Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 20th April 2024

International News 

1. Fierce explosion in Indonesia's 'Mount Ruang' 

  • On April 16, 2024, there was a massive explosion in the 'Mount Ruang' volcano located in North Sulawesi province of Indonesia. On April 17, there were four consecutive explosions in this area, due to this incident of volcanic eruption, clouds of smoke and ash covered the sky. 
  • Thousands of people displaced due to volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Indonesia's volcanology agency has raised its warning level to four, the highest on the danger scale. 
  • According to Indonesian government reports, the size of the exclusion zone has been increased from four to six kilometers. More than 800 residents of Ruang were first evacuated to Tagulandang Island, 100 kilometers from the state capital Manado. 
  • More people had to be evacuated on the morning of 18 April due to the expansion of the exclusion zone. Abdul Muhari, head of the disaster data, communications and information center of the disaster agency, said about 11,615 residents of the area have been evacuated to safe places. 
  • Officials fear that like the 1871 eruption, this time too a part of the volcano may fall into the sea, increasing the risk of a tsunami. 
  • Indonesia, which lies along the 'Ring of Fire', a series of tectonic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean. There are more than 120 active volcanoes in the region. In 2018, the eruption of Indonesia's Anak Krakatoa volcano caused a tsunami off the coasts of Sumatra and Java after parts of the mountain fell into the sea. 
  • Ring of Fire, also called the Pacific Rim or Circum-Pacific Belt. This is a region located along the Pacific Ocean, where most of the active volcanoes and earthquakes are recorded. Three quarters (75%) of Earth's volcanoes are located along the Ring of Fire. 

2. 16th World Future Energy Summit held in UAE's Abu Dhabi 

  • The 16th World Future Energy Summit has been held from 16–18 April 2024 at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, which will include global leaders, policy makers and experts in the fields of permanent energy and climate initiatives. 
  • The state-owned Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, organized by Masdar, brings global leaders together in permanent energy and climate initiative to exchange the summit knowledge, ideas and solutions. 
  • The Chairman and CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, Shekha Shamma Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan inaugurated the summit, highlighting the immediate financial investment requirement to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C. 
  • Francesco La Camera, Director General of International Renewable Energy Agency, stressed the urgency of extending renewable energy capacity to at least 11 terravat by 2030. 
  • Despite registering the biggest growth in renewable energy production in 2023, La Camera said that progress is still lower than the required annual growth of 1,100 gW, which has particularly affected Global South. 
  • The Masdar Pavilion at WFES will act as a center for innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing, with an engaging programme of panels and presentations in its theatre, including platforms for Masdar's global strategic initiative, Y4S (Youth 4 Sustainability) and WiSER (Women in Sustainability). 

3. Permanent status Palestine should be granted full-member status of the UN for a start 

  • Concerns about a conflict, by design or miscalculation, between Israel and Iran grow stronger, news of the United Nations Security Council resolution on granting Palestine full-member status at the UN, that was vetoed by the United States, has not received the attention it should have. 
  • The resolution, proposed by Algeria, was one more step at the world body to attempt to make good on the promise made in 1947, when the UN General Assembly originally adopted its resolution partitioning the then-mandated Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Only Israel became a full member of the UN in 1949. 
  • The "Question of Palestine" has been tossed around for decades, and even though the state of Palestine received permanent observer status in 2012, and temporary powers of a full member during its tenure as Chair of the G-77 and China grouping, in 2019, it has not been recognised as a full member so far. In vetoing Thursday's UNSC resolution, which was supported by 12 of 15 UNSC members, the U.S. said that it believed Palestine should not be granted the membership through the UN process, but through "direct negotiations between the parties".
  • The Israeli Ambassador added that to give Palestine full member status at this time, six months after the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas, would be "the vilest reward for the vilest crimes". It could also be argued that this is precisely the time to recognise Palestine's long-denied right in the aftermath of October 7, Israel has bombed Palestinians both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank indiscriminately. That it has continued its operations despite a UNSC ceasefire resolution that even the U.S. signed on, and now threatens yet another offensive on Rafah, shows the dire need for the Palestinian state to have a much stronger voice on the multilateral stage. 
  • The U.S. must seriously reconsider such blanket protection for the Israeli position on all issues. The contention that Palestine could only be a state through "dialogue between the parties" has a flaw: it is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who declared in January that he would never accept a Palestinian state, and intended to retain "full Israeli security control over all the territory west of Jordan". A Palestine in the UN fold would also ensure that the new state would be bound by the obligations of all UN members. 
  • It is a gross injustice to all Palestinians to conflate them with terrorist acts perpetrated by Hamas refusing to make a distinction between combatants and non-combatants only further marginalizes the pain of all victims of violence. At a time when the international order is fracturing, the U.S., as a global leader, must endeavor to build, not break consensus in order to favor one country. To do so is to run counter to the UN's basic principle: sovereign equality of all, following instead the more primitive dictum that "might is right". 

