Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 15th June 2024

National News 

1. Prerna Sthal will be inaugurated tomorrow 

  • Prerna Sthal, an area inside Parliament where key statues, including that of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who has been installed after moving them from their earlier positions, will be inaugurated on Sunday, the Lok Sabha Secretariat informed the members in a circular on Friday. 
  • Removing the statues of Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar had drawn severe criticism from the Opposition, which called it a step towards "de-democratising" Parliament. The statue of Mahatma Gandhi within the parliamentary complex was a venue for Opposition protests. 
  • The Lok Sabha Secretariat, on the other hand, insists that the relocation was part of the plan for the redevelopment of the parliamentary precincts after the construction of the new Parliament building. Sharing the circular on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said: "The whole idea of this relocation and giving it a grandiose name is to ensure that the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar is not in a prominent place right in front of Parliament House where MPs could conduct. peaceful and democratic protests as and when required and with the Modi regime they are required very frequently, almost on a daily basis.” 

International News 

2. 50th G7 Summit held in Puglia, Italy 

  • The 50th edition of the G7 Summit, an annual forum for the leaders of the seven major world economies— Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US—started at the luxurious Borgo Egnazia resort in Puglia, Italy on June 13-15, 2024. 
  • As part of his first foreign trip after the general elections, PM Modi is in Italy to attend the G7 Summit, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended for the fifth time. India has participated in the G-7 Summit a total of 10 times. With this 50th session, the number will go up to 11. 
  • PM Modi and his team were welcomed by Ristorante Indiano Namaste (Namaste India Restaurant) in Bari, an Indian restaurant famous for its authentic Indian cuisine. The establishment specializes in cuisine from the Punjab region. 
  • The 49th summit was held in Hiroshima, Japan in May 2023. 

G-7 Summit 

  • The United States, France, Italy, Japan, Britain and West Germany formed the six-nation group in 1975. Canada joined the group in 1976. 
  • The European Union (EU) has had full participation in the G-7 since 1981 as a ‘non-enumerated’ member (i.e. it does not host and chair the summit). 
  • Russia was a member of the forum from 1998 to 2014, when the group was known as the Group of Eight (G-8). Its membership was suspended following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. 

USA and Ukraine sign long-term security deal 

  • The United States and Ukraine signed an agreement outlining Washington’s long-term security relationship with Kyiv during the G7 summit in Italy. 
  • US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the bilateral deal, which comes after 15 countries, including Britain, France and Germany, signed similar long-term security pacts with Kyiv. 
  • According to media reports, the agreement broadly regulates cooperation between the two countries at all possible levels, including military equipment, training and maneuvers. However, the agreement does not contain any promise to supply specific weapons systems to Ukraine. 
  • The US will commit to continued training of Ukraine's armed forces for 10 years, greater cooperation in the production of weapons and military equipment, continued provision of military assistance and greater intelligence sharing. 

3. Record 120 million people displaced worldwide according to UN report 

  • The United Nations has said that a record-breaking 120 million people are living in forcibly displaced situations worldwide between the beginning of 2023 and May 2024. 
  • The new data was revealed in the Global Trends report of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The report said around 117.3 million people remain forcibly displaced by the end of 2023, forced to flee persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and events that seriously disrupt public order. 
  • Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Palestine, Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Syria and Armenia are among the countries where conflict and violence have forced people to seek safety elsewhere. 
  • The number has risen from 110 million a year earlier, and has been rising for 12 consecutive years - nearly tripling since 2012 amid new and transformative crises and a failure to resolve long-standing crises, UNHCR said. 
  • UNHCR declared 43 emergencies in 29 countries last year - four times more than just a few years ago. 
  • Of the 117.3 million people expected to be displaced at the end of 2023, 68.3 million are internally displaced within their own country. Meanwhile, the number of refugees and others in need of international protection has risen to 43.4 million, the report said. 
  • In the Gaza Strip, the U.N. estimates that 1.7 million people - 75% of the population - have been displaced by the war that began eight months ago with an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas inside Israel. The number of Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers rose by 275,000 to six million. 

