Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 25th May 2024


National News

1. Doordarshan's DD Kisan will launch two AI anchors 'AI Krish' and 'AI Bhoomi' 

  • Doordarshan is going to achieve another milestone as after 9 years of immense success, DD Kisan is coming with a new look and a new style among the farmers of India on 26th May 2024. 
  • In this era of 'Artificial Intelligence', Doordarshan is going to become the first government TV channel in the country, where two AI anchors (AI Krish and AI Bhoomi) will be launched. These news anchors are computers, which are exactly like humans, or rather, they can work just like humans. They can read news 24 hours and 365 days without stopping or getting tired. 
  • Farmer viewers will be able to watch these anchors in all the states of the country from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu and from Gujarat to Arunachal, these AI anchors will provide every necessary information about agricultural research, agricultural trends happening in the country and globally. 
  • A special thing about these anchors is that they can speak fifty languages of the country and abroad. DD Kisan is the only TV channel in the country, established by the Government of India and dedicated to farmers. This channel was established on 26 May 2015. 
  • The objective of establishing DD Kisan channel was to keep the farmers always informed about the changes in weather, global and local markets etc., so that the farmers can plan properly in advance and take right decisions on time. 

International News

2. Myanmar junta revives plans for its China-backed mega-dam project 

  • Myanmar's junta has revived plans for a $3.6 billion Chinese-backed dam in the north of the country that was suspended more than 10 years ago following huge public opposition. 
  • The project to build the 6,000-megawatt Myitsone dam in northern Kachin state was ended in 2011 under a previous junta. 
  • Its opponents said the dam on the Ayeyarwady river which would have exported around 90% of the power it generated to China would cause huge environmental damage and bring little benefit to the country. 
  • The junta announced a new "leading group" for the hydropower project in a notice dated April 24 and released on an obscure government portal on Tuesday. The group is made up of 11 members, including the Deputy Minister for Electricity, and will "conduct and manage research, technical solutions and public relations" for the project, the notice said. 
  • It will work with China's State Power Investment Corporation's (SPIC) Yunnan International Power Investment Company on "research, technical solutions, and public relations," it added, without giving details. SPIC is a Chinese stateowned group and one of the biggest utility companies in the country. A 2015 environmental assessment commissioned by the Myanmar government strongly advised against the dam's construction, saying the move could alter the river flow on a wide scale. 
  • A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report in 2018 estimated that some 34 million people in Myanmar live in the Ayeyarwady basin, roughly two thirds of the country's popula- tion. 
  • Northern Kachin state has been rocked by fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the military for decades. 
  • Myanmar is a vital piece of China's Belt and Road Initiative, Xi Jinping's flagship $1 trillion project that includes maritime, rail and road projects in Asia, Africa and Europe. 

3. New York is the top city in Oxford Economics' first global city index. 

  • Oxford Economics released its first Global Cities Index on 21 May 2024, a 'comprehensive assessment' of the world's 1,000 major cities spanning 163 different countries. 
  • New York ranks first in Oxford Economics' global cities index, followed by London, San Jose, Tokyo, Paris, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Melbourne and Zurich. 
  • The first 50 positions of the index were dominated by cities from America and Europe. 
  • Delhi has ranked 350th in Oxford Economics' Global Cities Index, outperforming Mumbai on several parameters including economics, human capital and quality of life. 
  • In India, Bengaluru is ranked 411th, Mumbai 427th, Chennai 472nd, Kochi 521st, Kolkata 528th, Pune 534th, Thrissur 550th, Hyderabad 564th and Kozhikode 580th. However, no Indian city made it to the top 300. 
  • South Indian cities like Kannur, Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram scored in the 700s in terms of quality of life. 
  • 91 cities in India were ranked in this report, and the worst ranked city is Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The city ranked last in the index, scoring below 950 in four categories – environment, quality of life, economics and human capital. 
  • None of the top 10 best cities in the world in the report are from South Asia. 
  • The report evaluates cities in given categories with different weightages. The overall city ranking is determined by economics (30%), human capital (25%), quality of life (25%), environment (10%), and governance (10%). 

4. United Nations General Assembly declared 24 May as International Markhor Day 

  • The United Nations General Assembly declared 24 May as International Markhor Day, A/RES/78/278, and celebrated it for the first time in 2024. 
  • The markhor (Capra falconeri) is an iconic and ecologically important species found in the mountainous regions of Central and South Asia, including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 
  • Markhor was classified as "near threatened" in 2014 and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, and has been included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since 1992. 
  • The number of mature individuals of Markhor in the world is approximately 5,700. It is adapted to mountainous terrain with open forests, scrub and light forests between 600 and 3,600 m altitude.
  • The resolution in this regard was sponsored by Pakistan and eight other countries. 
  • The markhor (Capra falconeri), also known as the “screw-horned goat”, is the national animal of Pakistan. Most of the current estimated population of Markhor is found in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan, followed by Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan. 

