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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 19th June, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 19 June 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

Indian Railways conducts trial run on world’s highest steel arch rail bridge

Indian Railways conducts trial run on world's highest steel arch rail bridge

  • The Indian Railways successfully tested an electric engine from Sangaldan to Reasi, passing the world’s tallest steel arch rail bridge, the Chenab Bridge.
  • 1st trial train has successfully run from Sangaldan to Reasi, including crossing the Chenab Bridge. All construction works for the USBRL are nearly finished, with only tunnel No.1 remaining partially incomplete. The 46-km Sangaldan-Reasi stretch would be inspected over two days by Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS) D C Deshwal, as the ministry gets closer to its ambitious project. 
  • Since 1997, the USBRL project, which spans 272 km, has seen 209 km commissioned in phases. By the end of the year, the last 17 km from Reasi to Katra should be finished, allowing a train to finally connect Kashmir with the rest of the nation. 
  • The Chenab Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir stands taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, marking a significant engineering feat under the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) Project. Indian Railways nears completion of this project, which will connect the Kashmir Valley to the national railway network. The Chenab Bridge reaches a height of 359 meters (approximately 1,178 feet), surpassing the Eiffel Tower by 35 meters.

India to host its first multinational air exercise Tarang Shakti in August

India to host its first multinational air exercise Tarang Shakti in August

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to make history this August by hosting its first-ever multinational air exercise, Tarang  Shakti-2024. The exercise is slated to be held in two phases, with the initial phase commencing in the first two weeks of August in southern India, followed by the second phase in the western sector from late August to mid-September.
  • The roots of India-Germany defence cooperation date back to 2006, with the signing of the Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement. In 2007, an Agreement on Mutual Protection of Classified Information was established, providing a framework for bilateral defence ties. 
  • It is a first multinational air exercise to be hosted by the Indian Air force. Tarang Shakti 2024 will feature air assets from 12 countries, with six nations actively participating with their frontline fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, and mid-air refuellers. The remaining six will join as observers. 

G Noida: UP govt agrees to raise ₹80cr for 2025 edition of MotoGP Bharat

G Noida: UP govt agrees to raise ₹80cr for 2025 edition of MotoGP Bharat

  • The Uttar Pradesh government officials said the state will sign a contract with Spain headquartered Dorna Sports and its Indian partner, Fairstreet Sports, to organise MotoGP event in Noida next year, and will keep organising the annual event till 2029.
  • In order to organise the event through its Invest UP department, the state government will raise ₹80 crore to cover Dorna Sports’ one-year licensing fee, officials said.
  • To be sure, the government has decided to arrange ₹80 crore even as Fairstreet Sports is facing allegations of fund embezzlement in organising the 2023 MotoGP event in Greater Noida’s Formula One Circuit. 
  • The audit said the total expenses for the event held in September 2023 was ₹159 crore. Fairstreet Sports could only arrange ₹52 crore. The remaining ₹18 crore was paid by government bodies such as Yeida.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

India at 176 among 180 countries in Environment Performance Index 2024

India at 176 among 180 countries in Environment Performance Index 2024

  • India, the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was placed among the lowest-rung countries in air quality, projected emissions, and biodiversity and habitat in the 2024 Environment Performance Index (EPI).
  • India ranked 176th among 180 countries, above Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar only, in the overall index, released by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia Center for International Earth Science Information Network. This is a mild improvement to the last EPI in which India came at the bottom.
  • India’s performance lags in several indicators mainly because of its heavy dependence on coal, which contributes to not only greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but also high air pollution levels. In air quality, India ranks 177th, above Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal only, and in projected emissions by 2025, it ranks 172nd.
  • The EPI also ranks India 178th, above China and Micronesia only, but the report clarifies this could be because of the unavailability of data. India, China and Turkey have restricted access to 95% of their submissions to the World Database of Protected Areas, so the EPI could not accurately assess their performance in this category.
  • The report said that India secured a better rank (133) in climate change, mainly because it has made advancements in investing in renewable energy and its goal towards transition to net-zero emissions by 2070, according to the report. India will require an additional $160 billion per year in climate change mitigation investments to achieve its goals.”

