Current Affairs Summary with Quiz 22-04-2021

Global Energy Review


The International Energy Agency recently released the Global Energy Review report. According to the report, the Carbon Dioxide emissions in India is to be 1.4% higher than the levels recorded in 2019.

Key Findings of the Report: India

  • The coal-fired power generation is to increase by three times higher than the increase in generation from renewables.
  • The coal demand is expected to increase by 9%.
  • India has pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% under Paris Agreement. Currently, the carbon dioxide emissions of India is 60% below the global average and is on par with emissions in the European Union, which is 2.35 gigatonnes.

Key Findings of the Report: World

  • The carbon dioxide emissions all over the world are to increase by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021.
  • China is set to lead the demand for coal by more than 80% in 2021. On the other hand, China will also lead the market for electricity generation from renewables.
  • The demand for coal in the US and Europe will also increase. However, it will remain below the pre-crisis level.
  • The demand for coal and gas is to rise above 2019 levels. However, the oil demand is to stay below its 2019 peak. This is because the aviation sector is under high pressure due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The renewables are set to provide 30% of electricity.
  • The electricity generation from wind is set to grow by 275 tetra watts. This is a 17% increase.
  • The solar PV is to increase by 145 tetra watt which is an 18% increase as compared to 2020.

Global Energy Transition Index


The World Economic Forum recently released the Global Energy Transition Index. The index was prepared in collaboration with Accenture.

Key findings of the Report

The ten countries that topped the index were from the Northern and Western parts of Europe. Sweden ranked first in the report followed by Norway and Denmark.

The other countries that topped the index were as follows:

Switzerland at Rank 4
Austria at Rank 5
Finland at Rank 6
The United Kingdom at Rank 7
New Zealand at Rank 8
France at Rank 9
Iceland at Rank 10
India ranked 87th in the index.
China was ranked 68th on the index.
Around 92 out of 115 countries performed better in their aggregate score. This shows a positive direction in the global energy transition.

Report on India and China

According to the report, India is bringing in energy transitions through subsidy reforms. On the other hand, China is focusing on expanding renewables through investments and infrastructure.
Both India and China together account for one-third of the global energy demand.

About the report

The Global Energy Transition Index benchmarks 115 countries based on their performance across three dimensions namely Environmental sustainability, economic development and growth and energy security.

Reports of World Economic Forum

The other reports published by World Economic Forum are as follows:
Global Risks Report
Fostering Effective Energy Transition
Social Mobility Index
Global Gender Gap Report
Global Competitiveness Report

World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an international organisation for private and public cooperation. The headquarters of WEF is located in Switzerland.

US Commission proposes adding India to CPC list


The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended Biden Administration to place four countries including India under “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC). The other three countries were Russia, Vietnam and Syria.
Also, the USCIRF recommended redesignating ten countries as “Countries of Particular Concern”. They were China, Iran, North Korea, Burma, Eritrea, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

USCIRF

The USCIRF was established by the US Government in 1998 after the enaction of the International Religious Freedom Act. The Commissioners of USCIRF are appointed by the President. It mainly aims to review the violations of religious freedom internationally. It makes recommendations to the President, US Congress and the Secretary of State. However, they don't need to implement the recommendations.

Why should India be placed under the CPC list?

According to the report, the Citizenship Amendment Act that was passed in 2020 led to nationwide protests. The act was passed to fast-track citizenship to non-Muslim migrants residing in the country. These migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The report also noted that the Government of India has amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. This was done to increase restrictions on Non-Governmental Organisations and their foreign funds. The amendments led to the forced closure of human rights organisation and religious organisations. This included Amnesty International India. Amnesty International India was closed after the authorities froze its bank account in October 2020.

India’s Stand

According to India, the Citizenship Amendment Act is an internal matter of the country. The act was passed to protect oppressed minorities in neighbouring countries.

Australia cancels deals on China’s Belt and Road


The Australian Government recently announced that it has cancelled deals on Belt and Road initiative over national interest.

What is the issue?

The Victorian State Government had signed two agreements with China. In 2018, an agreement was signed to promote an infrastructure development initiative in the state. The second agreement was signed in 2019 that aimed to bring in Chinese investments in the state. Both these agreements were signed under the Belt and Road Initiative of China. The Australian Government recently cancelled both these agreements.

Why did Australia cancel the deals?

According to Australia, the agreements signed were out of line with the foreign policy of the government. In December 2020, the Australian Government introduced the Australia Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangement) Act. The law allows the Australian Government to cancel any agreements signed between a foreign country and the state authorities. This shall be done if the actions of the agreement threatened the national interest. The law empowers the foreign minister to cancel any such foreign agreement.
Recently, the Australian Government had directed the states to submit the details of the agreements signed by them with foreign countries under the law.

