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2 July Current Affairs

Ramanuja

In News:

A 216-foot-tall statue of Ramanuja will be built at Hyderabad. When unveiled, it is set to become the world’s second tallest statue of a seated figure.

Facts for Prelims:

Currently, the Great Buddha of Thailand is the tallest statue, at 302-feet. Once the Ramanujacharya statue is unveiled, it will become the second tallest, a distinction now held by the Guanyin figure on Mount Xiqiao in China’s Guangdong region, at 203 feet.

About Ramanujacharya:

  • He was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and one of the most important exponents of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism.
  • His philosophical foundations for devotionalism were influential to the Bhakti movement.
  • He is famous as the chief proponent of Vishishtadvaita subschool of Vedānta.
  • He wrote influential texts, such as bhāsya on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, all in Sanskrit.

Source: The Hindu

India gets its 37th WORLD UNESCO World HERITAGE SITE

In News:

In a Remarkable Achievement, India gets its 37th WORLD UNESCO World HERITAGE SITE. The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain.

37th site: Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai.

Facts for Prelims:

  • This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
  • In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
  • India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites.
  • While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.

About World Heritage site:

A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection. These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO. UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.

Background:

In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) announced, 18 April as the “World Heritage Day”, approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with the aim of enhancing awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of humankind, and redouble efforts to protect and conserve the human heritage.

Source: PIB

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES)

In News:

The Odisha government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for effective management of disasters.

Details:

RIMES and OSDMA collaboration will contribute to global efforts targeted to substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems as articulated in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

What is RIMES?

  • RIMES was established on 30 April 2009 to provide user-relevant early warning services to its Member States and others.
  • It is a UN registered international and inter-governmental institution.
  • It is owned and managed by its 48 members and collaborating states for building capacities in the generation and application of user-relevant early warning information.

Source: The Hindu

“Space force” by US

In News:

U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to create a “space force” or a sixth branch of the American armed forces. This has taken many by surprise within and outside the U.S.

Purpose:

The purpose is to deny the Russians and the Chinese advantages in space. The main intention is to see that the U.S. establishes and maintains dominance in space.

Why it is not a “good idea”?

  • Another military arm would only compound the organisational challenges facing the U.S. armed services.
  • It could undercut ongoing missions.
  • It could very well increase budgetary allocations in the future.
  • A space corps could undermine American efforts in the domain of joint warfare.

Why it may not feasible to have a space force?

  • The fundamental difficulty of a space corps is that the physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris.
  • And despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.
  • The technical demands of defending assets in space make the possibility of dominance and space as a domain for war-fighting a sort of chimera.

Way ahead:

The imperative by America to build space weapons, which is nothing new, goes back to the Cold War, an example being the Strategic Defense Initiative of the Reagan Administration. The creation of the new force represents an important shift at least at an institutional level. What advantages it will bring to American war-fighting capabilities are still unclear.

A new space force is not merely a brand new service; it potentially increases greater organisational uncertainty within the U.S. military. Notwithstanding these concerns, Washington’s headlong rush is the by-product of a strong commitment to preserving American advantages in space.

Source: The Hindu

Agni-V

In News:

India’s longest-range ballistic missile, Agni-V, will be inducted into the nuclear arsenal very soon. It is a strategic asset which will act as a deterrent.

About Agni-5 Ballistic Missile:

It is a surface-to-surface missile which can carry nuclear warhead weighing 1.5 tonnes to a distance of over 5,000 km and is the longest missile in India’s arsenal capable of reaching most parts of China.

The missile features many new indigenously-developed technologies, including the very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS), and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) which improves the accuracy of the missile.

Facts for Prelims:

Agni series: At present, India has in its armoury the Agni series — Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.

Source: The Hindu

AMCDRR 2018

In News:

The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018 (AMCDRR 2018) will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is convened by the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR) and the Government of Mongolia.

Details:

The conference will represent a key milestone for reflection on three years into the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Specifically, the conference will enable governments and stakeholders to review progress made against the commitments at the AMCDRR 2016, i.e. the New Delhi Declaration, the Asia Regional Plan, and ten stakeholder voluntary action statements.

Theme of the AMCDRR 2018: ‘Preventing Disaster Risk: Protecting Sustainable Development’.

What is AMCDRR?

Established in 2005, AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the UNISDR.

India hosted the second AMCDRR in New Delhi in 2007.

About Sendai Framework:

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.

Key features of the Sendai framework:

  • It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
  • It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
  • The Framework is for 15-year. It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
  • The new Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

Implementation:

The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.

Source: PIB

Hubble Space Telescope

In News:

Nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected a stunning image of a huge collection of ageing stars, believed to be 10 billion-years-old. This rich and dense smattering of stars is a massive globular cluster, a gravitationally bound collection of stars that orbits the Milky Way.

Details:

Globular clusters are denser and more spherical than open star clusters like the famous Pleiades. They typically contain hundreds of thousands of stars that are thought to have formed at roughly the same time.

About the Hubble Space Telescope:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope is a large telescope in space. NASA launched Hubble in 1990.
  • It was built by the United States space agency NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency.
  • Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts.
  • Expanding the frontiers of the visible Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope looks deep into space with cameras that can see across the entire optical spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet.

Source: The Hindu

Golden Globe Race (GGR)

In News:

The Golden Globe Race is being conducted by Sir Robin Knox Johnston of UK to commemorate 50 years since the world’s first solo non-stop circumnavigation undertaken by him in 1968 onboard the Indian built boat, Suhaili.

Details:

The uniqueness of the race is that boat designs and technology newer than 1968 is not permitted, hence use of Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite communication, navigational aids, etc is forbidden.

Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy is the only invitee from Asia.

Source: PIB

‘GST day’

1st July 2018 will be celebrated as ‘GST day’, to commemorate the first year of the unprecedented reform of Indian taxation.

Kalidas Award

Noted artist Anjolie Ela Menon has received the National Kalidas Samman for visual arts from the Madhya Pradesh government. The award was conferred in recognition of her insightful and sensitive portrayal of the identity and spirit of women through her meaningful paintings in a variety of media.

About Kalidas Samman:

  • It is a prestigious arts award presented annually by the government of Madhya Pradesh in India.
  • The award is named after Kālidāsa, a renowned Classical Sanskrit writer of ancient India. The Kalidas Samman was first awarded in 1980.
  • It was initially conferred in alternate years in the fields of Classical Music, Classical Dance, Theatre and Plastic Arts. From 1986-87 onwards, the awards were presented in all four fields every year.

Source: PIB

Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI)

  • The Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) is an independent banking industry watchdog that protects consumers of banking services in India.
  • The board oversee compliance with the “Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers”.
  • It is an independent and autonomous body, registered as a separate society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 on 18 February 2006.
  • The Reserve Bank of India extended financial support to the Board, meeting its expenses for the first five years.
  • BCSBI has in collaboration with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), evolved two codes – Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers and the Code of Bank’s Commitment to Micro and Small Enterprises – which set minimum standards of banking practices for member banks to follow when they are dealing with individual customers and micro and small enterprises.

 

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