Daily Current Affairs - 24-07-2021

In the week ended 16th July, India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $835 million to touch a record high margin of $612.73 billion. In the week ended 9th July the reserves had surged to $611.895 billion from $1.883 billion.

Highlights

 

Forex Reserves

Foreign exchanges are the assets which are held by a country’s central bank, RBI in India. These reserves are used to influence monetary policy and back liabilities of a country. Holding of foreign reserves by a country’s central bank is a common practice, and it is mainly done so that the government has backup funds to be used during emergencies.

 

Reserve Bank of India

RBI is the central bank of India and it was established on 1st April, 1935. It’s headquarter is located in Mumbai and the current governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

The government has amended the rules concerning to the incorporation of companies which comes under the Companies Act, 2013. From 1st September, these changes will come into effect.

Highlights

 

Order of Regional Director Not Complied

For the companies not complying to the name change directions within the specific time period, the letters ORDNC (Order of Regional Director Not Complied), the serial number, the year on which the direction was passed and the Company’s existing Corporate Identity Number (CIN) will become the company’s new name.

 

Scientist of the Chinese government has unveiled plans for an experimental nuclear reactor that does not require water for cooling. This reactor will run on liquid thorium instead of uranium and is expected to be safer than the traditional reactors. As molten salt, when exposed to air, cools and solidifies quickly thus insulating the thorium, causing any potential leak to spill very little radiation into the environment compared to the leaks from traditional reactors.

Highlights

About Thorium

Thorium is a radioactive, silvery metal which has been named after the Norse god of thunder Thor. It is more abundant and much cheaper than uranium, and it cannot be easily used to create nuclear weapons.

Molten-salt reactors

Molten-salt reactors, instead of using fuel rods, work by dissolving thorium into a liquid fluoride salt before sending this mixture into the reactor’s chamber at temperatures which is above 600 degrees Celsius.

 

President Xi Jinping’s plans to make China carbon-neutral by the year 2060 and this new reactor is a part of that plan.

Sumit Nagal became only the third Indian tennis player to win a singles men’s match at the Olympic Games. He became the first to win for India in 25 years. He edged past Denis Istomin in this match.

Highlights

 

Zeeshan Ali

At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Zeeshan Ali became the first Indian to win a singles match by beating Fernando Meligeni of Brazil.

 

Leander Paes

Leander Paes was the second Indian to have gone past the first round.

 

At the 2012 Games held in London, Vishnu Vardhan and Somdev Devvarman competed but they did not manage to go past the the first round hurdle .

 

In the next round Nagal will take on Australian Open runner-up and ranked second in the world Daniil Medvedev, who beat Alexander Bubilk of Kazakhstan.

 

So far around 620 brands have faced price reduction with the government capping trade margins on five more critical medical devices such as digital thermometer and pulse oximeter which are being used extensively in the treatment of COVID-19, at 70% which is effective from 20th July.

Highlights

 

Why was this decision taken?

This decision was taken with the primary aim of making medical devices affordable during this pandemic situation and hence, trade margin on these medical devices have been regulated by the NPPA. Under extraordinary circumstances in public interest, Paragraph 19 of DPCO, 2013, gives power to the NPPA to control the drug prices which are not under the NLEM (National List of Essential Medicines). Earlier in the month of June, trade margin on oxygen concentrators were capped at 70% by the government.

President of USA, Joe Biden, has authorized 100 million USD from an emergency fund to meet the refugee needs which is stemming from the geo-political situation in Afghanistan, which also includes the special immigration Afghan visa applicants.

Highlights

 

Who are eligible for Special immigrant visas?

Afghans, who used to work as translators or in various other departments for the USA government, are eligible for the Special immigrant visas. The House of Representatives of USA has passed a legislation that will increase the number of SIVs granted by the country by 8,000.

“Golden Rice” which is genetically modified has been given approval for commercial production by Philippines. Health experts believe that this decision will save lives and combat childhood blindness in the developing regions of the world.

Highlights

 

When will the Golden Rice be available for consumption?

Despite having passed the final regulatory hurdles this rice variety is still way off from appearing in the food bowls of the people. Limited quantities of Golden Rice seeds will be distributed to the Filipino farmers in selected provinces in the year 2022.

 

Difference between ordinary and golden rice?

Ordinary rice produces beta-carotene in the plant, but this is not found in the grain whereas golden rice will produce beta-carotene in the grain itself. The farmers will be able to grow Golden rice in similar way to that of the ordinary rice varieties.

 

Importance of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is crucial for development and normal growth, vision and the proper functioning of the immune system. The data of World Health Organization show that vitamin A deficiency causes up to 5,00,000 cases of childhood blindness every year, with half of those dying within 12 months of losing their sight. According to IRRI, nearly 17% of the Filipino children who are under the age of five in the country are Vitamin A deficient.

India plans to create power islanding systems in several cities of the country to protect the critical infrastructures from potential attacks on the electricity grid of the nation.