Mumbai retains top spot as India’s most expensive city for expats: Survey

Mumbai retains top spot as India’s most expensive city for expats: Survey

  • According to the Mercer’s 2024 Cost Of Living Survey, Mumbai remains the most expensive city in India for expatriates, maintaining this position since 2013. Globally, Mumbai has risen by 11 places to rank 136th out of 226 cities surveyed. Hong Kong tops the global list as the most expensive city for international assignees, with Southeast Asian cities dominating the upper echelons of costliness.
  • Among other cities, New Delhi has climbed four spots to 164th place, Chennai has dropped five spots to 189th, Bengaluru has fallen six spots to 195th, Hyderabad remains stable at 202nd, Pune has moved up eight spots to 205th, and Kolkata has risen four spots to 207th.
  • Mumbai’s rise as Asia’s billionaire capital, with 92 billionaires amassing a collective wealth of $445 billion, underscores its pivotal role in India’s economic landscape. This significant growth, reflecting a 47% increase in billionaire wealth amidst global economic fluctuations, highlights Mumbai’s resilience and attractiveness for business and investment. Factors such as robust stock markets, strong investor confidence, and abundant opportunities across sectors like pharmaceuticals, automobiles, and emerging technologies.
  • This year’s ranking includes 227 cities from across five continents. It measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The data collected provides all of the key information employers need to design efficient and transparent compensation packages for international assignees.

Oxford University to return stolen 500-year-old bronze idol to India

Oxford University to return stolen 500-year-old bronze idol to India

  • The UK’s prestigious Oxford University has agreed to return a 500-year-old bronze idol of a saint believed to be stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu to India.
  • The Council of the University of Oxford supported a claim from the Indian High Commission for the return of a 16th-century bronze sculpture of Saint Tirumankai Alvar from the Ashmolean Museum. This decision will now be submitted to the Charity Commission for approval. 
  • The 60cm-tall statue of Saint Tirumankai Alvar was acquired by the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford from Sotheby’s auction house in 1967 from the collection of a collector named Dr J.R. Belmont (1886-1981).


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI fines Central Bank of India and Sonali Bank for Violations

RBI fines Central Bank of India and Sonali Bank for Violations

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a fine of ₹1.45 crore on the Central Bank of India and ₹96.4 lakh on Sonali Bank PLC for non-compliance issues including loans and advances and Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. 
  • The Central Bank of India was fined ₹1.45 crore for sanctioning a working capital demand loan to a corporation against amounts receivable from the government by way of subsidies.
  • In another press release, the RBI stated that a penalty of ₹96.4 lakh had been imposed on Sonali Bank PLC for non-compliance with certain norms, including the KYC Directions, 2016.

RBI cancels licence of Purvanchal Coop Bank

  • The Reserve Bank has cancelled the licence of Purvanchal Co-operative Bank, Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh as it does not have adequate capital and earning prospects.
  • The Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Uttar Pradesh has also been asked to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator, the RBI said in a statement.
  • On liquidation, every depositor would be entitled to receive deposit insurance claim amount of his/her deposits up to Rs 5 lakh only from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC).


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

GAIL to set up India’s largest ethane cracker project at investment of Rs 60,000 cr in MP

GAIL to set up India's largest ethane cracker project at investment of Rs 60,000 cr in MP

  • GAIL (India) plans to establish a 1500 KTA Ethane Cracker Project in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh, with an estimated capex of Rs 60,000 crore. The project aims to produce a range of ethylene derivatives, bolstering the petrochemical infrastructure in the region.
  • The project will be situated in Ashta, District Sehore, spanning approximately 800 hectares. The Madhya Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation Limited is facilitating land acquisition for the project, with the state government already initiating the process.
  • The estimated investment for the Ethane Cracker Project is Rs 60,000 crore, marking it as the largest of its kind in India. This significant investment underscores GAIL’s commitment to enhancing India’s petrochemical industry.

Fitch raises India’s GDP forecast marginally to 7.2% in FY25

RBI retains repo rate at 6.5 percent for sixth consecutive time

  • Fitch Ratings raised its growth estimates for India by 20 basis points to 7.2 per cent, same as that of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), citing positive economic outlook driven by recovering consumer confidence and increased investment.
  • The Indian economy grew at an impressive rate of 8.2 per cent in FY24, driven by a stronger-than-expected expansion of 7.8 per cent in the fourth quarter.
  • Fitch also forecast real GDP growth of 6.5 per cent in FY25/26 (unchanged from March), and 6.2 per cent in FY26/27, driven by consumer spending and investment. 
  • It also expect headline inflation to continue declining to 4.5 per cent by calendar year-end, and average 4.3 per cent in 2025 and 2026, staying slightly above the mid-point of its target range. Fitch said it expects the RBI to cut its policy rate this year, but only once, to 6.25 per cent.


