General Knowledge & Current Affairs

November 2021 - 1st to 8th

1. Microsoft surpasses Apple to become world’s most valuable company.

  • Microsoft Corp. has surpassed Apple Inc. to become the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company by market capitalization.
  • At market close on October 29, 2021, Apple stood at about $2.46 trillion while Microsoft reached nearly $2.49 trillion.
  • Apple had held the top position for more than a year. Microsoft became the second US public firm to surpass a $2 trillion market value in June, driven by expectations that its dominance in cloud computing and enterprise software will expand further in a post-coronavirus future.

2. WHO approves Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use.

  • Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has got WHO approval as the technical advisory team has recommended the India-made vaccine for emergency use listing for 18 years and above.
  • This marks a major victory for India’s journey in vaccination against Covid-19. Covaxin is a vaccine, completely ‘made in India’, by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
  • WHO has so far approved Covid-19 vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-SK Bio/Serum Institute of India, Johnson 7 Johnson – Janssen, Moderna, and Sinopharm for emergency use.

3. Britain approves worlds first oral pill to treat Covid-19.

  • Britain’s health regulators have approved the world’s first pill to treat cases of symptomatic COVID-19.
  • Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said, the antiviral molnupiravir has been found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19, who are at increased risk of developing the disease.

4. Yahoo Inc. stops its services in China.

  • Yahoo Inc. has announced that the company has stopped providing service in mainland China with effect from November 01, 2021, due to the increasingly challenging business and legal environment in the country.
  • With this Yahoo has ended its 22-year presence in the Chinese market. This means that services like Yahoo Weather, Yahoo Finance, and other websites run by Yahoo such as AOL.com, TechCrunch and Engadget will not be accessible from within China.
  • Earlier, US tech platform LinkedIn also announced the closure of its localized social media network in China on October 14.

1. PM Modi Unveils Shri Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi and Statue in Kedarnath.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on November 05, 2021, to inaugurate key infrastructure projects related to the redevelopment of Kedarnath.
  • PM inaugurated the reconstructed Shri Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi (final resting place) at the premises of the Kedarnath Temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and unveiled the statue of Shri Adi Shankaracharya at the Samadhi. The Samadhi was damaged in the 2013 Kedarnath flood.

1. Haryana Govt launched ‘Uttam Beej portal’.

  • Chief Minister (CM) of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar has launched the ‘Uttam Beej portal’ which will benefit the farmers of Haryana by providing quality seeds with transparency.
  • The portal will provide transparency in the seed production programme arranged by both the Government and private seed producing agencies and ensure the quality of certified seeds.
  • This seed portal has been linked with Meri Fasal Mera Byora Portal and Family Identity Card ID. Meri Fasal Mera Byora Portal offers particulars to all these farmers who’ve land or who’ve given their land on contract and should promote their crop.
  • Farmers will now get good high-quality seeds, which can improve their manufacturing and revenue. Along with authorities businesses, non-public visa businesses will even should register.

2. National Tribal Dance Festival 2021 held in Chhattisgarh.

  • Chhattisgarh has observed the annual 2nd National Tribal Dance Festival 2021 at Raipur’s Science College ground as a part of the tourism development plan of the state.
  • It was inaugurated by the Chief Minister (CM) of Jharkhand Hemant Soren and CM of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel. This year’s event was clubbed with Chhattisgarh’s Rajyotsava (state foundation day- November 1, 2021).
  • The festival will host artists belonging to diverse tribal communities from countries including Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Syria, Mali, Palestine, and the Kingdom of Eswatini.
  • The artists from tribal areas of Bastar, Dantewada, Koriya, Korba, Bilaspur, Gariabandh, Mainpur, Dhura, Dhamtari, Surguja and Jashpur in Chhattisgarh will represent their culture and traditions through their dance forms.

1. Federal Bank and Aditya Birla Health Insurance tie-up for Bancassurance.

  • The Federal Bank and Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Limited (ABHICL) entered into a Bancassurance Partnership.
  • As a part of this alliance, Federal Bank will provide to its customer’s innovative health insurance solutions offered by ABHICL.
  • Customers of Federal Bank will have facilities like Day 1 cover for asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, coaching on nutrition etc.

