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Important Current Affairs 28th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Uzbekistan Will be host the ‘Central-South Asia conference 2021

•Uzbekistan has hosted a high-level International Conference titled “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” at Tashkent. The conference was an initiative of the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It was attended by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Ministers from Central Asian, West Asian and South Asian countries, including Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S. Jaishankar. Delegates from over 40 countries and about 30 international organizations, and heads of think tanks participated in the conference.

•Ashraf Ghani underlined the historical proximity of two regions and the importance of strengthening it on the basis of mutual trust and interests.

•President Mirziyoyev said the world has entered an era of global geopolitical transformations and that the ‘revival of mutual ties between Central and South Asia, where about two billion people live today, is becoming an ever more demanding and objective process’.

NATIONAL

Chief minister of Assam H.B. Sarma lays the foundation stone of bamboo industrial park

•The chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma has laid the foundation stone of a bamboo industrial park at Manderdisa Village, Dima Hasao. The project will be implemented with Rs 50 crore from the DoNER ministry. The project, once completed, would usher in a new era in the economy of the region and create vast employment opportunities for the local youth.

•Bamboo produced in Dima Hasao were earlier mostly exported to paper mills, however, with the completion of the park new avenues would open to use bamboo for the production of tiles, incense stick, ceiling etc., which would bring more economic benefit to the people.

Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme

•Union Home Minister, Amit Shah along with chief minister Conrad K. Sangma inaugurated the much-awaited Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme at Sohra in East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya. The Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme was conceptualised by the Meghalaya government and an amount of Rs. 24.08 cr was sanctioned by the DoNER ministry in 2019 under North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS). He also planted tree saplings in Sohra as part of the Sohra Afforestation Project of the Assam Rifles.

•This is a first of its kind initiative of the Government of Meghalaya to bring together the Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence officials, and village communities for a novel and humanitarian purpose in the field of Natural Resource Management in a very important and ecologically fragile landscape.

Indian Naval Ship Talwar participated in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021

•Indian Naval Ship Talwar is participating in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021, being conducted from 26 July 2021 to 06 August 2021 along the East Coast of Africa. The exercise is an annual maritime exercise conducted to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

•The exercise focuses on East Africa’s coastal regions and is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security and increase interoperability between the regional navies.

•As part of the exercise, the Indian Navy, together with other partners, shall undertake the training of contingents from various participating countries in various fields across the spectrum of maritime security operations.

Dholavira inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

•A Harappan-era metropolis, Dholavira in Gujarat has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Now Gujarat has three world heritage sites, Champaner near Pavagadh, Rani ki Vav in Patan and the historic city of Ahmedabad. Dholavira is now the 40th treasure in India to be given.

•The ongoing 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has already given India a new world heritage site in the form of the Rudreswara/ Ramappa Temple in Telangana, which dates back to the 13th century. This session of the World Heritage Committee is being chaired from Fuzhou in China.

SPORTS

Japan’s Yuto Horigome has won the first-ever skateboarding

•Japan’s Yuto Horigome has won the first-ever skateboarding competition at the Olympic Games, taking gold in men’s street event at the Ariake Urban Sport in Tokyo. Yuto overcame a shaky start to pocket the gold with 37.18 points. Kelvin Hoefler of Brazil won silver in the men’s street skating competition, while Jagger Eaton of the United States clinched the bronze.

•Skateboarding’s inclusion into the Olympics marks a turning point for the sport, which has its roots in youth street culture and has influenced everything from art to fashion.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Basavaraj Bommai will be the new Chief Minister of Karnataka

•The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) legislature party has unanimously elected Lingayat MLA Basavaraj S Bommai as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. The 61-year-old will succeed BS Yediyurappa, who resigned on July 26, 2021.

•He will be sworn in as the 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka on July 28, 2021. Prior to this, Basavaraj Bommai was the Home Minister in the BSY government. He is a two-time MLC and three-time MLA from Shiggaon in the Haveri district.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Nature Conservation Day 2021: 28th  July

•World Nature Conservation Day is observed on 28th July every year. The main objective of celebrating this day is to raise awareness about protecting nature and adopting best practices for conserving our natural resources.

•The Earth is supplied a limited amount of properties that we all rely upon each day like water, air, soil and trees.

World Hepatitis Day celebrated 2021: 28th  July

•World Health Organization is observed on 28th July every year as “World Hepatitis Day”. This day is celebrated to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer. This year theme of World Hepatitis Day 2021 is ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’.

•The date of 28 July was chosen because it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus. There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of death, with 1.3 million lives lost each year.

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Important Current Affairs 27th July 2021

NATIONAL

WTO: India Entered Top 10 Agricultural Produce Exporters in 2019

•India has entered the top ten list of agricultural produce exporters in 2019 with a significant share within the export of rice, soya beans, cotton and meat, according to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report on trends in world agricultural trade in recent 25 years. In 2019, India ranked ninth with a share of 3.1% in global agricultural exports. Earlier this place was New Zealand.

•While the US, which topped the list in 1995 (22.2%), was overtaken by the European Union in 2019 (16.1%). Brazil maintained its ranking as the third-largest exporter, increasing its share from 4.8% in 1995 to 7.8% in 2019. China climbed from the sixth spot in 1995 (4%) to fourth in 2019 (5.4%).

SPORTS

Priya Malik wins Gold at World Cadet Wrestling Championship 2021

•Indian Wrestler Priya Malik has won a Gold Medal at the 2021 World Cadet Wrestling Championship in Budapest, Hungary.

•She defeated Kseniya Patapovich 5-0 in the summit clash of women’s 73kg weight category to win the yellow medal. The Indian team bagged as many as 13 medals, including 5 Golds at the Championship, to make the country proud.

Para shuttler Pramod Bhagat named Differently abled Sportsman of the Year 2019

•World No. 1 para shuttler Pramod Bhagat was named Differently Abled Sportsman of the Year at Indian Sports Honour for 2019. The delay in the announcement was due to the C-19 pandemic. Indian Sports Honours are awards given annually by the RPSG Group in association with the Virat Kohli Foundation to outstanding sports personalities of India. The awards were founded in 2017.

