Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 11th April 2024

National News 

1. ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 mission receives USA's prestigious 'John L. Jack Swigert, Jr. Award' 2024 

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)'s Chandrayaan-3 mission team has been awarded the John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr. Award for Space Exploration for the year 2024 by the United States-based Space Foundation. 
  • DC Manjunath, Consul General of India in Houston, accepted the award on behalf of ISRO at the inaugural ceremony of the Annual Space Symposium in Colorado. This prestigious award is given to recognize the notable achievements of a space agency, company or consortium in the field of space exploration and discovery. 
  • The Chandrayaan-3 mission launched by ISRO on July 14, 2023 was an unprecedented achievement for India. This made India the first country in the world to land a lunar module on the South Pole. 
  • The mission consisted of a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan, and it successfully landed on the uncharted south pole of the Moon on August 23, 2023. 
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was established by the Government of India on 15 August 1969 as the country's premier space agency. ISRO was earlier known as Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), established in 1962. Under the leadership of its first Chairman, Vikram Sarabhai, ISRO has become a worldrenowned space agency with a focus on science and engineering. John L. 

"Jack" Swigert, Jr. 

  • The award is an honor given by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in recognition of outstanding contributions to space exploration. 
  • It is named after John L. 'Jack' Swigert Jr., an American astronaut who flew on the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. Swigert was instrumental in the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew when their planned lunar mission failed after an oxygen tank exploded. 

International News 

2. For the first time, the European Court of Human Rights has given its verdict against Switzerland in a case related to climate crisis

  • The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in France has delivered a landmark ruling, finding that Switzerland's failure to adequately deal with the climate crisis constitutes a human rights violation. 
  • Rosemary Wider-Walty and Anne Mahrer from Senior Women for Climate Protection The Court ruled that Switzerland had "failed to comply with its duties under the Convention relating to climate change" and had violated the right to respect for private and family life. 
  • This is the first time the court has ruled on climate litigation. There is no right of appeal and the decision is legally binding. It could affect legislation in 46 countries in Europe, including Britain. 
  • The court ruled in favor of the Klimaseniorinen, a group of elderly women in Switzerland who argued that the Swiss government's inadequate efforts to tackle climate change put them at risk of dying during a heatwave. 

European Court of Human Rights 

  • The case was brought against the government of Switzerland by more than 2,000 Swiss women, most of whom are over the age of 70. They argued that heat waves caused by climate change have undermined their health and quality of life. Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg said, "This is only the beginning of climate litigation." 
  • "This means we have to fight even harder, because this is only the beginning. Because in the climate emergency, everything is at stake." Apart from this, six Portuguese youth have also filed their case against 32 European governments. 
  • Young people aged 12-24 argued that rising heat and wildfires have left them unable to go out to play, go to school and suffer from climate anxiety. 
  • The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is a regional human rights judicial body based in Strasbourg, France, created under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The Court began functioning in 1959. 

3. Zimbabwe launches new gold-backed currency ‘ZiG’ to tackle inflation 

  • Zimbabwe's central bank governor John Mushayavanhu has launched a new currency 'ZiG' in the capital Harare, which will be backed by foreign currencies, gold and precious minerals. ZiG means "Zimbabwe Gold". 
  • It aims to tackle inflation, which has been skyrocketing for the past 25 years, and stabilise the country's long-weak economy. The ZiG will replace the Zimbabwean dollar, which has lost three-quarters of its value so far this year. 
  • The Zimbabwe dollar has lost almost 100 percent of its value against the US greenback over the past year. Earlier in the year 2016, the government introduced a new currency called ‘Bond Note’, which was backed by the US dollar credit facility. 
  • During this time new banknotes were introduced which come in eight denominations ranging from 1 to 200 ZiG. The new notes depict the gold ingots being minted as well as Zimbabwe's famous Balancing Rocks, which already appear on the older notes. Zimbabweans have 21 days to exchange their old cash for the new money. 
  • The central bank also has about 1.5 tonnes abroad, as well as $100 million in cash and precious minerals such as diamonds, which if converted into gold would amount to a further 0.4 tonnes. 
  • The current inflation rate has increased the pressure on the country's 16 million people who already struggle with widespread poverty, high unemployment and severe drought induced by the El Nino weather pattern. The rising prices have also brought back memories of 2008, when inflation was so out of control that the central bank even issued a $100 trillion note, which is now a collectors' item. 

