General Knowledge & Current Affairs

August 2020 - 23rd to 31st

1. China launches 5th Gaofen-9 series Earth observation satellite

  • China has successfully launched 5th Earth observation satellite, Gaofen-9 (05), from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China
  • The satellite, sent into orbit by a Long March-2D carrier rocket, is an optical remote-sensing satellite with a resolution up to the sub-meter level
  • This launch was the 343rd mission of the Long March rocket series and the 23rd for China in 2020
  • Dongfanghong Satellite Co.Ltd, part of China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

2. World Health Organization certifies Africa free from wild Polio

  • The Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC), an independent body set up by the World Health Organization (WHO), has certified the African continent free from wild Poliovirus
  • The landmark feat related to public health has been achieved by the continent after decades of work along with international health bodies, national and local governments, community volunteers, and survivors. According to the previous records, about 75,000 children in Africa were paralysed by polio in the year 1996
  • The last case of Polio was recorded four years ago in northern Nigeria
  • In this fight of Africa with the poliovirus, the World Health Organization played a central coordinating role within the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and local leaders working with Unicef, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1. Ministry of Culture announces 7 new circles of ASI

  • The Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC), Shri Prahlad Singh Patel has announced 7 new circles of Archaeological Survey of India
  • These new circles have been formed in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Gujarat. Along with the 7 new circles, the minister also added that the Hampi Mini Circle in Karnataka has been converted into a full fledged circle

2. UAE’s DMCC launches “Agriota E-Marketplace”

  • Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has rolled out a technology-driven agri-commodity trading and sourcing platform “Agriota E-Marketplace”.
  • The platform which uses blockchain will help in bridging the gap between millions of rural farmers in India and the UAE’s food industry
  • The Agriota platform will connect Indian farmers directly with the entire food industry in the UAE, including food processing companies, traders as well as wholesalers
  • The E-Marketplace will enable them to bypass intermediaries and optimise the supply chain
  • It will also ensure end-to-end traceability and transparency in order to create value for all stakeholders

1. India’s 1st International Women’s Trade Centre to be set up in Kerala

  • Kerala will establish the first international women’s trade centre (IWTC) of India at Angamaly
  • The IWTC would be set by Kerala in consonance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The IWTC seeks to accelerate the women entrepreneurship and secure gender parity. It will also offer a safe place away from home to women to start new businesses, set up or expand, and get their products marketed globally
  • IWTC will also enable women entrepreneurs to participate in international trade, and enhance their competitiveness to tap market opportunities. Hence, it will enable women to enjoy greater economic benefits

2. Gujarat to commence Seaplane service from 31 October 2020

  • The first-ever “seaplane services in Gujarat” will be commenced from 31 October 2020
  • The seaplane service will offer seamless and affordable air connectivity from Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Gujarat
  • Spicejet Airline will operate the seaplane service to be commenced on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
  • To start Seaplane services in the state, the Gujarat government has signed a tripartite agreement with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), and Airports Authority of India

3. Kerala’s 1st-ever Dragonfly Festival

  • WWF-India Kerala State Office is joining hands with the Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) and Thumbipuranam for the first-ever state “Dragonfly Festival” in Kerala, christened ˜Thumbimahotsavam 2020′
  • This is part of the National Dragonfly Festival organised by WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society and Indian Dragonfly Society in association with National Biodiversity Board, UN Environmental Programme, UN Development Programme and IUCN-CEC
  • The official mascot of the festival is “Pantalu” which is the genus of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae commonly known as rain pool gliders
  • A ‘Dragonfly Backyard Watch’ has also been announced to enhance the participation of people and improve their observation skills
  • A field guide on ˜Common Dragonflies of Kerala’ and a ˜Children’s Dragonfly Coloring & Activity Book’ is also under development

1. NABARD rolls out Debt and Credit Guarantee Product

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has revealed a dedicated debt and credit guarantee product named as “Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Program for Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC)-Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)”.
  • The newly launched product seeks to offer undisturbed flow of credit to the last mile in rural areas hit by the pandemic
  • The Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Program for NBFC-MFIs includes offering partial guarantee on pooled loans offered to small and mid-sized MFIs

  • It will help in facilitating Rs 2,500 crore funding in the initial phase which is expected to be scaled up in the future. The program is targeting to cover over 1 million households across 28 States and 650 districts

