Current Affairs- 24th June
Science and Technology
China plans its first crewed mission to Mars in 2033
- China aims to send its first crewed mission to Mars in 2033, with regular follow-up flights to follow, under a long-term plan to build a permanently inhabited base on the Red Planet and extract its resources.
- The ambitious plan, which will intensify a race with the United States to plant humans on Mars, was disclosed in detail for the first time after China landed a robotic rover on Mars in mid-May in its inaugural mission to the planet.
- Crewed launches to Mars are planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and beyond, the head of China’s main rocket maker, Wang Xiaojun, told a space exploration conference in Russia recently by video link.
India to provide CoWIN tech to other countries
- India will share the development story of Co-WIN, the digital platform that helped it launch and implement a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme, with more than 20 countries that have shown interest in adopting the portal to run their own inoculation drives.
- In a joint initiative by the Union ministries of health, external affairs and the National Health Authority, a virtual Co-WIN Global Conclave will be organised on June 30, which will see participation from health and technology experts representing countries across the globe.
President Kovind to undertake train journey to visit birthplace in UP
- President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a journey to Kanpur on a special Presidential train tomorrow from Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The train will make two stop-overs, at Jhinjhak and Rura of Kanpur Dehat, where the President will interact with his old acquaintances from his school days and from early days of his social service.
- The two stop-overs are close to the President’s birthplace, village Paraunkh of Kanpur Dehat, where two functions to felicitate him are scheduled on Sunday. As he boards the train, the President will be traveling down the memory lane that will cover a span of seven decades of his life right from his childhood to holding the top constitutional position in the country.
Centre signs USD 32 million loan with World Bank to improve healthcare services in Mizoram
- Government of India, Government of Mizoram and the World Bank have signed a USD 32 million Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project to improve management capacity and quality of health services in Mizoram.
- The project will strengthen the governance and the management structure of the Department of Health and Family Welfare and its subsidiaries.
- It will also improve the quality and coverage of services delivered by the state government health systems, and invest in a comprehensive Quality Assurance program which would enable quality certification of health facilities.
UK High Court rejects Nirav Modi’s plea challenging Extradition to India
- The UK high court has rejected diamantaire Nirav Modi’s appeal against his extradition to India, leaving him with five days to mount a further appeal. In February, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court had cleared Nirav Modi’s extradition, finding him guilty of fraud and money laundering in the Punjab National Bank scam and dismissing his claims that he would not get a fair trial in India. UK home secretary Priti Patel subsequently approved the extradition in April.
- Nirav Modi had approached the UK high court to ascertain if there were any grounds for an appeal against Patel’s decision or the Westminster Magistrates’ Court order
Japan's Supreme Court upholds laws requiring married couples to use same surname
- Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that laws requiring married couples to have the same surname are constitutional, dismissing a challenge by three couples seeking to keep their original names.
- The decision to affirm a 2015 Supreme Court ruling was a major disappointment for rights activists who say the laws violate the constitution’s guarantee of gender equality since women almost always sacrifice their surnames.
- The three couples challenged provisions of the Civil Code and the family registration law after they were unable to register their marriages at local government offices using separate surnames.
Indian Air Force and Navy conduct passage exercise with the U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean
- Indian Naval Ships and Indian Air Force Jets aircrafts are participating in a Passage Exercise with US Navy Carrier Strike Group Ronald Reagan for the second consecutive day today. The Indian Naval warships along with aircraft from Indian Navy and Indian Air Force are engaged in joint multi-domain operations with the Carrier Strike Group of US Navy comprising aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan.
- Indian Naval Ships, Kochi and Teg, along with P8I and MiG 29K aircraft are participating in a Passage Exercise with the US Navy during its transit through Indian Ocean region. The two-day exercise aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship by boosting interoperability in maritime operations. The US Navy and Indian Navy will carry out cross deck helicopter operations and anti-submarine exercises.
Jamsetji N Tata becomes world’s top philanthropist of the last century
- Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, founder of the Tata Group, has topped the EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century. The report pegs the current value of his donation – mainly to education and healthcare – at $102.4 billion with the start of his key endowments way back in 1892.
- Tata is the only Indian in the top 10 list. The other Indian among the top 50 is Azim Premji, former chairman of Wipro, who is ranked 12th. Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates, Henry Wellcome, Howard Hughes and Warren Buffett are among the top 5. Mackenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos, Donated $8.5 billion directly to charities, most ever in a single year by a living donor.
Tax Inspectors Without Borders launches programme in Bhutan
- Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched its programme in Bhutan today. India was chosen as the Partner Jurisdiction and has provided the Tax Expert for this programme.
- This programme is expected to be of about 24 months’ duration through which India in collaboration with the UNDP and the TIWB Secretariat aims to aid Bhutan in strengthening its tax administration by transferring technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors, and through sharing of best audit practices. The focus of the programme will be in the area of International Taxation and Transfer Pricing.
Cochin airport wins Roll of Excellence honour
- The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) on Wednesday won the Airport Council International’s (ACI) Director General’s Roll of Excellence honour for Airport Service Quality.
- The ACI, a global body of airport operators established the Roll of Excellence recognition to those airports which, in the opinion of the passengers, have consistently delivered excellent services in the Airport Service Quality Survey.
- “Cochin International Airport has consistently delivered excellence in customer service by winning multiple ASQ awards over five years during the past 10 years and is one of only six airports worldwide that will receive the recognition this year,” said ACI World’s Director-General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira in a communique announcing the recognition.
Other Important Affairs
- Canada’s Liberal government unveiled plans to make online hate speech a crime, although the proposed legislation excludes social media platforms for now.
- Russia has said that its forces fired warning shots and dropped bombs to deter a British Royal Navy destroyer, accusing the ship of entering its waters in the Black Sea today.
- The Indian Institute of Technology Madras launched a ‘centre for research on start-ups and risk financing’ (CREST) to provide academic and thought leadership in innovation, entrepreneurship and risk capital.
- A 72-year-old British man tested positive for Coronavirus for 10 months in what is thought to be the longest recorded case of continuous infection.