Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

21st & 22nd July 2021 Current Affairs in English

Important Days

International Chess Day: 20 July

The International Chess Day is celebrated annually on July 20, since 1966, to celebrate one of the most ancient and most popular games in history that promote fairness, equality, mutual respect, and understanding among nations.

It was on this day that the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded, in 1924. The idea to celebrate the day as the international chess day was proposed by UNESCO.

Invented in India in the fifth century, this board game was originally named “Chaturanga”. Chess is likely one of the oldest games of this era. After the development of the game in India, it eventually spread to Persia.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • World Chess Federation Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland;
  • World Chess Federation Founded: 20 July 1924, Paris, France;
  • World Chess Federation CEO: Geoffrey D. Borg.

Science Exploration Day: 20 July

Science Exploration Day (also called Moon Day) is marked every year on 20 July. It was on this day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon’s surface.

The origins of Space Exploration Day date back to man first walking on the moon, with the day itself first observed to commemorate this historic event during events held in the early 1970s.

Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon’s surface. The Armstrong- Aldrin duo spent 21.5 hours on the surface of the moon out of which they spent 2.5 hours outside of their capsules.

To commemorate their achievement, the day was declared a holiday in 1984 by the then President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

National

Govt to set up Indian Institute of Heritage at Noida

The government has decided to set up the Indian Institute of Heritage at Noida, Gautam Buddha Nagar.

This will impact higher education and research in the field of rich Indian heritage and its conservation, leading to Masters and Ph.D. courses in History of Arts, Conservation, Museology, Archival Studies, Archaeology, Preventive Conservation, Epigraphy and Numismatics, Manuscriptology as well as conservation training facilities to in-service employees and students of the institute.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa assures govt jobs for National Games Medalists

The Assam State Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma has assured jobs for all National Games medalists of Assam from now on.

He also mentioned that all those who won medals in National Games so far for Assam would be given Sports Pension by the State Government. He hoped that this decision would help the sportspersons of the state.

The Chief Minister also announced that the house would send a goodwill message to boxer Lovlina Borgohain who will be vying for a medal in Tokyo Olympics.

The Chief Minister stated about the increase of sports pension on the sixth day of the Assam Assembly cabinet meeting. Further, the minister also said that the government is planning to increase the pension of sportsperson from Rs. 8000 to Rs. 10,000.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Assam Governor: Jagdish Mukhi;
  • Assam Chief Minister: Himanta Biswa Sarma.

NMGC approves new projects for rejuvenation of 6 rivers in Uttarakhand

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 36th Executive Committee has approved new projects for the rejuvenation of six rivers in Uttarakhand.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), there are a total of nine polluted stretches in Uttarakhand and six of them are in the Udham Singh Nagar district on various tributaries or small rivers such as Bhela, Dhela, Kichha, Nandor, Pilankha, and Kosi.

The projects shall cover the six polluted river stretches in the Kumaon region. Out of the rest three polluted stretches, the project of Ganga at Jagjeetpur, Haridwar has already been commissioned and on the remaining two, Namami Gange projects are already under execution.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Governor of Uttarakhand: Baby Rani Maurya;
  • The chief minister of Uttarakhand: Pushkar Singh Dhami.

Perumkulam is Kerala’s first ‘Book Village’

Perumkulam, in Kollam District, has been bestowed with the title Kerala’s first ‘Book Village’. This claim to fame results from years of concerted efforts aimed at encouraging the habit of reading.

Perumkulam is a small village in Kulakkada near Kottarakkara in Kollam district. Bapuji Smaraka Grandhasala’, a library in the village is at the forefront in this effort of making it the first book village of the State.

The library inculcates passion towards reading by setting up bookshelves, or ‘Book Nests’ placed at different corners of the village. Anybody can take books from the book nests, read them, and keep them back.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Kerala CM: Pinarayi Vijayan;
  • Kerala Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan.

Maharashtra to issue Certificates using Blockchain Technology

Maharashtra will be the first state in the country to issue educational documents using blockchain technology. Forgery of documents is a serious concern for various educational and other institutions.