SPORTS

Australian Open: Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia crowned champion

Australian Open: Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia crowned champion

  • Malaysian Lee Zii Jia outlasted Japan’s Kodai Naraoka in the men’s singles final to be crowned Australian Open badminton champion, while Aya Ohori of Japan clinched the women’s title.
  • With many of the top-ranked players giving the tournament a miss, World No. 8 Lee took advantage to upset his sixth-ranked opponent 21-19, 11-21, 21-18 in Sydney. It was his sixth career win on the BWF World Tour and came on the back of victory at the Thailand Open last month.
  • Ohori triumphed with a gutsy 17-21, 21-19, 21-16 comeback beating 35th-ranked Indonesian teenager Ester Nurumi Tri Wardoyo. It was only her second title on tour, having won her first at the Thailand Masters this year.
  • In the men’s doubles final, China’s He Ji Ting and Ren Xiang Yu swept past Indonesian pair Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 21-10. 
  • But another Indonesian duo, Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma and Amallia Cahaya Pratiwi, broke through to win the women’s doubles, having lost previous finals at the Spain Masters and Thailand Open.
  • Chinese top seeds Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Zin overcame countrymen Guo Xin Wa and Chen Fang Hui in the mixed doubles decider by two-games-to-one.


APPOINTMENTS

COAI elects Vodafone Idea’s Abhijit Kishore as Chairperson, Airtel’s Rahul Vatts as Vice-Chairperson for FY25

COAI elects Vodafone Idea’s Abhijit Kishore as Chairperson, Airtel’s Rahul Vatts as Vice-Chairperson for FY25

  • The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has elected Abhijit Kishore, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Vodafone Idea (Vi) as its Chairperson, while Rahul Vatts, Chief Regulatory Officer of Bharti Airtel, has been elected as the Vice-Chairperson. These leadership changes are effective from June 2024. 
  • Abhijit Kishore, with over three decades of experience in the telecom industry, brings a wealth of expertise to his new role. Prior to becoming COO at Vodafone Idea, he led the Enterprise Business of the company. 
  • Rahul Vatts, a seasoned professional with 29 years of experience in telecom, is well-versed in areas such as Telecom and Broadcasting Licensing, Economic Regulations, Spectrum Management, and Regulatory Litigation.


AWARDS

Virat Kohli pips Ranveer Singh to reclaim top spot on India’s most valued celebrity list

Virat Kohli pips Ranveer Singh to reclaim top spot on India's most valued celebrity list

  • Team India star Virat Kohli has reclaimed his spot as India’s most valued celebrity with a brand value of USD 227.9 million in 2023, according to a report by consultancy firm Kroll.
  • This marks a nearly 29 percent increase from 2022 when his brand value was USD 176.9 million. However, Kohli’s current valuation is still below his peak of USD 237.7 million in 2020.
  • The rise ensured Kohli surpassed actor Ranveer Singh, who slipped to the second position with a brand value of USD 203.1 million, as per the report. Kroll’s Celebrity Brand Valuation Report 2023 highlighted that while Kohli’s brand has grown but has not yet reached the pinnacle seen in 2020.
  • Actor Shah Rukh Khan, buoyed by the success of his films ‘Jawaan’ and ‘Pathaan’, rose to the third spot in 2023 with a brand value of USD 120.7 million. Akshay Kumar now holds the fourth position with a brand value of USD 111.7 million in 2023, down from third in 2022. Alia Bhatt slipped to fifth place with a valuation of USD 101.1 million, and Deepika Padukone now occupies the sixth spot with a valuation of USD 96 million, a drop from her fifth position in 2022.
  • Former India captain MS Dhoni moved up one spot with a brand value of USD 95.8 million while legendary Sachin Tendulkar maintained his eighth place with a brand value of USD 91.3 million.

Vinod Ganatra Becomes First Indian Honoured With ‘Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award’

Vinod Ganatra Becomes First Indian Honoured With ‘Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award’

  • Globally acclaimed film-maker Vinod Ganatra has become the first Indian to be conferred the prestigious ‘Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award’ of South Africa for his contribution to films. He was honoured with the coveted award at the ongoing 7th Nelson Mandela Children’s Film Festival. 
  • Ganatra has bagged 36 national and international awards, including the ‘Janakinath Gaur Award’ from Doordarshan for his children’s programme, ‘Baingan Raja.’ He became the only Indian filmmaker to receive the ‘Liv Ullmann Peace Prize’, in Chicago, for his Gujarati film, ‘Harun-Arun’. 
  • Ganatra has been invited to serve on the jury of over 100 national, regional and international film festivals world over in the past three decades. He has edited and directed more than 400 documentaries and newsreels, apart from producing 25 multilingual television programmes for children and youth.

