Gyaankosh – Current Affairs for April 2019 – Set 2

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was awarded with Order of St Andrew the Apostle – the highest state decoration of Russia. He was awarded for exceptional services in promoting special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries. This is the seventh international award that PM Modi has been honoured with.
  • India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA). India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2million in 1994. In comparison, China’s population stood at 1.42 billion in 2019, growing from 1.23 billion in 1994.
  • Justice Vikram Nath, the senior most judge of Allahabad High Court, was appointed as the first Chief Justice of the newly-constituted Andhra Pradesh High Court.
  • Three teams from India have won awards at the NASA’s annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge which invites high school and college students to build and test roving vehicles for future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
    • The team from KIET Group of Institutions in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, won the “AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award”, which recognises systems best designed to meet the Rover Challenge performance requirements.
    • The team from Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering from Mumbai,Maharashtra, won the “Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award” for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems during the race as well as the “System Safety Challenge Award”.
    • The team from Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, won the “STEM Engagement Award”, presented to the team that best-informed others about rocketry and other space-related topics.
  • India has successfully test-fired first indigenously designed and developed long-range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ from a test range in Odisha. The all-weather missile, has a 1,000-kilometre strike range. It can be launched from multiple platforms and is designed to carry conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • Iran’s Parliament has approved a bill labeling US forces in Middle East as terrorist groups. This comes day after US designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organization formally took effect. The bill introduced by the Iranian Defence Minister has authorised the government to act firmly in response to “terrorist actions” by US forces and demands authorities use of legal, political and diplomatic measures to neutralise the American move, without elaborating.
  • London is the first city in the world to implement a 24-hour, seven day a week Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), inside which vehicles will have to meet tough emissions standards or face a charge.
  • UAE is set to host the world’s foremost Artificial Intelligence (AI) Summit to empower global dialogue on the future of government, business and society. The inaugural ‘AI Everything’ will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a fifth term in office. His closest opponent’s party the Blue and White party conceded defeat, clearing the path for Netanyahu to set up a coalition government.
  • Saudi Arabia announced that it will be hosting the G20 summit in November 2020 in its capital Riyadh. This would be the first G20 summit in the Arab world.
  • Hong Kong’s equity market has overtaken Japan to be the world’s third largest in value, behind only the U.S. and mainland China. Hong Kong’s market cap was $5.78 trillion as of April 2nd week, compared with $5.76 trillion for Japan.
  • Emirates Islamic has announced the launch of Chat Banking services for customers via WhatsApp, marking a global first in the Islamic banking sector. The bank’s customers will now able to conduct daily banking activities via WhatsApp in a seamless and hassle-free manner.
  • PayU, Digital payments security and payment facilitator has acquired Wibmo, a US-based financial technology firm for USD 70 million (about Rs 484 crore) to assist the company scale-up its business.
  • Norway is ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 for the third year running while Finland is second. India dropped two places to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the global press freedom index analysis. Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India. At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018.
  • Bandhan Bank has received approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed scheme of amalgamation of Gruh Finance with the bank. Bandhan Bank had, in January 2019, announced the merger of Gruh Finance with it. The move was taken to bring down promote holding in the bank to 61% from 82.3%.
  • Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and two Indian women lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju– who fought the legal battle for LGBTQ rights and were instrumental in the overturning of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — are among the 100 named in TIME magazine’s list of most influential people for the year 2019.
    The list names the world’s most influential people of the year in five categories– pioneers, leaders, artists, titans and icons.
  • The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. Prizes for 2019 were awarded as follows:
    • Public service – Staff of the South Florida Sun Sentinel
    • Editorial writing – Brent Staples of the New York Times
    • Fiction – The Overstory by Richard Powers
    • Drama – Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury
    • Poetry – Be With by Forrest Gander (New Directions)
    • Music – “prism” by Ellen Reid premiered by the Los Angeles Opera
  • Astronomers have taken the first-ever image of a black hole, which is located in a distant galaxy known as ‘Messier 87′ (M87). The image which has been captured by a network of eight telescopes across the world shows an intensely bright ‘ring of fire’ surrounding a perfectly circular dark hole. The ‘Event Horizon Telescope’ captured the image from the galaxy that is 50 million light-years away.
  • Sri Lanka’s first satellite ‘Raavana-1’ was launched into space from NASA’s Flight Facility on Virginia’s east shore. ‘Raavana 1’ weighs around 1.05 kg and the lifespan of the satellite is around one and a half years. Its camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries.
  • Nepal successfully launched its first satellite NepaliSat-1 into space. The satellite developed by the Nepalese scientists was launched from Virginia in the United States. It is a low orbit satellite which will be in the 400-km distance from the Earth’s surface.
  • 22nd April is celebrated as “International Mother Earth Day”. The term ‘Mother Earth’ implies the interdependent relationship which exists between all the species of planet earth and to acknowledge earth’s role in sustaining them all. World Earth Day 2019 theme is ‘Protect Our Species’. It will mainly focus on saving species which are on the verge of extinction due to climate change, deforestation, pollution and illegal poaching.
  • In the 2019 (156th) edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack published recently, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and women’s cricketer Smriti Mandhana were named the Leading Cricketers in the World. Kohli has won the honour for an unprecedented third year in a row while it’s the first time Smriti has won the honour.
  • Famous Golfer Tiger Woods completed one of the sport’s great all-time comebacks to end an 11-year major title drought at the Masters by claiming a fifth Green Jacket. He won fifth Masters and 15th major title at Augusta National Golf Club.
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