This Daily Current Affair Capsule aims to be a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 21 and 22 May 2018
■ JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy will take oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 23rd May. This comes after BS Yeddyurappa resigned as Karnataka CM ahead of the Supreme Court-mandated floor test after failing to gather the numbers.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Russia’s Black Sea coastal city Sochi for an informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This informal summit focussed on pressing global and regional issues, including impact of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The aim of the informal meeting was to use the friendship and trust between the two countries to create convergence on key global and regional issues. This visit comes days after Putin was elected for his fourth term after elections.
■ The government plans to open up restricted areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim for foreign tourists. Currently, foreign tourists have access to these areas through Protected Areas Permit and Restricted Areas Permit only.
■ On 21st May, Anti-Terrorism Day was being observed across India. On this day, the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by a female suicide bomber, while conducting an election campaign in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
The bomb attack was carried out by a member of the Sri Lankan militant organisation Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
■ The state of Kerala is on high alert as rare and deadly Nipah Virus (NiV) infection has been detected for the first time in the state.
About Nipah Virus: Nipah virus (NiV) infection is zoonotic disease that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It was known to affect humans in Malaysia and Singapore after coming in direct contact with the excretions or secretions of infected pigs in 1998. Nipah is infection spread through fruit bats and can both affect humans as well as domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
- The Symptoms of Nipah virus and how it spreads: The infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death. The virus can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.
- Transmission: The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses. The virus is present in bat fluids. Presumably, the first incidence of Nipah virus infection occurred when pigs in Malaysian farms came in contact with the bats who had lost their habitats due to deforestation.
- Diagonosis: It is done by Serology- blood tests to see the antibodies; Histopathology- microscopic study of tissues; PCR- Polymerase Chain Reaction technique to look for viral DNA; and Virus isolation. The Nipah virus is classified as a biosecurity level (BSL) 4 agent and the tests should be carried out in special labs to prevent its spread
- Treatment: According to WHO, there is no vaccine or medicine for the disease and the only form of treatment is intensive supportive care. Individuals infected need to be hospitalised and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission
■ Google celebrated the 246th birth anniversary of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of the Brahmo Samaj Movement, with a doodle. Roy is considered the Father of Indian Renaissance for bringing social reforms, such as the abolishment of sati – regressive Hindu funeral practice in which a widow had to sacrifice herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. He also demanded property inheritance rights for women.
- Roy was born in Bengal Presidency in 1772, and studied a number of languages in his youth and was well-versed in the Vedas and Upanishads.
- He founded the Brahmo Samaj in 1828, an influential social-religious reform movement.
- Brahmo Samaj believes in the existence of One Supreme God, and that the worship of Him needs no fixed place or time.
- Roy also helped set up the Hindu College in Calcutta, the Anglo-Hindu School and the Vedanta College. He also wrote a journal called Sambad Kaumudi, which covered topics like freedom of the press.
■ The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has commissioned a special unit called Bastariya Battalion (numbered 241) to combat Naxals activities in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. This will be the first time CRFP has raised special battalion that includes local representation to enhance combat capabilities in Naxal-hit area of Bastar district.
- The ‘Bastariya’ battalion has been formed with more than 534 tribal youth from Sukma, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts of undivided Bastar in Chhattisgarh.
- The squad also has 33% representation of women with 189 mahila constables.
- The battalion aims to strengthen operations in areas where security forces have witnessed the most reverses owing to a lack of concrete intelligence and familiarisation with locals and the topography.
■ Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur has set up India’s first advisory Centre for Energy Regulation (CER) with the help of Government of United Kingdom to strengthen policy and regulatory limitations in energy and power sector. The first of its kind centre in India would adopt innovative approach to engage with stakeholders in the power sector, especially the electricity regulatory commissions, electric utilities and the academia.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 21 and 22 May 2018
■ The 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers was held in Durban, South Africa. The grouping is a bloc of four countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China. India was represented by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.
- In a joint statement issued, the Basic countries had committed to work together with other parties to ensure the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement.
The 2018 BRICS Ministerial on Environment at Durban, South Africa has agreed to include Indian societal movement “Green Good Deeds” in its official agenda in the next Ministerial in Brazil and another meeting in Russia. With this, the ‘Green Good Deeds’ movement has now got global recognition.
The significance of this move: International conferences on Environment have been deliberating and adopting declarations. However, these declarations are hardly put to practice at the ground level, involving every section of the society. “Green Good Deeds” is an idea to take it to the people and get them involved.
- Dr Vardhan reiterated his appeal to make joint efforts to create a societal movement in combating climate change through “Green Good Deeds”.
- He told his counterparts from BASIC countries and Michal Kurtyka of Poland, who will take over as next president of Conference of Parties (COP-24), that India has shown the vision and the political will to act.
- About BASIC countries: The Basic countries is a bloc of four countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China, formed by an agreement on November 28, 2009.
- Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, had formally launched the nation-wide campaign “Green Good Deeds” in January 2018 to sensitize the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. The aim of the campaign is to protect environment and promote good living in the country.
