GK Update 29th May 2021

1. US Senate confirms Christine Wormuth as first female Army secretary

  • Christine Wormuth was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to be the first female secretary of the Army.
  • Wormuth, who led President Joe Biden’s transition team at the Pentagon, got an overwhelmingly warm reception from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing this month.
  • Her confirmation sets her up as one of the more powerful officials in a defence establishment long dominated by men. She is the second woman named to a top Pentagon role by Biden. The deputy secretary of defence is Kathleen Hicks.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President of United States: Joe Biden; Capital: Washington, D.C.

2. Bashar Al-Assad Re-Elected as Syrian President for 4th Term

  • Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad has been re-elected for the fourth straight 7-year term in a landslide victory, winning 95.1 per cent of the total votes cast.
  • The 55-year-old Assad is serving as the 19th President of Syria since 17 July 2000.
  • On the eve of the election, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy said the poll was “neither free nor fair”, and Syria’s fragmented opposition has called it a “farce”.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Syria Capital: Damascus; Currency: Syrian pound.


3. One-year extension for RAW chief Samant Goel, IB head Arvind Kumar

  • Research and Analysis Wing chief, Samant Kumar Goel and Intelligence Bureau head Arvind Kumar were given a one-year extension in their services.
  • Goel, a 1984-batch IPS officer from Punjab cadre, would continue to be the Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for a period one year beyond the presence tenure which ends on June 30.
  • Similarly, Kumar, an IPS officer of Assam and Meghalaya cadre, will continue to head the Intelligence Bureau for a period of one year after June 30.

4. B.V.R. Subrahmanyam to be Commerce Secretary

  • The appointments committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary Jammu & Kashmir as an officer on special duty in the Department of Commerce. An order issued by the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • Mr Subrahmanyam is a 1987 batch IAS officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre and was sent on deputation to Jammu and Kashmir in June 2018.
  • He served as Chief Secretary when the State was bifurcated into two Union Territories in 2019. He is a widely experienced bureaucrat having worked in Manmohan Singh Prime Minister’s Office as Joint Secretary.

5. Louvre gets its first female leader in 228 years

  • Historian Laurence des Cars becomes the first female president of Musée du Louvre, the world’s largest museum in Paris, France in 228 years.
  • She was appointed as the first female president of Musée du Louvre by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.
  • Laurence des Cars, 54, is currently heading the Musée d’Orsay, the Paris landmark museum which is dedicated to 19th-century art.
  • On September 1, 2021, she will replace the current president, Jean-Luc Martinez, who had been heading the Orsay museum for the past eight years.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • France Capital: Paris.
  • France President: Emmanuel Macron.
  • France Prime minister: Jean Castex
  • France Currency: Euro.


6. Tata Digital buys 64% stake in BigBasket

  • Tata Digital has acquired a majority stake in online grocery BigBasket, a deal that pits the country’s largest conglomerate against entrenched e-commerce players. The digital unit of the salt-to-software group didn’t disclose the financial details of the deal.
  • Regulatory filings showed that it has acquired around 64% stake in Supermarket Grocery Supplies that owns BigBasket.
  • BigBasket board had approved the deal earlier this week and Tata Digital has infused primary capital of $200 million in the egrocer at a post-money valuation of $2 billion.


7. RBI Annual Report 2021: Highlights

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has published its annual report and highlights “asset quality of banks and their preparedness requires close monitoring for higher provisioning for upcoming quarters”.
  • In its annual report, the central bank said the country’s growth prospects now essentially depend on how fast India can arrest the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

RBI Annual Report 2021:

  • RBI in its semi-annual financial stability report earlier highlighted bad loan ratio of banks could rise to 13.5% under the baseline stress scenario by September 2021.
  • The Provision Coverage Ratio (PCR) of banks improved from 66.6% in March 2020 to 75.5 % by December 2020, because of prudent provisioning by banks above regulatory prescriptions on accounts availing moratorium and undergoing restructuring.
  • The capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) of banks increased to 15.9% by December 2020, in March it was 14.8%.
  • In its report, RBI cautioned “banks being lenders will have to provide a true picture of bad loans after Supreme Court lifted the interim stay on classifying non-performing assets (NPA) in March 2021.
  • According to it, waiver of compound interest on all loan accounts opted for a moratorium during March-August 2020 would put stress on the financial health of banks.
  • The Gross NPA ratio of banks decreased from 8.2% in March 2020 to 6.8% in December 2020.
  • The Gross NPA ratio for non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs) increased from 6.8% in March to 5.7% in December 2020.
  • The capital adequacy ratio of NBFCs increased from 24.8% in December 2020 to 23.7% in March.
  • Frauds reported by banks fell by 25% in value terms in just one year to Rs 1.38 lakh crore at the end of fiscal year ended March 2021, data released by the RBI as part of it annual report showed.
  • The Reserve Bank of India on 27th May said banknotes in circulation witnessed a higher than the average increase during 2020-21, on account of precautionary holding of cash by people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its prolonged continuance. Value and volume of banknotes in circulation increased by 16.8% and 7.2% respectively in 2020-21.


