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Current Affairs Today – 19th and 20th July 2020

NEWS AT A GLANCE

  1. United Nations celebrates World Chess Day globally on 20 July every year.
  2. Jammu and Kashmir administration announced life insurance cover of Rs 25 lakhs to all elected members of urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions.
  3. The State Government of Andhra Pradesh announced the Andhra Pradesh Renewable Energy Export Policy 2020, which permits the sale of power to the other states of India.
  4. The Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal today made a virtual inauguration of the Zoram Mega Food Park, set up at Khamrang in Kolasib district of Mizoram.
  5. A mission titled as “Hope” has been launched to “Mars” by the United Arab Emirates.
  6. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi deliver a keynote address virtually at the valedictory session of High-Level Segment of UN ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) on July 17 in New York, on the eve of 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
  7. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman participated in third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet.
  8. About 273 million Indians were lifted out of multidimensional poverty, a period of 10 years, between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016, according to a study conducted by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme.
  9. The Virtual Ministerial meeting of Indo-US Strategic Energy Partnership was held on July 17, 2020.
  10. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has integrated a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) course for class XI and XII in the current academic year (2020-2021).
  11. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the reappointment of Shyam Srinivasan as the managing director and chief executive officer (MD & CEO) of the Kerala-based private sector lender, Federal Bank, till September 22, 2021.
  12. Indian Navy conducted major Naval exercises in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands led by Sanjay Vatsayan, Chief Rear Admiral of Eastern naval fleet as a display of strategic intents against China amid the current military conflicts in the Northeastern borders in Ladakh.
  13. The Germany forward player & World Cup winner, Andre Schurrle has announced retirement from the sport.
  14. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes’ – Great Britain) won the 2020 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix held on 19 July 2020.
  15. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, unveiled the COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
  16. International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad, and Vehant Technologies, Noida has jointly developed KritiScan UV Baggage Disinfection System.
  17. The Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering Technology operating under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers was accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing (NABL) and Calibration Laboratories to test and certify Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits.
  18. On July 19, 2020, the Union Environment and Information Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar hailed “KURMA” application to track and report Indian turtles.
  19. Arjuna awardee, para-athlete, and para-badminton player, Ramesh Tikaram passed away due to COVID-19.
  20. A civil rights veteran, The Rev Cordy Tindell Vivian who worked alongside the Rev Martin Luther King Jr, passed away.
  21. Eminent Indian mathematician of the post-Independence era, Professor C S Seshadri, has passed away.
  22. Bollywood filmmaker Rajat Mukherjee, who was known for directing films like Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and Road, has passed away due to long time illness and other health complications.
  23. On July 19, 2020, the scientists reported the discovery of first “Super Giant Isopod” species.
  24. AIIMS, Delhi has started the registration process for conducting the human trials of COVAXIN.

NEWS IN DETAILS

IMPORTANT DAYS AND THEMES

World Chess Day observed on 20 July

  • United Nations celebrates World Chess Day globally on 20 July every year.
  • The day marks the date of the establishment of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in Paris in 1924.
  • It also provides an important platform to foster, dialogue, solidarity and culture of peace along with recognizing the instrumental role played by the FIDE in supporting international cooperation for chess activity and aiming to improve friendly harmony among all peoples of the world.
  • To celebrate the International Chess Day 2020 top chess personalities will participate in a high-level virtual event “Chess for Recovering Better”.

Extra Shots:

FIDE:

  • Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
  • President: Arkady Dvorkovich
  • Founded: 20 July 1924, Paris, France
  • CEO: Geoffrey D. Borg
  • Membership: 189 national associations
  • Motto: Gens una sumus

STATE CURRENT AFFAIRS

Rs 25 lakhs insurance cover approved for Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Members

  • Jammu and Kashmir administration announced life insurance cover of Rs 25 lakhs to all elected members of urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions.
  • The provision of insurance aims to strengthen grassroots democracy by providing sense of security to the members elected.
  • This is essential as the elected members are under constant threat from terrorists.

