Current Affairs : 15 June 2021

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  • Jun 15, 2021
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Current Affairs : 15 June 2021

India begins ‘Extension of Hospitals’ project

India has launched the ‘Extension of Hospitals’ project in various regions to address a huge health infrastructure gap in the country’s fight against Covid-19, particularly in rural areas and smaller cities.

Modular hospitals are extensions of hospital infrastructure that can be constructed next to an existing hospital facility.

Highlights

  • As the number of cases of Covid-19 increased across the country, hospital infrastructure was put under tremendous strain. 
  • Innovative modular hospitals came as a big help amid the crisis, keeping in mind the demand. 
  • One such endeavour is Project ‘Extension Hospitals,’ for which the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) requested private sector enterprises, donor organisations, and people to fund it, as well as several other national programmes. 
  • Nearly 50 hospitals in states with the highest frequency of Covid-19 cases had their needs assessed by the PSA office.
  • The MediCAB hospitals were created by Modulus Housing, a start-up based at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M). 
  • This allows for the construction of a 100-bed expansion facility in about three weeks. 
  • The Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of MediCAB hospitals are built to accommodate a variety of life-support equipment and medical technology. 
  • These negative pressure portable hospitals have a 25-year lifespan and can be moved in less than a week in the future for any emergency response.
  • In India’s fight against Covid-19, these fast deployable facilities will fill a key health infrastructure deficit, particularly in rural areas and smaller towns. 
  • PSA’s office has been working hard to secure corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding to help implement these projects in various parts of the country. 
  • With the aid of the American Indian Foundation, Modulus Housing has begun deploying MediCAB extension hospitals (AIF). 
  • CSR support has also been offered by Mastercard, Texas Instruments, Zscaler, PNB Housing, Goldman Sachs, Lenovo, and the NASSCOM Foundation.
  • Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), Amravati, Pune, and Jalna (Maharastra), Mohali (Punjab), and a 20-bed hospital in Raipur are among the first batch of 100-bed hospitals to be inaugurated (Chhattisgarh). 
  • Bengaluru (Karnataka) will have one each of 20, 50, and 100 beds in the initial phase. 
  • The PSA Office has also teamed up with Tata Projects Ltd to set up modular hospitals across Punjab and Chhattisgarh. 
  • In Gurdaspur and Faridkot, they have started construction on 48-bed modular hospitals (Punjab). 
  • Multiple hospitals in Chhattisgarh, including Raipur, Jashpur, Bemetara, Kanker, and Gaurella, are expanding their intensive care units.

Madhya Pradesh Government launches ‘Yuva Shakti Corona Mukti Abhiyan

The government of Madhya Pradesh has initiated the ‘Yuva Shakti Corona Mukti Abhiyan’ to raise awareness about the continuing COVID-19 pandemic in the state. With the support of the young power campaign it would pace the goal of ‘Corona free India’. 

The campaign was launched on the order of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, by the state’s higher education and technical education departments in partnership with the public healthcare and family welfare departments.

Highlights

  • Anupam Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education; Mukesh Gupta, Secretary, Technical Education; State-level officials of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and UNICEF provided training to the lead colleges of all the district as well as, to principles of polytechnics, engineering colleges, and district vaccination officers, in preparation for the campaign. 
  • Teachers and students at Government colleges of higher and technical education will be trained in “COVID friendly behaviour and vaccination.” 
  • These youngsters will raise awareness about the need for precaution among the general public.
  • Students in small groups will be given information and specifics about the importance of COVID-friendly behaviour and vaccination as part of the newly announced programme.
  • A smartphone app has also been created to allow for effective real-time online campaign monitoring. 
  • The app will track the day-to-day activities and progress of the ‘Yuva Shakti Corona Mukti’ campaign. In terms of Corona infection, the state is now ranked number 26 in the country.
  • In terms of Corona spread, the state is now ranked number 26 in the country. 
  • Only 274 cases of Corona infection have been reported in the state in the last few days.
  • In twenty districts, there hasn’t been a single case reported, and only Indore, Bhopal, and Jabalpur have infections in the double digits. 
  • Daily, almost 80,000 tests are conducted throughout the state, with a recovery rate of 98.3 per cent.

G7 leaders agree to stick to 1.5°C temp rise

The United Kingdom hosted the G7 Summit 2021 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, from June 11 to 13, 2021. This year, the UK holds the Presidency of the Group of Seven (G7).

