General Knowledge & Current Affairs

April 2020 - 21st to 26th

1. Lebanon legalizes cannabis farming for medicinal use

  • The Lebanese parliament has passed legislation to legalize cannabis cultivation for medical and industrial purposes. Earlier, the farming of cannabis was illegal in Lebanon, but now the cannabis farming would be regulated within the country.
  • Legalizing the cultivation of Cannabis is expected to produce high value-added medicinal products. It is also a potentially lucrative export for Lebanese economy which is in dire need of foreign currency as it is grappled with a financial crisis.

2. TCS BaNCS to power Israel’s 1st fully Digital Bank

  • Israel’s first fully digital bank would be launched by the Tata Consultancy Services in 2021. The digital banking operations platform will be powered by the TCS BaNCS Global Banking Platform. TCS has been selected by Israel’s Ministry of Finance to transform its banking sector.
  • The TCS BaNCS universal financial solution is designed to help financial services institutions enhance end-customer experience, enabling them to embrace open and innovative technologies that embody true digital customer engagement.

3. Iran launches its 1st military satellite “Noor” into orbit

  • Iran has successfully launched its first-ever military satellite named “Noor” into the orbit. ‘Noor’ satellite has reached its orbit and is orbiting 425 km above the earth’s surface.
  • This satellite is launched by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC], a branch of the country’s armed forces. The Noor satellite was launched by a three-stage rocket which was powered by a combination of solid and liquid fuels.

1. New chief justices recommended for Bombay, Meghalaya & Orissa High Courts

  • New Chief Justices for the Bombay, Orissa and Meghalaya High Courts (HC) have been recommended by the Supreme Court (SC) Collegium led by the chief justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde.

2. Ministry of Home Affairs issues SOPs for seafarers

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a set of Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) as well as graded relaxations for seafarers.
  • As per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Home Ministry, the Indian seafarers on the vessel are required to undergo the COVID-19 test prior to their return at their home.

3. MHRD rolls out National program “VidyaDaan 2.0”

  • National program “VidyaDaan 2.0” has been rolled out by the Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ to invite e-learning content contributions as the requirement of e-learning content for students has increased in the backdrop of situation arising out of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • VidyaDaan is a common national program for individuals & organizations across the nation to donate or contribute e-learning resources for school as well as higher education in order to ensure the continuity of quality learning. This donated/shared content will be utilized on the DIKSHA app.

4. UNODC launches “Lockdown Learners” series in India

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has rolled out a ‘Lockdown Learners’ series in India under its flagship “Education for Justice” initiative.
  • It has launched ‘Lockdown Learners’ series of online dialogues with educators and students in India. The ‘Lockdown Learners’ series emphasizes on COVID-19 and its impact on Sustainable Development Goals, peace and rule of law.

1. Daporijo Bridge constructed by BRO in Arunachal Pradesh

  • A 430 feet long bailey “Daporijo bridge” over the Subansiri River has been constructed by Border Roads Organisation in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district.
  • It will provide adequate movement of supplies for 451 villages and approximately 3,000 security force personnel deployed along the India-China border.

2. Gujarat govt gives approval to “Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan”

  • The government of Gujarat has given the approval of the third edition of his government’s ‘Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan’ amid Coronavirus lockdown. The scheme will see the deepening of lakes, check dams and rivers by removing silt.
  • This will be done till June 10, 2020, with people’s participation also as under MNREGA. The scheme was started in 2018 after a weak monsoon. It is a conservation plan to deepen water bodies in the state before the monsoon.

3. Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district starts “Tiranga” Rapid Screening

  • The Administration of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala has launched a vehicle called ‘Tiranga’ (Total India Remote Analysis Nirogya Abhiyaan) for rapid screening of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • The vehicle is provided with thermal scanning, an infrared thermometer mounted on the bonnet, a two-way microphone system by which individuals inside and out of doors the vehicle can ask one another, a mobile camera which will click photos of their identity cards.

4. BRO builds a bridge to connect Kasowal enclave with rest of India

  • A new permanent bridge has been build by the Border Roads Organisation to connect the Kasowal enclave in Punjab with the rest of India.
  • The 484-meter long permanent bridge has been constructed by the 141 Drain Maintenance Coy of 49 Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) of Project Chetak on the river Ravi to provide the local population and the Army an all weather connectivity to the enclave.

5. UP becomes 1st state with an in-house facility of virtual courts

  • Uttar Pradesh has become the 1st state with a software-based in-house facility of virtual courts, where requisite infrastructure in Allahabad High Court and all its courts for hearing cases through video conferencing.

