Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 16th April 2024

National News

1. Indian Govt Gifts 35 Ambulances and 66 School Buses in Nepal 

  • The India government gifted 35 ambulances and 66 school buses to various organizations, spread across different districts of Nepal, and working in the field of health and education respectively. 
  • The keys of the vehicles were handed over by Naveen Srivastava, Ambassador of India to Nepal in the presence of Barsha Man Pun, Finance Minister, Government of Nepal. 
  • Out of the total 101 vehicles gifted, 2 ambulances were handed over on location in the earthquake-affected Jajarkot and West Rukum districts by the representative of the Embassy of India in the presence of district officials and local residents.
  • Government of India has been gifting ambulances and school buses on the occasion of the Independence Day and the Republic Day of India for 3 decades to various beneficiary organisations in different parts of Nepal, giving high priority to Nepal’s health and education sectors. 

About Nepal 

  • Capital- Kathmandu 
  • Currency- Nepalese rupee 
  • President– Ram Chandra Paudel 
  • Prime minister– Pushpa Kamal Dahal 

2. 2nd edition of Janakpurdham Cultural Festival held in Nepal 

  • The 2nd edition of the Janakpurdham Cultural Festival was organized by the Embassy of India in Nepal coinciding with the Bikram Sambat Nepali New Year 2081.
  • The festival was held at the Mahendranarayan Nidhi Mithila Cultural Center in Janakpur and comprised two sessions. 
  • Saroj Kumar Yadav, Chief Minister of Madhesh Province, inaugurated the first session of the Festival as the Chief Guest. 
  • In a keynote address by Haribans Jha on ‘Jaanaki Lila,’ it was mentioned that the religious book Sitayan is worth reading, even though it is not as popular as Ramayan. 

Recent Fair / Mela in News 

  • Chapchar Kut Festival – Mizoram 
  • Tawi Festival – Jammu 
  • International Puppet Festival – Chandigarh 
  • Divya Kala Mela – Agartala, Tripura 
  • Ethnic Mamani Festival – Ladakh 

3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the second Prime Minister after Indira Gandhi to appear on the cover of Newsweek. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to become the second Prime Minister of India after Indira Gandhi to get a place on the cover of Newsweek. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was featured on the cover of the April 1966 issue of Newsweek. 
  • The New York-based magazine has interviewed PM Modi, who addressed written questions from Newsweek followed by a 90-minute conversation. PM Narendra Modi's Newsweek interview covers a wide range of topics including China, economic reforms, ease of doing business, Lok Sabha elections, Quad, Ram Mandir, democracy, popular support, voter participation and the role of media in Indian democracy. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that after the removal of Article 370, the process of development and good governance is being seen in Jammu and Kashmir. He said there was "new hope" among the people of the Union Territory and they were "enjoying the benefits of peace". 
  • He claimed that by the end of the second term, even the most popular governments start losing support. Dissatisfaction towards governments has also increased in the world in the last few years. India stands as an exception, where popular support for our government is growing. 
  • Describing India as the "mother of democracy", Modi said that as the world's largest democracy, more than 600 million people voted in the 2019 general elections and in a few months from now, more than 970 million eligible voters will cast their franchise. 
  • The PM said the region has become a welcoming destination for global events like the G20 and Miss World as well as sporting occasions like Formula 4 racing. 

International News 

4. Delhi Airport among top 10 Busiest Airports in World 

  • The Airports Council International (ACI) World, a global organization which measures and assesses airport standards–ranked Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport as the tenth busiest airport in the world in 2023. 
  • The IGI Airport was ranked 9th in 2022, 13th in 2021, and as the 17th busiest airport in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The IGI airport in the capital handled 7.22 crore passengers annually. 
  • The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States held the top rank with 10.46 crore passengers. 
  • From the top 10 rankings for total passenger traffic, five of the airports are in the United States. The biggest jump in the rankings is recorded for Tokyo’s Haneda airport, which leaped from 16th position in 2022 to the 5th spot in 2023. 

