Current Affairs May 25-26, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of May 25-26, 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. German payments company Wirecard has teamed up with India to simplify the process of issuing tax identity cards required to open bank accounts, transfer money or complete business transactions. The deal, with state company UTI Infrastructure Technology and Financial Services, seeks to widen the distribution of so-called PAN cards in the country of 1.3 billion where most people still live and work in the informal economy. Munich-based Wirecard, founded in 1999, runs a digital payments platform that handles payments for merchants and issues real and ‘virtual’ payment cards to consumers. It mainly operates under arrangements that allow their partners to rebrand their products. Wirecard is already has a presence in India and its network of 15,000 retail agents in 350 cities would help collect and scan in the documents that people need to apply for a PAN card.

2. The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled a new strategy to dramatically cut deaths and injuries from snakebites, and also warned a lack of anti-venoms could soon spark a "public health emergency". Each year, nearly three million people are bitten by poisonous snakes, with an estimated 81,000-138,000 deaths. The aim of the strategy is to cut snakebite-related deaths and disabilities in half by 2030. An important part of the strategy is to significantly boost production of quality anti-venoms. The strategy also called for integrating snakebite treatment and response into national health plans in affected countries, including better training of health personnel and educating communities. Snake venom can cause paralysis that stops breathing, bleeding disorders that can lead to fatal haemorrhage, irreversible kidney failure and tissue damage that can cause permanent disability and limb loss. Most snakebite victims live in the world's tropical and poorest regions, and children are worse affected due to their smaller body size. In a new report, the UN health agency urged the international community to take steps to address the problem, which it warned had long been dangerously under-estimated and neglected.

3. On May 23, the NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL) has officially inaugurated in Bengaluru, Karnataka to scale up industry participation in Indian space programmes. It is the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). NSIL will act as an aggregator for all space related activities in industry and develop private entrepreneurship in space related technologies. Specifically, it will be responsible for manufacturing the and production of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through technology transfer mechanisms. It will also cater to emerging global commercial SSLV market demand, providing satellite building and satellite-based services, including supply of sub-systems for various domestic and international application needs and will enable space technology spin-offs through Indian industry interface.

4. NASA has recently unveiled the calendar for the "Artemis" program that will return astronauts to the Moon for the first time in half a century. It will also include 8 scheduled launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024. The original lunar missions were named for Apollo -- Artemis was his twin sister in Greek mythology, and the goddess of hunting, wilderness and the Moon. The acronym ‘ARTEMIS’ stands for ‘Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun’. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed that Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed mission around the Moon planned for 2020. Next will come Artemis 2, which will orbit Earth’s satellite with a crew around 2022; followed finally by Artemis 3 that will put astronauts on lunar soil in 2024, including the first woman. All the three will be launched into space by the Boeing-led Space Launch System (SLS), the biggest rocket of all time.

5. On May 24, the Defence Research and Defence Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested a 500 kg class Inertial Guided Bomb (IGB) from Su-30 MKI Aircraft from the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. The guided bomb achieved the desired range and hit the target with high precision. The weapon system is capable of carrying different warheads. The test firing of the guided bomb came two days after the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test fired the aerial version of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from a Sukhoi jet at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The 2.5 tonne air-to-surface missile has a range of around 300 km, and it will significantly enhance the IAF's combat capability. The BrahMos cruise missile travels at a speed of Mach 2.8, nearly three times that of sound.

6. The workhorse of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Russian made AN-32 transport aircraft was formally fleet certified to fly on a blended bio-jet fuel partly derived from trees. The fuel will be 10% tree-derived and 90% conventional aviation fuel. The IAF has plans to widen the experiment over the next two years. The approval for use of bio-fuel to fly the Russian made fleet was given by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC). The indigenous bio-jet fuel was first produced by the CSIR-IIP lab at Dehradun in 2013, but could not be tested or certified for commercial use on aircraft due to lack of test facilities in the civil aviation sector. This is a huge step in promoting the 'Make in India' mission as this bio-fuel would be produced from Tree Borne Oils (TBOs) sourced from tribal areas.

7. The World Turtle Day (WTD) is observed every year on May 23 across the world to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. This year, in 2019, the India Biodiversity Portal (IBP) initiated a ‘Turtle Spotting Week’ as part of a unique exercise to document the creatures across India. The initiative aims to gather information about India’s freshwater turtles and tortoises. Anyone who has an interest in Indian Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises can participate in the first edition of the Turtle Spotting Week 2019 (May 17 to May 23) and contribute by photographing, documenting and submitting observations of turtles and tortoises that they have observed around their neighbourhood, backyard water body or on wildlife trips.

8. In Ukraine, comedian and political newcomer Volodymyr Zelensky has been sworn-in as the new President of war-torn country. He starred in the long-running satirical drama ‘Servant of the People’ in which his character accidentally becomes Ukraine's president. He plays a teacher who is elected after his expletive-laden rant about corruption goes viral on social media. He ran under a political party with the same name as his show. With no previous political experience, Mr Zelensky's campaign focused on his difference from the other candidates rather than on any concrete policy ideas. Despite this, he stormed to victory and won 73% of the vote.

9. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed large modern currency chests to increase the service charges on cash deposited by non-chest bank branches from the existing rate of Rs. 5 per packet of 100 pieces to a higher rate subject to a maximum of Rs. 8 per packet. For this, only a Currency Chest (CC) that fulfils the minimum standards will be eligible to be classified as a large modern CC. The increased rates can be charged only after such classification by the issue office concerned.

10. Bangladesh-based terror outfit — the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) — was banned by the Government of India (GoI) under the anti-terror law UAPA. The terror out fit is also called as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan. The Union Home Ministry stated that the outfit has committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of terrorism and has been engaged in radicalization and recruitment of youths for terrorist activities in India. Therefore, the JMB and all its manifestations have been inserted in the First Schedule to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967. The listing under the First Schedule of the UAPA means the outfit is now a banned organisation in India.


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