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Jammu & Kashmir:

  • Capitals- Jammu (Winter), Srinagar (Summer)
  • Lt Governor- Girish Chandra Murmu
  • National Parks: City Forest (Salim Ali) National Park, Dachigam National Park, Hemis National Park, Kishtwar National Park
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries: Baltal-Thajwas WLS, Changthang Cold Desert WLS, Gulmarg WLS, Jasrota WLS, Karakoram (Nubra Shyok) WLS etc

Andhra Pradesh Announces Renewable Energy Export Policy 2020

  • The State Government of Andhra Pradesh announced the Andhra Pradesh Renewable Energy Export Policy 2020, which permits the sale of power to the other states of India.
  • The policy will be in force for the five years.
  • The Export policy of 2020 facilitates the establishment of solar, wind and solar-wind hybrid projects of capacity up to 120 Giga Watts (GW) and renewable energy equipment manufacturing facilities in the state.
  • The power generated from these projects will be exported to other states.
  • The objective of the Policy is to utilize the unused potential and to attract private investments to boost the economy and to generate additional revenue to the government.

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Andhra Pradesh:

  • Capital: Amravati
  • Chief Minister: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy
  • Governor: Biswabhusan Harichandan
  • Literacy rate: 67.4%
  • National Park: Sri Venkateswara National Park, Sri Venkateswara National Park, Papikonda National Park

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal virtually inaugurates Mega Food Park in Mizoram

  • The Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal today made a virtual inauguration of the Zoram Mega Food Park, set up at Khamrang in Kolasib district of Mizoram.
  • This is the first of its kind modern food park in the state, set up at a 50-acre industrial complex, under the mega food park schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry.
  • The Zoram Mega Food Park will provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers in the core processing centre and primary processing centre catchment areas.
  • Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that the Park will leverage an additional investment of about Rs. 250 Crore in about 30 food processing units in the park and would eventually lead to a turnover of about Rs. 450-500 Crores annually.

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Mizoram:

  • Statehood Day: 20 February 1987
  • Capital: Aizawl
  • Chief Minister: Zoramthanga
  • Governor: P. S. Sreedharan Pillai

INTERNATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

United Arab Emirates launches “Hope” mission to “Mars”

  • A mission titled as “Hope” has been launched to “Mars” by the United Arab Emirates.
  • With the help of mission, UAE aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.

Highlights:

  • An unmanned “Hope” Probe blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at 1:58 a.m. (UAE time) for a seven-month journey to the red planet and is expected to enter Mars orbit by February 2021, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE, an alliance of seven emirates.
  • Rest of the journey of “Hope” would be tracked by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai.
  • The “Hope” mission to “Mars”, also called Emirates Mars Mission costed $200 million and is UAE’s first foray into interplanetary exploration.
  • With the launch, UAE is targeting to build a human settlement on Mars within the next 100 years.
  • The Hope probe constitutes three different instruments namely an imager and two spectrometers.
  • The “Imager” will facilitate detailed images of the planet’s surface while all three will provide data to the scientists in order to track what ingredients are located where in the atmosphere of Mars.
  • The probe will not land on the Red Planet, but instead orbit it for a whole Martian year i.e. for 687 days.

Extra Shots:

UAE (Capital/Currency): Abu Dhabi/ United Arab Emirates dirham

  • President: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES

PM Modi Virtually addresses UN ECOSOC on UN’s 75th anniversary

  • Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi deliver a keynote address virtually at the valedictory session of High-Level Segment of UN ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) on July 17 in New York, on the eve of 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
  • The year 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, in 1945.
  • The theme of the High-level Segment was “Multilateralism after COVID19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary”.
  • This was Prime Minister Modi’s first speech at the UN after India’s election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member on 17th June 2020 for the term 2021-22.
  • PM was joined by his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
  • The High-Level Segment is held annually by ECOSOC for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and United Nations system.

