Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 3rd May 2024

National News 

1. India will host the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting 

  • India will host the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM 46) and the 26th meeting of the Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP 26) in Kochi, Kerala from May 20 to 30, 2024. The National Center for Polar and Ocean Research of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences will host the meeting. 
  • Over 350 delegates from over 60 countries are expected to participate in the 46th ATCM and 26th CEP meetings. The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS), established in 2004, serves as the administrative hub for the Antarctic Treaty System. 
  • The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting is a forum where Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (Member States) and other stakeholders meet to discuss environmental, scientific and governance issues affecting Antarctica. 
  • The last meeting was held in Helsinki, Finland from 29 May-8 June 2023 and was the first Held 10–24 July 1961, in Canberra, Australia. Earlier this meeting was held in New Delhi, India from 30 April to 11 May 2007. 
  • India signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1983. The Antarctic Act passed by Parliament came into force in 2022. The Government of India started its scientific expedition to Antarctica in 1981. 
  • Established the first Antarctic research station, South Gangotri, in 1983. Currently, India operates two year-end research centres: Maitri (1989) and Bharati (2012). 

Antarctic Treaty 

  • The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. in 1959. It was signed by 12 countries and came into force in 1961. Currently, 56 countries have signed the Antarctica Treaty. 
  • The Antarctic Treaty has declared Antarctica a demilitarized zone. The Environmental Protection Committee was established in 1991 under the Environmental Protection Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol). 
  • The Environmental Protection Committee advises the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting on environmental protection and conservation in Antarctica. The Permanent Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty is in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

2. All adverse events after vaccine being monitored’ 

  • All adverse events following immunization (AEFI) after COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be monitored, a senior Union Health Ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said on Thursday. 
  • Earlier this week, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca admitted in a U.K. court that its COVID-19 vaccine had the potential to cause thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a rare side effect associated with blood clotting. 
  • "After 2022-23, the demand for COVID vaccine dropped and now we are seeing less than a lakh people coming in for vaccination or the booster dose," public health expert N.K. Arora said. 

3. Removing exotic plants will ensure food for wild animals, finds study 

  • Removing exotic plants from forest areas will help ensure food for wild elephants at Chinnakanal in Munnar, says a study by the Kerala State Forest Protective Staff Organisation, an association of frontline forest officers. 
  • A group of ground forest team, including deputy rangers, watchers, and a protection watchers team, visited Chinnakkanal recently and interacted with local people and panchayat officials about steps to mitigate human-elephant conflict in the region. KSFPSO district secretary Santhosh P.G. says removing exotic species such as Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) and eucalyptus from forests is vital to addressing the problems. 
  • "In many areas in forests filled with exotic trees, no other plants are growing. 
  • Wild animals, including elephants, are unable to move through these areas. If these areas change to natural grasslands, it will ensure food and water for wild elephants. The report will be submitted to the government soon," he says. 
  • "The Chinnakkanal landscape is overrun by West Indian Lantana (kongini), inhibiting the growth of other species and restricting access to animals," says Mr. Santhosh.. 
  • According to officials, 19 wild elephants, including two tuskers Chakkakompan and Murivalan Kompan, five male calves, and 12 female elephants, have been confined to the Chinnakkanal landscape. An expert panel appointed by the High Court to address human-animal conflict in the region has recommended reopening the elephant corridor from Anayirankal to Old Devikulam in Munnar for facilitating the movement of elephants.

International News 

4. Pakistan will launch its first lunar mission ‘ICUBE-Q’ on China’s lunar mission ‘Chang’e-6’ 

  • China is preparing to send its new mission 'Chang'e-6 Lunar' to the Moon. The mission aims to collect soil and rock samples from the unseen part of the Moon, providing important insights into its early evolution and the inner Solar System. 
  • Pakistan will launch its first lunar mission, ICUBE-Q, on China's Chang'e-6 probe. Developed in collaboration with China's Shanghai University and Pakistan's Institute of Space Technology (IST), iCube-Q is equipped with optical cameras that take pictures of the lunar surface. 
  • This historic collaboration between Pakistan and China is not only a milestone for Pakistan's space program but also enhances international cooperation in lunar exploration. 
  • The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, lander, ascender, and reentry module. Its goal is to land in the South Pole-Aitken Basin to collect dust and rock samples. A total of 10 kg of foreign equipment will accompany the mission. 
  • Scientific instruments from France, Italy and the European Space Agency will be part of the payload. Pakistani payload will also be installed on the orbiter. Preparations for the mission are progressing aboard a Long March-5 Y8 carrier rocket at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in southern China's Hainan province. 
  • Earlier, China had launched the Chang'e E4 mission, which landed in the Von Kármán crater on January 2, 2019 with the Yutu 2 rover and the spacecraft has set a record of operating for 1,000 days on the Moon till September 28, 2023. Which has surpassed the previous record of 321 days set by the Soviet Union's robotic Lunokhod 1 rover. 

