Monday, May 20, 2024

Current Affairs April 22-04-2024 to 30-04-2024.

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1. Scientists Discovered New Dinosaur in Argentina

Argentinian palaeontologists have recently revealed the existence of a newly discovered medium-sized herbivorous dinosaur that lived approximately 90 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period in present-day Patagonia.

The dinosaur, known as Chakisaurus nekul, was unearthed in the Pueblo Blanco Natural Reserve in the southern province of Río Negro, an area renowned for its abundance of fossils, including various mammals, turtles, fish, and other dinosaur species. The largest Chakisaurus specimen is believed to have measured between 2.5 to 3 meters in length and stood at a height of 70 centimeters.

Studies on Chakisaurus revealed groundbreaking discoveries suggesting that it was a swift runner with a uniquely downward-curved tail.

According to the study’s author, Rodrigo Álvarez, this newly identified species, Chakisaurus nekul, was a bipedal herbivore with a distinctive feature of its tail curving downwards, unlike other dinosaurs.

This characteristic, along with its reputation as a proficient runner, was crucial for its survival in an environment teeming with predators, where speed was its only defense mechanism.

The dinosaur is named after Chaki, a term from the Aonikenk language spoken by the Tehuelche people. Chaki translates to “old guanaco,” which refers to a medium-sized herbivorous mammal that inhabits the area. On the other hand, Nekul signifies “fast” or “agile” in the Mapudungún language spoken by the Mapuche people in the region.

2. Indian Delegation Visits Bangladesh for Bilateral talks

A delegation of four members from the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in India recently visited Bangladesh for a three-day trip aimed at strengthening bilateral ties in governance matters. Led by Secretary V. Srinivas, the delegation arrived in Dhaka on Sunday to engage in bilateral discussions regarding the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) in India and the Bangladesh Ministry of Public Administration for the period of 2024-2029.

The visit was made in response to an invitation from the Bangladesh Ministry of Public Administration and focused on mid-career capacity building programs in the field of administration for Bangladesh Civil Servants.

During a press conference in Dhaka Mr. Srinivas highlighted the collaboration between the NCGG and the Bangladesh Ministry of Public Administration in conducting capacity building programs for Bangladesh Civil Servants since 2014. He mentioned that under this bilateral collaboration, 71 Capacity Building Programs have been organized, and 2600 Bangladesh Civil Servants have visited the National Centre for Good Governance since 2014.

Mr. Srinivas also mentioned that the Bangladesh Government has expressed the importance of these training programs and has shown interest in renewing the MOU.

Throughout their three-day visit, the delegation held several bilateral meetings, including meetings with the Bangladesh Minister of Public Administration, the Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration, and the Director General of the Civil Services Administration Academy.

As part of their visit, Mr. Srinivas addressed participants of the Law & Administration Courses and the Faculty of the Bangladesh Civil Services Administration Academy on the topic of “Institutionalization of SMART Governance to Enhance Public Service Delivery.”

3. Fossil of Largest Snake ‘Vasuki’ Unearthed

Vasuki indicus, a giant snake, is believed to have grown up to 15 meters long, surpassing even the size of a T-Rex. Scientists have uncovered 27 vertebrae, some of which were found in their original positions within the spine. It is speculated that Vasuki resembled a massive python and did not possess venom.

The fossil of this remarkable snake was discovered in a lignite mine situated in Panandhro, located in the western state of Gujarat.

Debajit Datta, a postdoctoral researcher in palaeontology at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and the lead author of the study, explains, “Given its immense proportions, Vasuki was a slow-moving predator that would subdue its prey through constriction, similar to anacondas and pythons. This snake inhabited a marshy swamp near the coast during a period when global temperatures were higher than they are today.”

According to the researchers’ findings published in the journal Scientific Reports, the snake could have weighed as much as 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms). The name Vasuki was bestowed upon this serpent in reference to the mythical snake king Vasuki, often depicted coiled around the neck of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.

In 2005, co-author Sunil Bajpai, from the same institute, discovered remnants of the snake’s backbone near Kutch, Gujarat. To estimate its size, the researchers compared over 20 fossilized vertebrae with the skeletons of living snakes.