Extra Shots:

UN ECOSCOC

  • Headquarters location: New York, New York, United States
  • Head: Mona Juul
  • Founded: 1945
  • Parent organization: United Nations

India attends third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman participated in third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet.
  • The meet was presided by Saudi Arabia.
  • During the first meeting, India shared its G20 Action plan in response to COVID-19 that was endorsed by all the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.
  • During the third meet, India shared global economic outlook amid evolving COVID-19 crisis.

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Saudi Arabia (Capital/Currency): Riyadh/ Saudi riyal

  • Price: Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

RANKS AND INDICES

At 273 million, India recorded the world’s largest reduction in poverty from 2005-16: Oxford-UN study

  • About 273 million Indians were lifted out of multidimensional poverty, a period of 10 years, between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016, according to a study conducted by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme.
  • The study titled ‘Charting pathways out of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs’ was based on a global multidimensional poverty index (MPI) which annually measures the complexities of poor people’s lives, individually and collectively.
  • The report noted that India has recorded the largest reduction in the number of people living in poverty, among the 75 countries studied in MPI.
  • Four countries namely India, Armenia, Nicaragua , and North Macedonia, have reduced their MPI by half or more in 5.5 to 10.5 years.
  • 65 out of 75 countries significantly reduced their multidimensional poverty levels, and of these 65, 50 also reduced the number of people living in poverty.

 AGREEMENTS AND MOU SIGNED

Indo-US Strategic Energy Partnership meeting

  • The Virtual Ministerial meeting of Indo-US Strategic Energy Partnership was held on July 17, 2020.
  • India and the United States have announced new areas of research on transformational power generation based on supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles and advanced coal technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

Highlights:

  • During the meeting, the Ministers discussed new areas of research on transformational power generation based on supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles and advanced coal technologies, including CCUS.
  • They discussed the implementation of Smart grids and energy storage by a consortium comprising of 30 Indian and US entities
  • They also discussed the common priorities for collaboration evolved in Clean Coal Technologies, sCO2 Power Cycles, and CCUS technologies.
  • They also discussed the policy directions for the societal acceptance of smart grid concepts, Distributed Energy Resources, impact and value of the integrative solutions and the emerging role of utilities as Distributed System Operators.

CBSE ties up with IBM to integrate AI curriculum

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has integrated a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) course for class XI and XII in the current academic year (2020-2021).
  • The curriculum was developed in collaboration with IBM (International Business Machines Corporation).
  • The IBM AI curriculum is a part of CBSE’s Social Empowerment through Work Education and Action (SEWA) program.
  • This curriculum will be launched in around 200 schools across Delhi-NCR, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab (13 states of India).
  • The AI curriculum was co-developed by the Macquarie University of Australia and Learning Links Foundation and 1M1B of India to fulfil the requirements of CBSE.

Extra Shots:

CBSE:

  • Headquarters location: Delhi
  • Founded: 1962
  • Parent organization: Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Chairperson: Manoj Ahuja, IAS

IBM:

  • CEO: Arvind Krishna
  • Founder: Charles Ranlett Flint
  • Founded: 16 June 1911, Endicott, New York, United States
  • Headquarters: Armonk, New York, United States

APPOINTMENTS IN NEWS

RBI Approves reappointment of Shyam Srinivasan as MD & CEO of Federal Bank

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the reappointment of Shyam Srinivasan as the managing director and chief executive officer (MD & CEO) of the Kerala-based private sector lender, Federal Bank, till September 22, 2021.
  • Srinivasan’s term as MD & CEO of the bank was to end on September 23, 2020.

Saba Karim resigns as BCCI General Manager Cricket Operations

  • Former India wicket-keeper batsman Saba Karim has resigned from his post as the BCCI General Manager Cricket Operations.

Extra Shots:

BCCI:

  • President: Sourav Ganguly
  • Secretary: Jay Shah
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Founded: December 1928
  • Vice president(s): Mahim Verma
  • Sponsors: BYJU’S, Paytm, Nike, Dream11, Hyundai Motor Company, Ambuja Cements

DEFENCE CURRENT AFFAIRS

Indian Navy Conducts Naval Exercises in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • Indian Navy conducted major Naval exercises in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands led by Sanjay Vatsayan, Chief Rear Admiral of Eastern naval fleet as a display of strategic intents against China amid the current military conflicts in the Northeastern borders in Ladakh.
  • The exercise was conducted with warships and aircrafts from the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and the Eastern Naval Command (ENC).

