GK Update 15th & 16th November 2020

1. India Successfully test fires QRSAM system off Odisha Coast

  • India successfully test-fired the Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system off the coast of Balasore in Odisha.
  • The system achieved a major milestone by a direct hit on to a Banshee Pilotless target aircraft at medium range and medium altitude.
  • Indian forces have carried out at least seven tests earlier of the missile system.
  • The QRSAM system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited for the Indian Army.
  • The system is capable of detecting and tracking targets on the move and engaging target with short halts. The system is designed to give air defence coverage against strike columns of the Indian Army.

2. RCEP: 15 Asia-Pacific countries form world’s largest trading bloc

  • 15 Asia Pacific countries have signed the world’s biggest free trade deal, led by China, on the sidelines of the 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
  • The deal called as ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)’, is the world’s largest trading bloc, comprising of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Members of the RCEP accounts for nearly a third of the world’s population and around 30% of global gross domestic product (GDP).

3. Dr Harsh Vardhan attends 8th BRICS STI Ministerial Meet

  • The 8th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting was held through a virtual platform for Science and Technology cooperation among the member countries, which are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation. (Russia is the Chair for 12th BRICS Summit).
  • The Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan represented the Indian delegation at the meeting.
  • The meeting concluded with the adoption of BRICS STI Declaration 2020. During the meeting, Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted that “The COVID 19 pandemic has been a test, demonstrating that multilateral cooperation is the key to overcoming such global challenges”.
  • He reiterated that “India will actively contribute in the implementation of BRICS STI Calendar of Activities 2020-21 and supports continuation scientific activities under BRICS MOU on Science, Technology and Innovation”.

4. S. Jaishankar Represents India at 15th East Asia Summit 2020

  • The External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar has represented India at the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS) on behalf of PM Modi.
  • The Summit was chaired by the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc because Vietnam is ASEAN Chair in 2020 (ASEAN holds the central role and leadership in the forum).
  • All the 18 EAS countries participated in the virtual Summit.
  • Jaishankar underlined the key role played by the East Asia Summit (EAS) as a leading mechanism of the Indo-Pacific region and reiterated India’s support to make it stronger and more responsive.
  • He also re-affirmed the importance of EAS as the Leaders-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues.
  • On Covid-19, he briefed the EAS leaders about India’s response to the pandemic and highlighted India’s efforts to support the international community.

5. India Extends USD 1 Million Aid For Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund

  • India has extended financial contribution of USD 1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
  • This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 17th ASEAN-India Summit, which was held virtually.
  • Leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries welcomed the adoption of the new ASEAN-India Plan of Action for 2021-2025, at the conclusion of the Summit.
  • PM Modi, participated in the 17th ASEAN-India Summit at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is the current chair of ASEAN.

6. Sadat Rahman wins International Children’s Peace Prize 2020

  • Sadat Rahman from Bangladesh has been awarded the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize 2020.
  • He was awarded the prize for his involvement in setting up his social organization and mobile app ‘Cyber Teens’ to stop cyberbullying.
  • The award was presented to 17-year-old Sadat by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, during a ceremony in the Netherlands.
  • He was selected out of 142 applicants from 42 countries.
  • The International Children’s Peace Prize is given annually since 2005 by the International children’s rights organization KidsRights based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • The prestigious Prize is annually awarded to a child who has made a special effort to promote children’s rights and better the situation of vulnerable children.

7. Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Turkish Grand Prix 2020

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Istanbul Park, Turkey.
  • Sergio Perez (Racing Point-BWT- Mexico) secured the second position and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari finished third.
  • This was Hamilton 10th victory of the season and 94th F1 win of his career. With this win, he claimed the seventh Formula One championships title of his career to equal the record of Michael Schumacher.

8. National Press Day: 16 November

  • National Press Day is observed on 16th November every year to celebrate free and responsible press in India.
  • On this day the Press Council of India started functioning as a moral watchdog to ensure that the press maintains high standards and is not constrained by any influence or threats. It also commemorates the day when the Press Council of India started functioning.
  • In 1956, the First Press Commission was planned to form a Press Council to protect freedom of the press in India. On 4 July 1966, the Press Council was established in India. It came into effect from 16 November 1966.
  • Therefore, 16 November is celebrated as National Press Day every year. The Press Council of India was formed in 1966 under the Press Council Act of 1978.
  • It exercises authority even over the instruments of the state in its duty to safeguard the independence of the press. It ensures that the Indian press is not affected by any external matter.