•Bhagat, who won two gold medals and a bronze at the Dubai Para-Badminton Tournament this year, will be participating in singles and mixed doubles events at the Paralympics which opens in Tokyo from August 24.

OBITUARY

Veteran Actress Jayanthi passed away

•The well-known southern actor Jayanthi, has passed away due to age-related ailments. She started her acting career in 1963 and had starred in over 500 films that span across five languages including Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi.

•She was fondly known as ‘Abhinaya Sharadhe’ meaning the ‘Goddess of acting’, in the Kannada film industry. She won several awards including the Karnataka State Film Awards seven times and the Filmfare Awards twice.

Bangladesh’s legendary folk singer Fakir Alamgir passed away due to C-19

•Bangladesh’s legendary folk singer, Fakir Alamgir has passed away due to complications from C-19. He was born on February 21, 1950, in Faridpur, Alamgir began his music career in 1966. The singer was a key member of cultural organisations ‘Kranti Shilpi Gosthi’ and ‘Gana Shilpi Gosthi’ and played an important role during Bangladesh’s 1969 uprising. During Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War, Alamgir joined the ‘Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra’ and performed frequently to inspire freedom fighters.

•Some of his popular songs include “O Sokhina Gesos Kina”, “Shantahar”, “Nelson Mandela”, “Naam Tar Chhilo John Henry”, “Banglar Comrade Bondhu”, among others. He also founded the cultural organization ‘Wrishiz Shilpi Gosthi’ in 1976, and also served as the president of Gono Sangeet Shamanya Parishad (GSSP). Alamgir was conferred with the Ekushey Padak, the country’s second-highest civilian award, in 1999.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Lulu Group’s chairman Yusuffali will be vice-chairman of Abu Dhabi CCI’s

•Lulu Group chairman, M A Yusuff Ali has been appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI). Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi & Dy. Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces issued a resolution to form a new Board of Directors for Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI).

•HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan recently had honoured Yusuffali with the ‘Abu Dhabi Award 2021’, the highest civilian honour for his almost 5-decade long contributions in the fields of economic development & philanthropy.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa Resigns

•Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa has announced his resignation from the top post on July 26, 2021, when his government completed two years in the state, after being elected to power in 2019.

•The 78-year-old Yediyurappa, often called by his initials BSY, served as the 19th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He had served as the chief minister of Karnataka for four terms and was the only chief minister to do so in Karnataka history.

IMPORTANT DAYS

CRPF observed 83rd  Raising Day 2021 on 27th July

•The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), observed its 83rd Raising Day on 27 July 2021. CRPF is India’s largest Central Armed Police Force, under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

•Its headquarter is located in New Delhi. It came into existence as the Crown Representative’s Police on 27 July 1939. After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on the enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Central Reserve Police Force signs an MoU with C-DAC 

•The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has signed an MoU with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing C-DAC to train the manpower of the force in advanced technologies and undertake joint projects. The MoU aims at augmenting the technical capabilities of CRPF by training its manpower in advanced areas like the Internet of Things (IoT), Cybersecurity, AI, etc.

•The agreement will also provide the expertise of C-DAC in the form of a Technology Partner and Knowledge Partner in developing various ICT solutions of CRPF. The MoU will go a long way in providing CRPF personnel with customised advanced courses aligned to the needs of the field and practical applications.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

HDFC Ltd got a loan of $250 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC)

•HDFC Ltd has got a loan of $250 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group, to be used by India’s largest housing finance company for green housing. Green housing is regarded as a luxury market in the country but has climate benefits. Its partnership with HDFC would help change perceptions about the market. At least 25 per cent of the funding is for green affordable housing.

•IFC’s $250 million loans to HDFC Ltd will support its moves to grow its affordable housing and emerging green affordable housing portfolio by improving access to such housing for people on lower incomes.

•Aligned with the government of India’s goal to provide ‘Housing for All,’ the funding will also help generate jobs,”. Green affordable housing can help India on its path to deliver on its commitments under the Paris Agreement, to reduce a third of its carbon emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels.

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Important Current Affairs 26th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

UK reported new cases of ‘Norovirus’ infection

•The United Kingdom is now reporting an outbreak of norovirus. Public Health England (PHE) recently issued a warning regarding Norovirus. England has recorded 154 cases of norovirus in the country. An increase in norovirus cases in educational settings has been reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus is very contagious that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. People suffering from norovirus disease can shed billions of virus particles. And to make people sick only a few of them is required.

•Person can contract this virus by coming in direct contact with an infected person. This virus can also be contracted by consuming contaminated water and food and also touching contaminated surfaces with one’s hands and then putting them in the mouth unwashed.

Sweden joined International Solar Alliance(ISA)

•Sweden has ratified the framework agreement for the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and is now a member of the global platform, which is an initiative of India aimed at promoting renewable energy and sustainable development. Sweden hopes to bring its expertise and its experience in renewable energy and clean energy technologies to discussions in the ISA to contribute to meeting the challenges related to climate change.

•In April 2018, Prime Minister Modi visited Stockholm during which both sides agreed to further deepen innovation partnership for a sustainable future. The ISA has been conceived as an action-oriented, member-driven, collaborative platform to increase the availability of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security and sustainable development.

NATIONAL

Home Minister Amit Shah launched Various schemes in Assam

•Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of Tamulpur Medical College and Hospital and distributed cheque of 1 lakh rupees each to the next of the kin of 100 selected C-19 victims under the State Government’s ‘Prarthana Achoni’ at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.

•Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, State Health Minister Keshab Mahanta and Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) Chief Promod Boro were present on this occasion.

•Speaking at the event of Assam Government’s Healthcare and Welfare Schemes launch, Mr Shah said that Central Government is committed to fullfil all the promises made at Bodo Accord within a very short period.

Rudreswara Temple of Telangana inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage List

•The Kakatiya Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Palampet, Mulugu district, near Warangal in Telangana has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. With this latest induction, there are 39th World Heritage Sites located in India.