4. International Film Festival 2024 to begin in Mumbai along with 4 other cities of the country for the first time 

  • The 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) is spreading its wings to Mumbai as well as other cities. The main event will begin on June 15 and will run till June 21, 2024 at the National Film Development Corporation-Films Division Complex at Peddar Road, Mumbai. 
  • The opening film Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story will be screened on June 15. For the first time, cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Pune, along with Mumbai, will also be showcasing the best of non-feature films from across the world - documentaries, short fiction and animation films, with parallel screenings.
  • For film lovers in Delhi, a parallel selection of films will be shown at Siri Fort Auditorium 1, 2 and 3 from June 16 to June 20. 
  • Film lovers in Kolkata can watch screenings at the prestigious Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), while Chennai will host screenings at NFDC's Tagore Film Centre. Additionally, screenings in Pune will be held at the premises of the National Archives of India. 
  • For the competition sections, 102 films were selected this year by 3 selection committees of eminent film experts for the International (25) and National (77) competition sections. 
  • There will be a 'Special Country Focus Package' in collaboration with 7 countries - Russia, Japan, Belarus, Italy, Iran, Vietnam and Mali. There will be an animation package prepared from 4 countries - France, Slovenia, Argentina and Greece. 
  • A celebration of cinematic excellence of world cinema, MIFF is recognised as one of the largest and oldest non-feature film festivals in South Asia. Held every two years since 1990, MIFF has consistently provided a platform to showcase exceptional works in the documentary, short film and animation categories at the international and national levels. 

5. India's Aamras tops the list of '10 Best Mango Dishes' in the world

  • Aamras, a traditional Indian dish made from ripe mangoes, has topped the Taste Atlas list of the world's top 10 mango dishes. India's mango chutney ranked fifth. Earlier, India's masala chai had ranked second in the world's best non-alcoholic beverage list. 
  • Sticky Mango Rice from Thailand bagged the second spot, while Mango Sorbet from the Philippines bagged the third spot. It also prominently features sticky mango rice from Thailand and mango sorbet from the Philippines. 
  • Famous in Maharashtra and Gujarat, this delightful dish has earned global acclaim showcasing India's rich culinary heritage. Apart from this, Aam Daal from West Bengal and Amba from Mumbai also made it to the list. 
  • Apart from aamras, another Indian dish, Mango Chutney has also made it to the Taste Atlas list, coming in at the 5th spot. This sweet and sour chutney is a favourite accompaniment that enhances the taste of many dishes. 

Other Products 

  • 4) Rujak (Java, Indonesia) 
  • 5) Mango Chutney (Maharashtra, India) 
  • 6) Mango Pomelo Sago (Hong Kong, China) 
  • 7) Chinese Mango Pudding or Mangu Buding (Guangdong, China) 
  • 8) Rujak Singur (Surabaya, Indonesia) 
  • 9) Baobing (Guangdong, China) 
  • 10) Mamuang Nam Pla Wan (Thailand) 

6. Three craters discovered on Mars named after physicist Devendra Lal and cities in UP, Bihar 

  • Three craters on the surface of Mars recently discovered by the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat have been named 'Lal', 'Mursan' and 'Hilsa' after physicist Devendra Lal and cities in UP, Bihar. 
  • Lal is named after late Professor Devendra Lal, a renowned cosmic ray physicist from Varanasi. The other two are named after Mursan town in Hathras district of UP and Hilsa town in Nalanda district of Bihar. 
  • The largest of these craters, which has a diameter of about 65 km, has been named "Lal Crater" in honor of Professor Devendra Lal. Professor Lal, who served as the director of PRL from 1972 to 1983, made significant contributions in the field of cosmic ray physics and space research. 
  • These craters were discovered by SHARAD (Mars Shallow Radar Sounder), a state-of-the-art subsurface sounding radar mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). 
  • All three craters are located in the Tharsis volcanic region of the Red Planet. PRL Director Anil Bhardwaj said that on June 5, on the recommendation of PRL, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature approved naming the craters as “Lal” Crater, “Mursan” Crater and “Hilsa” Crater. 

Frost discovered above volcanoes of Tharsis region of Mars 

  • An international team of researchers led by the University of Bern, Switzerland, has discovered frost near the equator in the Tharsis region of Mars for the first time. 
  • The frost was first spotted by ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) over the giant Olympus Mons volcano, which is about three times the height of Mount Everest and the highest in the solar system. 
  • The frost is part of the cycle of at least 1.5 lakh tonnes of water between the surface and the air every day during the cold season - equivalent to about 60 Olympicsized swimming pools. 

Uttarakhand government renames Kosia Kutauli as 'Kainchi Dham', Joshimath as 'Jyotirmath' 

  • The Uttarakhand government has renamed Nainital's Kosia Kutauli as 'Kainchi Dham', Joshimath as 'Jyotirmath'. Joshimath is considered the gateway to Badrinath Dham. The area was originally called Jyotirmath after Adi Guru Shankaracharya performed penance under the Amar Kalpa tree in the 8th century and attained enlightenment (divine knowledge light). Kosiyakutoli in Nainital, Uttarakhand will now be known as Pargana Shri Kainchi Dham Tehsil after the name of the ashram of Baba Neem Karoli Maharaj. 

