Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 9th May 2024

National News

1. ISRO successfully tests 'preburner ignition' under semicryogenic mode in Tamil Nadu 

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has achieved a significant milestone in the development of its semi-cryogenic propulsion system with the successful ignition test of the preburner. 
  • The assembly and testing of the propulsion module was carried out at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. 
  • ISRO is developing a 2000 kN thrust semi-cryogenic engine pre-burner ignition test article (PITA) to increase the payload capacity of LVM3 and working on LOX kerosene propellant combination for future launch vehicles. 
  • "Smooth and continuous ignition" of the pre-burner (combustion chamber in rocket engines), which is critical for starting the engine, was demonstrated during the test conducted at the Cryo Integrated Engine Test Facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC). 
  • The test was conducted at the Semi Cryo Integrated Engine Test Facility (SIET), which was recently dedicated to the nation by the Honorable Prime Minister of India. 
  • ISRO said the successful ignition of the pre-burner was a "major milestone" in the development of the engine. “This will be followed by development trials on the engine power head test article and fully integrated engine. 

Pre-Burner Ignition Test Article (PITA) 

  • Semi-cryogenic engine ignition is achieved using a start fuel ampule that uses a combination of triethyl aluminide and triethyl boron developed by VSSC and used for the first time in a 2000 kN semicryogenic engine at ISRO. 
  • Additionally several injector element level ignition tests were conducted at the Propulsion Research Laboratory Division (PRLD) facility of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC). 

2. India is now third largest producer of solar power 

  • In 2023, India overtook Japan to become the world's third-highest producer of solar power, said a report by international energy analytics agency Ember on Wednesday. India generated 113 billion units (BU) of solar power in 2023 compared to Japan's 110 BU. 
  • In terms of installed power capacity, which includes sources of renewable and nonrenewable energy, India at 73 gigawatt (1 GW is one billion watts) ranks fifth in the world while Japan is at third place (83 GW), according to data computed by Ember. 
  • While reflective of the rising share of solar power in India's energy mix, the power produced per year can vary due to fluctuations in a country's power demand and local circumstances which lead to a gap between the installed capacity and actual power produced. 
  • Data from government think-tank, NITI Ayog suggest that as of May 2024, solar power, while making up 18% of India's total installed electricity of 442 GW, made up only 6.66% of the power actually produced reflecting the gap between potential and actuals. 
  • Power demand in Japan decreased by 2% (2 BU) in 2023 after rising in 2021 and 2022, thus allowing India to overtake Japan. While it is unclear if this trend will sustain next year, surpassing the next country, the United States which is in the second spot will require India to more than double its current solar production and exceed 228 BU. 
  • The leading producer of solar power in the world is China, producing 584 BU of solar power in 2024- more than the next four countries combined: the United States, Japan, Germany and India. 

'Future has arrived' 

  • Globally however, renewable sources of energy made up 30% of global electricity produced. Renewables have expanded from 19% of global electricity in 2000, driven by an increase in solar and wind power, to 30% in 2023. China was the main contributor in 2023, accounting for 51% of the additional global solar generation and 60% of new global wind generation. Combined with nuclear, the world generated almost 40% of its electricity from low-carbon sources in 2023. 
  • Ember forecasts fossil fuel generation to drop in 2024 and the trend to continue in other years, suggesting that 2023 might be the year when the fossil fuel production may have "peaked" globally. 
  • "The renewables future has arrived," said Dave Jones, Ember's director of global insights. "Solar in particular is accelerating faster than anyone thought possible.” 

3. Uttarakhand Govt Launches Pirul Lao Paise Pao Campaign 

  • The Uttarakhand government has launched the Pirul Lao-Paise Pao campaign to contain the raging forest fire in the state. 
  • Under the Pirul Lao-Paise Pao campaign, the local youth and villagers will collect dry Pirul (Pine tree leaves) in the forest and take them to the designated Pirul collection centre. 
  • The Tehsildar in their respective areas will manage the pirul collection centre under the supervision of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. 
  • The Pirul will be weighed and stored at the collection centre, and the villagers or youth will be paid Rs 50 per kg, which will be directly transferred to the bank accounts. 
  • The collected Pirul will be packed and processed, and sold to the industries for further use. 

