GK Update 17th March 2021

1. WHO declares El Salvador malaria-free

  • El Salvador is the first country in Central America to be certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization.
  • WHO grants a certification of malaria elimination when a country proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there has been no indigenous transmission of the disease nationwide for the previous three consecutive years.
  • El Salvador hasn’t had a malaria outbreak since 1996 and has reported no indigenous cases since 2017. In 1990, the country had 9,000 cases per year, a figure that declined to 26 by 2010.
  • WHO credited El Salvador’s sustained domestic funding for malaria prevention, detection, and treatment for success.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • El Salvador President: Nayib Bukele.
  • El Salvador Capital: San Salvador; Currency: El Salvador colon.

2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Principal Advisor P K Sinha resigns

  • Former Cabinet Secretary and Principal Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) P.K. Sinha has relinquished his high-profile position on personal grounds. He was appointed in the PMO first as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) briefly and then as Principal Advisor, a specially created position for him, in September 2019 after the 2019 parliamentary polls.
  • Besides him, two senior officials are serving as Advisors in the PMO: Bhaskar Khulbe and Amarjit Sinha, both 1983 batch retired IAS officials. Mr. Sinha is a retired 1977 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre and served in various capacities during the UPA and the NDA regimes.
  • His is the second high profile exit from the PMO after PM’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra had resigned after the last Lok Sabha polls. Earlier, he was Secretary, Ministry of Power in the government of India and served as Cabinet Secretary for four years from 2015.

3. RBI: Image-based Cheque Truncation System in all branches by Sep 30

  • The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to implement the image-based Cheque Truncation System (CTS) in all branches by September 30 this year. The move is aimed at faster settlement of cheques resulting in better customer service.
  • The Apex bank said that to leverage the availability of CTS and provide a uniform customer experience irrespective of the location of her/his bank branch, it has been decided to extend CTS across all bank branches in the country.
  • To facilitate this, banks will have to ensure that all their branches participate in image-based CTS under respective grids by September 30.
  • A cheque truncation system is an arrangement that facilitates the electronic processing of a cheque with the use of Magnetic Ink Character Reader (MICR) data and the scanned image of the instrument without involving any physical exchange or movement of the financial instrument.

4. India-Finland Virtual Summit 2021

  • The India-Finland Virtual Summit was held on March 16, 2021, with the participation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Ms Sanna Marin.
  • The virtual summit was organised to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral issues as well as other regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
  • The two leaders reviewed the ongoing bilateral engagements and committed to further expand and diversify the relationship across sectors such as trade and investment, innovation, education, emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G, and quantum computing.
  • The two leaders also discussed the Covid-19 situation including their respective vaccination drives and emphasized the importance of global efforts for urgent and affordable access to vaccines across all nations.
  • The leaders exchanged views on regional and global issues, including the India-EU partnership, cooperation in the Arctic region, WTO and UN reforms. Both sides noted the potential for India and Finland to cooperate in undertaking developmental activities in Africa.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Finland: Capital: Helsinki; Currency: Euro.

5. Samsung sets up Innovation Lab at Delhi Technological University

  • Samsung India has announced that it has inaugurated a Samsung Innovation Lab at Delhi Technological University (DTU) to focus on collaborative research and training. It has set up the innovation lab under the Samsung Innovation Campus initiative as part of its new #PoweringDigitalIndia vision.
  • With this addition, Samsung now has eight technical labs spread across the country as part of its Samsung Innovation Campus initiative, which was earlier called Samsung Digital Academy.
  • As part of the lab, engineers at Samsung R&D Institute, Noida (SRI-N) will work with students and faculty at DTU on collaborative research projects on smartphone domains.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Samsung Founder: Lee Byung-chul.
  • Samsung Founded: 1 March 1938, Seoul, South Korea.
  • Samsung Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea.

