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Current Affairs May 9 2019

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Mr Sedat Onal, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey visited India for enhancing investment and trade relations
As part of the regular exchange between India and Turkey, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mr Sedat Onal visited India from 7th May-9th May, 2019. Mr Sedat Onal had previously visited India as part of the delegation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May 2017.

Mr Sedat OnalKey Points:
i. Off-late the political exchange between India and Turkey have strengthened our deep-rooted ties that goes back to many centuries, and opened up various new arenas for cooperation.
ii. Under the mechanism of Foreign Office Consultations, Mr. Onal had a meeting with Mr Gitesh A Sarma, Secretary(West), in New Delhi as a part of the visit.
iii. They discussed on the different facets of bilateral ties, cultural interaction, tourism and people-to-people network between India and Turkey and also evaluated opportunities for improving the trade and investment relations between the 2 nations.
iv. At present, the bilateral trade is around 8.6 $ billion and is targeted to reach 10 $ billion by 2020.

About Turkey:-
President            :  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Capital                 :  Ankara
Currency             :  Turkish lira

On Akshay Tritiya, The Char Dham Yatra in Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarkhand began with the opening of gates of the Gangotri and Yamunotri temples
On the ceremonious occasion of Akshay Tritiya, The Char Dham Yatra in Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarkhand began with the gates of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines in Uttarkashi district being opened at 11:30 am and 1:15 pm respectively. The portals were opened amid chanting of vedic hymns in the presence of administrative members, shrine committee officials and thousands of devotees.
Key points:
i. The opening of these famous shrines symbolises the beginning of the Char Dham Yatra or ‘journey to 4 holy sites’ that attracts lakhs of devotees from within and outside India.
ii. The idols of goddesses Ganga and Yamuna (the deities of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines) were brought down from their winter homes at Mukhba and Kharsali, respectively, before the beginning of the portal-opening ceremony
iii. The Char Dham Yatra starts from Yamunotri in the west. It then proceeds to Gangotri. Gangotri and Yamunotri are located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarkhand. The ‘yatra’ finally ends in Kedarnath and Badrinath in the east. Kedarnath is located in Rudraprayag district in Uttarkhand, while Badrinath is situated in Chamoli district of the state.
iv. Every year the gates of these 4 temples in Uttarakhand are closed in October-November due to heavy snowfall. The gates are reopened in April-May.
v.The Char Dham Yatra forms a reason behind the livelihood of locals and thus becomes a major part of Garhwal Himalayas’s economy.
About Uttarkhand
♦ Capital: Dehradun
♦ Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat


Australian flight carrier, Qantas operated world’s first zero-waste flight
Recently, the Australian flight carrier, Qantas has operated world’s first zero waste commercial flight named QF739 from Sydney to Adelaide which disposed all waste through compost, reuse or recycle.

QantasKey Highlights
i. This airline has substituted over 1000 single-use plastic items with more environment friendly items which has helped airline to achieve zero-waste during commercial flight.
ii. The Australian airline Qantas has planned to eliminate 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020 and also to reduce 75% of airline’s waste by the end of 2021.
About Australia
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar


Talocity to enable Touchless hiring for Yes Bank
Artificial Intelligence based HR solutions provider, Talocity will provide Yes Bank its touchless technology in hiring process for Yes bank. This is done to enhance the hiring process with unbiased HR outcomes and to attain high-quality talent.
Key Points:
i. In the process of recruitment, candidates are interviewed by an AI bot on a one-way video platform. Talocity’s machine learning and AI capabilities will create personality report of each job applicant.
ii. This creates a unique evaluation platform which is effective without any human involvement and helpful in large volume hiring.
About Talocity:
Founders: Ketan Dewan, Dilpreet Singh, Rajat Suneja
City: Delhi NCR
About Yes Bank:
Headquarters: Mumbai
CEO & MD: Ravneet Gill
Tagline: Experience our Expertise


BharatPe launches India’s first UPI Bahi Khata(Digital Ledger) for merchants
India’s first Fintech (Financial technology) start-up enabling payments via interoperable UPI(Unified Payments Interface) QR (Quick Response) codes, BharatPe notified its venture into merchant services by launching a new app named ‘Bharatpe for Merchants’ that allows merchants to keep a track of  their cash/credit (Udhar) sales customer wise, to request the accounts receivable from customers through SMS (Short Message Service) payment links or through WhatsApp and to record accounts that are payable to suppliers.
i. The newly launched app also helps the merchants to network and collaborate with other BharatPe merchants near them to expand their businesses.
ii. The major features on BharatPe’s app for merchants are: UPI Khata (Ledger), Managing Supplier Bills, Cashback, Settlements and Refer and Earn.
iii. The mission of this initiative was to resolve the concerns of the small and medium merchants and offer them with an adequate platform to digitally handle their businesses.