4. After crude oil, it's Russian diamonds; India raises concern over sanctions with Europe 

  • Faced with mounting losses and consignment delays due to new European Union-G7 sanctions, Indian diamond exporters are calling for a separate screening process to be set up in India, so that the newly mandated procedures for exports to Western countries can be processed smoothly.
  • The issue, which could prove as protracted as discussions over sanctions on Russian oil have been, was raised with a delegation from Belgium, one of the main sources of India's diamond imports, during the visit of the Belgian Foreign Secretary Theodora Gentzis (April 9-10), who met with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday, held talks at the Joint Economic Council with Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal, and held the second India-Belgian Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) co-chaired by the MEA Secretary (West) Pavan Ka poor in Delhi on Wednesday. 
  • "The G-7 diamond file was discussed with our Indian interlocutors. Our cooperation around dia- monds is an important theme in our economic relations, about which we continue to discuss regularly," the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said in response to queries from The Hindu. 
  • While the official rea- dout of the meeting released by the MEA on Wednesday did not specifically mention the problems being faced over diamond processing, where India holds 95% of the market, sources told The Hindu "Indian exporters' concerns were raised during the visit". 
  • "The discussions encompassed key areas of bilateral cooperation including trade and economic cooperation, semiconductors, cyber and digital, Science and Tech, UNSC reforms and multilateral cooperation and institutional dialogue mechanisms," the MEA said, adding that the dialogue had "extended to global and re- gional affairs" including an exchange on "key global challenges". Chief amongst these concerns are the procedures put into place by EU- G-7 in their 12th round of sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine, that went into effect beginning December 2023, with a four-phase plan. 
  • While the first was a ban on importing Russian diamonds into Europe and the United States, and didn't affect India, the second phase that went into effect in March 2024 has extended the ban to Russian diamonds that are polished in a third country as well. "These proposed sanctions are part of an in- ternationally coordinated G-7 diamond ban, aiming to deprive Russia of this important revenue stream estimated at 4 billion Euros per year," the notification of the 12th round of sanctions released in December 2023 had said. 

State News 

5. ‘Apricot Blossom Festival’ 2024 started in Ladakh 

  • Ladakh Tourism has launched ‘Apricot Blossom Festival’ 2024, which will run from 06-17 April 2024 and will organize cultural programs and exhibitions. 
  • At this time of year, parts of the region come alive as apricot trees bloom with soft pink flowers. Along with the breathtaking views of apricot blossoms, you can also buy local apricot products like jam, juice and syrup. 
  • With the aim of sharing the local traditions of Apricot blossom, this festival is going to be organized at all places in Kargil and Leh. Apricots, also known as Chuli, are the focal point during the festival, as Ladakhis enjoy the beauty of nature. 
  • Talking about activities, these will include cultural performances, live music, shopping, sports, dance and exhibitions featuring local handicrafts. 

