Daily Current Affairs and GK | 20 and 21 August 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 21 Aug 2023 17:43 PM IST

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Topic: Geography

1. Tropical Storm Hilary brought flash floods to California.

  • Tropical Storm Hilary hit the US state of California and brought flash floods.
  • Hilary is the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years.
  • It has brought flash floods, isolated tornadoes, high winds and power outages.
  • The US National Hurricane Center warned of catastrophic and life-threatening flooding.
  • Hilary made landfall on the north of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula with a speed of 100 kilometres per hour.
  • The tropical storm reached California after causing heavy rains in the Baja California peninsula.
  • A hurricane is a strong tropical cyclone that comes in the Atlantic Ocean or northeastern Pacific Ocean.
  • Environmental conditions required for tropical cyclones are:
    • Warm Ocean waters (at least 80°F/27°C)
    • Moist air near the mid-level of the atmosphere
    • Presence of the Coriolis force
    • Atmospheric instability

Topic: National News

2. India has achieved 2nd rank at the 16th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA).

  • India has achieved 2nd rank with four gold and one silver medal. The United Kingdom achieved the first rank with five golds.
  • 16th IOAA was held from the 10th to the 20th August 2023 in Chorzow, Poland.
  • A total of 236 students from 50 nations took part in the IOAA.
  • They collectively won 27 gold, 41 silver, and 50 bronze medals across all categories.
  • Prof. Surhud More from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, and Pritesh Ranadive from HBCSE-TIFR, Mumbai led the Indian team.

Winner

Medal

Rajdeep Mishra from Kota, Rajasthan

Gold

Koduru Tejeswar from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh

Gold

Md. Sahil Akhtar from Kolkata, West Bengal

Gold

Akarsh Raj Sahay from Nagpur, Maharashtra

Gold

Sainavaneet Mukund from Bangalore, Karnataka

Silver

Topic: Space and IT

3. Luna-25 spacecraft of Russia crashed into the moon and Russia’s Moon mission failed.

  • The Luna-25 spacecraft suffered an accident shortly after completing a vital manoeuvre in preparation for landing.
  • The Russian space agency Roscosmos said on August 19, it was planned to issue an impulse to form its pre-landing elliptical orbit.
  • It said the communication with the Luna-25 spacecraft was interrupted.
  • Roscosmos said the measures taken on August 19 and 20 to search for the device and get in contact with it did not give any results.
  • A specially formed interdepartmental commission will deal with the issues of clarifying the reasons for the loss.
  • Luna-25:
    • It was to land near the lunar South Pole at the crater Boguslawsky. It was a Russian lunar lander mission by Roscosmos.
    • It lifted off on 10 August 2023 atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

4. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will launch Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP) on 22nd August 2023.

  • This programme is a step towards improving road safety by raising the safety standards of motor vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes in India.
  • The aim of the programme is to offer a tool to car customers to make a comparative assessment of the crash safety of motor vehicles available in the market.
  • As part of this program, car manufacturers can voluntarily offer their cars tested in accordance with the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197.
  • Depending on the performance of the car in the tests, the car will be given star ratings for Adult Occupants (AOP) and Child Occupants (COP).
  • Potential car customers can use these star ratings to compare the safety standards of different vehicles. They can accordingly make their purchase decision.
  • Automotive Industry Standards are India’s automotive technical specifications. They are based on United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) norms.

Topic: State News/ Himachal Pradesh

5. On August 18, the Himachal Pradesh government declared a state calamity due to heavy damage caused by heavy rains.

  • The entire hill state has been declared a "Natural Calamity Affected Area" in view of the damage caused to human life and property due to the heavy rains.
  • This declaration allows the government to respond promptly and effectively to the emergency situation.
  • Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said that he was waiting for the Centre's response to declare the calamity in Himachal Pradesh as a national calamity.
  • Once the weather becomes normal and accessibility improves, a full assessment of the damage caused to the hill state will be done and a report will be submitted to the Center for recovery and reconstruction efforts.
  • State CM Sukhu Informed that the state has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 10,000 crore.
  • Besides this, he said that proper drainage and cross-drainage systems would be made mandatory for all the roads in the state.
  • A high-level committee and monitoring teams would be constituted soon to investigate this.

Topic: Sports

6. India's Anahat Singh has won the gold medal in the girls' under-17 category at the Asian Junior Squash Championship.

  • On 20 August, Anahat won the title by defeating Hong Kong's Ena Kwong 3-1 in the final in Dalian, China.
  • Earlier, Anahat had defeated Doyce Lee of Malaysia in the quarterfinals and Whitney Isabelle Wilson of Malaysia in the semifinals.
  • This is Anahat's second gold and third medal so far.
  • In 2022, she won her first gold medal in the girls' under-15 category at the Asian Junior Squash Championships in Thailand.
  • In 2019, she won the U-11 title during the British Junior Open Squash and the U-13 title in the Dutch Junior Open Squash.
  • Earlier in 2023, Anahat won the British Junior Open squash under-15 category by defeating Egypt's Sohaila Hazem in the final.

girls' under-17 category at the Asian Junior Squash Championship

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

7. The 9th India Region Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will be inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in Udaipur.

  • The theme of the conference is 'Strengthening Democracy and Good Governance in the Digital Age'.
  • The inaugural session will also be addressed by Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh, and Speaker of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, Dr. CP Joshi.
  • The closing ceremony of the conference will be addressed by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on 22 August 2023.
  • Rajasthan is hosting this conference for the first time. 17 Speakers of legislative assemblies, Deputy Speakers, and chairmen of Legislative Councils will take part in the conference.
  • The conference will have two sessions. In the first session, there will be discussion on topics like digital empowerment, and improving the skills of public representatives in the direction of good governance.
  • In the second session, the focus will be on the role of public representatives in strengthening the country through democratic institutions.

