Daily Current Affairs and GK | 20 April 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 20 Apr 2024 16:48 PM IST

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Topic: Awards and Prizes

1. Deepika Soreng received the Asunta Lakra Award.

  • Deepika Soreng, an India Women's Hockey Team player, won the Asunta Lakra Award.
  • She made her debut for India in the Women's Junior Asia Cup. She helped the Indian team to win the Gold medal by scoring 7 goals in 6 matches.
  • She was also a key player for the Indian team that won the Silver medal in the FIH Women's Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024.
  • She was also named the Young Player of the Tournament in Oman.
  • She travelled with the team to the 2023 FIH Junior Women's World Cup.
  • She received the Asunta Lakra Award for Upcoming Player of the Year during the Hockey India 6th Annual Awards 2023.

Topic: Art and Culture

2. Three new archaeological sites have been discovered in Telangana.

  • A team of archaeologists discovered a unique Iron Age megalithic site at Ooragutta near Bandala village in SS Tadvai mandal of Mulugu district, Telangana.
  • The site was discovered by a team comprising K P Rao and Ch Praveen Raju.
  • The exact number of monuments could not be counted in the dense forest and slopes of the hill but it is likely to be more than 200 megalithic monuments.
  • The site discovered at Ooragutta has unique features. The side slabs are arranged with slabs after the shape of the capstone.
  • The researchers have also discovered two new rock art sites at Damaratogu in Gundala mandal of Bhadradri Kothagudem district.
  • The first site is known as ‘Devarlabanda Mula’. It has only depictions of animals.
  • It is believed that the paintings are from between 8000 – 3000 BCE.

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

3. Russia-India signed an agreement to operate a large research hub in New Delhi.

  • The Higher School of Economics, located in Russia, and the University of Delhi signed a pact on strategic cooperation and joint actions.
  • They will also operate a large research hub in New Delhi. It will start operating at the partner university from India.
  • HSE University is a national research university located in Moscow, Russia.
  • Recently, the Indo-Russian Education Summit was held in New Delhi from 11-13 April. It is the largest event of its kind in the history of India-Russia bilateral relations.
  • 60 Russian universities arrived at this summit from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Siberia, Crimea, the Urals and other regions.
  • The summit brought diplomats, politicians, scientists, and businessmen to one platform to explore new opportunities for cooperation in education, science and innovative technologies.

Topic: Miscellaneous

4. The world's first "Miss AI" contest will be held to select a winner based on beauty and social media influence.

  • Models and influencers groomed through artificial intelligence will compete in a "Miss AI" beauty pageant. The prize for the competition will be $20,000.
  • This is the world's first AI beauty pageant and contestants will be judged based on their looks, their stature online, and the technical skills used to create them.
  • It will also include Fanvue, a subscription-based platform that hosts virtual models, as WAICA's partner.
  • The first prize is $5,000 cash, which will be awarded to the Miss AI winner (or the creator behind it) along with Fanvue promotion and PR support.
  • The runner-up and third-place winner will also be awarded cash prizes.
  • On 14 April, entries were opened and on 10 May, the winners would be announced, with an online awards ceremony taking place at the end of the month.
  • Two of the judges on the four-member panel are AI-generated: Spain's Aitana Lopez, who has over 300,000 followers, and Emily Pellegrini, who has over 250,000 followers on Instagram.
  • The other two are humans: Andrew Bloch, an entrepreneur and PR consultant, and Sally-Ann Fawcett, a beauty pageant historian and author of the book Misdemeanours: Beauty Queen Scandals.

Topic: Defence

5. The first batch of BrahMos was sent by India to the Philippines.

  • On April 19, India handed over the first batch of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines, marking a major military export milestone.
  • In January 2022, a $375 million deal was signed by the Philippines with India for three batteries of the shore-based, anti-ship version of the BrahMos.
  • It became the first export customer for the joint venture missile between India and Russia.
  • The Philippines acquired the system under Horizon 2 of the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
  • The delivery comes amid the ongoing standoff between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea over the past few months.
  • It will significantly enhance the defensive posture of the Philippines Armed Forces once the system becomes operational.
  • DRDO and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyeniya joint venture BrahMos missile, which takes its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers.
  • The missile is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea, and air against surface and sea-based targets and has been inducted into the Indian Armed Forces for a long time.

