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Satoshi Uchida: Company Head of Suzuki
- Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd has appointed Satoshi Uchida as its new Company Head as part of a global revamp by the parent Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC).
- Uchida has succeeded Koichiro Hirao with effect from May 1, 2021.
- In his last role, he was assigned to the US.
- He returns to India, where he had worked previously in the company as well as served as Deputy Executive General Manager.
India loses Iranian gas field to local firm
- India has lost the ONGC Videsh Ltd-discovered Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf after Iran awarded a contract for developing the giant gas field to a local company.
- The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has signed a contract worth $1.78 billion with Petropars Group for the development of Farzad B Gas Field in the Persian Gulf.
IIT-Bombay designs prototype to reuse oxygen
- A team of alumni and researchers at the IIT-Bombay have built a breathing device that can reduce wastage of oxygen when a Covid-19 patient is put on assisted breathing support such as ventilators.
- The prototype, called ‘reBreather’, is a semi-closed circular breathing system that will allow patients to breathe in unused exhaled oxygen.
Govt brings changes in Customs rules
- The Govt has brought changes in the existing Customs rules, IGCR 2017 to boost trade facilitation.
- The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has introduced changes through the Customs (Import of Goods at Concessional Rate of Duty) Amendment Rules, 2021.
- The IGCR, 2017 lay down the procedures in which an importer can avail the benefit of a concessional Customs duty on the import of goods.
Appointments and Resignations:
- The mind behind Facebook’s Oculus, Hugo Barra has left the company. He was appointed as the VP of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality at Facebook.
- NASA has assigned astronaut Kayla Barron to serve as a mission specialist for SpaceX Crew-3 mission.
- Ukraine fired its 3rd Health Minister, Maksym Stepanov since the pandemic began, blaming him for the nation’s spotty efforts to fight the pandemic.
BJP veteran Chaman Lal Gupta passes away
- Chaman Lal Gupta, veteran BJP leader, and former Union Minister passed away on 18 May 2021 due to post covid complications.
- He was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from the Udhampur constituency of Jammu in 1996 and re-elected to the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha in 1998 and 1999.
- He had held key portfolios like Civil Aviation, Food Processing Industries, and Defence (MoS).
‘Darwin’s Arch’ collapses from erosion
- A famous rock formation off the Galapagos Islands known as Darwin’s Arch has collapsed into the sea.
- The formation, named after the English biologist Charles Darwin, is considered a top diving location in the Pacific Ocean.
- The top of Darwin’s Arch, located in the northern part of the Galapagos Islands, fell as “a consequence of natural erosion,”
IIT-M team grows brain tissues in bioreactor
- IIT Madras and Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists have grown human brain tissues called ‘organoids’ with help of a 3D printed bioreactor that they developed.
- The aim was to observe the brain tissues while they grow and develop a technology that can potentially accelerate medical discoveries for diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Punjab to give Rs 10 lakh grant to villages
- Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government on 18 May 2021 announced a special development grant of ₹10 lakh to every village that achieves a 100% vaccination target.
- This move was announced under the state government’s flagship ‘Corona Mukt Pind Abhiyan scheme.
- The scheme will help to inoculate all the beneficiaries eligible to take the jab against COVID-19.
Govt to sell SUUTI stake in Axis Bank
- The government will sell a nearly 2% stake in Axis Bank Ltd. held through Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).
- A move is expected to fetch around Rs 3,969 crore to the exchequer in divestment receipts.
- The government will sell its 1.21% stake in Axis Bank.
- It has also kept the option to additionally sell its 0.74% stakes in the private sector lender.
Brazil to join Chile to lay Internet cable
- Brazil plans to join a Chile-led project to lay a fiber optic cable connecting South America and Asia, in a bid to expand digital connectivity in the region.
- The $388-mn, the 8000-mile cable would connect Valparaiso, Chile through New Zealand to Sydney, Australia, where it could be linked to lines in Asia.
- Brazil, Argentina, and Chile represent 80 percent of South America’s internet traffic.
Shree Malani Foams Pvt Ltd wins an award
- Shree Malani Foams Pvt. Ltd. has won the coveted ‘Star Export House’ award from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The certification is valid for 5 years between 2021 to 2026.
- It has emerged as the first and only mattress and mattress components company to be awarded this honor in the past 5 years.
