January 09, 2020

National

  1. President Kovind lays foundation stone to Lakshadweep’s first Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti
  • President Ram Nath Kovind laid foundation stone to Lakshadweep’s first Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti.
  • President who is on two days visit to the union territory assured special focus for the development of Lakshadweep and directed Lakshadweep Administrator to give special attention for the completion of Super Specialty Hospital.
  • President received guard of honour from a joint group of 160 different forces.
  • At the event in Kavaratti, President congratulated Rahmath Begum, the only woman who won Padmashri from Lakshadweep. He extended new year wishes and invited the people of Lakshadweep to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • President reached Bangaram island of Lakshadweep.
  1. Special drive launched to remove speed breakers from National Highways
  • A special drive has been initiated for removal of all sorts of speed breakers on National Highways. Road Transport and Highways Ministry stated, The step comes in a bid to ensure smooth and hassle-free traffic movement, especially at toll plazas.
  • With the effective implementation of FASTag on toll plazas, the speed breakers and rumble strips constructed at toll plazas are being removed with immediate effect for smooth vehicular movement.
  • The Ministry stated, the speed breakers result in considerable delay, damage to the vehicles and significant discomfort to vehicle occupants and more fuel consumption due to acceleration and deceleration.
  • This initiative will save time, money and facilitate smooth vehicular movement especially to ambulances, elderly and unwell people commuting on National Highways.
  • Electronic Toll Collection through FASTag has been implemented from 15th December last year to provide commotion-free movement on highways.
  1. Sahitya Akademi, Iran Embassy organize Indo-Iranian Writers’ Meet in New Delhi
  • In continuation of the cultural exchange programme between India and Iran, Sahitya Akademi in collaboration with Embassy of Iran organized an Indo-Iranian Writers’ Meet in New Delhi.
  • The objective of the meet is to further deepen cultural ties between the two nations and heighten literary awareness among the readers at both sides.
  • The meet was also aimed at providing a platform for meaningful-dialogue between writers of both countries. Culture Counsellor of Iran Mohammad Ali Rabbani, Secretary Sahitya Akademi K Sreenivasarao and eminent writer and scholar Nasera Sharma were present in the meet.
  • The events also witnessed a panel discussion on Indo-Iranian Cultural Bonds.
  • Addressing the gathering, Mohammad Ali Rabbani stated, mutual understanding and communication have been the bases of the cultural and civilizational bond between the two countries. He futher stated, Persian literary works reflect sense of great respect in centuries-old relationship between India and Iran.

State

  1. Three Kerala cities in the world’s fastest-growing cities’ list
  • According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Malappuram (India) city ranks first among the top 10 fastest-growing urban areas in the world.
  • Kerala’s Kozhikode has been ranked number 4; Kollam is in the tenth position.
  • Vietnam’s Can Tho is in the second position while China’s three cities (Suqian, Putian, and Suzhou) have included in the list.
  1. Mizoram govt to organise Zo Kutpui to unify Mizo tribes
  • Mizoram government will organise Zo Festival under the banner Zo Kutpui in at least 10 different cities across the globe.
  • The first festival would be held at Vanghmun, a hub town of Mizos in neighbouring Tripura from January 9 to 11.
  • The event aims at re-unifying and strengthening brotherhood among different tribes of Mizo.
  • Zo Kutpui will also be organised in Maryland in USA, Tahan in Myanmar, Churachandpur in Manipur and Bangladesh.
  1. ‘Buxa Bird Festival’ begins in West Bengal
  • The fourth ‘Buxa Bird Festival’ has begun in Buxa National Park in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district.
  • Over 50 birdwatchers from across the country and abroad have registered for the 2020 edition of the four-day festival.
  • More than 300 rare species including the Great Hornbill, Sultan Tit and Greater Spotted Eagle visit the national park during this period.

International

  1. Australia to kill 10,000 camels due to drought
  • Administration in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands ordered to kill 10,000 camels in southern Australia.
  • As per media reports, People complained that wild animals are entering their homes for water due to wildfires. Tribal leaders of the area ordered to kill 10,000 camels.
  • Australia camel administration said that the population of wild camels doubles every nine years. Camels require a lot of water which is impossible to fulfill.
  1. India continues to be top sourcing market for Sri Lankan tourism
  • India continued to be the top sourcing market for Sri Lankan tourism with Indian tourists constituting maximum 19 per cent of total tourist arrivals to the island nation in 2019.
  • The latest data released by Sri Lankan Tourism revealed that 3,55,002 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year against total arrival of around 1.91 million. Over 48 thousand Indians visited Sri Lanka during last month of December alone including over thousand by sea route.
  • The tourism sector in Sri Lanka suffered a setback following Easter Sunday attacks last April and the annual tourist arrival dropped by 18 per cent since 2018 figures.
  • India, United Kingdom, China, Germany and Australia were Sri Lanka’s top five international tourist generating markets last year. Sea beaches and religious places connected to Ramayana circuit remain the top attractions for Indian tourists.

