franc

Group of Ministers set up to Evaluate GST Related to Casinos, Race course;Convened By Nitin Patel

The Finance Ministry has set up a 7-member Group of States’ Ministers (GoM) to better understand, examine, and resolve the uncertainty over the valuation of services by casinos, race courses, and online gaming companies for levying Goods and Services Tax (GST).The Committee will be Convened by Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel.
Terms of Reference for Committee of GoM:
i.The committee will evaluate the services provided by casinos, race courses, online gaming portals, and the taxability of certain transactions in a casino. It will include existing legal provisions and orders of Courts into evaluation.
ii.Suggestions regarding the requirement of any change on the legal provisions for better valuation of these services (casinos, race course and online gaming) will be provided by it.

Valeria Luiselli won Dublin Literary Award 2021 for ‘Lost Children Archive’

Mexican author Valeria Luiselli won the International Dublin Literary Award 2021 for her novel, Lost Children Archive. Lost Children Archive is the 5th novel of Valeria Luiselli and the 1st one to be written in English
About the Author:
i.Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and her essay collections include Sidewalks, Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions.
ii.Awards: Faces in the Crowd – won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. The Story of My Teeth – won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Fiction in 2016. Received American Book Award in 2018.
About the novel:
The novel, Lost Children Archive was about the American policy of keeping children away from their parents at the Mexican-American border. The book also won the Rathbones Folio prize in 2020.
About the Award:
i.The International Dublin Literary Award was established in 1994, it is considered as one of the world’s wealthiest awards for literature with prize money of €100,000 (~ INR 89,27,300).
ii.The award is given to a novel written or translated into English. The nominations will be made by public libraries from across the world.

Dr D Nageshwar Reddy Becomes 1st Indian To Win 2021 Rudolf V Schindler Award

The American Society of Gastro intestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has honoured Dr Duvvur(D) Nageshwar Reddy with the renowned Rudolf V Schindler Award 2021.He is the first Indian medical practitioner to win this award. He won the award for his work in the field of endoscopy.The award was presented at the ASGE’s 2021 Annual Crystal Awards virtual ceremony.

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