Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 26th May 2024

National News 

1. World’s first 100% biodegradable pen launches in India 

  • Saurabh H Mehta from New Delhi has introduced the world’s first fully biodegradable pen, named the NOTE pen (No Offence to Earth). 
  • The pen features a recycled paper refill, and non-toxic ink, and comes in options of metal, paper, or bamboo exteriors. 
  • This innovation aims to reduce plastic waste, a significant issue as over 50 billion ballpoint pens are discarded annually. 

2.Parliament adds facilities for new MPs 

  • The temperature is hovering above 41 degrees Celsius, but construction is in full swing in Parliament. 
  • Racing against time, several new structures, including roads and reception lounges, are being built to welcome the members of the 18th Lok Sabha in June. 
  • As dust blew in the air, laborers crushed with hammers the red sandstone-topped pathways laid only last year. As part of a green initiative, they will be replaced with cobbled pathways made of black stones brought from Karnataka. 
  • Several pockets had been dug up by earthmovers, and laborers milled around the compound when The Hindu visited the complex on May 22.
  • "These are special stones, they are being evenly spread leaving a gap of a few centimeters to prevent waterlogging. When it poured, the concrete structure led to accumulation of water. The new pathway will recharge groundwater and help in rainwater harvesting as the water will percolate to the ground," said a Parliament official on condition of anonymity. 
  • Another official added that two new waiting areas are being constructed after bringing down existing structures in the compound. "The waiting areas or offices on either end will be of help to the new members of Parliament. It will be a holding area before they proceed to the House as many would be first time members," said the second official. 
  • The new Parliament building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May last year. The four-storey building, built at an estimated cost of 1970 crore, held its first special sitting on September 19, 2023. It faces the British-era Parliament building, or the Samvidhan Sadan, which will now be conserved as a heritage asset. 
  • "The air conditioner here has not been working for the past two months due to the ongoing construction. As there are no fans and this room is supposed to be centrally air-conditioned, there is little we can do," said a security person posted at the main reception office in the Parliament complex on Red Cross Road. 
  • The office is also being refurbished to accommodate the requirements of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that recently took over the security of the Parliament. 
  • After the security breach on December 13, 2023, when two unarmed men jumped into the Well of the Lok Sabha with color sprays, a slew of security measures was taken, and a committee, set up to study the lapses, suggested handing over of the Parliament security to the CISF. Facial recognition devices were installed at various points then. 
  • A day before the breach, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) had floated a tender for additional security infrastructure for the Parliament complex, including security gadgets and bullet proof enclosures, at a cost of ₹35 crore. 
  • The tender document for the project said that the work would include redevelopment of the reception lounge, security blocks, electrical services and external development, including sewerage and drainage. 

International News 

3. Pakistan PM to visit China next month for CPEC 

  • Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China in the first week of next month to join the formal launching of the second phase of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, according to a media report on Saturday. 
  • Mr. Sharif was scheduled to leave for China on June 4. 
  • The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is opposed by India as it is being laid through Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK). In CPEC-II, both countries will focus on agriculture, Main Line-I of Pakistan Railways, businessmen-to-businessmen deals and realignment of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) etc. 

4. Bhutan PM extols smart city project 

  • Rejecting comparisons to other cost-intensive, low-return smart city projects worldwide, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay (in picture) said the Gelephu Mindfulness City is a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for Indian investors in the 2,000 square kilo-meter carbon-negative city project being designed. 
  • Mr. Tobgay said Indian Airport Authority officials had already visited Gelephu and discussed permissions required for it, but that the contract for developing the airport is yet to be finalized. 
  • Calling Bhutan's economic challenges "deep", he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for doubling India's outlay to Bhutan for its latest five-year plan to begin on July 1 from *5,000 crore to ₹10,000 crore. "About ₹8,500 crore is for our 13th five-year plan. Much of that money will go into infrastructure.” 

Appointment News

5. ICC names Shahid Afridi as Men’s T 20 WC 2024 Brand Ambassador 

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi as the brand ambassador of the forthcoming 9th ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. 
  • The tournament will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America from 1 to 29 June 2024. 
  • Shahid Afridi joins Indian Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle of West Indies, and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt as brand ambassadors for the event. 
  • The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup start on 1 June, with the USA team taking on Canada at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, the United States of America. India will take on Pakistan on 9 June in New York. 

About International Cricket Council (ICC) 

  • Formation – 15 June 1909 
  • Headquarters – Dubai, UAE 
  • Chairman – Greg Barclay (New Zealand) 
  • Deputy Chairman – Imran Khwaja (Singapore) 
  • CEO – Geoff Allardice (Australia) 
  • General Manager – Wasim Khan 
  • Membership – 108 members 

6. MS Dhoni appointed as Citroen’s brand ambassador in India 

  • French automaker Citroen has roped in former India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador in India. 
  • Dhoni will mark his debut innings with Citroen in a campaign that will soon go live. 
  • We believe that our association with one of India’s finest cricketers, Dhoni, will go a long way in reinforcing our commitment to the Indian market. 