Top 10 airports in the world in 2023

  1. Atlanta (USA) 
  2. Dubai (UAE) 
  3. Dallas/Fort Worth (USA) 
  4. London (UK) 
  5. Tokyo (Japan) 
  6. Denver (USA) 
  7. Istanbul (Turkey) 
  8. Los Angeles (USA) 
  9. Chicago (USA) 
  10. New Delhi (India) 

State News 

5. Old rivals and a newcomer compete in Meghalaya 

  • If the candidates of the ruling National People's Party (NPP) win, matrilineal Meghalaya will become India's first State with more than one Lok Sabha seat to have all woman MPs. 
  • For that to happen, the NPP has to get the better of a Congress desperate to hold on to the Shillong constituency, the last of its bastions across the hill States of the Northeast and retain the Tura seat. 
  • But a bigger worry for the NPP led by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, seems to be the Voice of the People Party (VPP), a new regional party that has seen a meteoric rise since its birth before the 2023 Assembly election. 
  • Barring Assam, Lok Sabha seats have invariably been won by candidates of dominant political parties in the northeastern States, which have two parliamentary constituencies at most. This factor gives the NPP, a major ally of the BJP, an edge. 
  • Months before the tions were announced, the NPP nominated Health Minister Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh and Agatha K. Sangma from the Shillong and Tura seats encompassing 36 and 24 Assembly segments, respectively. 
  • A five-time MLA, Ms. Lyngdoh switched over from the Congress to the NPP ahead of the 2023 Assembly election. 
  • Ms. Sangma is seeking her third term from Tura, a constituency that has been with her family since 1977 except for a two-year phase from 1989. 
  • "There is a misconception that women call the shots in our matrilineal communities (Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia). They hardly wield political power and 'mandate 2024' could be an opportunity for women to raise their voices for us in Parliament," Eva Nongkhlaw, a self-employed woman, said. 
  • Ms. Lyngdoh has sensed an opportunity in the "positive vibes'' from women to her campaign. "No woman has ever represented Shillong in the Lok Sabha. Fulfilling their expectations will be a great challenge," she said. Apart from her Congress rival Vincent H. Pala, who seeks a fourth straight term, Ms. Lyngdoh faces Ricky Andrew J. Syng kon of the VPP and Robert June Kharjahrin of the United Democratic Party (UDP), the second largest party in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. The VP's brand of aggressive, community based politics appears to have resonated across the Shillong seat, comprising the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The party has been noisier than the others, with the cry of "ha u prah" by its supporters gate-crashing the rallies of rival parties having been reported often. 
  • Prah in the Khasi lan- guage means winnowing tray, the VPP's symbol. "We will separate the chaff from the grain," Mr. Syng kon said at one of the rallies, targeting the older parties. The aggression has not been lost on the Chief Minister. 
  • "Some parties are pitting one community against the other in Meghalaya, whose Statehood was achieved by all communities together. Think of the post-election scenario to cast your vote," he said at an. NPP rally. While the Congress campaign for Mr. Pala has been uncharacteristically subdued, allegedly because of infighting, that of the NPP received a shot in the arm after the State BJP unit joined the canvassing. Local BJP leaders had initially threatened to not back the NPP as they were angry at the party's central leadership for deciding not to contest the Meghalaya seats for the sake of Nation- al Democratic Alliance. 
  • For the NPP, the BJP's support is expected to be more crucial in Tura, which comprises the west- ern half of Meghalaya. "Our State unit is trying to swing the campaign in fa- vour of the NDA candidate Agatha Sangma," State BJP vice-president Bernard N. Marark said. He represents Tura town as a member of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council 