5. UAE achieved the top position with 296 medals in the Gulf Youth Games 2024 for the first time. 

  • The Gulf Youth Games 2024 were held for the first time in the United Arab Emirates from 16 April to 2 May 2024. The event was attended by 3,500 athletes, both men and women, along with 300 volunteers and 100 media experts. 
  • Faris Mohammed Al Mutawa, Secretary-General of the UAE National Olympic Committee, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Committee and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, conducted the flight. Overall, the talented young athletes won 792 medals across 24 sports disciplines. 
  • UAE emerged as the leading contender for this inaugural event. He won the most medals with an outstanding tally of 296, which was 37 percent of the total medals distributed. The UAE's impressive medal collection includes 96 gold, 103 silver and 97 bronze medals. 
  • Saudi Arabia finished second with 149 medals (58 gold, 57 silver, 34 bronze), while Kuwait finished third with 126 medals (35 gold, 45 silver, 46 bronze). Qatar finished fourth with 81 medals (31 gold, 22 silver, 28 bronze), followed by Bahrain at fifth with 77 medals (25 gold, 20 silver, 32 bronze). 
  • Oman finished sixth after earning a total of 63 medals including 21 gold, 14 silver and 28 bronze medals. During the concluding day of competitions at the Gulf Youth Games, the UAE swimming team secured an additional four medals, bringing their total to 28, consisting of six gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze. 
  • Additionally, the Emirati fencing team put in a remarkable performance, earning six medals over the course of two days, taking their total medal tally to 11. 

State News 

6. Bengaluru records 41.1 degrees Celsius 

  • The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre (KSNDMC) district wise minimum and maximum temperatures recorded from 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday to 8.30 a.m. on Thursday showed that Bengaluru Urban recorded a maximum of 41.1 degrees Celsius. 
  • Many parts of Bengaluru received rain on Thursday evening after a parched five months and seven days. The IMD forecast for Bengaluru City issued on Thursday states that for the next 36 hours, the maximum and minimum temperatures very likely will be around 39 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius, respectively. 

Defence News

7. DRDO unveils high-powered indigenous laser weapon project ‘DURGA II’ 

  • The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is reportedly gearing up to test the real-life prototype of its indigenous laser weapon system, DURGA-2. 
  • Laser weapons offer high kill probability, potentially reaching 100 percent effectiveness. The Laser Science and Technology Center (LSTC) in New Delhi, reportedly the key hub of the classified Durga-2 project, has been allocated $100 million by the government. 
  • Its name is Directionally Unrestricted Ray-Gun ArrayDURGA-2, which is a light directed energy weapon (DEW), it is a lightweight DEW of 100 kW and can also be used by the armed forces. 
  • It aims to provide the Indian Armed Forces with state-of-the-art technology capable of neutralizing various threats including drones, missiles and artillery shells. Initial successes include a 25KW laser capable of targeting missiles at a distance of 5 km..
  • It is a type of weapon system that emits highly concentrated energy, usually in the form of a laser, microwave or particle beam, to disable or destroy targets. They can be used for a variety of purposes including engaging targets, missile defense and disabling electronics. 
  • They emit electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range to disrupt or damage electronic systems such as computers, sensors or communication devices. 
  • Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel and China are reportedly among the countries that have planned to develop DEW or laser directed energy weapons. 
  • Earlier, America had also accused Cuba of carrying out sonic attacks (Havana Syndrome). 

8. Air Marshal Nagesh Kapoor has been appointed to the post of Chief of Training Command of the Air Force. 

  • Air Marshal Nagesh Kapoor assumes charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command. He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force on 06 December 1986. 
  • As a qualified flying instructor and fighter combat leader, he has over 34 hundred hours of flying experience. In recognition of his meritorious service, the Air Marshal was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal in 2008 and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2022. 
  • Prior to this, he served as Air Officer-in-Charge, Personnel at Air Headquarters. He was commissioned into the fighter branch of the Indian Air Force on December 6, 1986. Kapoor has held a number of field and staff appointments. He took up diplomatic assignments as Defense Attaché in Pakistan. 
  • His operational tenure includes Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron in the Central Sector, Station Commander of a Flying Base in the Western Sector and Air Officer Commanding a Major Air Base. 
  • He has completed instructional tenure as Chief Instructor (Flying) at the Air Force Academy and Instructional Staff at the prestigious Defense Services Staff College, Wellington. 
  •  During his tenure at the Air Force Academy, the air officer was instrumental in the induction and operationalization of PC-7 Mk IL aircraft into the Indian Air Force. 