Recent Brand Ambassador 

  • Kareena Kapoor Khan – UNICEF India National Ambassador 
  • Sanjana Sanghi – SPACE India 
  • Neeraj Chopra – Eveready Batteries 
  • Nayanthar – Slice (the popular mango-flavored drink) 
  • Neeraj Chopra – BPCL’s Speed Petrol Variant 

Award News

7. Double treat at Cannes as Payal and Anasuya bag awards 

  • India received a double treat at the Cannes Film Festival this year, with film-maker Payal Kapadia taking home the Grand Prix award for her spellbinding drama All We Imagine as Light and Anasuya Sengupta, one of the lead stars of the film The Shameless, bagging the the Best Actress award in the Un Certain Regard category. 
  • The Grand Prix award is the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d'Or, while the Un Certain Regard celebrates films with unusual styles and non-traditional stories. 
  • Ms. Kapadia's feature directorial debut, which screened on Thursday night and has received glowing reviews in the international press, already registered its name in the history books after it became the first Indian film in 30 years and first-ever by an Indian woman director to be showcased in the main competition. 
  • The screening of the Sean Baker's Anora crowned with Palme d'Or film received an eight-minute standing ovation from the audience members. All We Imagine as Light, a Malayalam-Hindi feature, has two nurses as the protagonists. An alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Ms. Kapadia is best known for her acclaimed documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing, which premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival's Director's Fortnight side bar where it won the Oeil d'or (Golden Eye) award. 
  • The main competition jury was chaired by film maker Greta Gerwig and also included Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, Turkish actor-screenwriter Ebru Ceylan, Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, American actor Lily Gladstone, Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, Lebanese actor-director Nadine Labaki and French stars Eva Green and French actor Omar's mother. 
  • Ms. Sengupta, who starred in Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov's Hindi movie The Shameless, is the first Indian artist to win the top acting honour in the Un Certain Regard category. In her acceptance speech on Friday night, 
  • Ms. Sengupta dedicated the award to the "queer community and other marginalized communities" for bravely fighting for their rights all over the world. 
  • Fight for equality "You don't have to be queer to fight for equality, you don't have to be colonized to know that colonizing is pathetic, we just need to be very, very decent human beings," the actor said. 
  • The win at Cannes is a landmark moment in Ms. Sengupta's career. She earlier played a supporting part in the 2009 Bengali film Madly Bangalee, directed by Anjan Dutt, and worked as a production designer after shifting to Mumbai. 
  • The Shameless, which had its premiere at Cannes on May 17, forays into a dark, disturbing world of exploitation and misery in which two sex workers, one who bears the scars of her line of work, the other a young girl days away from ritual initiation, forge a bond and seek to throw off their shackles. 
  • Ms. Sengupta plays the central character of Renuka, who escapes from a Delhi brothel after stabbing an Anora, a raw, highly explicit and often hilarious story about a New York erotic dancer, was crowned with the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday. It confirmed its policeman to death and takes refuge in a community of sex workers in northern India, where she meets Devika (Omara), a young girl condemned to a life of sex work. 
  • The actor celebrated her win on Instagram, where she posted pictures with Un Certain Regard jury head, Canadian director Xavier Dolan, and German Luxembourg star Vicky Krieps. "I won, guys, held so lovingly by my heroes. I'm here for you, to be the one you need THANK YOU @festivaldecannes," Ms. Sengupta wrote in the caption. 

Important day

8. 25 May – World Football Day 

  • 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the first international football tournament in history with the representation of all regions, which took place on May 25, 1924, during the summer Olympic games held in Paris. 
  • In recognition of this milestone, on May 7, 2024, the General Assembly passed Resolution A/RES/78/281 proclaiming May 25 as World Football Day. 
  • The resolution acknowledges “the global reach of football and its impact in various spheres, including commerce, peace and diplomacy, and recognizing that football creates a space for cooperation.” 

9. 25-31 May – International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories 

  • The UN commemorates International Week of Solidarity with Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories annually from May 25 to May 31. 
  • This day aims to request the administering Powers to protect and respect the rights of the peoples in these territories to their natural resources and their property rights. 
  • The UN describes a Non-Self-Governing Territory as a territory “whose people have not yet gained a complete degree of self-government.” 
  • From 1960 to 2002, 54 territories attained self-government. At present, there are 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. 

10. 25 May – Africa Day 

  • Africa Day, also known as African Liberation Day, is celebrated on May 25. 
  • The Day celebrates African unity, diversity and achievements across the continent. It stressed the importance of unity among African nations in achieving common goals and addressing shared challenges. 
  • Theme 2024 – Education Fit for the 21st Century 
  • It is also an annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963.

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