6. Longte Yulo Festival held in Arunachal Pradesh 

  • The Nyeshi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh has celebrated its 'Longte Yulo Festival'. Longte is one of the oldest and important festivals of agriculture of the Nyeshi tribe and is the precursor to the new season after which seeds begins to sow seeds in farming fields. 
  • Longte-Yuro is observed with traditional gaiety and devotion on the beginning of the spring in the month of April. Longte Yulo neither has any ritual sacrifice nor any ritual chant. 
  • The real meaning of 'Longte' is a large fence (barricade) made of bamboo; Modeling is done before sowing crops in the fields to protect crops from cattle. The large barricade (fence) created during 'Longte' is also a symbol of the separation of the human field from the region of the evil spirit.
  • Thus, 'Longte' light means darkness, abundance from lack, good and separate health from the disease. 
  • However, the altar is decorated with a garland of flowers decorated with decorative white wings and bamboo of domestic chicken to mark the occasion. This festival is celebrated by the Dodum tribes of Niyashi including Kolariang, Chaiyang Tajo, Huri, Damin, Sarli, Parsiparlo etc. 
  • The present Nyeshi tribe has shifted from an unknown place called 'Nirba' to the present Arunachal Pradesh. It is believed that 'Nirba' is located somewhere in Mongolia. The Nishi mythology begins before the introduction of "Big Bang", an theory proposed by Georges Lametre. 

Defence News 

7. DRDO & Indian Army conduct successful trials of MPATGM weapon system 

  • The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) carried out successful trials of the Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) Weapon System at Pokhran Field Firing Range, Rajasthan 
  • The Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) Weapon System was indigenously designed and developed by DRDO.
  • It consists of MPATGM, the Man Portable Launcher, the Target Acquisition System (TAS), and the Fire Control Unit (FCU). 
  • An adequate number of missile firing trials have been successfully conducted towards achieving compliance with the complete operational envelope as stipulated in the GSQR (Infantry, Indian Army). 
  • Penetration trials of the Tandem Warhead System of MPATGM have been completed and the Tandem Warhead is found capable of defeating modern armour-protected Main Battle Tank (MBT). 
  • The ATGM system is well equipped with day/night and top attack capability. Dual mode seeker functionality is a great value addition to the missile capability for Tank Warfare. 

About Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)

  • Founded – 1 January 1958 
  • Headquarters – New Delhi 
  • Motto – “Strength’s Origin is in Knowledge” 
  • Chairman – Samir V Kama Appointment 

8. Vandita Kaul appointed as Secretary, Department of Posts 

  • Senior Bureaucrat Vandita Kaul has been appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Posts. 
  • She will succeed Vineet Pandey upon his superannuation. 
  • Kaul, a 1989-batch Indian Postal Service officer, currently serves as Member (Banking & Direct Benefit Transfer) of the Postal Services Board. 

Recent Appointment

  •  Secretary of the Department of Posts – Vandita Kaul (replace Vineet Pandey) 
  • National Judicial Academy (NJC) Bhopal – Justice Aniruddha Bose 
  • As a Member of University Grants Commission (UGC) –Sachidananda Mohanty 
  • As member of 16th Finance Commission – Manoj Panda 
  • National women’s hockey coach – Harendra Singh (replace Janneke Schopman) 
  • Head of committee to protect Delhi’s forests – Justice Najmi Waziri 

9. SPACE India appoints Sanjana Sanghi as its Brand Ambassador 

  • Sanjana Sanghi has been appointed as Brand Ambassador of SPACE India. 
  • Sanjana Sanghi is a rising young Bollywood star and UNDP Youth Champion. Her commitment to social activism and advocacy for education make her the ideal fit for this role at SPACE India and SPACE Arcade. 
  • SPACE India is the registered Space Tutor of ISRO, creating impact through its education and outreach programs for schools that involve students’ participation in national and international competitions for citizen science projects with ISRO and NASA. 
  • Founded in 2001, SPACE India has inspired over 1.5 Million students and facilitated the integration of Astronomy and Space Science into the curriculum of 1,000 schools pan India, nurturing a new generation of space enthusiasts and scholars. 

