Current affair of 19th August 2019

1. President Ram Nath Govind inaugurates Bunker Museum at Raj Bhavan

The president of India, Shri Ram Nath Govind inaugurated the 15,000 square feet underground bunker museum at Maharashtra Raj Bhavan (Governor’s government house) in Mumbai.

Key highlights:
  1. It is a bunker of the British era in the 19th century and was discovered in 2016. It was used to fire cannons at enemy ships and the other section depicts the history of Raj Bhavan.
  2. It has 13 rooms comprising of shell store, Gun shell, Cartridge store and Central Artillery store. The museum is expected to be opened to the public by the end of 2019 with online booking facility.
  3. The museum has virtual reality booths where visitors can virtually time travel to the 19th century.
  4. Jal Bhushan: The president also unveiled the foundation stone for the reconstruction of Jal Bhushan. It is the Governor’s office-cum-residential building with a history of nearly 200years. The present building has undergone renovation.
  5. It was the residence of British governors in 1885 and was shifted to Malabar Point from Parel,Mumbai.
2. Panel to examine illegal sand mining in river Yamuna formed by NGT

The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has formed a committee to look into the issues of illegal sand mining in the Yamuna river and sought a report within a month. This is done following a move by the Delhi Jal Board(DJB) chief executive officer (CEO) Anil Kumar Singh alleging blockade in the main river course and illegal sand mining in the Yamuna river.

Key highlights:
  1. The bench is headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and the panel consists of Delhi district magistrate, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) which is the nodal agency for coordination and compliance and the Central Pollution Control Board.
  2. It is a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of cases pertaining to environmental issues. It is the thirdcountry following Australia and New Zealand to have such a system.
3. Gujarat to get country’s first Institute for chemical engineering and technology

As a boost to the chemical industry in the country, Gujarat is to get the country’s first Central Institute of Chemical Engineering & Technology (CICET). The CICET would be built either at Vatva, Ahmedabad or Surat.

Key highlights:
  1. Apart from CICET, a plastic Waste Management Centre in Ahmedabad is to be set up to find out solutions to systematic segregation and recycling of plastic waste.
  2. A skill development centre will also start functioning at Bhavnagar, Gujarat from October 2019.
  3. CIPET: Another campus, Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology(CIPET) is to be set up at a cost of Rs 54 crore in Valsad, Gujarat for the benefit of tribal students and the plastic industry. The Minister of State for chemical and fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya, inaugurated the hostel of CIPET built at a cost or Rs 31 crore.
  4. The ministry administers three departments. They are Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals; Department of Fertilisers and Department of Pharmaceuticals
4. SERB’s new scheme called “Supra” will fund cutting-edge research

In a bid to promote research in cutting edge areas of science, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) plans to launch a new scheme called “Supra” (Scientific and Useful Profound Research Advancement) to fund scientists.

Key highlights:
  1. The scheme has designed as a part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100-day transformative ideas.
  2. Aim: The aim of this scheme is to fund new scientific and engineering breakthroughs with global impact.
  3. Benefits: This will promote new areas of study, novel scientific concepts, new products, and technologies. It will also attract high-quality research proposals consisting of new hypotheses or challenge present ones and provide innovative solutions.
  4. HRHR: High Risk-High Reward (HRHR) Research is a scheme similar to Supra launched in 2017 which was meant for conceptually new and risky research projects that are expected to have paradigm-shifting influence.
5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to Bhutan

The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi made a State Visit to Bhutan on August 17-18, 2019, at the invitation of Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr. Lotay Tshering.

Key highlights:
  1. Prime Minister Modi arrived at the Paro International Airport where he was received by his Bhutanese counterpart Dr. Lotay Tshering.
  2. Prime Minister Modi received a guard of honour at the Tashichhoedzong Palace, Thimphu, Bhutan. There was a traditional Chipdrel procession and a welcome ceremony.
  3. PM inaugurated the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant, one of the major projects under Bhutan’s initiative to generate 10,000 MW (Megawatt) hydropower by 2020 with the Indian government’s support. It is estimated to generate 2,923 GWh (Gigawatt Hour) of electricity.
  4. The project was funded by India through a 70% loan and 30% grant. It is a 720MW run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag district of central Bhutan.
6. Mumbai Man Chinmay Prabhu creates 2nd world record for solving pyraminx puzzles

A 20-year-old Chinmay Prabhu from Mumbai has created a world record for the 2nd time under his name of solving 176 pyraminx (pyramid-shaped Rubik’s cube) puzzles while riding a bicycle in 1 hour and 7 minutes. He broke the record of solving 111 pyraminx puzzles.