Defence News 

6.India to send new defense attachés to several missions in Africa 

  • In a sign of expanding focus on military diplomacy, India is set to send defense attachés (DA) to a number of its missions in Africa for the first time, sources here have confirmed. The move is part of a larger adjustment of the DA in Indian missions scattered across continents and regions and is being implemented as India deals with dynamic situations in Indo-Pacific, Red Sea-Indian Ocean and Eurasia. 
  • A source privy to the internal discussion said that out of all the continents, it is Africa that is expected to get four new DA. Out of that, one DA is likely to be sent to Francophone western Africa, and three others are expected to be sent to three countries in eastern and southeastern Africa. 
  • Indian missions in countries such as Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Djibouti are being discussed as part of the process. In the meanwhile, a number of DA posted to Indian missions abroad underwent a three-day pre deployment training programme at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service this week. 
  • Apart from the four countries in Africa, the Indian embassy in Poland is scheduled to get a new DA. At present the DA in the Indian embassy in the Czech Republic concurrently serves for the Indian mission in Warsaw. 
  • The readjustment in the post of DA in multiple regions is part of India's evolving requirements that stretch from defense production and cooperation, to dealing with crisis situations that hinge on urgent mobilization. The crises in Gaza and Ukraine have both highlighted the need for finding a more effective management of the DA in East Europe and Eurasia and in the East African region that is crucial for guarding Indian interests in the Red Sea and the western Indian Ocean. 
  • In March, Indian marine commandos captured 35 Somalian pirates who had hijacked a bulk carrier and taken hostages. The pirates were brought to Mumbai in INS Kolkata. The operation took place in the backdrop of continued attacks on western ships by the Houthi rebels of Yemen which has increased the necessity of maintaining a ready defense posture in and around the Red Sea Western Indian Ocean region for safeguarding Indian assets and manpower. 
  • Similar new appointments and changes in the post of DA are also expected to take place in the Indian missions in the United Kingdom, Russia, Philippines, Armenia. While Philippines and Armenia will host Indian DA for the first time, in case of Russia, the number of attachés is expected to be reduced. Sources maintained that it is being done as part of "rationalization" as several India-Russia defense projects have been completed, therefore, calling for adjustments in the Indian embassy in Moscow. 

Ranks & Reports News 

7. According to Hurun Global Unicorn Index-24, India is the third country in the world with 67 unicorns. 

  • According to the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2024, India recorded a decline in unicorn creation for the first time since 2017. According to the latest Hurun Global Unicorn Index, there were 67 unicorns in India in 2023, down from 68 unicorns last year. 
  • India's leading unicorns are delivery start-up Swiggy and fantasy sports platform Dream11, which was valued at $8 billion, and Razorpay, which was valued at $7.5 billion. 
  • However, the report said India has produced more offshore unicorns than any other country, with 109 unicorns co-founded outside India compared to 67 in India. 
  • Indian founders are setting up more unicorns abroad than at home, the majority of which are in the United States, led by the Bay Area, besides 4 in the UK, 3 in Singapore and 2 in Germany, according to the report's findings. " 
  • The report found 1,453 unicorns in 53 countries and 291 cities around the world. Around 430 unicorns saw an increase in valuations, of which 171 were newcomers. The top 10 unicorns were in China and the US, with four each in both countries. 

Top countries 

  • The United States is the top country on the list with 703 unicorns, up 37 from 2022, and China is the second top country with 340 unicorns. The UK and EU are ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the list. 
  • The total value of the world's unicorns has reached US$5 trillion, which is equivalent to Japan's GDP last year. 
  • The most active city for unicorns outside the US and China was London, followed by Bengaluru, Paris and Berlin. According to the report, the world's most successful unicorn investors are Tiger Global, SoftBank and Hongshan. 
  • Chinese internet conglomerate, ByteDance has retained its position as the world's most valuable unicorn startup with an estimated value of $220 billion. 
  • The year 2024 is marked as the “Year of AI”, with the valuation of OpenAI reaching $100 billion. Unicorns are basically startups worth at least a billion dollars and not yet listed on a public exchange. 

