Daily Current Affairs- November 10, 2023 (1)
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India-US defence innovation partnership: INDUS-X investors meet and 2+2 dialogue

  • The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) under India’s Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defence organised the first ever INDUS-X investors’ meet on Wednesday, ahead of the 2+2 Indo-US ministerial dialogue on Friday.
  • The INDUS-X Educational Series (Gurukul) was also launched at the event, which aimed to foster collaboration and opportunities in the defence sector among stakeholders of both sides, including startups, investors, incubators, and industry representatives.
  • The INDUS-X initiative was launched in June 2023 during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US to expand strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the two countries.
  • The two defence innovation challenges under INDUS-X on underwater communications and oil spill detection are in advanced stages, with 297 startups registered through iDEX and 10 contracts signed.
  • The 2+2 ministerial dialogue will enable a high-level review of progress being made in cross-cutting aspects of defence and security cooperation, technology value chain collaborations and people-to-people ties.

InterGlobe and Archer to launch electric air taxi service in India

  • InterGlobe Enterprises, a major shareholder in IndiGo, partners with Archer Aviation Inc, a US-based company that makes electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
  • The partnership aims to introduce and operate an all-electric air taxi service in India, offering a sustainable and efficient alternative to ground transportation.
  • The partnership plans to finance the acquisition of up to 200 Archer Midnight aircraft, which are capable of rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time.
  • The service will focus on Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru initially, and will also explore other applications such as cargo, logistics, medical and emergency services, etc.
  • The partnership intends to work with in-country business partners to build vertiport infrastructure and train personnel for smooth operations.

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Supreme Court launches Mitti Cafe run by differently-abled staff

  • Mitti Cafe: A unique establishment within the Supreme Court premises, entirely managed by individuals with disabilities, such as visual impairment, cerebral palsy, and paraplegia.
  • Inauguration: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud inaugurated the cafe, expressing his hope that the legal community would support the initiative and promote inclusivity.
  • Impact: The cafe has 38 outlets across the country, providing employment and empowerment to differently-abled individuals. The cafe also served six million meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, showcasing its social service.
  • Facilities: The cafe offers various amenities to cater to the daily needs of lawyers and litigants. The cafe also plans to explore other applications, such as cargo, logistics, medical and emergency services.
  • Leadership: The cafe symbolizes a step forward in promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal realm. Chief Justice Chandrachud set a precedent for inclusive leadership by personally inaugurating the cafe.

Samsung Gauss: A Generative AI Model for Various Applications

  • Samsung Gauss: A generative AI model developed by Samsung, named after the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. The model aims to use AI to enhance the lives of consumers globally.
  • Three core components: Samsung Gauss Language, Samsung Gauss Code, and Samsung Gauss Image, each tailored for specific tasks such as language generation, code assistance, and image manipulation.
  • Current and future applications: Samsung Gauss is currently used to improve employee productivity within the company, but plans to expand into diverse product applications in the future, such as intelligent device control, creative fields, and social service.
  • Privacy and security: Samsung Gauss ensures user privacy by allowing on-device application of the model, and also has an AI Red Team to assess and fortify the security and privacy aspects of the model.

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SpaceX’s 29th Mission to the ISS Carries Crucial Research Gear and Equipment

  • Launch: SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 9th, carrying vital research gear and equipment to the ISS.
  • Rendezvous: The spacecraft was released 12 minutes after liftoff and was scheduled to dock at the lab’s forward port, following Earth’s rotation.
  • Cargo: The cargo included an experimental laser communication package, an atmospheric waves experiment, and 40 rodents for studying reproductive and bone health.
  • Impact: The cargo aims to enhance scientific research, data transmission, and medical understanding, both in space and on Earth.

Mika: The World’s First AI Human-Like Robot CEO1

  • Mika: A humanoid robot CEO created by Hanson Robotics and Dictador, a Polish company that produces luxury goods.
  • AI and machine learning: Mika uses advanced algorithms to process data and make decisions for the company. Mika also learns from human values and emotions to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Public opinions: Mika’s appointment as a robot CEO sparks excitement and skepticism among people. Some are curious about the potential of AI in leadership roles, while others are worried about job displacement and ethical issues.
  • AI regulation: President Biden issues an executive order to require companies to share information on national security risks posed by AI. This reflects the need to balance the benefits and risks of AI technology.