•The Rudreswara temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire.

•The iconic 13th-century temple is also known as Ramappa temple, named after its architect, Ramappa

•The Rudreswara temple was the only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019 by the Indian government.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Shiv Nadar, founder of HCL resign as MD

•Shiv Nadar, the founder of HCL Technologies Ltd, and its chief strategy officer has tendered his resignation as managing director, as well as a director, on completing 76 years of age. Nadar will, however, continue to guide the company in the capacity of chairman emeritus and strategic adviser to the board for five years. Vijayakumar, president and chief executive officer, has been appointed as the managing director for five years.

•The Noida-based IT services company posted a net profit of ₹3,214 crores for the June quarter, up nearly 10% annually. It is slightly below consensus Bloomberg estimates of ₹3,255.5 crores.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Kargil Vijay Diwas 2021 :26th  July

•Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26 since the year 1999, to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the Kargil conflict. This year nation is celebrating the 22 years of victory in the Kargil war. It was in 1999 that a high altitude mountain war broke out along the peaks of Kargil near the Line of Control, the de-facto border that divides Kashmir between the two nations.

•The Kargil War was fought between May-July of 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control (LoC) in which India got the victory.

•The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.

•The operation was launched by the Indian Army twice in Indian history. The first Operation Vijay was launched in 1961 that led to the capture of Goa, Anjediva islands and Daman and Diu.

•The operation White Sea was also launched during the Kargil war, 1999. During the operation, the Indian Air Force jointly acted with Indian Army to flush out regular and irregular troops of the Pakistani army.

World Drowning Prevention Day 2021: 25th July

•World Drowning Prevention Day, declared through the April 2021 UN General Assembly Resolution “Global drowning prevention”, is held annually on 25 July.

•This global advocacy event serves as an opportunity to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities and to offer life-saving solutions to prevent it.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Book ‘An Ordinary Life: Portrait of an Indian Generation’ by Former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa

•Former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa has come out with a book titled “An Ordinary Life: Portrait of an Indian Generation.”

•In this book, Ashok Lavasa narrates about his father, Udai Singh, and his own experience on how his father’s principles served as a moral compass in his life, and can in ours too. Ashok Lavasa resigned as election commissioner in 2020 to become vice-president of the Asian Development Bank.

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Important Current Affairs 25th July 2021

NATIONAL

IIT-Kanpur launched technology innovation hub

•Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) has launched the first technology innovation hub to find cybersecurity solutions for anti-drones technologies, intrusion detection systems, block-chain and cyber-physical systems. The presence of cutting-edge technology in cybersecurity is accompanied by an increasing need to protect digital assets and deploy solutions for the common public as well as government and industry.

•IIT Kanpur’s C3i hub will focus on safeguarding cyberspace including critical infrastructure.” The government is promoting Make-in India cybersecurity solutions to counter rising threats from neighbouring countries, particularly China.

Two cities of Madhya Pradesh, Orchha and Gwalior selected by UNESCO

•Madhya Pradesh, the cities of Orchha and Gwalior have been selected by UNESCO under its ‘Historic Urban Landscape Project.’ This project was started in the year 2011. UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape project for the cities of Orchha and Gwalior was launched through video conferencing by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

•Six cities of South Asia, including the Indian cities of Varanasi and Ajmer, are already involved in this project. Gwalior and Orchha have been included as the 7th and 8th cities of South Asia.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged in the Indian Army’s skiing expedition

•Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has flagged in the Indian Army’s skiing expedition that was conducted in the Himalayan mountain ranges between March 10 and July 6. The expedition, called ARMEX-21, was flagged off at Karakoram Pass in Ladakh on March 10 and culminated at Malari in Uttarakhand on July 6 covering 1,660 km in 119 days.

•The ARMEX-21 was conducted in the mountain ranges of the Himalayan region to promote the adventure activity in the country and the Indian Army,” it stated. During the expedition, the team travelled through several passes at a height of 5,000-6,500 meters and through glaciers, valleys and rivers.

SPORTS

Mirabai Chanu wins Silver in weightlifting Women’s 49kg category

•Mirabai Chanu won the silver medal and became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games in the Women’s 49kg category. China’s Zhihui Hou won the gold medal in the women’s 49-kg weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics, lifting a total of 210 kg, while Indonesia’s Windy Cantika Aisah won the bronze medal.

•Chanu managed to lift a total of 202 kg in the women’s 49kg category to become the second Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to win an Olympic medal. A new Olympic record was registered by Mirabai Chanu with a successful lift of 115kg in clean and jerk.

Indian Olympic Association roped in Adani Group as sponsor for Tokyo Olympics

•Indian Olympic Association has roped in Adani Group as a sponsor for the Indian contingent at the ongoing Tokyo Games. Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajiv Mehta, who is in Tokyo, announced the development.

•The IOA had earlier entered into sponsorship deals with various private entities, including dairy giant Amul, mobile gaming platform MPL Sports Foundation, JSW Sports among others. IOA had inked the deals after dropping Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning as the Indian team’s official kit sponsor for the Tokyo Olympics and stating that the country’s athletes will wear unbranded apparel during the Games.

N. B. Devi named AIFF ‘Women’s Footballer of the Year’ 2020-21

•Indian Women’s National Team Forward, Ngangom Bala Devi has been named as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020-21. Bala currently plays for Rangers Women’s FC in Scotland. She made her debut for the team in February 2020 and created history as she scored her first competitive goal for the side in December last year. She is the first Indian woman footballer to sign a professional contract with an overseas club in Europe.

•Bala was a part of the Manipur U19 team that took part in the Under-19 Women’s Championship in Assam in 2002, where she was declared the best player. She has also represented the Manipur Senior Women’s Football Team in the India women’s football championship.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Rashmi R. Das appointed to UN Tax Committee

•The joint secretary of the Finance Ministry, Rasmi Ranjan Das has been appointed to the UN tax committee as a member for the term period 2021 to 2025. Das is among the tax experts from around the world who has been appointed as a member of the UN tax committee. She is Joint Secretary – (FT&TR-I), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

•Formally known as the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, this committee helps the countries’ efforts to advance stronger and forward-looking tax policies which are adapted to suit the realities of a digitalised economy, globalised trade and investment and the ever-worsening environmental degradation.

