Current Affairs 15th September 2020

1. Sardar Patel’s death anniversary: 15 December

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, popularly known as the Iron Man of India, passed away on December 15, in the year 1950. He was the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India. He was instrumental in India’s independence struggle, and then for the integration of over 500 princely states into the Union of India.

2. Ladakh celebrates New Year Losar

People in the Ladakh region are celebrating Ladakhi New Year, Losar on 15 Dec 2020. Symbolic Losar celebrations and special prayers are held at Chokanga Vihara in Leh. A traditional flag, Tarchen is hoisted to mark the beginning of the New Year. The day has its origins in the 15th century. It is said to last 15 days, but the first 3 days are considered the most important ones.

3. UK Foreign Secretary on a visit to India

Foreign Secretary of United Kingdom Dominic Raab is on a four-day visit to India from 14 December 2020. He held talks with Minister of External Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on 15 Dec 2020 on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest. As part of the visit, Mr. Raab will travel to Bengaluru where he will meet the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 16 Dec 2020.

4. COVID-19 vaccination drive begins in the US

The first COVID-19 vaccination in US began on 15 December 2020. Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse in New York is the first in US to get the COVID-19 vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization. The US vaccination program aims to reach 100 million people by April 2021. COVID-19 fatalities are nearing 3 lakh in the US, which has by far the world’s highest death toll.

5. Bangladesh observes Martyred Intellectuals Day

Bangladesh observes the Martyred Intellectuals Day on 14 December every year. It marks the day of brutality when Pakistani forces killed hundreds of intellectuals including teachers, doctors, journalists, and others in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh in 1971. The horror of the torture and killing came to light after Bangladesh attained independence on 16 December 1971.

6. GRSE Kolkata launches ‘Himgiri

Himgiri, which is the first of the three Project 17A ships being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata, was launched on 14 Dec 2020. Under the Project 17A program, a total of 7 ships, 4 at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and 3 ships at GRSE, are being built. They will have enhanced stealth features and advanced indigenous weapon and sensor fit.

7. Norway Research Institute signs MoU with CGM

Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research has signed an MoU with cGanga, a think-tank of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). The MoU has been signed for the development of a sludge management framework in India. This was announced during the 5th India Water Impact Summit which was held virtually.

8. Eminent Malayalam writer U A Khader dies

Eminent writer U A Khader, who enriched Malayalam language and literature with his unique style, passed away in December 2020. He was a recipient of various honors, including the Sahitya Akademi award. His novel “Thrikkottur Peruma” won him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983. He received the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009 for his novel “Thrikkotlur Novellukar”

9. DirectX creator Eric Engstrom passes away

Directx creator Eric Engstrom passed away in December 2020. Engstrom created the DirectX gaming APIs in 1994 alongside Alex St. John and Craig Eisler to simplify Windows game development and make it the stellar platform it remains today. Engstrom and his team presented the first DirectX APls at the 1995 Game Developers Conference.

10. Singapore approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Singapore has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech. The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after studying the scientific evidence and clinical trial data. Vaccinations will be free for all Singaporeans as well as long-term residents currently in Singapore.

11. Amazon’s Zoox unveils autonomous EV

Zoox, a self-driving car company that Amazon bought in June, has finally revealed its robotaxi after six years of gnarly prototypes and secrecy. The autonomous “carriage-style” vehicle is an all-electric four-wheeler that seats up to four people, and is similar in appearance to fully self-driving vehicles created by other companies in the space.

12. EA to acquire Codemasters for $1.2 billion

Electronic Arts has agreed to buy out UK developer Codemasters in a move that could see the US publishing giant wrest control of the racing video game genre. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021 for £6.04 (~$798) a share, valuing Codemasters at around $1.2 billion.

13. Project Taara: Google talks to Jio and Airtel

Internet major Google has begun talks with India’s top two telecom operators Reliance Jio, and Bharti Airtel to pilot high-speed internet using light beams. The initiative is a part of Google’s ‘Project Taara’ which aims to provide internet connectivity through light beams. The initiative was started by Google X, a company within Google that is known to work on so-called ‘moonshots’.

14. Reddit acquires Dubsmash

Reddit has acquired “short-form video social platform” Dubsmash. Dubsmash’s entire team including the three co-founders, Suchit Dash, Jonas Druppel and Tim Specht will join Reddit. About 25% of all Black teens in the US are on Dubsmash, and females represent 70% of users. About 30% of users log in every day to create video content, indicating a high level of retention and engagement.

