Latest Current Affairs – April 23 2018
1. China bank opens first unmanned branch with robots, holograms
A state-owned Chinese bank has opened the country’s first unmanned bank equipped with robots and machine holograms to talk to customers. The bank uses facial recognition technology for identification while a robot greets customers at entrance to answer questions. Machines inside the bank allow visitors to buy gold, change currency, or scout real estate investments using virtual reality goggles.
2. Tata Sons names Former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar as global corp affairs head
Tata Sons has announced the appointment of former Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar as the group’s Global Corporate Affairs President. He will be reporting to Tata Sons’ Executive Chairman N Chandrasekaran. Jaishankar’s key roles during his career include his stints as High Commissioner to Singapore, and Ambassador to China and the United States.
3. India’s TCS now among world’s 100 most valued companies
Indian IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has joined the world’s 100 most valued companies and now ranks 97th, according to Bloomberg data. This comes after the market capitalisation of TCS crossed $100 billion (₹6.62 lakh crore) for the first time on Monday. The last Indian company to cross the $100 billion milestone was Reliance Industries in 2007.
4. Rafael Nadal becomes the first man to win the same title 11 times
World number one Rafael Nadal has become the first male tennis player in the Open Era to win the same title 11 times in his career. The 31-year-old achieved the feat by defeating Japan’s Kei Nishikori to clinch his 11th Monte Carlo Masters title on Sunday. Nadal also overtook Serbia’s Novak Djokovic to clinch most Masters 1000 titles (31).
5. India wins 8th South Asian Judo Championship
India has won 8th South Asian Judo Championship. On the concluding day of the championship Indian women and men won team events in Lalitpur, Nepal. Keeping the unbeaten streak Indian women white washed the championship by beating host Nepal by 5-0 in the final of team events. Indian men also won team championship. They defeated Pakistan by 3-2 in the final.
A total 102 players from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated in the 3 day championship.
6. New technique to make drugs ‘smarter’ developed
Scientists have developed a new method to make ‘smarter’ drugs that are more effective at reaching their target. The researchers from the University of Lincoln in the UK devised a technique to ‘decorate’ gold nanoparticles with a protein of choice so they can be used to tailor drug to more accurately target an area on the body, such as a cancer tumour.
Researchers took fragments of proteins from bacteria and flatworms, which when fused together were effective at binding to the gold nanoparticle surface and able to form stable bonds to any other protein. By mixing this fusion protein with gold nanoparticles, it permanently binds to the gold surface while also being able to stably bind a target protein on which a specific ‘tag’ was included.
7. World Book And Copyright Day – April 23
World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated globally this year on 23 April to provide the people with many ideas and plans to make them aware of the situation and condition in the World. The World Book Capital for 2018 is Athens, Greece.
23 April is a symbolic date for world literature. It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors.
8. Indian Animation Expert Bhimsain Khurana Passes Away
Indian animation pioneer and multiple National Award winner Bhimsain Khurana had passed away at the age of 82. Khurana was known for films like “Gharaonda” and for iconic animation shorts like “Ek Anek Ekta”.
His unforgettable work includes “Ek chidiya, anek chidiya” song. In 1970, he made his debut with his first animation short “The Climb”, which earned him the Silver Hugo Award in the Chicago Film Festival.
10. Madras HC becomes first court in south India to introduce e-court fee payment facility
The Madras High Court became the first court in south India and eighth in the country to introduce e-court fee payment facility. So far only the Supreme Court and the High Courts in Delhi, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh had introduced the e-court fee payment facility. The e-stamp facility provides for filing a single receipt irrespective of the quantum of court fee paid
11. Scientists identify four bacterial strains to remove sulphur from fossil fuels
Using novel bacterial strains, scientists have successfully removed sulphur from fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal. Sulphur is one of the major pollutants emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels. Scientists from CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) in Bhubaneswar used four bacterial strains that use dibenzothiophene (an organic sulphur compound which is a major contaminant of fossil fuel) as an energy source thereby getting rid of the sulphur.
The four strains are Rhodococcus rhodochrous, Arthrobacter sulfureou, Gordonia rubropertinita and Rhodococcus erythropolis. The selected bacteria were grown in a medium supplemented with dibenzothiophene and other nutrients required for growth. They found that four bacteria were able to use almost 99% of the sulphur compound in just 10 days.
12. Sunderban Reserve Forest to get Ramsar site status
The Sunderban Reserve Forest, spread of 4,260 sq. km. with over 2,000 sq. km. of mangrove forests and creeks, is likely to be declared a Ramsar Site soon.The West Bengal government gave its approval to the State Forest Department to apply for recognition under the Ramsar Convention. The Indian Sunderbans, with 2,114 sq. km. of mangrove forests, comprise almost 43% of the mangrove cover in the country.
Other than the forests, home to about 100 Royal Bengal tigers, the creeks and river systems of the Sunderbans are also part of the reserve forest and once conferred a Ramsar site status, it will be the largest protected wetland in the country.
13. Researchers develop potent molecule to treat chikungunya
A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has achieved a measure of success by finding a small molecule that has good antiviral activity against chikungunya virus. The antiviral activity was so high that the small molecule was able to achieve almost 99% reduction in the virus when 5 microMolar was used. Currently, there are no drugs to treat chikungunya or any vaccine to prevent it.
Using structure-based studies of chikungunya virus-specific nsP2 protease, the team led by Prof. Shailly Tomar from the Department of Biotechnology had earlier identified two small molecules — Pep-I and Pep-II — for their inhibitory activity. Protease inhibitors have already been used successfully against HIV and hepatitis C virus.
14. Abdo Benitez wins Paraguay Presidential Elections 2018
Mario Abdo Benitez, who represents Paraguay’s long-dominant Colorado conservatives, won the 2018 Presidential Elections on April 22, 2018. Abdo Benitez won 46.49 percent of the vote, against his centrist opponent Efrain Alegre who fetched 42.72 percent votes in a race that was far closer than expected. The results were announced by Paraguay’s Election Chief Jaime Bestard.
15. Canada, European Union to host world’s first female foreign ministers meeting in September 2018
Canada and the European Union will together host the world’s first female foreign ministers’ meeting on September 21, 2018 in Canada. The meeting will be held for 2 days. The announcement was made by the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on April 22, 2018 in Toronto. The female foreign ministers from about 30 countries will be invited to the gathering, which is aimed at deepening global discussion on women’s empowerment.
16. AFSPA revoked in Meghalaya, parts of Arunachal
The Centre has revoked The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya. In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA was reduced to eight police stations instead of 16 police stations and in Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts bordering Assam.
The Home Ministry has also relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. The PAP will be valid for five years, but residents from Pakistan, Afghanistan and China will not be allowed to visit these areas.
Tripura withdrew AFSPA in 2015. Last year, the Home Ministry gave up its power and asked the Assam government to take a decision on continuing AFSPA in the State.