•It assists countries in their efforts to prevent double or multiple taxations as well as non-taxation, broaden their tax base, strengthen their tax administrations, and curb international tax evasion and avoidance.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI allowed loans up to Rs 5 cr to other banks’ directors

•Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has overhauled rules for extending loans to directors of other banks and relatives of directors. As per the amendments, the central bank has allowed banks to extend personal loans up to ₹5 crores to directors of other banks and directors’ relatives other than spouses without board approval. The earlier limit for such loans was ₹25 lakh.

•The regulations apply to directors, including the Chairman/Managing Director, of other banks, any firm in which they are interested as a partner or guarantor, or any company in which they hold substantial interest or is interested as a director or as a guarantor. Personal loans refer to loans given to individuals and consist of consumer credit, education loans, loans given for the creation or enhancement of immovable assets like houses, and loans given for investment in financial assets, such as shares, debentures, etc.

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Important Current Affairs 24th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

World’s first 3D-printed steel bridge opened in Netherlands

•The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge was opened to the public in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was developed by MX3D, a Dutch robotics company, in collaboration with a consortium of experts, and represents a major milestone for 3D-printing technology. After four years of development, the bridge was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. It was installed over one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam’s city centre – the Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

•The 12-metre-long steel structure will be a ‘living laboratory’ that will capture and transmit data on its health in real-time to show how it changes over its lifespan.

•The length of the bridge is nearly 40 feet. It is a 6-ton stainless steel structure.

•The smart sensor network was designed and installed by a team from The Alan Turing Institute.

•The sensors attached to the structure will gather data on air quality, temperature, strain, displacement and vibration.

NATIONAL

Delhi Cabinet Nod For Ex Gratia Of Rs 1 Cr

•The Delhi Cabinet on Friday approved a proposal to pay Rs 1 crore compensation each to the families of six IAF, Delhi Police and civil defence personnel who died in the line of duty.

•The Delhi government said it stands with the families of all paramilitary, army, police and civil defence personnel residing in the city.

•"The Kejriwal government will give a 'Samman Rashi' of Rs 1 crore each to the families of six bravehearts of Delhi who lost their lives in the line of duty. The decision was taken in the meeting of the Delhi Cabinet regarding the grant of the ex gratia to the families.

India has scored 90.32 per cent in the 2021 UN Global Survey

•India has scored 90.32 per cent in the 2021 UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation. India’s score was 78.49 per cent in 2019. The overall score of India is found to be greater than many OECD countries including France, UK, Canada, Norway, Finland. India is the best-performing country when compared to the South and South-West Asia region (63.12%) and the Asia Pacific region (65.85%). The overall score of India is even greater than the average score of the EU.

•Transparency: 100% in 2021 (93.33% in 2019),

•Formalities: 95.83% in 2021 (87.5% in 2019),

•The survey is conducted by the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) every two years since 2015 to help countries benchmark and reduce the time and cost of trading across borders, as well as helps businesses in their investment decisions.

SPORTS

Olympics-Weightlifting-Papua New Guinea's Toua becomes first 5-time woman Olympian lifter

•When women’s weightlifting was introduced as an Olympic sport in 2000, Papua New Guinea’s then 16-year-old Loa Dika Toua became the first-ever female Olympian lifter. On Saturday in Tokyo, the now 37-year-old athlete did it for the fifth time.

•“This would have been my sixth, but in 2016 Rio Olympics I pulled out from the team to give my spot to my sister. Unfortunately due to financial constraints of the country, we couldn’t send our team there.”

OBITUARY

Renown Carnatic Classical Violinist S. R. Bhaskaran passed away

•Noted Carnatic Classical Violinist ‘Kalaimaamani’ Sikkil Shri R Bhaskaran passed away. He started learning the Violin at the age of 11 from Thiruvarur Shri Subba Iyer and later trained under Mayuram Shri Govindarajan Pillai. He was an ‘A” Grade Artist of AIR and has served for nearly 2 decades in Chennai radio Station from 1976 to 1994.

•Bhaskaran has served as an Executive Committee member of the Thiruvaiyaru Thyaga Brahma Festival for more than 2 decades. During his close to 5 decades of Musical Career, Bhaskaran has been bestowed with many laurels, Awards & Honours.

India’s oldest student Bhageerathi Amma passed away

•Bhageerathi Amma, the oldest woman in India to take the equivalency exams, has passed away due to age-related ailments. She was 107-years-old. Amma, who hailed from the Kollam district of Kerala, decided to continue her education at the age of 105.

•Amma had quit formal education in class three, when she was 9 years old. The centenarian was felicitated with the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar by the central government for her exceptional contribution towards women’s empowerment.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Aaykar Diwas (Income Tax Day) 2021: 24th July 

•The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) observed the 161st Income Tax Day (also known as Aaykar Diwas) on 24 July 2021. In India, the Income Tax Day is celebrated every year on July 24, as it was on 24 July 1980 that Income Tax was introduced for the first time in India by Sir James Wilson.

•The purpose of this tax was to compensate for the losses incurred by the British regime during the first war of independence against British Rule in 1857. July 24 was first celebrated as Income Tax day in 2010.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

11th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation meeting held

•While addressing the 11th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting, S Jaishankar India’s External Affairs Minister has called for a “collective and collaborative” response to effectively deal with the ongoing C-19 pandemic, saying that national boundaries are not respected by this virus.

•India considers the Mekong region of great importance and hence seeks a multi-dimensional engagement with Mekong countries.

•India wants to identify newer areas of cooperation and doing so will broaden the partnership of the countries.

•Addressing the meeting, S Jaishankar has said that India wants to promote better connectivity in this region through economic, digital and people-to-people connectivity.

IPC and WHO sign an MoU

•The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Thursday signed an agreement to work together to foster diversity and equity through global initiatives promoting health and sport for everybody, everywhere.