Key Points

 

About Islanding systems

Islanding systems feature generation capacity and can automatically isolate from the main grid during an outage. For the new systems to be installed, the provinces need to submit proposals for setting up storage and generation capacities.

Reji Pillai, president of the India Smart Grid Forum, has recommended smart micro grids for isolating the smaller areas, such as industrial and commercial complexes, airports, shopping malls, hospitals, defense units and railway stations. This system would be connected to the main network and will automatically isolate during an outage. The micro grids would run on a mix of rooftop solar power and battery.

On 24th July, 2021 Mirabai Chanu of India clinched a silver medal in weightlifting in the 49kg category in Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This ends a 21 year drought of winning a medal in this category.

Highlights

 

After realising that she had secured a medal she broke into celebrations to celebrate her win in the Olympics event.

 

The United Kingdom, is now reporting an outbreak of norovirus. Public Health England (PHE) recently issued a warning regarding Norovirus. Since the end of the month of May, England has recorded 154 cases of norovirus in the country. Increase in norovirus cases in educational settings has been reported.

About Norovirus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus is very contagious that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. People suffering from norovirus disease can shed billions of virus particles. And to make people sick only a few of them is required.

 

How is Norovirus contracted?

A person can contract this virus by coming in direct contact with an infected person. This virus can also be contracted by consuming contaminated water and food and also touching contaminated surfaces with one’s hands and then putting them in the mouth unwashed.

 

Symptoms of norovirus

Symptoms of norovirus are vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and nausea. This virus can cause inflammation of intestines or the stomach and it is termed as acute gastroenteritis. Other symptoms of this virus are headache, fever and body aches. People generally develop the symptoms within 12 to 48 hours and they can last up to 1 to 3 days.

 

Can norovirus be contracted many times?

As there are various types of noroviruses hence, infection with one type of may not protect other types so it can be contracted multiple times. Possibility to develop immunity against norovirus is there but experts have not yet able to determine the longevity of the immunity.

 

How can norovirus spread be stopped?

By practicing hand hygiene, i.e. washing of hands before preparing, eating or handling food etc. Experts say that norovirus can stay in human vomit or faeces for two weeks or more. Alcohol based hand sanitizers should be used to keep ones hands clean.

 

Treatment

There is no specific medicine for this virus. Experts have suggested drinking plenty of liquids to replace the fluids lost from diarrhoea and vomiting so as to prevent dehydration.

On 22nd July, 2021 a report named Renewables Integration in India 2021 was jointly launched by NITI Aayog and IEA. This report is based on the outcome of workshops held in three states along with the Governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat to understand the energy transition challenges which is faced by these renewable-rich states.

Highlights of the report

 

Conclusion

Sh. Rajnath Ram, Adviser (Energy) concluded this meeting by stating that NITI Aayog looks forward to providing support to the state governments in order to support their development plan for affordable, clean and secure power systems for the future.

Every year, on 22nd July, World Brain Day is observed to raise awareness about the disease multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the brain and the spine.

Theme for the year 2021

‘Stop Multiple Sclerosis’ the theme for the year 2021. According to the World Federation of Neurology (WFN), globally, this disease affects more than 2.8 million people of all ages.

 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis affects the spine and the brain. World Brain Day recommends for the early diagnosis of this condition so that the quality of life of the patient can be improved. MS disturbs communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Under this condition, the myelin, a protective layer around the nerve fibres, get attacked by the immune system. It leads to inflammation and temporary lesions. As per WFN, Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating neurological disease that impacts a person’s life, with effects ranging from cognitive impairment to physical disability. The progression of MS can be slowed down by Disease-modifying treatments.

 

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms of this disease can also change on the basis of duration and severity of the disease. Some common symptoms include of this disease are fatigue, difficulty in walking, slurred speech, vision problems, weakness in limbs, lack of coordination and dizziness.

 

Risk factors of Multiple Sclerosis

People at any age can be affected by this disease. Mostly, people who are between the ages of 20-40 are at a higher risk of contracting this disease. Compared to men, women are more likely to get affected by this disease. Family history also plays a role in this disease. Also, according to studies, having low levels of vitamin D also puts a person at risk of contracting this disease. Other risk factors include certain infections, obesity, other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type-1 diabetes and smoking.

On 23rd July, 2021 the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) launched technology innovation hub to find cyber security solutions for intrusion detection system, anti-drones technologies, cyber physical system and block-chain.

Highlights

 

About the start ups

The start-ups which will be supported by IIT Kanpur’s C3iHub will bring in multiple innovations on cyber security space, developing services and products and focusing on designs which will be used to safeguard India’s critical infrastructure.

A large number of these start-ups will also be focusing on the creation of anti-drone technology which will be deployed to protect the critical infrastructures along the nation’s border. Last month, an IAF base in Jammu was attacked using drones which prompted the government to look into creating anti-drone technologies.