Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

17 Sep 2021 Current Affairs in English

Important Days

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

The International Day for the preservation for the Ozone layer (World Ozone Day) is observed annually on September 16 to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.

The theme for 2021 World Ozone Day: ‘Montreal Protocol – keeping us, our food and vaccines cool.’ 

The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2000, to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987. 

National

Kushinagar Airport declared as Customs Notified Airport

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has declared Kushinagar Airport as a Customs notified airport. This would also facilitate international passenger movements including that of Buddhist pilgrims.

The Kushinagar airport is an international airport spread across an area of 600 acres. It had been granted the licence to operate international flights by DGCA last February.

In August, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the validity of the airport’s licence to operate international flights till February 21, 2023. The licence was due to expire on August 21, 2021.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • CBIC Chairperson: M. Ajit Kumar;
  • CBIC Founded: 1 January 1964.

PM Modi launches Sansad TV along with LS Speaker Om Birla

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Sansad TV, which has been created by merging Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV, jointly with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Sansad TV programming will touch upon the functioning of the Parliament and democratic institutions, governance and implementation of schemes and policies, history and culture of India and issues of interest to the common man. The new channel adds another important chapter in the country’s parliamentary system.

Nitin Gadkari launches AI-powered road safety project ‘iRASTE’

Union Minister for Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari launched ‘iRASTE’, an Artificial Intelligence-powered project.

The project aims to help reduce road accidents, understand the factors responsible for these events and come up with solutions to mitigate them. iRASTE stands for Intelligent Solutions for Road Safety through Technology and Engineering.

The project has been launched on a pilot basis in Nagpur, Maharashtra with the aim of reducing accidents by 50 per cent in the city.

The project is launched jointly by the Centre, Intel, INAI, IIIT-Hyderabad, CSIR-CRRI (Central Road Research Institute), Mahindra & Mahindra and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

The main focus of the project will focus on vehicle safety, mobility analysis and road infrastructure safety to move towards a ‘Vision Zero’ accident scenario.

Niti Aayog launches ‘Shoonya’ program to promote zero-pollution

Niti Aayog in collaboration with US-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India, has launched a campaign named Shoonya, to promote zero-pollution delivery vehicles by working with consumers and industry.

The campaign will promote the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the urban deliveries segment and create consumer awareness about the health, environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • NITI Aayog Formed: 1 January 2015;
  • NITI Aayog Headquarters: New Delhi;
  • NITI Aayog Chairperson: Narendra Modi;
  • NITI Aayog CEO: Amitabh Kant.

International

The US, UK, and Australia announce new partnership “AUKUS”

United States, United Kingdom and Australia have announced the new partnership “AUKUS” a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific region.

The trilateral grouping was formally announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and US President Joe Biden with a vision for a safer and more secure Indo-Pacific.

The first project of AUKUS will be to help Australia acquire a nuclear-powered conventionally-armed submarine fleet.

AUKUS will also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries, as well as cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies, and undersea capabilities).

Economy

UNCTAD projects Indian economy to expand 7.2% in 2021

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has pegged India’s economic growth rate to hit a four-year high of 7.2 percent for 2021 against a contraction of 7 percent in 2020.

At this rate, India would be the fastest-growing economy after China, which is projected to grow by 8.3 percent. Calculations are based on GDP at constant dollars in 2015.

Defense

3-day Indian Army Chief’s Conclave in Delhi begins

The 8th edition of the Indian Army Chief’s Conclave, a gathering of serving and former Chiefs of Army Staff of the Indian Army, was organized at New Delhi from September 16-18. The highlight of the three-day event will be the invite extended to former Chiefs of the Nepali Army, who were also Chiefs of the Indian Army.

The Conclave is a forum for the exchange of ideas between the old guard and the current leadership of the Indian Army. It will involve discussions on the rapid transformation of the Indian Army, self-reliance through Atmanirbhar, and Make in India initiatives in defense manufacturing and skilling of the Indian soldier to fight modern wars.

The former Army Chiefs will pay homage to the fallen brave hearts during a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial.

The Chiefs will also interact with members of the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers where they will be apprised of the institutional symbiosis between the Indian Army and indigenous private defense manufacturers.

The Chiefs are also scheduled to meet the prodigious soldiers who earned laurels for the Nation in the recently concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Indian military participates in SCO Exercise ‘Peaceful Mission’ 2021

The Indian military contingent comprising of an all arms combined force of 200 personnel is participating in the Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION -2021, a Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.

The Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION- 2021 is being hosted by Russia in the Orenburg Region of South-West Russia from September 13 to 25, 2021. In 2021, the 6th edition of the biennial multilateral Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is being undertaken.

The aim of the exercise is to foster close relations between SCO member states and to enhance the abilities of the military leaders to command multi-national military contingents. The exercise will enable sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of SCO nations.