•The two partners will collaborate to improve global access to quality rehabilitation and assistive technology as part of universal health coverage; and mitigate existing inequalities in relation to access to these life-changing services - a prerequisite for equal opportunities and participation in sports for persons with disabilities, including for Paralympians and Para athletes.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Max Bupa Health Insurance rebrands itself as Niva Bupa Health Insurance

•The standalone health insurer Max Bupa Health Insurance has rebranded itself as ‘Niva Bupa Health Insurance. This development comes after the company’s promoter, Max India, which owned 51 per cent of the insurer sold its stake to True North in February 2019 for Rs 510 crore.

•With the entry of private equity firm True North, it was decided that the use of the “Max” brand will be phased out over a period of two years and replaced with a suitable name, to create a new brand identity. Niva Bupa targets to become a Rs 2,500 crore company by FY 2021-22.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

UN’s cultural agency UNESCO removes Liverpool from world heritage list

•The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO has voted narrowly to remove Liverpool’s waterfront from its list of world heritage sites, citing concerns about overdevelopment, including plans for a new football stadium. At committee talks chaired by China, 13 delegates voted in favour of the proposal and five against, just one more than the two-thirds majority required to delete a site from the global list.

•Those against delisting Liverpool included Australia, whose own listing for the Great Barrier Reef is threatened in this year’s UNESCO deliberations. Others opposing included Brazil, Hungary and Nigeria, arguing any step should be deferred a year to give the UK and Liverpool authorities more time.

G20 Environment Ministers’ Meeting 2021 hosted by Italy

•The G20 Environment Ministers’ Meeting 2021 is one of the ministerial meetings organized as part of the G20 Leaders Summit 2021, which will be hosted by Italy in October 2021. The 2021 G20, under the Italian Presidency, will focus on three broad, interconnected pillars of action: People, Planet, Prosperity. Within these pillars, the G20 aims to take the lead in ensuring a swift international response to the COVID-19 pandemic – able to provide equitable, worldwide access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines – while building up resilience to future health-related shocks.

•India was represented by a delegation led by Hon’ble Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav and include Minister of State, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and senior officers of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

NATIONAL

Para Shooter of Madhya Pradesh’s Rubina Francis wind gold in 10-metre air pistol para-event

•Madhya Pradesh shooter, Rubina Francis has set a world record at the ongoing Para Sport Cup in Peru. She has won gold in the 10-metre air pistol para-event for women. Scoring 238.1 points, she went past the world record of Aysegul Pehlivanlar of Turkey. This win also secured her the quota for India at the Tokyo Summer Paralympics 2020.

•Over the years, she has earned more than 15 medals from national and international events. Presently, Rubina is training under the guidance of Jaspal Rana, former shooter and coach of the Junior Indian Pistol Shooting Team.

SPORTS

Senior India’s defender Sandesh Jhingan named AIFF men’s Footballer of the Year 2020-21

•Senior India defender, Sandesh Jhingan was named the AIFF men’s Footballer of the Year 2020-21 season. It is the first time that the towering central defender has received the AIFF Player of the Year award, having won the Emerging Player of the Year Award in 2014.

•Jhingan made his senior national team debut in 2015 in Guwahati and has since gone on to make 40 appearances for the Blue Tigers, scoring four goals.

•He was part of the Indian sides that lifted the Intercontinental Cup in 2018 and played out a memorable draw at the home of the Asian champions Qatar in 2019.

•Jhingan has captained the senior team on five occasions, the most recent being the international friendly against Oman in Dubai in March. He was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award last year.

OBITUARY

Co-founder of National Institute of Design, Gira Sarabhai passed away

•Gira Sarabhai co-founder of the National Institute of Design has passed away. The pioneer of design education in the nation has played a vital part in establishing several other institutions and also made remarkable contributions in the field of art and architecture.

•Sarabhai was the daughter of industrialist Ambalal Sarabhai & sister of Dr Vikram Sarabhai. She also established the Calico Museum of Textiles. She was trained at the famous Taliesin West Studio in Arizona with noted architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Broadcasting Day 2021 : 23rd  July

•National Broadcasting Day is observed on 23rd July every year, to celebrate the radio, which has been an important part of people’s life in India, both as an easy medium of entertainment along with the news. On this day in 1927, the first-ever radio broadcast in the country went on the air from the Bombay Station under the Indian Broadcasting Company.

•The first radio broadcast was made on July 23, 1927, from Bombay Station. The station was then owned by a private company called the Indian Broadcasting Company.

•The Government took over the broadcasting on April 1, 1930, and renamed it as Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS).

•It was initially on an experimental basis. Later it permanently came under government control in 1932.

•On 8th of June, 1936, the Indian State Broadcasting Service became All India Radio. Currently, AIR is one of the largest public broadcasting organisations in the world.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Dvara E-Dairy partners with IFFCO Tokio General Insurance

•Dvara E-Dairy Solutions, a portfolio company of Dvara Holdings has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) led digital tag ‘Surabhi e-Tag’ to identify cattle based on muzzle identity. This will be used for cattle insurance products offered in partnership with IFFCO Tokio General Insurance.

•Muzzle images of the cattle are collected through the Surabhi mobile application and stored in hi-resolution images as a unique digital identity.

•The artificial intelligence-driven mobile application of Dvara E-Dairy captures muzzle images with the mobile phone, compares the cattle’s unique digital identity stored in a secured cloud server and retrieves the results in less than 60 seconds.

•Conventional methods like polyurethane ear tags (PU ear tags) can be easily tampered with and are prone to duplication and fraud.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Book ‘Palleku Pattabhishekam’ is released by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

•Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has released a book titled ‘Palleku Pattabhishekam’ authored by former MP Yalamanchili Sivaji.

•This book is based on rural India and agriculture. The Vice President said that villages and agriculture are intrinsically connected and we must address their issues holistically to bring ‘Gram Swarajya’ to our villages.

Book ‘Bank With A Soul: Equitas’ authored by Dr. C K Garyali

•Former RBI Governor, Duvvuri Subbarao has unveiled a book ‘Bank With A Soul: Equitas’ authored by Dr. C K Garyali.