About Uttarakhand 

  • Capital – Dehradun (Winter), Gairsain (Summer) 
  • Chief Minister – Pushkar Singh Dhami 
  • Governor – Gurmit Singh 

Recent Schemes launched by state governments 

  • Neengal Nalama Scheme (Tamil Nadu) – To improve the health index and social well-being of all citizens in the state 
  • Widow Remarriage Promotion Scheme (Jharkhand) – To provide 2 lakh to all the widowed who will get remarriage. 
  • MYUVA Scheme (Uttar Pradesh) – To support young entrepreneurs 
  • Indiramma Housing Scheme (Telangana) – To provide Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to construct houses 
  • CM’s Health Insurance Scheme (Nagaland) – To ensures financial security and protection 

International News

4. Maldives Foreign Minister visits India to 'deepen' longstanding ties 

  • Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer on Wednesday left for India on his "very first bilateral official visit", the maiden high-level visit from Male since bilateral ties came under severe strain after President Mohamed Muizzu, a proChina leader, assumed office six months ago. 
  • During his visit from May 8 to 10, Mr. Zameer will meet with Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and hold discussions on deepening and expanding the long-standing partnership between the Maldives and India, the Foreign Ministry here said in a statement. 
  • This is Foreign Minister Mr. Zameer's first official visit to India since assuming office. 
  • "Departing to New Delhi on my very first bilateral official visit. Looking forward to meeting my counterpart Minister of External Affairs, Dr. @DrSJaishankar, and discuss deepening and enhancing cooperation between #Maldives and #India for the mutual benefit of our peoples," Mr. Zameer said in a post on X. 
  • The bilateral ties came under severe strain after Mr. Muizzu insisted on the withdrawal of nearly 90 Indian military personnel operating three aviation platforms in the island nation. 
  • India has already withdrawn most of its military personnel. Mr. Muizzu has set May 10 as the deadline for the exit of all India troops from his country. 
  • On Monday, Mr. Muiz zu's spokesperson announced that 51 Indian military personnel have le the Maldives and comfirmed that the rest would leave by May 10 as agree by the two countries. 

5. China and EU candidate Serbia sign an agreement to build a 'shared future’ 

  • China and European Union candidate Serbia signed an agreement on Wednesday to build a "shared future," making the Balkan country the first in Europe to agree on such a document with Beijing. 
  • After meeting in Belgrade, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Serbian President Vucic announced they would "deepen and elevate the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Serbia," and "build a new era of a community with a shared future between China and Serbia." 
  • Mr. Xi launched the term "community for shared future" over 10 years ago. While it may not denote a specific initiative, experts believe it has an underlying significance as another term for an alliance. 
  • AS Community of destiny "Eight years ago, Serbia became China's first comprehensive strategic partner in the Central and Eastern European region, and today Serbia is the first European country to build a community of destiny with China," Mr. Xi said. 
  • Mr. Vucic said the two countries "are moving from strategic relations, through which we had managed to raise our bilateral ties, to the joint future of our two countries.” 

6. Sri Lanka signs 20-year power agreement with Adani Green Energy for wind power stations 

  • The Sri Lankan government has given the green light to a partnership with Indian billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani Green Energy to build wind power stations in Mannar and Punerin. 
  • A negotiating committee has been tasked with assessing Adani Green's proposal, which would result in a 20-year power purchase agreement between the parties. 
  • The renewable energy company received approval to invest $442 million in February 2023 to develop 484 MW of wind power plants in two areas located in northern Sri Lanka. 
  • As part of the deal, Adani will get 8.26 cents per kilowatt-hour, or about Rs 7, as announced by the Sri Lankan government. The cooperation comes amid efforts to address energy challenges including power blackouts and fuel shortages experienced by Sri Lanka during the economic crisis in 2022. 
  • Adani Group is also involved in the construction of a $700 million terminal project in Colombo, Sri Lanka's largest port. Earlier the Sri Lankan Cabinet had approved the India project to implement the renovation of Kankesanthurai Port in the Northern Province. 

7. India and Ghana agree to operationalize UPI link in 6 months 

  • India and Ghana plan to implement UPI on Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System – GHIPSS in 6 months. The JTC meeting led by the Ministry of Commerce in Accra explored MoUs on digital transformation, local currency settlement, AfCFTA opportunities. 
  • Both sides discussed the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on digital transformation solutions; According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the opportunities offered by the local currency settlement system and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) were also discussed. 