Ranks and Reports

PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list

TIME magazine has unveiled its annual list of ‘The 100 Most Influential People of 2021’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla have been named among the world’s 100 most influential people of 2021 by TIME magazine.

The list is divided into six categories – Icons, Pioneers, Titans, Artists, Leaders, and Innovators.

A global list that includes:

  • US President Joe Biden,
  • US Vice President Kamala Harris,
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping,
  • Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan,
  • Former US President Donald Trump and
  • Co-founder of the Taliban Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Summits and Conferences

India to organize first-ever Global Buddhist Conference in November

India is set to host the first-ever Global Buddhist Conference on November 19 and 20, 2021, in Nava Nalanda Mahavihara campus, in Nalanda, Bihar. The academic conference, being organized by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), will become an annual feature.

Four regional conferences in India (Telangana, Saranath, Gangtok, and Dharamshala) and abroad (Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Cambodia) will be organized, in the run-up to the conference. The reports of these regional conferences will be presented at the inaugural Global Buddhist Conference.

Global Buddhist Conference focuses on making India the center of Buddhism, by promoting Buddhist activities, like academic, cultural, seminars, people traveling for festivals like Buddha Purnima, Vesak.

Science and Technology

Infosys launches digital commerce platform Equinox

Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, launched Infosys Equinox to help enterprises securely deliver hyper-segmented, personalized omnichannel commerce experiences for B2B and B2C buyers.

The platform’s future-ready architecture offers unprecedented flexibility for enterprises to pick and choose out-of-the-box microservices and pre-built experiences to build curated digital journeys that enhance their digital commerce or launch it grounds-up in a matter of weeks.

Infosys Equinox also brings together best-of-breed service, product, platform, and industry capabilities from Infosys, and its partners, in an integrated ecosystem.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Infosys Founded: 7 July 1981;
  • Infosys CEO: Salil Parekh;
  • Infosys Headquarters: Bengaluru.

SpaceX launches first all-tourist crew into orbit

The crew of the Inspiration4, the first-ever orbital flight crewed entirely by tourists, is now officially in orbit, according to a Livestream from SpaceX. The SpaceX rocket blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The passengers will now spend three days aboard their 13-foot-wide Crew Dragon capsule in orbit at a 350-mile altitude.

The crew includes 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman, who personally financed the trip; Hayley Arceneux, 29, a childhood cancer survivor and current St. Jude physician assistant; Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and community college teacher with a PhD; and Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and lifelong space fan who claimed his seat through an online raffle.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • NASA administrator: Bill Nelson.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.
  • NASA Founded: 1 October 1958.
  • SpaceX founder & CEO: Elon Musk.
  • SpaceX Founded: 2002.
  • SpaceX Headquarters: California, United States of America.

IIT Bombay rolls out language translator ‘Project Udaan’

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has launched ‘Project Udaan’, a language translator, to break the language barrier in education, which hampers the flow of messages.

The Project Udaan, a donation-based project, is an end-to-end ecosystem, which can translate scientific and technical content from English to Hindi and all other Indian languages.

Project Udaan uses an AI-based translation software ecosystem, to translate engineering textbooks and learning materials, and all main streams of higher learning, in the desired language, in one-sixth of the time taken by a team of domain and linguistic experts working manually on it.

Miscellaneous

Ford becomes the latest US car manufacturer to exit India

Ford Motor Co. will stop making cars in India and record roughly $2 billion in restructuring charges, scaling back significantly in a country that past management saw becoming one of its three biggest markets.

Ford will wind down an assembly plant in Gujarat by the fourth quarter, as well as vehicle and engine manufacturing plants in Chennai by the second quarter of next year.

Ford Motor Company has announced that it would stop producing cars in India as the global auto industry continues to grapple with a shortfall in semiconductors and other components due to supply chain disruptions.

Other US companies that stopped operation in India are Ford’s American rival General Motors (GM) and the American motorcycle company Harley-Davidson.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Ford Motor Co CEO: Jim Farley;
  • Ford Motor Co Founder: Henry Ford;
  • Ford Motor Co Founded: 16 June 1903;
  • Ford Motor Co Headquarters: Michigan, United States.

Tata Steel commissions India’s first plant to capture CO2

Tata Steel has commissioned India’s first carbon capture plant that extracts CO2 directly from the blast furnace gas, at its Jamshedpur Works.

With this achievement, Tata Steel has become the country’s first steel company to adopt such a carbon capture technology. The CCU plant was inaugurated by T.V. Narendran, CEO and MD, Tata Steel, in the presence of company officials and other dignitaries.

The plant can capture 5 tonnes of CO2 per day (5-tonne per day (TPD)). The company will reuse the captured CO2 on-site to promote a circular carbon economy.

This carbon capture and utilization (CCU) facility uses amine-based technology and makes the captured carbon available for onsite reuse.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Tata Steel Founded: 25 August 1907, Jamshedpur;
  • Tata Steel Founder: Jamsetji Tata;
  • Tata Steel Headquarters: Mumbai.

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