Current Affairs October – 2019
India Innovation Index 2019: Karnataka tops state list, Delhi tops in UTs
NITI Aayog released the third edition of India Innovation Index on 17 October 2019. Karnataka topped the list of the most innovative states in India, followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana and Haryana. The list of most innovative union territories was topped by Delhi followed by Chandigarh, Goa, Puducherry and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The third category of most innovative north-east and hill states was topped by Sikkim, followed by Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
The index is prepared jointly by NITI Aayog and Institute for Competitiveness based on two dimensions: performance and enablers.
The index aims at creating a holistic tool which can be used by the authorities to identify the challenges that need to be addressed and strengths that can be built upon while designing the economic growth policies for their respective regions.
For more details, visit https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=193852
Crime in India Report released: UP tops the list in crimes against women
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released the Crime in India Report 2017 on 21 October 2019 after a delay of two years.
Here are some major findings from the report.
A total of 3,59,849 cases of crime against women were reported in the country; of which, 56,011 were recorded in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 31,979 in Maharashtra and 30,002 in West Bengal.
50,07,044 cognisable crimes were registered in 2017, comprising 30,62,579 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 19,44,465 Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes. This shows an increase of 3.6% in comparison to cases registered in 2016.
28,653 cases of murder were registered during 2017, showing a decline of 5.9% over 2016.
58,880 incidents of rioting were registered, of which 11,698 were reported in Bihar, followed by 8,990 in Uttar Pradesh and 7,743 in Maharashtra.
There was a 77% rise in the number of cybercrimes in 2017 as compared to 2016.
Delhi stood at the top in the list of number of road accidents caused due to negligence with 1,317 accidents.
For more details, visit https://www.theweek.in
Manohar Lal Khattar takes oath as Haryana CM
Bhartiya Janata Party’s Manohar Lal Khattar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Haryana for the second term on 27 October 2019 after his party formed a coalition government with Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and independent MLAs.
Out of a total of 90 assembly seats, BJP won only 40, thus falling short of six seats for a majority. As a result, the saffron party joined hands with ten JJP legislators and seven independent MLAs to come to power.
JJP leader Dushyant Chautala took oath as the deputy chief minister in the same ceremony, held at the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.
For more details, visit https://www.hindustantimes.com
Free ride scheme for women in buses launched in Delhi
The Delhi Government released a notification regarding the free ride scheme for women in buses in the city on 29 October 2019.
As per the scheme, female travellers in Delhi need not pay for the bus services which include Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses and cluster buses (both AC and non-AC). They will simply be issued a single journey, free travel pink pass by the conductor. The women, however, have the option of purchasing the ticket. Each pink ticket issued by the conductor carries a face value of ₹10 and will be reimbursed to the transporters by the government.
This scheme aims to ensure the safety and security of women in the capital city and make transportation hassle-free for them.
The government runs over 3,700 DTC buses and 1,800 buses in Delhi under the cluster scheme.
For more details, visit https://www.financialexpress.com
GC Murmu, RK Mathur sworn in Lieutenant Governors of J&K and Ladakh respectively
IAS officer Girish Chandra Murmu took oath as the first Lieutenant Governor of the newly formed union territory of Jammu and Kashmir at Raj Bhawan in Srinagar on 31 October 2019. On the same day, Radha Krishna Mathur was sworn in as the first Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh at an event held in Leh.
The special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir which was scrapped by the government on 5 August 2019 also came into effect from midnight of 31 October. With this, the number of union territories in the country has gone up to nine and the number of states has reduced to 28.
President’s rule which was in place in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state since December 2018 was revoked ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
For more details, visit https://www.ndtv.com
Harmanpreet Kaur becomes first Indian cricketer to reach 100 T20 International matches
Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian cricketer to play 100 T20 international matches when she played in the sixth and final T20 international against South Africa in Surat on 3 October 2019. As far as other Indian cricketers are concerned, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rohit Sharma stand close to the feat having played 98 matches each.
Among international players, Ellyse Perry from Australia and Suzie Bates from New Zealand top the list, having played 111 international matches. Harmanpreet shares her achievement with Bismah Maroof from Pakistan and Stafanie Taylor from West Indies.
Currently, Kaur is the captain of the T20 female Indian cricket team.
For more details, visit https://sportstar.thehindu.com
Ravindra Jadeja becomes fastest left-arm bowler to take 200 test wickets
India’s Ravindra Jadeja became the fastest left-arm bowler to pick 200 wickets when he dismissed South Africa’s Dean Elgar in his 44th test match at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Visakhapatnam, on 4 October 2019. Jadeja achieved this feat on the third day of the first test match against South Africa.