4. Keen to experience India's polls first-hand, says Australian envoy 

  • India's general election that started on Friday is the "largest electoral process" of the world, Philip Green, Australian High Commissioner to India, has said. In a social media post, Mr. Green announced that he will personally venture out in the coming weeks to experience the political contest that will usher in the next elected government of India. Several other foreign diplomats, including the Consul-General of Israel to South India, have also commented on the beginning of the general election. 
  • "India's national polls is the largest electoral process in the world. Look forward to experiencing it first hand, starting this weekend in Kerala. I'll be dropping in to campaigns of as many sides as possible, and am keen to hear the opinions of as many Indians on the streets as possible," said Mr. Green on Friday. The Australian envoy became the first western diplomat to announce that he will mix with the public to witness the election process in India. 
  • Like Mr. Green, Israeli diplomat Tammy Ben-Haim has spoken about the election. On social media platform X, Ms. Ben-Haim reposted a notification from the Election Commission and described India as her "favorite largest democracy in the world". Atul Keshap, president of the U.S.-India Business Council, also congratulated India and said, "With 970 million eligible voters and 1.2 million polling places, India's national election is the Maha Kumbh Mela of Democracy." India is one of the several countries going to polls this year. 

State News 

5. 6 products including Tirani Barfi and Dhalua Metal Craft of Baranasi in Uttar Pradesh received GI tag 

  • On 16 April 2024, the tricolor of Varanasi, related to India's independence, has been given GI product status. Apart from this, another product of Varanasi Dhalua Murthy Metal Casting Craft has also been included in the GI category. 
  • It was first introduced by Shri Ram Bhandar in the Thasheri Bazar area of Varanasi after Mahatma Gandhi's call for decisive action in 1942. Nearly eight decades after India's independence, Kashi's "Tirangi Barfi", which was considered a "sweet weapon" of freedom fighters during the Quit India Movement, has finally found the prestigious geographical signal (GI) tag. 
  • Apart from this, Banaras Metal Casting Craft, Lakhimpur Kheri Tharu Kadhai, Bareilly Cane and Bamboo Crafts, Bareilly Zardozi crafts and Pilkhuwa Hand Block Print Textile. With this, the number of GI products at the state level has now increased to 75. 
  • These include 58 handicrafts and 17 agricultural and food products. With these six new combinations, Uttar Pradesh has retained its place as a state with the highest GItag products in India. Tamil Nadu is behind with 58 GI-tag products. 
  • Due to this, about 30 thousand crore rupees have been done in Varanasi region and nearby GI registered districts. This has provided legal protection for 2 million people for their traditional products. 