2. Axis Bank signed MoU with Indian Navy to offer ‘Power Salute’.

  • Axis Bank signed an MoU with the Indian Navy to offer a defense service salary package under ‘’Power Salute’’ at New Delhi. Through the agreement, the bank will provide several benefits to all ranks of Indian Navy veterans and cadets.
  • ICICI Bank also renewed its MoU with the Indian Army to offer enhanced benefits and new features through its ‘Defense Salary Account’ (DSA) to all serving as well as retired Army personnel.
  • Major benefits included under “Power Salute” are an accidental cover up to INR 56 lakh, children education grants up to INR 8 lakh, total permanent disability cover up to INR 46 lakh, partial permanent disability cover of up to INR 46 lakh and air accidental cover of INR 1 crore, zero processing fee and 12 EMI (Equated Monthly Installment) waivers on the home loan.

3. RBI issues revised PCA framework for banks.

  • The RBI has issued a revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for banks to enable supervisory intervention at “appropriate time” and also act as a tool for effective market discipline.
  • Capital, asset quality and leverage will be the key areas for monitoring in the revised framework. The revised PCA framework will be effective from January 1, 2022. The framework was last revised in April 2017.
  • The objective of the PCA framework is to enable supervisory intervention at an appropriate time and require the supervised entity to initiate and implement remedial measures in a timely manner, so as to restore its financial health.
  • The central bank also stressed that the PCA framework does not preclude the RBI from taking any other action as it deems fit at any time, in addition to the corrective actions prescribed.

1. SpaceX sets up subsidiary in India.

  • World’s richest person Elon Musk-owned SpaceX has incorporated its wholly-owned subsidiary in India to start local broadband operations.
  • SpaceX’s satellite broadband arm Starlink aims to start broadband services in India from December 2022, with 2 lakh active terminals subject to permission from the government.
  • The company is charging a deposit of USD 99 or Rs 7,350 per customer and claims to deliver data speeds in the range of 50 to 150 megabits per second in the beta stage.
  • The services of the company will compete with that of Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea in broadband and it will be a direct competitor to Bharti Group-backed OneWeb. The company is keen to work in rural areas for providing broadband services.

2. Alphabet Inc launches AI-driven drug discovery start-up Isomorphic Labs.

  • Google parent company Alphabet Inc. has launched a new company in London called Isomorphic Labs.
  • The company aims to use AI (artificial intelligence) for drug discovery and medicine to find cures for some of humanity’s most devastating diseases.
  • Demis Hassabis will be the CEO of Isomorphic Labs. Hassabis is the CEO and co-founder of DeepMind, another Alphabet subsidiary that used AI to predict the 3D structure of a protein directly from its amino acid sequence.

1. J&K team clinch 1st position in World Deaf Judo Championship.

  • The Jammu & Kashmir team for deaf clinched 1st position in World Deaf Judo Championship held at Paris Versailles, France. Rakshanda Mehak who is part of the Indian team for the deaf clinched the bronze medal by defeating the South Korean team in the semifinal.
  • The championship was held at Versailles, France. The championship is organized by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.

2. Indian GM P Iniyan won Rujna Zora chess tournament.

  • Indian Grandmaster (GM) P Iniyan has won the 5th Rujna Zora chess tournament held at Serbia.
  • International Master (IM) Makarian Rudik of Russia finished 2nd and another Indian Player V S Raaghul finished 3rd and IM S. Nitin placed 4th.
  • P Iniyan is the 16th Indian Grand Master from Erode, Tamil Nadu. His current International Chess Federation (FIDE) ratings is 2556.

3. Akash Kumar settles for bronze in 2021 AIBA Men’s World Championships.

  • Indian boxer Akash Kumar managed to clinch the bronze medal at the 2021 AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships on November 05, 2021 at Belgrade in Serbia.
  • The 21-year-old Akash lost 0-5 in the 54 kg category to Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan. Akash is the seventh Indian male boxer to win a medal at the world championships

4. Manu Bhaker and Javad Foroughi wins gold in inaugural President’s Cup

  • India’s woman pistol star Manu Bhaker and Iranian Olympic champion Javad Foroughi has won the 10m air pistol mixed team gold at the inaugural ISSF President’s Cup at the Wroclaw in Poland.
  • The Indo-Iranian pair beat the French-Russian duo of Mathilde Lamolle and Artem Chernousov 16-8 to clinch the gold medal. A seven-member Indian contingent is participating in the ISSF President’s Cup.

