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India and United Kingdom agreed to strengthen ties on Indo-Pacific Cooperation
India and United Kingdom (UK) hold Foreign Office consultations in which both countries have agreed to strengthen their ties in the field of Indo-Pacific cooperation, climate change, disaster resilience, development in third world countries and others. Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale led the Indian delegation and Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary Foreign and Commonwealth Office of British government led the UK delegation.
i. Besides the meeting, UK representative Sir Simon McDonald formally handed the instrument of ratification of the UK joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to Vijay Gokhale.
About International Solar Alliance (ISA)
♦ Founded at: Paris, France
♦ Headquarter: Gurugram, Haryana
♦ Head: Upendra Tripathy
About United Kingdom
♦ Capital: London
♦ Currency: Pound Sterling
United Nations to hold Ocean Conference 2020 in Portugal
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has decided to hold Ocean Conference 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal from June 2 to 6, 2020 with a theme of “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.” It will be co-hosted by the Governments of Portugal and Kenya.
i. The objective of this conference is to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) which stated as to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
ii. To support this conference, the resolution was adopted by the 80th plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 73rd session.
♦ Capital: Lisbon
♦ Currency: Euro
The rare monkey pox virus, for the first time, reported in Singapore
Singapore, for the first time, has detected a case with the rare monkey pox virus which was brought in by a Nigerian man. He thought to have got this rare virus by eating bushmeat. Monkey pox is a rare disease caused by the virus that is transmitted from animals, such as rodents and monkeys (through the hunting and consumption of bush meat), to humans. It is usually found in the central and western parts of Africa’s tropical rainforest.
i. Symptoms of the disease are lesions, fever, muscle ache and chills.
ii. Atleast 23 persons have been traced and they were in the close contact of the infected Nigerian.
iii. According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that the transmission from person to person can be infectious. The Ministry of Health of Singapore has said that the risk of spreading monkey pox is low.
♦ Capital: Singapore City
♦ Currency: Singapore Dollar
♦ President: Halimah Yacob
US government released Global Health Security Strategy
The US government has released first of its kind “Global Health Security Strategy”. The objective is to prevent, detect and respond to threats from infectious diseases occurring naturally or accidently and make efforts to help improve the world’s ability to stop and contain deadly outbreaks before they spread to other countries.
i. The “Global Health Security Strategy” focuses mainly on three interrelated goals:
- To strengthen partner country global health security capacities.
- To increase international support for global health security.
- Prepare and resilient against the global health threats.
ii. Global Health Security Agenda is a coordinated effort by different nations, international organisations and civil society which define specific targets that can help in reducing infectious disease threats.
iii.The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), a national public health institute of the US, has developed the Global Emergency Alert and Response Service which will help in providing rapid response through deployment of staff in infectious disease country or a region.
♦ Capital: Washington D.C. , United States
♦ Currency: United States Dollar
Japan has begun testing the ALFA-X version of its fastest-ever Shinkansen bullet train that could reach 400 km per hour (249 mph)
Japan has begun testing the ALFA-X version of its fastest-ever Shinkansen bullet train that could reach 400 km per hour (249 mph).
i. The bullet train ALFA-X (Advanced Labs for Frontline Activity in Rail Experimentation) is scheduled to start its service in 2030, when, rail company JR East would operate it at 360 kilometres per hour (224 mph).
This speed will make it 10 kph faster than China’s Fuxing Hao, which links Beijing and Shanghai and operates at the same top speed. This would make ALFA-X, the world’s fastest bullet train.
ii. The ALFA-X’s futuristic design features 10 cars and a sleek pointed nose.
iii. The bullet train will be tested (after midnight, when the line is quiet) twice a week on the line between Sendai and Aomori, 2 Japanese cities, which are 280 kilometres apart.
iv. Japan’s bullet trains made their debut in 1964 and symbolises the country’s focus on efficiency and reliability. In the same year, that is, in 1964, Tokyo Olympics were held.
v. The ALFA-X would offer faster services to Sapporo, the biggest city on the northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Few features of ALFA-X:
i. In addition to usual brakes, the ALFA-X will have air brakes on the roof and also use magnetic plates near the rails to decrease speed while slowing down.