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Indian Air Force to Participate in Dubai Airshow 2023

  • IAF contingent: Arrived at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, with two indigenous aircraft: Tejas and Dhruv.
  • Dubai Airshow: A biennial event from November 13 to 17, 2023, featuring static and aerial displays of various aircraft from around the world.
  • Indian Aviation Industry: Showcases its technological achievements and self-reliance in defense capabilities through Tejas and Dhruv platforms.
  • Sarang Team: Performs formation aerobatics with Dhruv helicopters, mesmerizing the audience with their skills and precision.
  • Strategic Diplomacy: Strengthens ties between India and UAE, as part of the “new QUAD” partnership for regional security and cooperation.

Meg Lanning Retires from International Cricket

  • Meg Lanning: Australia women’s cricket team captain, announces retirement from international cricket after 13-year career.
  • Achievements: Played 241 matches, scored 8,352 runs, hit 17 centuries, won seven World Cups, became youngest Australian captain at 21.
  • Reason: Feels she has nothing left to achieve on the international stage, wants to focus on other aspects of life.
  • Legacy: Leaves behind a remarkable record, revolutionized the women’s game, contributed to one of Australia’s most successful cricket teams.

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N. Srikant Becomes Additional Secretary in Power and Renewable Energy Ministry

  • N. Srikant: A 1998-batch IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh cadre, appointed as additional secretary of the Union Ministry of Power and New and Renewable Energy.
  • Career highlights: Served as joint secretary in the Union Cabinet, secretary (energy) in the Government of Andhra Pradesh, commissioner of AP Capital Region Development Authority, and chairman and managing director of AP-Transco.
  • Key achievements: Saved around ₹7,133 crore for the state through cost-effective measures such as open market purchase of power, reverse tendering in coal transportation, and spot market electricity purchases.
  • Commitment to renewable energy: Expressed his dedication to promote renewables across the country, aiming to enhance the economy and improve living standards.

Kozhikode and Gwalior Join UNESCO Creative Cities Network

  • UNESCO Creative Cities Network: A network of 295 cities from 90 countries that promote creativity as a key factor for sustainable urban development.
  • Kozhikode: The first Indian city to be designated as the ‘City of Literature’ by UNESCO, highlighting its literary tradition, culture, and events.
  • Gwalior: The second Indian city to be designated as the ‘City of Music’ by UNESCO, honoring its musical heritage, gharana, and festival.
  • Indian Recognition: The inclusion of Kozhikode and Gwalior in the network reflects India’s cultural diversity and contribution to the global creative scene.

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India reduces TB incidence and mortality, WHO report acknowledges

  • WHO Global TB Report 2023: The report praises India’s progress in reducing the incidence and mortality of tuberculosis (TB) since 2015, despite the impact of COVID-19 on the TB programme.
  • TB incidence and mortality: India has reduced TB incidence by 16 per cent and TB mortality by 18 per cent in 2022 from 2015, almost double the global rate of decline. The WHO has revised down the TB mortality rates for India by 34 per cent.
  • TB case detection and treatment: India has improved TB case detection and treatment coverage to 80 per cent of the estimated TB cases, an increase of 19 per cent over the previous year. India has notified over 24.22 lakh TB cases in 2022, surpassing the pre-COVID levels.
  • TB initiatives and schemes: India has launched and scaled up several key initiatives to combat TB, such as specialised active case finding drives, molecular diagnostics, decentralised screening services, private sector engagement, Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan, Ni-kshay Mitras, and Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana.