SPORTS CURRENT AFFAIRS

Germany forward & World Cup winner Andre Schurrle retires

  • The Germany forward player & World Cup winner, Andre Schurrle has announced retirement from the sport.
  • He helped his country to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He represented Germany in 57 matches, scoring 22 goals.
  • He also played for Chelsea from 2013-15 and also won a Premier League winners medal in 2015.

Extra Shots:

Germany (Capital/Currency): Berlin/Euro

  • President: Frank-Walter Steinmeier
  • Chancellor: Angela Merkel

Lewis Hamilton wins 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes’ – Great Britain) won the 2020 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix held on 19 July 2020.
  • This is his straight second win of the season.
  • Hungarian Grand Prix 2020 was the third race of the 2020 Formula One World Championship.
  • Max Verstappen (Dutch-Red Bull) was second, followed by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes- Finland) at third spot.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY CURRENT AFFAIRS

CSIR-CMERI unveiled the COVID Protection System for Workplace

  • Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, unveiled the COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Apart from the Healthcare Workers, the frontline Security Guards of any organisation are very vulnerable to COVID-19 through infected individuals and contaminated objects.
  • CSIR-CMERI, has announced that it is to develop a Digital Entry Management Systems in which the workflow will be automated and based upon Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

Highlights:

  • Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST) is an Intelligent surveillance kiosk that identifies the body temperature and whether an individual is wearing Face Mask or not through customized Software solutions.
  • Touchless Faucet (TouF) is launched for households and Office Spaces.
  • The system dispenses Liquid Soap and Water from the same Faucet with a time-gap of 30 seconds, which is as per the latest Government guidelines.
  • 360° Car Flusher is a Sodium Hypochlorite Water Screen that uses specialised Nozzle Design to ensure that the Sanitizer Diffused Water is evenly spread over and under the Car Body/Wheels with adequate Water Force and coverage.
  • The COPS for Workplace will include contactless Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST), Touchless Faucet (TouF) and 360° Car Flusher are now available for Technology Transfers and Product Orders.
  • CSIR-CMERI aim to support the Start-Ups and Entrepreneurs while developing its technologies to give a boost to their aspirations and give them a platform to showcase their Innovative potential.
  • CSIR-CMERI also focused upon developing products Made in India, which will consequently boost the Atma-Nirbhar Bharat flagship initiative of the Government of India.

Extra Shots:

CMERI:

  • Director: Harish Hirani
  • Founded: 26 February 1958
  • Motto: यन्त्र मेवास्माकम मंत्र: (yantra mewasmaakam mantra); (Sanskrit)

ARCI, Vehant Technologies develop UV System for baggage Scan Disinfection to curb COVID-19 spread

  • International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad, and Vehant Technologies, Noida has jointly developed KritiScan UV Baggage Disinfection System.
  • The device has been designed to control the spread of infection through baggage.

Kritiscan UV advanced baggage disinfecting system:

  • The compact Ultraviolet C (UVC) conveyor system is capable to efficiently disinfect the baggage passing through the conveyor within a few seconds.
  • Kritiscan UV advanced baggage disinfecting system has a specially designed motorized conveyor to guide the baggage into the disinfection tunnel, which uses UVC light (254 nm) with appropriate irradiance to inactivate microbes and viruses.
  • The UV-C lamps used in the system shielded in a manner that poses no harm to staff or passengers in the vicinity of the system. Nemce, human intervention is strongly advised against when the UVC sources are on.
  • The system can be used in airports, railway and bus stations, hotels, commercial and private establishments for the rapid disinfection of baggage.

CIPET gets accreditation to test PPE kits

  • The Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering Technology operating under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers was accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing (NABL) and Calibration Laboratories to test and certify Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits.
  • The PPE kit includes gloves, face shield, goggles, triple layer face masks in line with international standards.
  • This is a step ahead to make India self-reliant (Atma Nirbhar).
  • The NABL granted accreditation through an online audit.

