General Knowledge & Current Affairs

May 2020 - 16th to 22nd

1. Benjamin Netanyahu secures 5th term as Israeli Prime Minister

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Israeli national election and hence secured a record fifth term in office, after a controversial power-sharing deal with rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz
  • According to the three-year coalition deal, Netanyahu will serve as Prime Minister while Benny Gantz will serve as the Defence Minister for the coming 18 months, which would keep him in power until November 13, 2021.
  • After 18 months, both of them will swap their roles and Netanyahu will become Defence Minister while Gantz will be the new Prime Minister

2. Prime Minister of Lesotho,  Thomas Thabane resigns

  • Thomas Thabane has formally resigned as the Prime Minister of Lesotho. Thabane and his current wife are suspected of conspiring to murder his former wife nearly three years ago
  • Lesotho’s Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro has been named by parliament as the interim Prime Minister of the country

1. “National Migrant Information System” dashboard developed by NDMA

  • An online dashboard “National Migrant Information System (NMIS)” has been developed by the National Disaster Management Authority to secure information regarding the movement of migrants and to facilitate the smooth movement of stranded persons across States
  • It will also support in speedy inter-State communication/co-ordination to facilitate the smooth movement of migrant workers to their native places.
  • With the help of the data integrated into the dashboard, the states will be able to visualize how many people are going out from where and how many are reaching their destination States.

2. Mobile App “National Test Abhyas” launched by Union HRD Ministry

  • A new mobile application called “National Test Abhyas” has been launched by the Ministry of Human Resources Development
  • The application which has been developed by the National Testing Agency will help the candidates to take mock tests for exams such as JEE Mains, NEET, etc. The main aim of the application is to help students during the closure of educational institutions

3: India gives $2 million aid to UN agency for Palestinian refugees’ welfare

  • India has provided USD 2 million aid for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency working for the welfare of Palestinian refugees. This aid is given for UNRWA core programmes and services, including education and health, amidst the coronavirus crisis
  • India has increased the annual contribution to the UNRWA from USD 1.25 million (Rs. 9.45 crore) to USD 5 million  (Rs. 37 crores) in 2019. The contribution was presented to the United Nations agency by the Representative of India (ROI) to the State of Palestine, Sunil Kumar

4. NTPC & ONGC partners to set up JVC for Renewable Energy Business

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by NTPC Limited, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to form a Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy business.
  • This partnership will enable both the companies to accelerate their mark in the field of Renewable Energy as the two companies will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India as well as overseas
  • This tie-up will increase NTPC’s Renewable Energy capacity addition program and also the presence of ONGC in the Renewable Power business

1. GoI & AIIB signs agreement to improve irrigation services in West Bengal

  • A loan agreement for a US$145 million project has been signed by the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
  • This project has a prime objective of improving irrigation services and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA) in West Bengal. It will also include the introduction of a modern Management Information System (MIS) along with rational asset management

2. “Didi Vehicle Service” launched in Madhya Pradesh

  • “Didi Vehicle Service” has been launched by the women of Rural Livelihood Mission in the tribal-dominated Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh
  • Didi Vehicle Service has been launched for rural women for safe delivery, hence proving to be a lifeline for pregnant rural women in tribal areas. The vehicle under the “Didi Vehicle Service” will also be available for other emergency services

1.Canara Bank starts gold loan business vertical

  • Canara Bank has started a special business vertical dedicated to gold loans. This business vertical for gold loans to meet the financial needs of its customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The bank has launched a gold loan campaign till 30th June 2020 with an interest rate as low as 7.85% per annum.

2. Kotak Mahindra Bank becomes 1st bank in India to allow video KYC

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank becomes 1st bank in India to allow video Know your customer (KYC) facility for customers opening savings accounts on Kotak 811 the banks digital banking platform.
  • The initiative is presently being launched on a pilot basis for savings accounts, Kotak Mahindra. With Video KYC, verification of documents, signature are completed via a video call with a representative from the bank without any physical interface.

