Daily Current Affairs and GK | 18 May 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 18 May 2024 16:20 PM IST

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Topic: Defense

1. Indian Army sets up one of the world's highest tank repair facilities at an altitude of 14,500 feet.

  • Indian Army has established two armoured vehicle maintenance and repair facilities near the China border in Nyoma.
  • These facilities will keep the combat fleet operationally ready, even in rugged terrain and challenging weather.
  • The new facilities will promote enhanced serviceability and mission reliability of tanks and infantry combat vehicles.
  • It has around 500 tanks and infantry combat vehicles in Eastern Ladakh.
  • After the stand-off between India and China started in April-May 2020, a large number of tanks and BMP combat vehicles have been deployed in Eastern Ladakh.
  • Indian Army is creating infrastructure for its tanks, including the T-90 and T-72, the BMPs, and the K-9Vajra self-propelled Howitzers, in high-altitude areas, where temperatures are extremely low.

Topic: Sports

2. Brazil to host 2027 Women's World Cup.

  • At the annual FIFA Congress, Brazil won the bid to host the 2027 Women's World Cup.
  • Brazil will be the first South American country to host the tournament.
  • Brazil beat the bid of Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. Brazil won with 119 votes versus 78 for the joint European entry.
  • Brazil scored 4.0 out of 5 compared to 3.7 for Belgium-Netherlands-Germany in the FIFA evaluation.
  • The FIFA assessment scored on criteria ranging from commercial viability, team facilities, and accommodation, to broadcast sites, stadiums, and fan festival venues.

Topic: Geography

3. Venezuela has become the first country to lose all its glaciers.

  • According to the latest developments, Venezuela has reached a critical milestone in the fight against climate change.
  • The disappearance of Venezuela's last glacier made it the first country to witness the complete melting of all its ice formations.
  • In 1910, Venezuela had six glaciers covering an impressive 1,000 square kilometers.
  • Today, these remain mere remnants of ice that no longer meet the criteria for glacier classification.
  • The five out of six Venezuela's glaciers had disappeared by 2011, with only the Humboldt Glacier, also known as La Corona, in the Sierra Nevada National Park struggling for survival.
  • Research conducted over the past five years has shown that glacier coverage in Venezuela has declined by a staggering 98% from 1953 to 2019.
  • The rate of ice loss increased rapidly after 1998, reaching a peak of about 17% per year since 2016.

Topic: Geography

4. Indonesia evacuated hundreds of people due to volcanic eruption.

  • On May 13, the Ibu volcano on Indonesia's remote island of Halmahera was erupted.
  • An official said on 17 May that hundreds of people living near an erupting volcano in eastern Indonesia have been evacuated after authorities raised the alert level to the highest level.
  • Authorities raised the alert status for Mount Ibu to the highest level of the four-tier system on May 16 after recording two major eruptions for the second consecutive day.
  • The Ibu volcano spewed ash and smoke up to 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) into the sky.
  • Ibu is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, having erupted more than 21,000 times in 2023.
  • According to official figures, as of 2022, more than 700,000 people lived on the island of Halmahera.

Topic: Important Days

5. World AIDS Vaccine Day 2024: 18 May

  • Every year on May 18, World AIDS Vaccine Day is observed all over the world.
  • It is celebrated to create awareness about AIDS and the need for its vaccine.
  • On 18 May 1998, World AIDS Vaccine Day was for the first time celebrated.
  • There is currently no vaccine available to prevent HIV.
  • World AIDS Vaccine Day is also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.
  • AIDS is a viral disease. The full form of AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
  • In 1981, AIDS was first reported in the United States.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes AIDS. It damages the immune system of the body.
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Topic: National Appointments

6. Senior IPS officer A.Y.V. Krishna has been appointed additional director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

  • Senior IPS officer N. Venu Gopal has been appointed additional director in the CBI.
  • A.Y.V. Krishna is a 1995-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre.
  • He is presently working as Inspector General in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
  • His tenure as the additional director of CBI will be up to August 6, 2028.
  • Mr. Venu Gopal is an officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre. Mr. Venu Gopal is currently working as a joint director in the CBI.
  • His tenure as the additional director of CBI will be up to May 24, 2027.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

7. A machine to transform pine needles into sustainable livelihood has been developed by IIT Roorkee scientists.

  • The machine will also help in curtailing forest fires.
  • Pine needles are commonly called pirul. They are the primary catalyst for forest fires in Uttarakhand.
  • The development of machine was started about 12 years ago.
  • In 2019, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change awarded a project for this.
  • The machine compresses pine needles into bricks.
  • Dr Vinay Sharma was the project leader at the Department of Management Studies, IIT.
  • The research was conducted in collaboration with Dr Rajat Agarwal. The research has been patented by IIT.
  • Six machines each in Chopda village above Kathgodam and Shyamkhet village near Bhawali Nainital were installed and trial was successfully conducted in Uttarakhand.
  • In 2022, 12 machines were made on the demand of Forest Department of the Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Officials from the Himachal Pradesh forest department have been authorized to construct the machine.
  • Machine weighs approximately 90 kg. So, it is portable between locations.
  • Pirul in the machine undergoes compression at a pressure of 1000 to 1200 PSI.
  • Its operation incurs no electricity or battery costs. Plans are in place to use solar technology to automate the process.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