WEB PORTALS & APP IN NEWS

GoI hails KURMA mobile app to conserve Indian turtles

  • On July 19, 2020, the Union Environment and Information Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar hailed “KURMA” application to track and report Indian turtles.
  • The KURMA app was launched in May 2020 on World Turtle Day.
  • The application was developed by Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN), The ITCAN was joined by Wildlife Conservation Society-India.
  • The application provides database to identify a species. Also, it helps to locate the nearest rescue centre for turtles across the country.

Extra Shots:

Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN)

  • The ITCAN was formed to launch citizen-science initiative. It provides platform to exchange vital information on turtles, provides assistance to enforcement agencies, forest departments, etc. It will also help in observing 2020 as the YEAR OF THE TURTLE. The World Turtle Day is marked by the Turtle Survival Alliance as well.

NOTE

  • On 23rd May we observe World Turtle Day. 2020 WTD theme -Adopt, Don’t Shop

OBITUARY

Arjuna awardee para-athlete Ramesh Tikaram passes away

  • Arjuna awardee, para-athlete, and para-badminton player, Ramesh Tikaram passed away due to COVID-19.
  • He won many medals in shotput and Javelin throw including an international meet in Nottingham in 1995.
  • He was awarded the Arjuna Award for his excellence in para-athletics and badminton in 2002.
  • He became the founder secretary of the Badminton Sports Association of India for the Challenged, now known as the Para-Badminton Association of India in 2000.

Civil rights leader Cordy Tindell Vivian passes away

  • A civil rights veteran, The Rev Cordy Tindell Vivian who worked alongside the Rev Martin Luther King Jr, passed away.
  • He also led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and became its interim president in 2012.
  • He also helped in organizing the Freedom Rides to integrate buses across the south and trained waves of activists in non-violent protest.
  • Cordy Tindell Vivian was honored by the Barack Obama with the presidential medal of freedom in 2013.

Eminent mathematician C S Seshadri passes away

  • Eminent Indian mathematician of the post-Independence era, Professor C S Seshadri, has passed away.
  • He was the founder and Director-Emeritus of the Chennai Mathematical Institute, an institute for the study of mathematics in India.
  • Seshadri is known for his work in algebraic geometry.
  • The Seshadri constant (in algebraic geometry) is named after him.
  • He was a recipient of country’s third-highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan in 2009.

Bollywood Filmmaker Rajat Mukherjee passes away

  • Bollywood filmmaker Rajat Mukherjee, who was known for directing films like Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and Road, has passed away due to long time illness and other health complications.
  • He was in his late 50s.

MISCELLANEOUS

Scientists find Giant Sea Cockroaches in the Eastern Indian Ocean

  • On July 19, 2020, the scientists reported the discovery of first “Super Giant Isopod” species.
  • It was found in the eastern Indian Ocean.
  • The newly found cockroach species has been named “Bathynomus raksasa”.

Highlights about the Species:

  • A new species of cockroach has been found deep in the Indian Ocean by a team of researchers from Singapore.
  • The researchers found the species when they were working on the unexplored waters of Indian Ocean in Banta.
  • The cockroach belongs to the genus Bathynomous.
  • It has 14 legs and uses them to crawl along the bed of oceans in search of food. It measured 50 cm in length and is big for isopods.
  • The raksasa eats dead marine animals such as fish and whales.
  • It can also go for long periods without food. This is a common trait the raksasa shareswith cockroaches.

AIIMS Delhi begins registration for conducting human trials of indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine COVAXIN

  • AIIMS, Delhi has started the registration process for conducting the human trials of COVAXIN.
  • Principal Investigator for conducting these trials at one of the top medical institutes in the country, AIIMS Delhi, Dr. Sanjay Rai has said that the response for registration has been overwhelming.
  • The first dose of the vaccine is likely to be administered to the volunteers on this Thursday.

Extra Shots:

AIIMS, Delhi

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