1. CySecK launches programme “H.A.C.K” for Cyber Security Start-ups

  • An accelerator programme branded as “H.A.C.K” has been launched by the Karnataka’s Centre of Excellence in cybersecurity (CySecK)
  • H.A.C.K is the Karnataka’s first cyber security-specific accelerator programme comprising of 21 start-ups on board across three cohorts: 10x cohort, 0-1 cohort and virtual cohort

2.ARCI & SCTIMST jointly develops biodegradable metal implants

  • International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans

1. Bundesliga becomes 1st major sports event to resume post-COVID-19 lockdown

  • The Bundesliga primary football league of Germany becomes the world’s first major sports event to resume after COVID-19 lockdown.
  • The Bundesliga games began with empty stadium though the stadium had the capacity to hold more than 80,000 players. Bundesliga means “Federal League”.

2. NADA provisionally suspends powerlifters Savita Kumari & Ankit Shishodia

  • Two Indian Powerlifters namely Savita Kumari & Ankit Shishodia have been provisionally suspended by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).
  • The powerlifters have been provisionally suspended for violating the anti-doping rules.

1. Sahitya Akademi winning Bengali author Debesh Roy passes away

  • Veteran Bengali author Debesh Roy, who had five decades of a career as a writer, passed away
  • He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel ‘Teesta Parer Brittanto’

2. Bangladesh’s National Professor Anisuzzaman passes away

  • Bangladesh’s Noted literary personality, educationist and national Professor Anisuzzaman passed away. He was the President of Bangla Academy since 2012
  • He was a liberation warfighter and also participated in the language movement against Pakistan

1. Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar wins Alexander Dalrymple Award 2019.

  • Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar, the National Hydrographer to the government of India, has been honoured with the 2019 Alexander Dalrymple Award for his outstanding contribution to Indian hydrography and across the broader Indian Ocean region.
  • The award was presented by the UK Ministry of Defence. The recipients of the award are selected by the chief Committee of the UK Hydrographic Office( UKHO) for his or her efforts in raising the standards of hydrography, cartography and navigation around the world.

1. Cyclone Amphan intensifies into Super Cyclone

  • Cyclone Amphan intensified into a super cyclone with wind speed above 200 kmph and moved further towards North-Northeastwards over West Central Bay.
  • It is the first super cyclone to hit the region in the last two decades since a super cyclone-hit Odisha in 1999 causing widespread damage and loss of life. India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rain in Odisha and West Bengal under its impact.

2. Ladakh becomes COVID-19 free after recovery of all active cases

  • The Union Territory, Ladakh has become corona virus-free as the region have not reported any fresh case since 3rd May 2020
  • A total of 43 cases of Coronavirus were reported in Ladakh till now and all the confirmed cases have recovered from the COVID-19.

1. International Tea Day observed globally on 21st May

  • International Tea Day is observed globally May 21 on the recommendation of India. The purpose of International Tea Day is to try to improve the condition of tea producers and tea workers. Tea producing countries make a lot of profit but the condition of the labourers working in the tea plantations is very bad
  • Therefore, the purpose of International Tea Day is to encourage the status of tea workers, workers’ rights, daily wages, social security, employment security, and health

2. World Metrology Day observed globally on 20th May

  • World Metrology Day is observed globally on 20th May every year. Many nations on this day, internationally collaborate to create awareness about metrology and its advancement in the respective field. This year theme for World Metrology Day: Measurements for global trade
  • This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role measurement plays in facilitating fair global trade, ensuring products meet standards and regulations, and satisfying customer quality expectations

1. Zubair Iqbal becomes new MD of Jammu & Kashmir Bank

  • Senior vice president of HDFC Bank, Zubair Iqbal has been appointed as new managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Bank for a period of three-year tenure. RK Chibber will continue to serve as the Chairman of the bank for the next three years
  • The appointments are based upon the continuous directions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to separate the positions of Chairman and Managing Director for better governance

