Current Affairs- 13th July
Science and Technology
US approves Blue Origin license for human space travel
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday it approved a Blue Origin license to carry humans on the New Shepard launch system into space.
- Former Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s maiden crewed voyage on July 20.
- Blue Origin is authorized to carry humans while its FAA license is valid through August and is approved to conduct these missions from its Launch Site One facility in Texas, the agency confirmed.
- Blue Origin’s flight will come a little over a week after space-tourism rival Virgin Galactic successfully sent a crew including its founder, British billionaire Richard Branson, to the edge of space.
Google fined €500m by French competition authority
- Google has been hit with a 500 million euros fine by France’s Competition Authority for failing to negotiate in good faith with news organisations over the use of their content. The authority accused Google of not taking an order to do so seriously. The fine is the latest skirmish in a global copyright battle between tech firms and news organisations.
- Last year, the French Competition Authority ordered that Google must negotiate deals with news organisations to show extracts of articles in search results, news and other services.
National Asset Reconstruction Company
- India formally set up a bad bank as part of the nation’s ongoing efforts to remove one of the world’s largest piles of soured debt from the balance sheet of financiers and accelerate lending.
- The firm was registered as the National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd. on July 7 with Padmakumar Madhavan Nair as the managing director, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies, where firms must register before becoming operational.
- NARCL’s paid-up capital is Rs 74.6 crore ($10 million), according to the filing. Nair previously worked at the State Bank of India where he handled stressed assets resolution.
New Cabinet Committees formed, CCEA to be headed by PM
- New Cabinet Committees have been formed after the Cabinet expansion at the Centre. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet will be headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while Home Minister Amit Shah will be the member. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Security will be headed by Prime Minister.
- Besides, Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth as well as Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development will also be headed by Prime Minister. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will Chair the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs which includes Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur as members.
BHIM-UPI in Bhutan
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister of Bhutan Lyonpo Namgay Tshering jointly launched BHIM-UPI in Bhutan today. While speaking on the occasion, Ms Sitharaman said that the services have started in Bhutan under India’s neighbourhood first policy and India is proud of this achievement.
- The Finance Minister said that BHIM-UPI is one of the brightest spot and an achievement for digital transactions in India during the time of COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 million UPI QRs have been created in last five years and BHIM-UPI in 2020-21 has processed 22 billion transactions worth 41 lakh crore rupees.
Ever Given container ship leaves Egyptian waters
- The Ever Given Container Ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March, had left Egyptian waters at 4 am local time following inspections at Port, said a canal source today.
- Ship tracker “Marine Traffic” showed the Ever Given to be underway in the Mediterranean Sea north of the Egyptian coast.
- The container ship, one of the world’s largest, resumes its voyage to Rotterdam 112 days after becoming wedged across a southern section of the Egyptian waterway for nearly a week and disrupting global trade.
- The ship was released on 7th July after protracted negotiations and an undisclosed settlement was reached between the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the Ever Given’s owners and insurers.
World Health Organization issues new recommendations on human genome editing
- The World Health Organization has issued new recommendations on human genome editing. It has called for a global registry to track any form of genetic manipulation and proposing a whistle-blowing mechanism to raise concerns about unethical or unsafe research. The UN health agency commissioned an expert group in late 2018 following a dramatic announcement from Chinese scientist He Jiankui that he had created the world’s first gene-edited babies.
- In two reports yesterday, WHO’s expert group said all studies involving human genome editing should be made public. The committee however noted that this wouldn’t necessarily stop unprincipled scientists.
Nepal's Supreme Court reinstates parliament; orders new PM to be appointed
- Nepal’s Supreme Court yesterday reinstated the Parliament and also ordered that Sher Bahadur Deuba be appointed as the Prime Minister.
- The parliament was dissolved by caretaker Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli in May. Nepal was thrown into a constitutional crisis after Mr. Oli lost a confidence vote on the 10th of May. Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari on the advice of Mr. Oli dissolved the parliament for a second time this year before opposition leader Mr. Deuba could stake their claim.
- Yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court reverses this decision and reinstates the Parliament. According to reports the court has ordered the parliament be reconvened within seven days.
Haryana defers Khelo India Youth Games to 2022
- The Haryana Government today decided to organise ‘Khelo India Youth Games 2021’ in February 2022 in view of a possible third wave of Covid. A decision in this regard was taken in the first meeting of the organising-cum-coordination committee under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today.
- Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Sandeep Singh, was also present at the meeting.
- The Chief Minister said that as the Games are to be held in the under-18 category and as Director of AIIMS, New Delhi, and other experts have predicted the possibility of a third wave of Covid in October-November, the officers concerned should ensure that Covid protocol is strictly followed during the Games.
Book and Author
'Urdu Poets and Writers - Gems of Deccan'
- The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, today referred to the richness of the Urdu language and said, “Urdu is one of the most beautiful languages spoken around the world”. Touching upon the importance of mother tongue, he urged people to always speak in their native languages. He observed that Hyderabad in particular and Deccan as a whole have been ancient centres of Urdu.
- Shri Naidu received the book ‘Urdu Poets and Writers – Gems of Deccan’ authored by senior journalist, Shri J.S. Ifthekhar. He also received books on former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao from Shri Mamidi Harikrishna, Director of Telangana state Language and Culture Department, ‘Manavottama Rama’ authored by Shri Satyakasi Bhargava and ‘Nallagonda Kathalu’ authored by Shri Mallikarjun.
Other Important Affairs
- Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath was celebrated across Bangladesh on Monday amid the Corona pandemic forcing most of the events to be held at a very limited scale. Many of the rituals like chariot procession were observed only symbolically due to the ongoing lockdown and spike in corona cases in the country.
- The European Union has approved a Military Training Mission in Mozambique to support armed forces there to protect the civilian population.
- UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has hailed the export of apples from England to India, for the first time in 50 years, as a sign of the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership in action.
- Ladakh has become the first Union Territory to inoculate all eligible beneficiaries with the first jab of COVID-19.
- The much-awaited National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC), a big step for the conservation of the endangered Gangetic river dolphin, will soon be a reality as the process to set it up has finally begun. The construction work on its building is likely to commence in Patna after the monsoon this year.