Current Affairs- 23rdAugust

Science and Technology

BPCL launches AI-enabled chatbot Urja

BPCL launches AI-enabled chatbot Urja
  • Privatisation-bound Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), has launched Urja, a virtual assistant with AI/NLP (Artificial Intelligence/Natural Language Processing) capabilities and trained on more than 600 use cases, the company said.
  • With the objective of making BPCL’s customer interface comprehensive and integrated digitally, Urja, the chabot is now available on the company website for any queries for both B2B & B2C.
  • The virtual assistant is designed to deliver a seamless self-service experience and enable faster resolution of consumer queries/issues.

Corsight will set up AI centre of excellence in Assam

Corsight will set up AI centre of excellence in Assam
  • Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (AMTRON) has signed a tripartite MOU with Corsight AI, a leading Facial Recognition Technology provider, to establish a strong Facial Recognition Technology Development and Services portfolio along with setting up a Facial Recognition Center of Excellence (“FR-COE”) at Tech City, Guwahati.
  • I-Sec will be a strategic partner of AMTRON in this venture. I-Sec along with its global partners, is exclusively offering state of the art emerging technologies and solutions across all sectors from defence to space technologies.

National

India's highest herbal park inaugurated near Indo-China border in Uttarakhand

India's highest herbal park inaugurated near Indo-China border in Uttarakhand
  • The highest altitude herbal park of India, situated at a height of 11,000 feet, was inaugurated at Mana village close to the Indo-China border in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.
  • “The main aim of this high altitude herbal park is to conserve various medicinally and culturally important alpine species and to do research on their propagation and habitat ecology,” Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the chief conservator of forests (research), was quoted.
  • The park has been developed on an area of three acres given by Mana Van Panchayat by the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department.

Kejriwal inaugurated India’s first-ever smog tower in Delhi today

Kejriwal inaugurated India’s first-ever smog tower in Delhi today
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today inaugurate India’s first ever smog tower in the national capital in Connaught Place area to improve air quality.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kejriwal said, the smog tower will be able to improve air quality in a radius of around one kilometre. He said, it will purify one thousand cubic metres of air per second. Mr. Kejriwal said, if the performance of the smog tower is found to be satisfactory, then it will replicate similar smog towers throughout Delhi. The smog-tower was built at the cost of 20 crore rupees.

Apurva Chandra assumes charge as secretary in I&B Ministry

Apurva Chandra assumes charge as secretary in I&B Ministry
  • Senior bureaucrat Apurva Chandra on Monday assumed charge as Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • 1988 batch IAS officer Apurva Chandra today took charge as Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • He has earlier served as Secretary in Ministry of Labour and Employment. Mr Chandra has also worked as Director General (Acquisition) in Ministry of Defence.
  • He has worked for over four years between 2013 and 2017 as Principal Secretary (Industries) in the Government of Maharashtra.

International

Indian Army to buy AK-203 off the shelf from Russia

Indian Army to buy AK-203 off the shelf from Russia
  • With the production of 7.62×39 mm Russian weapons yet to start at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Indian Army has decided to buy off the shelf 70,000 AK-203 assault rifles from Russia.
  • “The deal for these assault rifles was inked recently and soon after the first tranche of payment is made, the deliveries will follow within three months,” confirmed a source.
  • The Indian Army is keen to procure over 7.5 lakh AK-203 rifles. In 2019, the two countries India and Russia have already signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) after which a joint venture — Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) — was set up at Korwa, Pradesh for the manufacturing of these rifles.

Navies of India, Philippines conduct maritime partnership exercise

Navies of India, Philippines conduct maritime partnership exercise
  • Two ships of the Indian Navy, namely INS Ranvijay and INS Kora who are on deployment to the Western Pacific carried out a Maritime Partnership Exercise with Frigate BRP Antonio Luna of the Philippine Navy today in the West Philippine Sea.
  • The joint evolutions conducted during the exercise included several operational manoeuvers and the participating ships of both navies were satisfied with the consolidation of interoperability achieved through this operational interaction at sea.
  • The Indian naval ships are currently deployed to the Western Pacific with an aim to strengthen maritime security collaboration with partner nations.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob appointed as new Prime Minister of Malaysia

Ismail Sabri Yaakob appointed as new Prime Minister of Malaysia
  • Former Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
  • Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah appointed Ismail Sabri as the new Prime Minister of the country, the national palace said, reported Xinhua.
  • He will succeed Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned on Monday after losing majority support in the lower house of parliament.
  • Ismail Sabri, 61, is a veteran politician of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and has served in Muhyiddin’s cabinet as defense minister before being appointed as deputy prime minister in July, reported Xinhua.

Sports

Shaili Singh wins long jump silver at World Athletics U20 Championships

Shaili Singh wins long jump silver at World Athletics U20 Championships
  • Long jumper Shaili Singh won the silver medal at the U-20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi yesterday.
  • She missed Gold medal by a mere 1 centimetre. Shaili’s personal best effort of 6.59 metre was not enough for Gold as Sweden’s reigning European junior champion Maja Askag managed 6.60 metre for the top spot on the final day of the championships.
  • Shaili Singh is trained by veteran long jumper Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert Bobby George

Days and Dates

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition: 23rd August

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition: 23rd August
  • August 23 is marked as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. During the imperialist regimes run by the colonial powers of Europe, slave trade was a cruel yet common practice. Through this practice, a section of the world and its peoples, mainly from Africa and Asia were reduced to mere slaves who were bought and sold and transported to colonial settlements in Haiti, Caribbean, and other parts of the world.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that while the transatlantic slave trade was abolished more than two centuries ago, the world continues “to live in its shadows of racial injustice”. He called upon the need to combat racism, dismantle racist structures, and reform institutions.

Other Important Affairs

  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur has started off the Iconic Week from today till 29th of this month as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. In a tweet, Publication Division said, it is all set to introduce its readers to the Tribal Freedom Fighters of India.
  • The second edition of exercise Zair-Al-Bahr between the Indian Navy and Qatar Emiri Naval Force (QENF) was conducted from August 9-14 in the Persian Gulf.
  • Finance Ministry has summoned Infosys MD and CEO Salil Parekh today to explain why even after 2.5 months since the launch of the new Income Tax e-filing portal, glitches in it have not been resolved. He has been asked to explain it to Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. In a tweet, Income Tax Department said, in fact, since Saturday the portal itself is not available.
  • India is observing the Sanskrit Week from August 19 to August 25, 2021, to promote, popularise and cherish the importance of ancient language. In 2021, Sanskrit Day will be celebrated on August 22, 2021. The day is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shravan, which also marks the occasion of Raksha Bandhan each year. World Sanskrit Day was first declared in 1969, by the Indian Government on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.