The G-7 leaders committed to a list of concrete initiatives. They decided to expedite the global transition away from coal power as part of efforts to fight the climate catastrophe during the summit. It was the first in-person meeting of the G-7 leaders since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Highlights

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in two G7 Summit outreach discussions on climate change and open societies through virtual mode. 
  • India is the only G20 country on track to meet its Paris obligations, he stated. 
  • The theme of the G7 Summit 2021 was ‘Build Back Better,’ and the G7 leaders agreed to #BuildBackBetter for economic recovery and jobs, free and fair trade, global health protection, climate and environment, gender equality, global responsibility, and international action.
  • For the first time, the G7 leaders committed to connect their long- and short-term climate targets in such a way that the 1.5-degree Celsius global warming threshold remains within reach. 
  • They struck a historic agreement to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 (at the earliest) and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
  • It aimed to prevent and reverse biodiversity loss, and to mobilise funding and harness innovation. 
  • President Joe Biden of the United States has pledged to advance measures in the United States to achieve carbon-free energy generation in electricity generation by 2035.
  • While acknowledging that unabated coal power generation is the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions, the G7 leaders resolved to halt new direct government assistance for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of the year. 
  • The US, UK, Canada, and Germany will join forces to fund up to USD 2 billion to assist the Climate Investment Funds.
  • The fund will focus on expediting the transition away from coal in critical developing nations while investing in technology, job training, and infrastructure, among other things.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approves Rs. 498.8 crores budgetary support for Defence Innovation

On June 13, 2021, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved budgetary support of Rs. 498.8 crores for the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)-Defense Innovation Organization (DIO) for the next five years.

According to the press release, the agreed budgetary support will give a huge boost to PM Modi’s “Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”.  iDEX-DIO has the primary goal of self-reliance and indigenization in the country’s defence and aerospace sectors.

Highlights

  • The Department of Defence Production (DDP) created the iDEX Framework and established the DIO with the goal of building an ecosystem to support innovation and technology development in aerospace and defence.
  • It would be done by involving industries such as start-ups, MSMEs, R& D Institutes, and individual innovators. 
  • Its goal is to provide them with funds and other resources to conduct research and development that has the potential to be adapted to Indian defence and aerospace needs in the future.
  •  iDEX-DIO encourages improved knowledge of defence needs in the Indian Innovation System, as well as in the Indian defence establishment, of the Indian Innovation eco-capability system’s to deliver.
  • Under the DIO framework, the scheme would give financial support to almost 300 MSMEs, startups, and individual innovators, as well as 20 partner incubators.
  • It has budgeted support of Rs. 498.8 crores for the next five years. 
  • The DDP will release cash to DIO in the form of Partner Incubators to manage and set up the iDEX network (PIs). 
  • It would facilitate organizing numerous challenges/hackathons to narrow down potential technologies and entities, as well as engaging with MSME innovators/technology centres/startups via PI. 
  • It would help in considering the utility and influence of the innovators’/startups’ inventions and products on the defence and aerospace industries.

ICC inducts 10 cricketers in ICC Hall of Fame

On June 13, 2021, the International Cricket Council inducted ten new cricketers into the ICC Hall of Fame. Four distinguished honorees are among the new inductees.

Each of the ten cricketers represents a distinct era in the game’s history. Vinoo Mankad, a legendary Indian cricketer, is one of the ten ICC Hall of Fame entrants for 2021. He was the first Indian to reach 1000 runs in a test match and to take 100 wickets in a test match.