Many steps are being taken to avoid forgery along with verification of documents. Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development has decided to issue blockchain-based certificates to students.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Maharashtra Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
  • Maharashtra Capital: Mumbai.
  • Maharashtra CM: Uddhav Thackeray.

Balika Panchayat was successfully held at Kunariya village in Gujarat

The Kunariya village of Kutch district in Gujarat has come out with a unique idea of holding Balika Panchayat. The first-ever elections of this Balika Panchayat were successful. Inspired by the TV series, Balika Vadhu, the Kunariya village in Kutch district today held elections for the unique Balika Panchayat, which aims to develop leadership qualities in the girls for Future Panchayat polls.

Young females aged between 10 to 21 years contested elections for this unique Panchayat which will take up issues pertaining to adolescent girls and women in the village. This Panchayat will be run by the girls and for the girls.

The separate sitting arrangements will be given to these girls and they will be given to use the budget of gender sensitivity.

This unique step by a small village like Kunaria aligns with PM’s vision of enhancing young women’s participation in the political process.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Gujarat Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani;
  • Gujarat Governor: Acharya Devvrat.

International

Russia successfully tested the S-500 missile system

Russia has successfully test-fired its new S-500 air defence missile systems, from a southern training range, Kapustin Yar, on July 20, 2021. It hit a high-speed ballistic target as planned.

The S-500 missile system is under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern. After tests are successfully completed the first S-500 systems which are also named the Triumfator-M and Prometheus will be placed at an air defence unit outside the city of Moscow.

The S-500 is the most advanced anti-missile system in the world and is expected to have a range of 600km. This missile system is also capable of countering attacks from space.

The S-500, also known as Prometey or 55R6M “Triumfator-M”, is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system which is the most advanced anti-missile system in the world and is capable of countering attacks from space.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Russia President: Vladimir Putin.
  • Russia Capital: Moscow.
  • Russia Currency: Russian Ruble.

China unveils 600 kph maglev train makes public debut

China unveiled a maglev train capable of a top speed of 600 kph. The maximum speed would make the train, self-developed by China and manufactured in the coastal city of Qingdao, the fastest ground vehicle globally.

Using electromagnetic force, the maglev train “levitates” above the track with no contact between body and rail. China has been using the technology for almost two decades on a very limited scale.

Shanghai has a short maglev line running from one of its airports to town. At 600 kph, it would only take 2.5 hours to travel from Beijing to Shanghai by train – a journey of more than 1,000 km.

Launched in October 2016, the high-speed maglev train project saw the development of a magnetic-levitation train prototype with a designed top speed of 600 km per hour in 2019 and conducted a successful test run in June 2020.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • China Capital: Beijing;
  • China Currency: Renminbi;
  • China President: Xi Jinping.

Saudi Arabia ends male guardian requirement for women attending the hajj

According to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia, women can now register for the annual Hajj pilgrimage without a male guardian (mahram).

In registration guidelines of Hajj for domestic pilgrims, the ministry highlights, women do not need to require a male guardian to register and could do registration along with other women.

Women wishing to perform Hajj will have to register individually. India had announced the same rule in 2017 when the Modi government declared that women could go on Hajj without a male companion. Muslim women were exempted from mahram and also from the lottery system.

It is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is considered as holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims which is must to carry at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Saudi Arabia Capital: Riyadh;
  • Saudi Arabia Currency: Saudi riyal.

Appointments

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi appointed Deputy Leader of House in Rajya Sabha

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced the appointment of the Union minister for minority affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as the deputy leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha. Naqvi takes over from Piyush Goyal who has been elevated as the leader of the house in the Upper House.

Both Goyal and Naqvi have their job cut out for them. They will have to handle the opposition in the Upper House and ensure that the house proceedings are conducted smoothly to allow the passage of bills.

Defence

OFT hands delivery of 25 remote control guns to Navy

Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli hands over Fifteen 12.7 mm M2 NATO Stabilized Remote Control Gun to Indian Navy & 10 to Indian Coast Guard. It is manufactured with the transfer of technology agreement from Elbit Systems, Israel.

This gun is equipped with an inbuilt CCD camera, thermal imager & a laser range finder for observation & tracking of targets through the day and night operations. The gun is meant for marine applications and can remotely engage targets.