8. American Predator drones will be deployed at Gorakhpur and Sarsawa airports in UP

  • The Indian Army and Air Force are planning to jointly deploy MQ-9B Predator drones at air bases in Sarsawa and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh to upgrade their surveillance capabilities along the Line of Actual Control with China from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • The selection of Gorakhpur and Sarsawa airports is strategic, given their long runways which are ideal for operating drones with long range and endurance capable of being in the air for more than 36 hours continuously. 
  • Additionally, efforts are underway to equip these Predator drones with indigenous weapon systems during assembly in India. 
  • The move comes in the backdrop of India already operating two drones, which were inducted into the Indian Navy in November 2020. These drones played an important role during the India-China faceoff in Galwan Valley and other places in eastern Ladakh. 
  • The drone deal, which is valued at around US$4 billion, will see 31 MQ9B drones being procured from the US, of which 15 will be for maritime area coverage and will be deployed by the Indian Navy. 
  • With a flight time of more than 36 hours at an altitude of more than 40,000 feet, the drone Hellfire can be armed with air-to-ground missiles and smart bombs. 

State News 

9. Kerala government issued alert after cases of West Nile fever came to light 

  • The Kerala government has instructed all the districts to remain alert after cases of West Nile fever were reported in three districts of the state. Health Minister Veena George confirmed that the fever, spread by Culex mosquitoes, has been identified in Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts. 
  • The infection was confirmed after testing blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples of suspected patients at the Virus Research and Diagnostic Lab attached to the Medical College Hospital. They were later sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune for official confirmation. 
  • The minister directed all districts to take necessary measures for mosquito control and urged the public to seek immediate treatment if they experience symptoms like headache, vomiting, muscle pain and itching. 
  • He stressed that symptomatic treatment and prevention are important to stop the spread of the fever, as there is currently no drug or vaccine available against this virus. This fever was first detected in Kerala in 2011. 
  • There has been no human-tohuman transmission so far. WHO says treatment is supportive for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus, which often includes hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support and prevention of secondary infections. There is no vaccine available for humans. 

West Nile Virus 

  • It is a flavivirus that is also responsible for causing St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever. It is a mosquitoborne, single-stranded RNA virus. WNV outbreak sites are found along all major bird migratory routes. 
  • WNV was first detected in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937. It was identified in birds in the Nile Delta region in 1953. The major vector causing infection is the Culex species of mosquitoes. Birds act as hosts for the virus. 
  • Infected mosquitoes spread WNV to humans and animals, including birds. 

Defence News 

10. Indian Army and Air Force conducted joint exercise ‘Gagan Strike-II’ in Punjab. 

  • Khadga Corps of the Indian Army, under the aegis of the Army's Western Command, successfully conducted a three-day joint exercise 'Gagan Strike-II' with the Indian Air Force (IAF) at multiple locations in Punjab. 
  • The exercise titled “Gagan StrikeII” involved various force multipliers including Apache and ALH-WSI helicopters, unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces of the Indian Army. 
  • The primary objective was to validate the use of these assets in support of ground offensive operations by strike corps along with live firing by helicopters as demanded by mechanized forces during offensive maneuvers. 
  • The recent exercise demonstrated a high level of coordination and joint proficiency between the Indian Army and Air Force. The focus was on practicing centralized and decentralized attack helicopter missions supported by other force multipliers in a dense air defense environment and achieving planned and improvised targets on the battlefield. 
  • Earlier, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted a 10-day exercise 'Gagan Shakti-2024' from April 1-10, 2024. 
  • The Vayu Shakti-2024 exercise which was conducted at the Pokhran Air-to-Ground Range near Jaisalmer where the Indian Air Force deployed its frontline assets including Rafale fighter jets, Mirage-2000, Sukhoi-30 MKI, Tejas Light Combat. 
  • The 'Live Fire and Maneuver' exercise of the integrated triservices in the Tri-Services Bharat Shakti Exercise showcased how the Indian Army plans to leverage its indigenous capabilities to dominate the battlefield and crush any threat to national security. 
  • The Indian Air Force will host 'Tarang Shakti', a mega exercise that is expected to bring together 12 global air forces 

11. IAF takes delivery of second C295 transport aircraft 

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) received the second of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft in Seville, Spain to replace its aging Avro-748 fleet. 
  • It had inducted its first C-295 transport aircraft at a ceremony at Hindon Air Base last September in the presence of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other top officials. 
  • The aircraft, part of a Rs 21,935 crore acquisition deal formalized in September 2021, will be produced in Spain and Vadodara in Gujarat under India's 'Make in India' aerospace programme. The first India-made C295 is expected to be launched in September 2026. 
  • Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Airbus are jointly implementing the programme. These aircraft will boost the Air Force's logistics capabilities to meet mission requirements in forward areas and will replace the aging fleet of Avro transport aircraft that entered service in the early 1960s. 

