THE EXAMS MADE SIMPLE: PIB and AIR News 26-30th April, 2019

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PIB and AIR News 26-30th April, 2019

1. Ministry of Defence has awarded Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE)contract to build eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts (ASWSWCs) for Indian Navy

  • The GRSE has been a pioneer warship builder of the nation having delivered the highest number of warships till date since its inception as a DPSU in 1960. 
  • The 100 warships built by GRSE so far ranges from Advanced Frigates to Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes to Fleet Tankers, Fast Attack Crafts, etc. with the Shipyard having many firsts to its credit in terms of Innovation and Design.
  • These Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts are designed for a deep displacement of 750 tons, speed of 25 knots
  • In addition, the vessels shall have the capability to interdict/ destroy sub surface targets in coastal waters. 
  • These can also be deployed for Search and Rescue by day and night in coastal areas. In their secondary role, these will be capable to prosecute intruding aircraft, and lay mines in the sea bed.


2. Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ over southeast Bay of Bengal & neighbourhood


  • It is very likely to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm and then into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during subsequent 24 hours
  • The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary and took stock of the situation arising out of the Cyclonic Storm ‘Fani’.
  • National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) headed by the Cabinet Secretary. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairperson of NDMA. National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) is again headed by the Cabinet Secretary.


3. NASA's InSight detects first likely 'quake' on Mars


  • NASA said this is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind.
  • InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. It is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.
  •  InSight also measures tectonic activity and meteorite impacts on Mars today.
  •  It was manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • InSight was initially known as GEMS (Geophysical Monitoring Station)
  • It was one of the Discovery Program
  • NASA's Discovery Program is a series of lower-cost , highly focused American scientific space missions that are exploring the Solar System


4. Raheem Sterling named 2019 FWA footballer of the year

Raheem Sterling has been named the 2019 footballer of the year by the Football Writers' Association (FWA).

5. World Immunization Week 2019
World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April month.

  • The week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people against various diseases. Immunization is recognised as the most successful and cost-effective health invention, which saves millions of lives every year.
  • The theme for this year’s immunization week is – Protected Together: Vaccines Work! The week will also be celebrating Vaccine Heroes from around the world. Vaccine heroes are the people from parents, community members to innovators and health workers who help ensure that everyone is protected from diseases by getting vaccinated.
  • Our immune system is composed of various types of cells. These cells defend us against invaders and remove the harmful pathogens. 
  • However, for that our immune system needs to recognise that an invader is dangerous. Vaccination works by teaching our immune system how to recognise new diseases
  • Vaccines stimulate our bodies to make antibodies against antigens of pathogens. It also teaches the immune system to remember the antigens that cause infection, which leads to a faster response to the same disease in the future. 
  • In simple terms, vaccines work by exposing you to a safer version of a disease. While the body responds to the vaccine, it builds an adaptive immune system, which helps the body to fight off the actual infection in the future
  • A vaccine has two parts:
    • It is usually given through an injection. The first part is the antigen, which is a piece of disease one’s body must learn to recognise. The second part is the adjuvant, which sends a danger signal to the body and helps your immune system to respond strongly against the antigen. All this helps in developing your immunity.


6. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sold its entire stakes in the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) and National Housing Bank.

  • The decision to divest its entire stake was taken based on the recommendations of the second Narasimham Committee.
  • The government now holds a 100 per cent stake in both NHB and NABARD
  • About NHB:
    • NHB is an All India Financial Institution (AIFl), set up in 1988, under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987.
    • It is an apex agency established to operate as a principal agency to promote housing finance institutions both at local and regional levels and to provide financial and other support incidental to such institutions and for matters connected therewith.
  • NABARD:
    • It is an apex development and specialized bank established on 12 July 1982 by an act by the parliament of India.
    • Its main focus is to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non farm sector.
    • It was established based on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the chairmanship of Shri B. shivaraman.


7. Exit Visa system and Kafala

  • Qatar is set to abolish its controversial exit visa system for all foreign workers by the end of 2019. The new law allows most workers to leave the country without exit permits from their employers.
  • Qatar has introduced a series of labour reforms since its selection as the 2022 World Cup host, with the event setting in motion a huge construction programme employing foreign workers.
  • In September 2018, Qatar approved legislation to scrap the “kafala”, or sponsorship system which required that foreign workers obtain permission from their employers to leave the country.
  • The ‘kafala’ system is a system that lays down obligations in the treatment and protection of foreign ‘guests’. Kafala means ‘to guarantee’ or ‘to take care of’ in Arabic.
  • Under the system, a migrant worker’s immigration status is legally bound to an individual employer or sponsor (‘kafeel’) during the contract period. 
  • The migrant worker cannot enter the country, transfer employment nor leave the country for any reason without first obtaining explicit written permission from the kafeel.
  • The kafala system began in the 1950s when several Middle East countries started hiring foreign workers to accelerate development following the discovery of oil.
  • It is being practiced in the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and also in the Arab states of Jordan and Lebanon
  • The media have likened employment conditions under kafala to “modern-day slavery.”


8.  The Indian Council of Medical Research has launched the ‘Malaria Elimination Research Alliance (MERA) India’ 


  • (MERA) India – a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control – in order to prioritise, plan and scale up research to eliminate the disease from India by 2030.
  • The alliance will facilitate trans-institutional coordination and collaboration around a shared research agenda which responds not only to programmatic challenges and addresses gaps in available tools, but also proactively contributes to targeted research.
  • National Vector Borne Diseases Control Program (NVBDCP) of India has developed a comprehensive framework to achieve the overarching vision of “Malaria free India by 2030“.
  • Malaria is caused by a Plasmodium Parasites that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. 


9. The United States has again placed India on its ‘Priority Watch List’.

  • India has been on the priority watch list reportedly for over 25 years, for “lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IP framework that have negatively affected US right holders”.
  • “Priority Watch List” and “Watch List” countries are identified by the annual Special 301 Report. 
  • “Priority Watchlist countries” are judged by the USTR (US Trade Representative) as having “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” that require increased USTR attention. 
  • “Watch List” countries have been identified by the USTR as having “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” but are not yet placed on the “Priority Watchlist”. The USTR can move countries from one list to the other, or remove them from the lists, throughout the year


10.  International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has recently released Global Food Policy Report-2019.

  • The report reviews the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2018, and considers challenges and opportunities for 2019.
  • This year’s Report highlights the urgency of rural revitalization to address a growing crisis in rural areas


11. Bharati script:

  • A team of scientists at IIT Madras have developed a method for reading documents in Bharati script using a multi-lingual optical character recognition (OCR) scheme.
  • Bharati is a unified script for nine Indian languages which is being proposed as a common script for India. It is developed by an IIT Madras team.
  • Bharti script aims to bring down the communication barriers in India with a common script.
  • The scripts that have been integrated include Devnagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil. English and Urdu have not been integrated so far.


12. Akademik Lomonosov:

  • It is the world’s only floating nuclear power unit. 
  • The plant was launched by Russia on May 19, 2018 at the St Petersburg shipyard.

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