Current Affairs in English Medium: 21-22 May, 2020 || UPSC, TNPSC, SSC, RRB & IBPS

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2020: May 21.
In 2001, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared 21 May to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

May 21 is now International Tea Day
The United Nations General Assembly has designated May 21 as International Tea Day based on a proposal moved by India at the FAO Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea in October 2015.

National Anti Terrorism Day is observed on May 21
Each year on May 21, the National Anti Terrorism Day is observed. This day is observed in order to commemorate India's youngest former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's death anniversary.

Centre launches scheme for 100% solarisation of Konark sun temple & Konark town in Odisha
Union Government has launched scheme for 100 per cent solarization of Konark Sun Temple and Konark town in Odisha. Power Minister R K Singh said, the scheme is launched with an objective to take forward the Prime Minister’s vision to develop the historical Sun Temple town of Konark as Surya Nagri. The scheme envisages setting up of 10 Mega Waat grid connected solar project and various solar off-grid applications like solar trees and solar drinking water kiosks

Defence Ministry approves procurement of 26 defence items from local suppliers to boost ‘Make in India’
The Ministry of Defence has approved the procurement of 26 defence items only from local suppliers to boost the Make in India programme. Under the order, the Department of Defence Production has so far notified 127 items where purchase preference is given to local suppliers.

Centre gives environmental clearance for drilling & testing of hydrocarbons in Assam’s Dibru Saikhowa Park
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has accorded environmental clearance for extension drilling & testing of Hydrocarbons at seven locations under Dibru-Saikhowa National Park Area, North West of Baghjan PML in District Tinsukia in the state of Assam to Oil India Limited.

India, Bangladesh sign pact to operationalise 5 more ports of call & 2 new routes
India, Bangladesh sign pact to operationalise 5 more ports of call, 2 new routes. India and Bangladesh signed an agreement to operationalise five new ports of call and two new protocol routes to boost the bilateral trade

Airtel Africa with UNICEF extends e-learning support to students
Bharti Airtel’s Africa arm has teamed up with UNICEF to provide children with access to remote learning and cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers. “Under this partnership, UNICEF and Airtel Africa will use mobile technology to benefit an estimated 133 million school age children currently affected by school closures in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement.

India, Bangladesh sign pact to operationalise 5 more ports of call, 2 new routes
India and Bangladesh on Wednesday signed an agreement to operationalise five new ports of call and two new protocol routes to boost the bilateral trade. High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh, Riva Ganguly Das, and Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury signed the 2nd Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade in Dhaka

India elected chair of WHO’s Executive Board
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India, was today elected the Chair of World Health Organization’s Executive Board. “I feel deeply honored to have the trust and faith of all of you. India, and my countrymen, too, feel privileged that this honor has been bestowed upon us. I will work to realize the collective vision of our organization, to build the collective capacity of all our Member nations and to build a heroic collective leadership,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said addressing the 147th WHO Executive Board session as its Chair. The session was held virtually.

ICRA sharply cuts India’s GDP growth forecast for FY21 at -5%
Ratings agency ICRA predicted that India's economy is likely to witness a sharp contraction of 4.5 per cent during Q4FY2020 and is expected to gradually recover to post a GDP growth of just 2 percent in FY2021. ICRA has sharply cut its forecast for Indian GDP growth in FY 2021, post the Covid-19 outbreak.

Indian exports to fall by 20% during FY 21: FIEO
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said on Tuesday that the export from the country is expected to fall by 20 per cent in the current fiscal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bharat Biotech and Thomas Jefferson University to develop a new vaccine candidate for COVID-19
Vaccine innovator Bharat Biotech and Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia have signed an exclusive deal to develop a new vaccine candidate for COVID-19 invented at Jefferson. The novel vaccine was developed using an existing deactivated rabies vaccine as a vehicle for coronavirus proteins.This vehicle, or carrier vaccine, is known to produce a strong immune response and is approved for the entire population, including children and pregnant women

Union HRD Minister launches IGNOU’s Online Master’s Programme in Hindi
Union HRD Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Wednesday launched IGNOU’s Online Programme, MA (Hindi) through Facebook Live session. The launch was done keeping in mind the prevailing situation and adherence to the partial-lockdown as per the Government’s directives.

Union HRD Minister releases three handbooks prepared by CBSE on Cyber security for students, 21st Century Skills and Principals’ handbook
Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' released through video conferencing three handbooks prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on measures taken by the Board to adopt value-based global standards of education, in New Delhi. Releasing  these three booklets, the Union Minister informed that the Handbook  'Cyber safety-A Handbook for Students of Secondary & Senior Secondary Schools’ ' is prepared to  create awareness about cyber security among the students  from class IX to XII. He said that the booklet will be a perfect guide for  teenagers who use internet and other digital platforms frequently may face variety of security risks.