Appointment News

9. Maushumi Chakravarty assumes charge of DG of Akashvani News 

  • Senior Indian Information Service officer, Maushumi Chakravarty assumed the charge of Director General of Akashvani News. 
  • Chakravarty assumed the charge after superannuation of Ms. Vasudha Gupta as Principal DG. 
  • A 1991 batch IIS officer, Ms Chakravarty has vast experience of working in several media organizations of the I&B Ministry, including the Press Information Bureau and Central Bureau of Communication. 

About All India Radio 

  • All India Radio (AIR) aka Akashvani, is an Indian state-owned public radio broadcaster founded by the Government of India, owned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and one of Prasar Bharati’s two divisions. 
  • It was established in 1936. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Director of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) – Pratima Singh 
  • President of Indian Vaccine Manufacturers Association (IVMA) – Krishna Ella 
  • Presiding Officer of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) – Retired Justice Dinesh Kumar 
  • Director in Department of Land Resources – Sarvadanand Barnwal 
  • CVO of Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Authority – Manoj Kumar 

10. Solomon Islands elects Jeremiah Manele as new PM 

  • Legislators in the Solomon Islands have elected former Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele as their new prime minister. 
  • Manele, who has pledged to continue the Pacific nation’s China-friendly foreign policy, won 31 votes in a secret ballot. 
  • His opponent, longtime opposition leader Matthew Wale, secured 18 votes. 

Newly Appointed Prime Minister & President 

  • Deputy PM of Pakistan – Ishaq Dar 
  • President of Indonesia – Prabowo Subianto 
  • PM of Kuwait – Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Ahmad al-Sabah 
  • PM of Ireland – Simon Harris (youngest PM of nation, 37) 
  • President of Slovakia – Peter Pellegrini 

11. Shashi Bhushan Singh appointed as Secretary of National Jute Board 

  • The Central Government has approved the appointment of Shashi Bhushan Singh (IRTS) as Secretary (at Director level) of National Jute Board, Kolkata under the Ministry of Textiles. 
  • Singh has been appointed to the post for a period of five years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. 
  • Singh is an Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) of 2010-batch. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Director of MoHUA – Sunil Kumar Yadav 
  • Executive Chairman of Coromandel International – Arun Alagappan (replace A. Vellayan) 
  • Chairman of Wrestling Federation of India’s Athletes’ Commission – Narsingh Pancham Yadav 
  • First women VC of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) – Prof Naima Khatoon 
  • CVO of Cotton Corporation of India – Nidhi Jain 
  • CEO of Pine Labs’ Setu – Anand Raisinghani (replace Sahil Kini) 

Awards News 

12. Purnima Devi Barman received ‘Green Oscar’ Whitley Gold Award 2024 

  • A wildlife biologist from Assam, Dr Purnima Devi Barman has won her second Whitley Gold Award, also known as the Green Oscar. 
  • She was honoured for her conservation effort of the endangered bird, Hargila or Greater Adjutant Stork and its wetland habitat. 
  • This is the second time that Dr Barman has been honoured with the Whitley Gold Award. She was also awarded the prize in 2017. 
  • Ms Barman received the trophy from charity patron Princess Anne – the Princess Royal, the sister of King Charles III, in recognition of her conservation of the stork known locally as “Hargila” in Assamese. 
  • The Whitley Awards also celebrated six other grassroots conservationists – from Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Cameroon, Nepal and Brazil – for their locally-led solutions to the global biodiversity and climate crises. 

Recent Awards 

  • Newsweek’s 2024 list of the ‘World’s Best Hospitals’ – Medanta Gurugram 
  • World Press Photo of the Year award 2024 – Mohammed Salem 
  • CIDC Vishwakarma Award for Social Development and Impact – Puravankara Limited, 
  • International Fellowship by the Engineering Academy of Japan – Kaushik Rajashekara 
  • Earns Frost & Sullivan’s 2023 Indian Company of the Year Award – STT GDC India 

13. Indian chess player Vaishali was officially honored with the title of Grandmaster. 

  • Indian chess prodigy, Vaishali Ramesh Babu, has been officially awarded the title of Grandmaster by the International Chess Federation FIDE. Vaishali is the third Indian woman Grandmaster after Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli. 
  • Vaishali crossed the required 2500 ELO points at the Llobregat Open tournament in Spain last year. However, this title was officially awarded to him after the FIDE Council meeting during the Candidates Tournament in Toronto in the last week of April 2024. 
  • Vaishali's achievement as the 84th Indian Grandmaster and the 42nd international woman from any country to become a GM has already been widely recognized. In January 2024, he was awarded the Arjuna Award. 
  • Vaishali is also the sister of 18-yearold young chess sensation Praggnanandhaa, making them the first grandmaster brother-sister pair in the history of the game. 
  • Vaishali achieved its first GM norm in 2019 and took three years to win the second norm in 2022. And, finally, a year later she achieved her third and final norm at the Qatar Open in October. 

