Current Affairs- 12th & 13th June
Science and Technology
Google to Build Undersea Cable Firmina to Connect US to Argentina
- A new high-speed subsea cable that aims to improve access to Google services for users in South America will start operations in 2023.
- Google is building the Firmina subsea cable in conjunction with SubCom, which will design and install the cable.
- It will run from the east coast of the US to Las Toninas in Argentina, with additional landings in Praia Grande in Brazil and Punta del Este in Uruguay.
- SubCom will manufacture the cable at its Newington facility in New Hampshire over the next year and expects to begin laying the cable in summer 2022. SubCom said the subsea cable is expected to be ready for service by the end of 2023.
ESA selects Venus mission
- Following NASA’s footsteps, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that it has selected EnVision as its next orbiter that will visit Venus sometime in the 2030s.
- Last week, NASA selected two missions to the planet Venus, Earth’s nearest neighbour. The missions called DAVINCI+ and VERITAS have been selected based on their potential for scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans.
- NASA is expected to allot $500 million to each of these missions that will launch between 2028-2030.
Flipkart Joins Hands with Telangana Govt for 'Medicines From The Sky' Project
- E-commerce firm Flipkart will lead a consortium tasked with development and execution of drone deliveries to remote areas under the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project in Telangana.
- Learnings from its tech-enabled supply chain will be utilised to deploy drones and enable deliveries of vaccine and medical supplies.
- These efforts will be complemented with technologies such as geo mapping, routing of shipments and track and trace of location, developed by the company over the years.
Indian Railway aspires to become world’s largest Green Railways
- To become the world’s largest green railway network, Indian Railways is now moving towards “net-zero carbon emission” before the year 2030. The national transporter, in a statement on World Environment Day 2021, had stated that the railways is moving towards a complete green restart.
- At a time when the world is reeling from the global problem of environmental degradation and climate change, it is pertinent now, more than ever to aggressively work towards Sustainable Development.
- Building on this crucial idea of “Going Green”, the Indian Railways is looking at helping the environment with steps ranging from massive electrification, water & paper conservation, to saving animals from being injured on Railway tracks, and most importantly – the ambitious goal of achieving “net-zero carbon emission” by 2030.
Rebeca Grynspan appointed as UNCTAD’s secretary-general
- The UN General Assembly on June 12 approved the nomination of Costa Rican economist Rebecca Grynspan to head the UN agency promoting trade and development, the first woman and Central American to lead the Geneva-based organisation.
- She was nominated by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It supports developing countries in their efforts to benefit from the globalised economy and to deal with potential drawbacks from economic integration.
India, Kuwait sign MoU for cooperation on recruitment of domestic workers
- India and Kuwait have signed an MoU that brings Indian domestic workers in the Gulf nation within the ambit of a legal framework that streamlines their recruitment and provides them with the protection of the law.
- The MoU was signed on Thursday by Indian Ambassador Sibi George and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait Majdi Ahmad Al-Dhafiri in the presence of visiting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah.
Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, UAE elected to UN Security Council
- Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Gabon and Ghana were elected by the UN General Assembly to be non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2022 to 2023, potentially shifting the power balance within the world body, diplomats said.
- “Brazil and the United Arab Emirates have strong positions in foreign policy, and Albania, which will sit on the Council for the first time in its history, is also a member of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation,” a diplomat said, on condition of anonymity.
PM Modi to deliver a keynote address virtually at United Nations tomorrow
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver a keynote address virtually at the United Nations during the High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought tomorrow. The Permanent Mission of India to the UN has said that the Prime Minister will be speaking at the Opening Segment in his capacity as the President of the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
- The High-Level Dialogue will assess the progress made in the fight against desertification, land degradation and drought.
US, South Korea reaffirm cooperation toward denuclearization of Korean Peninsula
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-Yong have reaffirmed a commitment between their countries and Japan to work closely towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
- The statement, issued after the two met on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit, referred, without naming North Korea, to efforts that have made little or no progress toward getting Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arsenal.
G-7 agrees on infrastructure plan to counter China's Belt and Road
- G7 leaders have launched a new global infrastructure initiative Build Back Better World (B3W) to help developing nations, countering China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In a statement at their summit in the English county of Cornwall, the G7 leaders said they will offer a values-driven, high-standard and transparent partnership. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hosting the three-day gathering at the seaside resort of Carbis Bay.
- US President Joe Biden said he wants the US-backed B3W plan to be a higher-quality alternative to a similar Chinese programme
Vinesh Phogat Clinches 53kg Freestyle Gold in Poland Ranking Series
- Tokyo Olympic Games bound wrestler Vinesh Phogat won the women’s 53kg freestyle gold with an 8-0 win over Khrystyna Bereza of Ukraine at the Poland Ranking Series in Warsaw yesterday. With less than 50 days to go for the Olympic Games to begin, Vinesh looked strong in defence and swift in attacks and counter-attacks.
- The gold-winning effort of Vinesh is likely to improve her seeding in the 53kg freestyle event at the Olympics, to be held from July 23 to August 8. Khrystyna settled for silver.
Sports Minister Launches Central Athlete Injury Management System For Training Of Athletes For Olympics 2024
- Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has launched the Central Athlete Injury Management System (CAIMS) for streamlining the sports medicine and rehabilitation support offered to the athletes. It aims to provide the best of sports injury management support nearest to the athlete’s geographical location. CAIMS will help to standardize appropriate injury treatment protocol for athletes across the country.
- It will start with support for athletes who are a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) development group expected to participate in 2024 and beyond.
Awards and Honours
Indian-origin journalist Megha Rajagopalan wins Pulitzer prize
- Megha Rajagopalan, an Indian-origin journalist, along with two contributors has won the Pulitzer Prize for innovative investigative reports that exposed a vast infrastructure of prisons and mass internment camps secretly built by China for detaining hundreds of thousands of Muslims in its restive Xinjiang region.
- Rajagopalan and her colleagues used satellite imagery and 3D architectural simulations to buttress her interviews with two dozen former prisoners from the detention camps where as many as a million Muslims from Uighur and other minority ethnicities were interned.
Days and Dates
World Day Against Child Labour: 12th June
- Today is World Day Against Child Labour. The theme of this year’s World Day Against Child Labour is: ‘Act now: end child labour.’
- Ahead of World Day Against Child Labour a report by UNICEF and International Labour Organization (ILO) said, the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed millions on the brink of poverty and child labour is directly linked to it.
International Albinism Awareness Day: 13th June
- International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) is celebrated annually on June 13 to celebrate the human rights of persons with albinism worldwide.
- “Strength Beyond All Odds” is the theme for this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day.
- People with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide. Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically.
Other Important Affairs
- Central Railway forms all women’s team for examination of goods rake at Kalyan Goods Yard.
- Ayush Ministry launched an app called “Namaste Yoga” mobile app.
- Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh to become 6th President of Mongolia.
- G-7 countries will donate 1 billion vaccine doses to the poor countries.
- Justice Sanjay Yadav takes oath as Chief Justice of Allahabad HC.
- PM Netanyahu’s 12-year reign set to end as Israeli Parliament Knesset to vote on a new government today.