Highlights

  • Aubrey Faulkner: The first Hall of Fame inductee was the legendary South African all-rounder Aubrey Faulkner. 
  • He has scored 1,754 runs and grabbed 82 wickets in 25 tests for the Proteas. He was regarded as one of the googly’s forefathers. 
  • In Test cricket, he was the only player to top both the MRF Tyres ICC Batting and Bowling rankings. 
  • Sir Learie Constantine, a West Indian legend, played 18 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 635 runs and taking 58 wickets.
  •  He is recognised as one of the first outstanding all-rounders from the West Indies. 
  • Ted Dexter: The England cricketer played 62 Tests, scoring 4,502 runs and taking 66 wickets in the process. The manner in which he pressed himself against the crease, gave him the title of Lord Ted.
  • Vinoo Mankad played 44 Tests for India, scoring 2,109 runs and taking 162 wickets. He was a slow left-arm orthodox spinner and an opening batsman. 
  • He is regarded as one of India’s best all-rounders and the best left-arm spinner of all time. 
  • He is one of only three players in test cricket history to have batted in each of the 11 positions. 
  • His most noteworthy innings came in a match against England at Lord’s in 1952, when he scored 72 and 184 runs while bowling over 97 overs. 
  • Desmond Haynes was a West Indian cricketer who appeared in 116 Tests and amassed a total of 7,487 runs. 
  • He is one of the rare players to make a century on his first ODI appearance.
  • Andy Flower, a Zimbabwe cricket icon, appeared in 63 Tests, scoring 4,794 runs and taking 151 catches, including nine stumpings. 
  • He was a wicket-keeper batsman who batted left-handed. Monty Noble was an Australian hero who played 42 Tests and amassed a total of 1,997 runs while taking 121 wickets. 
  • Stan McCabe played 39 Tests for Australia, scoring 2,748 runs and taking 36 wickets. In 1938, he was only 28 years old when he played his final test match. 
  • England cricketer Bob Willis played 90 Tests and grabbed 325 wickets. He is regarded as one of the world’s top fast bowlers.
  • Kumar Sangakkara: In a 15-year career, the legendary Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman played 134 Tests, 404 One-Day Internationals, and 56 Twenty-20 Internationals, scoring 28,016 runs across all forms.

Novak Djokovic claims 19th Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic won his 19th Grand Slam championship when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open final on June 13, 2021. He became the first player to win all four majors twice even after coming back from two sets down.

In the French Open final, Djokovic, 34, defeated Tsitsipas 6-7 (6_, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4). Tsitsipas, 22, got off to a terrific start early. It was perhaps because Djokovic was exhausted after a four-hour semi-final with 13-time French Open champion Nadal on Friday, June 11.

Highlights

  • Djokovic is now only one major away from equaling Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s record of 20. 
  • Djokovic has won the French Open twice, the first time in 2016 and the second time in 2021. 
  • Djokovic has three US Open titles, five Wimbledon titles, and nine Australian Open titles. 
  • He is presently ranked No. 1 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals. 
  • Since Rod Laver in 1969, Djokovic is the only player to have won all four Grand Slams. 
  • Tsitsipas was in his maiden major final, while Djokovic was in his 29th.

Novak Djokovic

  • Novak Djokovic is a professional tennis player from Serbia. 
  • The Association of Tennis Professionals has him at No. 1 in the world (ATP). 
  • Djokovic has been No. 1 for a record 325 weeks and has closed the year as No. 1 six times, a record he shares with Pete Sampras in the Open Era. 
  • Djokovic has won a total of 84 ATP singles titles, including a record nine Australian Open titles and a joint-record 36 Masters championships (shared with Rafael Nadal). 
  • He is the only player on the modern ATP Tour to win all four Grand Slam competitions, as well as all nine ATP Masters events and the ATP Finals.

Naftali Bennett elected as Israel’s new Prime Minister

After the Parliament accepted a new cabinet on June 13, 2021, Naftali Bennett, a multi-millionaire former computer entrepreneur was elected as the new Prime Minister of Israel. He earned his name in politics with harsh religious-nationalist rhetoric

The Israeli Knesset voted in favour of the unlikely coalition put together by Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid Party. Even with a razor-thin majority, the coalition was enough to put an end to Israel’s experienced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year reign.

Highlights

  • Bennet will serve as Israel’s Prime Minister on a rotating basis until Yair Lapid takes over after two years, according to the coalition agreement.
  •  Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s 49-year-old estranged former protégé, served as defence minister and was a former special forces commando.
  • He is the leader of the right-wing Yamina Party, which has called for the annexation of areas of the West Bank by Israel. 
  • Naftali Bennet will be Israel’s first publicly religious prime minister, as well as the first to wear the Kippah, a tiny skullcap worn by orthodox Jewish males.
  • Israel’s new coalition government, which ended Netanyahu’s 12-year reign as Prime Minister, is made up of political parties with little in common other than a desire to depose the experienced right-wing leader. 
  • Bennett and Yair Lapid’s eight-party coalition in Israel spans the far left to the extreme right, and includes, for the first time, a small Islamist faction representing Israel’s Arab minority. 
  • Instead of risking revealing internal schisms by attempting to solve key international concerns such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the new party is likely to focus mostly on social and economic matters.
  • Naftali Bennett, a 49-year-old politician with American parents, was a successful computer entrepreneur before switching to and becoming deeply active in, right-wing politics and religious nationalism. 
  • Bennet, who has been labelled as an ultra-nationalist, considers himself to be more right-wing than Netanyahu and maintains that he does not exploit hatred or polarisation to advance his political agenda. 
  • Between 2006 and 2008, Naftali Bennett worked as a top aide to Netanyahu. 
  • He did, however, leave Netanyahu’s Likud Party after his relationship with him deteriorated. 
  • Bennett joined the right-wing national-religious Jewish Home Party shortly after entering politics.