IBM and AWS launch generative AI innovation lab in Bengaluru

  • Innovation Lab: A joint venture of IBM and AWS to showcase and experiment with cloud-enabled generative AI technologies at the IBM Client Experience Center in Bengaluru, India.
  • Lab’s mission and accessibility: To facilitate exploration of joint solutions, testing prototypes, and validating proofs of value for clients worldwide, with the aim of accelerating innovation across various industries.
  • Target industries for transformation: Banking and Financial Services, Automotive, Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities, Travel and Transportation, and Healthcare.
  • Lab structure and focus areas: Experience zones that concentrate on different technology areas supported by generative AI and machine learning, such as cloud modernization, SAP transformation, industry innovation, data and technology transformation, and cybersecurity.
  • Global collaboration and knowledge sharing: The lab fosters a collaborative environment for industry advancement by enabling customers to learn best practices through the exchange of global case studies.
  • Expert teams driving innovation: Technology and industry experts from both IBM and AWS work together to build rapid prototypes tailored to address client-specific business and technology challenges.

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7 Ring: A smart ring that enables contactless payments in India

  • 7 Ring: A new smart ring launched by a consumer electronic startup called Seven in India. It has a Zirconia Ceramic build, scratch resistance, and IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. It comes in seven size options.
  • Contactless payments: The main feature of the 7 Ring is that it supports NFC technology, which allows users to make contactless payments with a single tap. It does not require a wallet, phone, app, PIN, or OTP for transactions below Rs 5,000. It is compatible with UPI, LivQuik, M2P, and more.
  • No battery or charging: The 7 Ring is a passive ring, which means it does not have a battery of its own and does not need charging. It takes power from the POS machine when making payments.
  • Companion app: The 7 Ring comes with a companion app by Seven, which helps users manage the ring, access a prepaid wallet, view a passbook, and more. The app also ensures the ring is environment-friendly and safe from fraud.
  • Made in India: The 7 Ring is a made in India product, which competes with other smart rings like the boAt Smart Ring and Noise’s Luna Ring. It has an MRP of Rs 7,000 and is currently available for Rs 4,777 as an early bird offer on the company’s website.

KVIC launches ‘Diwali Utsav’ to promote local products and artisans

  • KVIC: The Khadi and Village Industries Commission, a statutory body under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, that aims to foster economic self-reliance for rural artisans.
  • Diwali Utsav: A five-day event inaugurated by KVIC Chairman Manoj Kumar at the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaught Place, New Delhi, on the theme of ‘Vocal for Local’.
  • Local products: A range of locally-made products, such as clay diyas, idols, temples, candles, agarbatti, Khadi jackets, and garments, are showcased and sold at the event. Customers can avail special discounts on Khadi and Village Industries products.
  • Generative AI: A cutting-edge technology that can create realistic text and images based on user inputs. The event features an Innovation Lab by IBM and AWS that demonstrates the applications of generative AI in various sectors.
  • Impact and vision: The event aims to connect people with the spirit of ‘Vocal for Local’ and support the livelihoods of rural artisans. It also highlights the achievements of KVIC under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

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IREDA launches CSR portal to improve transparency in CSR initiatives

  • IREDA: The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, a statutory body under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, that aims to foster economic self-reliance for rural artisans.
  • CSR portal: A dedicated online platform to enhance transparency in managing CSR requests from various organizations and institutions. Accessible 24/7, the portal incorporates a comprehensive CSR policy and a proposal checklist.
  • Objective of CSR portal: To streamline the execution of social welfare projects, making them easily accessible to the public. To facilitate experimentation with cutting-edge cloud-enabled technologies, including generative AI.
  • Official launch: The portal was inaugurated by Dr. Praveen Kumari Singh, Additional Secretary at the Central Vigilance Commission, during the valedictory function of the “Vigilance Awareness Week 2023” at IREDA’s registered office in Delhi.
  • Progressive approach to CSR: The portal reflects IREDA’s progressive approach to CSR initiatives, leveraging technology to enhance transparency and efficiency. This aligns with the broader mission of promoting renewable energy and contributing to sustainable development goals.