ii. The bullet train will have dampers and air suspension to maintain stability while travelling through curves.
iii. The ALFA-X is based on JR’s (Japan Railway) E5 platform, which already operates on Japan’s key routes.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
KRCL signs contract agreement with Nepal’s Department of Railways to supply two 1600 HP DEMU train sets to the latter
A PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) of the Indian government under the Railway Ministry, Konkan Railways Corporation Ltd (KRCL), signed an agreement in Kathmandu, with Nepal’s Department of Railways in the presence of Manjeev Singh Puri, Indian Ambassador to Nepal and Madhusudan Adhikari, Nepalese Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Secretary.
i. According to the agreement, KRCL will supply two 1600 HP DEMU train sets to Nepal’s Department of Railways.
ii. The trains were manufactured by the Integrated Coach Factory in Chennai. The trains each will consist of 3 coaches, including 1 A.C. (air-conditioned) coach.
iii. The 1600 HP DEMU trains will run between Jayanagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal, the 34 km long stretch.
iv. The Jayanagar-Kurtha Railway Link has been constructed by IRCON (Ircon International Limited, formerly Indian Railway Construction Company Limited)under the India-Nepal Development Partnership program. The link has been built with a financial grant from the Indian government.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Igor Stimac set to be appointed Indian football team coach
On 9th May 2019, Croatia’s World Cupper and former manager Igor Stimac has been appointed as Indian men’s team coach after the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee recommended him for the post.He succeeds Stephen Constantine.
i. All India Football Federation (AIFF) interviewed Stimac, Albert Roca, Hakan Ericson and Lee for the post,but Stimac emerged as the number one choice.
ii. In his 14 year career span,Stimac coached the Croatian national team between 2012 and 2013.
iii. He has served with clubs like Cibalia, Hajduk Split,NK Zagreb and Zadar, Iranian club Sepahan and Qatari club Al-Shahania.
About All India Football Federation (AIFF):
♦ President: Praful Patel
♦ Founded: 23 June 1937
♦ Headquarters: Dwarka, Delhi
♦ FIFA affiliation: 1948
♦ AFC affiliation: 1954
♦ SAFF affiliation: 1997
Subhash Chand to be the next Ambassador of India to the State of Eritrea
On May 10, 2019, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India announced the appointment of Shri Subhash Chand as the next Ambassador of India to the State of Eritrea. He is presently serving as the Deputy High Commissioner in the High Commission of India, Abuja. He is going to take up this responsibility very soon. He will succeed Ravindra Prasad Jaiswal.
♦ Capital: Asmara
♦ Continent: Africa
♦ Currency: Eritrean Nakfa
♦ President: Isaias Afwerki
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Reliance acquired Hamleys in a cash deal of worth USD 88.6 million
Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries (RIL) has acquired 100% stake in British toy major Hamleys Global Holdings Limited from Hong Kong based C Banner International in a cash deal of worth USD 88.6 million (Rs 620 crore).
i. A 259 years old British toy major, Hamleys was founded in 1760 and currently it has 167 stores across 18 countries.
ii. Reliance Lifestyle Holdings has Indian franchise of the Hamleys Global Holdings Limited and runs around 88 stores in 29 cities throughout the country.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
India receives its first Apache Guardian attack helicopter in Boeing’s production facility in Mesa, Arizona US
The Indian Air Force legally received its 1st Apache Guardian attack helicopter AH-64E (I) during a ceremony at the Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, US (United States). This first attack helicopter in India’s defence arsenal was received by Air Marshal AS Butola, IAF.
i. In September 2015, India signed a $1.4 billion deal with the US government and Boeing for 22 attack helicopters (AH- 64 E Apache helicopters), of which the 1st batch of helicopters will be shipped to India by July.
ii. Apache is a stealthy and versatile machine that has been designed for all kinds of missions. It consists of:
- laser and infrared systems for day and night operations
- air to surface Hellfire missiles
- 70 mm rockets
- an automatic cannon
iii. India was operating the Russian origin Mi 35 for a long time and that would be taken out of service soon. The Apaches helicopters are going to substitute the Russian made choppers.
iv. The chopper will live up to IAF’s requirements and would work exceptionally in mountainous terrain by carrying out precision attacks at standoff ranges, operate in hostile airspace with threats from ground, transmit and receive battlefield pictures.v. The selected aircrew who will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF and the ground crew members have undergone training at the training facilities at Fort Rucker, US Army base, Alabama.