Operation Olivia initiated by the Indian Coast Guards

The Indian Coast Guard recently deployed an aeroplane to safeguard Olive Ridley turtles as part of ‘Operation Oliva.’ Every year, from November to December, the Indian Coast Guard’s “Operation Olivia,” which began in the early 1980s, assists in the protection of Olive Ridley turtles. These turtles cluster along the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting.

Highlights

  •  Illegal trawling activities are also intercepted. From November to May, the Coast Guard conducts round-the-clock monitoring using assets such as swift patrol vessels, air cushion vessels, interceptor craft, and Dornier planes to enforce rules near the rookeries (a colony of breeding animals).
  • The Coast Guard spent 225 ship days and 388 aircraft hours protecting 3.49 lakh turtles that lay eggs along the Odisha coast from November 2020 to May 2021. 
  • Olive ridley turtles are the tiniest and most numerous of all sea turtles found on the planet.
  • Carnivores, these turtles acquire their name from their olive-coloured carapace. 
  • During a year, they travel thousands of kilometres between feeding and mating grounds. 
  • They’re well known for their Arribada mass nesting, in which thousands of females congregate on a single beach to lay eggs. 
  • They can be found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans in warm waters.
  • They’re poached for their flesh, shells, and leather, as well as their eggs. 
  • The most serious hazard they face is inadvertent entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets caused by uncontrolled fishing along nesting beaches during their mating season. 
  • Plastics, fishing nets, discarded nets, polythene, and other waste left by visitors and fishermen are also becoming more prevalent. 
  • The Odisha government has made it essential for trawls to utilise Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net particularly built with an exit cover that allows turtles to escape while preserving the catch, to avoid accidental deaths in India.

Pune based firm develops 3-D printed masks coated with Anti- Viral agents

A Pune-based company has developed a three-dimensional face mask that is covered with antiviral chemicals that kill the Covid-19 virus when it comes into contact with it.

The virucidal mask project, developed by Thincr Technologies India Pvt Ltd, was one of the first initiatives selected for commercialization by the Department of Science and Technology. It is an effort with the Technology Development Board as part of the government’s campaign against the virus.

Highlights

  • Shitalkumar Zambad, the founder and director of Thincr Technologies, claims that these low-cost masks coated with virucides are more effective than N-95, 3-Ply, or fabric masks currently on the market.
  •  He did say, however, that the coated layer can be integrated as an additional layer in existing masks of all types to help provide further protection beyond what the filter mechanisms can provide.
  •  The mask coating, which is made up of a Sodium Olefin Sulfonate-based mixture, has been tested and shown to inactivate the Covid-19 virus, according to Zambad.
  • It’s a soap-forming substance that’s both hydrophilic and hydrophobic. It damages the virus’s outer membrane when it comes into touch with it. 
  • At room temperature, the components, which are commonly used in cosmetics, remain stable. 
  • These virucidal masks have bacterial filtration effectiveness of more than 95%, and the company has employed 3D printers to create layered fabric filters for plastic-moulded or 3D-printed mask covers for the first time.
  •  It gave 6,000 virucidal masks to four government hospitals in Nandurbar, Nashik, for use by healthcare personnel, as well as to a girls’ school and college in Bengaluru, through an NGO.

Tigray famine, a man-made crisis in Ethiopia

According to UN agencies and aid organisations, more than 3,50,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are suffering from hunger, with millions more at risk. International agencies have blamed the region’s war for the region’s greatest food crisis in a decade.

On June 10, 2021, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock stated that Tigray is currently experiencing a famine. He made the assertion following the publication of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, which according to the IPS has not received Ethiopian government approval.

