Daily Current Affairs and GK | 3 December 2020

Half Yearly (Jul- Dec 2020)
2020 Book

Current Affairs

Topic: National News

1. ADB sanctioned $50 million loan for West Bengal’s Digital Platforms for Public Finance Reforms.

  • Asian Development Bank and Government of India signed a $50 million loan agreement to improve financial management procedures and operational efficiencies in West Bengal.
  • It has been signed between West Bengal Public Finance Management Investment Programme, Department of Economic Affairs and Asian Development Bank.
  • It will assist in improving the delivery of public services and in generating fiscal savings.
  • It will help in streamlining many social protection benefits such as pension and provident fund, tax payments, revenue collection, etc. with the support of e-Government platforms. 
  • Integrated Financial Management System will help in tracking and monitoring of development projects more effectively.
  • ‘A fiscal policy and public finance’ center on public finance management will be established for state government officials.
  • Financial support by the ADB in the past has helped West Bengal in developing and implementing an integrated financial management system.
  •  Asian Development Bank (ADB):
    • It is a regional development bank established in 1966.
    • Members: 68 countries
    • Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines
    • Current President: Masatsugu Asakawa
    • Ashok Lavasa has recently become Vice-President of ADB by succeeding Diwakar Gupta. 

 

Topic: Important Days

2. International Day of Persons with Disabilities: 3 December

  • International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed every year on 3 December to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
  • In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution 47/3 to celebrate 3 December as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
  • This year it will be celebrated throughout the week from 30 November- 4 December.
  • International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020 theme is “Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities”.
  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international treaty for the protection of rights and dignity of disabled people. It was adopted in 2006.
  • Related Facts:
    • 80% of the persons with disabilities (out of one billion people) live in developing countries.
    • Around 46% of older people (aged 60 years and above) are living with disabilities.
    • One in every 5 women is likely to face disability in her life.

 

day-of-persons-with-disabilities

(Source: UN)

Topic: Appointments

3. Rajeev Chaudhary appointed as Director General of Border Roads Organisation.

  • Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary has assumed the charge as the Director General of Border Roads Organisation.
  • He will be the 27th Director General Border Roads.
  • He succeeded Lt Gen Harpal Singh who has been now appointed as the Engineer-in-Chief of the Indian Army.
  • He was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers from Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in 1983.
  • He conceptualized and conducted the first-ever and only Engineer Brigade exercise with US as part of exercise YUDH ABHYAS, a military exercise between Indian and US Army.
  • He was also nominated as Exercise Director of exercise FORCE 18. FORCE 18 is a multinational field training exercise on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) involving 18 countries conducted in the year 2016.

director general of bro

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: International News 

4. Britain- First country to approve COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Britain has become the first country to approve COVID-19 vaccine candidate Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. 
  • The government decision is based on the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 
  • HealthCare workers and care home residents will be the first one to receive vaccination.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has proven 95% effective against coronavirus infection in the final phase trials.
  • It is a mRNA vaccine that uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the pandemic virus to generate an immune response against COVID-19.
  • Two doses of this vaccine will be required for complete immunity. 
  • Different types of COVID-19 vaccines are underdevelopment, including:
    • Inactivated or weakened virus vaccines: Inactivated or weakened virus is used so it doesn’t cause disease, but still generates an immune response.
    • Protein-based vaccines: Harmless portions of proteins or protein shells are used that imitate the COVID-19 virus to safely generate an immune response.
    • Viral vector vaccines: Genetically engineered virus is used so that it can’t cause disease but produces coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response.
    • RNA and DNA vaccines: Genetically engineered RNA or DNA is used to generate a protein that itself safely prompts an immune response.
  • Other major COVID-19 vaccine candidates are:
    • Oxford University- AstraZeneca (UK)
    • Moderna (US)
    • Sputnik V (Russia)
    • Covaxin (India)

pfizer biontech vaccine

(Source: BBC)

Topic: International News

5. Ethiopia and UN signed a deal for Tigray aid access.

  • An agreement has been signed between Ethiopia and the United Nations for aid in the government-controlled Tigray region.
  • It will first provide aid to the 6 million people who were cut off during the fight between the federal and Tigray regional governments.
  • The UN and humanitarian partner of Ethiopia are involved in providing aid in the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions.
  • Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, has won 2019 the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to peacemaking efforts with Eritrea.
  • Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis:
    • The fight between the federal government and Tigray regional governments started on 4 November.
    • The main issue of this fight is that the federal government led by Abiy Ahmed claimed that the regional government of Tigray had attacked a national military base.
    • The Tigray region is governed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF); they don’t have good relationships with Abiy Ahmed.
  • Ethiopia:
    • It is a part of the Horn of Africa, located in the east of Africa.
    • It shares a boundary with Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, and South Sudan.
    • It is the second-most populous country in the African Continent.
    • Abiy Ahmed is the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
    • Addis Ababa is the capital and Birr is the currency of Ethiopia.