6. Nokia to Develop New 5G Radio Solutions

  • The Finnish telecom equipment maker, Nokia has announced on March 16 that it has partnered with Microsoft, Amazon web services and Google so as to develop a new cloud-based 5G radio solution. This solution will be developed with its radio access network (RNA) technology. This partnership was gone with the objective of developing new business cases.
  • RAN is part of a mobile telecommunication system. This system implements radio access technology. RAN resides between a device like a computer, mobile phone or any remotely controlled machine. It also provides a connection with the core network.
  • Based on the standard mobile phones and other wireless connected devices are called user equipment, terminal equipment or mobile station etc. The functionality of RAN is typically provided by the silicon chip which resides in both the core network and the user equipment.
  • The single handset or phone can be connected to multiple radio access networks simultaneously.
  • The Handsets which are capable of this feature are called dual-mode handsets. For example, a handset can commonly support both GSM and UMTS or “3G” radio access technologies. Such devices also transfer the ongoing call across different radio access networks without any disruption to users.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Nokia CEO: Pekka Lundmark.
  • Nokia Founded: 12 May 1865.
  • Nokia Headquarters: Espoo, Finland.

7. Hurun India Wealth Report 2020 announced

  • The Hurun India Wealth Report, 2020 was released on March 16, 2020. The report identifies a novel household category in India called the ‘New Middle Class’ which accounts for an average savings of Rs 20-lakh per annum.
  • The report highlights that these households have a major allocation towards physical assets like primary residential property and automobiles. As per the report, the total number of such cumulative households in India stands at 633,000.
  • The report further states that there are around 4,12,000 dollar-millionaire households or affluent households across India which are having a net worth of Rs 7 crore. As per the report, the Hurun Rich Listers comprise a wealth of Rs 1,000 crore.
  • This category of the report comprises 3000 number of cumulative households in India. The ‘Indian middle class’ has earnings of over Rs 2.5-lakh per annum while they have a net worth of less than Rs 7 crore. The ‘Indian Middle Class’ category accounts for 56400,000 families in India.

8. Virat Kohli becomes the first player to score 3000 runs in men’s T20I

  • Indian captain Virat Kohli has breached the 3000-run mark in Twenty20 Internationals with his last shot in the second T20I against England. Kohli’s knock of 73 runs, which came off 49 balls, also helped India to level the five-match T20I series.
  • He also became the third captain in international cricket to score 12000 runs as a captain. He joined legendary captains Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith in the elite list.

9. UAE’s Mohammad Naveed, Shaiman Anwar banned for 8 years from all cricket

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has imposed eight years ban on former UAE players Mohammad Naveed and Shaiman Anwar Butt from all cricket, for trying to fix matches during the T20 World Cup qualifiers in 2019. The ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal had found them guilty of breaching the Anti-Corruption Code in January 2021.
  • The bans are backdated to 16 October 2019, when they were provisionally suspended for attempting to corrupt matches of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 in the UAE. Naveed was the captain and leading wicket-taker. Anwar was the opening bat. Both had long international careers and were well versed in the threat from match-fixers.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman of ICC: Greg Barclay.
  • CEO of ICC: Manu Sawhney.
  • Headquarters of ICC: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

10. Audio cassette tape inventor Lou Ottens passes away

  • The Dutch inventor of audio cassette tapes, Lou Ottens passed away. Dutch engineer credited with inventing the cassette tape and playing a major role in the development of the first CD.
  • In 1963, Ottens presented the first cassette tape at the Berlin Radio Show electronics fair.  After the fair deal signed between Sony and Philips to patent his creation that gained worldwide popularity. Ottens also worked on the CD development project.

11. WEF honours ReNew Power named as Global Lighthouse Network

  • ReNew Power has been named to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Lighthouse Network, which recognises companies using new technologies to achieve environmentally sustainable, community supportive, profitable growth.
  • ReNew Power is an Indian renewable energy company. It has an asset base of over 8 GW, with around 5 GW operational. ReNew Power is one of the two Indian companies to be recognised by the Global Lighthouse Network this year.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • World Economic Forum Headquarters: Cologny, Switzerland.
  • World Economic Forum Founder: Klaus Schwab.
  • World Economic Forum Founded: January 1971.

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