Highlights

  • Lowcock went on to say that the number of people suffering from famine in Tigray is more than it has been anywhere else in the world since a quarter-million Somalis died in 2011. 
  • The majority of Tigray’s 5.5 million residents require food assistance. 
  • The war in Tigray, which began in September 2020 between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the ruling party in the Tigray province, has now escalated into a full-fledged catastrophe. 
  • In November 2020, violence between the government and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), intensified, and forces from Eritrea joined the conflict in Tigray to support the Ethiopian government.
  • According to local government officials, the conflict has displaced 2.2 million people, with many being forced to escape the nation. 
  • In the region, there have also been reports of sexual violence against women and girls.
  •  Despite Ethiopia’s Federal National Disaster Risk Management Commission disputing the number of displaced persons, independent observers from around the world concurred that it was astronomically large. 
  • According to the report, the acute crisis is caused by the conflict’s cascading impacts, which include population displacements, restricted humanitarian access, mobility restrictions, loss of harvest and livelihood assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets.
  • The Eritrean forces that entered the battle from the federal government’s side have been accused of destroying property and burning crops. 
  • The Eritrean military, according to UN aid chief Mark Lowcock, has been starving the Tigrayan populace as a means of dealing with them. 
  • Food is being used as a weapon of war, with over a million people’s supplies being cut off. 
  • The Ethiopian Federal Government has refuted the findings of the IPC investigation, claiming that food shortages are not severe and that aid is being supplied in Tigray.

UN conference on desertification, Land Degradation and drought

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a video conference presentation at the United Nations’ “High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought.” In his capacity as President of the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Prime Minister addressed the inaugural session (UNCCD).

PM Modi called for a reduction in the great demand on land and its resources, describing it as the “basic building block” for supporting all lives and livelihoods.

Highlights

  • He listed actions made by India to address the issue of land degradation, saying that the country has taken the lead in bringing such issues to the attention of international forums. 
  • The 2019 Delhi Declaration advocated for improved land access and management, as well as gender-sensitive transformative projects. 
  • Over the previous ten years, India has gained roughly 3 million hectares of forest cover. 
  • As a result, forest cover has increased to nearly one-fourth of the country’s entire area. By 2030, India plans to restore 26 million hectares of damaged land. 
  • This would help India meet its goal of adding 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to its carbon sink.
  • The prime minister used the Banni region in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch to demonstrate how land restoration can kick-start a virtuous cycle of enhanced soil health, higher farm productivity, food security, and improved livelihoods.
  •  Land restoration in the Banni region was accomplished by cultivating grasslands, which aided in reaching land degradation neutrality.
  •  It also promotes animal husbandry, which helps pastoral activities and livelihood.
  • India is aiding fellow developing countries in creating land restoration initiatives in the spirit of South-South cooperation.
  •  In India, a Center of Excellence will be established to promote a scientific approach to land degradation challenges. 
  • It is the joint obligation of humanity to repair the land degradation caused by human activity. 
  • He stated, “It is our holy duty to leave a healthy Earth for future generations.”
15 June 2021: Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Every year on June 15, the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed to raise awareness about the injustices that elderly citizens face. With the COVID-19 epidemic, this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day takes on even more significance. Experts have advised the elderly (those over the age of 60) to be more vigilant in protecting themselves from the deadly virus because they are more prone to it.

According to World Health Organization studies, ill-treatment of the elderly has increased significantly as the epidemic has progressed. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN-affiliated organisations have requested an immediate action plan to address elder abuse.

Highlights

  • There are numerous sorts of elder abuse, according to experts. Physical, verbal, sexual, financial, or even substantial neglect by family members could be the cause. 
  • Since 2006, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been observed on June 15 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). 
  • In 2011, the United Nations declared it to be a day dedicated to ending elder abuse. Until recently, older people would rarely speak up about mistreatment by family members, particularly children, due to fear and taboo. 
  • One of the world’s least addressed issues is the mistreatment of the elderly.
  • The topic for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is “Access to Justice,” which serves as a reminder of how important it is to fully address the requirements of older individuals seeking justice. 
  • Obtaining legal retribution for older individuals who have been victims of violence, abuse, or neglect can be difficult. 
  • The ability of older persons to fully enjoy all of their fundamental rights, such as the right to health, adequate social security, and the right to live in dignity, is influenced by their access to justice.

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