Horn of africa

 

Topic: National News

6. Nongpok Sekmai police station of Manipur selected as the best police station in the country.

  • Union Home Ministry has selected Nongpok Sekmai police station in the Thoubal district of Manipur as the best police station in the country.
  • This award has been given for their professionalism, hard work, dedication and commitment toward the community.
  • Annual assessment of police station scheme was started to identify the ten best police stations of the country and it also recognizes one best police station in every State and Union Territory.
  • The City Police Station of Imphal had got the award of the best police station in the country in 2019. In 2018, it was conferred to Nambol Police Station of Manipur.
  • Manipur:
    • Manipur is a state in northeast India.
    • It borders Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south and Assam in the west, and Myanmar in the east.
    • The state flower is Shirui Lily.
    • Its capital is Imphal.
    • The Governor of Manipur is Najma Heptulla and Chief Minister is N. Biren Singh.
    • The state animal of Manipur is the Sangai deer.

nongpok sekmai police station of manipur

(Source: Indian Express)

Topic: State News/ Mizoram

7. Mizoram launched ‘Love Brigade’ to fight HIV/AIDS.

  • Mizoram government has launched a campaign ‘Love Brigade’ on the occasion of World AIDS Day to fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • In this campaign, 500 bike and car taxis have been selected to form the ‘Love Brigade’. These drivers will work as HIV/AIDS counsellors for spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS.
  • It was launched by the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) in association with the Delhi-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Taxi Association, Mizoram in Aizawl.
  • Its main aim is to make condoms easily available to people so that HIV/AIDS can be controlled in the state.
  • Among the adult population, the Mizoram HIV prevalence rate is ten times higher than the national HIV prevalence.
  • World AIDS Day is observed all over the world on 1 December every year.
  • HIV/AIDS:
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people’s defense against many infections and some types of cancer.
    • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
    • National Health Policy 2017 and UN SDGs aim to end AIDS by 2030.
    • India has 2.35 million people with HIV.
    • It can be prevented by the use of condoms, Limiting the number of sexual partners, Get tested, etc.

Topic: Reports and Indices

8. CSE report finds sugar syrup adulteration in most honey brands.

  • Centre for Science and Environment report has found sugar syrup adulteration in honey from 10 out of 13 brands in the Indian market.
  • In 2018, Consumer Voice has carried out a study on the top 10 honey brands and found the same.
  • Modified sugar syrup is imported from China. The adulteration has become known due to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) tests.
  • FSSAI uses NMR tests for honey exported from India and not for honey consumed domestically.
  • Top brands passed tests to detect C4 sugar, which shows basic adulteration through cane sugar. But smaller brands failed them. However, both top and small brands failed NMR tests, which are used globally.
  • Food adulteration is the process of changing the quality or nature of food. It involves adding adulterants as well as removing important substances from food. Common food adulterants are given below.

Food/Food Product

Common Adulterants

Milk

Water, Detergent, Synthetic milk, urea

Milk products

Starch in khoya, chenna, paneer & mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starches in ghee/butter

Honey

Sugar, Sugar syrup, Glucose

Sugar/jaggery

Chalk powder

Pulses

Artificial Colours, khesari dal in dal whole and split, chakunda beans

Rice

Pebble, damaged grains, polish

Food grains

Dust, pebble, stone, straw, weed seeds, damaged grains, ergot (a fungus), Dhathura seeds

Ragi

Rhodamine B

Spices

soap, stone, Papaya seeds in black pepper

Brick powder and Artificial colours in Red chilli powder

Cassia bark in Cinnamon

Grass seeds colored with charcoal in cumin seeds

Argemone seeds in mustard

Chalk powder, metanil yellow and lead chromate in Turmeric

colored dried tendrils of maize cob in saffron

Vegetables and fruits

Wax Coating on Apple

Malachite green in green chilli and green vegetables

Artificial colour on green peas

Salt

Chalk powder

Coconut oil

Other oils (Palm oil, argemone oil, paraffin, engine oils)

Coffee and tea

Chicory powder in coffee powder; iron filings in tea leaves, clay in coffee powder

 