Recent Brand Ambassador 

  • Neeraj Chopra – Eveready Batteries 
  • Nayanthar – Slice (the popular mango-flavored drink) 
  • Neeraj Chopra – BPCL’s Speed Petrol Variant 
  • Katrina Kaif – Chennai Super Kings Team
  • Narendra Kumar Yadav – Fit India Movement 
  • Hrithik Roshan – 3rd RuPay Prime Volleyball League 

Sports News 

10. Radhika wins silver medal at Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 

  • India’s 23-year-old wrestler Radhika has won the silver medal in the women’s 68kg category at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 
  • Radhika defeated Kazakhstan’s Albina Kairgeldinova 12-2 in the quarter-finals before securing a 2-0 win over Gulnura Tashtanbekova of Kyrgyzstan in the semis to enter the gold medal bout. 
  • Shivanee Pawar also won the bronze medal in the women’s 50kg weight class. 
  • Pushpa Yadav and Priya returned empty-handed after failing to win their bronze medal matches in the 59kg and 76kg weight categories, respectively. 

11. Tsitsipas win Monte Carlo Masters for the third time

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece swept aside Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-4 to win the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters for the third time in four years. 
  • The 12th-ranked Greek, who will return to top 10, also won the title in the principality in 2021 and 2022. 
  • He is the fifth man to win three or more Monte Carlo titles, joining Rafael Nadal (11) and Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase who won three apiece. 

12. Travis Head smashes the fourth-fastest hundred in IPL history 

  • Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) opener Travis Head scripted history, smashing the fourth-fastest hundred in the Indian Premier League (IPL) history. 
  • Batting against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the Australian batter notched up the maiden century in the cash-rich league, surpassing Adam Gilchrist’s 42-ball hundred against MI in 2008. 
  • Opening the batting for Hyderabad, Head went off on an absolute carnage, reaching a century in 39 deliveries with the help of nine fours and eight sixes.
  • This was the fourth fastest century in the history of the IPL only behind Chris Gayle (30 balls), Yusuf Pathan, and David Miller (35 balls). 

Fastest Hundreds in IPL History 

  • Chris Gayle (RCB) in 2013 – 30 balls 
  • David Miller (PBKS) in 2013 – 37 balls 
  • Yusuf Pathan (RR) in 2010 – 38 balls 
  • Adam Gilchrist (DC) in 2008 – 42 ball 

Award News 

13. Princeton Professor AV Wigderson honored with Nobel Computing Award 'AM Turing Award' 

  • The Association for Computing Machinery has awarded Israeli mathematician and Princeton professor Avi Wigderson the AM Turing Award. The Turing Award, widely known as the "Nobel Prize of computing". 
  • In 2021, Wigderson won the Abel Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of mathematics, awarded by the King of Norway. He became the first person to receive both the Abel and Turing awards. 
  • The Association for Computing Machinery said of the Israeli mathematician, "A leader in theoretical computer science research for four decades, Wigderson has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the role of randomness and pseudorandomness in computation." 
  • It states, "In addition to his work in randomness, Wigderson has been an intellectual leader in many other areas of theoretical computer science, including multiprover interactive proofs, cryptography, and circuit complexity." 
  • Born in Haifa to two Genocide survivors, Wigderson completed his undergraduate studies at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, before continuing his education at Princeton University. Before joining the IAS, he was a faculty member at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
  • The first annual A. M. Turing Award was distributed in 1966. It is named after Alan M. Turing, a British mathematician who was famous for helping decipher Enigma during World War II. It has a $1 million prize, which in recent years has been supported by Google. 
  • Previous Israeli winners of the Turing Award include Michael Rabin (1976), Amir Panueli (1996), Adi Shamir (2002), Judea Pearl (2011) and Shafi Goldwasser (2011).

