Current affairs (18TH JANUARY)
RAJNATH SINGH UNVEILED INDIA'S FIRST DRIVERLESS METRO
- Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh has unveiled India’s first ‘Driverless Metro Car’ on 15 January 2021 during a function held at BEML’s Bangalore Complex.
- The indigenously designed & developed state-of-the-art Driverless Metro trains are being manufactured at BEML Bangaluru manufacturing facility, for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
- BEML recently opened its Depot office at Charkop Metro Depot, MMRDA, Mumbai for commissioning, testing and round-the-clock services for Driverless Metro cars.
- BEML bagged a total order of 576 cars for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)’s MRS1 project and the supply is scheduled progressively up to January 2024.
PIYUSH GOYAL INAUGURATED 'THE PRARAMBH'
- The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal has inaugurated the two-day ‘Prarambh’, Startup India International Summit in New Delhi on 15 January 2021.
- The Summit has been organized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under M/o Commerce & Industry.
- The inaugural event was participated by the members of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation)
- The ‘Prarambh’ Summit will provide a platform to the startups and young minds from around the world to come together and collaborate to work collectively to come with new ideas, innovation and invention.
- The focus of the Summit will be on enhancing multilateral cooperation and engagement with countries from around the globe to collectively develop and strengthen the startup ecosystems.
- The Summit marks the fifth anniversary of the Startup India initiative, launched by the Prime Minister on 16 January 2016.
NASA TARGETS TEST OF WORLD MOST POWERFUL ROCKET
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to carry out the eighth and final test in its “Green Run” test series.
- This eighth stage termed “hot fire,” will bring to an end a series of tests which, NASA says, will gradually bring together the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) to life for the very first time.
- The core stage of the SLS will form the backbone of what NASA says will be the “most powerful rocket in the world” and will power its next-generation human Moon Missions.
- The stage will then be assembled with the other parts of the rocket and NASA’s Orion spacecraft for Artemis I, which will be the first integrated flight of Orion-SLS and the first under the Artemis programme, under which NASA will take the first woman and the next man to Moon, by 2024.
- The 212-foot-tall SLS core stage includes the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank can hold 733,000 gallons of propellant to power the RS-25 engines.
- It is the rocket that NASA projects will be carrying a new generation of astronauts to the moon and handle missions beyond the scope of existing commercial crew vehicles.
- This rocket is a little shorter than the Saturn V rockets but is more powerful. This new rocket will be producing 15% greater thrust during liftoff in comparison to Saturn V. When the engines are fired up, 1.6 million pounds of thrust will be generated.
- When the 4 RS-25 engines at the bottom of the SLS are ignited, the period of testing for the rocket will close. This core includes oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks, 4 engines and computers, and avionics of the rocket.
- All these will be turned on as 2.6 million litres of supercooled propellant will be loaded into the rocket and ignited. However, the rocket will remain fixed at the Stennis Space Center of NASA.
- The administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Jim Bridenstine.
- Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.
INDIA & JAPAN INKS MOU TO ENHANCE ICT
- India and Japan have signed an MoU to enhance cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) via videoconferencing.
- The MoU was signed between Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad and the Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Takeda Ryota.
- Both countries will enhance mutual cooperation in the field of 5G technologies, telecom security, submarine optical fibre cable system to islands of India, spectrum management, smart cities, high altitude platform for broadband in unconnected areas, disaster management and public safety etc.
- Japan Capital:
- Japan Currency: Japanese yen.
- Japan Prime minister: Yoshihide Suga.
UN RIGHTS BODY ELECTS FIJI IN ITS PRESIDENTIAL VOTE
- The UN Human Rights Council elected Fiji’s ambassador as its 2021 president in an unprecedented secret ballot after a diplomatic stand-off blocked the usual consensus decision.
- Fiji’s ambassador in Geneva, Nazhat Shameem Khan, who served as the council’s vice president in 2020 and is considered a rights champion, won with 29 out of 47 votes.
- She ran against two other candidates from the UN’s Asia-Pacific regional group of countries:
- Bahrain’s ambassador Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri and his counterpart from Uzbekistan, Ulugbek Lapasov, who received 14 and four votes respectively.
- The president mainly oversees council meetings but is also in charge of appointing the independent experts who investigate countries’ alleged rights abuses and can determine how hard to crack down on cases of state intimidation against those who cooperate with the body.
- UN Human Rights Council Founded: 15 March 2006.
- UN Human Rights Council Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
PETROLEUM MINISTRY LAUNCHED 'SAKSHAM CAMPAIGN'
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched a month-long mass awareness campaign titled ‘SAKSHAM’ to spread awareness about green and clean energy.
- The campaign has been organised by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), to motivate consumers to switch to cleaner fuels and bring in behavioural change to use fossil fuel intelligently.
- The campaign will spread awareness about seven key drivers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently mentioned.
- SAKSHAM stands for Sanrakshan Kshamata Mahotsav. The pan-India campaign would include various activities such as cyclotron, farmer workshops, seminars, painting competition, CNG vehicle driving contest, etc to spread awareness among masses about the advantages of using clean fuels.
- They include moving towards a gas-based economy, cleaner use of fossil fuels, greater reliance on domestic sources to drive biofuels and increased use of electric vehicles.
- Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas: Dharmendra Pradhan.
KIRAN M. SHAW ELECTED AS ONE OF VICE CHAIR OF USIBC
- The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has selected three top corporate leaders as the Vice-Chairs of 2021 Global Board of Directors of USIBC with immediate effect.
- The three new appointees will now work with USIBC President Nisha Biswal and the Council’s policy directors, for strengthening US-India commercial relationship for the future.
The three newly appointed VCs are
- Biocon Executive Chairperson: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
- Amway CEO: Milind Pant.
- Vice-chair at Nasdaq: Edward Knight.
- USIBC has strengthened its leadership team as it plans to work with the new Joe Biden-led US administration. The Council advocates for strengthening US-India commercial relationship for the future.
- The vice-chairs will work to amplify the voice of the industry on international trade and investment issues and emphasize the key role that businesses can play in strengthening democratic institutions and combating the global pandemic.