2. Axis Bank introduced ‘Liberty Savings Account’ for the Indian Youth

  • Axis Bank has introduced ‘Liberty Savings Account’ for the Indian Youth, to address the ever-changing lifestyle needs of young and digitally interested Indians
  • It offers a complimentary hospital cash insurance cover of up to Rs 20,000 per year, which covers hospital expenses incurred under COVID -19, which makes this a 1st of its kind savings account to cover the pandemic
  • This account targets to meet the lifestyle requirements of the working class that falls under 35 years of age

1. ISRO signs MoU with VSSUT to set up Incubation Centre

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) to set up the first of its kind innovation cum incubation centre, VSSUT Space Innovation Centre (VSSSIC) to promote space research
  • ISRO and VSSUT will collaborate to develop high-end simulation tools, miniature test facilities like Static test facility and solid propulsion research lab and establishment of testing facilities for the scaled-down model

2. IIT Alumni Council signs MOU with Russia for building Quantum Computers

  • Indian Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Alumni Council has signed an agreement with Russia’s Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) and Russoft to build the world’s largest and fastest hybrid quantum computer in India
  • The most promising areas for Indo-Russian joint projects are Information and Communications Technology, space exploration, climate change, quantum technology and data security
  • The objective of the agreement is to use technology in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, transport and logistics, pollution and weather forecast to achieve the mission of Atma Nirbhar Bharat

  • As a part of the agreement, the Russian state-owned companies, which are key Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) owners, will transfer critical modules in cryogenics, cryptography and modularised cloud management technology to IIT Alumni Council

3. MeitY launches “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge”

  • “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge- Innovate Solutions for #Aatmanirbhar Bharat” has been launched by the Union Minister of Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad
  • It aims to invite innovators, startups and students to use two microprocessors namely “SHAKTI (32 bit) and VEGA (64 bit)” to develop various technology products
  • SHAKTI & VEGA microprocessors have been developed by IIT Madras and Center for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC) respectively
  • The Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge will provide momentum to the strong ecosystem of Start-up, innovation as well as research in India. The challenge has been made open to students at all levels and startups

1. Bayern Munich wins UEFA Champions League 2019-20

  • German professional sports club, Bayern Munich won the UEFA Champions League 2019-20 title by defeating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0
  • The final was played in Lisbon, Portugal. Bayern Munich has become the first European Cup winners who won all their matches during the tournament
  • This is the sixth European Champions League title for Bayern Munich

2. India & Russia jointly wins FIDE Online Chess Olympiad

  • India and Russia have become the joint winners of FIDE online Chess Olympiad. World chess governing body FIDE declared both the finalists as joint winners after at least two games in the second match were affected by internet connectivity issues
  • The FIDE Online Chess Olympiad was held for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the biggest team championship in chess as around 163 countries took part in the online tournament

3. Dwayne Bravo becomes 1st bowler to scalp 500 wickets in T20 cricket

  • West Indies All-Rounder, Dwayne John Bravo became the first bowler in cricket to scalp 500 wickets in Twenty20 matches
  • He achieved the feat in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 match between his team Trinbago Knight Riders and St Lucia Zouks
  • Bravo took the wicket of Rahkeem Cornwall (18) to register his 500th wicket. Dwayne Bravo achieved the feat in his 459th match in the shortest format

4. German Golfer Sophia Popov wins Women’s British Open 2020

  • German Golfer Sophia Popov won the Women’s British Open 2020 title (rebranded as 2020 AIG Women’s Open) by defeating Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura by two strokes at Royal Troon in Scotland
  • Sophia has now become the first female golfer from Germany to win the LPGA Tour’s major title

1. Writer-journalist Gail Sheehy passes away

  • Writer-journalist, Commentator and Pop sociologist, Gail Sheehy passed away. Her best-selling book “Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life” was published in 1976
  • Sheehy’s honors included the National Magazine Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a citation from the American Psychological Association

2. Computer Pioneer Arnold Spielberg passes away

  • Arnold Meyer Spielberg, a pioneered computer designer & an innovative engineer passed away at the age of 103
  • Spielberg and Charles Propster designed the GE-225 mainframe computer in the late 1950s while working for General Electric
  • The machine allowed computer scientists at Dartmouth College to develop the programming language BASIC, which would be essential to the rise of personal computers in the 1970s and 80s
  • Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 6, 1917. He is the father of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and helped them to produce his first full-fledged movie, ‘Firelight’, made in 1963

1. Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash bags Gold Medal in MCWC

