INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MULTILATERALISM AND DIPLOMACY FOR PEACE
On April 24 2020, the second official International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is being celebrated.
- Date of international observance: 24 April of every year.
- Background: The International Day was officially approved on 12 December, 2018 by United Nations General Assembly through a resolution.
- Objective: To disseminate the advantages of multilateralism and diplomacy for peace through educational and public awareness-raising activities.
Facebook buys 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio for Rs 43,574 crore
Social media giant Facebook has picked up a 9.99 % stake in Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms at Rs 43,574 crore ($5.7 billion) making it the largest FDI for minority investment in India.
- Jio Platforms is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited that works on digital apps, digital ecosystems and the mobile service.
- The investment by Facebook put the value of Jio Platforms at Rs 4.62 lakh crore pre-money enterprise value — that is $65.95 billion at a conversion rate of Rs 70 to a Dollar. The first collaboration will happen around the Jio Mart.
Important Info :
- This brings one of the world’s largest Internet companies on the table with India’s largest telecom player.
- The $5.7-billion deal pushes the Indian conglomerate ahead in its plans of de-leveraging its balance sheet. in August 2019, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani had said the group had prepared a roadmap for becoming a zero net-debt company within 18 months.
- It not only marks Facebook’s long-pending formal entry into India’s telecom sector but also catapults it to a place among the biggest foreign investors in India’s technology space.
- The arrangement among Reliance Retail, Jio Platforms and Facebook-owned WhatsApp to offer consumers the ability to access the nearest kiranas, or grocery stores, by transacting with JioMart using WhatsApp, has come at a very opportune time.
Iran announced that it successfully launched Noor, the nation’s first military satellite.
- The satellite, dubbed “Noor” or light, was sent into orbit using a long-range rocket.
- Such a launch raised concerns among experts on whether the technology used could help Iran develop intercontinental ballistic missiles. This is another move in the fight between U.S and Iran over the regime’s missile programs.
source: Indian Express (International Relations)
National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF) boosts new varieties of Anthurium, a flower with high market value, by lady innovator from Kerala.
- Anthurium (Anthurium spp.) is a vast group of beautiful blooming plants available in a wide range of colors.
- Salient features of the Anthurium varieties are: Large beautiful flowers; Different colors of spathe and spadix; Long stalks; Better shelf life and Good market value.
- They are beautiful but also purify the surrounding air and remove harmful airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene, xylene, and allergens.
- Due to Its importance of removing toxic substances from the air, NASA has placed it in the list of air purifier plants.
Important Info :
- Vasini Bai, a women innovator from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has developed ten varieties of Anthurium by cross-pollination. In 2017, she was awarded with the state award at the Ninth National Biennial competition organized by National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF).
- Now, NIF has facilitated mass multiplication and large scale production of these varieties.
Source : PIB (Environment)
100% quota for tribal teachers: Supreme Court
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held it unconstitutional to provide 100% reservation for tribal teachers in schools located in Scheduled Areas across the country.
Key highlights of the Judgement:
- The court held that 100% reservation is discriminatory and impermissible. The opportunity of public employment is not the prerogative of few.
- It is an obnoxious idea that tribals only should teach the tribals. When there are other local residents, why they cannot teach?
- Merit cannot be denied in toto by providing reservation.
- A 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribes has deprived Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes also of their due representation.
- The court also referred to the Indira Sawhney judgment, which caps reservation at 50%.
- The government is “duty-bound” to periodically review the reservation process to ensure that the benefits “trickle down and are not usurped by” the affluent in these categories (OBCs and the SC/STs).
Important Info :
- The case stemmed from a legal challenge to a order issued in 2000 by the Andhra Pradesh Bench providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates, out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women, for the post of teachers in schools located in the Scheduled Areas of the State.
Source : The Hindu (Social Issues)
NanoBlitz 3D & 4D
Scientists from International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) an autonomous institute under the Department of Science &Technology, has developed NanoBlitz 3D.
- NanoBlitz 3D is an advanced tool for mapping nano-mechanical properties of materials like multi-phase alloys, composites, and multi-layered coatings.
- It enables the performance of a large array, typically consisting of 1000s high-speed nano-indentation tests, wherein each indentation tests takes less than one second to measure hardness and elastic modulus of a givenmaterial.
- The high-speed mapping capabilities of the tool can also be used to quickly establish structure-property linkages at a micrometer length scale or higher, which can help to understand multiscale mechanics and aid in development of hierarchical materials.
- This, in turn, expedites the development of high-performance novel materials under an Integrated Computational Material Engineering (ICME) approach.
Source : PIB (Science and Technology)
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and opened a new permanent bridge on the ‘Ravi River’ connecting Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country.
- The 484-meter bridge was built by Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) of Project Chetak.
- The enclave of around 35 square kilometres had hitherto been connected via pontoon bridge of limited load capacity which used to be dismantled every year prior to the Monsoon or else it would have got washed away in the strong currents of the river.
Source : PIB (Geography)
Litchi has nothing to do with encephalitis:
Litchi farmers in Bihar anticipate huge losses due to the ongoing lockdown as the supply chain will be disrupted during the peak season.
- Litchi (Litchi chinensis) is a fruit belonging to Sapindaceae family.
- The origin of litchi is from southern China. Litchi reached India through Myanmar and North East region during the 18th Century.
- India is the second largest producer of litchi in the World after China.
- Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand are major producers of Litchi in the country. Bihar, especially Muzaffarpur district, accounts for almost 40% of the total litchi production in the country.
- The National Research Centre on Litchi (NRCL), located at Mushahari in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, is a premier national institute for conducting research and developments on litchi. It was established in 2001 by Ministry of Agriculture under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). It started functioning from 2002.
Source : The Hindu (Economy)
Centre, State can fix sugarcane price, says Supreme Court
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that both the Central and State governments have the power to fix the price of sugarcane under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.
- However, the Bench said that even though a State cannot fix a “minimum price” if the Centre has already fixed it, the State is always welcome to fix the “advised price”.
- The advised or remunerative price shall be higher than the minimum price in accordance with the provisions of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966, issued under Section 16 of the Uttar Pradesh Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1953.
- The case revolved around a petition by the Western Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association questioning if the State had the power to fix a minimum price when a similar price had already been set by a Central legislation.
Source : The Hindu (Economy)
Quality mangoes from Jagtial flood national markets
The prevailing lockdown has impacted the harvest and sale of Jagtial mangoes.
- The ‘Benishan’ or Banganapalli variety of Mangoes is widely grown in Jagtial district of Telangana.
- Marketed as “Jagtial mango – Telangana” in Delhi, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Gwalior and Srinagar, the mangoes are popular for their quality, taste and long shelf-life and hence are more in demand in the export market,
- The Jagtial mangoes arrive late into the market after the first week of April, have less water content and more shelf-life and hence are more in demand in the export market.
Source : Times of India ( Economy)