9. International Day for Tolerance: 16 November

  • The United Nations observes “International Day for Tolerance” on 16th November every year.
  • The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples.
  • In 1994, UNESCO marked the 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth paving the way for the proclamation of 16 November as the International Day for Tolerance by the UN.
  • This day pays tribute to the values of the Mahatma of peace, non-violence and equality. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence rewards significant activities in the scientific, artistic, cultural or communication fields aimed at the promotion of a spirit of tolerance and non-violence.
  • The prize is awarded every two years on the International Day for Tolerance, 16 November.

10. Children’s Day: 14th November

  • On 14th November, Children’s Day is celebrated every year to mark the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Children’s Day is popularly known as ‘Baal Diwas’ in India.
  • The day aims at increasing the awareness of the rights, care and education of children.
  • On this day, many educational and motivational programs are organised across the country, by and for children.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, who was India’s first Prime Minister, was quite famous among children and was popularly known as ‘Chacha Nehru’.
  • Following his death in 1964, it was decided that to move the celebrations of Children’s Day to November 14 as a mark of respect to him and to commemorate his fondness for children.
  • A resolution was passed in the Parliament and since then, Children’s Day is celebrated in India on November 14 every year.
  • Notably, Children’s Day was celebrated in India first on November 20, 1956, along with the Universal Children’s Day.

11. Veteran Bengali Actor ​Soumitra Chatterjee​ passes away

  • The legendary Bengali actor and Dadasaheb Phalke award recipient Soumitra Chatterjee passed away.
  • He became famously known after his collaborations with Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in fourteen films.
  • He had won a number of awards in home and abroad.
  • Soumitra Chatterjee was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2004, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest award for cinema, in 2012.
  • In 1999 Soumitra Chattopadhyay became the first Indian film personality to be conferred with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest award for artists.

12. Noted journalist and writer Ravi Belagere passes away

  • Noted journalist and writer Ravi Belagere passed away. He was from Karnataka.
  • He was famous for writings on the crime world and his column ‘Paapigala Lokadalli’ was very popular.
  • Belagere was honoured with many awards, including the Karnataka Sahitya Academy award, Kannada Rajyotsava awar, Karnataka Media Academy award and many more.
  • Also an educationist, Belagere started Prarthana School, where his mortal remains were kept for the public to view, before being taken to the crematorium.
  • He penned a book on the real-life story of the gangsters, titled Bheema Theerada Hanthakaru, which was published in 2001, and turned into a bestseller.

13. Keetham lake in Uttar Pradesh added to Ramsar sites

  • The Keetham lake, also known as Sur Sarovar, in Agra of Uttar Pradesh has been added to the list of Ramsar sites. More than 106 species of migratory birds rest in Sur Sarovar lake. The water of the lake is obtained from Agra Canal.
  • The canal originates from Okhla barrage on River Yamuna in Delhi.
  • The aim of the Ramsar list is to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.

14. World’s first Tram library for children launched in West Bengal

  • On the occasion of Children’s Day, a first-of-its-kind in the world, library on the tram for children was launched in Kolkata, West Bengal. A tram is a rail vehicle that runs on tramway tracks along public streets.
  • The tram would run on Shyambazar-Esplanade and Esplanade-Gariahat routes, spanning across north and south Kolkata, every day from morning to evening.
  • It has been jointly developed by the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) and Apeejay Anand Children’s Library and will have around 1,000 books.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee; Governor: Jagdeep Dhankhar.

15. Lonar Lake in Maharashtra chosen as ‘Ramsar site’

  • The Lonar Lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra has been chosen as a wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar conservation treaty.
  • Lonar Lake was formed by the impact of a meteorite on basalt bedrock several thousand years ago.
  • An area of 365 hectares around the lake, which itself is spread over 77.69 hectares, was declared a wildlife sanctuary in June 2000. 
  • A Ramsar Site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • The name Ramsar comes from the Ramsar City of Iran, where this treaty was signed.
  • The Convention on Wetlands is also known as the Ramsar Convention. It is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO and came into force in 1975.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray; Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

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