About BharatPe:-
Founders              –  Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani
CEO                        –   Ashneer Grove
Headquarters       –   New Delhi
India and China signed a protocol for exportation of Indian chilli meal to China
After a meeting of Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) Vice Minister Li Guo, India and China signed a protocol for exportation of Indian chilli meal to China.
Key Points:
i. In the meeting both the dignitaries discussed the challenges related to trade regarding the pending Indian request for agricultural products, that wasn’t been given clearance.
ii. They also agreed to resolve the market access issues quite fast in order to achieve the vision of a more balanced trade.
iii. In order to bridge the trade deficit (which stood at 50.12 $ billion during April-February 2018-19), India is seeking larger market access in the Chinese market for its manufactured and agricultural products. This is why India has shared a list of 380 products with China that includes horticulture, textiles, chemicals and pharmaceutical products.
Table for agricultural commodities signed between India and China:

SI. No.CommodityYear of Signing
2Bitter Gourd11th April, 2005
3Grapes11th April, 2005
4Rapeseed Meal15th May, 2015
5Basmati Rice21st November, 2006
6Basmati Rice and Non-Basmati Rice9th June, 2018
7Fish meal/ fish oil28th November, 2018
8Tobacco leaves21st January, 2019
9Chilli Meal9th May, 2019


P.M. Narendra Modi second most followed politician globally on social media, overtakes Trump 
On 7th May 2019, Digital marketing platform SEMrush reported that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most-followed politician in the world on social media with a total audience of 110.9 million on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Former US President Barack Obama was ranked first with 182.7 million followers.

Narendra Modi second most followed politicianKey Points:
i. US President Donald Trump, who has 96 million followers, is the second second-most followed politician on the American online news and social networking service, Twitter.
ii. Modi has collected over 43 million followers on Facebook, more than 20 million followers on Instagram and 47 million followers on Twitter.
iii. Congress party President Rahul Gandhi has acquired 12 million followers on social media.


Former SC Judge KS Radhakrishnan appointed as member of Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal
Former Supreme Court judge, KS Radhakrishnan has been appointed as a member of Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT) for a term of 4 year, from 1st of June, 2019 to 31st of May, 2023.He had earlier served as a Supreme Court judge from November 2009 to May 2014. He has also served as the Chief Justice of the High Courts of Gujarat and J&K.

KS RadhakrishnanAdditional Points
i. Some of the famous cases dealt by Justice Radhakrishnan as a Supreme Court judge are the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) vs. Sahara Case, Jallikattu Case in 2014 and National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) Case which ruled that the transgender persons should be recognized as a third gender.
ii. Due to his ruling of Jallikattu case in which Justice Radhakrishnan has ruled to ban Jallikattu festival in Tamil Nadu, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) named him as “Man of the Year”.


WHO partnered with IFBA to eliminate industrially produced trans fat (iTFA) from food supply worldwide by 2023
WHO (World Health organization) collaborated with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to eliminate industrially produced trans fat (iTFA) from food supply worldwide by 2023.
Trans fat-intake leads to coronary heart disease, due to which 5,00,000 deaths occur every year globally.

WHO partnered with IFBAKey Points:
i. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO had a meeting with the IFBA representatives, that included CEOs (chief executive officers) from around 12 companies comprising IFBA. The meeting stressed on the steps that are needed to be taken to eliminate industrial trans fats, decrease salt, sugar and saturated fats in processed foods.
ii. Decision was taken by the IFBA members to make sure that the amount of industrial trans fat in their products does not go beyond 2 gram of iTFA per 100 gram fat/oil globally by 2023. This aligns with the WHO’s mission of its REPLACE action package, developed and launched in 2018.
iii. The meeting also focussed on the importance of regulatory action on labelling, marketing, and called industry to fully abide by the WHO Code of marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes

FDA approved first Dengue vaccine named Dengvaxia
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States has approved first vaccine named Dengvaxia for the prevention of dengue disease but with certain conditions that use dengue vaccine only in people who have a previous history of the disease. The vaccine is also known as CYD-TDV and made by company Sanofi Pasteur.Mexico was the first country to clear it in the year 2015.
FDA approved Dengvaxiai.The vaccine is a live, attenuated dengue virus. Under the vaccination, 3 doses will be provided to the patient and after 1st dose there will be a difference of 6 months between 1st dose and 2nd dose and also a difference of 6 months between 2nd dose and 3rd dose
About USA
♦ Capital: Washington D.C. , US
♦ Currency: United States Dollar