Agreements

Bank of Maharashtra signs MoU with NABARD

Bank of Maharashtra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) to boost ongoing developmental initiatives linked to priority sector lending in Maharashtra.

It is on a collaborative approach to enhance rural prosperity through the convergence of institutional lending & ongoing development initiative.

The MoU envisages joint initiatives for the benefit of farmers, farmer producer organisations, joint liability groups, self-help groups, rural artisans, weavers, Agri-preneurs, Agri start-ups, micro, small and medium enterprises in the State.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Maharashtra Headquarters: Pune;
  • Maharashtra CEO: A. S. Rajeev;
  • Maharashtra Founded: 16 September 1935;
  • Chairman of NABARD: G R Chintala;
  • NABARD Founded: 12 July 1982;
  • NABARD Headquarters: Mumbai.

Economy

ADB projected India’s economic growth forecast at 10% in FY22

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has downgraded India’s economic growth forecast for the financial year 2021-22 (FY22) to 10 per cent, in its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) Supplement for July. Earlier this was estimated at 11%.

The multilateral funding agency has lowered the GDP growth forecast on account of the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Further, ADB has projected the GDP growth rate for FY2022 (2022-23) to 7.5 per cent from the earlier projection of 7 per cent.

FDI limit in NPS fund managers hiked to 74%

The government notified a hike in the foreign direct investment limit in pension fund management to 74% from 49% under the national pension system (NPS).

This step is opening doors for experienced foreign partners in this space and facilitating more competition in the fledgling segment.

Pension Fund Regulatory &Development Authority (PFRDA) Act links the FDI ceiling in the insurance sector. Many companies need capital for their expansion and due to the increase in FDI limit, they will get more money.

Existing fund holders will also be able to sell their excess stake. Foreign companies will be able to provide new products, technology. Help in increasing the reach of pensions.

Banking

Federal Bank launches “FEDDY” AI-Powered virtual assistant for customers

The Federal Bank has launched “FEDDY”, an Artificial Intelligence-powered virtual assistant to help customers with banking-related queries anytime.

The bank said while most of the similar AI-powered virtual assistants are available only on its website, FEDDY can be accessed via Alexa, Google Assistant, and WhatsApp. It is integrated into Google Business Messaging, a first-of-its-kind by an Indian bank.

The bank has recently come out with innovative and user-friendly facilities such as FedSelfie, under which individuals can open their accounts by merely taking a selfie, and Federal 24×7, which makes possible the opening of accounts through a video call to the bank.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Federal Bank MD and CEO: Shyam Srinivasan;
  • Federal Bank Headquarters: Aluva, Kerala;
  • Federal Bank Founder: K.P Hormis;
  • Federal Bank Founded: 23 April 1931.

Business

Goldman Sachs opens its global center in Hyderabad

Banking and financial services major, Goldman Sachs has opened a new facility in Hyderabad as part of its commitment to expand its global center for engineering and business innovation in India.

Hyderabad is emerging as a key investment destination for banking & financial service. The new office is expected to have about 800 people by year-end and grow to over 2,500 people by 2023.

The new office will host functions across engineering, finance, human capital management, and support for consumer banking, and specialize in digital banking, artificial intelligence, and machine learning areas.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  •  Goldman Sachs CEO: David M. Solomon (Oct 2018–);
  • Goldman Sachs Headquarters: New York, New York, United States;
  • Goldman Sachs Founded: 1869.

LIC launches Arogya Rakshak insurance plan

The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has introduced Arogya Rakshak, a non-linked, non-participating, regular premium, individual, health insurance plan.

The plan provides fixed benefit health insurance cover against certain specified health risks. It provides timely support in case of medical emergencies and helps the insured and his family to remain financially independent in difficult times.

The Arogya Rakshak policy is different from the regular comprehensive health insurance in terms of method of payment reimbursement.

Generally, the comprehensive health policies reimburse the actual cost incurred on the medical treatment, up to the limit of the sum insured.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • LIC Headquarters: Mumbai;
  • LIC Founded: 1 September 1956;
  • LIC Chairman: M R Kumar.