8. About 60% of the world’s coral reefs have bleached in the past year.

  • As per the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), around two-thirds of the world’s coral reefs have been subjected to heat stress bad enough to trigger bleaching over the past year.
  • The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the world’s coral reefs were in the throes of a fourth mass bleaching event.
  • Climate change along with the El Nino climate pattern has increased the Ocean temperature to a record high.
  • Coral bleaching occurs when corals expel the colorful algae living in their tissues. Without algae, the corals become pale and vulnerable to starvation and disease.
  • Scientists observed mass bleaching in at least 62 countries including India and Sri Lanka.
  • Due to the rise in the Ocean, Corals in the Atlantic Ocean have been hit hardest.
  • Scientists are expecting further coral bleaching in the Southern Caribbean, around Florida, and at the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

9. 12th India-Mongolia Joint Working Group meeting held in Ulaanbaatar.

  • The 12th Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting between the Defence Ministries of India and Mongolia was held on May 16-17, 2024.
  • During the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the ongoing defense cooperation between the two countries.
  • Both sides reviewed the progress on various bilateral defense cooperation initiatives.
  • They also identified means to further enhance cooperation and exchanged views on the current geopolitical situation.
  • Both sides also acknowledged the growing ties between the two countries.
  • India and Mongolia enjoy age-old historical, cultural, and civilizational ties.
  • In the last 27 years, the exports of India to Mongolia have increased at an annualized rate of 14.1%, from $2.03M in 1995 to $71.3M in 2022.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

10. Second dengue vaccine has been prequalified by WHO.

  • The second dengue vaccine made by Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceuticals has been prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • This live-attenuated vaccine, known as TAK-003, contains weakened versions of four serotypes of the virus that causes dengue.
  • This means that TAK-003 contains weakened forms of four types of dengue virus, which helps the body build immunity without causing disease.
  • The meaning of WHO pre-qualification for a vaccine is that the health agency has evaluated and approved the vaccine for quality, safety, and efficacy.
  • TAK-003 can be given to children aged 6 to 16 years who have more chance of dengue and intensity of transmission.
  • According to WHO, the vaccine should be administered in a 2-dose schedule with an interval of 3 months between doses.
  • Earlier, WHO had prequalified the CYD-TDV vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur against dengue.
  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is life-threatening in many cases. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
  • An estimated 3.8 billion people live in dengue-endemic nations, primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, and there are between 100 and 400 million dengue cases reported globally annually.

Topic: Important Days

11. National Endangered Species Day 2024: 17 May

  • Every year, National Endangered Species Day is observed on the third Friday of May. This year, the day observed on 17 May.
  • It is celebrated to spread awareness regarding the conservation of endangered species.
  • The theme of National Endangered Species Day 2024 is “Celebrate Saving Species.”
  • In 2006, the Endangered Species Coalition and David Robinson co-founded National Endangered Species Day to inspire people around the world to learn more about endangered animals and their conservation.
  • This day also helps in reviewing the status of animals under threat of extinction and the impact of climate change on their ecosystem.
  • An Endangered species is an organism that is under the threat of extinction.
  • Loss of Habitat and Loss of genetic variation are the two main reasons leading to extinction. 
  • Some of the endangered species in India are Asiatic Lion, Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Kashmiri Red Stag, One-horned rhinoceros, etc.

Topic: International News

12. Blue Residency Visa for Environmental Champions has been launched by the UAE.

  • The 10-year Blue Residency Visa has been launched by the UAE to attract and retain global leaders in environmental research, activism, and technological solutions.
  • Blue Residency Visa will offer long-term residency to individuals who contribute to environmental protection and sustainability efforts.
  • Members of international environmental organizations, award-winning researchers, and distinguished activists can apply for this visa.
  • UAE’s Golden Visa offer a decade-long residency to investors, entrepreneurs, and specialists.
  • UAE is also observing 2024 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’, which is focused on environmental initiatives.
  • Recently, UAE also hosted COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference held in Dubai.

Topic: National Appointments

13. Kapil Sibal became president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

  • Senior advocate Kapil Sibal has been elected as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
  • He will serve as president of the SCBA for the fourth time.
  • Kapil Sibal secured 1,066 votes and defeated his nearest rival and senior advocate, Pradeep Rai.
  • The other contenders were Priya Hingorani, Tripurari Ray, and Neeraj Srivastava.
  • Advocate Vikrant Yadav has been elected SCBA secretary.
  • Sibal was the additional solicitor general of India during 1989-90. He became a senior advocate in 1983.
  • Supreme Court has directed to reserve some posts in the executive committee of the SCBA for women.
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