14. Rashmi Kumari won the National Women's Carrom title for the 12th time 

  • Rashmi Kumari defeated threetime world champion Nagajothi 25- 8, 14-20, 25-20 in the women's final of the 51st National Carrom Championship organized by Madhya Pradesh Carrom Association. 
  • It was a record 12th national women's singles title for Rashmi, who works as a chief manager at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). 
  • The men's title was won by K Srinivas, who defeated S Aditya 25- 0, 19-6 in the final. It was the fourth national men's singles title for Srinivas, who had a stellar performance in the tournament by hitting seven white slams. 
  • The championship, sponsored by the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and Cinco Carrom Company, had 237 male and 174 female participants from 12 institutions and 27 states. 
  • The All India Carrom Federation (AICF) was formed on 4 March 1956 on the initiative of Late Dr. R S Kunnaiah (Madras) and Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed (Bombay) and Mr. K. H. Krishnamurthy (Hyderabad). 
  • Even before India's independence, carrom was played at a competitive level in many Indian states. Carrom competitions started around 1930 in cities like Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Allahabad etc. 
  • In 1932, 'Union Carrom Club of Almora' was formed with Rai Bahadur HK Gangola as its president. 
  • The Federation held the first National Championships in Nagpur in 1956 with men's singles, men's doubles and men's team events. 

Important day 

15. 16 April – World Voice Day 

  • World Voice Day is celebrated every year on April 16. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about the importance of the human voice and vocal health. 
  • Theme 2024 – Educate. Celebrate 
  • The first World Voice Day was celebrated in 1999, with events held in over 50 countries. 

16. 16 April – Save the Elephant Day 

  • Save the Elephant Day is celebrated every year on 16 April. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness for these majestic creatures and take action to protect their future. 
  • This day was created in 2012 by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to shine a light on the threats facing elephants, such as poaching and loss of habitat. 
  • Elephants are known for their intelligence, social bonds, and their important role in maintaining ecosystem balance. 

17. World Art Day 2024 celebrated on 15 April 

  • World Art Day is celebrated every year on 15 April across the world to promote art. On this special occasion, many people interested in art display their art. Also, on this special day, work is done to increase awareness about different arts among the people. 
  • Art is something that connects people and builds a stronger community. Art is a medium of expression that can bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. 
  • The history of World Art Day dates back to 2012, when the International Association of Art (IAA) organized a special celebration in Guadalajara, Mexico, to celebrate Leonardo da Vinci's birthday on April 15. Famous artist Leonardo da Vinci is considered a symbol of freedom of expression and peace. 
  • After which, in the year 2019, in the 40th session of UNESCO's General Conference, it was announced to celebrate 'World Art Day' and since then on this special day, people hold exhibitions at different places and art lovers celebrate this day as a festival. 

18. 14 April – World Quantum Day 2024 

  • To advance awareness and appreciation of quantum science and technology among the public worldwide, an international initiative was launched in 2022 to celebrate 14 April every year as World Quantum Day.
  • Quantum physics is the most fundamental theory describing nature at the level of the elementary particles and forces that make up our universe. 
  • The National Quantum Mission (NQM) in India envisioned by the Prime Minister's Science Technology Advisory Council (PMSTIAC) received Cabinet approval on April 19, 2023, with a total outlay of Rs 6003.65 crore for a period of eight years. 

Ranks & Report News 

18. India to get above-normal in monsoon rainfall: IMD 

  • While several States reel under heatwaves, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a bountiful monsoon for the year. In a press briefing on Monday, the agency forecast that the rainfall in June-September will be 6% more than the annual average of 87 cm during these months.  
  • Last year, El Nino, a warming of the Central Pacific and usually linked to diminished rainfall in India, dented India's monsoon by 6%. This year, the El Nino has not yet fully faded but is expected to do so by June and progress to La Nina, a converse cooling effect that is usually linked to surplus rainfall by the second half of the monsoon (August and September), said IMD Director General Mahapatra. Mrutunjay approaches to forecast the monsoon. One is to use statistical associations and draw upon its vast historical database of over 150 years to correlate certain global meteorological parameters such as ocean temperatures and snow cover in Europe, to the performance of the monsoon. The other way is to use the dynamical approach, or simulating the weather across the globe on a particular day, and having powerful computers crunch the numbers to extrapolate this weather into any future day or time period desired. Both these models indicated a similar outlook for the monsoon this year, said M. Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences. 
  • The IMD is expected to update its monsoon forecast in May, just ahead of the monsoon onset in June, and give more information on spatial distribution. 

