Current Affairs in English

21st and 22nd Jan 2022 Current Affairs in English

National

Oxford University Press declares ‘Anxiety’ as Children’s Word of the Year 2021

The Oxford University Press (OUP) has picked up ‘Anxiety’ as the Children’s Word of the Year 2021, based on their recent research.

Apart from “anxiety” (21%), “Challenging” (19%), “isolate” (14%), “Well-being” (13%), and “resilience” (12%) were the children’s top five words. In 2020, Coronavirus was the Children’s Word of the Year by OUP.

The MoHUA announced the initiation of the Open Data Week

The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the “Open Data Week” that will see participation from all the 100 smart cities, a move aimed at ensuring a collaborative effort towards making Indian cities “data smart”.

The Open Data Week will be conducted during the third week of January from 17th January 2022 to 21st January 2022.

It is divided into two segments — first, uploading of datasets, visualization, APIs, and data blogs on the Smart Cities Open Data Portal from January 17 to January 20, and second, the celebration of a “Data Day” by all smart cities on January 21.

International

Israel completed a successful flight test of the Arrow-3

The test was performed at a test site in central Israel, and led by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It was developed in a joint project between the Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization and the American Missile Defense Agency.

The Arrow 3 was first tested successfully in February 2018, after months of delays and technical problems. It is considered one of the most powerful weapons of its kind in the world and has been in development since 2008.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • ISRAEL Capital: Jerusalem
  • ISRAEL Currency: Israeli New Shekel
  • ISRAEL Prime Minister: Naftali Bennett
  • ISRAEL President: Isaac Herzog

Appointments

Dileep Sanghani was named as new Chairman of IFFCO

The board of directors of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) has unanimously elected Dileep Sanghani as the 17th Chairman of the Cooperative. He succeeds Balvinder Singh Nakai, who passed away earlier on October 11, 2021. Prior to this, Sanghani was serving as vice-chairman of IFFCO since 2019.

Sanghani is a senior co-operator from Gujarat and the chairman of the Gujarat State Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd. (GUJCOMASOL), a position he has held since 2017. He held various portfolios in the Gujarat government, including agriculture, cooperation, animal husbandry, fisheries, cow-breeding, prison, excise, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • IFFCO Headquarters: New Delhi;
  • IFFCO Founded: 3 November 1967, New Delhi.

Chanchal Kumar named as new MD of NHIDCL

Chanchal Kumar has been appointed as the Managing Director, National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH). He is appointed in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary. He is a 1992 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, presently Principal Secretary of Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also approved the extension in the central deputation tenure of Ashutosh Jindal, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat for 1 year beyond 16th February 2022 to 16th February 2023.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • NHIDCL Founded: 2014;
  • NHIDCL Headquarters: New Delhi.

Centre appoints Vikram Dev Dutt as new CMD of Air India

Senior bureaucrat Vikram Dev Dutt has been appointed as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India Ltd. Dutt is a 1993-batch IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territory) cadre.

He has been appointed as the Air India chief in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry. Prior to this, he was the Principal Secretary (Tourism) in Delhi government.

The Centre had in October last year accepted Tata Son’s bid of Rs 18,000 crore to acquire 100 percent of the debt-laden state-run carrier. The takeover has not been completed yet. Talace Pvt Ltd, a unit of the holding company of the salt-to-software conglomerate, had made the winning bid of Rs 2,700 crore cash and Rs 15,300 crore debt takeover.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Air India Ltd Founded: 1932, Mumbai;
  • Air India Ltd Headquarters: New Delhi.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma named as ambassador of Internet panel on languages UASG

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has been roped in as the Ambassador of Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), a community-based team of industry leaders supported by global internet body ICANN.

UASG works on developing and recommending standards for languages script that are not currently used to access the internet. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) aims to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. Its headquarter is based in California, United States.

Lt Gen Manoj Pande appointed as next Army Vice Chief

  • General Pande would be the successor to Lt Gen CP Mohanty who is scheduled to superannuate on January 31. General Pande was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers) in December 1982.
  • He was Director-General at Army Headquarters dealing with subjects of discipline, ceremonial and welfare.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Indian Army Founded: 1 April 1895,
  • Indian Army Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Indian Army Chief: Manoj Mukund Naravane

Agreements

Odisha and the United Nations World Food Programme to bolster food security of small farmers

Odisha and the United Nations World Food Programme to bolster food security of small farmers. In a participatory pilot initiative, climate advisories will be tailored to enable smallholder farmers to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Smallholder farmers, who constitute 90 percent of farming communities in Odisha, will be able to select the right farming and livelihood options to improve their food security and incomes.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • World Food Programme Founded: 1961
  • World Food Programme Headquarters: Rome, Italy
  • World Food Programme Head: David Beasley

IIMK LIVE and Indian Bank ink MoU to disburse loans up to Rs 50 Crore for Startups

Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode’s (IIMK) Business incubator Laboratory for Innovation Venturing and Entrepreneurship (LIVE) has signed a Memorandum of

Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Bank to financially support early-stage startups. Under the MoU, a startup funding scheme, ‘IndSpring Board’ has been launched. Under this scheme loans up to Rs, 50 Crore will be disbursed to the startups.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Indian Bank Headquarters: Chennai;
  • Indian Bank CEO: Shri Shanti Lal Jain;
  • Indian Bank Founded: 15 August 1907.