Banking & Finance

  1. India’s GDP growth rate for 2019-20 estimated at 5%, says NSO
  • The Indian economy is estimated to grow at 5 per cent in 2019-20 as against 8 per cent in the previous fiscal. According to the first advanced estimates of the national income released by National Statistical Office (NSO) .
  • The decline has been mainly on account of deceleration in manufacturing sector growth, which is expected to come down to 2 per cent in 2019-20 from 2 per cent in the year-ago fiscal.
  • The deceleration was also witnessed in sectors like agriculture, construction and electricity, gas and water supply.
  1. Equitas Small Finance Bank waives non-maintenance charges
  • Equitas Small Finance Bank stated it has waived non-maintenance charges on all savings accounts besides offering lower transaction charges to customers.
  • The bank offers upto 5 per cent per annum on savings and upto 8.25 per cent per annum on fixed deposits and 0.60 per cent extra for senior citizens.
  • They intend to further strengthen the liability franchise with a focus on growing the  retail deposit and CASA deposit base to provide with a stable and low-cost source of funding.
  • Premature closure of accounts and partial withdrawal is also permitted for senior citizens, according to the release.

Business & Economy

  1. India’s per-capita income rises 6.8 per cent to 11,254 a month in FY20
  • In 2018-19, the monthly per-capita income had stood at Rs 10,534
  • The country’s per-capita monthly income is estimated to have risen by 8 per cent to Rs 11,254 during 2019-20, Government data on national income.
  • In 2018-19, the monthly per-capita income had stood at Rs 10,534.
  • “The per-capita net national income during 2019-20 is estimated to be Rs 1,35,050 showing a rise of 8 per cent as compared to Rs 1,26,406 during 2018-19 with the growth rate of 10.0 per cent,” according to the annual national income and GDP 2019-20 data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • The per-capita income is a crude indicator of the prosperity of a country.
  • Poor performance of manufacturing and construction sectors is estimated to pull down the country’s economic growth to 11-year low of 5 per cent in 2019-20, according to first advance estimates of the national income released by the National Statistical Office.

Award & Honors

  1. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane wins African Footballer of the Year award
  • Sadio Mane was voted as African Footballer of the Year for the first time .
  • Senegal forward beat Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah and Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez to the continent’s biggest individual soccer prize at a ceremony in Egypt.
  • Nigeria international Asisat Oshoala, who plays for Barcelona, was voted as women’s player of the year.
  • Mane has finished as runner-up to Salah the last two years, and was third in 2016 behind winner Mahrez.
  • He is the second Senegalese player to win the men’s award, after El Hadji-Diouf.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Gaganyaan menu released by DRDO
  • Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) has recently released food items that will be part of the space menu of Gaganyaan.
  • DFRL prepared a list of items for astronauts of Gaganyaan including – vegetable rolls, egg rolls, idli sambhar, upma, vegetable pulao, and Moong Dal Halwa.
  • Gaganyaan’s menu has been prepared by the DFRL, Mysore. The crew will also have a food heater to warm their meals.
  1. NASA’s TESS finds first Earth-sized habitable planet
  • TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has recently discovered TOI 700d. As per the reports, it is an earth-sized habitable planet found by TESS.
  • This planet is 101.5 light-years away from the Earth. NASA has predicted life on this planet which is 20 percent larger than the Earth
  • TESS is designed to search for planets orbiting stars near the Earth. TESS was launched by NASA on April 18, 2018.
  1. Challakere to be ISRO’s astronaut training hub
  • India’s world-class facility for training astronauts will come up not in the space headquarters in
  • It will be established in three years at Challakere, Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in Chitradurga district of
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a ₹ 2,700-crore master plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
  • The facility spread over 400-acre ISRO land at Challakere will be a self-contained facility having infrastructure and activities related to space travellers.
  • The first set of four astronaut candidates selected for the first Gaganyaan mission of 2022 will be trained in
  • The new facility will help to save hefty sum to use such facilities abroad and in future, whatever training and activities would be done in Russia for the Gaganyaan crew can all be done at Challakere facility.
  1. SpaceX launches third batch of Starlink satellites part of plan to form global broadband
  • SpaceX launched its third batch of 60 mini-satellites into orbit, part of its plans to build a giant constellation of thousands of spacecraft that will form a global broadband internet system.
  • A live broadcast by SpaceX showed a Falcon 9 rocket taking off without incident from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9:19 pm (0219 GMT Tuesday).
  • The satellites are set to release about one hour after takeoff, bringing the total number of satellites that are part of the US company’s Starlink network to just under 180.
  • But that figure could one day total 42,000, resulting in far more crowded skies, which has raised concerns among astronomers that they may one day threaten our view of the cosmos.
  • To put that into context, there are currently around 2,100 active satellites orbiting our planet, according to the Satellite Industry Association.
  • The launch was broadcast live by SpaceX, a company created by tycoon Elon Musk, who is also chief executive of Tesla.
  • SpaceX’s goal is to control a huge share of the future internet market from space.

Environment

  1. Indian Cobra’s genome sequenced
  • Cobra is believed as one of the poisonous snakes in the country and a group of scientists has mapped its genome.
  • This research will help to prepare anti-venom vaccination. It will also help scientists to understand the chemical constituents of the venom.
  • According to the reports, about 46000 people die every year due to snakebites in India.
April 15, 2020

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