2. Alibaba’s Jack Ma resigns from SoftBank board

  • Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma will be resigning from SoftBank board of directors. Jack Ma serving for nearly 13 years in the board. Ma is expected to resign from the Group’s board on June 25. The news comes as the group posted record financial loss of USD 13 billion
  • Jack Ma had retired as the Executive Chairman of Alibaba in September 2019

3. Dilip Oommen becomes new President of Indian Steel Association

  • Indian Steel Association (ISA) has appointed Dilip Oommen as its new President. He is presently the CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India. He was unanimously appointed as President for the next two years. He will replace Tata Steel CEO TV Narendran, who stepped down as President on May 1
  • Oommen is a veteran of the steel industry with more than 37 years of experience and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K)

4. Govinda Rajulu Chintala appointed as chairman of NABARD

  • The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet has appointed Govinda Rajulu Chintala as the Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
  • He is presently serving as the Chief General Manager at NABARD and will remain on the post till his superannuation in July 2022. Presently, Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala is serving as the Chairman of NABARD

1. 73rd session of World Health Assembly held via video conferencing

  • The 73rd session of the World Health Assembly was held via video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 73rd session of the assembly featured the participation of the delegations from all WHO Member States and focused on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board
  • During the session, India was represented by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. During the session, the minister highlighted the timely, graded and proactive steps taken by the Indian government towards COVID-19 management

1. A Book titled “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Fang Fang

  • The book called “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Chinese literary writer Fang Fang
  • It is a compilation of online diary entries and social media posts that document 60 days of lockdown during COVID-19. In the following days & weeks, author’s nightly postings gave voice to the fears, frustrations, anger, and hope of millions of her fellow citizens, which reflects the psychological impact of forced isolation, the role of the internet as both community lifeline and source of misinformation, and the lives of neighbours and friends taken by the deadly virus

2. Ruskin Bond’s new book released in an e-book format

  • Ruskin Bond’s new book titled ‘ Hop-On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes’ was released on his 86th Birthday in an e-book format
  • The book presents its readers with a number of the author’s hilarious journeys and travel adventures. The illustrations for Ruskin Bond’s new book has been done by Samrat Halder

1. NRAI partners with DotPe to build tech platform

  • National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has tied-up with fintech start-up DotPe to build its own tech platform which will enable them with online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining
  • This partnership would directly take on existing food-tech aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy. NRAI is also exploring synergies with social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to provide and ordering facilities and visibility for restaurant partners who could potentially be its members

2. DGDE & eGov Foundation partners for Online Management of Cantonment Boards

  • The Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE), Ministry of Defence and eGov Foundation has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Online Management of Cantonment Boards. Both entities will work together to drive e-governance and enhance citizen services across all cantonment boards in the country
  • These services will be delivered under a cloud-based platform DIGIT (Digital Infrastructure for Governance, Impact & Transformation). These services will be provided under the program named e-Chhawani

1. Flipkart partners with Bajaj Allianz for digital motor cover

  • An e-commerce major, Flipkart and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company have tied-up to offer a digital motor insurance policy to Flipkart’s customers
  • This partnership between the insurance company and an e-commerce major, will provide seamless, accessible as well as flexible insurance solution to the customers of Flipkart in order to safeguard their vehicles

2. “iTurmeric Fincloud” platform launched by Intellect Design Arena

  • “iTurmeric FinCloud” is a cloud-ready, API-first, microservices-based platform which has been launched by the Intellect Design Arena Ltd, a full spectrum banking and insurance products company
  • This platform has been launched through IBM public cloud and enable the new digital banks’ systems to be tested and run in isolation or in parallel with core legacy systems. The platform comprises of various facilities such as retail banking, lending, origination, and corporate banking API

1. RBI’s MPC reduces Policy Repo Rate to 4.00%

  • In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to advance the Bi-monthly Monetary Policy meet which was scheduled to be held on 03rd June 2020 and the announcement was meant to be made on 05th June 2020
  • The meeting was advanced to 20th, 21st and 22nd May 2020. During the Monetary Policy meet, the MPC reduced the policy repo rate to revive growth as well as to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
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