•Dr. Garyali is a founder trustee of EDIT (Equitas Development Initiative Trust) and the book chronicles the journey of Equitas and EDIT in transforming the lives of women with frequent social reform initiatives helping them set up micro-enterprises.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

U GRO Capital & BOB in tie-up

•U GRO Capital, a non-bank financier, and state-owned Bank of Baroda have partnered for co-lending to the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector. Under the co-lending programme Pratham, Bank of Baroda and U GRO will together disburse loans worth Rs 1,000 crore to MSMEs. The aim is to dispense the entire amount by the end of this financial year. The loan amount ranges from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.2.5 crores to be offered at an interest rate starting from 8% with a maximum tenure of 120 months.

•The programme is accessible to MSMEs across U GRO’s over 200 channel touchpoints around nine locations in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Ariel Henry is the new Prime Minister of Haiti

•Ariel Henry has formally assumed the post of Prime Minister of Haiti. He assumed the role of the leader of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation in a ceremony in the capital Port-Au-Prince. Henry was installed as head of a new government in an attempt to stabilize a country on the brink of chaos since the murder of president Jovenel Moise at his residence in the early hours of July 7.

•The swearing-in of Henry, who was named to the post by Moise days before his death, was seen as a key step towards holding elections as demanded by many Haitians.

NATIONAL

K Chandrasekhar Chief Minister of Telangana will Launch ‘Telangana Dalit Bandhu’ from Huzurabad assembly

•Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao will launch his government’s new Dalit empowerment scheme, now christened Dalita Bandhu, on a pilot basis from the Huzurabad assembly constituency. The scheme, which was to be called Dalit Empowerment Scheme, has now been renamed as Dalita Bandhu scheme. As part of the scheme, eligible Dalit families would be given Rs 10 lakh in cash directly to their accounts. The sanctioned amounts will be deposited in the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries.

•Poll-bound Huzurabad constituency has five mandals and the total number of Dalit families in this constituency stands at 20,929. All these families will be scrutinised before the final beneficiary list is made. All those found eligible will be extended the benefits of the scheme. Huzurabad constituency has only a total of around 2 lakh voters. Out of the total, CM KCR’s scheme will benefit nearly 21,000 families, which accounts for around 60,000 to 80,000 people, if this scheme is implemented soon.

SPORTS

Aman Gulia and Sagar Jaglan emerged as the new world champions 2021

• Young wrestlers Aman Gulia and Sagar Jaglan emerged as the new world champions in their respective categories as India dished out an impressive show on the second day of the Cadet World Championship 2021 at Budapest, Hungary.

•Gulia emerged the winner with a convincing 5-2 win over American Luke Joseph Lilledahl in a 48kg final while Jaglan blanked James Mockler Rowley 4-0 in the 80kg summit clash.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Aramane Giridhar gets additional charge as Chairman of National Highways Authority of India

•Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Secretary, Aramane Giridhar (IAS) has been given additional charge of the Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

•Present NHAI Chairman, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu has been appointed the new Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand. He took over as NHAI Chainman in October 2019.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Brain Day 2021: July 22

•The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) celebrates World Brain Day on every July 22, focusing on a different theme each year. Many public awareness programmes and educational & social media activities are promoting the movement to stop multiple sclerosis, commencing July 22, 2021, & continuing until October 2022.

•The theme for this World Brain Day is “Stop Multiple Sclerosis”. World Brain Day advocates early diagnosis of this condition that can help improve the quality of life of the patient.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Cachar district of Assam received National Silver SKOCH award

•Cachar Deputy Commissioner, Keerthi Jalli received the National Silver SKOCH Award a few days ago for ‘Pushti Nirbhor’ (nutrition-dependent), a convergence project on transformation and development entailing setting up Nutri-gardens at houses in Dinnathpur Bagicha village. The village is near the India-Bangladesh border in the Katigorah circle of the Cachar district.

•30,000 seedlings of vegetables, fruits and herbal plants were distributed among 140 beneficiaries.

•Each household of the village was also given payment for 75 man-days to implement the project.

•Instituted in 2003, SKOCH Award salutes people, projects and institutions that go the extra mile to make India a better nation.

RANKING

JNCASR Bengaluru hits Nature Index Top 50 for materials science

•The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, has been placed in the top 50 institutions worldwide for advances in materials science by the prestigious Nature Index. The list which includes 18 institutes from China, 12 from the United States and two from the United Kingdom places the JNCASR in the 23rd position globally among universities and institutions as part of its ‘50 Rising Institutions’ list.

•The centre is also the only Indian institute on the list and shares the privilege with others such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University which is in the first place, the University of Texas Austin (fourth), the University of Berkley (12th) and the University of Cambridge (27th). JNCASR president Professor Giridhar U Kulkarni, who is also a materials scientist, described the mood at the centre as being jubilant.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

‘The Stranger In The Mirror’ is the autobiography of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

•Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has announced his autobiography, “The Stranger In The Mirror”.  He has co-written the book with noted author Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta. The autobiography has published by Rupa Publications, the book will hit the stands across the country on July 27. Ad maker-turned-director Mehra, known for helming movies like Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and the recently released Toofan.

•According to a press release, The Stranger In The Mirror features first-person accounts of noted personalities from the cinema and advertising world including Waheeda Rahman, A.R. Rahman, Bajpayee, Abhishek Bachchan, Akhtar, Kapoor Ahuja, Tandon, Ronnie Screwvala, Atul Kulkarni, R. Madhavan, Divya Dutta and Prahlad Kakar.

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Important Current Affairs 21st July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Pedro Castillo declared is the New President of Peru

•Rural teacher-turned-political novice, Pedro Castillo became the winner of Peru’s presidential election after the country’s longest electoral count in 40 years. Castillo, whose supporters included Peru’s poor and rural citizens, defeated right-wing politician Keiko Fujimori by just 44,000 votes. Electoral authorities released the final official results more than a month after the runoff election took place in the South American nation.