UNEP Report states that India & China tops a list of nations for illegal sand mining
According to the recent report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) titled ‘Sand and Sustainability: finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources‘, India and China top a list of nations where illegal sand mining has become a key environmental issue.
i. The report focusses on the altering pattern of sand consumption, demand and role among the growing population.
ii. The report brings to light that sand and gravel are the 2nd largest natural resources that are extracted but are the least regulated. The first largest being water.
iii. UNEP declares it as one of the major sustainability challenges of the country in the 21st century.
iv. The report stresses on the fact that large scale sand mining breaks the natural ecosystem, thus causing ecological damage.
v. Irrigation or hydro-electricity production is continuously lowering the amount of sediment flowing downstream.
vi. According to the report, in 2017, China was listed 1st in the highest usage of cement at an approximated 2.4 billion tonnes while India was ranked 2nd, with 270 million tonnes, and USA (United States of America) was listed 3rd at 86.3 million tonnes. Worldwide, the demand for sand and gravel is around 50 billion tonnes per day.
vii. Illegal mining of sand from coastal and riverbeds have an adverse affect on marine life and leads to drought, flood, beach erosion, pollution and a lowering in water-quality.
viii. The other nations with illegal marine sand extraction are: Morocco, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
ix.The report was released by Pascal Peduzzi, director of GRID-Geneva at UN Environment, who notified that, in order to reduce illegal sand mining, the infrastructure projects, namely, roads, buildings and bridges should ensure the traceability of the sand used and incentivise its extraction.
x. The 3 key strategies to lay new grounds for enhanced governance of sand resources are as follows:
- To restrict unnecessary natural sand consumption in construction
- To use alternative materials to replace natural sand in construction
- To reduce sand extraction impacts with the existing standards and best practice
United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) :-
Headquarters : Nairobi, Kenya
Head : Achim Steiner
Abbreviation : UN Environment
World’s 1st parent-wise genome for water buffaloes developed
Anand-based National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has developed world’s first complete parent-wise genome assembly of buffalo named “NDDB_ABRO_Murrah” of riverine buffaloes.
i. This comes on the back of the successful launch of a customized genotyping chip for indigenous cattle and their crosses, named INDUSCHIP.
ii. To ensure better accuracy, for the first time a trio binning was used for separating haplotypes of a buffalo, using a father-mother-offspring trio.
iii. World buffalo population is estimated to be 224.4 million, of which 219 million (97.58 per cent) are in Asia.
iv. Of the 13 buffalo breeds in India, the Murrah, native to central Haryana, is the most sought after and acknowledged as the best ‘breed-improver’ with its gene pool now stretching across the globe in South Asia, South America, Mexico and West Asian countries.
About National Dairy Development Board :
♦ Founded: 16 July 1965
♦ Headquarters: Anand, Gujarat
♦ Chairman: Dilip Rath
New fish species discovered that can detect wavelengths
A team of researchers led by Professor Walter Salzburger from the University of Basel, Switzerland have discovered that certain deep-sea fish have expanded their rhodopsin genes to detect various wavelengths in near-total darkness in the deep sea, the largest habitat on Earth. It was published in the Journal of Science.
The genes can cover exactly the wavelength range of light “produced” by light-emitting organs of deep-sea organisms. This is known as bioluminescence.
i. Some deep-sea fish have adapted to detect the tiny amount of residual light that makes it to the depths of the ocean using their highly sensitive telescope eyes.
ii. During the research, thirteen fish species with more than one gene for rod opsin was found and one species, named silver spinyfin (Diretmus argenteus), has the whopping 38 copies of the rhodopsin gene.