Sunil Bajpai mentioned that while the estimated body length of Vasuki is similar to Titanoboa, the vertebrae of Titanoboa are slightly larger. It remains uncertain whether Vasuki was more massive or slender compared to Titanoboa. Titanoboa, which lived between 58mn and 60mn years ago, was estimated to be 13 meters long and weighing over 1 ton.

According to paleontologist Debajit Datta, Vasuki was described as a majestic giant that may have spent its days peacefully resting its head on a high porch formed by its own massive coil, or moving sluggishly through the swamp.

4. Indian Navy conducts mega exercise ‘Poorvi Leher’ on East Coast

The Indian Navy conducted an extensive exercise along the East Coast called Exercise Poorvi Lehar to ensure its readiness in addressing maritime security challenges. This exercise involved the participation of ships, submarines, aircraft, and special naval forces.

Under the operational control of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, the Indian Navy carried out Exercise Poorvi Lehar to validate its procedures and assess its preparedness in dealing with maritime security challenges in the region.

The Indian Navy stated that the exercise consisted of several stages. These stages included combat training in a realistic scenario during the tactical phase and the successful execution of various firings during the weapon phase.

The purpose of these phases was to reaffirm the Indian Navy’s ability to accurately deliver ordnance on target. Additionally, the Navy mentioned that by operating aircraft from different locations, they were able to maintain a near continuous awareness of the maritime domain throughout their area of operations.

5. A New Species of Tiger Cat has discovered in Brazil

In a ground breaking discovery, researchers have uncovered a new type of wild cat thriving in the lush rainforests of Brazil. Known as the clouded tiger cat (Leopardus pardinoides), this extraordinary feline has captured the attention of wildlife enthusiasts and environmentalists, prompting a renewed commitment to protect the area’s diverse ecosystem.

Resembling a typical housecat in size, the clouded tiger cat is a relatively small wild feline. Its unique spotted fur enables it to effortlessly blend in with its environment, showcasing an impressive adaptation for survival.

After conducting thorough investigations through the Tiger-Cats Conservation Initiative in Brazil, scientists have determined that the clouded tiger cat is a separate species from its counterparts, the northern tiger cat and the Atlantic Forest tiger cat. This conclusion was drawn from a comprehensive evaluation of the cat’s physical characteristics, genetic makeup, and distribution across different regions.

The clouded tiger cat can be found in the cloud forests of the southern Central American and Andean Mountain ranges, stretching from Costa Rica to Argentina. Its habitat is distinct from that of its relatives who reside in savannas and shrublands, showcasing the incredible variety of the region.

The identification of the clouded tiger cat highlights the urgent requirement for enhanced preservation of wildlife and their habitats by means of sustainable approaches. Scholars stress the significance of heightened research and conservation endeavours in regions presently facing jeopardy, urging governments, organizations, and individuals to take resolute measures in order to protect the invaluable biodiversity of our planet.

6. India 4th largest Military Spender in 2023

India ranked as the fourth largest global spender in military expenditure in 2023, with a total worth of $83.6 billion, according to the latest report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This significant spending was primarily driven by the increasing costs of personnel and operations, which accounted for approximately 80% of the total military budget.

The report also highlighted that the United States, China, and Russia maintained their positions as the top three military spenders worldwide, with India and Saudi Arabia following closely behind. The data further revealed that India’s military spending had risen by 4.2% from 2022 and an impressive 44% from 2014.

This upward trend in expenditure reflects the government’s commitment to enhancing the operational readiness of its armed forces amidst ongoing tensions with China and Pakistan. Additionally, the report noted that capital outlays for military procurement remained relatively stable, constituting around 22% of the budget in 2023, with 75% of these funds allocated to domestically produced equipment.

According to the report, India’s aim of achieving self-sufficiency in arms development and production is evident in its increasing focus on domestic procurement. The report also highlights that the top five spenders in 2023, namely the United States, China, Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia, collectively contributed to 61 percent of global military expenditure.