Indo-Pacific

Under its foreign policy, Australia sees a free and open Indo-Pacific as a key goal. Australia recently launched the Australia-India Indo-Pacific Initiative. Also, the Australian Government allocated Rs 8.12 crores under the initiative.

Australia-China

The diplomatic relations between China and Australia have been deteriorating since Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.

Way Forward

Australia is to revoke a 2004 MoU signed between Iran and Victoria’s Education Department as well. Also, the Australian Government is to revoke a scientific cooperation agreement signed between Syria and the State of Victoria that was signed in 1999.

Israel: Google and AWS was chosen for 1 billion Nimbus Project

The Government of Israel has chosen Google and Amazon Web Services to provide cloud services for its military and Public Sector Units. The project is to be implemented in four phases and has been named the “Nimbus” project.

About Nimbus Project

The Nimbus Project is to be implemented at an estimated cost of 1 billion USD.
It will establish cloud sites in Israel. These sites will keep the information within the borders of Israel under strict security guidelines.
The four phases of the project are as follows:
Acquisition and Construction of cloud Infrastructure
Formulating Government Policy for migrating to the Cloud
Integration and Migration
Control and Optimisation of Cloud Activity
In future, the project is to be extended, where dozens of local suppliers are to be selected to assist in the migration of Government Systems to the Cloud.

What is Cloud Services?

Cloud Services refer to a wide range of services delivered over the internet. Cloud Services are highly important as the defence industry of Israel is one of the largest in the world.

Defence Industry of Israel

Israel is one of the major exporters of military equipment in the world. It accounts for 10% of Global Defence Exports. There are more than 150 active defence companies in the country. Their collective revenue is more than 3.5 billion USD.
Israel and the US are considered allies and have strong ties through the defence industry. However, the relations weakened due to the “Dotan Scandal”. It was said that Israel violated US ITAR (International Traffic on Arms Regulations) restrictions and sold sensitive data and equipment to China. In 2020, the US pressured Israel to bar all the Chinese components including the communication systems.

Controversies

Amazon and Google beat out Oracle, Microsoft and IBM in winning the tender. Microsoft is said to have a stronghold in Israel. In fact, the company announced in 2020, that it is to invest 1 billion USD in Israel aiming to win this project. One of the three largest Microsoft Research and Development centres is located in Israel. With Microsoft losing the contract, critics believe that the Microsoft era in Israel has come to an end.

Cosmic Rose of NASA


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently shared an image of “Cosmic Rose”.

Cosmic Rose

Cosmic Rose is an image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA. The image featured interacting galaxies Arp 273.

Arp 273

It lies in the Andromeda constellation.
It is 300 million light-years away from the earth.
It is a combination of spiral galaxy UGC 1810 and UGC 1813.
UGC 1810 is five times heavier than UGS 1813.
The UGC 1810 has a disc that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape. The distortion is mainly due to the gravitational pull of UGC 1813 that lies beneath. This has been captured by Hubble Space Telescope.

What are Interacting Galaxies?

The Interacting Galaxies are those galaxies whose gravitational fields disturb one another.

Types of Galaxy Interactions

Galaxy harassment

Galaxy harassment is an interaction between a low-luminosity galaxy and a brighter one. It is usually common in rich galaxy clusters such as Coma and Virgo.

Galactic Cannibalism

It is a process where a large galaxy interacts with a companion through tidal gravitational interactions. A Galactic tide is a force experienced by objects subject to the gravitational field of a galaxy.

Galaxy Collision

These are common during galaxy evolution. In these interactions, two galaxies will collide and will not have enough momentum to continue travelling after the collision.

Galaxy Mergers

A galaxy merger occurs when two or more galaxies collide with each other. They are the most violent type of galaxy interactions. Galaxy mergers are highly important as they are the fundamental measure of Galaxy evolution.

Hubble Space Telescope

It is a space telescope that was launched in 1990 into low Earth Orbit.

US House passes No Ban Act

The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill that will limit the ability of the President to impose a religion-based travel ban. It is informally called the “No Ban Act”.

Why was the act passed?

The No Ban Act was passed in response to the controversial “Muslim ban” passed by former US President Donald Trump. The Muslim ban barred travel from Muslim-majority countries to the US.

Full-Form of NO BAN Act

NO BAN Act is the National origin-based Antidiscrimination for Non-Immigrants Act.