Topic: International News

6. The sanctions on 3 Chinese and 1 Belarus firms imposed by USA for providing ballistic missile components to Pakistan.

  • Three China-based companies and one Belarus-based company have been sanctioned by the US State Department for supplying missile-applied items to Pakistan's ballistic missile program.
  • China, Pakistan's all-time ally, has been the main supplier of arms and defense equipment to Islamabad's military modernization program.
  • Sanctions have been imposed on China-based Xi'an Longde Technology Development Co. Ltd., Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co. Ltd., and Granpect Co. Ltd.
  • The State Department also imposed sanctions on Belarus-based Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, which supplied special vehicle chassis for Pakistan's long-range ballistic missile program.
  • Missile related equipment including filament winding machines have been supplied by Xi'an Longde Technology Development Co., Ltd. for Pakistan's long-range ballistic missile program.
  • Missile-related equipment for Pakistan's long-range ballistic missile program was supplied by Tianjin Creative Source International Trade Co., Ltd., including stir welding equipment and a linear accelerator system.
  • Granpect Company worked with Pakistan's Suparco to supply equipment for testing large-diameter rocket motors.
  • Such chassis are used by Pakistan's National Development Complex (NDC) as launch support equipment for ballistic missiles.
  • It is responsible for the development of the Missile Technology Control System Category (MTCR) I ballistic missile.
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Topic: Defence

7. Indigenous flight control modules handed over to HAL for the LCA Tejas MK-1A variant by DRDO.

  • On April 19, the first batch of indigenous Leading Edge Actuators and Airbrake Control Modules was handed over to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited by the DRDO.
  • DRDO's Aeronautical Development Agency has taken a significant leap towards self-reliance in aeronautical technologies with the collaboration of Research Center Bhadra, Hyderabad, and Central Institute of Manufacturing Technology, Bengaluru.
  • The successful completion of flight trials for the leading edge actuators and airbrake control module has paved the way for production clearance, making HAL ready to equip the Mk-1A variant of the LCA Tejas.
  • The secondary flight controls of LCA-Tejas, including leading edge slats and air brakes, now boast state-of-the-art servo-valve-based electro-hydraulic servo actuators and control modules.
  • These high-pressure, redundant servo actuators and control modules, featuring amazing design, precision manufacturing, assembly, and testing, represent the culmination of ADA's continuous pursuit of indigenous technical prowess.
  • Production of these critical components is going on at HAL's Accessories Division in Lucknow.

HAL for the LCA Tejas MK-1A

(Source: New on AIR)

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

8. A MoU signed between AFMS and IIT Kanpur in the development of technologies.

  • On 18 April 2024, An MoU was signed between the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur for collaborative research and training.
  • Lieutenant General Daljit Singh, Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services, and Professor S Ganesh, Acting Director of IIT Kanpur, signed the MoU.
  • Under this MoU, AFMS and IIT Kanpur will jointly conduct research and develop new technologies to tackle the health problems faced by soldiers in remote areas.
  • A technical expertise will also be provided by IIT Kanpur for developing AI diagnostic models for the Armed Forces Center for Computational Medicine established at the Armed Forces Medical College.
  • It is the first of its kind among medical colleges in the country.
  • Exchange of faculty, joint academic activities, and development of training modules will also be planned under this MoU.

Topic: Space and IT

9. Sweden becomes the 38th country to join the Artemis Accords.

  • Sweden signed the Artemis Accords, which is a series of non-binding arrangements for outer space.
  • Sweden has affirmed its dedication to the sustainable use of space NASA welcomes Sweden to the Artemis Accords family.
  • NASA and the US Department of State in 2020 announced the Artemis Accords. It has 38 signatories, including India and Japan.
  • The Artemis Accords are a set of principles for cooperation in space exploration and the use of the moon, mars, comets, and asteroids for peaceful purposes.
  • Artemis program is also aiming to land the first astronauts on Mars and other planets and celestial bodies.
  • The Armetis Accords provide the important implementation of key obligations from the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
  • On 22 June 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the Artemis Accords to make India a global space power.
  • Israel, Romania, Bahrain, Singapore, Colombia, France, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Nigeria, and the Czech Republic have joined the accords in 2022.