7. Police re-implements 'One Minute Traffic Plan' in Shimla city to ease congestion 

  • In view of the heavy traffic in Shimla, the police has reimplemented the 'One Minute Traffic Plan' to make the state capital free of traffic jams and reduce commuting time. 
  • The decision to implement the 'One Minute Traffic Plan' was taken after assessing the number of vehicles entering the state capital - 4.89 lakh - in the last 11 days from June 1, especially those coming from other states. 
  • Summer vacations begin in most states from June 1. The number of vehicles in Shimla is more than 80,000, which includes twowheelers and four-wheelers. 
  • As per the plan, motor vehicles will be allowed to pass for 20 to 30 seconds every minute and stopped for 40 to 30 seconds at a distance of 6-8 km from entering Shimla city. 
  • No continuous stoppage of vehicles lasts more than 1 minute. It takes a maximum of 10 minutes for a line segment of 500 metres. In the first two weeks of June, over 4 lakh vehicles entered and exited Shimla from all directions. 
  • There are five entry points to Shimla: Old Barrier, Panthaghati, Tawi Mor, Mashobra and Chhabra. Last year, the Shimla police had introduced the ‘one minute traffic light scheme’ and implemented it for at least a year. 

J&K partners with New Zealand in sustainable agriculture and sheep farming sector 

  • In a major advancement in the agriculture sector, Jammu and Kashmir expanded its existing Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with New Zealand into a fullfledged strategic agreement on June 12, 2024. The partnership leverages New Zealand’s globally recognised strengths in breeding technology, sustainable agricultural management and advanced disease control measures within the sheep sector. 
  • The partnership emphasises on leveraging New Zealand’s worldclass technologies to enhance local sheep farming practices in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • The main areas of cooperation include advanced training programmes for master trainers, detailed investigation and improvement of wool and mutton value chains led by experts from Genetic and Breeding Innovation New Zealand aimed at boosting efficiency and profitability across the sector. 
  • This is a 5-year strategic agreement worth around Rs 20 crore. In the year 2022, the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and New Zealand have jointly launched initiatives to improve the sheep farming sector in the region through technology transfer, research and development, value addition and marketing areas. 

8. Raj Mahotsav 2024 begins in Odisha 

  • Usually celebrated in mid-June, this festival lasts for three to four days. This year it is being celebrated from June 14. Raj Mahotsav has religious significance as it is associated with the worship of Hindu goddess Durga. 
  • The festival begins on the first day, known as Pahili Raj. It is a day when people clean their houses, take a bath and worship Goddess Earth for a rich harvest in the coming monsoon season. 
  • The second day, called Mithun Sankranti or Raj Sankranti, marks the northward journey of the sun and the beginning of the rainy season. On this day, women swing and cook various traditional dishes. 
  • Bhudaha or Basi Raj, the third day, represents the midpoint of the festival. It is a day of relaxation and enjoyment as people take a break from their routine chores and indulge in leisure activities. 
  • On the last day of the Raj festival, Basumati Snan involves the symbolic bathing of the idol of the Earth with water and milk. This ritual marks the conclusion of the festival and is believed to purify the soil, preparing it for the upcoming agricultural season. 
  • The preparations for the festival include the ploughing and tilling of fields in anticipation of the sowing of crops. Women are honoured and given a break from their usual chores during the festival, while men indulge in various traditional native games like Kabaddi. 
  • Raj Utsav in Odisha has a rich and ancient origin, with roots going back centuries. The festival emerged from the belief that the Earth, represented as a woman, goes through a menstruation period during this specific time and needs rest and revitalization. 

Important Day

9. World Blood Donor Day 2024 observed on 14 June 

  • World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on 14 June. This year’s theme, “Celebrating 20 years of giving: Thank you blood donors!” marks an important milestone, expressing gratitude to the millions of blood donors who make it possible for the health industry to perform blood transfusions properly. 
  • The roots of modern blood transfusion techniques can be traced back to 1940, when scientist Richard Lower performed the first successful blood transfusion between two dogs. This breakthrough paved the way for the development of safe and efficient transfusion methods, making blood donation a vital aspect of health care. 
  • In 2005, the World Health Assembly designated June 14 as World Blood Donor Day. 

10. June 13 – International Albinism Awareness Day 2024 

  • International Albinism Awareness Day is observed every year on June 13 by the United Nations. 2024 marks a decade since the inception of International Albinism Awareness Day. To mark the occasion, this year’s theme has been set as ‘10 years of IAAD: a decade of collective progress’. 
  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 18, 2014, to declare June 13 as International Albinism Awareness Day from 2015. The Council created the mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism on March 26, 2015. 
  • Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited difference present at birth. Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation (melanin) in the hair, skin, and eyes, leading to increased sensitivity to the sun and bright light. 
  • As a result, nearly all people with albinism are visually impaired and are at risk of developing skin cancer. There is no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism.

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