5. TCS becomes Jaguar’s Formula E title partner.

  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has joined British racing team Jaguar Racing as the title partner, ahead of the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The team will be known as Jaguar TCS Racing.
  • TCS and Jaguar will create a dynamic platform that will drive research and innovation while steering towards advanced concepts and electric vehicle (EV) technologies. The rebranding of the team also brings an all-new livery for 2022.
  • The team heads into Season 8 on the back of its most successful Formula E campaign. Together with drivers Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, Jaguar was second overall in the 2021 Formula E World Championship.

6. Rashid Khan becomes youngest bowler to take 400 T20 wickets.

  • Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan became the youngest bowler to take 400 T20 wickets during his team’s crucial Super 12 encounter against New Zealand in Dubai. Martin Guptill became Rashid’s 400th victim in T20 cricket.
  • Rashid joined an elite list of cricketers as he picked up his 400th wicket in ongoing New Zealand vs Afghanistan T20 World Cup game. He is the 4th bowler to enter the 400 club after Dwayne Bravo (553), Sunil Narine (425) and Imran Tahir (420).

1. Govt approves interest rate on EPF for FY21 at 8.5%

  • Ministry of Finance has approved the interest rate on employees’ provident fund (EPF) deposits for 2020-21 at 8.5%. The rate has been kept unchanged as for the year 2019-20.
  • EPF is one fixed-income instrument that is completely tax-free under the exempt-exempt-exempt (EEE) regime, along with PPF and the Sukanya Samriddhi Account. Now the labour ministry will notify the interest rate for it to come into effect.

2. Government collected Rs 1.30 lakh crores as GST for October.

  • Gross Goods and service tax (GST) collection for the month of October came in at Rs 1,30,127 crore, the second-highest collection since GST was implemented in July 2017. The highest-ever GST collection of ₹ 1.41 lakh crore was recorded in April 2021. Revenues for the month are 24% higher year-on-year.
  • Of the gross GST revenue collected in October, Rs 23,861 crore was towards CGST, Rs 30,421 crore was towards SGST and Rs 67,361 crore was towards IGST, and Cess amounted to Rs 8,484 crore.
  • According to the decision taken by the GST Council, back to back the loan of Rs 1.59 lakh crore has been released in advance in lieu of a shortfall in the release of GST compensation during the current fiscal.

1. Chennai-Mysore-Chennai Shatabdi Express gets IMS certification.

  • The Chennai-Mysore-Chennai Shatabdi Express has become the first train of Southern Railway to receive Integrated Management Systems (IMS) certification. It got the certificate for world-class maintenance of the train, environment-friendly resources and convenient and safe travel of the passengers.
  • It is also the first Shatabdi train and the only second mail/express train of Indian Railways to receive this prestigious certification. The IMS certificate provided are ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018. The first train of Indian Railways to be IMS certified is Habibganj-Hazrat Nizamuddin-Habibganj Bhopal Express.

2. India’s first rooftop drive-in theatre launched in Mumbai.

  • The first open-air rooftop drive-in movie theatre in India has been inaugurated at Jio World Drive mall of Reliance Industries in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The drive-in theatre will be operated and managed by the multiplex chain PVR Ltd. The theatre has been launched in partnership with the Reliance Retail and multiplex chain PVR.
  • The facility can accommodate around 290 cars. The first movie screened at the theatre was Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi.

1. Isha Ambani appointed to Smithsonian’s board of trustees.

  • Board member of Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Retail and Reliance Foundation, Isha Ambani was appointed on the Board of Trustees of the prestigious Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.
  • The appointment is for 4 years. Apart from Isha Ambani, Carolyn Brehm, founder and CEO of the consulting firm Brehm Global Ventures LLC and lecturer, and Peter Kimmelman, also joined the board. Antoine van Agtmael is the chair of the museum’s board of trustees.

2. GoI appoints Ashok Bhushan as NCLAT Chairperson.

  • The Centre has appointed former Supreme Court Judge Justice Ashok Bhushan as the new Chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), for a period of four years or until he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is the earliest.
  • He was the former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court. NCLAT was formed by the government under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • Apart from this, Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar has been appointed as the new President of the quasi-judicial body, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for five years or till he attains the age of 67 years. Justice Sudhakar was the former Chief Justice of Manipur High Court.