Topic: Science and Technology

10. Meta unveils Llama 3 and real-time image generator.

  • Meta released its latest large language model Llama 3 and a real-time image generator.
  • Its main objective is to fill the gap with OpenAI in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • The newly unveiled models will be integrated into Meta's virtual assistant- Meta AI.
  • Meta's Llama 3 is the latest in its Llama series of open-source AI models.
  • It came in two versions: one with 8 billion parameters and a second with 70 billion parameters.
  • The models are trained on sequences of 8,192 tokens. It grouped query attention (GQA) for both the 8B and 70B parameter models.

Topic: Banking system

11. A fine of Rs 60.3 lakhs imposed by RBI on 5 cooperative banks for violating rules.

  • A fine of Rs 43.30 lakh has been imposed on Rajkot Nagrik Sahakari Bank for non-compliance with RBI instructions.
  • RBI has 'prohibited granting of loans and advances to directors and their relatives and firms in which they have interest' and 'prohibited opening of savings bank accounts in the name of certain organizations'.
  • A monetary penalty of Rs 5 lakh each has been imposed by the central bank on The Kangra Co-operative Bank (New Delhi), Rajdhani Nagar Co-operative Bank (Lucknow), and District Co-operative Bank, Garhwal (Kotdwar, Uttarakhand).
  • Apart from this, a fine of Rs 2 has been imposed on the District Cooperative Bank (Dehradun).
  • In each case, the RBI said the penalty is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance.
  • It is not intended to affect the validity of any transaction entered into by the banks with their respective customers.

Topic: Corporates/Companies

12. Vedanta firm Hindustan Zinc has become the third-largest silver producer globally.

  • According to a survey, its Sindesar Khurd mine in Rajasthan has now become the world's second-largest silver-producing mine, up from fourth place last year.
  • Silver plays a key role in the global energy transition and Hindustan Zinc's 5% year-on-year growth in production is attributed to increased ore production and improved grades.
  • This strengthens its position as a major player in the global silver market.
  • Hindustan Zinc is a Vedanta Group company in the zinc, lead, and silver business.
  • It is the world's second-largest integrated zinc producer and now the third-largest silver producer.
  • Udaipur headquartered, Hindustan Zinc has a 75% market share in the growing zinc market in India with zinc, lead mines, and smelting complexes spread across Rajasthan.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

13. India's population is estimated to reach 144 crore: UNFPA.

  • According to the United Nations Population Fund's (UNFPA) State of World Population – 2024 report, India's population is estimated to reach 144 crore, with 24 per cent in the 0-14 age bracket.
  • As per this report, India's population is estimated to double in 77 years.
  • 17 per cent of India’s population is within the 10-19 age range while 26 percent of the population is the 10-24 bracket.
  • 7 per cent of India's population is aged 65 years and above, with men having a life expectancy of 71 years and women 74 years.
  • China with 142.5 crore is on the second spot in terms of population.
  • India's population was recorded at 121 crore during the last census, conducted in 2011.
  • Recent research into India's 640 districts revealed that nearly a third achieved the sustainable development goal of reducing maternal mortality ratio.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

14. GMR Hyderabad International airport wins award for ‘best airport staff’.

  • GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) has received the ‘Best Airport Staff in India & South Asia 2024’ award by Skytrax. 
  • The award was announced at a ceremony held on April 17 at the Passenger Terminal EXPO 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany.
  • The award is announced on the result of audits and evaluations that analyse a wide range of factors including the combined quality of staff service (attitude, friendliness, efficiency).
  • Skytrax is a global air transport rating organisation. It is evaluating airports and airlines worldwide since 1989.
  • It assigns star ratings from 1 to 5 stars based on diverse assessments.
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