Financial services startup Razorpay acquires TERA Finlabs

Razorpay has acquired artificial intelligence (AI)-based risk analysis platform TERA Finlabs, marking its third acquisition since inception. Bengaluru-based TERA Finlabs provides risk management software, along with customized credit offerings to make lending more affordable for consumers and profitable for lenders.

TERA will provide its entire technology stack, risk management capabilities, and onboarding solutions to create and enable a credit line for Razorpay’s merchant network.

The team at TERA FinLabs comes with exceptional domain knowledge in credit underwriting and risk management, as we see immense value in its core lending infrastructure capabilities.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Razorpay Founded: 2013;
  • Razorpay CEO: Harshil Mathur (May 2014–);
  • Razorpay Headquarters location: Bengaluru.

Awards

Shibaji Banerjee to be conferred with Mohun Bagan Ratna posthumously

Former India and Mohun Bagan shot-stopper Shibaji Banerjee, who famously denied Brazil’s legendary football player Pele from scoring a goal in an exhibition match in 1977, will be conferred with Mohun Bagan Ratna posthumously.

The friendly match against New York Cosmos at the iconic Eden Gardens ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Banerjee played for Bagan for 11 years and died at the age of 68 four years ago.

Books and Authors

A book titled “RSS” by Sudhanshu Mittal is now in Chinese

BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal”s book on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has now been translated into the Chinese language.

“RSS: Building India Through SEWA”, which talks of RSS”s history, ideology, and policies, and their subsequent impact on the nation, was brought out by Har-Anand Publications in 2019. The Chinese translation is by Jack Bo.

According to Mittal, he wrote this book to “differentiate between fact and fiction that is at the heart of the debate on the RSS” and to attempt to clarify RSS”s contribution to and position in Indian society.

The book, in his words, attempts to describe the work of the RSS since its inception, its history, the core of Sewa Karya, the structural organization, busting the myths of the RSS not having participated in the Independence movement of India, the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, and the organization’s dynamic nature through generational change.

Sports

10. ICC welcomes Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Switzerland as new members

The International Cricket Council (ICC) inducted Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Switzerland as members at its 78th Annual General Meeting. Mongolia and Tajikistan as the 22nd and 23rd members of the Asia region.

Switzerland is Europe’s 35th member. The ICC now comprising 106 members in total, including 94 associates.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • ICC Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
  • ICC Founded: 15 June 1909;
  • ICC Deputy Chairman: Imran Khwaja;
  • ICC Chairman: Greg Barclay.

Viswanathan Anand wins Sparkassen Trophy

Viswanathan Anand defeated Vladimir Kramnik to win the Sparkassen Trophy at Dortmund. Anand needed only a draw in the final game of the No-Castling Chess event, and he got it in 40 moves.

Kramnik, who conceived this variant of chess with the intention of making the game less predictable and more dynamic, however, was forced to draw the game by giving perpetual checks. Anand was just one move away from putting a second queen on the board.

Science and Technology

IIT Ropar develops first-of-its-kind Oxygen Rationing Device ‘AMLEX’

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar has developed a first-of-its-kind Oxygen Rationing Device called AMLEX, to save the oxygen which otherwise gets wasted unnecessarily, and in turn, increases the life of medical oxygen cylinders three folds.

The device will supply a required volume of oxygen to the patient during inhalation and will trip when the patient exhales carbon dioxide.

“AMLEX”, on the other hand, was a system developed specifically for oxygen cylinders synchronizing the flow of oxygen with inhalation and exhalation of the patient, thus conserving a large amount of oxygen in the reservoir for a long-lasting operation.

As “AMLEX” supplies a required volume of oxygen to the patient during inhalation and trips when the patient exhales CO2, it saves the flow of oxygen at that time.

Jeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship

Billionaire Jeff Bezos has made a short journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard. He was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student.

They traveled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth. On this flight were the oldest person who has been to space, Wally Funk, and the youngest, student Oliver Daemen.

When the capsule touched back down after the 10-minute, 10-second flight, Jeff Bezos exclaimed: “Best day ever!”. New Shepard, built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin, is designed to serve the burgeoning market for space tourism.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Amazon CEO: Andrew R. Jassy;

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