Daily Current Affairs and GK | 18 September 2020

By PendulumEdu | Last Modified: 19 Sep 2020 00:39 AM IST

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1. Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigns in protest of three farm bills introduced by the Centre.

  • Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal has resigned.
  • She resigned in protest against three farm bills presented in the Parliament by the Centre.
  • These three bills are:
  • She belongs to Shiromani Akali Dal and SAD is the BJP’s oldest ally.
  • It has been said that these bills are against the welfare of farmers. Farmers in Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Rajasthan, and other states have organized protests against these bills in the last few weeks.
  • The government has argued that these bills will free farmers of government-controlled markets and prices and they will be able to enter into agreements with private parties for a better price.

(Source: News on AIR)

2. Prime Minister dedicates Kosi Rail Mega Bridge to the nation.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated Kosi Rail Mahasetu (mega bridge) to the nation.
  • 12 rail projects related to passenger facilities for the benefit of Bihar were also inaugurated.
  • These projects include a new railway bridge on the Kiul River, two new railway lines, 5 Electrification projects, one Electric Locomotive Shed at Barauni and 3rd Line Project between Barh-Bakhtiyarpur.
  • Kosi Rail Mahasetu is a 1.9 km long bridge that has been completed at the cost of Rs. 516 crore.
  • This bridge will reduce the rail distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh from 298 kms to just 22 kms.
  • The Kosi Mega Bridge project was approved by the government during 2003-04.
  • The bridge is strategically important (along Indo-Nepal border) as it connects Mitihila and Kosi region.
  • The rail link in this region had washed away due to heavy flood and the Indo-Nepal Earthquake of 1934. Since the Kosi river keeps changing its course (meandering), the rail link was not restored for a long time.

3. 2nd Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award conferred to institutions under AICTE.

  • Second Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award was conferred to the institutions under AICTE on Vishwakarma Divas.
  • The award was presented by Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in 14 categories to 34 selected institutions.
  • College of Engineering, Pune, has topped in the overall category, followed by MCEME.
  • The theme for the 2020 Award was India Fights Corona.
  • Utkrisht Sansthan Vishwakarma Award:
    • It is one of the categories of the AICTE Vishwakarma Award and is presented annually by AICTE since 2019.
    • It aims to recognize and honour the AICTE approved technical institutions for their significant contribution to the growth and development of the society.
  • AICTE is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament in 1945.
  • Vishwakarma Divas is dedicated to the divine architect, Vishwakarma, a Hindu God. It is celebrated on ‘Kanya Sankranti’ of the Hindu calendar.

4. 10th meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors held virtually.

  • The tenth meeting of BRICS High Representatives on National Security was held via video conferencing.
  • The meeting was chaired by Russia, the current chair of BRICS and SCO.
  • The National Security Advisors of the five nations discussed upon the matters related to strengthening political security and cooperation.
  • India’s NSA Ajit Doval participated in the meeting.
  • India, Russia and China are the members of BRICS, SCO and Russia-India-China grouping (RIC).
  • BRICS:
    • It is a grouping of five emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
    • It was formed as BRIC in 2009 and after the joining of South Africa in 2010, it became BRICS.
    • The acronym BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs in 2001.
    • The member countries of BRICS are also members of G-20.
    • The 13th BRICS Summit will be hosted by India.

5. New Integrated Terminal Building being constructed at Port Blair airport.

  • New Integrated Terminal Building is being constructed at Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair.
  • Airports Authority of India has started the work for constructing New Integrated Terminal Building after considering passenger traffic.
  • The design of terminal is shell shaped and depicts sea and islands.
  • The terminal will have full natural light through roof that transmits sunlight.
  • Over 65% of work for terminal building has been completed and terminal building will be completed by middle of 2021.
  • Airports Authority of India (AAI):
    • It is under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and headquartered in New Delhi.
    • Arvind Singh is its current chairman. It is a statutory body.
    • It is responsible for the construction, upgrade, maintenance and management of civil aviation infrastructure.
    • It was established on 1 April 1995.

(Source: News on AIR)

6. New guidelines to support pottery and beekeeping announced.

  • Ministry of MSME has announced new guidelines to support pottery and beekeeping and provided Rs 50 crore for beekeeping honey clusters under the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) scheme.
  • Ministry has announced new guidelines for two beneficiary oriented Self-Employment schemes, which include pottery and beekeeping activity.
  • In case of scheme for pottery activity, the government will provide a pottery wheel, Clay Blunger (a machine for mixing clay and water), granulator, etc.
  • The government will also provide different types of training to artisans, as given below.
    • Wheel Pottery training for traditional pottery artisans in Self Help Groups
    • Press Pottery training for artisans (pottery and non-pottery) in Self Help Groups
    • Jigger-Jolly training programme for pottery as well as non-pottery artisan in Self Help Groups
  • In addition to Traditional and other non-traditional pottery artisans, the scheme will benefit Rural Un-employed youth and Migrant Labourers.
  • Under the SFURTI scheme, Rs 50 crore will be given for establishing clusters in Terracotta, Red clay pottery, with new innovative value-added products to build pottery to crockery or tile making capabilities.
  • In case of scheme for beekeeping activity, the government will give Bee boxes, Tool kits and beekeeping training. Bee boxes, with Bee colonies, will also be given to Migrant workers in Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan districts.
  • Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) scheme was started on 1 August 2014 by the Ministry of MSMEs for promoting cluster development.

