Daily Current Affairs and GK | 30 and 31 August 2020

2020-08-31

1. President and Vice President of India greeted the people on Onam.

  • Onam is an annual harvest festival that falls in August-September.
  • It is celebrated in Kerala in the Chingam Month of Malayalam calendar.
  • It is a ten-day long festival that commemorates King Mahabali.
  • First day of Onam is known as Atham and the last day is known as Thiruvonam.
  • Celebrations of Onam include making of flower carpets called Pookkalam, performance of tiger dance, called Pulikali or Kaduvakali and boat race, called Vallamkali. 

2. International Day Against Nuclear Tests: 29 August.

  • The International Day Against Nuclear Tests is observed on 29 August each year.
  • In 2010, the International Day against Nuclear Tests was celebrated for the first time.
  • This day was adopted unanimously in the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 2009 by a resolution of 64/35.
  • The resolution is to raise awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapons test blasts or any other nuclear explosions and the need to achieve the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
  • The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan on 29 August 1991 to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site.
  • Nuclear weapons testing began on 16 July 1945, since then nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted.

(Source: U.N.)

3. Defense Minister called for uninterrupted implementation of centrally sponsored schemes in the cantonment areas.

  • Recently, the Ministry of Defense and the Directorate General of Defense Estates launched a webinar organized by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to improve the implementation of centrally sponsored schemes in 62 cantonments across the country.
  • This two-day webinar was attended by the Chairman, Vice President and CEOs of all 62 Cantonment Boards.
  • Also, the webinar was attended by joint secretaries, nodal officers of ministries like Housing and Urban Affairs, Education, Health and Family Welfare, Social Justice and Empowerment and Women and Child Development.
  • It was organized to provide a better understanding of the implementation arrangements and financing of various centrally sponsored schemes among the citizens residing in the cantonment areas and to lay out an objective for expanding these benefits.
  • On this occasion, the Defense Minister also launched a group life insurance scheme Cantonment Covid Warrior Protection Scheme through Life Insurance Corporation.
  • It will add 10,000 employees of 62 Cantonment Boards.
  • Under the scheme, an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh will be provided to every employee in case of any kind of disaster.
  • The scheme will benefit permanent and contract employees, including physicians, medical assistants and sanitation workers.

(Source: D.D. News)

4. Presence of mercury in birds near thermal power plants in Maharashtra.

  • More recently, mercury was found in birds centered around two thermal power plants (TPPs) in Nagpur, Maharashtra. This paves the way for modern analysis.
  • Mercury is released into the environment from fly ash manufactured by TPP.
  • Fly ash is usually disposed of in ash ponds as an ash solution, creating an aquatic ecosystem.
  • A new study of mercury in birds centered around two thermal power plants in Nagpur, Maharashtra, found that bioaccumulation and biomagnification may occur in the coming years.
  • In an organism, when there is a gradual accumulation of substances such as pesticides or other chemicals, then it is called bioaccumulation. Biomagnification is the increasing concentration of a toxin in organisms' tissues at progressively higher levels in a food chain.
  • In this area, Hg marks were found on the wings of Avifuna (birds of a particular region), which were associated with Hg present in the ash ponds of TPP. Coal-based TPP is the major source of mercury, the ninth most toxic element found on Earth, which is emitted into the environment.
  • According to 2016 estimates by the Delhi-based think-tank Center for Science and Environment, mercury contributes more than 80% to emissions released by TPP.
  • Fly ash manufactured by TPP was one of the ways through which HG was released into the environment. Fly ash is usually disposed of in ash ponds as an ash solution, creating an aquatic ecosystem.
  • In a wetland, mercury is found in two forms- organic mercury (MeHg) and inorganic mercury (iHg).
  • More chemical concentrations in water in an aquatic organism can lead to physical, reproductive and behavioral changes.
  • Feather samples of birds of eight bird species, such as the Indian pond Heron, Darter, Moorhen, etc., were collected, in which it was observed that some species had high concentrations of mercury, due to the eating of fishes and insects in ash ponds. However, most bird species had very low Hg traces.
  • In conclusion, it was observed that except in soil, fly ash, plants, water and other specimens collected from birds' feathers had a low mercury content.

(Source: Down to Earth)

5. India decided not to participate in Kavkaz 2020, a multilateral military exercise.

  • Recently India has decided not to participate in Kavkaz 2020, a multilateral military exercise to be held in Russia.
  • The defense officer attributed the decision to logistic difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • However, this decision has been taken mainly due to the continuing deadlock in Ladakh, due to Chinese troops participating in the exercise.
  • The exercise is scheduled to be held in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia from 15 to 26 September 2020.
  • India had earlier planned to send about 150 Indian Army personnel, 45 Indian Air Force personnel and several naval officers to this multilateral military exercise.

(Source: News on AIR)

 

6. Indigenous toy making will be introduced as a theme in Kala Utsav.

  • Recently, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank informed that indigenous toy making will be started as a subject in the Kala Utsav.
  • The aim is to encourage students to explore the diversity of local toys and develop the region.
  • Accordingly, toy and puppet making skills will be developed among school students.
  • Puppet shows will also be organized for secondary and senior secondary students.