Key highlights:
  1. On December 2018, He had set the Guinness Book of World Records of solving 9 rubik’s cubes underwater in 1 minute and 48 seconds.
  2. Prabhu also made an entry into the Limca Book of Records for solving mirror cube blindfolded.
  3. He has been solving Rubik’s cube puzzles since the year 2015.
7. Biopic- Chrysostom, enters Guinness book of records

The biographical documentary  “100 years of Chrysostom” on Metropolitan Emeritus of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, Kerala, Philipose Mar Chrysostom, enters Guinness world book of records as the longest documentary.

Key highlights:
  1. The documentary was scripted and directed by filmmaker Blessy.  Malayalam actor Mohanlal did the voice-over for the documentary and will also be the guest of honour.
  2. The benedictory speech will be delivered by Joseph Mar Thoma, (head or Mar Thoma Church) along with the documentary crew at SC Seminary school grounds, Kerala.
  3. Some of the members attending the event are M.Jayachandran(Music); Benyamin(Novelist), K.R.Meera(writer); K.S. Chitra(playback singer), V.Muraleedharan(Minister of State for external affairs), Prof.P.J. Kurien(former deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha).
  4. This documentary of length 48hour and 8minutes has broken the documentary length of Saudi Arabian documentary ‘World of Snakes’ of 21-hour length.
8. Chief scientist K Thangaraj of CCMB wins JC Bose Fellowship for the year 2019

K Thangaraj, chief scientist at the CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, Telangana, bagged this year’s J C Bose Fellowship for his outstanding contribution in the field of population and medical genomics on August 17, 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. His research work includes the genetic basis of male infertility, cardiovascular disease, sex determination, mitochondrial disorders, ayur genomics, and forensic genetics.
  2. He and his fellow researchers established the association of mitochondrial DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) variations with several disorders which is the first in India.
  3. It is awarded to active scientists and engineers in recognition of their outstanding performance and contributions by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.
  4. The award is named after Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose who was the inventor of crescograph (a device used to measure the growth of plants) and also known as the father of Bengali science fiction.
9. Scientists discovered a new pain-sensing organ in the skin

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered a new mesh-like organ in the skin that senses pain and able to detect painful mechanical damage such as pricks and pressure. This could pave the way for painkilling medication effectively.

Key highlights:
  1. The new two-cell receptor sensory organ is made up of glial ‘Schwann’ cells with multiple long protrusions present below the outer layer of skin (the epidermis).
  2. The sensitivity to pain occurs in the skin’s nerve fibers as well as in the new pain-sensitive organ.
  3. The activation of the organ creates electrical impulses in the nervous system that result in reflex reactions (such as pulling our hand away when we feel a jab from a sharp object) and experience of pain.
  4. Almost one in five people suffered from constant pain and spent a considerable amount of money and put effort into finding painkilling drugs.
  5. The study has been published in the journal, ‘Science’.
10. India is the top emitter of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the world: Greenpeace

According to a data released by a non-governmental environmental organization, Greenpeace, India is the world’s top emitter of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide(SO2)  in the world with more than 15% of all the SO2 hotspots, tracked by NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) satellite.

Key highlights:
  1. SO2 hotspots in India: The reports finds that Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Neyveli, and Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Talcher and Jharsuguda in Odisha, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Kutch in Gujarat, Ramagundam in Telangana and Chandrapur and Koradi in Maharashtra are the major SO2 hotspots in India.
  2. SO2 Hotspots in the World:  Norilsk smelter complex in Russia is the largest SO2 emission hotspot in the world, followed by China, Mexico, Zagroz (Iran) and  Kriel in Mpumalanga province (South Africa).
  3. About SO2: It is produced from burning of coal in power plants and other industries and it is known to largely contribute to air pollution.
  4. Impact: The air pollution created by SO2 is the huge public health concern with 91 % of the world’s population living in areas where air pollution exceeds the limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Around 4.2 million people are dying prematurely every year due to air pollution.
11. Australian cricketer Marnus Labuschagne becomes first concussion substitute

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne born in South Africa became the first person to replace as a concussion substitute in Test cricket. He replaced Steve Smith who suffered a delayed concussion caused by a blow on the back of the neck by England’s Jofra Archer’s bowling during the second match of 2019 Ashes Series in Lord’s, London.

Key highlights:
  1. Smith passed a series of concussion tests after the incident and was cleared to resume his innings but was dismissed for 92 runs.
  2. The concussion tests taken are SCAT5 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool) which involves answering a series of questions and fill out forms and the CogSport test before being cleared to train and play.
  3. Concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. The concussion tests are used to assess brain function after a head injury.
  4.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) approved the use of concussion substitutes across all formats in the international and first-class cricket during the ICC Annual Conference held in London following a 2 year trial period in the domestic test (Big Bash League 2016-17).

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