- It is the largest exporter of mattress and mattress components from India.
IDRBT building Financial Infrastructure
- The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of RBI, is building next-generation Digital Financial Infrastructure.
- The National Digital Financial Infrastructure (NADI) would provide a roadmap and framework for future digital financial services growth in the country.
- It will consist of modern network infrastructure which includes 5G/Edge Cloud.
W. Bengal govt to set up a Legislative Council
- West Bengal Chief Minister has announced that a Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) will be set up in the state.
- Only 6 states in India have a Legislative Council, namely, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
- A State Legislative Council existed in West Bengal from 1952 to 1969, before it was dissolved by the United Front government.
₹50,000 ex-gratia for families in Delhi
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has announced financial compensation for families whose kin died due to Covid-19.
- ₹50,000 ex gratia will be given to the families that have had a Covid death.
- He also announced that families who had lost their breadwinner will get a pension of ₹2,500 every month.
- The children who had lost both parents will get ₹2,500 every month till they are 25 years old.
Stupa signs agreement with ITTF
- International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has collaborated with Indian startup, Stupa Sports Analytics.
- It will provide Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled, real-time match and practice analytics solutions to leading players in all its 226 member associations (countries).
- The stupa is working on Artificial Intelligence enabled ball tracking and video analytics technology.
Agro-export facilitation center opened
- The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (MCCIA) has teamed up with NABARD to launch India’s first agro-export facilitation center in Pune.
- It will boost agricultural exports from the region.
- There are also plans to set up a digital presence for the center as well as sub-branches in the region to ensure greater access.
Rs 5 lakh aid to kin of govt employees: MP
- The Madhya Pradesh government has launched a scheme to provide financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the families of its employees who died of COVID-19.
- These reliefs would be provided under the Mukhyamantri COVID-19 Vishesh Anugrah Yojana (for financial assistance to families of deceased employees).
- This scheme is applicable from March 30, 2021, to July 31, 2021.
Manipur launches a mobile app
- Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has launched a smartphone application for home delivery of fresh vegetables.
- This will ensure that people get fresh vegetables at their doorsteps during the COVID-19 induced curfew.
- The MOMA market mobile application is available for download at www.momamarket.com.
- Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) is a unit of the state horticulture department.
Coal India to invest Rs 35 crore
- Coal India Ltd has announced an investment of Rs 35 crore to install 25 oxygen generation plants, across 22 hospitals, in a bid to augment the supply of the life-saving gas amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
- These O2 generation plants will be set up in Coal India’s own hospitals and in district hospitals where four of its subsidiaries operate to support 3,328 beds.
Centre releases Rs 5,968 crore to 15 states
- The government has released Rs 5,968 crore to 15 states for the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission in the financial year 2021-22.
- This is the first tranche of the four to be released in this financial year.
- Of the central funds allocated under the Jal Jeevan Mission, 93 percent is to be utilized on developing water supply infrastructure
Dukaan partners with Dunzo and Shiprocket
- Dukaan, a start-up that helps local stores sell their products online, has announced a partnership with the delivery platform Dunzo, and logistics firm Shiprocket to integrate delivery into the platform.
- Dukaan works with 3.5 million merchants—enabling small and medium businesses and first-time internet entrepreneurs to sell their products and services online.
New RT-PCR kit can detect more covid variants
- A new RT-PCR kit has been developed that has a higher accuracy of detecting various mutant strains of the deadly coronavirus.
- The newly designed kit has been developed by the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology under the Dept of Science and Technology.
- ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has validated this kit at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
London: Most expensive to rent a warehouse
- London is the most expensive city in the world to rent a warehouse, with price growth outstripping Hong Kong and San Francisco.
- Logistics properties cost $24.90 a square foot in the UK capital in 2020, soaring 13% in a year, according to data from real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield Plc.
- Rents in Hong Kong, meanwhile, were about 10% lower than in 2020 while San Francisco was broadly flat.
Finance Ministry releases ₹8,924 crore
- The Union Finance Ministry, on the recommendation of the Panchayati Raj Ministry, has released ₹8,923.8 crores to 25 states for providing grants to rural local bodies.
- The amount has been released as the first installment of the Basic (Untied) Grants.
- It will be utilized among other things for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the Covid pandemic.