•The economy of Peru, the world’s second-largest copper producer, has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the poverty level to almost one-third of the population and eliminating the gains of a decade.

NATIONAL

Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid arrives in India

•Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister and President-Elect of 76th General Assembly of United Nations, Abdulla Shahid has arrived in New Delhi today. During his visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold talks with the External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar on key international, multilateral, regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest.

•The two Ministers are also expected to review the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation between the two sides. The discussions are expected to give further momentum to the rapidly expanding ties between the two countries. During the visit, an Agreement for High Impact Community Development Projects to be implemented with Indian grant assistance in the Maldives will also be signed.

SPORTS

Australia will Host Olympic and Paralympic games 2032

•The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted the Australian city of Brisbane as the host city for the 2032 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.

•Brisbane is the third Australian city to host the Olympic Games after Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000. With this, Australia will also become the only second country in the world, after the United States, to stage the summer Olympic Games in three different cities.

OBITUARY

Veteran litterateur Urmil Kumar Thapliyal passed away

•Renowned theatre personality and litterateur, Urmil Kumar Thapliyal has passed away. Thapliyal worked all through his life for the revival of nautanki and popularising theatre.

•The veteran was associated with Darpan, the 50-year-old popular theatre group of the state capital. He also had long innings with the All India Radio.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

BIAL signs 10-year partnership with IBM

•Bangalore International Airport to become Smart Airport in coming years! In a bid to create an “Airport in a Box” platform, which transforms technology, operations, as well as customer experience, the operator of Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru (KIAB/BLR Airport), Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), has signed a ten-year partnership with the company- IBM.

•A statement issued by IBM on Wednesday said the companies- IBM Hybrid Cloud capabilities, Red Hat Automation as well as Kyndryl managed infrastructure services will help the airport operator improve its productivity, automate IT and minimize or reduce costs.

Kotak Mahindra Bank signs an MoU with the Indian Navy

•The Indian Navy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kotak Mahindra for salary accounts of all its personnel – both serving and retired. The bank will reportedly offer special salary account benefits to the Indian Navy like enhanced complimentary personal accident insurance cover, special education benefit for children, and additional girl child benefit, and attractive rates and zero processing fees on personal loans, home loans and car loans.

•The Kotak salary account provides a range of privileges, and we have further personalized our offering, keeping in mind the requirements of Indian Navy personnel and their families. With a full suite of products, we will support the Indian Navy with all their banking requirements, backed by quality customer service and digital-first solutions.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI selected Paisalo as its National Corporate Business Correspondent of the Bank

•State Bank of India (SBI) has selected “Paisalo Digital” as the National Corporate Business Correspondent of the Bank for financial inclusion by providing banking services through kiosks. The signing of the Service Level Agreement and other formalities shall be done shortly. Paisalo is tapping into the Rs 8 lakh crore market opportunity of small-ticket loans for India’s 365 million unbanked population.

•Ensuring superior financial inclusion and increasing the outreach, the financial solutions company shall extend its services and its reach to the general public including its existing customers and new customers. As a business correspondent for State Bank of India, they will focus and improve the synergy with the thrust of the already up and running fully digital small loan business under SBI-Paisalo Loan Co-origination.

ICICI Bank announced the launch of a co-branded credit card

•ICICI Bank has announced the launch of a co-branded credit card with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to enable users to get benefits and reward points for using multiple credit cards in one. Named, ‘ICICI Bank HPCL Super Saver Credit Card’, the card offers best-in-class rewards and benefits to customers on their everyday spends on fuel as well as other categories including electricity and mobile, departmental stores like Big Bazaar and D-Mart, and e-commerce portals, among others. Powered by VISA, the card is unique among its peers which typically offer benefits on only one category of spends.

•Customers can apply for the ‘ICICI Bank HPCL Super Saver Credit Card’ through the Bank’s internet banking platform or the mobile banking app, iMobile Pay. They get a digital card in a 100% contactless and paperless manner. The physical card is also sent to the customer by ICICI Bank within a few days. Further, customers can manage their transaction settings and credit limit conveniently on the iMobile Pay app.   

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Important Current Affairs 20th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Microsoft deal to acquire RiskIQ

•Microsoft has reached a deal to acquire RiskIQ, a San Francisco-based provider of cybersecurity services, including malware and spyware monitoring and mobile app security. RiskIQ’s services and solutions will join Microsoft’s suite of cloud-native security products, including Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Azure Defender, and Microsoft Azure Sentinel. While Microsoft hasn’t valued the deal, Bloomberg reported that the company is said to be paying more than $500 million for RiskIQ.

•RiskIQ uses machine learning applications to analyze threats. The cloud-based RiskIQ software detects security issues across networks and devices, and the company lists Box, the US Postal Service, BMW, Facebook, and American Express as customers. RiskIQ was originally founded in 2009 and has gradually become an important player in analyzing security threats.

NATIONAL

Haryana government will introduce ‘One Block, One Product’ scheme

•The Haryana government will soon introduce the ‘One Block, One Product’ scheme, to encourage and promote small industries in the rural areas. Under the scheme, the state government plans to connect every block of the state with some industrial vision and the government is working expeditiously on this scheme.

•Arrangements for common services, lab testing, packaging, transportation, accountancy will be set up in the cluster itself. Haryana’s ‘One District, One Product’ Scheme which is being implemented under MSME, has come up as a model across the country.

SPORTS

Former Indian 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.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Science Exploration Day 2021: 20th 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.

International Chess Day 2021: 20th 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. This day has been celebrated in as many as 178 countries, and a resolution officially recognizing it was signed by the United Nations in 2019.

•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.

•The first modern chess tournament was held in London in 1851 and won by German Adolf Anderssen. On July 20, 1924, at the eighth summer Olympic games in Paris, France, the FIDE (World Chess Federation) was founded.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

India’s Payal Kapadia wins best documentary award in 74th Cannes Film Festival 2021

•Director Payal Kapadia’s, “A Night of Knowing Nothing” won the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) award for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. The Mumbai-based filmmaker’s first feature bagged the prestigious prize in a formidable field made up of 28 documentaries presented across various sections of the festival. A Night of Knowing Nothing screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight, a section that runs parallel to the festival.