8. IIM-A among world's top 25 for management studies; JNU ranked India's top university 

  • The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad is among the top 25 institutions globally for bu- siness and management studies, while the IIMs in Bangalore and Calcutta are among the top 50, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject, announced on Wednesday. 
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University is the highest ranked university in India in the coveted rankings announced by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the London-based higher education analytics firm. The university is ranked at 20th position globally for development studies. The Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences in Chennai is at 24th position globally for dentistry studies. 
  • QS CEO Jessica Turner said, "One of the biggest challenges faced by India is educational providing high-quality tertiary education in the face of exploding demand: this much was recognised by 2020's NEP (National Education Policy), which set the ambitious target of a 50% gross enrolment ratio by 2035. It should, therefore, provide some reassurance that the number of Indian programmes featuring across our 55 subject rankings and five broad faculty areas has increased this year 454." 
  • In a broader Asian regional context, India secured the second spot in terms of the number of universities featured (69), trailing only China (101), and holds the fourth position in the total number of ranked entries (454) after China (1,041), Japan (510) and South Korea (499). 
  • India ranks fifth regionally for the number of top 200 entries. 

9. According to WHO's Global Hepatitis Report 2024, China is the top country in cases of hepatitis B and C. 

  • New data from 187 countries shows that the projected number of deaths from viral hepatitis is expected to increase from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022, the World Health Organization said in its Global Hepatitis Report for 2024. Of these, 83 percent deaths were due to hepatitis B and 17 percent were due to hepatitis C. 
  • Highest incidence of hepatitis B and C in the world - Highest incidence of hepatitis was reported in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines and Russian Federation. 
  • Highest incidence of Hepatitis B – 50% of global Hepatitis B cases in 2022 reported from China, India and Indonesia. Most cases of Hepatitis C – About 50% of the world's Hepatitis C cases were reported from China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russian Federation and the United States. 
  • In India, the number of hepatitis B infections in the year 2022 was 2.98 crore, while the number of hepatitis C infections was 55 lakh. With a total of 3.5 crore cases, the total disease burden in India was 11.6%. 
  • According to WHO report, around 50,000 new hepatitis B cases and 1.4 lakh new hepatitis C cases are expected in India in 2022. In 2022, 1.23 lakh people died in India due to infectious hepatitis viral disease. 
  • Age group of the infected person – Half of the people infected with chronic hepatitis B and C infection are people in the 30-54 year group, and 58% of all cases are men. 


  • WHO released the report during the World Hepatitis Summit held in Lisbon, Portugal from 9 to 11 April 2024. WHO has set a target of eliminating hepatitis worldwide by 2030. 
  • "Every day, 3,500 people are dying globally due to hepatitis B and C infections," said the report released at the World Hepatitis Summit. According to WHO, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis were the second leading causes of death among infectious diseases in 2022 after COVID-19. 
  • WHO was established on 7 April 1948 as an agency of the United Nations. It has 194 member countries. Director-General of WHO: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (since May 2017). Its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO's founding day, 7 April, is celebrated as World Health Day. 


  • There are five main types of viruses, called types A, B, C, D and E. They all cause liver disease. In particular, types B and C cause chronic disease in millions of people and together are the most common causes of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and viral hepatitisrelated deaths. 
  • There are two main types of hepatitis: blood-borne hepatitis and food-borne hepatitis. Bloodborne hepatitis includes hepatitis B, C and D, which are less common in India. Food-borne hepatitis, especially water-borne hepatitis, includes hepatitis A and E. 