The United States allocated $916 billion, while China’s estimated spending amounted to $296 billion. Russia experienced a significant growth of 24 percent in its military spending, reaching an estimated $109 billion in 2023.

7. Gita Sabharwal Appointed as UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia

António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has designated Gita Sabharwal from India as the new UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia. Sabharwal officially assumed her duties on 22 April,2024, bringing with her close to thirty years of experience in development, climate transition, sustainable peace, governance, and social policy. She also specializes in utilizing digital technology and data to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sabharwal’s appointment as the UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia was approved by the host government. Prior to this role, she served as the UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand and as the Peacebuilding and Development Adviser for the United Nations in Sri Lanka. Before her tenure with the UN, she held the position of Deputy Country Representative for The Asia Foundation in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, as well as the role of Poverty and Policy Adviser for the Department for International Development in India and Vietnam under the United Kingdom government.

Gita Sabharwal earned a master’s degree in development management from the University of Wales in the UK. With close to three decades of experience, she has been involved in various projects focusing on climate transition, sustainable peace, governance, and social policy. She has also utilized digital technology and data to advance the SDGs.

8. Gukesh is the youngest title contender to challenge Ding Liren for the world title

109-move draw between world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana and No. 4 Ian Nepomniachtchi confirmed D Gukes as the FIDE Champion Candidates 2024. 17 year old D Gukesh becomes the youngest contender to challenge world number one Ding Liren for the world title.

D Gukesh rose to a career-best world number 6 with 2763.

Gukesh had a string of title-winning performances in Spain, where he won a hat-trick of titles by winning La Roda, Menorca Open and Sunway Formentera International. This boosted Gukesh’s grades and confidence and soon he was in the top 50. More than a rise in rank, it was his spectacular performance at the Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram that helped Gukesh capture the attention of the chess world. He won the first eight rounds in the rankings and world number one Fabiano Caruana was his most famous victim. He won the gold medal and won the team bronze.

Highlights:
1) Gukesh’s superb performance earned him nine points out of a possible 14, ultimately setting the stage for this year’s dominant Chinese world champion Ding Liren.
2) He became only the second Indian to win nominations after the great Viswanathan Anand. Five-time world champion Anandi won in 2014.

9. Zero Shadow Day Observed


The exceptional Astronomical occurrence Zero Shadow Day was witnessed in Bengaluru from 12:17 pm to 12:23 pm on April 24. This phenomenon occurs when the sun is directly above at Solar noon due to Earth’s axial tilt of approximately 23.5 degrees. Zero Shadow Day typically happens in regions close to the Equator and occurs twice a year in areas located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

1) Zero Shadow Day not only provides a moment of amazement but also serves as an educational opportunity that showcases the intricate movements of celestial bodies.

2) It showcases the accuracy of our planet’s tilt and its consistent orbit around the sun, making it a significant event for astronomy enthusiasts.

10. Laureus Awards 2024

Novak Djokovic, the tennis legend, clinched the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year accolade for the fifth time, setting a new record after his previous wins in 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2019. Aitana Bonmati, the football star from Spain who was part of the World Cup-winning team, was honoured with the World Sportswoman of the Year award at a glamorous event held in Madrid on April 22. The Laureus Team of the Year title was bestowed upon Spain’s FIFA World Cup-winning team during the star-studded ceremony that celebrated the achievements of the biggest sports stars.

Jude Bellingham, the rising star in English football, was recognized with the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award for his impressive performance at Real Madrid. Additionally, the legendary gymnast Simone Biles was commended for her remarkable return to the sport last year.

Tom Brady, the 7-time Super Bowl champion, presented Djokovic with the Sportsman of the Year Award; Usain Bolt, the renowned sprinter, handed the Sportswoman of the Year Award to Bonmati; and Carlos Alcaraz, the previous year’s Breakthrough of the Year winner, presented Bellingham with the Laureus award in that category.

11. Climate Strategy 2030 for Green Financing

NABARD has recently launched its Climate Strategy 2030 on Earth Day, with a focus on promoting green financing in India. The strategy aims to address the country’s need for sustainable development by increasing the availability of green loans, fostering a greener market, and securing additional resources. Since its establishment in 1982, NABARD has been providing financial assistance for rural projects and initiatives, with the goal of empowering rural communities and promoting environmentally friendly practices.