Key Features of No Ban Act

Before imposing a restriction, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department should report to Congress about the restriction.
The President should present his evidence of the credible threat that initiated the travel ban to the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary of the State. He shall impose the ban only after getting approval from DHS And the Secretary.

Background

In 2017, former President Trump imposed a travel ban shortly after becoming the President of the United States. It was struck down twice by the US courts. However, in 2018, the US Supreme Court upheld the act.
The travel ban was initially applied only to countries such as Yemen, Syria, Iran, Libya and Somalia. However, it was later expanded to Eritrea, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Muslims in the US

More than 3.45 million Muslims are living in the US. This is 1.1% of the total US population.
Around 25,000 US citizens convert to Islam annually.
50% of the Muslims are foreign-born and 50% are native-born.
The origin of Muslims on US soil dates back to the slave era. Muslims were brought as slaves to American soil from Africa.

Triple Mutant Variant

The Triple Mutant Variant has evolved from double mutation. In the triple mutant variant, three different COVID-19 strains have combined to form a new variant. 
Recently, a double mutant variety has been spreading in India rapidly. This double mutant carried mutations namely E484Q and L452R. The E484Q was reported to be found in the UK and South Africa. The L452R mutation was found in California. These mutations were associated with antibody escape and greater binding capacities. However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently announced that COVAXIN works against these mutations. The National Institute of Virology has been successfully isolating the mutations and testing them against the vaccines. Also, the INSACOG laboratories are processing the genome sequencing of these mutant variants. INSACOG is Indian SARS CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG). 
The new triple mutant variant carries the above double mutants along with another mutation in amino acids. In the triple mutant, two amino acids such as H146del and Y145del have been deleted.

World Earth Day: April 22

Every year, World Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. The first World Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. 

Background 

In 1969, the Peace Activist John McConnell proposed to celebrate World Earth Day to honour the earth. It was first proposed to be celebrated on March 21, 1970, which is the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.

Paris Agreement

On World Earth Day, in 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by China, United States and other 120 countries.

World Earth Day, 2021

This year, US President Joe Biden has invited leaders of forty top economies of the world including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jing Ping to the Leader’s Summit on Climate. The virtual meet is to be held on World Earth Day.
This year, in 2021, World Earth Day is celebrated under the following theme:
Theme: Restore our Earth

About World Earth Day

The World Earth Day celebrations are organised by the Earth Society Foundation. It was founded by John McConnel.

Equinox Earth Day

Every year, Equinox Earth Day is celebrated on March 20 (or 21). It marks the arrival of spring in the Northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It is also called Equinoctial Earth Day. The first Equinox Earth Day was celebrated in 1970.

Japanese Peace Bell and Earth Day

The Peace Bell is rung twice or thrice a year. Once during the celebrations of World Earth Day that falls on April 22.
It is also rung on Equinox Earth Day. The Japanese Peace Bell was donated to the United Nations by Japan.
Apart from these days, sometimes it is also rung on every opening day of the United Nations General Assembly yearly session. This is usually held in September.

India's per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average: PM Modi during Leaders' Summit on Climate

PM Modi spoke on the opening day of a two-day summit hosted by the President of United States Joe Biden. The summit on the climate crisis will be held in a virtual mode on April 22-23, 2021.
The US President Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, PM Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping to the virtual summit.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the global leaders will deliberate on how the world can align climate action with resilient and inclusive economic development while also respecting the national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.
Prime Minister Modi while addressing the climate summit mentioned that humanity is battling a global right now and the event is a timely reminder that a grave threat of climate change has not disappeared and that it is a lived reality for millions around the world.

Launch of 'India-US Climate & Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership': PM Modi

Prime Minister Modi while speaking at the summit announced that he along with President Biden will be launching the 'India-US Climate & Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership'. He further informed that it will help in mobilising investments, enable green collaborations and demonstrate clean technologies.

What will happen during the summit?

Around 40 world leaders who will be participating in the virtual summit hosted by the US will exchange views on enhancing climate actions, climate change, nature-based solutions, mobilizing finance towards climate mitigation and adaptation, technological innovations for clean energy as well as climate security.

Climate Summit: Key Highlights

• The leaders participating in the summit will represent the nations that are members of the Major Economies Forum, of which India is also a member and those vulnerable to climate change among others.
• Climate change has also been an area of focus for US President Biden. After taking charge as the President, he announced on January 20, 2021, that the US will be returning to the Paris Climate Accord.

Background:

The summit is part of a series of global meetings focusing on climate issues. It is being held in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021.
Earlier in April 2021, John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate had visited India and had discussed the issues related to the climate, including the summit, with the Indian leaders.
The leaders had informed him of India’s efforts to meet the commitments under the Paris Climate agreement and reduce emissions.

Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme: Andhra Pradesh releases first instalment worth Rs 670 crores


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on April 19, 2021, released the first instalment worth Rs 672 crores under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme for the year 2021-22. A total of 10.88 lakh students will benefit from this.
Under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme, the state government has promised to provide total fee reimbursement of each beneficiary. So far, a total of Rs 4, 879 crores have been disbursed by the state government under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme.

Objective

The scheme seeks to provide help to the financially weak students who want to study but unable to do so because of lack of finance.
It aims to promote Higher education in the state and encourage the youngsters for further education.

Key Highlights

•The Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme was launched to provide scholarships to all the students who are not able to pay their fees because of their financial burden.
•The scheme primarily focuses on students seeking higher education and under its purview, full fee reimbursement will be given to more than 14 lakh students of the state.
•Under the scheme, the amount will be directly credited into the accounts of the students’ mothers.
•The Financial assistance will be provided in 4 instalments, out of which the first tranche has already been released.
•The second, third and fourth tranche will be released to the accounts of the beneficiaries in July, December and February respectively.

Significance

Many students in the state have a great academic score but are unable to pay their fees. The scheme aims to help all those students to continue their education without worrying about their fees.

Background

The Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme scholarship scheme was announced by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on April 28, 2021. Its implementation has begun now with the release of the first instalment.
The Chief Minister has sanctioned Rs 4000 crores along with the previous due amount of Rs. 1880 crores for this scheme, saying education and health are their priority.

Vanita Gupta becomes first Indian-American Associate Attorney General of US


The US Senate confirmed Vanita Gupta to be the Associate Attorney General in a narrow 51-49 vote after Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski decided to join with the Democrats in support of the US President's Justice Department nominee. 

Asian Wrestling Championships 2021: India clinches 14 medals including 5 Gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze

Asian Wrestling Championships 2021: India clinched 14 medals including 5 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2021 at Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Senior Wrestling Championships was held from April 13 to 18, 2021.
India with 14 medals finished third in the medal tally, behind Iran and Kazakhstan which topped the 34th edition of the Championship with 17 medals each.

India at Asian Wrestling Championships 2021

•Sarita Mor clinched the first gold medal for India at the Championships by defending the women's 59 kg title.
•The 25-year-old wrestler from Haryana made a spectacular comeback in the final stages of her final bout with Mongolia's Shoovdor Baatarjav to score 9 straight points, taking the final score to 10-7. She had been lagging by 1-7 after a botched-up challenge but she managed to turn it around in the final stage.
•The other gold medal winners included Ravi Kumar Dahiya in 57 kg Men’s freestyle, Vinesh Phogat in 53 kg Women’s freestyle, Anshu Malik in 57 kg Women’s freestyle and Divya Kakran in 72 kg Women’s freestyle category.
•Bajrang Punia had to settle for silver in 65 kg Men’s freestyle. Deepak Punia also won the silver medal in 86 kg Men’s freestyle.
•Sakshi Malik, who was competing in 65kg after missing her claim in her usual 62kg weight category, also had to settle for the silver medal.
•Vinesh Phogat has had seven podium finishes at the Asian Championships over the years, including three silver medals.

Full List of Medal Winners For India

S.no

Medal Winners 

Gold/ Silver/ Bronze

Category

1.Vinesh PhogatGold

53 kg Women’s freestyle

2.Sarita Mor Gold

59 kg Women’s freestyle

3.Divya KakranGold

72 kg Women’s freestyle

4.Anshu MalikGold

57 kg Women’s freestyle

5.Ravi Kumar Dahiya Gold

57 kg Men’s freestyle

6.Bajrang Punia Silver

65 kg Men’s freestyle

7.Sakshi MalikSilver

65 kg Women’s freestyle

8.Deepak PuniaSilver

86 kg Men’s freestyle

9.Seema Bisla Bronze

50 kg Women’s freestyle

10.Pooja Sihag Bronze

76 kg Women’s freestyle

11.Karan MorBronze

70 kg Men’s freestyle

12.Narsingh YadavBronze

79 kg Men’s freestyle

13.SanjeetBronze

92 kg Men’s freestyle

14.Satyawart KadianBronze

97 kg Men’s freestyle

Asian Wrestling Championships 2021 Medal Tally

Rank

Nation

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

1

 Iran

7

5

5

17

 Kazakhstan

7

5

5

17

3

India

5

3

6

14

4

 Japan

3

0

6

9

5

 Kyrgyzstan

2

5

9

16

6

Mongolia

2

5

3

10

7

 Uzbekistan

2

4

4

10

8

 South Korea

2

1

9

12

9

 Chinese Taipei

0

1

1

2

10

 Tajikistan

0

1

0

1

11

Iraq

0

0

1

1

Totals (11 nations)

30

30

49

109

About Asian Wrestling Championships

The 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan from April 13 till April 18, 2021. This was the 34th edition of the Asian Wrestling Championships. In the 2020 edition of the championships, India had finished third with a total of 20 medals, including 5 gold, 6 silver and 9 bronze. Japan had topped the Medal Tally with 8 gold, followed by Iran at second place with 7 gold medals.