6. Fossils of huge prehistoric snake found in Kutch mine 

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee have reported the discovery of fossils of one of the largest snakes that ever existed and likely lived 47 million years ago during a period called the Middle Eocene. The fossils were found in Kutch, Gujarat, and the reptile, named Vasuki Indicus, could have been anywhere between 10 meters and 15 meters long, or as big as a modern- day school bus. 
  • It belonged to the now extinct Madtsoiidae snake family but represents a unique lineage from India, the authors note. 
  • Professor Sunil Bajpai and postdoctoral researcher Debajit Datta at the IIT-Roorkee stumbled upon 27 pieces of a "par- tial, well preserved" vertebral column of the snake at the Panandhro Lignite Mine in Kutch. 
  • The discovery, the authors report in the peer-reviewed journal, Nature Scientific Reports, could improve understanding of how the Madtsoiidae species evolved in different kinds of climate, as well as the factors that contributed to large body sizes. One of the causative factors is held to be high temperatures in the tropical climate of that time. 
  • Vasuki Indicus existed at a time when the earth looked quite different from today, and Africa, India and South America were one, conjoined landmass. It likely had a cylindrical body, hinting at a robust and powerful build, and was as big as Titanoboa, a massive snake that once roamed the earth and is reportedly the longest ever known, said a press statement from IIT-Roorkee. 
  • The Panandhro Lignite Mine where the fossils were found. Red arrow indicates the level at which the remains were discovered. 
  • "This discovery is significant not only for understanding the ancient ecosystems of India but also for unraveling the evolutionary history of snakes on the Indian subcontinent...," Dr. Bajpai said in a statement. 

7. GMR Hyderabad Airport receives Skytrax's 'Best Airport Staff Award' 

  • GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) has been awarded the ‘Best Airport Staff in India and South Asia 2024’ award by Skytrax. The announcement took place on April 17, 2024, during the Passenger Terminal Expo 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany. 
  • Hyderabad Airport emerged as the number one airport among all the participating airports in India and South Asia. This recognition underlines the exceptional quality of service provided by the airport staff on various fronts, which is assessed through careful audit and evaluation. 
  • This award covers airport staff roles including customer support and information counters, immigration and security personnel as well as staff at shops and food and beverage outlets. 
  • Skytrax, a globally renowned air transport rating organization with a legacy dating back to 1989, provides comprehensive ratings of airports and airlines around the world. Uses a star rating system ranging from 1 to 5 stars. 

Defence News 

8. India delivers first batch of BrahMos C supersonic missiles to Philippines 

  • India delivered the first batch of BrahMos super-sonic cruise missiles to the Philippines on Friday. In January 2022, the Philippines concluded a $375 million deal with India for three batteries of a shore based, anti-ship variant of the BrahMos becoming the first export customer for the joint venture missile between India and Russia. 
  • The first batch was delivered aboard a transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force which landed in the Philippines on Friday afternoon. Specifics of the delivery made were not immediately available. The Philippines is acquiring the systems under the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernisation Programme. 
  • The delivery comes amid the showdown between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea and will significantly augment the defensive posture of the Philippines armed forces once the systems are operationalised. 
  • During his visit to the Philippines in March, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in a meeting with the Secretary of National Defence of the Philippines Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. reaffirmed India's commitment to upholding a rules-based international order and promoting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. 
  • In January 2022, then Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, who signed the contract said, "As the world's fastest supersonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sove- reign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea." 
  • The contract includes the delivery of three missile batteries, training for operators and maintainers as well as the necessary Integrated Logistics Support package. The coastal defense regiment of the Philippine Marines will be the primary user of the missile systems. 
  • From January 23 to February 11, 2023, 21 Philippine Navy personnel were trained in the operations and maintenance of the systems in Nagpur and were awarded interim missile badges by the Indian Navy chief, Admiral R. Hari Kumar. 
  • As reported earlier, several countries have expressed interest in acquiring BrahMos systems and discussions are in advanced stages with Indonesia and Thailand, among others. 
  • BrahMos is a joint venture between the DRDO and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyeniya and the missile derives its name from Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers. The missile is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and seabased targets and has been long inducted by the Indian armed forces. 