“ElectionGuard”, an open source software unveiled by Microsoft for secure voting
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella has announced the launch of “ElectionGuard”, a free open-source Software Development Kit(SDK) to help nations to carry out secure and verifiable voting.
Election GuardKey Points:
i. Developed by Galois, “ElectionGuard” is a supplement to paper ballots.
ii. It is verifiable as it allows the voters and third-party organizations to verify election results.
iii. “ElectionGuard” provides a voter a unique code. During the process of voting, voters have an optional step which allows them to track their votes from the moment he/she casts it, after the voter has verified the selections are correct to the final step of counting the votes.
iv. It does not work with vote-by-mail systems and is not designed to work with internet voting schemes as it can be easily hacked.
iv. In terms of security, “ElectionGuard” uses Homomorphic encryption which enables mathematical procedures.
About Microsoft:
Headquarters: Redmond, Washington, United States
Formation: April 4, 1975
Founders: Bill Gates & Paul Allen
CEO: Satya Nadella

Experimental device generates electricity from the coldness of the universe for the first time 
Scientists from Stanford University, Shanhui Fan along with Masashi Ono have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to produce a measurable amount of electricity in an infrared photodiode from the coldness of the universe.The infrared semiconductor uses the temperature difference between Space and Earth to produce the electricity.The study was published in a journal named  Applied Physics Letters.
i. The new device has generated about 64 nanowatts per square meter.
ii. According to the theoretical calculations, the device can generate almost 4 watts per square meter, roughly one million times what practically generated.
iii. In the new technology, the negative illumination effect allows electrical energy to be harvested as heat leaves a surface.
iv. It can power electronics at night.
About Solar Panel :
Solar panels can generate 100 to 200 watts per square meter.
The solar panel requires sunlight to generate electricity.
non-uniform illumination effect influences the overall electrical efficiency of solar cells.
About electricity:
♦ Invented in : 1752
♦ Inventor: Benjamin Franklin
♦ Father of Electricity: William Gilbert

Genetically Engineered  Virus Treats Antibiotic-Resistant Infection for the first time
A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have used genetically modified viruses to treat a patient fighting an antibiotic-resistant infection, for the first time.It was published in the  journal Nature Medicine on 8th May 2019.
Key Points:
i. The patient, Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway, 17, of  England, diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 11 months old.She was suffered from a life-threatening infection after a lung transplant Isabelle had when she was 15.
ii. The research was headed by Graham Hatfull, a professor of biological sciences who specializes in phage research,University of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, United States.


Over 300 nests of grizzled giant squirrel spotted near Gingee for the first time
A team of researchers and wildlife activists from Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF) have sighted 363 nests of the grizzled giant squirrel, a large tree squirrel at Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in the Eastern Ghats,TamilNadu.Its Scientific name is Ratufamacroura.The research was headed by K. Raman, a naturalist of IBF.
Key Points:
i. This endangered species is listed Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
ii. It is also categorised as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and listed under Schedule II of CITES(the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) due to habitat loss and poaching.
iii. It is usually known to nest in the Western Ghats in Southern India ranging from Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary in Kerala to Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Palani hills in Tamil Nadu.
About Western Ghats:
♦ Highest point: Anamudi
♦ Passes: Palakkad Gap, Naneghat, ThalGhat, TamhiniGhat
About Eastern Ghats:
♦ Highest point: Jindhagada Peak
♦ Settlements: Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada, Tirupati

WHO reported over 1.35 million deaths caused by road accidents
According to World Health Organisation (WHO)’s report titled “Global Status Report on Road Safety”, published during the on-going road safety week revealed that over 1.35 million people died every year due to road accidents in the 5-29 age group and around 50 million people sustain injuries during the road accidents. Since 2008, India has reported highest number of deaths due to road accident worldwide.
Additional Points
i. India has signed Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety in 2015 and India has committed to reduce the number of death due to road accidents to half by 2020.
ii. According to Indian government, around 1.5 lakh people lost their life due to road accidents but WHO estimated that around 2.99 lakh people lost their life due to road accidents.
About WHO
♦ Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Director General: Tedros Adhanom

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Amul to sponsor Afghanistan in Cricket World Cup 2019
Amul has announced to sponsor Afghanistan team in upcoming World Cup 2019 which will be held in England and Wales from May 30, 2019.  Amul’s logo will be visible on the leading arm of jerseys of the Afghanistan players in international match and also in training kit throughout the world cup.

Amul to sponsor Afghanistan in Cricket World Cupi. Earlier in only two instances, Amul had sponsored any cricket team in World Cup tournament. These two countries are New Zealand and Holland.
About Afghanistan
♦ Capital: Kabul
♦ Currency: Afghan afghani
About Amul
♦ Headquarter: Anand, Gujarat
♦ CEO: R S Sodhi


Renowned Sikh historian and first chronicler of partition Kirpal Singh passes away at 95 in Chandigarh
The first chronicler of India’s partition and a Sikh historian, Kirpal Singh passed away at his home in Chandigarh after a brief illness. He was 95. He had retired as professor and head of the department of Punjab Historical Studies in Punjabi University, Patiala.