The second left-arm bowler in the list is Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath. He took 200 wickets in 47 tests and is followed by Australia’s Mitchell Johnson who achieved the feat in 49 tests.
With this achievement, Jadeja has also become the second-fastest Indian spinner to take 200 test wickets, after Ravichandran Ashwin.
For more details, visit https://sports.ndtv.com
Virat Kohli scores highest number of 150 plus scores as captain
Indian skipper Virat Kohli added another feather to his cap by scoring the highest number of 150 plus scores as a captain in international cricket. He achieved this feat on the second day of the second test match against South Africa at the Maharashtra Cricket Association International Stadium in Pune on 11 October 2019.
Kohli now has nine scores of 150 plus, thereby surpassing former Australian cricketer Sir Don Bradman. Next in the list are Michael Clarke from Australia and Mahela Jayawardene from Sri Lanka having seven scores of 150 plus each.
For more details, visit https://www.aninews.in
Sourav Ganguly takes charge as BCCI President
Sourav Ganguly was selected as the 39th President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 23 October 2019. He is the first test cricketer in 65 years to hold the post of the President of BCCI.
One of India’s favourite captains ever, Ganguly will continue in this post only till July 2020 since according to the rules, an official needs to step down from administrative role of a cricket governing body after six years. Ganguly has already served as the President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) over the past five years.
Furthermore, Union Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah was selected as the Secretary of BCCI. The world’s richest cricket board has been in administrative turmoil for the past three years. Prior to Ganguly, C.K.Khanna held the position from 2017 to 2019.
For more details, visit https://sportstar.thehindu.com
Booker Prize 2019: Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo share the award
The Booker Prize for 2019 was jointly presented to Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo for their novels, The Testaments and Girl, Woman, Other, respectively, on 14 October.
According to Booker rules, the prize must not be divided, but the judges insisted that both the works were equally deserving of the honour, and thus it was decided to have two winners. The award was shared previously as well, in the years 1974 and 1992.
Evaristo is the first black person to win this prestigious prize. And 79-year-old Canadian writer, Atwood, became the oldest person to achieve this feat. Atwood also won the award previously in the year 2000 for her novel, The Blind Assassin.
The duo will share the prize money of £50,000.
The other novels nominated for this year’s prize were Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmannn, An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma, Quichotte by Salman Rushdie, and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.
For more details, visit https://www.bbc.com/news
Vyas Samman 2018 conferred on Leeladhar Jagoori
The 2018 Vyas Samman was presented to Hindi writer Leeladhar Jagoori for his collection of poems, Jitne Log Utne Prem, at an event in New Delhi on 30 October 2019. The Samman was handed over by the well-known author Govind Mishra.
The Vyas Samman, which started in 1991, is an initiative of the K.K. Birla Foundation and is conferred upon Indian citizens for their outstanding literary work published in Hindi in the last decade. The winner receives an amount of ₹4 lakhs.
Jagoori is a recipient of several other awards such as the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, Akashvani National Award, Uttar Pradesh Hindi Institute Award and Uttarakhand Gaurav Samman.
For more details, visit https://www.hindustantimes.com
Fossils of dinosaur with shark-like teeth discovered in Thailand
In a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, scientists have reported the discovery of fossils of a large carnivorous dinosaur in Korat, Thailand. The fossils include parts of the skull, backbone, limbs, hips and teeth.
According to the British National History Museum, the dinosaur, named Siamraptor suwati, is believed to be a 26-foot long predator that lived about 115 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Siamraptor is a member of the Carcharodontosaurus genus that are known to have long and narrow snouts. According to the scientists, the species had flesh-ripping, shark-like teeth, weighed about 3.5 tonnes and preyed on plant-eating dinosaurs.
For more details, visit https://in.reuters.com/article
Prohibitory orders lifted in Aarey
The prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 in Aarey Colony in Mumbai against protests over felling of trees were lifted on 8 October, ahead of the special Supreme Court hearing.
The prohibitory orders were imposed after residents and activists held protests on 5 October over the cutting of over 2,100 trees in the green zone for the construction of a metro shed. The protestors had demanded for reallocation of the proposed shed.
While hearing the petitions, the Supreme Court directed the authorities not to cut any more trees in the colony. It also ordered the Mumbai police to release all activists who were arrested during the protest.
The court also rebuked the Maharashtra government for taking this step and observed that that Aarey was ‘some kind of forest at some time’, taking into account the 2012 management plan for the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which describes Aarey as an unclassified forest. The court further asked the government to produce a compulsory afforestation report.