 In line with its Climate Strategy 2030, NABARD has implemented various measures such as zero-discharge water systems and sewage treatment plants, resulting in the recycling of millions of litres of water daily and reducing the pressure on local water sources.

This demonstrates NABARD’s commitment to sustainable practices and its contribution to a greener future.

12.  Inaugural 3D Mock Ballot in India

The first 3D Dummy Ballot in India, created by the Indian Institute of Guwahati, closely resembles the official ballot used by the Election Commission. Crafted from recyclable material, these ballots can be repurposed for 3D Printing after elections. The ballots feature candidate names and symbols, and are made from PLA (polylactic acid), an eco-friendly material derived from Corn Starch.

The Indian Institute of Guwahati has successfully produced India’s inaugural 3D Dummy Ballot, mirroring the genuine ballot employed by the Election Commission during voting. Constructed from recyclable material, these ballots can be repurposed for 3D Printing post-elections. The Dummy Ballot showcases candidate names and symbols, and is crafted from PLA (polylactic acid), a biodegradable material sourced from Corn Starch.

13. Deepanshu secures the top spot in the Javelin event at the Asian U20 Athletics Championship, earning himself a well-deserved Gold medal

On the opening day of the Asian U20 Athletics Championships in Dubai, Indian athletes demonstrated their skills. Deepanshu Sharma emerged as the champion in the men’s javelin throw, achieving a remarkable distance of 70.29m. Meanwhile, Rohan Yadav secured the second position with a throw of 70.03m, earning himself a silver medal.

In addition, Priyanshu claimed a silver medal in the men’s 1500m event, showcasing his exceptional talent. Another silver medal was earned by Ritik in the men’s discus throw. It is worth mentioning that Qatar’s Djibrine Adoum Ahmat claimed the gold medal with a best throw of 54.80m.

14. Pink Hydrogen Production

India is currently considering a potential revision of its nuclear laws in order to facilitate the production of ‘pink hydrogen’. This type of hydrogen is generated through electrolysis, utilizing electricity that is produced by nuclear power plants. One of the key advantages of this method is that it does not result in any greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, it presents a clean and environmentally friendly alternative for industries such as steel and cement.

To support this initiative, India is engaging in discussions with major domestic companies to encourage investment in the regulated nuclear sector, with a particular focus on promoting clean power. However, it is important to note that the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 currently imposes restrictions on private ownership of nuclear plants. The central government retains the authority to produce, develop, utilize, and dispose of atomic energy.

15. Top successful run-chases in IPL T20 matches

Punjab Kings have etched their name in the annals of cricket history by achieving a remarkable feat at the iconic Eden Gardens. They have shattered the record for the highest successful T20 chase, amassing a staggering total of 262 runs against Kolkata Knight Riders.

The driving force behind this extraordinary accomplishment was Jonny Bairstow, who blazed his way to a scintillating century in a mere 18.4 overs. As the chase progressed, Shashank Singh’s quickfire half-century provided crucial support to Bairstow, propelling Punjab Kings towards their historic triumph.

This remarkable achievement not only surpasses the previous record held by Rajasthan Royals in the 2020 and 2024 seasons but also establishes a new milestone in the realm of T20 cricket at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

16. India secures three gold medals at the Archery World Cup 2024

India showcased their dominance in the Archery World Cup Stage 1 held in Shanghai, emerging victorious in all three compound team events (men’s, women’s, and mixed). Notably, Jyothi Surekha Vennam stood out by securing a remarkable hat-trick of gold medals, both in team competitions and as the individual compound champion.

In the final of the team event, India triumphed over Italy, displaying their exceptional skills and determination. It is worth mentioning that this particular event is not part of the Olympic program.

Furthermore, the Archery Association of India (AAI) has highlighted that India’s outstanding performance has led to an improvement in their world ranking. This achievement bodes well for their prospects of securing a spot in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, scheduled to take place early next year.

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