About “Green Good Deeds” campaign: The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had drawn up a list of over 500 Green Good Deeds and asked people to alter their behaviour to Green Good Behaviour to fulfil their Green Social Responsibility. It is a campaign to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. These small positive actions to be performed by individuals or organisations to strengthen the cause of environmental protection, were put on a mobile application named “Dr Harsh Vardhan App”.
■ Pakistan’s top civil and military leaders have decided to give greater administrative and financial authority to Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. India has termed as “entirely unacceptable” any possible attempt by Pakistan to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering the disputed Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as the fifth province.
About Gilgit Baltistan location: Gilgit-Baltistan shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it as part of the undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan sees it as a separate from PoK. It is located in the northern Pakistan, borders China in the North, Afghanistan in the west, Tajikistan in the north west and Kashmir in the south east. Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister. The USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also passes through this region.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the “eight-thousanders” and to more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan.
■ Nicolas Maduro has been elected as the President of Venezuela for a second term with over 67% votes.
■ The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an extraordinary summit in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss recent Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in Gaza Strip. The summit was convened at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It condemned massacre of Peaceful Palestinian civilian protestors by the Israeli forces as well as on the official opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem in defiance of international law, UN Security Council (UNSC) and General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution.
■ Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Shoplifters’ has won the Palme d’Or, which is the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The list of Winners of Cannes 2018 are:
- Palme d’Or : Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters
- Grand Prix : Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
- Director : Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
- Actor : Marcello Fonte, Dogman
- Actress : Samal Yeslyamova, Ayka
- Jury Prize : Nadine Labaki, Capernaum
- Screenplay — TIE : Alice Rohrwacher, Happy as Lazzaro & Jafar Panahi, Nader Saeivar, Three Faces
- Special Palme d’Or : Jean-Luc Godard
■ Bollywood Actor Amitabh Bachchan has been felicitated with a citation by the European Union for his contribution to building cultural bridges between Europe and India.
■ India has told the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it proposes to raise duties on 20 products by up to 100% if the US doesn’t roll back high tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items. These items include almonds, walnuts, soybean oil, apples and specific motorcycles imported from the US. India has also announced that its tariffs would come into effect by June 21.
■ Russia has unveiled world’s first floating nuclear power station at the far northern port city of Murmansk. The “Akademik Lomonosov ” will be loaded with nuclear fuel before heading to eastern Siberia. The 21,500-tonne ship was named after Academician Mikhail Lomonosov. Akademik Lomonosov, will be primarily used to power oil rigs as Russia pushes further north into the Arctic to drill for oil and gas and needs electricity in far-flung locations.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 21 and 22 May 2018
■ According to the AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review, India is the 6th wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of US $8,230 billion. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country. It includes all their assets less any liabilities.
- As per report, the global wealth is expected to rise by 50% over the next decade, reaching $321 trillion by 2027. The fastest growing wealth markets are expected to be India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, Mauritius.
- The factors that will help in wealth creation in India include large number of entrepreneurs, good educational system, robust outlook for IT, business process outsourcing, real estate, healthcare and media sectors which will result in a 200% rise in wealth in 10 years.
- In the list, the United States is the wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of $62,584 billion.
- China stood at the 2nd place with $24,803 billion,
- while Japan is at the 3rd place with $19,522 billion.
■ State run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has distributed over 30 crore light emitting diode (LED) bulbs across country under zero-subsidy Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme. This has led to energy savings of over 38,952 million kWh, annually, amounting to energy savings of Rs. 15,581 crore.
Sports Current Affairs – 21 and 22 May 2018
■ In Tennis, Spanish professional tennis player Rafael Nadal has beaten Germany’s defending champion Alexander Zverev by 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 to win Italian Open title for a record 8th time. With his victory in Rome, Nadal regained the World No. 1 ranking before the 2018 French Open.
■ Rajinder Singh has taken charge as the new President of Hockey India (HI). He succeeded Mariamma Koshy. Prior to this post, Singh was the senior Vice President of HI.
■ South Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo has passed away at age of 73 years. The group’s holding company LG Corp has nominated his son Koo Kwang-mo to the board in preparation for a leadership succession.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 21 and 22 May 2018 “
Q1.Which Indian iron ore mining company has bagged the 2018 S&P Global PLATTS Global Metals Award in CSR category in London?
A) Steel Authority of India
B) National Mineral Development Corporation
C) Kudremukh Iron Ore Co. Ltd
D) Essel Mining & Industries Limited
Q2.Raghuvir Singh, who passed away recently, was the freedom fighter from which district of Uttar Pradesh?
Q3.Who has been appointed as the new Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi?
A) M L Srivastava
B) P Krishna Setty
C) N K Jaishankar
D) Uttam Pacharne
Q4.Which state government will launch the ‘Chatra Parivahan Suraksha Yojana’ to ensure safety of girl students?
Q5.The 2018 Venture Capital Symposium was organized by NITI Aayog to deepen the economic relationships between India and which country?
A) South Africa
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!