10 .Corruption has risen over past five years, say 55% respondents 

  • In the run-up to elections, political parties make allegations of corruption against their rivals in order to reach out to voters and influence voting patterns. While the top position camp leaves no stone unturned to corner the party or alliance in power by highlighting various acts of corruption allegedly done under its rule, the latter sends out strong signals of its seriousness in curbing corruption by taking a series of ac- tions, including getting leaders of the rival camp arrested. 
  • However, what do voters think of corruption? Has the perceived level of corruption increased or decreased in the past five years? How widespread is the perception of corruption across spatial contexts and the social spectrum? 
  • As per the pre-poll survey, more than half of the respondents (55%) are of the view that corruption has increased in the past five years. Interestingly, compared with the CSDS Lokniti pre-poll survey of 2019, this number has gone up by around 15 percentage points. This is indeed a significant increase. 
  • In contrast, the proportion of respondents saying that corruption has decreased shows a significant decline. It appears to have reduced to half (from 37% in 2019 to 19% in 2024). 
  • Interestingly, responses on corruption are evenly distributed across multiple spatialities village, town and city. For most respondents Whether they live in a village, a town, or a city corruption has increased in the past five years. Those saying corruption has decreased are fewer (less than a fifth of respondents) across spatial contexts. 
  • Though divided by economic circumstances, respondents across economic locations seem to be on the same page on the state of corruption. Among both rich and poor, nearly six in 10 respondents held that corruption has increased in the past five years. 
  • Even as the fraction of those saying that corruption has decreased is quite small, there is a systematic class pattern. It increases as we move up the class ladder. Among the rich respondents, the fraction of those saying corruption has declined is higher than that among poor respondents, by seven percentage points. 
  • Asked who they think is responsible for the increase in corruption, a majority of respondents (56%) held both the Union and State government responsible. 
  • When differentiated between the Union and State governments, more respondents, however, appear to hold the Union government responsible for increasing corruption. 
  • In sum, the perception that corruption has increased in the past five years is fairly high among voters, no matter where and what economic situations they live in. At the same time, it is also true that rarely does a single issue disproportionately influence political prefe and electoral outcomes. It thus remains to be seen to what extent the issue of corruption will rence shape patterns of voting 

11. Jobs, inflation key issues in LS polls, finds survey 

  • Unemployment and price are the rising key concerns of nearly half the electorate, the CSDS-Lokniti pre-poll survey in the run-up to the 2024 general elections revealed. This was a significant finding in the first part of a series of articles on the pre-poll survey. 
  • Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (62%) across localities, with the highest among cities (65%), expressed that getting jobs had become more difficult. The numbers for those living in villages and towns were 62% and 59%, respectively; 65% of the men shared this opinion compared with 59% of the women. Only 12% said getting jobs had become easier. 
  • Unemployment emerged as the top concern among most voters in the CSDS-Lokniti pre-poll survey 
  • The concern was highest among Muslims with 67% saying that getting jobs had become difficult,a number closely matched by Hindus from Other Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes (63% each) and Scheduled Tribes (59%). The opinion that jobs were easier to get was shared the highest among Hindu upper castes (17%), even as 57% of them felt otherwise. 
  • The opinions on price rise mirrored that of unemployment with a whopping 71% saying that prices have increased, with the number increasing to 76% among the poor, 76% and 75% among Muslims and Scheduled Castes. 
  • While the numbers on these two issues indicate that prospective voters were worried about the state of the economy, the survey also revealed that a near-equal number believed that State governments (17% as opposed to 21% for the Centre, with 57% saying "both") were responsible for shrinking job opportunities. 

Sports News

12.Mendis and Bouchier named ICC Players of the Month for March 2024

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has revealed the ICC Men’s and Women’s Player of the Month award winners for March 2024. 
  • Kamindu Mendis claims the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award after his historic efforts at the crease helped Sri Lanka comfortably win the first Test in their ICC World Test Championship showdown against Bangladesh in Sylhet. 
  • England’s Maia Bouchier won the ICC Women’s Player of the Month prize thanks to a sparkling series of scores in New Zealand as the tourists secured a statement 4-1 T20I series win in March. 