For more details, visit https://www.thehindu.com
Science & Technology
Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter CLASS detects charged particles on the moon
The orbiter payload Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS) has detected charged particles and its intensity variations during its first passage through the geotail in September. This was stated in a report released by the Indian Space Research Organisation on 3 October 2019.
The findings indicate that the earth’s magnetosphere is compressed into a region approximately three to four times that of the earth’s radius. This region is stretched into a long tail, known as geotail, that goes beyond the orbit of the moon. Approximately once every 29 days, the moon travels across the geotail for about six days. This enables Chandrayaan-2 to cross this geotail at a few hundred thousand kilometres from the earth and study its properties using instruments onboard.
The findings are intended to facilitate a multi-point study, which is essential to unravel the mystery of electrons in magnetic fields around the moon.
For more details, visit https://www.isro.gov.in/chandrayaan2-payloads
Astronomers detect 20 new moons around Saturn
Astronomers from the Carnegie Institute of Science, U.S., informed on 7 October 2019, that they have discovered 20 more moons around the ring planet, Saturn. The discovery was made with the help of the Subaru Telescope located at the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
On comparing their locations over time, the team found that three of the newfound moons are prograde, i.e. they orbit in the same direction as Saturn, while 17 are retrograde, i.e. they travel in the opposite direction. While all the 17 retrograde moons are red, two of the prograde are blue and the other one is green.
Saturn is now known to have 82 moons, the most for any solar system planet. The astronomers further suggest that the ring planet has about 100 moons but the remaining ones are so small that they are hard to identify.
For more details, visit https://www.nationalgeographic.com
NASA launches ICON Mission to study Earth’s ionosphere
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft to study the earth’s ionosphere after a delay of almost two years. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 10 October 2019.
The weather in the ionosphere can disrupt communications signals. It is also capable of prematurely decaying spacecraft orbits and expose astronauts to radiation-borne health risks. Therefore, this is one of the most difficult space zones to observe.
ICON is intended to explore the connections between the neutral atmosphere and the electrically charged ionosphere with four instruments. One of the instruments will measure wind speed and temperature, one will measure the speed of ions and the other two will observe light emissions through ultraviolet cameras.
For more details, visit https://www.nasa.gov
Christina Koch and Jessica Meir undertake world’s first all-female spacewalk
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir scripted history by completing the first all-female spacewalk on 18 October 2019. The duo successfully fixed a broken part of the International Space Station’s power grid with wrenches, screwdrivers and power-grip tools. The mission was previously scheduled for 5.5 hours, but stretched up to 7 hours.
Koch was a lead spacewalker or EV1 for the mission and thus, she wore a spacesuit with red stripes. Meir, being an EV2 on the mission, wore an all-white spacesuit.
Meir, a marine biologist, made her debut in spacewalking through this mission. With this, she became the 228th person and 15th woman in the world to conduct a spacewalk. For Koch, who is an electrical engineer, it was her fourth spacewalk.
The world’s first spacewalk was conducted by Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov on 18 March 1965, while the first woman to achieve this feat was Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984.
For more details, visit https://www.theguardian.com
IAF successfully launches two surface-to-surface missiles
The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test-fired two BrahMos surface-to-surface missiles from a mobile platform at Trak Island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands on 21 and 22 October 2019.
According to an IAF tweet, ‘A direct hit on the target was achieved in both cases. The firing of the missile has enhanced the IAF’s capability to engage the grounds targets with pin-point accuracy from a mobile platform.’
The missile has a range of 300 kms and weighs around 2.5 tonnes.
The BrahMos, an Indo-Russian joint venture, is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land.
For more details, visit https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=193978
Massive galaxy found hidden in cosmic dust
Astronomers have recently come out with a study informing the presence of a massive galaxy hidden amid cosmic dust clouds. The study published in The Astrophysical Journal took into consideration only a tiny part of the sky, less than 1/100th size of the moon.
The monstrous galaxy dates back to the early days of the universe and was discovered with the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), a collection of 66 radio telescopes located in the high mountains of Chile.
Lead author Christina Williams from the University of Arizona Steward Observatory, US, was the first to notice a faint light blob that seemed to be coming from nowhere. ‘It was very mysterious because the light seemed not to be linked to any known galaxy at all. When I saw this galaxy was invisible at any other wavelength, I got really excited because it meant that it was probably really far away and hidden by clouds of dust,’ she said.