UP launches ‘Startup Fund’ signs MoU with SIDBI to promoted young entrepreneurs
In order to mobilize the youth of the state towards entrepreneurship, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched the 'Uttar Pradesh Startup Fund' handing over the first installment of Rs 15 crore to Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) here on 20th May, 2020.

Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihood Mission begins Didi Vehicle Service for safe delivery of rural women
In the tribal-dominated Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, the women of Rural Livelihood Mission have started Didi Vehicle Service for rural women for the safe delivery. This vehicle service is completely free.Women of Rural Livelihood Mission have started this service for 29 villages of 10 Gram Panchayats of Petlavad development block of Jhabua. Arpit Tiwari of Livelihood Mission said that this vehicle will also be available for other emergency services

Chhattisgarh Govt rolls out Rajiv Gandhi Kisaan Nyay Yojana for farmers
The Chhattisgarh government rolled out its much-talked-about Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana (RGKNY), through which it will directly transfer Rs 10,000 per acre a year to the bank accounts of farmers. The launch coincides with the death anniversary of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, which falls on 21 May. 

1 crore treatments provided under AB-PMJAY, created webinar, launched Ask Ayushman & Hospital Ranking Dashboard: Harsh Vardhan
Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the flagship health assurance scheme of the Government of India today marked 1 crore treatments. To mark this milestone, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the first edition of Arogya Dhara, a series of webinars created as an open platform for discussion on topical issues of public health, heretoday. The webinar is titled “Ayushman Bharat: 1 crore treatments and beyond”. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW) was also present during the webinar.

Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan participates in NAM health ministers meeting through video conference
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare participated in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Health Ministers' meeting through video conference, here today. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ogtay Shiraliyev, Minister of Health, Republic of Azerbaijan

Govt amends rules to ban global tender for procurement up to Rs 200 crores to benefit MSMEs
The government has notified amendments to General Financial Rules (GFR) to ensure that goods and services valued less than Rs 200 crore are being procured from domestic firms, a move which will benefit MSMEs

Local to Global: Khadi Masks to export in Foreign Markets
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will now explore the possibility of exporting the Khadi cotton and silk face masks to foreign countries after the Ministry of Commerce and Industries lifted the ban on export of non-medical/ non-surgical masks of all types

World Bank announces $160 billion assistance to 100 countries
The World Bank Group today announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 (coronavirus) have reached 100 developing countries – home to 70% of the world’s population. Since March, the Bank Group has rapidly delivered record levels of support in order to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, reinforce health systems, maintain the private sector, and bolster economic recovery. This assistance, the largest and fastest crisis response in the Bank Group’s history, marks a milestone in implementing the Bank Group’s pledge to make available $160 billion in grants and financial support over a 15-month period to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the economic shutdown in advanced countries.

ONGC, NTPC signs MoU to start joint venture for renewable energy business
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and NTPC Ltd "entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on May 21, 2020 in New Delhi to formalize this arrangement," ONGC said in a statement. The MoU will enable both companies to achieve their respective targets in renewable energy business.

Ircon signs MoU with RZD International for joint development of railways
RZD International and Ircon International Limited, a subsidiary of Indian Railways signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of railway infrastructure projects in India. The two companies have agreed to establish a joint working group to find possible ways of developing perspective projects.

IIT Guwahati discovers methods to prevent memory loss due to Alzheimer
In 2019, the IIT Guwahati scientists found that application of a low-voltage, safe electrical field can reduce the formation and accumulation of toxic neurodegenerative molecules that cause short-term memory loss in Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at Pune based ARI maps 2 alternative dwarfing genes in wheat that can eliminate rice crop residue burning
Recently, scientists at Pune based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), have mapped two alternative dwarfing genes Rht14 and Rht18 in wheat that can help in reducing rice crop residue burning i.e. stubble burning. ARI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology

A rare palm from Andamans ‘Pinanga andamanensis’ replanted at Kerala’s JNTBGRI
A rare palm endemic to the South Andaman Island is finding a second home at Palode here, courtesy the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI). An earlier JNTBGRI effort in this direction had been thwarted by mischievous wild elephants that ate up all the specimens! At first glance, Pinanga andamanensis — which at one point was written off as extinct — resembles the areca palm to which it is closely related. But its entire population of some 600 specimens naturally occurs only in a tiny, evergreen forest pocket in South Andaman’s Mount Harriet National Park

On Ruskin Bond's 86th birthday, new book to take readers on an adventure with the author
Popular author Ruskin Bond turned 86 on 19th May, 2020 and to celebrate the occasion, Speaking Tiger has brought out his new book which is about his adventures on boats, trains and planes. In 'Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes', Bond narrates some of his memorable travel adventures from his childhood.

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