Daily GK Update: 3rd July 2020

Two renowned Indian-Americans honoured by prestigious American foundation

  • In the United States, two renowned Indian-Americans who have contributed towards the efforts in mitigating the COVID-19 health crisis are among the 38 immigrants honoured by a prestigious American foundation ahead of US Independence Day commemoration this year. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee and Professor of Economics at Harvard University Raj Chetty have been named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as ‘2020 Great Immigrants’ honorees, the Corporation said in a statement issued yesterday.
  • Born in New Delhi, Dr. Mukherjee is a noted biologist, oncologist and the author of several acclaimed books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’. Since 2009, he has served on the faculty of Columbia University, where he is Associate Professor of Medicine and a Physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In 2014, Dr. Mukherjee was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honours.
  • Professor Raj Chetty, who was born in New Delhi, has been one of the youngest professors to be granted tenure in Harvard’s history. In addition to his position as the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Chetty directs Opportunity Insights, a research lab that aims to identify barriers to economic and social mobility and develop scalable policy solutions to overcome them, the Corporation said. He helped launch a resource to monitor the real-time economic impact of COVID-19 on people, businesses and communities across the United States. This tool enables policy makers to make evidence-based decisions that balance vital public health priorities with the economic needs of their communities, it said.

Source: All India Radio

LAC stand-off: India, Japan conduct naval exercise amid China row

  • At a time when India and China are locked in a major troop confrontation in eastern Ladakh, Indian and Japanese warships held a small exercise towards the Malacca Strait in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) on Saturday.
  • Indian warships patrolling the region, Rajput-class destroyer INS Rana and Kora-class missile corvette INS Kulish, took part in the exercise with JS Shimayuki and JS Kashima from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force’s training squadron. Though it was “largely a PASSEX (passing exercise)”, it definitely amounts to some strategic signaling for China, said sources.

Source: Times of India

Former speaker of Mizoram legislative assembly Upa Rokamlova dies at 79

  • In Mizoram, former speaker of the state legislative assembly Upa Rokamlova died at a hospital in Aizawl last night. He was 79. Family sources said that he was suffering from prolonged illness of kidney disorder. Rokamlova is survived by his wife and two children.
  • A veteran Congress leader Rokamlova joined politics in early 1980s and he had played a key role in signing of the historic Mizo Peace Accord in 1986. He won the state assembly elections three times between 1984 and 1993. Rokamlova became the speaker of the Mizoram Assembly in 1990. He also served as rural development Minister of the Lal Thanhawla government. He left politics in 1994.

Source: All India Radio

Drug Discovery Hackathon jointly launched by Union Ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan and Ramesh Pokhriyal

  • Human Resources and Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today jointly launched the Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020. It is an online competition and anybody from anywhere in the country or world can participate.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr Pokhriyal said, Drug Discovery Hackathon is first of its kind national initiative for supporting drug discovery process. He said, to attract international talent, the hackathon will be open to participation from across the globe from professionals, faculty, researchers and students.
  • Addressing the participants, Dr Harsh Vardhan emphasized the need to establish the culture of computational drug discovery in the country. In this initiative, HRD Innovation cell and AICTE will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while CSIR will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing.
  • He said, the objective of this Hackathon is to identify drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 by in-silico drug discovery through the hackathon and follow up by chemical synthesis and biological testing.

Source: All India Radio

Indra Mani Pandey appointed India’s Permanent Representative to UN

  • Seasoned diplomat Indra Mani Pandey has been appointed as India’s next Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva.
  • Pandey, a 1990-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently serving as an additional secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
  • “He is expected to take up the assignment shortly,” the MEA said in a statement. Pandey succeeds Rajiv K Chander in Geneva.
  • In his nearly three-decade career, Pandey served in Indian missions in Damascus, Cairo, Islamabad, Kabul, Muscat and Geneva.
  • He also served as joint secretary in the Disarmament and International Security Affairs division of the MEA at its headquarters in Delhi.

Source: Business Standard

North Korea among most dangerous places to live in world: European report

  • North Korea ranks among the most dangerous places to live as its people are exposed to high risks of natural disaster, poverty and social injustice, a report showed on Thursday.
  • According to the report by INFORM, a research centre under the European Commission, North Korea was rated as the 39th most dangerous place out of 191 countries analyzed, with its global risk index standing at 5.2 on a scale of 1-10, reports Yonhap News Agency.
  • The risk index is based on an analysis of such elements as a country’s exposure to natural disasters, vulnerability and the government’s risk-management capability.
  • A higher figure means more exposure to risks.