Sports News 

14. Amul to sponsor USA’s cricket team in T20 WC 

  • Amul will be the lead arm sponsor for USA’s cricket team that will participate in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 which commences on June 1. 
  • The opening match of the tournament will be played between USA and Canada in Dallas. 
  • This association with Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), responsible for marketing milk and milk products under the brand name Amul, signifies a significant step towards expanding and popularizing cricket across the nation. 

Important day 

15. 2 May – World Tuna Day 

  • World Tuna Day is observed annually on May 2. 
  • The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the decline in tuna stocks worldwide and the need to effectively implement international regulations to safeguard future tuna supplies. 
  • Tuna is a highly nutritious and valuable fish that is a significant source of food for both developing and developed countries. It is essential to maintain healthy and sustainable tuna populations for future generations. 
  • The World Tuna Day was first observed in 2017. The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness about the declining tuna population and to promote the conservation and management of tuna fisheries. 

16. 3 April – World Press Freedom Day 

  • World Press Freedom Day is observed every year on 3 May. 
  • The day is commemorated to highlight the significance of press freedom globally and to recognize the challenges encountered by journalists. 
  • Theme 2024 -A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis. 
  • The day also pays tribute to all the journalists who have lost their lives. 
  • World Press Freedom Day was first declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. This declaration came after a recommendation made in 1991 at the twenty-sixth General Conference session of UNESCO. 

17. On the occasion of his 176th birth anniversary, the original copy of Raja Ravi Varma's iconic painting 'Indulekha' was unveiled in Kerala. 

  • On the occasion of the 176th birth anniversary of renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma (April 29, 1848), the first original copy of his iconic painting "Indulekha" was unveiled at the artist's birthplace, Kilimanoor Palace in Travancore, Kerala. 
  • The painting's owner Sasikala Parakkal unveiled the copy at the palace. It is believed that Ravi Varma's famous painting 'Reclining Lady' was based on Indulekha. 
  • Indulekha, the protagonist of O Chandu Menon's seminal Malayalam novel, holds cultural and literary significance as an icon of early modern literature in the region. Indulekha's unpublished painting attracted public attention when it became public in 2022. 
  • A portrait of late Pooyam Thirunal C R Kerala Varma, a member of the Kilimanoor palace, and paintings by C Rajaraja Varma and Mangala Bai, brother-sister of Raja Ravi Varma, are also included. 

Raja Ravi Verma 

  • He is considered the father of modern Indian art, because he combined Indian iconography with Western realism. His influence is seen in fields as diverse as art, literature, advertising, textiles and comic books. 
  • Born in an aristocratic family of Kerala, Raja Ravi Varma started his professional art career at the age of 22 and mastered oil painting. Varma was among the first Indian artists to use oil colors and is considered a representative of the European branch of painting in India. 
  • Varma built his reputation through royal patronage, receiving many special gifts from Maharana Fateh Singh and Sayajirao Gaekwad III. The Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal was awarded by the British colonial government in 1904 and a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honor in 2013. 

Obituary News 

18. Playback Singer Uma Ramanan passed away 

  • Renowned playback singer Uma Ramanan passed away at the age of 72 in Chennai. 
  • Ramanan was a trained classical singer and appeared in more than 6,000 concerts in 35 years. Song Poongathave Thalthiravai in the Nizhalgal film catapulted her to fame. 
  • Some of her famous songs for Ilaiyaraaja include ‘Bhoopalam Isaikkum’ from ‘Thooral Ninnu Pochchu’, ‘Aanandha Raagam’ from ‘Panner Pushpangal, ‘Kanmani Nee Vara’ from ‘Thendrale Ennai Thodu’, ‘Ponn Maanae’ from ‘Oru Kaidhiyin Dairy’, ‘Aagaya Vennilave’ from ‘Arangetra Velai’ and ‘Sri Ranga Ranganathanin’ from ‘Mahanadi’, among others.

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