Current Affairs April 13-14, 2019
In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of April 13-14, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.
1. Supreme Court Justice K M Joseph has recently delivered a separate judgment in the Rafale case. He countered the claim made by the Government of India (GoI) for privilege over Rafale purchase documents under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), which affected national security and relations with France. He stated that the Right to Information (RTI) Act supersedes the OSA. By referring to Section 8(2) of the RTI Act, Justice Joseph said the government cannot refuse information if disclosure in public interest overshadows certain ‘protected interests’. Hence, the separate judgment also offers a scathing critique on journalistic bias. The judge said “controlling business interests and political allegiances" have eroded journalistic responsibility. The RTI Act confers on ordinary citizens the ‘priceless right’ to demand information even in matters affecting national security and relations with a foreign state.
2. On April 12, the Russia government announced its decision to confer the Order of St Andrew the Apostle - the highest state decoration of the country on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decoration is being given to Mr Modi for his exceptional services in promoting special and privileged strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian people. The Order was established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great, in honour of Saint Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus and patron saint of Russia. This is the 7th international award conferred on Mr Modi since he became the premier in 2014. The others are the Zayed Medal of the UAE (2019), the Seoul Peace Prize, UN Champions of the Earth Award, Grand Collar of the State of Palestine (all in 2018), Amir Abdullah Khan Award of Afghanistan and King Abdullaziz Sash of Saudi Arabia (both in 2016). Four of the awards are from Islamic states.
3. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has recently released a State of World Population 2019 report. The report stated that India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, which is more than double the annual growth rate of China. According to the report, in India, total fertility rate per woman was 5.6 in 1969, dropping to 3.7 in 1994 and 2.3 in 2019. India also recorded an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969 was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019. As per India’s population composition in 2019, 27% of the population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 10-24 years each, 67% in the 15-64 age bracket and 6% was of the age 65 and above. The report noted that Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country dropped from 488 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1994 to 174 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.
4. On 13th April 2019, the nation paid homage to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on the centenary of the incident. On this day in 1919, hundreds of innocent Indians were killed by troops under British Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, during a peaceful meeting on Baisakhi at the park in Amritsar, Punjab. Here, the civilians had assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. The massacre is one of the darkest chapters of India's freedom struggle against the British occupation. The official death toll by the British government was put at 379, but Indian figures put the toll at closer to 1,000. Even after 100 years, the British government has only regretted the massacre but stopped short of apologizing for the killing of so many innocent people.
5. To make Google Pay more useful for Indian customers, Google has partnered with MMTC-PAMP India to introduce buying and selling of gold through the app. Through this partnership with India’s only London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)-accredited gold refinery, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99% 24-karat gold. Google Pay users can now purchase gold for any value, which will be stored on behalf of the user in secure vaults by MMTC-PAMP. Users can buy and sell this gold any time at the latest price, refreshed every few minutes on the Google Pay app. Other mobile wallet providers such as Paytm, MobiKwik and PhonePe too provide the facility of buying gold from their wallet apps.
6. The scientists at University of Edinburgh have discovered a new state of physical matter - which allows atoms to exist as both solid and liquid at the same time. Until now, atoms in physical matter were understood to exist typically in one of three states — solid, liquid or gas. An international team of physicists have found that some elements can take on the properties of both solid and liquid states, when subjected to extreme conditions. They used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to simulate what would happen if potassium was subject to huge pressure -- between about 200,000 and 400,000 times atmospheric pressure -- and heat -- between 400 to 800 Kelvin (260 to 980 degrees Fahrenheit). The study found that under these conditions potassium atoms entered what is known as a chain-melted state, where one of the two lattices -- the "guest" part -- dissolved into liquid, while the "host" part remained solid. They found that more than half a dozen other elements, including sodium and bismuth, were able to reach the state if they were put into the right environments.
7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become the first-ever captain to register 100 wins in Indian Premier League (IPL) history after Chennai Super Kings (CSK) defeated Rajasthan Royals by 4 wickets at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur on 11th April 2019. MS Dhoni is the most experienced captain in the Indian Premier League. He has led Chennai Super Kings in 152 matches. In 2016, Dhoni led Rising Pune Supergiant in 14 matches. Overall, MS Dhoni has played 182 matches in the IPL and scored 4172 runs at an average of 41.30 with 21 fifties (19 for CSK and 2 for RPS) and 121 dismissals as wicketkeeper.
8. Scientists have recently discovered new species of ancient human excavations in Philippines. This newly identified species named Humo Luzonensis after Luzon Island, where bones and teeth from individuals of this species were excavated from Callao Cave. The small size of the bones suggests this archaic human would have been shorter than 4ft tall – possibly even shorter than another ancient species - Homo floresiensis. The specimens of H. luzonensis were dated to 50,000 and 67,000 years old (Late Pleistocene period), which suggests that the species was alive at the same time as several other hominins belonging to the genus Homo, including Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo floresiensis. Thus, this discovery claims finding to be the earliest direct evidence human presence in Philippines.
9. India will be the Guest of Honour country at the 29th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2019), which is scheduled to be held from April 24th to 30th. The fair aims to highlight the UAE’s rich heritage, showcasing its authenticity and modernity, as well as its cultural and literary output. India’s participation in the fair is expected to attract significant increase in the number of visitors with various events and activities which will be held throughout the entire duration of ADIBF. The Indian Pavilion will host Indian writers, authors and literary scholars who will serve as ambassadors for the literature and art of their country.
10. Gargi Kaul, a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS), has been appointed as new Secretary of Defence Finance.