19. Goods exports hit $41.68 bn in March 

  • India's goods exports hit a 12-month high of $41.68 billion in March, though it constituted a 0.67% decline from the corresponding month's tally last year, while imports dropped 6% to $57.3 billion last month. 
  • The goods trade deficit contracted to $15.6 billion in March, the lowest in 11 months, with officials attributing sliding trade gaps to conscious efforts by the government to spur import substitution and restrict essential imports. 
  • The import bill reduction in March was led by gold imports, which fell a sharp 53.6% to $1.53 billion, and aided by a drop in non-oil, non-gold imports. 
  • India's goods exports in the first 10 months of 2023-24 averaged $35.4 billion. 
  • However, silver imports jumped nearly 1,059% to $816.6 million. March's relatively strong export tally, coming on the back of a $41.4 billion figure in February, lifted the generally weak merchandise shipments tally for 2023-24. 

20. According to the Plastic Overshoot Day report, India is the second leading country in the world in terms of mismanaged plastic waste. 

  • Swiss non-profit EA Earth Action's Plastic Overshoot Day report said global plastic waste production has increased by 7.11 percent since 2021. It is estimated that the world has generated 220 million tons of plastic waste this year, out of which 70 million tons will pollute the environment. 
  • 12 countries are responsible for 60 percent of the world's mismanaged plastic waste: China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, the United States, and Turkey. 
  • On September 5, 2024, plastic waste produced worldwide will exceed the planet's waste management systems and will be dubbed "Plastic Overshoot Day." 
  • Each country has its own "Plastic Overshoot Day", determined by the amount of plastic waste generated and the country's ability to manage it. India will reach its plastic overshoot day on 23 April 2024. 

Other facts  

  • Belgium leads the way in per capita plastic waste production, with 147.7 kilograms per capita annually. In mismanaged plastic waste per capita, Oman ranks highest with a projected figure of 111 kg per capita in 2024. 
  • India boasts the lowest per capita plastic waste production globally, at 8 kg per person per year. India is projected to release 391,879 tonnes of microplastics and 31,483 tonnes of chemical additives into the environment and waterways respectively in 2024. 
  • Despite having the lowest per capita plastic waste generation globally, India is expected to generate 7.4 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste in 2024, a figure the report considers “much higher”. 

Books & Author News 

21. Salman Rushdie to release his memoir "Knife" 

  • Renowned British-American author Salman Rushdie is set to release his memoir "Knife" on April 16, 2024, detailing his horrific experience of being stabbed at a public event on August 12, 2022, and his journey to recovery from the deadly ordeal.
  • This book serves as a powerful testament to Rushdie's unwavering commitment to freedom of expression, a core value that has defined his life and literary career. 
  • Salman Rushdie's second novel, "Midnight's Children", won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1981. However, it was his 1988 novel, "The Satanic Verses", against which a fatwa was issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran, which was considered blasphemous by many in the Muslim world. 
  • During this time, Rushdie was unable to share his location with his children, as he moved from one safe house to another, and lived under constant threat of assassination. This period of his life was marked by a heavy price to be paid for his uncompromising defense of freedom of expression and his refusal to succumb to religious extremism. 
  • Rushdie, who was born in Mumbai, but moved to England in his childhood. He also appeared in films such as "Bridget Jones's Diary" and the American television sitcom "Seinfeld". 
  • He has been married five times and has two children. 
  • As a supporter of freedom of expression, he launched a strong defense of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after its staff was shot dead by Islamists in Paris in 2015.

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