Current Affairs- 22nd July

Science and Technology

Byju’s acquires Epic for $500 million

Byju’s acquires Epic for $500 million
  • Ed-tech major Byju’s said, it has acquired US-based kids digital reading platform Epic in a $500 million deal, as it aims to make inroads into the key overseas market.
  • The transaction comes a little over three months after the Bengaluru-based startup acquired Indian brick-and-mortar test prep service provider Aakash Educational Services in a near $1 billion deal, one of the biggest in the local ed-tech space. The deal with Epic, therefore becomes Byju’s second biggest deal.
  • Byju’s said that the acquisition of Epic that caters to kids aged 12 and under will help broaden its footprint in the US as the firm will get access to Epic’s rich global user base that is said to have doubled over the last year and now comprises more than 2 million teachers and 50 million kids.

National

Atal Innovation Mission declares results of ‘ATL Marathon 2020’

Atal Innovation Mission declares results of ‘ATL Marathon 2020’
  • Atal Innovation Mission revealed the top 300 teams of the ATL Marathon 2020 today.
  • Over a thousand Atal Tinkering Labs took part in the marathon.
  • This year, Atal Innovation Mission had received almost five times as many submissions as compared to previous years.
  • ATL Marathon 2020 witnessed over 7200 innovations from 32 states and 324 districts.
  • This Marathon also had a heartening participation of over 57 percent from girl students.

Finance Ministry Joint Secretary Rashmi R Das appointed to UN Tax Committee

Finance Ministry Joint Secretary Rashmi R Das appointed to UN Tax Committee
  • Rasmi Ranjan Das, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, has been appointed as a member of the UN tax committee for the 2021 to 2025 term.
  • Das is among the tax experts from around the world who has been appointed as a member of the UN tax committee.
  • The committee, formally known as the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, guides countries’ efforts to advance stronger and more forward-looking tax policies adapted to the realities of globalised trade and investment, an increasingly digitalised economy and worsening environmental degradation.

Kotak Mahindra Bank signs MoU with Indian Navy for Salary Account

Kotak Mahindra Bank signs MoU with Indian Navy for Salary Account
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Navy for salary accounts.
  • The MoU enables the bank to offer its salary account proposition to all personnel of the Indian Navy—both serving and retired. The bank said it will also offer special salary account benefits to the Indian Navy. The signing ceremony took place in New Delhi and was jointly chaired by Commodore Neeraj Malhotra (commodore pay and allowances) of the Indian Navy and Parminder Varma, business head (corporate salary) at Kotak Mahindra Bank.

International

Indian Navy exercise with UK’s Royal Navy carrier striker group

Indian Navy exercise with UK’s Royal Navy carrier striker group
  • Indian Navy participated in a two-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG)-21 led by HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Bay of Bengal from 21 to 22 Jul 21.
  • The bilateral Maritime Exercise was designed to hone the ability of the two navies to operate together in the maritime domain. The maiden exercise between Indian Navy and the Royal Navy’s latest Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth included participation of CSG-21 comprising Type 23 Frigates and an Astute-class submarine in addition to the other surface combatants.
  • Indian Navy was represented by IN Ships Satpura, Ranvir, Jyoti, Kavaratti, Kulish and a submarine. Anti-Submarine Warfare capable Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I also participated in the exercise.

India among WTOs 5 member nations to produce 75% of worlds Covid vaccines

India among WTOs 5 member nations to produce 75% of worlds Covid vaccines
  • World Trade Organisation Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that five member states of WTO alone will account for three-quarters of the entire global output of COVID-19 vaccines this year. She said, production remains highly centralised as about 75 per cent of this year’s vaccines appear set to come from five WTO members – India, Germany, US, France and China.
  • The WTO Director-General was addressing a high-level dialogue on “Expanding COVID-19 vaccine manufacture to promote equitable access” yesterday. Okonjo-Iweala said discriminatory access to vaccines is a root cause of the unequal recovery of the global economy, in which developed economies are rebounding quickly while the rest are lagging behind.

Taiwan to use its own name at new Lithuania office

Taiwan to use its own name at new Lithuania office
  • Taiwan will set up its first office in Europe using the name “Taiwan,” drawing a rebuke from China and praise from the US as the island democracy seeks to strengthen its diplomatic presence around the globe in the face of pressure from Beijing.
  • The government in Taipei will open its office in the Baltic nation of Lithuania, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at a briefing. Taiwan’s other diplomatic outposts on the continent are under the name of “Taipei.”
  • “Lithuania has firmly believed in universal values such as democracy, freedom and human rights, and is a like-mined partner of Taiwan,” Wu said.

11th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation meeting held

11th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation meeting held
  • India, even as it continues to increase financial support for Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) in the Mekong countries, has once again highlighted that connectivity remains instrumental in achieving sustainable growth and development of the entire sub-region.
  • Co-chairing the 11th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting along with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the Mekong region remains of great importance to New Delhi as it seeks multi-dimensional engagement with the Mekong countries.

India committed to work with G20 nations for better world: Bhupender Yadav

India committed to work with G20 nations for better world: Bhupender Yadav
  • Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav today said India is committed to work with G20 countries in mounting an effective response to secure the health of the planet and its people.
  • In his statement at the G20 Environment Ministerial Meeting under Italian Presidency, the Minister underscored the need for collective global action to tide over the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The Meeting, held at Naples in Italy, was attended virtually by the Indian delegation led by Bhupender Yadav.
  • During the course of the day long meeting, India welcomed global initiatives like UNESCO’s International Environmental Experts Network and protecting at least 30 percent of global land area and oceans by 2030.

Important Days and Dates

World Brain Day: 22nd July

World Brain Day: 22nd July
  • World Brain Day is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting advocacy related to brain health. It is celebrated on July 22. This year, the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) and MS International Federation (MSIF) are at the forefront, leading the campaign to spread awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological disease whose effects range from cognitive impairment to significant physical disability.
  • The theme of this year’s World Brain Day is “Stop Multiple Sclerosis”, which entails raising global awareness about multiple sclerosis. This year, the efforts led by WFN and MSIF have also received support from the American Academy of Neurology, European Academy of Neurology and World Health Organization.

Other Important Affairs

  • Union Cabinet has approved establishment of a Central University of Ladakh with the cost of Rs. 750 crore.
  • Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressed the World Universities Summit organized by O.P. Jindal Global University as a Chief Guest. The theme of the summit was “Universities of the Future: Building Institutional Resilience, Social Responsibility and Community Impact”.
  • Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has decided to set up a panchayat secretariat in all panchayats of the state. The move is aimed at strengthening the rural democracy and providing employment to the rural youth.
  • 22nd July marks as World Fragile X Awareness Day. On this day landmarks and monuments are illuminated by various communities globally.
  • Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli has made the District feel proud on receiving the prestigious National Silver SKOCH award under the health category on the project called ‘Pushti Nirbhor’.