Current Affairs May 21, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of May 21, 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 World Metrology Day (WMD) is observed every year on May 20 to commemorate anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. The treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment. The 2019 theme is “The International System of Units - Fundamentally better”. The International System of Units is now based on a set of definitions each linked to the laws of physics and has the advantage of being able to embrace further improvements in measurement science and technology to meet the needs of future users for many years to come.

2. In Tennis, defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain has clinched the Italian Open 2019 title after beating Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the final in Rome on May 19. This is Nadal's ninth Italian Open title. It is the 81st title of Nadal's career. Nadal also broke a tie with Djokovic by claiming a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 crown. Whereas, in Women's single Czech's Karolina Pliskova registered two straight-set victory against Britain's Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to claim the Italian Open title.

3. The researchers at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada have developed a specialized microscope that has the potential to diagnose diseases like skin cancer as well as perform precise surgery without making any incisions in the skin. According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, the microscope allows medical professionals to pinpoint the exact location of an abnormality, diagnose it and treat it instantly. This technology will make possible to scan tissue quickly, and when they see a suspicious or abnormal cell structure, they can perform ultra-precise surgery and selectively treat the unwanted or diseased structure within the tissue. It could be used to treat any structure of the body that can be reached by light and requires extremely precise treatment, including nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eye, brain or other vital structures. The study shows that the device allows imaging of living tissue up to about one millimetre in depth using an ultrafast infrared laser beam.

4. A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) - appointed committee headed by Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani submitted its report on promoting digital payments to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on May 17. The RBI will examine the recommendations of the committee and will link the action points, wherever necessary, in its Payment Systems Vision 2021 for implementation. Earlier this week, the RBI released the 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 - 2021', for ensuring a safe, secure, convenient, quick and affordable e-payment system with an aim making India a 'cash-lite' society. In January 2019, the RBI had set up the 5-member panel on deepening digital payments with a view to encouraging digitization of payments and to enhance financial inclusion through digitization.

5. On May 17, Kerala became the first sub-sovereign entity in the country to access the international market by listing masala bonds issued through its off-budget mechanism - the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has become the debutant head of state in the country to open trading at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) for the day. The resources earned through the bonds would be channelised for funding a clutch of infrastructure development projects cleared by the KIIFB director board. KIIFB is a state agency that mobilises fund for infrastructural projects, over and beyond funds earmarked in the budgets. Masala bonds are popularly known as the Indian Rupee denominated bonds, which can only be issued in a country and subscribed by a resident of such country that is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and whose securities market regulator is a member of International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSC).

6. Ieoh Ming Pei (102), the Chinese-American architect behind buildings including the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, has passed away in Manhattan, United States on May 16, 2019. His designs are renowned for their emphasis on precision geometry, plain surfaces and natural light. He carried on working well into old age, creating one of his most famous masterpieces - the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar - in his 80s. Born in Guangzhou (China) in 1917, Pei moved to the US at the age of 18 to study at Pennsylvania, MIT and Harvard. He worked as a research scientist for the US government during World War Two, and went on to work as an architect, founding his own firm in 1955. Pei sparked controversy for his pyramid at the Louvre Museum. The glass structure, completed in 1989, is now one of Paris' most famous landmarks. His other work includes Dallas City Hall and Japan's Miho Museum. In 1983, Pei was given the prestigious Pritzker Prize. He used his $100,000 prize money to start a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in America.

7. The World AIDS Vaccine Day (WAVD) is observed every year on 18th May to spread awareness about the urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. The day is also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. It is also a day to thank volunteers, researchers, scientists, community member, health professionals and everyone else who is working to eradicate the disease and find ways for safe and effective HIV vaccines.

8. The 26th edition of Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX)-19 has commenced in the South China Sea on May 19. The 4-day naval drill exercise will include various maritime combat drills such as advanced aerial tracking, coordinated targeting tactical exercises and weapon firing on aerial and surface targets”. In addition to IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti, Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I will also participate in the exercise along with Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Ships steadfast and valiant, maritime patrol aircraft Fokker-50 and F-16 fighter aircraft. SIMBEX is the longest uninterrupted naval exercise that India has with any other country.

9. A renowned Nepali mountaineer, Kami Rita Sherpa has created history by successfully scaling the Mount Everest peak (8848m) for the 23rd time on May 14, 2019. He broke his own record of the most successful ascents of the world's highest peak. Kami Rita, who is from Thame village in Solukhumbu district, scaled the Mount Everest for the first on May 13, 1994. He has already climbed most of the peaks above 8,000 m including K2, Cho-Oyu, Lhoste, and Annapurna among others. He is currently working as a senior guide at Seven Summit Treks.

10. The Union Ministry of Finance has launched Project Sparrow for online writing of Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) in SPARROW (Smart Performance Appraisal Report Recording Online Window) for Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ Officers of Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC). SPARROW-CBIC is one of its kinds in terms of Scale/ number of employees covered as far as Central Government Departments are concerned. It brings a complete change in APAR management of such large number of Group ‘B’ & ‘C’ Officers/ Staff of CBIC, which would, in turn, lead to better HR Management. This Project leverages modern technology for enhancing the overall efficiency and morale of the huge workforce working in Central GST and Customs formations of CBIC. The Project is an important milestone in the journey towards digitization and paper less working.

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