8. 3 Indian peacekeepers to be honoured with UN’s prestigious medal

  • Corporal Yuvraj Singh, civilian peacekeeper Ivan Michael Picardo, and Moolchand Yadav are among those to be honoured with the UN’s prestigious medal.
  • Corporal Yuvraj Singh was serving at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) while civilian peacekeeper Ivan Michael Picardo was associated with UNAMISS as a civil peacekeeper.
  • Moolchand Yadav was associated with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
  • Three Indian peacekeepers, who laid down their lives while serving in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions last year, are among 129 military, police and civilian personnel honoured with a prestigious UN medal awarded posthumously for courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.


9. International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers: 29 May

  • The “International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers” is observed on May 29 annually.
  • The day is celebrated to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication, and courage and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
  • The day was designated by United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2002, and first celebrated in 2003. The 2021 Theme: “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.”

10. International Everest Day: 29th May

  • International Everest Day is being observed on 29th May. Nepalese Tenzing Norgay and New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary had climbed Mt. Everest on this day in 1953, as the first humans to achieve the feat.
  • Nepal decided to observe the day as International Everest Day in 2008 when the legendary climber Hillary passed away.
  • Everest Day on May 29 every year in memory of the first summit of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa on the day in 1953.
  • The day is celebrated with memorial events, processions, and special events in Kathmandu and the Everest region.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Nepali name of Mt. Everest: Sagarmatha;
  • Tibetan name: Chomolungma.
  • Prime minister of Nepal: KP Sharma Oli; President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari.
  • Capital of Nepal: Kathmandu; Currency: Nepalese rupee.

11. World Digestive Health Day: 29 May

  • Every year, World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) is observed on 29 May. It is organised by the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) in collaboration with the WGO Foundation (WGOF).
  • Each year the day focuses upon a particular digestive disease and/or disorder in order to increase general public awareness of prevention, prevalence, diagnosis, management and treatment of the disease and/or disorder. The theme of WDHD 2021 is “Obesity: An Ongoing Pandemic.”
  • World Digestive Health Day was launched in 2004 to mark the 45th anniversary of the creation of the World Gastroenterology Organisation. The organisation has over 100 member societies and 50,000 individual members all over the world.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • WGO Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States.
  • WGO Founded: 1958.

12. Amnesty International Day: 28 May

  • Amnesty International Day is observed every year on May 28, because it was on this day in 1961 that this non-governmental organization was founded in London.
  • The Amnesty International was founded on 28 May 1961 in London, following the publication of the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer, a British newspaper, by the lawyer Peter Benenson.
  • Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization that focuses on the protection of human rights, by working to prevent abuses to human rights, fight for justice for those whose rights have been violated, expand and enforce human rights protections in international law, by lobbying governments and other powerful groups and publicizing their violations.
  • The organisation has won the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its “defence of human dignity against torture,” and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.


13. IBF to be renamed as Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation

  • The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body of broadcasters, is being renamed as Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), as it expands its purview to cover digital platforms to bring all digital (OTT) players under one roof.
  • IBDF is in the process of forming a new wholly-owned subsidiary to handle all matters pertaining to digital media.
  • IBDF will also form a Self-Regulatory Body (SRB), as per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 as notified by the Government of India on 25th February 2021.

14. Hong Kong woman breaks record for the fastest ascent of Everest

  • Tsang Yin-hung, a Hong Kong-based mountaineer, has created the record of the world’s fastest ascent of Everest by a woman, within the time of just under 26 hours.
  • The 44-year-old Tsang, scaled the 8,848.86-metre (29,031 feet) Everest mountain in a record time of 25 hours and 50 minutes on May 23. It was her third attempt of scaling the Himalayan peak.
  • In 2017, Tsang became the first Hong Kong woman to reach the top of the mountain peak. Before this, the record of fastest woman to conquer Everest was held by Nepali Phunjo Jhangmu Lama, who had completed the climb in 39 hours 6 minutes in 2018.





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