3. Arun Chawla named as Director-General of FICCI.

  • Industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) named Arun Chawla as its new director-general. He will assume charge with immediate effect.
  • He joined FICCI in 2011 and is currently the deputy secretary-general of the chamber. He joined the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry in 2011 and is currently the deputy secretary-general of the chamber

1. IRCTC & True caller partnered to reduce fraud in the railways.

  • The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has partnered with True caller India to provide passengers with greater trust in communication. This partnership aims to reduce fraud in the railways.
  • Under this partnership, the integrated National Railways Helpline 139 has been verified by True caller Business Identity solutions. This partnership aims to assure the passengers that critical communications such as booking details and PNR status are delivered only by IRCTC.

1. Indian Navy stealth frigate Tushil launched in Russia.

  • The seventh Indian Navy frigate of the P1135.6 class was launched at the Yantar Shipyard at Kaliningrad in Russia.
  • The ship has been formally named as Tushil, a Sanskrit word that means protector shield. Tushil will be commissioned into the Indian Navy in mid-2023 followed by its sister ship by the end of 2023.
  • The ship has been developed under the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between India and Russia in 2016 for the construction of four additional P1135.6 class ships for Indian Navy.

2. IAF participated in International Exercise ‘Blue Flag 2021.

  • A total of 84 Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel took part in the international multilateral combat exercise Blue Flag 2021, along with IAF’s Mirage 2000 aircraft squadron at Israel’s Ovda Airbase.
  • The theme of Blue Flag 2021: Integration of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft in complex operational scenarios.
  • The exercise involves Air Force missions from 8 countries, to share knowledge and combat experience to improve operational capabilities.
  • The other seven countries that have participated in the exercise include the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, and Israel.

1. Union Minister Amit Shah launches the “Dairy Sahakar” scheme.

  • The Union Minister of Cooperation, Amit Shah has launched the “Dairy Sahakar” scheme at Anand, Gujarat during a function organized by Amul to celebrate the 75th Foundation Year of Amul.
  • The total outlay of the Dairy Sahakar scheme is Rs 5000 crore. The scheme will be implemented by National Cooperative Development Corporation ( NCDC) under the Ministry of Cooperation.
  • The scheme will supplement the existing efforts of strengthening the dairy sector in the country, doubling the farmer’s income as well as realizing the vision of ‘from cooperation to prosperity’.
  • Under the scheme, NCDC will extend financial support to eligible cooperatives for activities like bovine development, milk procurement, processing, quality assurance, value addition, branding, packaging, marketing, transportation and storage of milk and milk products, exports of dairy products among others.

2. G20 Summit ended with the adoption of Rome Declaration.

  • The 2021 G20 (Group of Twenty) Summit was held in Rome, Italy on October 30 and 31, 2021. It was the 16th meeting of the G20 group.
  • The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The summit concluded with the adoption of the Rome Declaration by G20 Leaders.
  • Moto: People, Planet, and Prosperity
  • Agenda: climate change, economic recovery, the pandemic and the global minimum corporate tax rate.

1. 2022 QS World University Rankings announced.

  • QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) has released the 2022 QS World University Rankings. The ranking has been topped by the National University of Singapore (NUS) for the 4th year in a row.
  • It is followed by China’s Peking University at 2nd position and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong at 3rd.
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) (42nd regionally) and IIT Delhi (45th regionally) are the only two Indian institutions among the Top-50.
  • IIT Madras, which was in 50th place last year, has lost four places and now ranks 54th. India features 118 Indian Universities following China with 126 universities.

1. Niti Aayog, World Bank ready electric vehicles financing push.

NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and the World Bank (WB) are working together to facilitate a program for faster and easier financing of electric vehicles (EVs).

NITI Aayog and World Bank are setting up a $300-million ‘first loss risk sharing instrument’, with the State Bank of India (SBI) as its program manager.

The current rate of interest for electric two-wheelers & electric 3 Wheelers, which is in the range of 20-25 per cent is expected to be reduced to 10-12 per cent.

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