Current Affairs of 4th January 2020

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1. 4th January: World Braille Day

4th January: World Braille Day

We celebrate World Braille Day every year on 4th January because remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille. He is the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France. 

At the age of just 3, he lost both his eyes in an accident. This resulted in the invention of the language of 6 dots- which is popularly known as braille.

2. Manav Thakkar becomes world no.1 in latest International Table Tennis Federation rankings

Manav Thakkar becomes world no.1 in latest International Table Tennis Federation rankings

Young Indian paddler Manav Thakkar became world no.1 in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings in the Under-21 men’s singles category. With this, Thakkar became the fourth Indian to achieve the feat after Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Soumyajit Ghosh. 

Among other Indians, G. Sathiyan has managed to retain his 30th spot in the senior category. Achanta Sharath Kamal has climbed a spot to the 33rd position. Top woman paddler, Manika Batra was static at the 61st position.

The 19-year-old  Manav Thakkar achieved the top spot after clinching the Under-21 men’s singles title at the ITTF Challenge Plus Benemax-Virgo North American Open in Markham, Canada in December last year. Thakkar was also world no. 1 in the Under-18 category in February 2018. He was part of the Indian men’s team which won a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

3. “Cyber Safe Initiative” Launched by Maharashtra Government

On January 3, 2020, the ‘Cyber Safe Initiative’ was launched by the Maharashtra Government. The initiative was launched commemorating the birth anniversary of the Indian Social Reformer Savitribai Phule. Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of India.

The aim of the initiative is to spread awareness against atrocities committed against children and women. It will also create awareness about laws on cybercrime.

4. US Army kills Iranian Commander Soleimani: India’s Concerns

US Army kills Iranian Commander Soleimani

On January 3, 2020, the US Army killed Iran’s most powerful military commander General Qasem Soleimani. He was killed at Baghdad Airport. In a drone strikes held by the US Force at Baghdad Airport, the Iranian Commander was killed along with other Iran supported militia heads.

Cause of India’s Concerns:

The region where the airstrike was held is an extended neighborhood that houses 7 million Indians. India is also worried about the impact of the tensions on international fuel prices that soared by 4% on the very same day. India is not purchasing oil from Iran at present. In May 2019, India stopped purchasing oil from Iran following US sanctions. However, unrest in the region will impact the oil imports from Saudi Arabia. This is because most of the imports to India from Saudi Arabia takes place through Strait of Hormuz controlled by Iran.

5. 171 Hospitals de-empanelled under Ayushman Bharat Scheme

A total 171 hospitals have been de-empanelled and penalties to the tune of Rs 4.5 crore have been imposed on hospitals for allegedly committed fraud and indulging in malpractices under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, the apex body implementing it said on Friday.

National Anti-Fraud Unit has detected suspect e-cards on the basis of algorithms developed internally by it and shared with states for due diligence and action.

6. KVIC opens first silk processing plant in Gujarat

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has opened its first Silk processing plant in Gujarat to boost the production of signature Patola Saree while creating livelihoods for women.

In a major initiative, the KVIC unveiled its first Silk Processing Plant at Surendranagar, which would help cut down the cost of production of silk yarn drastically and increase the sale and availability of raw material for Gujarati Patola Sarees locally.

The plant has been set up by a khadi institution at a cost of Rs.75 lakh in which KVIC has contributed Rs.60 lakh.

7. Ministry of External Affairs creates “NEST” to increase investment coordination

The Ministry of External Affairs has decided to set up a new division called NEST-New and Emerging Strategic Technologies.

About NEST:

  • The NEST will act as a nodal point to exchange views with foreign governments on new and emerging strategic technologies.
  • The division will help in collaboration with foreign partners in the field of 5G and artificial intelligence
  • It will also help assess foreign policy and international legal implications of new and emerging technologies and technology-based resources, and recommend appropriate foreign policy choice.
  • The division will also be holding responsibility for matters that involve negotiations with multilateral fora like the United Nations, G20. This will help to safeguard India’s interests as such forums govern the rules of access to such technologies.

About Emerging Technologies:

  • Emerging technologies refers to developing technology that may be available within the next five to ten years and is expected to create significant social or economic effects.
  • The top Emerging Technologies are Artificial Intelligence, Internet of things, 5G technology, 3D printing, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) among others.

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