Banking

The Union Cabinet approved infusion of 1500 crore rupees in IREDA

The Union Cabinet approved infusion of 1500 crore rupees in IREDA. It will help generate 10,200 jobs a year and reduce carbon emissions equivalent to approximately 7.49 million tonnes per year. The IREDA played a big role in the field of renewable energy and its portfolio had increased from ₹8,800 crore to ₹28,000 crores in the past six years.

IREDA is a Non-Banking Financial Institution engaged in promoting, developing, and extending financial assistance for setting up projects relating to new and renewable sources of energy.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • IREDA Founded: 1987;
  • IREDA Headquarters: New Delhi;
  • IREDA Chairperson: Pradip Kumar Das.

RBI announces Digital Payments Index for September 2021

The RBI’s Digital Payment Index, which shows the deepening of payments through digital modes in India, rose by 39.64 percent to 304.06 in September 2021 against 217.74 in the year-ago month.

The RBI-DPI Index continues to demonstrate significant growth in the adoption and deepening of digital payments across the country. RBI has introduced Digital Payments Index in January 2021 with March 2018 as the base year to capture the extent of digitization of payments across the country.

This means that the DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100. RBI has started publishing the Digital Payments Index (DPI) on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months. This means that the DPI will be released by RBI for March and September every year in the months of July and January respectively.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Reserve Bank of India Founded: April 1, 1935;
  • Reserve Bank of India Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor: Shaktikanta Das.

Business

SEBI launches Saa₹thi mobile app on investor education

SEBI launches Saa₹thi mobile app on investor education. The new app aims to empower investors with accurate knowledge about the securities market. The app will cater largely to individual investors, who have recently entered the markets and carry out trading via their mobile phones.

The app will be helpful in easily accessing all the relevant information like the basic concepts of Securities Market, KYC Process, trading and settlement, mutual funds, recent market developments, investor grievances redressal mechanism, etc. It is currently available in Hindi and English.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • SEBI Founded: 12 April 1992
  • SEBI Headquarters: Mumbai
  • SEBI Chairperson: Ajay Tyagi

Microsoft to acquire video gaming company, Activision Blizzard

Microsoft Corp. is set to acquire the game-making company, Activision Blizzard Inc., in an all-cash transaction for $68.7 billion. ($95.00 per share). This acquisition will boost the competitiveness of Microsoft in the mobile gaming business and virtual-reality technology, across mobile, PC, console, and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

Activision Blizzard is famous as the maker of Candy Crush Call of Duty, Xbox, among other leading video games. Upon the completion of the deal, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. This is the biggest deal ever by Microsoft and also the largest-ever deal in the history of the gaming industry.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Microsoft CEO and Chairman: Satya Nadella;
  • Microsoft Headquarters: Redmond, Washington, United States.

Economy

Ind-Ra Projects India’s GDP Growth Rate at 7.6% in FY23

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has projected the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of the Indian economy to grow at 7.6 percent year-on-year in 2022-23 (FY23). Ind-Ra is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fitch Group.

The economic recovery was encouraging, he said, and restrictions put in place by many states to contain the current wave of Covid-19 were not as severe as the second wave. Nonetheless, there are risks to the ongoing recovery, the rating agency warned.

Awards

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wins $1 million Genesis Prize for COVID-19 vaccine

The global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Albert Bourla, has been awarded the prestigious Genesis Prize 2022 on January 19, 2022. He has been awarded for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine).

The award comes with a cash prize of $1 million. The annual prize is awarded to Jewish people who have achieved significant professional success, in recognition of their accomplishments, contributions to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and/or to the State of Israel. It is widely referred to as the “Jewish Nobel Prize”.

Ranks and Reports

ILO Report: Global unemployment level in 2022 projected at 207 million

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released its World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022 (WESO Trends) report.

The report analyses comprehensive labor market projections for 2022 and 2023 and assesses how labor market recovery has unfolded worldwide. In the WESO 2022, ILO has downgraded its forecast for labor market recovery in 2022.

The global unemployment level in 2022 is estimated at 207 million, compared to 186 million in 2019.

Total working hours globally in 2022 is projected to be 2% below the pre-pandemic level, and that is equivalent to the loss of 52 million full-time jobs.

The global labor force participation rate in 2022 is projected to remain 1.2 percentage points below that of 2019 before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began.

