Daily GK Update: 23rd April 2020

Lebanon becomes first Arab country to legalise cannabis for medical use

  • Lebanese legislators approved a law on Tuesday legalising the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and industrial use.
  • The decision, which makes Lebanon the first Arab country to legalise marijuana growing, offers economic incentives for the debt-ridden state.
  • It makes the state the sole proprietor for trading cannabis, which has been grown illicitly for decades in Bekaa, in the east of the country.
  • Lebanon’s Parliament approved the bill in its session on Tuesday, despite opposition from Hezbollah representatives.
  • Hezbollah’s allies in the government, including representatives of President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri, supported the decision.

Source: The World


23rd April is World English Language Day - Newsum!

  • Every year on April 23rd, Spanish Language Day celebrates the second most spoken language in the world. It’s also a day to honor the most revered writer in the Spanish language, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra.
  • The Spanish language originated in Spain. Currently, there are more than 450 million native Spanish speakers in the world. Only the Chinese language surpasses Spanish as the most spoken language in the world. Spanish is also the third most studied language in the world, behind English and French. About 75 million people in the world speak Spanish as their second language.
    Mexico is the most Spanish-speaking country in the world. Spanish is the official language for 19 other countries including the following:
  1. Argentina
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Dominican Republic
  4. Equatorial Guinea
  5. Puerto Rico
  6. Cuba
  7. Spain

Source: National Day

HRD ministry releases alternative academic calendar for upper primary stage

Govt releases alternative academic calendar in wake of coronavirus ...

  • The Human Resource Development Ministry has launched the alternative academic calendar for upper primary stage (Class VI to VIII) in New Delhi that has been developed by the NCERT in consultation with this ministry.
  • “The calendar provides guidelines to teachers on the use of various technological tools and social media tools available for imparting education in fun-filled, interesting ways, which can be used by learner, parents and teachers even while at home,” said Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister for Human Resource Development.

Source: Business Line

Border Roads Organisation builds 484-meter bridge connecting Punjab’s Kasowal enclave with rest of the country


  • Union Ministry of Defence on Wednesday (April 22) said that Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and opened a new permanent bridge on the river Ravi connecting Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country. The MoD said that the BRO has succeeded in constructing the road much ahead of its schedule.
  • “The enclave of around 35 square kilometres had hither to been connected via pontoon bridge of limited load capacity. The pontoon bridge used to be dismantled every year prior to the Monsoon or else it would have got washed away in the strong currents of the river. This meant thousands of acres of fertile land across the river could not be tilled by farmers during the Monsoon” Press Information Bureau said in a press release.

Source: Zee News

Air pollution in northern India has hit a 20-year low, NASA report says

With people in lockdown, air pollution over northern India is at a ...

  • For years, northern India — especially the capital New Delhi — has been battling air pollution with levels hitting the hazardous mark during the winter season.
  • Now, during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, air pollution in the region has dropped to a 20-year low, according to data published by NASA.
    In a series of maps, NASA plotted the aerosol levels in northern India during the same six-day period of March 31 to April 5 from 2016 to 2020.
  • The Indo-Gangetic Plain stretches across the north of India.
  • The report tracks the aerosol optical depth (AOD), which is the measure of how light is absorbed or reflected by airborne particles as it travels through the atmosphere.

Source: CNN World

ICMR advises ‘pool testing’ in low-infection areas to increase number of Covid-19 tests

Coronavirus | ICMR suggests using pooled samples for molecular ...

  • As India’s Covid-19 cases count crossed 9,300 Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued an advisory to begin “pool testing” of samples to increase the number of tests.
  • The process involves testing upto five samples in a single test. So far, one sample is being tested at a time.
    In just the last 24 hours, the number of cases in India has risen by around 1,000.
  • “Number of Covid-19 cases in India is rising exponentially. In view of this, it is critical to increase the numbers of tests conducted by laboratories. Positivity rate in cases is still low. Hence, it may help to use the pooled samples for screening,” said the advisory.

Source: The Print

BWF names PV Sindhu as an ambassador for its ‘i am badminton’ campaign

PV Sindhu named as ambassador for BWF's 'i am badminton' campaign

  • World Champion PV Sindhu was on Wednesday unveiled as one of the ambassadors for Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) ‘i am badminton’ awareness campaign.
  • The campaign provides a platform for players to express their love and respect for badminton by advocating and committing to clean and honest play.
    Sindhu, an Olympic silver medallist, said playing clean and honest is very important in any sport.
  • “This message starts with one voice. If we as ambassadors can highlight this, then I think this will spread to more players,” said the 24-year-old Indian.

Source: The Times of India

World Bank warns of collapse in money sent home by migrant workers

Coronavirus: World Bank pledges $12 bn immediate support - News ...

  • The amount of money migrant workers send back to their home countries is expected to decrease by almost $110bn this year as the Covid 19 pandemic increases unemployment across the world.
  • Remittances to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by nearly 20% to $445bn (£360bn), “representing the loss of a crucial financial lifeline for many vulnerable households”, the World Bank said.
  • Describing the decrease as the worst in recent history, including the 2008 financial crisis, the Washington-based development bank said migrant workers were especially vulnerable to losing their jobs during coronavirus lockdowns which are still largely in place across the developed world.

Source: The Guardian

Karnataka govt launches “Apthamitra” helpline and app to fight COVID-19

Karnataka government launches 'Apthamitra' helpline and app to ...

  • Aimed at empowering people in its fight against coronavirus, the Karnataka government on Wednesday launched “Apthamitra” helpline with an exclusive toll free number and a mobile app, aimed at providing required medical advice and guidance for those in need.
  • The help line and app was launched by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in the presence of senior Ministers and officials of the department.

Source: The Economic Times

Cabinet approves fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy rates for Phosphatic & Potassic fertilizers

CCEA gives green light to Rs 22,187 crore fertiliser dole - The ...

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA today gave its approval for fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy, NBS rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P and K) Fertilizers for the year 2020-21.
  • The approved rates for NBS will be 18 rupees 78 paise per kg for Nitrogen, 14 rupees 88 paise per kg for Phosphorus, 10 rupees 11 paise per kg for Potash and 2 rupees 37 paise per kg for Sulphur.
  • The CCEA also approved the inclusion of a complex fertilizer namely Ammonium Phosphate under the NBS Scheme.
  • The expected expenditure for release of subsidy on Phosphorus and Potassium Fertilizers during 2020-21 will be over 22 thousand 186 crore rupees.
  • The subsidy on the Phosphorus and Potassium will be provided on the subsidy rates approved by the CCEA to the fertilizer companies.

Source: All India Radio

MHRD launches VidyaDaan 2.0 to create e-learning content

HRD minister launches VidyaDaan 2.0 to help students learn during ...

  • The ministry of human resource development launched the national programme VidyaDaan 2.0 for inviting e-learning content contribution on Wednesday. It is a common national programme to develop and contribute e-learning content and a chance to be recognized nationally.
  • The content will be used on DIKSHA app to help millions of children across the country to continue their learning anytime and anywhere.

Source: The Times of India