Gyaankosh – Current Affairs For April 2019 – Set 3

  • India and France will conduct their largest ever naval exercise ‘Varuna’ in May 2019. It will witness the participation of aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines, and fighters. India will deploy its aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya with its MiG-29K fighters. Similarly, the French Navy will send its aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle with its Rafale-M naval jets, and other warships for the “Varuna” exercise.
  • India was the world’s fourth biggest military spender in 2018 behind the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia, according to new data think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). India was the fifth largest military spender in 2017.
  • Reliance retail has become the first Indian retail company to clock more than Rs 1 lakh crore in annual revenues. Reliance Retail also became the first Indian retailer to cross more than 10,000 stores.
  • The total deposits in Jan Dhan Account are set to cross Rs 1 lakh crore soon. The scheme was launched on 28th August 2014 by the Modi-government with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities to all households. The government increased the accident insurance cover to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1 lakh for new accounts opened after 28th August 2018 and the overdraft limit was also doubled to Rs10,000.
  • India’s largest IT services company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has partnered with the Department of Posts in a bid to transform it into a multi-service digital hub, modernise the delivery of mail and packages, enhance customer experience, and launch innovative services that will drive new revenues.
  • According to data released by Startup Blink, India moved up to 17th position in 2018 from 37th spot last year in the Startup Ecosystem Ranking for 2019. The top three spots remained unchanged with the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The cities with the most vibrant startup ecosystems in India are Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Gagandeep Kang becomes first Indian woman scientist to be awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS), United Kingdom. Gagandeep Kang is a clinician-scientist. She is well known for her key role in the development of Rotavac. She is currently appointed as executive director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. Rotovac is India’s first indigenously developed vaccine for rotavirus infections, which is responsible for childhood diarrhea. It was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited and Pune-based Serum International. 
  • Twitter has appointed Manish Maheshwari as the Managing Director of its India operations. In 2018, Taranjeet Singh had stepped down as the India Country Director and Balaji Krish was given charge of leading the country’s operations in the interim period.
  • State Bank of India (SBI) has launched India’s first ‘Green Car Loan’ (Electric Vehicle) to encourage customers to buy electric vehicles. The new scheme ‘Green Car Loan’ will offer the loan at 20 basis points lower than the interest rate on the existing car loan schemes.
  • Karnam Sekar is appointed as the new Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank. He would take up the position from July 1, 2019. He has been working as an officer on special duty and Whole Time Director in IOB (Indian Overseas Bank) from April 1 till the time of taking over charge from R Subramania Kumar who was the erstwhile CEO and MD.
  • The second edition of Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize was awarded to author Rana Dasgupta for his 2010 novel “Solo”. The novel is a tale of estrangement and the ultimate failure of material existence. Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize aims to revive poetry and books that can change lives. An amount of $10,000, a Tagore statue and a certificate for contribution to literature will be given to the awardee.
  • Wipro Consumer Care announced that it has acquired Philippines based personal care company ‘Splash’. The acquisition will help complete its Southeast Asian footprint. Splash Corporation is among the top five local companies in the Philippines.
  • On 21st April 2019, Easter Sunday, a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings were targeted in Sri Lanka. Suicide bombers struck three Christian churches and four luxury hotels in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa on Sunday morning. The bomb attacks killed at least 253 people and wounded hundreds of others. According to Sri Lankan government officials, all seven of the suicide bombers in the attacks were Sri Lankan citizens associated with National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a local militant Islamist group.
  • Russia has successfully tested the world’s first floating nuclear power plant (NPP), Akademik Lomonosov, a subsidiary of Rosatom nuclear corporation stated. Reactors of the floating atomic block were launched in November 2018.
  • Etihad Airways, UAE based flag carrier, has become the first major airline in the Gulf region to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board. The objective is to raise awareness about pollution. Etihad Airways has pledged to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80% across the entire organization by the end of 2022.
  • The UN health agency -World Health Organisation (WHO) has released new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary and sleep for children under 5 years of age. It also issued its first-ever guidance for how much screen time children should be allowed – limited and none at all for one-year-olds. Kids under 5 should not spend more than one hour watching screens every day – and that less is better. Infants under 1 year should not be exposed to electronic screens. WHO stated that ensuring quality sleep, improving physical activity and reducing sedentary time in young children will boost their physical, mental health and well-being.
  • Microsoft has reached a valuation of one trillion dollars for the first time after posting an increase in profits. It makes the software giant only the third publicly-traded company in history to reach the threshold after Apple and Amazon passed it in 2018.
  • World Malaria Day is an international event observed every year on 25 April, to spread awareness about malaria disease globally and to promote efforts to prevent malaria around the world. World Malaria Day 2019 Theme: The theme of World Malaria Day 2019 is “Zero malaria starts with me”.
  • Asian Athletics Championships 2019 held at Doha in Qatar. It was the 23rd edition of the Championships. India ended at the fourth spot in the medals tally with 3 Gold, 7 Silver and 7 Bronze. Bahrain topped the table with 11 Gold, 7 Silver and 4 Bronze. China was second while Japan was third.
  • Fabio Fognini became the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title. He achieved this feat at the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes. Fognini will rise to a career-high ranking of 12.
  • Australia’s Claire Polosak will become the first female umpire to officiate in a men’s one-day international at the ICC World Cricket League Division Two match. She will stand in the final between tournament hosts Namibia and Oman.
  • Abhishek Verma won the 10m air pistol gold medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Beijing, China. He clinched the top spot with a total score of 242.7. Russia’s Artem Chernousov took silver. His brilliant performance in the Shooting World Cup Final also secured a fifth Olympic quota for India.
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