  • Hyderabad’s, Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash Jonnalagadda has bagged the first-ever Gold Medal for India in Mental Calculations World Cup (MCWC) by Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO).
  • He has created a new All-Time Record and has beaten the records of Math Maestros like Shakuntala Devi and Scott Flansburg
  • Bhanu Prakash had secured the gold medal with a score of 167, Lebanese contender Mohammed El Mir secured the Silver Medal with a score 102 and Asmita Pal from the UAE bagged the Bronze medal with a score of 100 points

2. Dutch author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld wins International Booker Prize 2020

  • Dutch Author, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld won the International Booker Prize 2020 for her debut novel ‘The Discomfort of Evening’
  • Rijneveld became the youngest author to win the prize at the age of 29
  • The book tells the fictional story of Jas, a girl in a devout Christian farming family, whose brother dies in an accident after she wishes he would die instead of her rabbit.
  • The book was first published in Dutch in 2018 and eventually translated into English by Michele Hutchison
  • The £50,000 prize ($66,000) will be split equally between the author and translator to give equal recognition to both

1. E-auction portal rolled out to promote trading of ‘Kashmir Saffron’

  • The Agriculture Department of Jammu and Kashmir has set up an e-auction portal to enhance trading of GI-tagged ‘Kashmir Saffron’
  • The portal has been launched with the primary objective of assuring buyers to have access to quality ‘Kashmir Saffron’
  • The Department, under the aegis of India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC), has established the portal in partnership with NSE-IT
  • The Saffron growers of Kashmir valley as well as the buyers across India have been appealed to get themselves registered as sellers and buyers for E-trading on the portal. The portal will ensure free e-Trading between registered growers and buyers

2. 51st IFFI to be held in Goa from Nov 20

  • 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held in Goa, from November 20th to 28th
  • This film festival is a hybrid film festival due to COVID 19, would screen films on the official digital platform along with the theatrical screenings

3.CISF develops in-house mobile app “Pensioners Corner”

  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has made an in-house mobile app “Pensioners Corner”.
  • The mobile app has been created by CISF to reach to the pensioners and to bring them on to the digital platform as a one-stop solution
  • Through the mobile app “Pensioners Corner”, CISF will reach out to the Ex-Force personnel, who devoted their life for the country, in order to increase their self-esteem
  • The mobile app comprises of inbuilt grievance redressal mechanism and will also contain information about all important circulars such as job opportunities and benefits pertaining to pensioners

4. Tata Group to launch “Super App” for digital services

  • Tata Group is launching a new app named “Super App” purported to bring together the country’s disparate sales sector to offer a range of consumer goods
  • The app will put the conglomerate in competition with giants of the region like Reliance Industries and global titans like Amazon
  • The app will offer food and grocery ordering, fashion and lifestyle, consumer electronics and consumer durables, insurance, and financial services, education, healthcare, and bill payments

1. International Day against Nuclear Tests: 29 August

  • The International Day against Nuclear Tests is observed globally on 29th August since 2010
  • The day aims to increase awareness about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world

2. Women’s Equality Day 2020

  • The 100th anniversary of the Women’s Equality Day is being observed in the United States on August 26, to commemorate American women getting the constitutional right to vote
  • Women’s Equality Day is now often observed across the world to encourage and spread awareness about women’s empowerment

1. Vinay Tonse becomes new MD and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund

  • Vinay Tonse has been appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Mutual Fund (MF).
  • He will replace Ashwani Bhatia, who has been now appointed as the managing director (MD) of State Bank of India

2. Kevin Mayer resigns as CEO of TikTok

  • TikTok CEO, Kevin Mayer has stepped down from the post, amid US pressure for its Chinese owner to sell the popular video app
  • His resignation follows President Donald Trump’s order to ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, sells its US operations to an American company within 90 days. U.S. General Manager of Tiktok, Vanessa Pappas will replace him on an interim basis

3.Japan’s longest-serving PM Shinzo Abe resigns

  • The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe has announced to step down from the post on 28 August 2020, because of the poor health conditions
  • The 65-year-old had held record 7 years and eight months as leader of the world’s third-biggest economy, becoming the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japanese history
  • Shinzo Abe had been serving as the PM of Japan since 26 December 2012
  • Prior to this, he had also served as the PM for a short period between July 2006 to September 2007, becoming the youngest PM of the country, elected at the age of 52