1. Fish gills used for rechargeable metal-air battery

  • With the use of “Fish gills”, a low-cost electrocatalyst has been developed by the scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST). This low-cost electro-catalyst will be used for the development of environmentally friendly energy conversion devices and storage technologies like fuel cell, biofuel cell, and metal air battery.
  • This low-cost bioinspired electrocatalyst is better than the commercial Platinum on carbon (Pt/C) catalyst and hence, it can be used as the next-generation non-precious carbon-based electrocatalyst for energy conversion and storage applications in the future.

2. High-speed magnetic RAM developed by IIT-Mandi

  • A high-speed magnetic Random Access Memory (RAM) has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Magnetic Random Access Memory is faster, energy-efficient and it stores more data in a smaller volume as compared to existing data storage technologies.

3. ARCI develops advanced tool “NanoBlitz 3D”

  • Scientists from International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Nanomechanics Inc., USA have jointly developed an advanced tool “NanoBlitz 3D” which can be used for the mapping of nano-mechanical properties of materials such as multi-phase alloys, composites, and multi-layered coatings.
  • It will also help in carrying out advanced data analysis like identifying and quantifying the mechanical properties of constituent phases, features or components of multi-phase alloys, composites as well as multi-layered coatings.

1. Adam Higginbotham’s bags William E. Colby Award

  • Adam Higginbotham’s book “Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster” wins the William E. Colby Award.
  • The award is given for an outstanding book on military or intelligence history.

1. Kapil Dev Tripathi appointed as new Secretary to President of India

  • Kapil Dev Tripathi has been appointed as the new Secretary to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The appointment of Kapil Dev Tripathi was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kapil Dev Tripathi is a 1980-batch retired IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre.

2. David Li becomes new CEO of Huawei India

  • David Li has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Telecommunications India.
  • He has replaced Jay Chen who has been promoted to handle the Asia Pacific level business role.

3. Rakesh Sharma has become the new President of IMMA

  • International Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (IMMA) has elected Rakesh Sharma as its President for a tenure of 2 years.
  • He had been holding office as vice-president of IMMA since May 2019. He will replace Johannes Loman, Director of PT Astra International Tbk and Executive Vice President Director PT Astra Honda Motor (AHM) Indonesia.

4. Sanjay Kothari takes oath as Central Vigilance Commissioner

  • Sanjay Kothari took oath as Central Vigilance Commissioner of India. He has been selected as the new Central Vigilance Commissioner by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Prior to this, he has served as the Secretary to the President.

1. BMW India CEO & President Rudratej Singh passes away

  • BMW Group President and CEO Rudratej Singh has passed away. He was the first Indian to lead the BMW India operations and was appointed as the head of India operations from August 1, 2019.
  • He had earlier served as the Global President at Royal Enfield and had also worked with Unilever in both India and international markets for more than 16 years.

1. Paytm Payments Bank inks partnership with Mastercard

  • Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) inks partnership with Mastercard to issue virtual and physical debit cards.
  • These cards enable its customers to perform secure online transactions, make payment in stores as well as withdraw cash from ATMs.

2. NIIT’s US arm sign agreement with US-based EdTech company

  • NIIT (National Institute of Information Technology) Limited announced that its US (United States) subsidiary has signed a managed service agreement with a US-based education technology (EdTech) company.
  • Through this agreement, the company will provide virtual services to education providers. The term of the agreement is 5 years.
  • The demand for online courses has seen a quantum jump globally after the outbreak of COVID-19 and consequent of lockdowns.

3. Vodafone Idea ties up with Paytm to launch ‘Recharge Saathi’

  • Vodafone idea ties up with Paytm have launched the ‘Recharge Saathi’ program. This program will help individuals and small businesses to earn additional income.
  • Vodafone Idea will also give an assured cashback to merchant partners for multiple recharges

1. Voice banking services launched by ICICI Bank for its customers

  • ICICI bank has rolled out a new feature of voice banking services on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for its customers. It will enable customers to #BankWithTheirVoice and get answers to banking queries, check account balance & transactions, credit card due date and more.
  • The company’s new voice banking service uses an omnichannel bot called iPal to allow users to interact with virtual assistants on Alexa or Google Assistant-powered devices.

2. Banking Industry declared as Public Utility Service for 6 months

  • Under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, the Banking Industry has been declared by the Government of India as a “Public Utility Service”.
  • This step has been taken by the government in the purview of the coronavirus pandemic which has deeply impacted the economic activities.
  • As per the notification issued by the Labour Ministry, the Banking Industry has been declared as a “Public Utility Service” for a period of 6 months i.e. till 21st October 2020.