Topic: Sports

8. Spain has won over England by 1-0 to become the world champion in FIFA Women World Cup in Sydney.

  • Captain Olga Carmona's strike in the 29th minute proved decisive.
  • Spain's national football team became only the second country, after Germany, to win both the Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
  • Spain's national football team is also known as La Roja.
  • The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup was the 9th edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup.
  • It took place from 20 July to 20 August 2023. It was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
  • It was the first FIFA Women's World Cup to have more than one host nation.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

9. Maharashtra government has decided to implement the Bhagwan Birsa Munda Jodaraste Scheme.

  • The state cabinet has decided to implement the Bhagwan Birsa Munda Jodaraste Scheme to connect all tribal villages in 17 state districts with main roads.
  • The project will be implemented at Rs 5,000 crore and nearly 6,838 km of roads will be constructed as part of the scheme.
  • Under this scheme, all the tribal padas will be connected by perennial roads.
  • The Tribal Development Department will form a separate committee for these roads.
  • These roads will be built by Public Works Department.
  • The construction of roads will remove the difficulty in providing basic facilities to tribal people.
  • In another decision, the Maharashtra cabinet also decided to repeal the 45-year-old Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act, 1976,
  • The Maharashtra government will also give special rations during the upcoming Ganeshotsav and Diwali festivals under the Antyodaya food scheme.
  • This special ration will comprise one kg each of semolina, chana dal, sugar, and one litre of cooking oil.
  • The Maharashtra government has also decided to increase the stipend amount for government Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) trainees from 40 rupees to 500 rupees.

Topic: Sports

10. R Praggnanandhaa reach in semifinals of the FIDE World Cup.

  • R Praggnanandhaa becomes the first Indian after Vishwanthan Anand to reach the semifinals of the FIDE World Cup.
  • He drew the match against his higher-ranked opponent Fabiano Caruana.
  • Out of four Indians, who had made it to the quarterfinals, Praggnanandhaa only reached the semi-final.
  • Magnus Carlsen defeated Nijat Abasov in another semi-final match.
  • FIDE World Cup is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan from 30 July to 24 August 2023.

semifinals of the FIDE World Cup

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

11. Moody's retains India's rating at Baa3.

  • Rating agency Moody's has affirmed the Baa3 rating on India and has maintained a 'stable' outlook on the Indian economy.
  • On August 18, Moody's said in a statement, India's long-term local and foreign-currency issued ratings and local-currency senior unsecured ratings remain at Baa3, while other short-term local-currency ratings are at P-3.
  • India's economy has the potential to grow rapidly by international standards, although potential growth has moderated over the last 7-10 years.
  • According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Indian economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6.5% in the financial year 2023-24.
  • According to official data shared by the National Statistical Office, India's gross domestic product or GDP grew by 6.1% in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2022-23, as against a growth of 4.4% in the previous October-December quarter.
  • In the fiscal year 2022-23, the economy grew at 7.2%, higher than the central bank's estimate of 7%.
  • However, the pace of growth was slower than the 9.1% recorded in FY2012.
  • Moody's said the country's financial sector continues to strengthen, with economic and contingent liability risks significantly reduced, which had previously been a downgrade pressure.

Topic: Important Days

12. World Mosquito Day 2023: 20 August

  • Every year on 20 August, World Mosquito Day is observed
  • It is observed to commemorate the discovery made by Sir Ronald Ross in 1897.
  • In 1897, Sir Ronald Ross discovered that the malaria parasite is transmitted to humans by Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • World Mosquito Day is organized annually by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
  • Today, mosquito-borne diseases kill more than one million people and infect 700 million people each year, which is about one in ten people.
  • In 2023, more than three million dengue cases and more than 1,500 dengue-related deaths have been reported so far globally.
  • Argentina, Peru, and Bangladesh have experienced the largest outbreaks of dengue in their history, while Paraguay has seen a sharp rise in chikungunya cases.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

13. The total number of Jan Dhan accounts crossed the 50 crore mark.

  • Out of the total 50 crore accounts, 56 per cent of accounts belong to women and 67 per cent of accounts have been opened in Rural and Semi-urban areas.
  • The total deposits in these accounts are above Rs 2.03 lakh crore.
  • Around 34 crore RuPay cards have been issued with these accounts free of cost.
  • The average balance in Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts is Rs 4,076.
  • More than 5.5 crore of these accounts received Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana:
    • It was launched on 28th August 2014.
    • It was launched to provide universal access to banking facilities to people.
    • It is also known as National Mission for Financial Inclusion.
    • Under this scheme, Rupay Debit card and Accident Insurance Cover of Rs.1 lakh (enhanced to Rs2 lakhs to new PMJDY accounts opened after 28.8.2018) is provided to account holders.
    • An overdraft facility of up to Rs 10,000 is provided to eligible account holders.

Topic: National Appointments 

14. P.R. Seshadri has been appointed as MD and CEO of South Indian Bank.

  • The appointment of P.R. Seshadri as MD and CEO of South Indian Bank has been approved by RBI.   
  • His appointment will be for three years with effect from 01 October.  
  • A meeting of the Board of Directors will be convened to approve his appointment.  
  • The approval of shareholders will be obtained after that.  
  • Seshadri has earlier served as MD & CEO of The Karur Vysya Bank. 
  • South Indian Bank is a private-sector bank. It is headquartered in Thrissur, Kerala. Murali Ramakrishnan is its MD & CEO. It was founded in 1928.  
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