World Turtle Day 2024: 23 May 

  • World Turtle Day, observed every year on 23 May, aims to raise awareness about the unique lifestyle of turtles and tortoises and their habitat. 
  • World Tortoise Day was started in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue organization with the aim of uniting people to better understand and protect these amazing reptiles. 

Sports News

5.India won three medals in the first Asian Relay Championship 

  • The Indian athletic contingent finished with three medals - one gold and two silver - at the first Asian Relay Championships. The 1st Asian Relay Championships was held on 20 and 21 May 2024 at Suphachalasai National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. 
  • This gave Asian athletes a chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, starting on 26 July 2024. 16 Asian countries including China and Japan participated in it. India's mixed relay team won the gold medal in the 4x400 meters event. With a new national record of 3 minutes 14.1 seconds, the Indian team of Muhammad Ajmal, Jyotika Sri Dandi, Amoj Jacob and Subha Venkatesan won the gold medal. 
  • The men's 4x400 meters relay team won the silver medal. The men's team of Mohammad Anas Yahiya, T Santosh Kumar, Mizo Chacko Kurien and Arokia Rajiv won the silver medal, finishing behind the Sri Lankan team. Sri Lanka won the gold. 
  • The Indian women's 4x400m relay team of Vithya Ramraj, MR Poovamma, Roopal and Prachi Chaudhary won the silver medal, leaving the Vietnamese team behind. The Vietnamese team won the gold. 
  • The Indian men's and women's 4x400m relay teams have already qualified for the Paris Olympics 2024. They secured their Olympic quota with their performance at the World Relays 24 held in the Bahamas in May 2024. 

Appointment News

6. 54 people including Ravi Shastri named as multicultural ambassadors of Australia Cricket for two years 

  • Cricket Australia has launched the Multicultural Ambassador Programme, naming 54 people with diverse backgrounds and experience in government, business, sport, media and the community as the inaugural representatives. 
  • The list of ambassadors includes a number of former and current players, as well as industry and community leaders, who will advocate for diversity and support the goals outlined in the Multicultural Action Plan. 
  • The inaugural ambassadors include former India cricketer Ravi Shastri, along with Usman Khawaja, Mel Jones, Wasim Akram, Lisa Sthalekar, Kishwar Chaudhary, Alana King, Peter Varghese, Swati Dave and Fawad Ahmed. 
  • These ambassadors will help drive the five focus areas of Australian Cricket's Multicultural Action Plan: Participation, High Performance, People and Representation, Communications and Engagement and Events and Experiences. 
  • Focusing on their specific areas of expertise, the Ambassadors will provide leadership, insight and support to foster greater connectivity across the Australian cricket landscape. 
  • For an initial two-year term it includes representatives from the Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Indigenous Australian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Afghani communities. 

7. Jetha Ahir appointed as the new chairman of NAFED 

  • BJP MLA Jetha Ahir, who has served as the Deputy Speaker of the Gujarat Assembly in the past, has been elected unopposed as the President of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED). 
  • Ahir was elected unopposed by the board consisting of 21 directors, two of whom are from Gujarat. Ahir is also the chairman of Panchamrit Dairy of Panchmahal as well as Panchmahal District Cooperative (PDC) Bank. 
  • Ahir's appointment comes in the backdrop of the recent buzz over Jetpur's BJP MLA Jayesh Radadiya being elected as a board member in IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative) against BJP-ruled Bipin Patel. 
  • Meanwhile, the unopposed reelection of Dilip Sanghani as IFFCO chairman earlier this month also created controversy in political circles. 
  • The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) was established on 2 October 1958, on the auspicious day of Gandhi Jayanti. 
  • NAFED is registered under the Multi State Co-operative Societies Act. 
  • NAFED was established with the objective of promoting cooperative marketing of agricultural produce to benefit the farmers. 