1.Facebook buys 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio

  • Facebook has acquired a 9.99% stake of Reliance Jio for USD 5.7 billion (about Rs 43,574 crore). This deal of USD 5.7 billion has put the pre-money enterprise value of Jio Platforms at Rs 4.62 lakh crore.
  • Jio Platform is the parent of phone and data unit Reliance Jio Infocomm including various other digital app platforms like JioMart, Jio-Saavn and JioCinema.

2. RBI permits Transcorp to issue co-branded prepaid cards

  • The Reserve Bank of India has given its approval to Transcorp International Ltd to issue co-branded prepaid cards. With the approval, the RBI has allowed Transcorp to enter into co-branding arrangements for Prepaid Instruments that can be utilized in over 35 lakh stores and online gateways.
  • After receiving approval from the RBI, the Transcorp International Ltd has become one of the first non-bank companies to receive approval to enter into co-branding arrangements.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Hubble Space Telescope, has completed 30th year in orbit on 25 April 2020.

1. 5th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the New Development Bank

  • Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman represented India in the 5th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of New Development Bank which was held through video-conference.
  • During the meeting, she lauded the efforts made by New Development Bank in establishing itself as a credible Global Financial Institution, living up to its mandate successfully by taking more sustainable and inclusive measures. The New Development Bank was formed in 2014 by the BRICS countries i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

2. Saudi Arabia organizes G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meet

  • The G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meeting was held through Video Conferencing. The meeting was held on the issue of COVID-19 as well as its impact on food security, safety, and nutrition.
  • Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar participated in the Extraordinary virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture Ministers organised under the presidency of Saudi Arabia.

1. Charles Leclerc wins Chinese Virtual Grand Prix

  • Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has won the Formula One Esports Chinese Virtual Grand Prix championship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Formula 1 has announced new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series.
  • The virtual races will run instead of each delayed Grand Prix.

2. BWF names PV Sindhu as an ambassador for ‘i am badminton’ campaign

  • World Badminton Champion, P V Sindhu has been named as one of the ambassadors for Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s “I am badminton” awareness campaign.
  • Other ambassadors of the campaign includes the Chinese duo of Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong, Canada’s Michelle Li, England’s Jack Shephard, Hong Kong’s Chan Ho Yuen, Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch and Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, who is Athletes’ Commission Chair.

3. World Games unveil new logo for 2022 edition

  • The 11th edition of World Games which is to be held in Birmingham, Alabama, US (United States) has unveiled an updated logo and title after being delayed a year because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The World Games was initially scheduled for July 2021, but it will now be held from July 7 to 17, 2022


1. NBRI creates alcohol-based herbal sanitizer

  • In the wake of the growing demand for sanitizers amid COVID-19 outbreak, the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) has created an alcohol-based herbal sanitizer.
  • An alcohol-based herbal sanitizer has been developed under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR-Aroma Mission following the guidelines of World Health Organisation.

2. NBT & FICCI organizes WEBINAR on Post-COVID Publishing Scenario

  • National Book Trust, India and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has organized a WEBINAR on Post-COVID Publishing Scenario in New Delhi.
  • This webinar was organized on the occasion of WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY and featured the participation of Union Minister of HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.

3. #MyBookMyFriend campaign launched on World Book Day

  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has launched a campaign “#MyBookMyFriend”.
  • The campaign “#MyBookMyFriend” has been launched on social media on the occasion of World Book Day. Citing the importance of books, the minister urged all the students to read some books of interest in addition to course books during the period of lockdown.
  • He also appealed to the students to share the book which they are reading at the moment using #MyBookMyFriend on social media.

1. Earth Day observed globally on 22 April

  • Earth Day or International Mother Earth Day is observed globally on 22 April every year. Earth Day 2020 will be celebrated all over the world to spread awareness for Earth’s wellbeing and to encourage people to support environmental protection.
  • World Earth Day 2020 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the day since it started being observed in 1970. Earth Day was renamed officially by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day. The theme of Earth Day 2020: Climate Action.

2. World Immunization Week 2020 observed globally

  • World Immunization Week 2020 will be observed from 24th April to 30th April 2020. World Immunization Week is observed every year in the last week of April to encourage the use of vaccines in order to protect people of all ages against disease.
  • Immunization is being recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions but still, there are around 20 million children in the world today who are not getting the vaccines as per their needs. The theme of World Immunization Week 2020 is #VaccinesWork for All.

1. CISF launches app ‘e-karyalay’ for movement of files

  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched an e-office application named ‘e-karyalay’. This application helps to enable the movement of files and documents of CISF without any physical touch.
  • This has been done in order to prevent coronavirus infection due to frequent touching of files by many persons.
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