Current affair of 2nd August, 2019

1. IIT KGP researchers develop tech

A research team at IIT Kharagpur has developed a technology which can generate energy from solid waste with high moisture content.

Key highlights:
  1. The new technology - Hydro thermal Carbonization(HTC) can convert municipal solid waste to biofuel, soil amendment and absorbents.
  2. The moisture in the waste is used as the advantage of the process which uses water for the reaction.
2. Ravish Kumar Won Ramon Magsaysay award 2019

Indian Journalist Ravish Kumar has been awarded the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award for harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless.

Key highlights:
  1. The award was started in 1957 and celebrates the leadership example of the former Philippine President Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay.
  2. The awardees are presented with a medallion with a right side facing profile image of Ramon Magsaysay and a certification.
3. India is the 7th largest economy in the world in 2018: World Bank

The World Bank data for 2018 showed that India is the 7th largest economy in the world in global GDP rankings at $2.73 trillion.

Key highlights:
  1. India’s GDP rose from $2.65 trillion in 2017 to $2.7 trillion in 2018.
  2. In 2017, India had emerged as the sixth-largest economy.
  3. It still remains the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
  4. The growth is estimated to slow to 7% in the current fiscal year that ends in March 2020.
4. NASA’s TESS satellite discovers first nearby super Earth

A super-Earth was discovered by an international team of astronomers led by Lisa Kaltenegger and is considered to be the first potentially habitable world outside our own solar system.

Key highlights:
  1. The super-Earth is named as GJ 357 d and it was discovered by NASA’s Translating Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS) according to new modelling research in “Astrophysical Journal Letters”.
  2. This super Earth, GJ 357 d located about 31 light-years away from our solar system is more massive than earth and could contain liquid on its surface.
  3. The discovery of the GJ 357 system was announced in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” by Astronomers of Spain in July. Now, the system has GJ 357 b, GJ 357 c and GJ 357 d.
5. Flipkart launched ‘Samarth’ initiative to support weavers, artisans, and makers of handicrafts to its platform

Anurag Thakur, Minister of State, Finance and Corporate Affairs and Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Flipkart Group launched ‘Samarth’, an initiative of Flipkart, to support weavers, artisans, and makers of handicrafts to its platform.

Key highlights:
  1. It will help the community to on-board and sell the goods on the internet.
  2. Flipkart has tied up with 5 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to help the artisans use the online marketplace to sell the products.
6. World breastfeeding week observed from Aug 1-7 in over 120 nations

To encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world, the first week of August (aug 1-7),is celebrated as world breastfeeding week in more than 120 countries.

Key highlights:
  1. This event was first celebrated in the year 1992 and is organised every year by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
  2. Awareness programmes like puppet shows, skits, dance and drama, films, slide shows, etc will be organised.
  3. This nutrition intervention will help the govt. to achieve Sustainable Development 2030  and National Nutrition Goals.
  4. WHO recommends breastfeeding starting after one hour of baby’s birth until the baby is 6 months old.
  5. Antibodies present in breast milk fights off viruses and bacteria and babies breast-fed for the first six months have fewer ear infections, respiratory illness, and bouts of diarrhea.
  6. Breastfeeding reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression.
  7. Continued breastfeeding up to the age of 2 years or beyond will increase the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) level in infants.
7. Army Launches E Car to Combat Pollution

The Indian Army in step with government policies on environmental protection has launched an ecological initiative with employing E Cars for use of its officials in New Delhi in partnership with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a joint Venture of Central PSUs under Ministry of Power.

Key highlights:
  1. Air pollution has been a major challenge in Delhi. 
  2. Governments across the World are investing a lot of resources in fighting this menace. Electric vehicle technology has proved to be a viable alternative by reducing the carbon emission footprint. 
  3. Indian companies like Tata Motors and Mahindra have taken a lead in R&D and manufacturing of Electric Cars. 
  4. EESL has been the main facilitator in providing these vehicles to various Government agencies. 
  5. Army’s initiative in encouraging these electric vehicles will go a long way in further development of this technology and its adoption for the general public in near future.
8. Netherlands bans face-covering clothing

The Netherlands banned face-covering clothing, such as a burqa or niqab, in public buildings and on transport as a contentious law on the garment came into force.

Key highlights:
  1. Between 100 and 400 women are estimated to wear a burqa or niqab in the European country of 17 million people.
  2. The legislation - which was passed in June last year after more than a decade of political debate on the subject - also applies to other face coverings such as full-face helmets, balaclavas or ski mask.
9. India Advances World’s First Passenger Hyperloop System

The Government of Maharashtra Cabinet Approves Virgin Hyperloop One - DP World Consortium as Original Project Proponent (OPP) for the Pune-Mumbai Hyperloop Project

Key highlights:
  1. "Maharashtra will create the first hyperloop transportation system in the world and a global hyperloop supply chain starting from Pune. Maharashtra and India are at the forefront of hyperloop infrastructure building now and this is a moment of pride for our people," 
  2. The hyperloop project will link central Pune with Mumbai in under 35 minutes, as opposed to the current over 3.5-hour journey by road.
  3. "The project will create hundreds of thousands of new high-tech jobs, generate over $36 billion in wider socio-economic benefits, and create new hyperloop component and manufacturing opportunities for Maharashtra to export to the rest of the world,".
10. CRISIL lowers India’s FY2020 GDP growth forecast to 6.9 percent

Credit rating agency CRISIL has lowered gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for India by 20 basis points to 6.9 per cent for this fiscal, citing weak monsoon and slowing global growth. Sluggish GDP data for the first quarter was also taken into account for lowering India's growth estimates.

Key highlights:
  1. The development came days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut India's growth by 30 basis points for the calendar years 2019 and 2020 to 7 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, due to weaker-than expected outlook for domestic demand.
  2. The global analytical firm, in its latest report on the outlook for India in the financial year 2019 titled 'Uphill trek', said that the slowdown would be pronounced in the first half, while the second half is expected to find support from expected monetary easing, consumption, and statistical low-base effect.
  3. The report said that agricultural terms of trade are also expected to improve with a pick-up in food inflation, adding that farmers would benefit from income transfer of Rs 6,000 per year announced by the Centre, and farm loan waivers in a few states.
11. RBI’s Money Museum in central Kolkata boost people’s knowledge of banking system

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Money Museum at Council House Street in Central Kolkata, which opened earlier this year, has been drawing a lot of attention for its unique initiative. The museum has been built with an aim to improve people's knowledge of the banking system with the help of interactive displays.

Key highlights:
  1. Inaugurated on March 11, 2019, the Museum remains open from 10 am to 5 pm for visitors.
  2. The main attention of the museum is a huge tree made using defunct coins and demonetised notes attached with a computer model depicting how money gets transferred to the account digitally.
  3. Money Museum is divided into three sections, the first section depicts the evolution of the barrier system and the use of grains as currency in medieval ages. In continuity, the museum shows the evolution of money in modern times.

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