Sahitya Akademi announces Yuva Puraskar, Bal Sahitya Puraskar winners for 2024

Sahitya Akademi announces Yuva Puraskar, Bal Sahitya Puraskar winners for 2024

 

  • The Sahitya Akademi announced the names of 23 writers, including English writer K. Vaishali and Hindi author Gaurav Pandey, who will receive the prestigious Yuva Puraskar across as many languages.
  • The Yuva Puraskar has been awarded for 10 poetry books, seven collections of short stories, two collections of articles and one of essays, one novel, one book of ghazals and one memoir.
  • The National Academy of Letters also announced the names of 24 winners of the Bal Sahitya Puraskar for 2024. The Bal Sahitya Puraskar has been awarded for seven novels, six books of poetry, four stories, five short stories, one play, and one historical fiction.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Israel’s Navy receives new landing craft from US

Israel's Navy receives new landing craft from US

  • The INS Komemiyut (Israel Navy Ship Independence) LSV (landing craft) arrived in Israel and will be operationally integrated into the Israeli Navy. The ship finished its voyage from the port of Pascagoula in the United States and docked at the Israeli Navy Base in Haifa.
  • It is the second such naval landing craft to be acquired by the Israel Navy from the US in the past eight months.
  • The vessel’s entrance to the State of Israel’s territorial waters was accompanied by Israeli Navy vessels in a “missing” formation, this in memory of the fallen soldiers from the “Swords of Iron” war.

Chinese scientists discover new pattern of solar rotation

Chinese scientists discover new pattern of solar rotation

  • Chinese scientists using the Chinese H-alpha Solar Explorer (CHASE) telescope have found a new pattern of how the sun’s atmosphere rotates. 
  • This breakthrough is significant because it provides the world’s first accurate three-dimensional picture of how the sun’s atmosphere rotates. This findings of which have been published in the renowned international journal “Nature Astronomy” . 
  • The Sun rotates on its axis once in about 27 days. This rotation was first detected by observing the motion of sunspots. The Sun’s rotation axis is tilted by about 7.25 degrees from the axis of the Earth’s orbit so we see more of the Sun’s north pole in September of each year and more of its south pole in March. Traditionally, as a sphere rotates, the higher the atmospheric altitude, the slower it moves. 

US, India to launch NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar to combat climate change: White House 

US, India to launch NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar to combat climate change: White House 

  • India and the United States (US) are preparing to jointly launch NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar to combat climate change and other global challenges, announced the White House as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is on a two-day visit to New Delhi.
  • Jake Sullivan and Ajit Doval chaired the second meeting of the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET). During the meeting, the two leaders set the vision for the next chapter of US-India strategic technology partnership. 
  • The White House also announced the launch of “a new partnership between the US Space Force and the Indian startups, 114ai and 3rdiTech.”
  • The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar will launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India’s southeastern coast. NISAR, the first hardware collaboration between NASA and ISRO on an Earth-observing mission, is a uniquely powerful and trailblazing satellite. By combining two kinds of synthetic aperture radars, it will offer measurements of Earth’s evolving surface – including changes in ice sheets and glaciers, wetlands and forests, and land around volcanoes and earthquake faults.

Delhi Airport launches India’s first self-service mechanism for check-in luggage 

Delhi Airport launches India's first self-service mechanism for check-in luggage 

  • Delhi airport operator DIAL said it has launched a self-service mechanism, enabling passengers to drop in their luggage, collect tags and print boarding passes to complete the check-in process in less time.
  • With this, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has become first such facility in the country to offer such a solution and second globally after Canada’s Toronto Airport. The new one-step quick baggage drop solution reduces the check-in process to just 30 seconds from one minute. 
  • To make this process more efficient, DIAL has launched a quick drop solution facility, a one-step process that eliminates the need for boarding pass or biometric validation since these details are already available on the baggage tag. This reduces the processing time from about a minute to 30 seconds. 


OBITUARY

Former Odisha Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare passes away

Former Odisha Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare passes away

  • Former Odisha governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare passed away in New Delhi. He was 95.
  • Bhandare, a senior Congress leader from Maharashtra, was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1980, 1982 and 1988. He was president of the Supreme Court Bar Association for two terms. Bhandare published his memoir, ‘The Arc of Memory’, in Dec 2023.
  • Bhandare was appointed as the Governor of Odisha in 2007. He served as a member of the Rajya Sabha for three terms, having been elected in June 1980, April 1982, and April 1988. During his tenure, he served as the chairman of various parliamentary committees and visited several countries, including the USA, UK, USSR, and Germany.


BOOKS & AUTHORS 

Alia Bhatt releases debut children’s book The Adventures of Ed Finds a Home

Alia Bhatt releases debut children's book The Adventures of Ed Finds a Home

  • Actress Alia Bhatt celebrated Father’s Day in a unique way by unveiling the first look of her debut children’s book, “Ed Finds a Home.” 
  • “Ed Finds a Home” is a collaboration between Alia Bhatt, the author, and Tanvi Bhat, the illustrator. Tanvi Bhat, known for her illustrations in children’s books, brings the story to life through her vibrant watercolor and gouache paintings.
  • The book “Ed Finds a Home” is a heartwarming tale about a dog named Ed meeting a kind little girl named Alia. Despite being homeless, Ed is filled with love and hope for the world. Alia, on the other hand, possesses a secret superpower.


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