Kirpal Singhi. Last year, Punjab Government had appointed him as the Chairman of Experts Oversight Committee to look into the mistakes and distortions of Sikh history in the textbooks of Class XI and XII in Punjab School Education Board.
ii. He is the founder of the Oral History Cell at Punjabi University in 1973.
iii. Some of the books written by the scholar:“Janamsakhi Tradition: An Analytical Study”, “Perspectives on Sikh Gurus”, “The Sikhs and Transfer of Power” and “Hardinge Papers Relating to Punjab.”
iv. Recognising his outstanding contribution to Sikh history, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gave him the title of ‘National Professor of Sikhism’ in 2014.
About Punjab:
Capital: Chandigarh
Chief Minister: Captain Amarinder Singh
Governor: V.P. Singh Badnore


May 8 observed as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation and May 9 as 74th anniversary of Victory in Second World War
May 8 observed as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation for those who had lost their life during Second World War which ended in 1945. May 9, 2019 observed as the 74th anniversary of victory over Nazism in Europe in Second World War. These days were designated by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2004.

The Indian Army is commemorating ‘2019’ as the ‘Year of Next of Kin’ to reach out to the next of kin of battle casualties
The Indian Army is commemorating ‘2019’ as the ‘Year of Next of Kin’.
Key points:
i. As a part of this commemoration, the Army has planned to reach out to the next of kin of battle casualties, ex-servicemen and serving soldiers to resolve their pension related issues and to let them know of their entitled financial benefits, welfare schemes.
ii. Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General in January stated that the army will observe 2019 as the year for the next of kin. Last year, stress was laid on the disabled soldiers, while this year its on the next of kin of the deceased soldiers.
iii. The issue has gained importance because most of the next of kin of the late soldiers were unaware of their entitled financial benefits.
iv. The Indian Army has stated that the issue has worsened due to non-digitised personal records, and also because of complications from various policy provisions and their multifarious interpretations.
v.The Army will take the help of the defence ministry, Nepal Embassy, Sainik Boards, banks and welfare agencies like the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) to embark upon this journey.
vi. The nodal agency will be The Directorate of Indian Army Veterans.
vii.On an average, every year the army suffers 150 to 200 battle casualties and 1,000 to 1,200 physical casualties, thus leading to 1,100 to 1,400 next of kin to be taken care of each year.
The Indian army has divided this group into various categories, as follows:

  • The first are the soldiers who retired after 2000
  • The next category are retirees between 1970 and 2000
  • The next category comprises of retirees prior to 1970

The 158th birth anniversary of Tagore was celebrated today on the 9th of May, 2019
On 9th May 2019,158th birth anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore, Asia’s first Nobel laureate and composer of India’s National Anthem, was celebrated. This day is also called ‘Rabindra Jayanti‘ symbolising his birth anniversary.
Key points:
i. Different programmes were organised to pay homage to the legendary poet.Streams of people had gotten together at Tagore’s birthplace in Jorasnko Thakurbari, West Bengal on his birth day.
ii. The West Bengal Government had organised a special musical programme in Kolkata to pay tributes to him.
iii. Rabindranath Tagore received Nobel Prize for literature for his acclaimed collection of poems in ‘Geetanjali’.
iv. Tagore also composed the the national anthem for Bangladesh, ‘Amar Sonar Bangla‘.
v. Tagore reshaped Bengali literary work,music and also started the Vishwa Bharati University in Shantiniketan. The birth anniversary of Tagore is also known as ‘Pochishe Boishakh‘.

5th United Nations Global Road Safety Week observed from May 6 to 12
Celebrated once in two years, the 5th United Nations Global Road Safety Week is being observed from May 6 to 12, 2019. It emphasizes that everyone can be a leader for road safety. The theme for this year’s weekly event is Leadership for road safety”.

United Nations Global Road Safety WeekKey Points:
i. It is acknowledged that stronger leadership is needed to build advance road safety in countries worldwide and it is the driving force to achieve road safety targets like Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) target 3.6 to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2020 and SDG target 11.2 to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all by 2030.
ii. It launched an ongoing campaign “Save Lives – #SpeakUp” to achieve global goals by ensuring the safety of human life. It runs on the philosophy of “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020”.
iii. WHO had released a report named ” The Global status report on road safety 2018″ in December 2018 which stated that the number of annual road traffic deaths has reached 1.35 million. Road traffic injuries are the leading killer of people aged 5-29 years.
Additional Information:
Earlier, the road safety week was observed in 2007, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
About World Health Organization:
Parent Organization: United Nations Economic and Social Council
Formation: 7 April, 1948
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Director-General: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

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