Adani Green to buy SB Energy India
- Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) is set to buy Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Bharti Enterprises Ltd owned solar power producer SB Energy India.
- It will buy it for an enterprise value of $3.5 billion.
- This follows the collapse of a plan to sell SoftBank’s entire 80% stake in SB Energy to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for an estimated $525 million.
AstraZeneca followed by Pfizer dose is safe
- A Spanish study on mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer’s drug to people who already received the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective.
- The Combivacs study, run by Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute, found the presence of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream was between 30 and 40 times higher in people who got the follow-up Pfizer shot.
Google unveils new AI model LaMDA
- Google has made a new leap in developing conversational artificial intelligence (AI) models, developing a system that can hold its own in natural conversations.
- The company announced LaMDA during the first-day keynote of Google I/O, its yearly developer conference, on 18 May 2021.
- LaMDA stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications and aims to replace robotic conversations with AI.
Karnataka provides a ₹1,250 cr relief package
- Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has announced a Covid-19 relief package of ₹1,250 crores.
- The Karnataka government will provide ₹3,000 each for auto/taxi drivers and construction workers, ₹2,000 for workers in the unorganized sector, and ₹10,000 per hectare for floriculture farmers.
- Meanwhile, the state received 2 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine on 19 May 2021.
Audio-Visual Guide App launched
- National Gallery of Modern Art, NGMA launched an Audio-Visual Guide App on the occasion of International Museum Day, on 18 May 2021.
- Now it will be possible for museum viewers to listen to anecdotes and stories related to the treasured Indian modern art exhibited at the Gallery, on their smartphone.
- The app is an audio-visual guide for exploring modern art treasures.
Telangana to join Ayushman Bharat Scheme
- The Telangana government has decided to join the central government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme.
- The State Medical and Health Department has signed an MoU with the National Health Authority in this regard.
- The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana of the government of India aims to provide free access to healthcare for 50 crore people in the country.
Haryana: The first state to reimburse GST
- Haryana has become the first state in the country to allow reimbursement of goods and services tax (GST) paid on Covid-related donations made to the state and state-run facilities.
- This will be applicable till June 30, 2021.
- The move is aimed at encouraging efforts by corporations, NGOs, and individuals and facilitating donations of items such as oxygen concentrators.
American actor Charles Grodin passes away
- Charles Grodin, an American actor known for his comic roles in films such as Midnight Run and Beethoven, passed away in May 2021.
- He won the best actor at the 1988 Valladolid International Film Festival for his role in Midnight Run.
- He also won an Emmy in 1978 for co-composing NBC’s ‘The Paul Simon Special’.
Leicester City wins FA Cup for the first time
- Leicester City has won FA Cup for the first time in their history, beating Chelsea 1-0 in the final at Wembley.
- The final was watched by 21,000 fans at the Wembley Stadium — the biggest crowd in England since the resumption of sporting activities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Leicester City last reached the FA Cup final in 1969.
International Day against Homophobia: 17 May
- 17 May is annually observed as the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
- It’s a day to recognize that while the rights of the LGBTQI+ people have significantly advanced in recent decades, progress remains patchy and geographically uneven.
- The day marks the anniversary of the day in 1990 when WHO took the step of declassifying ‘homosexuality’ as a mental disorder.
World Hypertension Day: 17 May
- World Hypertension Day is observed on May 17 in order to increase awareness about the condition.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure is a medical condition in which the force or pressure of blood against the artery walls is too high.
- A person has hypertension if his/her blood pressure is above 140/90.
- The theme for 2021 is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.
Vandita Kaul: Nominee Director on board of BoI
- Bank of India (BOI) has informed that the government has appointed Vandita Kaul, Additional Secretary in the Finance Ministry, to its board as a nominee Director.
- Bank of India has a total of eight members on its board, including the MD and CEO Atanu Kumar Das, its four executive directors, one nominee director each from the government and the RBI, and one shareholder director.
Ten highest-paid athletes in the world
- The ten highest-paid athletes in the world took home pretax gross earnings of $1.05 billion during the past 12 months, 28% more than 2019’s top earners.
- The combined haul falls just a few million short of the $1.06 billion records set in 2018.
- For the year 2020-21, McGregor is at the top, having collected a total of $180 million over the last 12 months.