Mountaineer Priyanka Mohite becomes first Indian woman to scale Mt Annapurna


Mountaineer Priyanka Mohite on April 16, 2021, became the first woman from India to scale the tenth highest mountain in the world, Mt Annapurna. She also holds the record of being the first Indian woman to scale Mt Makalu, the fifth highest mountain range in the world at 8,485 meters. The 26 years old mountaineer from Maharashtra had achieved this feat in May 2019. The founder and chairperson of Biocon on Twitter, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw celebrated Priyanka’s achievement on Twitter. She wrote that ‘Our Colleague Priyanka Mohite scaled the peak of Mt. Annapurna (8091 meters) 10th highest mountain in the world - first Indian woman to do so’.

Communist Party of Cuba chooses Miguel Diaz-Canel as leader

The Communist Party Congress of Cuba on April 19, 2021, chose Miguel Diaz-Canel to be its leader. The latest decision has added this crucial post to the title of Cuban President which he assumed in 2018. In both cases, Mr Miguel has replaced his mentor Raul Castro, 89. He has sealed a political dynasty that held power since the revolution of 1959. In many ways, the new maximum leader of Cuba is nothing like those who governed the island for the past 6 decades. He was never a guerrilla fighter like other leaders and was a soldier for only a few years. He rose diligently and peacefully through the approved channels and isn’t named Castro. Miguel Diaz-Canel, 61, is relatively younger in comparison to the members of the generation that had accompanied Fidel Castro in his battle against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and then stayed on in power decade after decade while cementing a political system of Soviet-style.

QUIZ

1. How many constituencies went to the polls in the sixth phase of West Bengal Elections 2021?

a) 43

b) 37

c) 48

d) 23

2. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package for 'Corona Warriors' has been extended for how long?

a) One year

b) Two years

c) Six Months

d) Three Months 

3.  How much will Covisheild cost at state government hospitals?

a) Rs 500

b) Rs 400

c) Rs 600

d) Rs 300

4. Who has become the first Indian-American Associate Attorney General of the United States?

a) Neera Tanden

b) Vivek Murthy

c) Nikki Haily

d) Vanita Gupta

5. Which state government has released the first instalment worth Rs 672 crores under Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme for students?

a) Andhra Pradesh

b) Telangana

c) Karnataka

d) Madhya Pradesh

6. Indian Mountaineer Priyanka Mohite has become the first Indian woman to scale which peak?

a) Kangchenjunga

b) K2

c) Mount Everest

d) Mt Annapurna

7. When is Earth day observed?

a) April 21st

b) April 22nd

c) April 23rd

d) April 25th

8. India finished at which position at the Asian Wrestling Championship 2021?

a) Second

b) Third

c) Fourth

d) Sixth

Answers

1. (a) 43

The voting has begun for the sixth phase of West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021. The polling began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm. Under this phase, 43 constituencies across four districts of the state have gone to polls and there are as many as 306 candidates including 27 women in the fray. 

2. (a) One Year

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package scheme has been extended for one year with effect from April 20, informed Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on April 20, 2021.

3. (b) Rs 400

The Serum Institute of India has priced its Covishield vaccine for Rs 400 per dose for state hospitals and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals. 

4. (d) Vanita Gupta 

The United States Senate on April 21, 2021, confirmed Vanita Gupta to serve as the Associate Attorney General of the US. She will be the first Indian-American to serve in this 

5. (a) Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on April 19, 2021, released the first instalment worth Rs 672 crores under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme for the year 2021-22. A total of 10.88 lakh students will benefit from this.

6. (d) Mt Annapurna.

Mountaineer Priyanka Mohite on April 16, 2021, became the first woman from India to scale the tenth highest mountain in the world, Mt Annapurna.

7. (b) April 22nd

Earth Day is observed annually on April 22nd. The day aims to garner support for environmental protection. 

8. (b) Third

India finished third at the Asian Wrestling Championship 2021 with 14 medals, including 5 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze medals. Iran and Kazakhstan tied for first place with 17 medals each.

Post a Comment

0 Comments