1. . NCPUL organises “World Urdu Conference” in New Delhi

  • National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) has organised the “World Urdu Conference” in New Delhi
  • The inaugural session of the two days long conference was virtually addressed by Union Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’
  • During the conference, the minister added that Government of India will honor Urdu writers and literators with awards and honours in the name of important personalities of Urdu in order to encourage Urdu writers for literary and creative services
  • NCPUL has organised the conference to celebrate the quintessential spirit of Urdu, its inclusive ethos and creative character

2. 17th meeting of India-Vietnam Joint Commission held virtually

  • The 17th meeting of the India-Vietnam Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation was held virtually
  • The virtual meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh
  • The 17th meeting included the deliberations on the recent developments in India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
  • During the meeting, both countries approved to add new momentum to the economic and defence engagement
  • They also agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas like civil nuclear energy, space, marine sciences and new technologies

1. A book titled “Who painted my lust red?” by Sree Iyer

  • A book titled “Who painted my lust red?” has been authored by Sree Iyer
  • The book is something about when Bollywood meets Cricket meets Politicians
  • This is the second book in this series of Sree Iyer’s Money Trilogy series. The first book was “Who painted my money white?”.

2.A book title ‘Cricket Drona’ on renowned coach Vasoo Paranjape

  • A book title ‘Cricket Drona’ on renowned coach Vasudev Jagannath Paranjpe or Vasoo Paranjape will be released on September 2, 2020
  • The book is written by Vasudev Jagannath Paranjpe’s son and current national selector Jatin Paranjpe along with Cricket Journalist Anand Vasu and published by Penguin
  • The book talks about the impact of Paranjpe on shaping the careers of India’s greatest cricketers like Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma
  • The book will be a first-hand chronicle of stories, life lessons and game-changing experiences written by people who have crossed paths with Vasudev Paranjpe at some point in their career
  • The book also consists of essays written by Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar

1. APEDA signs MoUs with AFC India Limited & NCUI, Delhi

  • To synergize the activities in the interest of agriculture and allied sectors, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed MoUs with AFC India Limited, and National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI), Delhi
  • The MoU aims to employ their expertise by mutually working together to coordinate the activities in the interest of agriculture and allied sectors in order to bring better value to the stakeholders

2. NeGD signs MoU with CSC E-Governance Services India Limited

    • The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) has partnered with CSC (Common Service Center) e Governance Services India Limited
    • The partnership aims to enable delivery of UMANG services to citizens through the network of 3.75 lakh CSCs
    • The CSC operators Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) will facilitate citizens to use e-Governance services of 140 Departments with the help of UMANG App
    • This will help those citizens who either do not have access to smartphones or are not comfortable accessing App-based e-services on their own

1. CCI approves acquisition by Lightstone Fund S.A

  • The acquisition by Lightstone Fund S.A., for and on behalf of Lightstone Global Fund (LGT) of certain equity stakes has been approved by the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
  • Under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002, the Lightstone Fund S.A. will acquire certain equity stakes in 91Streets Media Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (91Streets), Ascent Health and Wellness Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (Ascent), API Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (API), Aahaan Commercials Pvt. Ltd. (Aahaan) and Lokprakash Vidhya Pvt. Ltd. (Lokprakash).

2. GoI and AIIB sign MoU for $500 million for Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III

    • The Government of India, the Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has signed a loan agreement for a $500 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III
    • The aim of the project is to improve the network capacity, service quality and safety of the suburban railway system in Mumbai. With a population of 22.8 million (2011), Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is the most populous metropolitan region in India and is expected to reach 29.3 million by 2031 and 32.1 million by 2041

1. India Pavilion at Army 2020 forum inaugurated in Russia

  • The India Pavilion at the Army-2020 International Military and Technical Forum was inaugurated by Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and Indian Ambassador DB Venkatesh Verma at Moscow, Russia
  • The forum will also host discussions among global military officials, researchers and defence industry experts about the application of 3D technologies in designing, manufacturing and operating weapons and military equipment
  • The forum was organised by the Russian Defence Ministry will be held from August 23-29 at the Patriot Park near Moscow, which has been the venue since 2015

2. Raksha Mantri launches “DGNCC Training” mobile App

  • The Directorate General National Cadet Corps (DGNCC) Mobile Training App has been launched by the Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh
  • The Mobile Training App will support in conducting countrywide online training of NCC cadets as it has been affected adversely due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19
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