15. MP Radhika Ranjan Pramanik passes away

Veteran politician and five-time MP Radhika Ranjan Pramanik passed away in December 2020. He was elected to Lok Sabha five times from Mathurapur(West Bengal) on a CPI(M) ticket beginning 1989. Before that, he represented Magrahat (East) assembly constituency.

16. AI tool to predict COVID-19 probability

A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research has introduced Biocogniv’s new AI-COVID software that can easily predict the probability of COVID-19 infection. The model was validated on real-world data as well as on data from geographically and demographically diverse patient encounters from 22 US hospitals, achieving an area under the curve (or AUC) of 0.91 out of 1.00.

17. Tamil Nadu govt to set up 2,000 mini-clinics

Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami has inaugurated 630 Amma mini-clinics across the state. The state government is planning to set up 2,000 mini-clinics in all. Each mini-clinic will have one doctor, one nurse, and an assistant and will operate for four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening.

18. Torrent Gas to invest ₹5,000 cr in a project

Torrent Gas Ltd has pledged ₹5,000 cr investment to develop infrastructure to retail CNG to automobiles and piped gas to households and industries in Chennai. It has signed an MoU with the Govt of Tamil Nadu for development of city gas infrastructure at the Growth and Investment Conclave in Chennai. The firm will lay pipelines and other infrastructure in Chennai and Tiruvallur districts.

19. MG Motor announces partnership with TES-AMM

MG Motor India Pvt. Ltd has announced a collaboration with TES-AMM, an electronic Waste recycling service provider. It will effectively recycle the lithium batteries fitted in its present and upcoming electric vehicles (EVs). The company has also collaborated with multiple charging infrastructure providers to set up charging stations at the company’s dealerships and customer residences.

20. Trust Group launches mutual fund

Trust Group, a financial services company with a presence in investment banking and portfolio management, has announced the launch of a mutual fund. Trust AMC expects to unveil its first scheme in a few days and will initially focus on the debt segment. The Group currently has multiple lines of business in the debt market.

21. NITI Aayog releases ‘Vision 2035’

NITI Aayog released a white paper: Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India on 14 Dec 2020. It contributes by suggesting mainstreaming of surveillance by making individual electronic health records the basis for surveillance. The paper lays out India’s vision 2035 for public health surveillance through the integration of the three-tiered public health system into Ayushman Bharat.

22. Bombay Stock Exchange launches a platform

Bombay Stock Exchange has launched an electronic spot platform for agricultural commodities “BSE E-Agricultural Markets Ltd. (BEAM)” – through its subsidiary BSE Investments. The platform functions as a national level, institutionalised, electronic, transparent commodity spot trading platform. The platform commenced beta operations effective from December 11, 2020.

23. Ankita Raina wins ITF doubles title in Dubai

Ankita Raina won her third doubles title of the 2020 season, clinching the Al Habtoor challenge with Ekaterine Gorgodze. The Indo-Georgian pair won 6-4 3-6 10-6 against Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov from Spain and Slovakian Kaja Juvan in the final on 12 Dec 2020. It was the fourth doubles final of the season for Ankita.

24. Max Verstappen wins F1 season finale

Max Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, closing the Formula One season. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas completed second and Lewis Hamilton came third. Alexander Albon came fourth, with McLaren’s Lando Norris was at fifth position. This is Verstappen’s tenth professional win and his second this season.

25. Ola to establish EV manufacturing

Ola will foray into the electric vehicle market by establishing a factory to manufacture two-wheelers in Hosur in Tamil Nadu by investing over Rs 2,000 crores. Ola Electric Mobility has signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government for setting up the factory in Hosur, 40 km from Bengaluru.The project will bring employment opportunities to about 2,182 people.

26. Umar Kremlev: President of IBA

Umar Kremlev, the Secretary General of the Boxing Federation of Russia, has been elected as the President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). Kremlev won more than 57 percent of votes in a contest that involved five candidates and 155 federations. Kremlev’s predecessor Gafur Rakhimov wasaccused by the US of having links to organized crime.

27. Yash Vardhan wins 10m air rifle event

Junior Asian champion Yash Vardhan of India won the 10m air rifle event at the 6th edition of the International Online Shooting Championship (IOSC) on 13 Dec 2020. He shot a score of 251.9 to win the title with a margin of 1.2 points.The second place was won by Olympic quota winner Martin Strempfl of Austria with 250.7 while Oleksandr Halkin of Ukraine took the bronze with 229.3.

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