According to the researchers, the signal took around 12.5 billion years to reach the earth, which means that the galaxy is located very far from ours. The researchers also believe that the galaxy is forming new stars at 100 times the rate of our own galaxy.
The researchers are now eagerly waiting for the launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in March 2021, to study the galaxy in more detail.
For more details, visit https://www.livescience.com
Joko Widodo becomes Indonesia’s President for the second time
Joko Widodo took oath as the President of Indonesia at a ceremony in the capital city Jakarta on 20 October 2019. Widodo won with 55.5% votes in the April presidential election to rise to power for his second and final five-year term. Maruf Amin took oath as the Vice President replacing Jusuf Kalla.
During the oath ceremony, Jokowi pledged to transform the country’s economy and take action against poverty and corruption. Furthermore, he set out an ambitious target to help Indonesia become a developed nation by 2045.
For more details, visit https://www.ndtv.com
Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed
The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in a raid by the U.S. Special Forces in northwest Syria on 27 October 2019. The leader of the terror group is believed to have been in hiding for the last five years.
US President Donald Trump announced that Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest after fleeing into a dead-end tunnel in the village of Barisha. The President further informed that 15 minutes after his death, he was positively identified by DNA tests. Trump also thanked Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Russia, and the Syrian Kurds for their cooperation in the mission.
The Islamic State confirmed the death and named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as their new leader.
For more details, visit https://www.dw.com
Global Competitiveness Index 2019 released
According to the latest edition of the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum, Singapore has replaced US to acquire the first position with a score of 84.8.
The rankings are based on 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars, namely institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, financial system, market size, business dynamism, innovation capability. Each pillar uses a scale from 0 to 100 to show how close an economy is to the ideal state of competitiveness in that area.
Here are the key findings from the report.
1. The top-five economies in the Global Competitiveness Index 2019 are Singapore, US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
2. India slipped ten positions overall compared to last year, to settle at the 68th rank. The country ranked 109th out of total 141 countries in terms of healthy life expectancy. It also performed poorly in factors, such as information, communication and technology adoption (120), health (110), skills (107), product market (101), labour market (103) and stability (103).
3. Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world, followed closely by Europe and North America.
4. Nordic countries are among the world’s most technologically advanced, innovative and dynamic while also providing better living conditions and social protection.
5. Denmark, Uruguay and Zimbabwe increased their shares of renewable sources of energy significantly.
The Global Competitiveness Index identifies and assesses factors that underpin the process of economic growth and human development, every year.
For more details, visit https://economictimes
Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem
A team of archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University have unearthed a 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem possibly built by Pontius Pilate, the official who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion. The discovery is reported in a study published in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology.
The excavation revealed a 220-metre section of the ancient street ascending from the Pool of Siloam in the south to the Temple Mount in the city.
The 600-metre-long and 8-metre wide street is paved with huge slabs of stones. It is believed that almost 10,000 tonnes of limestone rock was used for its construction. Moreover, around 100 coins were found beneath the paving stones, dated between 17CE and 31CE.
For more details, visit https://www.independent.co.uk
Nobel Prize 2019: List of winners
The Nobel Prize, a set of annual international awards, is bestowed by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances, every year since 1901. At present, the Nobel Prize is split into six categories. Let us take a look at the winners of 2019 for each category below.
Nobel Prize in Physics
James Peebles: for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology
Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz: for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino: for the development of lithium-ion battery
Nobel Prize in Literature
Peter Handke: for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity explores the periphery and the specificity of human experience
Nobel Peace Prize
Abiy Ahmed Ali: for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular, his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict between his country Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea
Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer: for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
William Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza: for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability
For more details, visit https://www.bbc.co.uk
Mukesh Ambani retains Forbes Richest Indian title for 12th year
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), once again secured the first rank in the Forbes’ India’s Richest 2019 with a net worth of $51.4 billion. 62-year-old Ambani acquired the title for the 12th consecutive year.
The second position in the list was held by infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani having a net worth of $15.7 billion. In the last edition, Adani stood at 10th position. Azim Premji who stood at the second position previously dropped to the 17th rank after donating around $7.5 billion worth of shares in charity.
A few new names on the list of 100 richest people in India, this year, include Byju Raveendran, the founder of edtech company Byju’s; Manohar Lal and Madhusudan Agarwal of Haldiram Snacks; and Rajesh Mehra, whose family owns a popular brand of bathroom fittings, Jaquar.
According to the Forbes’ list, the total wealth of Indian businessmen has fallen by 8% this year to reach $452 billion.
For more details, visit https://www.businesstoday.in