Award News 

12. Pulitzer Prize winners for the year 2024 announced in USA 

  • Columbia University in the United States announced the 2024 Pulitzer Prize winners on 7 May 2024. Columbia University announced the winners on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. 
  • The award will be presented by the President of Columbia University at a later ceremony. The Pulitzer Prize is considered the most prestigious award in the field of journalism. It recognizes work in 15 journalism categories and 8 arts categories. 
  • The Pulitzer Prize was founded by Joseph Pulitzer. He was a newspaper owner who established the Pulitzer Prize in 1904 as an incentive for excellence in journalism, arts and culture. The first prize was awarded in 1917. 

Main winner 

Journalism category 

  1. International Reporting - The New York Times Staff. 
  2. Investigative Reporting – Hannah Dreier of The New York Times 
  3. Public Service – Pro Publica, California. 
  4. Editorial Writing – David E. Hoffman of The Washington Post Newspaper. 
  5. Breaking News Photography – Photography staff of Reuters news agency. 
  6. Feature Photography – Photography staff of the Associated Press news agency. 
  7. Audio reporting – Invisible Institute staff and USG Audio. 
  8. Breaking news reporting - Lookout Santa Cruz, California staff 
  9. Explanatory Reporting – The New Yorker's Sarah Stillman 
  10. National Reporting – Reuters staff, The Washington Post staff 
  11. Criticism – Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times 
  12. Special Award and Citation - Greg Tate, journalist and media personnel covering the war in Gaza

Book Drama and Music Category 

  1. Fiction – Night Watch. Novelist American novelist Jayne Anne Phillips.
  2. Drama – Primary belief. Primary Trust American playwright Ebony Booth. 
  3. History - No Right to an Honest Life: The Struggle of Boston's Black Workers in the Civil War Era. The author is American historian Jacqueline Jones. 
  4. Biography – This time two books have been selected. King: A Life, by Jonathan Eig (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Master Slave Husband's Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom, by Ilian Wu 
  5. Memoir and Autobiography – Liliana's Invincible Summer: A Sister's Search for Justice, by Christina Rivera Garza. 
  6. Poetry - Tripos: Poems, by Brandon Somm. Brandom Som is an American poet. 
  7. Music – Adagio (for Wadada Leo Smith), by Tyshawn Sorey.
  8. General Nonfiction – A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of the Jerusalem Tragedy, by Nathan Thrall. 

Appointment News

13. Vladimir Putin sworn in as Russian President for 5th time 

  • Vladimir Putin was sworn in as president of the Russian Federation for the fifth time for a six-year term. 
  • He took the oath of office at a ceremony held at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. 
  • The ceremony was attended by Russia’s top military and political leadership, but the United States and many European nations boycotted the ceremony, saying that the presidential election was a fraud. 
  • Putin, in power as president or prime minister since 1999. In 1999, after President Boris Yeltsin’s resignation, Putin was appointed interim president of Russia. 

About Russia 

  • Capital – Moscow 
  • Currency – Rubel 
  • President – Vladimir Putin 
  • Prime Minister – Mikhail Mishustin 

Newly Appointed Prime Minister & President 

  • Presidential of Panama – Jose Raul Mulino 
  • PM of Solomon Islands – Jeremiah Manele 
  • Deputy PM of Pakistan – Ishaq Dar 
  • President of Indonesia – Prabowo Subianto 
  • PM of Kuwait – Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Ahmad al-Sabah 

Important day 

14. 8 May – World Thalassaemia Day 

  • World Thalassaemia Day is observed on May 8th every year. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about thalassaemia, a genetic blood disorder characterised by abnormal haemoglobin production.
  • Theme 2024 – Empowering Lives, Embracing Progress: Equitable and Accessible Thalassaemia Treatment for All. 

What is Thalassaemia? 

  • Thalassaemia is a genetic disorder that affects the production of haemoglobin, leading to a shortage of red blood cells and anaemia. 
  • While carriers of the thalassaemia gene may lead normal lives, those with thalassaemia major require repeated blood transfusions and are susceptible to various infections, organ complications, and potential organ failure. 

Obituary News

15. Renowned Urdu Writer Salam Bin Razzaq passes away 

  • The renowned Urdu litterateur and academician, Shaikh Abdussalam Abdurrazzaq passed away at the age of 83. 
  • He was popularly known by his pseudonym Salam Bin Razzaq. 
  • Razzaq won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu literature for his acclaimed short stories collection, ‘Shikasta Buton Ke Darmiyan’, in 2004. 
  • Born in 1941 at Panvel in Raigad district, Razzaq had a very humble beginning in life. He was deeply inspired by the trials and travails of the common masses which reflected in his writings, both prose and poetry.

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