Current Affairs July 17, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of July 17, 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. The Sangeet Natak Akademi has named four eminent personalities in the field of performing arts - tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, dancer Sonal Mansingh, dancer and choreographer Jatin Goswami and Bharatnatyam exponent K. Kalyanasundaram Pillai - for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow or Akademi Ratna awards. The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and a rare honour, which is restricted to 40 numbers at any given time. The General Council meeting of the Sangeet Natak Akademi also selected 44 artistes from the field of music, dance, theatre, traditional / folk / tribal music/ dance/ theatre, puppetry and overall contribution / scholarship in the performing arts for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2018. The artistes include, Mani Prasad in Hindustani Vocal, Tarun Bhattacharya for Hindustani Instrumental - Santoor, Radha Sridhar for Bharatanatyam, Akham Lakshmi Devi for Manipuri, Rajiv Naik for Playwriting and Malini Awasthi in Folk Music. The 44 artistes include three joint awards.

2. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been elected as the first female president of European Commission (EC) following a secret ballot among MEPs. She secured the backing of more than half of the Members in the European Parliament (MEPs) for the biggest job in Brussels. She will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker on 1st November 2019. The Commission drafts EU laws, enforces EU rules and has the power to impose fines on member states if necessary.

3. Swarup Dutta (78), the veteran Bengali actor, has passed away on July 17, 2019. Born on 22nd June 1941, Dutta was considered to be one of the distinguished actors of the Bengali silver screen during the late 60s and early 70s. He had got his first break in Tapan Sinha's 'Apanjan' (1968). The film was set against the political turmoil in West Bengal in the 1960s. Some of his best-known movies included 'Sagina Mahato,' 'Harmonium', 'Pita Putra' and 'Maa o Meye'.

4. Researchers at Assam's Tezpur University have developed a simple and cost-effective filtration system - Arsiron Nilogon - that may help reduce the health burden caused by arsenic and iron contaminated groundwater. The system filters out 99.9% of the arsenic contamination from the groundwater to make it suitable for drinking. The chemicals used in the filtration process are cooking soda for pH conditioning, potassium permanganate for supplying oxygen and ferric chloride for providing solid iron oxide adsorbents of arsenic. The method can remove arsenic even to below 2 ppb (parts per billion) level while the World Health Organization (WHO) has set 10 ppb as the standard level. According to theWHO, arsenic is a natural component of the Earth's crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment -- in air, water and land. However, it is highly toxic in its inorganic form. The long term exposure to inorganic arsenic, mainly by drinking contaminated water, eating food grown or even prepared with this water, can cause skin lesions and cancer. The filtration process also removes other toxic metal ions like manganese, lead, nickel, chromium, copper, etc, very well along with arsenic and iron.

5. The Delhi government has recently launched "Happiness Utsav" in its schools to celebrate completion of a year of introduction of its happiness curriculum. During the festival, the first 50 minutes of each day, all children studying in Delhi govt schools will take part in various activities. Activities like plays, poems, exhibitions will be part of the 15-day festival which will culminate in a grand ceremony. During the fest, the morning assembly session and the first period will be combined to conduct activities.

6. In shooting, Vijayveer Sidhu picked up his third gold medal of the ongoing ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany. With Rajkanwar Singh Sandhu and Adarsh Singh, he clinched the men's 25m pistol event. For Adarsh, it was his second gold of the competition. India maintained its top spot at the medal standings after day three with 7 gold 7 Silver and 2 Bronze in a total of 16 medals won so far. China is second with 5 Gold 3 Silver and 5 bronze.

7. The International Shark Awareness Day (ISAD) is observed every year on 14th of July to recognize the importance of sharks play in the ecosystem. The 2019 theme "The sharks in crisis: a call to action for the Mediterranean" . According to the latest report issued by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Tunisia has become the 2nd largest fishing country for sharks in the Mediterranean after Libya. The WWF report calls on fishermen and fishery managers on both sides of the Mediterranean to avoid fishing in critical areas such as nurseries and to use adapted gear to eliminate by catch. It also underlines the need to improve knowledge of shark populations and commercialized species in order to strengthen conservation efforts and ensure transparency and legality in the fishing sector.

8. In Madhya Pradesh, Air India has recently launched the state’s first international flight from Indore to Dubai from Devi Ahilyabai Holkar International Airport. The non-stop flight AI903 has fulfilled a long-standing desire from the travel fraternity and tourists for direct connectivity to the Gulf. From Indore, Air India is operating a 162-seater A320 Neo aircraft which will fly three times a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays — non-stop to Dubai. Indore born Sunish Kumar Bhargava was the commander of this first-ever international flight from his home city. The aircraft will fly directly to Dubai on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday while the return leg from Dubai will be on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. It will have very attractive fares starting from Rs. 18,700 (return fare) and the return fare for the business class will be Rs. 42,000.

9. The Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) signed a MoU to develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) for Indian States and Union Territories (UT). The first estimate will be made in 2019 and subsequently every year until 2022. This index will appraise the condition of the underlying digital infrastructure and related factors at state/UT levels. It will provide useful insights into strategic choices made by states for investment allocations in ICT programmes. The index will encourage states to cross learn and jointly participate in achieving the overall objective of digital inclusion and development in India.

10. The Markandeshwar temple is situated on the bank of River Wainganga in district Gadchiroli of Maharashtra. It is in news because the Archaeological Survey of India initiated the large scale restoration work of this temple since November 2017. . Known as the “Khajuraho of Vidarbha”, the temples belong to the Nagara group of temples of North India. On stylistic grounds, their date ranges in between 9-12th centuries CE. The temples belong to saiva, vaishnava and sakta faith. Most of the temples have a simple plan, with ardhamandapa, mandapa, antarala and garbhagriha forming the component of the entire set up. The most striking feature of this temple is the largescale destruction caused on the main shrine (garbhagriha) and the very first recordings made by Alexander Cunningham states that - about 200 years ago the shikhara of the main shrine and mahamandapa was struck by a lightning which led to the partial collapse of the shikhara (the finial, north and south facade).

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