•The award was instituted in 2015 by LaScam (the French-Speaking Writers’ Society) and Bertuccelli in collaboration with the Cannes Film Festival and its general delegate Thierry Fremaux.

Two Indian organisations wins UNDP Equator Prize 2021 for their work

•Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited and Snehakunja Trust are among the 10 awardees of the prestigious Equator Prize 2021 for their work in the field of conservation and biodiversity. The UNDP gives a biennial award to recognize community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

•Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited is a 1,700-member cooperative, managed and run entirely by indigenous people from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nadu and its work in the past eight years has improved livelihood across 147 villages by processing and marketing a diverse range of forest produce and crops.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Book “RSS” by Sudhanshu Mittal 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 organisation, busting the myths of the RSS not having participated in the Independence movement of India, the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, and the organisation’s dynamic nature through generational change.

Book ‘The India Story’ by Bimal Jalan the former governor of RBI

•Former RBI governor Bimal Jalan writes a new book titled ‘The India Story’. The book focuses on India’s economic history and aims to provide lessons for the future of India’s political economy.

•He traces India’s economic policies from 1991 to 2019 to offer insights on learning from the past, before moving ‘Beyond the Metrics of Economy’ to talk about the role of governance in implementing these policies. He also authored the books ‘India Then and Now’, ‘India Ahead’.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Federal Bank launched “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.

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Important Current Affairs 19th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Syria’s President Assad sworn in for fourth term with 95% of vote

•President Bashar al-Assad took the oath of office for a fourth term in war-ravaged Syria on Saturday, after officially winning 95% of the vote in an election dismissed abroad.

•It was the second presidential poll since the start of a decade-long civil war that has killed almost half a million people and battered the country’s infrastructure.

•Shortly before the ceremony, rockets fired by pro-government forces killed six people including three children and a rescue worker in the country’s last major rebel bastion of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

US, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to form new quad grouping

•The US, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity. The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.

•Afghanistan’s strategic location has for a long time been touted as a competitive advantage for the country. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China to the northeast.

•The formation of the new quad group is important amid China’s desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan. The BRI, a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes. By virtue of its location, Afghanistan can provide China with a strategic base to spread its influence across the world.

NATIONAL

West Bengal government to set up 15,000 telemedicine centres

•The West Bengal government is planning to set up at least 15,000 telemedicine centres in the next two years.

•The government has experience in running such units with around 120 doctors serving during the C-19 pandemic, state health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam said.

•Speaking at a virtual conference organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce, Nigam said the authorities are developing an integrated health management system to provide an end-to- end service to the government and private healthcare facilitates.

High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh renamed as ‘High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh

•The ‘Common High Court for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh’ has been officially renamed as the ‘High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.’ The order was notified by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Justice.

•President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Removal of Difficulties) Order, 2021 to effect the change, in the exercise of the powers conferred Section 103 (1) of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

•The Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh as well as the then Chief Justice of the Common High Court for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have conveyed that they have no objection to the proposed change in the name of the High Court.

SPORTS

Shikhar Dhawan Second Fastest Indian After Virat Kohli to Reach 6,000 Runs in ODIs

•Shikhar Dhawan has become the second fastest India batter after Virat Kohli to reach the milestone of 6,000 ODI runs on Sunday during the series opener against Sri Lanka in Colombo. It took the India opener 140 innings to reach the figure while Kohli did it in just 136 innings which is also the second fastest in ODI history.

•Overall, Dhawan is the fourth fastest with former South Africa opener Hashim Amla fastest to 6,000 ODI runs, taking a mere 123 innings.

•The 35-year-old Dhawan is leading India on the Sri Lanka tour in the absence of regular skipper Kohli who is in England for the Test series starting in the first week of August.

Mercedes-Great Britain, Lewis Hamilton wins British Grand Prix 2021

•Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain), won the British Grand Prix 2021, for a record-extending eighth time. The event was held on July 18, 2021, at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom.

•This is the 99th career win of seven times world champion Hamilton and the fourth win of the current season after 10 races. Monaco based Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) stood second. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas from Finland, finished third.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Nelson Mandela International Day 2021:18th July

•The United Nations observes 18 July every year as Nelson Mandela International Day. The day acknowledges Nelson Mandela’s contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world. Nelson Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change.

•On 18 July 2009, the first Mandela Day was observed in New York. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 10 November 2009 declaring 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day”. This day marks his contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation and addressing racial issues.

•Nelson Mandela was born as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in Transkei, South Africa on 18 July, 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and father Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Cannes Film Festival 2021

•The Cannes Film Festival 2021 concluded on 17 July 2021. The jury, presided by Spike Lee, presented the awards at the Closing Ceremony. Julia Ducournau won the Cannes’ top prize, the Palme d’Or, for her film Titane, making her the second woman ever to win the award. The first was Jane Campion in 1993.

•This year’s Cannes had a wide range of films, from Wes Anderson The French Dispatch to Julia Ducournau’s Titane, and Leos Carax’ Annette. Jodie Foster and Marco Bellocchio won the Honorary Palme d’Or.

•Palme d’Or: Julia Ducournau for Titane (France)

•Best Actress: Renate Reinsve for Worst Person in the World (Norway)

•Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram (US)

Bangladesh Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus to get Olympic Laurel

•Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus will receive the Olympic Laurel at the Tokyo Games, the second time the trophy will be awarded. Yunus, whose pioneering micro-lender has been hailed for cutting poverty across the globe, will be honoured for “his extensive work in sport for development. The 81-year-old economist-turned-globe-trotting celebrity speaker won the Nobel in 2006. He will be given the award at the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on July 23.

•The Olympic Laurel was created five years ago to recognise endeavours in culture, education, peace and development through sport. It was given for the first time at the 2016 Rio Games to Kenyan former Olympian Kip Keino, who opened a children’s home, a school and an athletes’ training centre in his home country.

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