Current Affairs- 17th & 18th July
Science and Technology
IIT-Hyderabad develops cheaper COVID-19 testing kit ‘COVIHOME’
- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hyderabad developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Covid-19 testing kit that can produce results in 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
- COVIHOME, deemed India’s first Rapid Electronic Covid-19 RNA test kit, is developed by a team led by Prof Shiv Govind Singh of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Hyderabad. The technology is validated by the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (ICMR-CCMB) Hyderabad and is now ready for technology transfer.
- “The major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA, so it has potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision,”.
OFT hands over heavy machine guns to Navy & Coast Guard
- Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli hands over Fifteen 12.7 mm M2 NATO Stabilized Remote Control Gun to Indian Navy & 10 to Indian Coast Guard. It is manufactured with transfer of technology agreement from Elbit Systems, Israel.
- The gun is meant for marine applications and can remotely engage targets. It is equipped with an inbuilt CCD camera, thermal imager and a laser range finder for observation and tracking of targets through day and night operations.
PM Modi inaugurates redeveloped Gandhinagar station
- Today, PM is inaugurating the newly revamped Gandhinagar Capital railway station in Gujarat. The world-class Indian Railways’ station is expected to act as a city booster and create an investment cycle, generate employment and in general uplift the economy of the capital of Gujarat.
- The redevelopment of the Gandhinagar Capital railway station is a unique project taken up in partnership with the Gujarat government and Railway Ministry through Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) forming a JV firm named Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation (GARUD).
- The redeveloped station project is a first of its kind in the country and is likely to pave the way for similar projects in land-stressed cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore.
Successful trial of movement of train between Jaynagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal
- Successful trial of movement of train between Jaynagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal was undertaken on Sunday. The 34.50 km-long rail section is the first section of the rail line links between the two countries which connects Jaynagar in Madhubani district of Bihar to Kurtha in Mahottari district of Nepal. The cost of this rail section is 619 crore. The Jayanagar – Kurtha Railway link has been set up by IRCON under India – Nepal friendship rail project with finance granted by the Indian government.
- The Chief Public Relations officer of East Central Railway Rajesh Kumar said that the train movement on this rail section will start soon after fulfilling technical and other formalities between two countries.
Govt formalises registration process of vintage motor vehicles
- Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said the registration process of Vintage Motor Vehicles has been formalized with an aim to preserve and promote the heritage of vintage vehicles.
- Mr. Gadkari said with no existing rules for regulating the process of registration across different states, the new rules shall provide a hassle-free process . He said the salient features are such as retention of old number for already registered vehicles and a VA series -Unique Registration Mark, for fresh registrations.
- This is aimed at preserving and promoting the heritage of old vehicles in India.
PMAY-U Launches A Short Film Contest – Khushiyon Ka Ashiyana
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban, PMAY-U has launched a Short Film Contest Khushiyon Ka Ashiyana for all the people above 18 Years of age, as part of Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.
- Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said, for the short film contest, applications are invited from PMAY-U beneficiaries, students, youth, members of the civil society, institutions and individual on the broad theme of six years journey of PMAY-U Mission and how it has impacted lives of people.
- The last date for the submission is 1st September and the results will be declared on 30th September this year. The Ministry said, 25 winners will be rewarded in three categories with cash prizes of 25 thousand, 20 thousand and 12 thousand 500 rupees along with certificate.
LA Polo makes a Documentary on traditional Polo game of Ladakh
- In Kargil Ladakh, Polo is the traditional Game which has a great potential in future and people in different villages still used to play the game with enthusiasm and pride.
- To promote polo in Drass, famous International Polo Magazine, LA Polo Delhi in collaboration with Himalayan sports and cultural development organization and Polo Promotion Committee Kargil are working on a promotional documentary in Ladakh and they are shooting different aspects of the Game in context with Ladakh particularly related to traditional natural game of Polo.
- The Shoot is going on in Drass and other places of Kargil for which an exhibition polo match was played between LA Polo Delhi and Himalayan Sports Drass at Goshan International Polo Stadium, (Shagaran) which was acclaimed by the locals as well as tourist as after the 2 years of Covid 19 Pandemic this is the 1st Polo Match in Kargil.
Indian Navy receives first two 24 MH-60R helicopters from US
- Indian Navy accepted the first two of its MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) from US Navy in a ceremony held at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego yesterday. The ceremony marked the formal transfer of these helicopters from US Navy to Indian Navy, which were accepted by Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to USA.
- The ceremony also witnessed exchange of helicopter documents between Vice Adm Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Forces, US Navy and Vice Adm Ravneet Singh, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS), Indian Navy.
Afghan politicians, Taliban meet in Doha as fighting continues
- Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban met in Doha for talks.The two sides have been meeting on and off for months in the Qatari capital, but the talks have lost momentum as the insurgents have made battlefield gains.
- Several high-ranking officials, including former Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, gathered in a hotel today after morning prayers. They were joined by negotiators from the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
- According to sources, former president Hamid Karzai had also been due to travel to Doha but remained in Kabul.
APEC leaders pledge to focus on global vaccination efforts
- Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, including US President Joe Biden, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and China’s Xi Jinping, pledged on Friday to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic.
- The leaders, struggling to tame outbreaks exacerbated by the Delta variant, said they would encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies “on mutually agreed terms” as the region prepared for future health shocks.
- “The pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on our region’s people and economies,” the leaders said in a joint statement issued after a virtual meeting chaired by New Zealand.
US released online hub to help ransomware victims
- US government launches new websites to curb ransomware attacks on private and public servers. This online hub was inaugurated on Thursday with an eye to mitigate cyberattacks on vital online platforms. The Biden government has also announced hefty prize money of $10mn to experts who would provide constructive information to crackdown cybercrimes and local or foreign cybercriminals.
- The new website, www.StopRansomeware.gov, is a combined initiative by the Justice and Homeland Security Department of the United States.
Days and Dates
World Day for International Justice: 17th July
- Today is World Day for International Justice. The day is observed across the globe on 17 July every year to mark an emerging modern system of justice against international criminal acts.
- It marks the coming together of people from all walks of life to support the idea of justice, victims’ rights and most importantly ensuring no crime that jeopardises peace takes place. The day is also a reminder of the significance of social justice for the underprivileged and oppressed.
- The theme for the celebration of this year’s World Day of International Justice is “A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy.”
Other Important Affairs
- The World Health Organization has proposed a fresh coronavirus investigation in China and an audit of its labs over the origin of the virus. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has proposed five priorities for the next phase of the investigation that include audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019.
- The ‘Common High Court for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh’ has been officially renamed as the ‘High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh .’
- The Supreme Court will implement a system for safe digital transmission of its bail orders to jails across the country as despite the grant of such relief, authorities wait for authentic orders to release prisoners.
- Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010.