9. General Manoj Pandey inaugurates hi-tech IT lab in Uzbekistan 

  • During his visit to Uzbekistan from April 15-18, 2024, Army Chief General Manoj Pandey marked an important milestone in bilateral defense cooperation between India and Uzbekistan by inaugurating a state-of-the-art IT laboratory at the Armed Forces Academy in Uzbekistan. 
  • The initiative stems from a commitment made during the Defense Ministers' meeting in September 2018, highlighting the growing partnership between the two countries. During his visit, General Pandey held discussions with First Deputy Defense Minister, Major General Khalmukhamedov Shukrat Garatjanovich, focusing on enhancing military cooperation between the Indian and Uzbek armies. 
  • Rs 8.5 crore were allocated for the project. This collaborative initiative is not only “a leap in technological progress” for the Defense Academy of Uzbekistan, but also a bridge “consolidating the extended partnership” between the two countries, promising a future of cooperation in defense and technology. 
  • Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and funded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' 'C' initiative, the Lab is set to enhance training resources for the Uzbek armed forces, promoting technological progress and cooperation between the two countries. 
  • The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, consisting of nine rooms including two lecture halls, a state-of-the-art cyber security laboratory, a hardware programming laboratory, an object-oriented programming laboratory, a web programming laboratory, a server room. 
  • Additional facilities include videoconferencing terminals, interactive panels, networking devices and an assortment of computing equipment, including a large number of high-end PCs, workstations and laptops, along with essential peripherals such as printers, cameras, scanners and storage devices.

Banking News 

10. Former RBI Governor Subbarao's memoir 'Just a Mercenary' released 

  • Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Duvvuri Subbarao's memoir “Just a Mercenary?: Notes from My Life and Career” has been released, covering various roles from sub-collector to finance secretary and, ultimately, heading the central bank. 
  • Subbarao's memoir presents a candid and insightful exploration of the challenges he faced, the lessons he learned, and the deep impact his experiences had on shaping his outlook on the complex relationship between the government and the central bank. 
  • One of the central themes emerging from Subbarao's memoir is the persistent pressure put on the RBI by the Finance Ministry under Pranab Mukherjee and P. Chidambaram to soften interest rates and present a more optimistic picture of economic growth. 
  • Subbarao writes, "Having been in both the government and the RBI, I can say with some authority that there is very little understanding and sensitivity within the government on the importance of central bank autonomy." 
  • In a chapter titled "Reserve Bank as the Government Cheerleader?", Subbarao says that while the government's pressure went beyond just an interest rate stance, the RBI was sometimes asked to come up with better estimates of growth and inflation that were different from its own objective assessments. 
  • Subbarao's tenure as RBI Governor coincided with a key moment in global economic history – the Lehman Brothers crisis. Subbarao took over the reins of the central bank just days before the collapse of the investment bank, and he faced the difficult challenge of steering India's economy during the ensuing turmoil. 

Sports News 

11. India won four silver and five bronze medals in the Asian Wrestling Championship 2024. 

  • Indian wrestlers finished the Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with nine medals, including four silver and five bronze. 
  • 30 Indian wrestlers participated in this competition, out of which 10 wrestlers were included in each competition of Freestyle, Greco Roman and Women's category. 
  • In the medal table, Japan 18, Iran 17 and Kyrgyzstan 14 stood first, second and third respectively and India got 9th position. 
  • On the last day of the competition, four Indian wrestlers competed in the Greco-Roman category, with Vinayak Patil, Pravesh, Rohit Dahiya and Ankit Gulia failing to win a medal. 
  • Indian wrestlers won 9 medals in freestyle, but did not succeed in winning a single medal in GrecoRoman. 
  • In the last edition of the continental championships held in Amman, Indian wrestlers had won 14 medals, which included one gold, three silver and ten bronze medals. In men's 57kg, Aman Sehrawat was the only wrestler to make it to the top spot of the podium. 
  • However, most of the top Indian wrestlers did not feature in this year's Asian Wrestling Championships due to the Asian Olympic Wrestling Qualifiers starting at the same venue on 19 April 2024. 
  • India has so far secured only one Paris 2024 Olympic quota in wrestling. Antim Panghal had secured the quota after winning a bronze medal in the women's 53 kg weight category at the World Championships 2023. 
  • In a major blow for Indian wrestling, Tokyo Olympians Deepak Punia and Sujit Kalakal missed the Asian Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers 2024 as they could not reach Bishkek in time for the weigh-in due to flight delays in Dubai due to incessant rains. 

Indian medal winner 

  • Udit (Men's 57 kg) – Silver Medal Radhika (Women 68 kg) – Silver Medal 
  • Anju (Women 53 kg) – Silver Medal Harshita (Women 72 kg) – Silver Medal

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post