Source: Business Standard

Shri Giriraj Singh launches the first edition of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Newsletter “Matsya Sampada”

  • Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Giriraj Singh todaylaunched the first edition of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Newsletter “MATSYA SAMPADA” published by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India and the Operational Guidelines of the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
  • Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Government of India and senior officers of the Department of Fisheries were present.
  • The Newsletter “MATSYA SAMPADA” is an outcome of the endeavours of the Department of Fisheries to reach out to the stakeholders especially fishers and fish farmers through various means of communication, and toinform and educate them about the latest developments in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. It would be published on a quarterly basis starting from the first quarter of the year 2020-21.

Source: Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying

Choreographer Saroj Khan passes away

  • Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan passed away in Mumbai on Friday following a cardiac arrest. She was 71.
  • Saroj’s daughter Sukaina Khan confirmed the news to indianexpress.com.
  • Saroj Khan was admitted to Mumbai’s Guru Nanak Hospital on June 17 after suffering from a kidney condition. She was on regular dialysis support.
    Dr Narendra Sharma, CEO of Guru Nanak hospital, said, “She was diabetic. Also had a heart problem and obesity issue. We did COVID-19 test twice, and she tested negative both times.”
  • Sharma said Saroj suffered a cardiac arrest due to multiple complications on July 3. She was declared dead at 1:51 am on Friday.

Source: The Indian Express

Union HRD Minister virtually launches World’s first-ever Online B.Sc. Degree in Programming and Data Science

  • The Union Minister of HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today virtually launched World’s first ever online B.Sc. degree in Programming and Data Science in the presence of Minister of State for HRD, Shri Sanjay Dhotre.
  • The programme has been prepared and offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), which is ranked No.1 in India Rankings 2020 by NIRF.
  • This programme is open to anyone who has passed Class XII, with English and Maths at the Class X level, and enrolled in any on-campus UG course. Dr. Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, IIT, Madras, Board of Governors, Director and the faculty of the IIT, Madras,Chairman, AICTE,Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Additional Secretary, MHRD, Shri Rakesh Ranjanand other Senior officials of the Ministry were also present during the launch.

Source: Press Information Bureau

Government extends Union Bank of India CEO Rajkiran Rai’s term by another two years

  • The government has extended Union Bank of IndiaNSE -1.08 % (UBI) CEO Rajkiran Rai’s term by another two years until his retirement on May 31 2022.
  • In a notification, SR Mehar, deputy secretary in the department of financial services in the Ministry of Finance, said Rai’s term which was ending on Tuesday has been now extended until May 31 2022.
  • Rai had taken over a CEO of the Mumbai-based lender on July 1, 2017.

Source: The Economic Times

HDFC Bank launches ‘e-Kisaan Dhan’ app for farmers

  • HDFC Bank on Tuesday announced the launch of ‘e-Kisaan Dhan’ app for farmers allover India. Through this app the farmers will be able to access a bouquet of services, both banking and agriculture, through their mobile phones.
  • The app is a one stop solution for all the information needed on agriculture practices by the farmers.
  • ‘e-Kisaan Dhan’ will provide value-added services like mandi prices, latest farming news, weather forecast, information on seed varieties, SMS advisory, e-pashuhaat, Kisan TV, and more.
  • Users can also avail multiple banking services like procuring loans, the opening of Bank accounts, availing insurance facilities, calculate KCC loan eligibility online, and acquiring Government social security schemes at their fingertips.

Source: Live Mint

HRD Minister and Sports Minister to launch tomorrow Fit India Talks of eminent sports persons with school children

  • The government of India’s flagship program Fit India is launching a series of interactive sessions with some of the top sportspersons of our country intended to inspire the school children. The sessions, titled Fit India Talks, premieres tomorrow July 3 in the presence of Union Minister of Human Resource Development Dr. RP Nishank, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, ShriKirenRijijualong withbadminton star PV Sindhu and Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri.
  • The Fit India Talks sessions are being organized in association with the Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh PokhriyalNishank said, “I requested KirenRijijuji to speak to our school children directly through a platform and not only did he completely oblige but also decided on bringing aboard the likes of PV Sindhu and Sunil Chhetri on board for our first session. All of us will be present on July 3. Please ask whatever you want and we willanswer you during the session at 5 pm.’

Source: Ministry of Human Resource Development