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

9. India-Suriname, 7th Joint commission meeting held virtually.

  • The 7th Joint commission meeting between India and Suriname was held virtually.
  • It was co-chaired by the Minister of State for External Affairs of India and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname.
  • Both countries emphasized the importance of political dialogue and bilateral ties. They also agreed on cooperation in the field of Business and Investment.
  • V. Muraleedharan is the current Minister of State for External Affairs of India.
  • Suriname:
    • It is located in the northeastern part of South America.
    • It shares boundaries with the Atlantic Ocean, French Guiana, Guyana and Brazil.
    • It is the smallest sovereign state in South America.
    • Paramaribo is the capital and the Surinamese dollar is the currency of Suriname.
    • Chan Santokhi is the current President of Suriname.

india-suriname virtual meet

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: New Developments

10. Researchers from IIT Kanpur develops Damaru inspired lattice that can be used in stealth submarines and high speed trains.

  • The researchers from IIT Kanpur have developed a micro-structure hourglass shaped metastructure in the lattice unit using additive manufacturing.
  • The researchers demonstrated that one could get a wider variation of propagation and stop bands via the use of such lattice units.
  • Existing lattice and crystal-based phononic materials have limitations. They can be generally used in a narrow band of frequency.
  • The inspiration for lattice has come from ‘damaru’ used in ancient Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The work was published in the scientific report with the title “Exploring the dynamics of hourglass-shaped lattice Metastructures”.
  • The researchers showed that the nature of stiffness of a vibrating medium could be changed drastically by controlling the lattice micro-structure from regular honeycomb to auxetic honeycomb structure.
  • This lattice has wide applications in the field of vibration isolation in:
    • High speed trains
    • Stealth submarines
    • Helicopter rotors
  • Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) project of the Ministry of Education sponsored this work.
  • Additive Manufacturing: It is also known as 3D printing. Additive manufacturing uses data computer-aided-design (CAD) software or 3D object scanners that direct hardware to deposit material, layer upon layer, to create an object.

Topic: Reports and Indices

11. WHO released World Malaria Report 2020.

  • The World Malaria Report 2020 has been released by the WHO for providing the estimate of malaria cases across the world.
  • Key Highlights of Report:
    • India is the only high endemic country which has shown a decline of 17.6% in 2019 compared to 2018.
    • India has also shown a decline of 83% in malaria morbidity and 92% in malaria mortality rate between the years 2000 and 2019.
    • As compared to 2018, the malaria cases and fatalities rate have reduced significantly by 21.27% and 20% in 2019. The total number of cases has also reduced in 2020 as compared to 2019 by 45%.
    • 45% of cases of malaria and 63.64% of death are from the states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, and Madhya Pradesh.
    • In India, the highest decline of malaria cases can be observed in the following states:
      • Odisha – 40.35%
      • Meghalaya- 59.10%
      • Jharkhand – 34.96%
      • Madhya Pradesh –36.50%
      • Chhattisgarh –23.20%
  • The government of India had launched the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) in 2016. It has also launched a National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination for the period of 2017-22.
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Malaria Elimination (2017-2022) has a target of malaria-free India by 2027 and complete elimination by 2030.
  • The government has taken many initiatives for the decline of malaria cases including the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets in malaria-affected states.
  • WHO has launched the High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative in the 11 most-affected malarial countries to end Malaria. In India, it has been launched in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April every year. The theme of World Malaria Day 2020 is “Zero Malaria Starts with Me”.
  • Malaria:
    • It spread by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite.
    • Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug.

World malaria report 2020

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Personality in News

12. Owner of MDH, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, passes away.

  • The owner of spice company MDH Masala, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, passed away at the age of 97.
  • He was born on 27 March 1923 in Sialkot (now in Pakistan) and later on moved to India after Partition.
  • He is popularly known as Spice King.
  • He was India’s highest paid consumer products CEO for the year 2017.
  • In 2019, he was honoured with the country’s third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan.
  • His father, Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati, founded the Mahashian Di Hatti (MDH).

mahashay dharampal gulati of MDH Group

(Source: ANI)

Topic: Environment and Ecology

13. High-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) formed.

  • High-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) has been formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • Secretary, MoEFCC is the chairman of AIPA and its purpose is coordinated response on climate change to ensure that India remains on track to meet its obligations under Paris Agreement.
  • Its members will be senior officials from fourteen ministries. It will also be a National Authority to regulate carbon markets in India under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
  • It will form guidelines for thinking about projects or activities under Article 6 and issue guidelines on carbon pricing and market mechanisms.
  • Paris Climate Agreement is an initiative of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016, along with 188 countries.
  • The objective of the Paris Agreement is to limit the rise in global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
 

 

 

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