Current Affairs – Miscellaneous Information – July-August 2016

Current Affairs – Miscellaneous Information – useful for general awareness paper preparations

India has been ranked 141 on the 2016 Global Peace Index, falling behind countries like Burundi, and Serbia on the 163-country list. Prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the list names Syria as the least peaceful country. Iceland was named the world’s most peaceful country.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has announced the names proposed for the new elements, whose discovery helped complete the seventh row of the Periodic Table in December 2015. The names with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 are: Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts) and Oganesson (Og), respectively.

Cargo Express is India’s first time-tabled freight train. It runs between Delhi to Bengaluru.

Rajasva Gyan Sangam was the first joint annual conference of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). While CBDT is responsible for collecting direct taxes, CBEC recovers the indirect taxes.

A new Chinese computer system, called Sunway TaihuLight that can make 93 quadrillion calculations per second is now the world’s most powerful supercomputer.  Developed by the National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC) it has been built entirely using processors designed and made in China. It is intended for use in engineering and research including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics. It displaced Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that had claimed the top spot on the past six TOP-500 lists. Titan, a Cray X40 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is now at the third position.

China has declared that it now has the world’s largest spherical radio telescope at 500 meters. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) has been completed at a cost of approximately 180 million dollars and took about five years to complete. It is expected to be used to search for extra-terrestrial life, as also will focus on detecting pulsars, gravitational waves and eventually amino acids, which would confirm life on other planets. The 300-meter wide Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico was previously the world’s largest in terms of diameter.

UNESCO has listed the Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh, Sikkim’s national park, which is home to the world’s third highest peak Mount Khangchendzonga, and site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) in Bihar among its World Heritage Sites, at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul.  A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as being of ‘special cultural or physical significance’.

China has unveiled AG600, the world’s largest aircraft which can land on both water and land. The aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, is meant for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescue missions. It can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, and has a maximum flight range of 4,500 km.

A 114-km stretch between Rameswaram and Manamadurai in Tamil Nadu is India’s first ‘green train corridor’. A green corridor or zero toilet discharge section envisages that all trains on that route will have bio-toilets, thereby eliminating open discharge of waste on the tracks.

Rail Geet is a three-minute song with moving trains visuals, as an ode to employees of Indian Railways and an effort to establish a connect with the public. The song has been composed by Shravan and sung by Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurti. Titled Indian Railways, we love Indian Railways, the song will be played at every railway function’s beginning.

South India’s first Doppler weather radar, which can provide advance information about storms, cyclones, and other severe weather conditions, has been set-up at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This is India’s second C-Band Polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar (C-DWR).  The first was set-up in Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, in May 2015.

India’s first tiger cell is being set up in Dehradun to aid the tiger conservation efforts. A collaboration between the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the cell will have a database of tigers with DNA samples from 50 Indian tiger reserves. It will also keep track of poaching incidents and regularly update tiger numbers.

Akashvani Maitree is All India Radio’s first cross-border radio service channel. It was launched in Kolkata by President Pranab Mukherjee. The channel, dedicated to Bengali listeners will air content for 16 hours daily for listeners across India and Bangladesh. The participatory content creation platform will be shared with “Bangladesh Betar”.

India has decided to grant Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors who meet the minimum investment and employment generation criteria. The scheme which will allow foreign investors who qualify for PRS status and his/her family multiple entry into the country for 10 years without any stay stipulation, exemption from registration requirement and the right to purchase one residential property for dwelling purposes. The foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of ₹10 crore within 18 months or ₹25 crores within 36 months. Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year. The spouse and dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for employment visa) and undertake studies in India. While the PRS will be granted for ten years, it can be reviewed for another ten years if the PRS holder does not come to adverse notice.

Current General Knowledge – Days & Years

World Oceans Day is observed on June 8. The 2016 theme was “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” to encourage individuals and organizations across the planet to take action for prevention of plastic pollution in our oceans.

15 June is observed as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

World Refugee Day, a day dedicated by the United Nations to increase awareness about the situation of refugees, is celebrated worldwide on June 20 every year.

World Public Service Day, a day dedicated by the United Nations to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”, is observed on 23 June.

International Widows’ Day, a day dedicated by the United Nations “to give special recognition to the situation of widows of all ages and across regions and cultures”, is observed on 23 June.

August 7 has been declared as National Handloom Day to mark the Swadeshi movement, which was launched on this day in 1905. The movement involved revival of domestic products and production processes.

World Photo Day is observed annually on 19 August to acknowledge passion for photography.  World’s first photograph made in a camera was taken by French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1820s.