7. Ashok Gasti, BJP Rajya Sabha member, passes away.

  • BJP Rajya Sabha member Ashok Gasti has passed away due to COVID-19.
  • He was from Raichur, Karnataka. He has recently taken oath as a Rajya Sabha member on 22 July.
  • He was diagnosed with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and was critically ill with multiple organ failure.

(Source: The Hindu)

8. NASA and NOAA announce the start of solar cycle 25.

  • NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced the start of solar cycle 25 by jointly releasing a consensus statement.
  • Solar cycle means a period of 11 years, during which solar activity changes between solar maxima and solar minima.
  • A new solar cycle starts when the sun reaches solar minima. The confirmation of solar minima needs data of six to eight months.
  • During the solar cycle, the number of sunspots in the photosphere (on the surface of the sun) increase or decrease.
  • During solar maxima, the number of sunspots is highest. The number of sunspots is lowest during solar minima.
  • NASA and NOAA-led Solar Cycle Prediction Panel having solar physicists release a consensus statement once in a decade and make predictions about solar cycles.  
  • Solar cycle 24 started in December 2008 and completed in December 2019.
  • Sunspots are small, dark and cooler areas with strong magnetic forces. When the sun is active, the number of sunspots is higher. The number of sunspots is lower when the sun is less active.

(Source: Indian Express)

9. Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh inaugurated “Swachhata Cafe”.

  • Swachhata Cafe has been inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, at Nalagarh in Solan district.
  • The cafe was inaugurated on the 70th birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Laxmi and Durga women SHGs are operating this cafe where traditional food will be served.
  • Swachhata Park is also being opened at Kufri in Shimla district.
  • Himachal Pradesh:
    • It is a north Indian state located in the western Himalayas.
    • Capital: Shimla (summer) and Dharamshala (winter)
    • Current Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya
    • The state has 4 Lok Sabha seats and 3 Rajya Sabha seats.

10. US envoy to UN meets Taiwan official.

  • US envoy to UN has met a top official from Taiwan, an island country that is not a member of UN.
  • US under President Trump is supporting Taiwan, an island that is claimed by China as its territory.
  • US is also supporting the inclusion of Taiwan in international organizations like World Health Organisation and International Civil Aviation Organisation.
  • The meeting has been held before the 59th US presidential election scheduled on November 3, 2020.
  • Taiwan came out of the UN in 1971 and Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Organisation’s assembly has been taken away.
  • Taiwan has been praised for its fight with COVID-19 pandemic. In Taiwan, only 438 cases of Covid-19 were recorded.
  • Taiwan is located in East Asia. China lies in its northwest. Japan lies in its northeast. Philippines lie in its south. Its capital is Taipei. It is not a member of UN.

11. China launches 9 satellites from ship.

  • China has launched nine satellites from a ship in Yellow sea.
  • This is the second sea-based launch mission and first commercial launch of a rocket from a platform in sea.
  • Long March 11-HY2 was launched from Debo 3.
  • The launched satellites belong to Jilin 1 high-resolution Earth-observation satellites.
  • Earlier, optical remote-sensing satellite Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C could not reach its orbit.
  • Yellow sea is located in the western Pacific Ocean. It lies between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. Yellow river from China flows into the Yellow sea.

12. Ayurvedic specialist P.R. Krishnakumar dies.

  • Ayurvedic specialist P.R. Krishnakumar has died due to Covid-19.
  • He was Managing Director of The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (Coimbatore) Limited.
  • He founded AVP Research Foundation and was awarded the Padma Shri.
  • In 2016, he was given Dhanwanthari Puraskar by the Government of India for his contribution to Ayurveda Education, Health and Community Services.
  • He contributed to the preparation of Ayush protocol.
  • PM Modi has discussed with Krishnakumar the prospects of Ayurveda in Covid-19 management.
  • He started first ever clinical research in traditional medicines under WHO and ICMR partnership to study the efficacy of Ayurvedic treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis.

(Source: The Hindu)

13. Stroke risk higher in AFib patients exposed to air pollution.

  • A study has shown that atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients face a higher risk of stroke when they are exposed to air pollution.
  • The stroke risk in patients with more pollution is 1.2 times higher than in patients with less pollution.
  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a disorder in which atria beats irregularly. Its specific causes are not known.
  • Heart:
    • Heart is a muscular structure made up of cardiac muscles. Cardiac muscles are involuntary muscles.
    • It has four chambers in humans. Upper chambers are known as atria and lower chambers are known as ventricles.
    • The walls of atria are thinner than that of ventricles. On average, the human heart beats 72 times in a minute. 

(Source: NCERT)

14. International Equal Pay Day: 18 September.

  • International Equal Pay Day is being celebrated for the first time on 18 September 2020.
  • The day highlights the efforts of achieving equal pay for equal work.
  • On 15 November 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe 18 September as International Equal Pay Day.
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Theme: Building back a better future of work by ensuring pay equity
  • Related facts:
    • Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, creating a lifetime of income inequality between men and women.
    • Women are mostly concentrated in low-paid, low-skill work with high job insecurity and are under-represented in decision making roles.
    • One of the most vulnerable migrant worker groups is domestic workers who are mostly women.
    • Nearly 65% of people above retirement age without any regular pension are women.
  • Article 39(d) of the Indian Constitution states that the State shall direct its policy towards securing that there is equal pay for equal work for both women and men.

(Source: UN)






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