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Manchester City legend Yaya Toure retired from Football
A 35-year old, former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure retired from football.
i. He had won three premier league titles, two League Cups and one Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) in 2011 for Manchester City and for Barcelona, he won two LaLiga titles and Champions League 2019.
ii. He was a professional player of Ivory Coast and named four times African Footballer of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Corporate Icon, YC Deveshwar, founder of ITC passes away at 72 in Gurugram
On May 11, Yogesh Chander Deveshwar, who built ITC passed away after a brief illness in a private hospital at Gurugram. He was 72. He was the India’s longest-serving corporate chief with over 20 years of experience. He had stepped down as the Chief Executive of ITC in 2017 and served the organization as the non-executive chairman. It was during his term, ITC saw the tremendous transformation from being a tobacco company to a multi-business union.
ii. He completed B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-Delhi, followed by a diploma from Harvard Business School. He also took a training course in hotels and services from Cornell University.
iii. He joined ITC in the year 1968. Between 1991 and 1994, he served as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. He was also the director to the central board of the RBI. He was the member of the National Foundation for Corporate Governance and the member of the governing body of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.
iv. He became the Director of ITC on 11 April, 1984 and its Chief Executive and Chairman on 1 January 1996.
v. For his achievements, he was conferred with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2011.
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata
♦ MD: Sanjiv Puri
83-year old renowned singer, Yakshagana ‘bhagawatha’ Nebburu Narayana Hegde passed away in Nebburu, Uttara Kannada
The 83-year old renowned singer, Yakshagana ‘bhagawatha’ Nebburu Narayana Hegde breathed his last, at his residence in Nebburu in Sirsi Taluk of Uttara Kannada, Mengaluru, Karnataka.
i. He was popularly called as Nebburu in Badgu Thittu school of Yakshagana. The singer is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
ii. Yakshagana ‘bhagawatha’ was a recipient of Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, which was then the Karnataka Yakshagana and Janapada Academy Award. He had also received many other awards like the Keremane Shivarama Award.
iii. A souvenir titled ‘Nebburu Ninada‘ was released in his honour.
iv. Yakshagana was a leading ‘bhagawatha’ in Idagunji Mahaganathai Yakshagana Mandali, Honnavara for more than 35 years.
v. Yakshagana Kalaranga of Udupi had featured a documentary on him.
Neelakanta RaoJagdale, maker of one of world’s finest whiskies, passes away at 66
On 9th May 2019, Chairman & Managing Director of Amrut Distilleries and
President of Basavanagudi Acquatic Centre (BAC) Neelakanta Rao Jagdale died in HCG Hospital in Bengaluru at the age of 66. He hailed from Karnataka.
i. Rao had been known for his deep involvement with the promotion of swimming among the children and the youth.
ii. Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky was placed the third finest whisky in the world by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible.
World Migratory Bird Day 2019 celebrated on May 11
The World Migratory Bird Day for 2019 is observed on May 11. It is celebrated twice in the year, which falls on the second Saturday in May and October. In 2019, it will be celebrated on May 11 and October 10. The theme for this year is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!”. It is organized by the Secretariats of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) along with Environment for the Americas (EFTA).
i. It is celebrated to raise the awareness on the need for protecting the migratory birds and their habitats.
ii. The first world Migratory Day was observed on the weekend of April 8-9, 2006.
iii. It is observed that out of the 265 bird species recorded to be caught in plastic litter, 147 species were seabirds (36% of all seabird species), 69 species freshwater birds (10%) and 49 land bird species (0.5%).
National Technology Day 2019 observed on May 11 to mark India’s technological advancements
Every year on May 11, National Technology Day is observed in India to mark India’s technological advancements. It also emphasizes the importance of science in our day-to-day life. This day marks the remembrance of the successful launch of Shakti-I nuclear missile at Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan on May 11, 1998. In order to commemorate the technological achievements made by India, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced May 11 as the National Technology Day.
i. Along with the launch of Shakti-I nuclear missile, which was headed by the then President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, India also successfully test fired two nuclear weapons as part of Operation Shakti.
ii. This day also marks the launch of Hansa-3, India’s first indigenous aircraft. It was flown in Bengaluru when the nuclear tests were being conducted in Pokhran, Rajasthan.
iii. On the same day, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) conducted the last test-fire of the Trishul Missile. This missile was later inducted into service by the Indian Air Force and Indian Army.
iv. The Technology Development Board (TDB) was set up by the Government of India and since 1999, this day is celebrated by honoring the technological achievements. The board also confers National Awards to individuals and institutions for their contribution in the field of science.
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