Award News

8. UP's e-rickshaw driver Aarti was honored with UK's Women Empowerment Award 'Amal Clooney' 

  • Aarti, an 18-year-old female erickshaw driver from Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, has been honored with the Amal Clooney Women Empowerment Award by King Charles III of the United Kingdom. 
  • The awards ceremony was held at Buckingham Palace, London, England. Aarti reached Buckingham Palace in a pink erickshaw, which she got under the Mission Shakti scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government. 
  • The Amal Clooney Women's Empowerment Award is named after the famous English barrister Amal Clooney. The award is sponsored by the British charity, Prince's Trust International. The Prince's Trust International was founded by King Charles when he was Prince of Wales. 
  • The Trust recognizes and celebrates the work of young women who, despite all odds, succeed in their endeavors and create lasting change for those around them. 
  • The Uttar Pradesh government launched Mission Shakti in 2020 to empower women of the state through security and self-reliance. Under Mission Shakti, the government has started the Pink ERickshaw Scheme. 
  • The state government has linked the Pink e-Rickshaw initiative with the Mukhyamantri Yuva Swarozgar Yojana. Under this initiative, eligible women aged between 18 to 40 years and 10th pass are provided six days training on safety, security and self-defense related to women's workplaces and three days training in entrepreneurship development. 
  • The scheme is run by the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and implemented by UP Industrial Consultants Limited (UPICON). The woman gets an erickshaw loan at a low interest rate with a subsidy of Rs 49,5000. 

Banking & Finance News

9. Welcome bounty The RBI's transfer of surplus should help next government start confidently 

  • The decision by the Reserve Bank of India's board to transfer a record surplus of almost 2.11 lakh crore to the Union Government for 2023-24 will serve as a welcome shot in the arm for the new government when it presents its Budget in July. 
  • More than double the previous year's ₹87,416 crore payout as well as the 1.02 lakh crore dividend-cum-surplus receipts from the banking and financial system and RBI that was penciled into the interim Union Budget for 2024-25, the transfer should give the next Finance Minister a fair bit of elbow room when computing the spending and fiscal math. 
  • The surge in transferable surplus reflects the prudent asset management approach adopted by the Indian central bank, at a time of lingering global uncertainty and widespread policy tightening by central banks worldwide seeking to restore price stability. 
  • While the specifics of the RBI's 2023-24 balance sheet will be known in the coming days, clearly a combination of substantial gains from higher interest income earned on its holdings of overseas securities and the gains from its interventions in the foreign exchange market to smoothen volatility in the rupee's moves must have contributed in swelling the surplus. The weekly statistical supplement shows that as on March 29, total foreign exchange reserves had increased by $67.1 billion over the course of 12 months to $645.58 billion. 
  • The RBI's prudence has also extended to the crucial provisioning done under the Contingent Risk Buffer (CRB), where it has raised the level of funds set aside to cover for any unforeseen contingencies and risks to the economy. By raising the level of provisioning by 50 basis points to 6.5% of its balance sheet size for 2023-24, the central bank has clearly signaled its increased confidence in the health of the domestic economy even as it strengthens the buffer against any sudden threats to stability from unexpected developments in the global financial system. 
  • For the new government that will assume office after the results of the ongoing general election are declared on June 4, the bountiful surplus transfer from the RBI will give it an opportunity to raise capital spending, especially at a time when the key engine of private consumption expenditure is still in search of sustained tailwinds. 
  • The opportunity to use some of the additional bonanza to bridge the fiscal gap can also help strengthen the government's finances and reassure investors of its commitment to the fiscal consolidation road map. The RBI has in its own quiet way paved the path for the next government to start with confidence in the resilience of the economy. 

Miscellaneous News

10. Chinese Pond Heron bird seen for the first time in Uttarakhand 

  • The Chinese Pond Heron, a bird commonly found in the northeastern states, Rajasthan and Bhutan, has been spotted for the first time in Uttarakhand. According to experts, there was no record of the presence of Chinese Pond Heron in Uttarakhand. 
  • For the first time this bird has chosen Kotdwar area of Lansdowne Forest Division for breeding. 
  • During summer many migratory birds are seen in the dense forests of Saneh area of Kotdwar and Lansdowne forest divisions. 
  • The arrival of birds from northeastern states here is an indication that the environment here is favorable for them. 
  • The Chinese pond heron (Ardeola bacchus) is an East Asian freshwater bird of the heron family. It is one of six species of birds known as "pond herons" (genus Ardeola). 
  • It is typically 47 cm (19 in) long, has white feathers, a yellow bill and black tips, yellow eyes and feet. 
  • Its overall coloration is red, blue and white during the breeding season, and greyish-brown and white at other times. It is found in shallow fresh and saltwater wetlands and ponds. It is quite common and is considered a Least Concern (LC) species by the IUCN Red List.

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