In 2022 around 40 million people will no longer be participating in the global labor force. ILO states that there can be no real recovery from this pandemic without a broad-based labor market recovery.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • International Labour Organisation Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland;
  • International Labour Organisation Director-General: Guy Ryder;
  • International Labour Organisation Founder: Paris Peace Conference;
  • International Labour Organisation Founded: 1919.

Summits and Conferences

1st BRICS Sherpas meeting of 2022 held under Chinese chairship

The first BRICS Sherpas meeting of 2022 was held virtually on January 18-19 2022, with the members thanking India for its BRICS chairship in 2021. China has taken on the rotating chairmanship of BRICS in 2022. BRICS is a grouping of five major emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Bhattacharyya India’s BRICS Sherpa said that Last year we saw a significant achievement that our foreign ministers brought about in terms of the document on the strengthening and reform of the multilateral systems.

These issues of global governance, particularly the UN systems and other institutions, are extremely important. And I’m happy that we shall continue to attach high importance to its continued relevance.

Defence

India successfully test-fires BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

The launch was conducted by Brahmos Aerospace in close coordination with Defence Research and Development Organisation. This flight test was monitored by all the sensors of the range instrumentation including telemetry, radar, and electro-optical tracking systems deployed across the eastern coast and the downrange ships.

Brahmos was successfully test-fired from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha on January 20, 2022. The flight test is a major milestone in the way forward for the BrahMos program. The highly maneuverable missile cruised at supersonic speed for its maximum range and all mission objectives were met.

BrahMos Aerospace, the joint venture between DRDO and NPO Mashinostroyeniya, Russia, has been continuously upgrading the powerful, highly versatile BrahMos to increase its effectiveness and lethality against sea and land targets.

Sports

Pakistani Skipper Babar Azam Named Captain of ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year

Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has been named as the captain of the ICC Men’s T20I team of the year for 2021. The ICC Team of the Year recognizes the 11 best players in men’s cricket who have impressed one and all with their performances in a calendar year, either with the bat, ball, or their all-around performance. No Indian male player has found a place in the team of 11.

However, in ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2021, Smriti Mandhana is the only Indian women player named in the 11 member team. Smriti has made the list for the third time in the T20I team of the year after 2018 (opener) and 2019 (number three). England’s Nat Sciver has been made the captain of ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2021.

India tennis star Sania Mirza to retire after 2022 season

India tennis star Sania Mirza to retire after the 2022 season. The 35-year-old had already bowed out of singles competitions in 2013. Sania has six Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles to her name.

Her last headline-grabbing win came with Chinese partner Shuai Zhang in women’s doubles at the Ostrava Open on September 26, 2021.

TCS becomes title sponsor of Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Tata Consultancy Services has partnered with Canada Running Series (CRS) to become the new title sponsor and official technology consulting partner of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Virtual Race through November 2026. Tata Consultancy Services and Canada Running Series aim to modernize marathon running in Canada through a new official race app.

It will offer a first-of-its-kind environmental impact calculator that will enable runners and spectators to track and offset their environmental impact. TCS will also work with CRS to create a hybrid and immersive race experience for all runners and spectators around the globe.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Tata Consultancy Services Founded: 1 April 1968
  • Tata Consultancy Services Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Tata Consultancy Services CEO: Rajesh Gopinathan

Science and Technology

Jahnavi Dangeti becomes first Indian to complete prestigious Nasa program

Jahnavi Dangeti, a young girl from Andhra Pradesh, has just completed NASA’s International Air and Space Program (IASP) at the Kennedy Space Centre in Alabama, US, making her the first Indian to accomplish this feat. She is part of a carefully shortlisted group of 20 students from around the world.

She has been a campus ambassador for numerous organizations, including Star (Space Technology and Aeronautical Rocketry), an Indian private aerospace company. She is a member of the International Organization of Aspiring Astronauts (IOAA). She participated in many events and workshops of Nasa, Isro, and other space agencies.

Obituary

Professional mountaineer Major Hari Pal Singh Ahluwalia passes away

The well-known Professional mountaineer Major Hari Pal Singh Ahluwalia passed away recently. Major Hari Pal Singh Ahluwalia was the recipient of the Arjuna Award-1965 Padma Shri-1965 Padma Bhushan-2002 and Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award for lifetime achievement in 2009.

He has written over 13 books including his autobiography “Higher Than Everest”. Major Ahluwalia has also been a former president of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and the Delhi Mountaineering Association.

The world’s oldest living man, Saturnino de la Fuente, passes away at 112

Guinness World Records holder for the oldest person living (male), Saturnino de la Fuente García (Spain) has passed away at the age of 112 years and 341 days.

Saturnino claimed the record as the oldest person living (male) in September 2021 when he was exactly 112 years and 211 days. He was born on February 11, 1909, in the Puente Castro neighborhood of León in Spain.


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