(Source: News on AIR)

7. Etikoppaka, the art of making dolls in Visakhapatnam, mentioned in Mann ki Baat program.

  • Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Etikoppaka, the art of making dolls of Visakhapatnam, in Mann Ki Baat program.
  • Shri Modi said that Etikoppaka dolls will be of special use to create creativity in children during the pandemic.
  • Etikoppaka:
    • There is a small village Etikoppaka on the banks of river Varaha in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.
    • In 2017, even traditional Etikoppaka toys were given a geographical indication tag.
    • These toys are made of soft wood and lacquer paint.
    • They are painted with natural colors derived from seeds, lacquer, roots and leaves.

(Source: News on AIR)

8. 29 August: Telugu Language Day.

  • Telugu Language Day is celebrated on 29 August every year in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.
  • The day is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Telugu poet Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthy.
  • Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthy:
    • He was an early modern Telugu linguist and social visionary during British rule.
    • He was born on 29 August 1863.
    • The British government conferred upon him the title of Rao Saheb.
    • He was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal in the year 1933 by the British government for his services.
  • Telugu:
    • This language is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Yanam district of Puducherry, where it is also the official language.
    • It is one of the six classical languages ​​of India.
    • According to the 2011 census, Telugu is the fourth most spoken language in India with around 82 million speakers.

9. Mustafa Adib has become the new Prime Minister of Lebanon.

  • Recently Mustafa Adib has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Lebanon.
  • Mustafa Adib was the Lebanese ambassador in Germany.
  • Mr. Adib was nominated for the position by four former Prime Ministers.
  • The appointment comes a day before French President Emmanuel Macron embarked on a two-day visit.
  • Recently, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned from his post in view of public outrage due to the huge explosion in Beirut.
  • Lebanon:
    • It is a country in Western Asia.
    • It borders Syria, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Its capital is Beirut and the currency is Lebanese pound.

(Source: News on AIR)

10. Veteran athletics coach Purshottam Rai died of cardiac arrest in Bengaluru.

  • Recently, Veteran Athletics Coach Purshottam Rai died due to cardiac arrest in Bengaluru. He was 79.
  • He was to be conferred with the prestigious Dronacharya Award in the Lifetime category on 29 August.
  • Purushottam trained many athletes including Olympic players Ashwini Nachappa, Murali Kuttan, Rosa Kutty, Pramila Ayyappa, Vandana Rao, GG Parmila and EB Shyla.
  • Purshottam Rai also trained the Indian athletics team for the 1987 World Athletics Championships, the 1999 SAF Games and the 1988 Asian Track and Field Championships.

(Source: News on AIR)

11. Alexander Kristoff won the Tour de France, the opening stage of bicycle race.

  • Recently Alexander Kristoff has won the opening stage of the Tour de France, the annual multiple stage bicycle race.
  • However, the rains had destroyed the roads, causing many accidents.
  • The European Football Championship and Olympic Games were postponed until 2021 due to Corona pandemic this year.
  • In such situation, the Tour de France was held two months late.
  • Since its inception in 1903, the race has been canceled during only two world wars.
  • The 2020 Tour de France is the 107th edition of the Tour de France, one of the three grand tours of cycling.
  • Originally scheduled to begin on 27 June 2020, it was postponed until 29 August 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic in France.

(Source: News on AIR)

12. India and Russia were declared joint winners of the 2020 online FIDE Chess Olympiad.

  • Recently India and Russia have been declared joint winners of the 2020 Online FIDE Chess Olympiad.
  • Russia was initially declared the winner, but India appealed against the controversial decision after two Indian players, Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh, who lost time in the finals after facing disconnection from the server.
  • Finally, President of the International Chess Federation Arkady Dvorkovich decided to give gold medals to both teams.
  • This was the first time that the FIDE had put the Olympiad in an online format.
  • India reached the final of this chess Olympiad for the first time.
  • The President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Sports Minister have congratulated the Indian chess team for winning the gold medal jointly with Russia in the online Chess Olympiad for the first time.
  • FIDE Chess Olympiad:
    • It is a biennial chess tournament in which teams representing different countries of the world compete.
    • The Chess Olympiad was started in 1924.

(Source: News on AIR)

13. Lakshadweep administration used Tyto Alba to deal with the problem of rats in Kavaratti island.

  • The Lakshadweep administration carried out a pilot project to control mice under the Biological Control of Rodents using the Tyto Alba (Barn Owls) in Kavaratti Island.
  • According to a sample survey in Kavaratti during April and May 2019, rodents had caused up to 44% damage to coconut production. According to the survey, the economic loss was estimated at Rs 6.04 crore annually.
  • Earlier, there was an attempt by the British in 1875 at Bitra for rodent control by introducing wooden owls.
  • Barn Owl:
    • They are one of the most widespread owls in the Indian subcontinent.
    • These owls are of medium size with long legs and wings and have relatively short tails compared to other similarly sized owls.
    • It’s IUCN status is the Least Concern.

(Source: The Hindu)

14. Identification of a new freshwater fish in the Ganges.

  • Recently a new freshwater fish has been identified in the Ganges.
  • It has been discovered by researchers from Kerala and West Bengal in the Ganges River in West Bengal.
  • This fish is edible.
  • It is named Systomus gracilus due to its thin and narrow body.
  • This fish can be cultured in inland water sources.
  • It is a fish of the genus Systomus in the family Cyprinidae. This fish is 11 to 12 cm long.

(Source: The Hindu)


 

 

 

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