Current Affairs May 17, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of May 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. India's G.S. Lakshmi has become the first-ever woman to be appointed to ICC’s International Panel of Match Referees and will be eligible to officiate in international games with immediate effect. Lakshmi, 51, who first officiated as a match referee in domestic women's cricket in 2008-09, has overseen three women's ODI matches and three women's T20 International matches. Her compatriot Claire Polosak recently became the first female umpire to officiate in a men's One-Day International (ODI). In another major appointment, Australia's Eloise Sheridan has joined Polosak on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires, meaning the number of women on that panel is now up to eight. Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron and Jacqueline Williams are the other women officials on that panel.

2. India has been unanimously chosen as co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the fiscal year 2020. The decision was taken during the meeting of GFDRR held in Geneva, Switzerland on the margins of the 6th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2019. This will give India an opportunity to work with the member countries and organizations with a focused contribution towards advancing the disaster risk reduction agenda during the course of the year. The GFDRR is a global partnership that helps developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change. It is is a grant-funding mechanism, managed by the World Bank, that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide.

3. Captain Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old pilot from Mumbai, has become the world's first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA). She completed the feat when she landed at Iqaluit Airport in Canada on 13 May, having flown there from Wick in the UK. Her journey was broken into five legs, with stops at Iceland and Greenland. It also made Pandit the first female pilot in the world to successfully complete a solo flight across the Greenland ice cap in an LSA. This is part of her ongoing year-long global circumnavigation flight which was launched by friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30. Both the friends began their trip for Women Empower (WE) Expedition in the tiny aircraft christened ‘Mahi’ in August 2018. 'Mahi' is a tiny, single-engine Sinus 912 weighing a little of 400 kg or nearly equivalent to a Bullet motorcycle, manufactured by Pipistrel of Slovenia, and is also the first LSA registered by Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India.

4. In Madhya Pradesh, women will handle the entire work of counting votes in Harda district of the state. As per reports, the initiative is probably the first of its kind. Harda district is a part of Betul parliamentary seat and the counting of votes of Timarni and Harda assembly segments will take place at Harda district headquarter. At present, 84 women are being trained for counting in Polytechnic College. Apart from the counting of votes, only women will be deployed for the security of the counting centre. Betul was voted on 6 May and the women had taken the responsibilities of voting in 60 all women polling booths in Harda district. Now they are ready to take accountability of counting on 28 tables. More than 75 percent of voting has been recorded in Harda district, so the number of votes is also high.

5. A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has created a next-generation plastic, called Poly Di-Ketoenamine (or PDK), that can be fully recycled into new materials of any colour, shape, or form, without loss of performance or quality. They have designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level. According to the journal Nature Chemistry, unlike conventional plastics, the monomers of PDK plastic could be recovered and freed from any compounded additives simply by dunking the material in a highly acidic solution. The acid helps to break the bonds between the monomers and separate them from the chemical additives that give plastic its look and feel. After testing various formulations, the researchers demonstrated that not only does acid break down PDK polymers into monomers, but the process also allows the monomers to be separated from entwined additives.

6. At Paris summit, French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launched an ambitious new initiative to eliminate terrorist and violent content online. The initiative, "Christchurch Call", was pushed by Ms Ardern after a white supremacist gunned down 51 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city in March. Participants will be asked to commit to pledges to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content on social media and other online platforms. The political meeting will run in parallel to an initiative launched by Macron called 'Tech for Good' which will bring together 80 tech chiefs in Paris to find a way for new technologies to work for the common good. The Paris summit comes as there is a growing realisation that the current abuse of social media by extremists must be countered, after the Christchurch attacker broadcast live footage on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

7. On May 15, Sri Lanka has declared a National Vesak Week to mark the most significant event for Buddhists all over the world. The festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment (Buddhahood), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition. The Vesak Festival- 2019 will be held under tight security and people have been encouraged to organize celebrations at Buddhist temples and not in public places in the wake of Easter Sunday attacks last month. The state Vesak festival will be held in Galle under the patronage of the President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. This year's Vesak festival aims to create a society of wise Buddhists making the village temple as the center of spiritual development in order to realize the sustainable goals of development.

8. Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac has been appointed head coach of the Indian men's senior football team for a two-year term. The national team has been without a coach since the departure of Stephen Constantine in January, following the creditable show at the AFC Asian Cup. Stimac comes with an experience of over 18 years in coaching, structuring, and developing football and players back home, and internationally. As a coach, Stimac’s major achievement was guiding Croatia to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. During his tenure as the national coach of Croatia, he handed debuts to the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic, and Ivan Perisic, amongst others. As a player, he was part the of the Croatia team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup, and a member of the national squad which qualified for the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship 1996 (Euro) in England. Besides, he was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 national team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1987.

9. In Assam, a type of orchid - Lecanorchis taiwaniana (parasitic bloom) - has coincidentally discovered by Assam’s forest officer named Jatindra Sarma. The parasitic bloom is a variant of a Japanese orchid. It is found to have a maximum height of 40 cm and a blossoming period of five-six days. It is a Myco-heterotroph and is one of two types of parasitic plants that have abandoned photosynthesis. The discovery titled “New record for the flora in India” is recently published in Japanese Journal of Botany. Hence, the discovery has given India one of its smallest orchids in terms of size and duration of bloom to be recorded botanically. Earlier, the orchid was discovered in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos. Mr. Sarma has a few other botanical discoveries to his credit. These include the rare, ginger-like Amomum pratisthana named after his daughter, and the Smilax sailenii named after Prof. Sailen Borah, one of Assam’s best known botanists. He has also published the two-volume Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India with special reference to Assam.

10. On May 9, the Indian Armed Forces carried out Exercise Bull Strike at Teressa Island in Andaman and Nicobar (A&N). The military drill was conducted to showcase joint operations capability of the armed forces. During the exercise, the army personnel got the chance to display their prowess by undertaking company level airborne operation at Teressa island. Around 170 troops from three services – Army, Navy and the Air force undertook Para drop Ops in a Combat Free Fall & Static Line mode from the C-130 J. There were 149 Indian Army, 12 Indian Air Force and 9 Indian Navy soldiers who participated in several combat drills ahead of the jumps and during jumps.

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