14.ICC Men’s Player of the Month 

  • October 2023 – Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand) 
  • November 2023 – Travis Head (Australia) 
  • December 2023 – Pat Cummins (Australia) 
  • January 2024 – Shamar Joseph (West Indies) 
  • February 2024 — Yashasvi Jaiswal (India) 

ICC Women’s Player of the Month 

  • October 2023 – Hayley Matthews (West Indies) 
  • November 2023 – Nahida Akter (Bangladesh) 
  • December 2023 – Deepti Sharma (India) 
  • January 2024 – Amy Hunter (Ireland) 
  • February 2024 – Annabel Sutherland (Australia) 

Books and Authors News

13.Siddharth Rajsekar released ‘I Can Coach’ book 

  • Bestselling author and digital coaching leader Siddharth Rajsekar has released of volumes 2 and 3 of his transformative book series, ‘I Can Coach’. 
  • The books were launched at the Freedom Business Retreat 2024, a two-day event at the Leela Palace, Chennai, attended by over 800 trainers, coaches, and leaders from across India. 
  • Building on the success of the first volume, “I Can Coach, Stories of Transformation,” volumes 2 and 3 showcase inspiring stories of commitment and aspiration within the digital coaching revolution. 
  • “Stories of Commitment” highlights the journeys of coaches who achieved millionaire status and those who transformed their lives, starting from scratch. 
  • “Stories of Aspiration” features digital coaches beginning their paths to success as Freedom Finishers through Hackathons. 

Recent Books 

  • The Idea of Democracy – Sam Pitroda 
  • From A Car Shed To The Corner Room & Beyond – S Raman 
  • The Man Who Lot India – Meghna Pant 
  • Conspiracy to oust me from the Presidency – Gotabaya Rajapaksa 
  • The Gems of Indian Art – Harish Khullar 
  • Doing Business in Uncertain Times – Ramesh Nair 

Important day 

14. 11 April – National Safe Motherhood Day 

  • National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated every year on April 11 in India. 
  • The day is observed to educate the masses about the challenges faced by new mothers and to spread awareness around safe pregnancy and postpartum support.
  • The Government of India officially recognised the day as National Safe Motherhood Day in 2003. The day also marks the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi. 
  • Pregnancy is a life-transforming journey and maternal health during this time can impact safe and complication-free childbirth. From good nutrition to regular checkups, there are different aspects of a pregnancy that an expectant mother has to take into consideration. 

15. 11 April – World Parkinson’s Day 

  • World Parkinson’s Day is celebrated every year on 11 April. 
  • World Parkinson’s Disease Day aims to support people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, who often face severe difficulties in managing the Parkinson’s disease’s physical, emotional, and social effects. 
  • Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that mainly targets the nervous system and affects the parts of the body controlled by nerves. 
  • Nerve cell damage in the brain leads to decrease in Dopamine levels – this leads to Parkinson’s Disease. Some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are tremors, slow movement, stiffness and loss of balance. Parkinson’s Disease usually start slow, with tremors that are hardly visible. 
  • In 1817, Dr. James Parkinson was the first person to discover the first case of Parkinson’s Disease. In 1997, European Association for Parkinson’s Disease announced that April 11 will be observed as World Parkinson’s Day every year. The World Health Organisation also co-sponsored the event. 

Award News 

16. Peter Higgs, inventor of "God Particle" and Nobel Prize winner, dies at the age of 94 

  • Peter Higgs, the inventor of the "God particle" and Nobel Prizewinning physicist Peter Higgs, has died at his home in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the age of 94 after a short illness, the University of Edinburgh in Britain said. 
  • They gave rise to the "God particle" that helped explain how matter formed after the Big Bang. The Higgs boson was named after him. It was discovered on July 4, 2012, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, in Geneva. 
  • Dr. Higgs was a 35-year-old assistant professor at the university in 1964 when he suggested the existence of a new particle that would explain how other particles acquire mass. 
  • Peter Ware Higgs was born on May 29, 1929 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, the son of Thomas Ware Higgs, a BBC sound engineer, and Gertrude Maud (Coghill) Higgs, who managed the household. 
  • After temporary research posts at the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and University College London, he took a permanent job as a lecturer at Edinburgh in 1960. 
  • Edinburgh was the birthplace of James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879), who accomplished the first great unification of physics, showing that electricity and magnetism were different manifestations of the same force, electromagnetism.

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