Current Affairs- 18th August

Science and Technology

India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa to study intersection of Covid, TB

India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa to study intersection of Covid, TB
  • A consortium of doctors and researchers from India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa have partnered to conduct a study on the epidemiological impact and intersection of the COVID-19 and Tuberculosis pandemics in these countries. Ministry of Science and Technology in a statement said that under this joint research, the teams from these countries will explore the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the epidemiological characteristics of TB infection and search for mechanisms responsible for the interaction of these two processes.
  • The research supported by the Department of Science and Technology is being led by Prof. Urvashi B Singh from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi from Indian side.

Honeywell sets up AI lab at IIT Hyderabad

Honeywell sets up AI lab at IIT Hyderabad
  • Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has virtually inaugurated the Centre for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence set up at the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) on Wednesday morning. He also inaugurated the first Academic Building of the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgical Engineering, High-Performance Computing Centre and High-Resolution Electron Microscopy Facility.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the Centre for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency-JICA is the best example of international Cooperation.

National

Cabinet approves Disaster Management MoU between India and Bangladesh

Cabinet approves Disaster Management MoU between India and Bangladesh
  • The Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the MoU on cooperation in the field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation signed between India and Bangladesh in March this year during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Bangladesh.
  • The MoU seeks to put in place a system so that both the countries benefit from the Disaster Management mechanisms of each other. It will also help in strengthening the areas of preparedness, response and capacity building in the field of Disaster Management.

SC passes interim order allowing women to sit for NDA examination

SC passes interim order allowing women to sit for NDA examination
  • The Supreme Court today passed an interim order to allow women to take the admission exam to National Defence Academy (NDA).
  • A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy passed the interim order in a writ petition seeking permission for women candidates to appear for the NDA exam.
  • While issuing the order, the court said women should be permitted take part in the NDA exam.

International

UAE says hosting Afghan President on ‘humanitarian grounds’

UAE says hosting Afghan President on ‘humanitarian grounds’
  • The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that it is hosting former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on humanitarian grounds, after he fled his country amid a Taliban takeover.
  • The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds, it said in a brief statement.
  • Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday as the Taliban closed in on Kabul, before the insurgents walked into the Afghan capital unopposed. His whereabouts were unknown until Wednesday, with speculation that he had fled to Tajiktan, Uzbejistan or Oman.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returns to Afghanistan from Qatar

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returns to Afghanistan from Qatar
  • In Afghanistan, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has returned to the country from Qatar.
  • His return comes amid reports that he is likely to become the new President of Afghanistan.
  • Baradar is the second senior-most leader in the Taliban hierarchy after Haibatullah Akhundzada.
  • Meanwhile, the US has said that over one thousand Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan on 13 US military flights yesterday.
  • In total, more than 3,200 Americans have been flown back so far. In addition to this, nearly 2,000 Afghan nationals had also been relocated to the US.

UNHRC to hold Special Session next week on Afghanistan’s situation

UNHRC to hold Special Session next week on Afghanistan’s situation
  • United Nations Human Rights Council is to hold a Special Session next week on the situation in Afghanistan to address serious human rights concerns after the Taliban takeover, a United Nations statement said yesterday.
  • The Geneva Forum is set to convene on 24th of this month at the request of nearly 90 other countries supporting the move, it said. Convening a Special Session requires support from one-third of the Council’s 47 member states.
  • Backers so far include members Britain and France – but not China or Russia – while the United States was not among supporting countries with observer status, a provisional U.N. list showed.

India, Vietnam undertake bilateral maritime exercise in South China Sea

India, Vietnam undertake bilateral maritime exercise in South China Sea
  • In continuation with ongoing deployment of Indian Navy ships in the South China Sea, INS Ranvijay and INS Kora today undertook bilateral maritime exercise with Vietnam People’s Navy frigate VPNS Ly Thai To (HQ-012). The bilateral interaction aims to consolidate the strong bond shared by the two navies and would be another step towards strengthening India-Vietnam defence relations.
  • The Indian Naval ships arrived at Cam Ranh, Vietnam on 15th of this month for harbour phase which included professional interactions with VPN maintaining extant Covid-19 protocols. The sea phase included surface warfare exercises, weapon firing drills and helicopter operations.

Sports

Odisha Govt extends its sponsorship of Indian National hockey teams by another 10 years

Odisha Govt extends its sponsorship of Indian National hockey teams by another 10 years
  • Odisha Government has extended its sponsorship of Indian National hockey teams by another 10 years.
  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced this at a special function held to facilitate the Olympians of the national men’s and women’s hockey teams in capital Bhubaneswar yesterday.
  • He said, it will herald a new era of Indian hockey and bring back the glory to the nation.
  • Chief Minister Mr Patnaik awarded 10 lakh rupees to each player and five lakh rupees to each support staff besides 13 other awards in recognition of their historic win at the Tokyo Olympics

Obituaries

Maki Kaji, ‘godfather of sudoku’, dies aged 69 in Japan

Maki Kaji, ‘godfather of sudoku’, dies aged 69 in Japan
  • Maki Kaji, a Japanese publisher who popularised the numbers puzzle sudoku played daily by millions around the world, has died from cancer aged 69.
  • A university dropout who worked in a printing company before founding Japan’s first puzzle magazine, Kaji took hints from an existing number puzzle to create what he later named “sudoku” – a contraction of the Japanese for “every number must be single” – sometime in the mid-80s.
  • The puzzle challenges people to fill a grid of 9×9 blocks, with nine boxes in each block so that all columns, both vertical and horizontal, contain the numbers one to nine without repetition. The number of filled-in figures for a grid at the start of the puzzle determines how difficult it is.

Other Important Affairs

  • External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is currently chairing the UN Security Council Open Debate on ‘Technology and Peacekeeping’ at UN headquarters in New York. He announced India’s support to UN in roll out of UNITE AWARE – a technology platform for peacekeeping missions.
  • The mixed relay team of India won a Bronze medal in 4*400metere at the U20 World Championships being held in Nairobi with taking time of 3:20.60, a season best.
  • Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Piyush Goyal today conferred the National Intellectual Property Awards 2020 to the winners at an event. Dr Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and other senior officials were also present at virtual event.
  • Confeeration of Indian Industry, CII has welcomed the announcement of Remissidon of Duties and Taxes on Export Products-RoDTEP rates by the Government.