Aditya-L1 captures first high-energy X-ray view of solar flares

  • Aditya-L1: ISRO’s maiden solar mission, launched in October 2023, to observe the Sun from an orbit around the L1 point, about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
  • HEL1OS: A hard X-ray spectrometer on board Aditya-L1, designed to monitor the Sun’s high-energy X-ray activity with fast timing and high-resolution spectra.
  • Solar flares: Sudden brightening of the solar atmosphere, caused by explosive energy release and electron acceleration. Flares produce enhanced emissions in various wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • First glimpse: HEL1OS recorded the impulsive phase of solar flares, starting from around October 29, 2023. The data is consistent with the X-ray light curves provided by NOAA’s GOES satellites.
  • Significance: The observation marks a significant achievement for Aditya-L1 and HEL1OS, as it enables researchers to study the early impulsive phase of solar activity, which is crucial for understanding the physics of flares.

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STPI and TiE Delhi-NCR launch LEAP AHEAD initiative to support tech startups

  • LEAP AHEAD initiative: A collaborative effort between Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Delhi-NCR, launched by Meity Secretary Shri S Krishnan.
  • Objective of the initiative: To support and accelerate the success of tech startups in India, especially those in the scaling stage, growth stage, product diversification or planning expansion into new geographical locations.
  • Mentorship and investment: The initiative provides funding support of up to Rs.1 Crore and a comprehensive three-month mentorship program, where startups can benefit from seasoned investors and industry experts.
  • Nationwide reach: The initiative plans to expand its reach by organizing startups summits in cities like Bhuabaneshwar, Vijyawada and Chandigarh, to encourage participation from smaller cities and empower women and individuals from tier 2/3 cities to become entrepreneurs.
  • Fostering entrepreneurship in India: The initiative recognizes the entrepreneurial potential in India and aims to tap into it by supporting startups that leverage technology to drive innovation and contribute to India’s entrepreneurial growth.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde unveils Shivaji Maharaj statue in J&K’s Kupwara

  • Shivaji Maharaj statue: A symbol of cultural pride, installed at the 41 National Rifle (Maratha LI) camp near the India-Pakistan border in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Inauguration ceremony: Attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mangantiwar and Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha on November 7.
  • Diwali celebration: Chief Minister Shinde shared the joy of Diwali Faral (traditional Diwali snacks) with the soldiers stationed at the camp, reflecting the spirit of camaraderie and festivity.
  • Unique sourcing of materials: The soil and water used in the statue’s construction were sourced from five different forts across Maharashtra, enhancing the statue’s cultural authenticity.
  • Collaborative effort: The statue’s creation was made possible through a joint effort between the Amhi Punekar Foundation and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smark Samiti, symbolizing the dedication and cooperation of organizations and individuals in preserving historical legacies.
  • Historical foundation stone laying: The foundation stone of the statue was laid on Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year Day, at the Indian Army camp, marking the beginning of the statue’s journey to Kupwara, further strengthening the cultural connection between the regions.
  • Notable previous installations: This is not the first instance of honoring Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Jammu and Kashmir. In January 2022, the Maratha Regiment unveiled two other statues of the legendary king, with one of them being installed at an astonishing altitude of 14,800 feet above sea level near the Line of Control.

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President Droupadi Murmu commemorates Uttarakhand Foundation Day

  • President’s visit: President Droupadi Murmu visits Uttarakhand from November 7 to 9, 2023, as the first President to participate in Uttarakhand Foundation Day program.
  • Uttarakhand Foundation Day: Celebrated on November 9 every year, marking the formation of Uttarakhand as the 27th state of India on November 9, 2000, after a long struggle for regional autonomy and development.
  • Cultural pride: The day reflects the rich history and heritage of Uttarakhand, characterized by its hill culture, diverse traditions, languages, and folk music and dances.
  • Development goals: The day also reminds of the progress and challenges of Uttarakhand in areas like ecological conservation, sustainable tourism, and creating economic opportunities for the hill communities.
  • President’s activities: President Murmu attends the convocations of two universities, interacts with tribal groups, and joins the central program at the Police Lines in Dehradun to celebrate the state’s establishment and identity.

Key appointments in India’s corporate sector in November 2023

  • Santosh Kumar Jha: Recommended by PESB as the next CMD of KRCL, a PSU under the Ministry of Railways. Currently the Director (Operations & Commercial) at KRCL, with 28 years of experience in Indian Railways.
  • Koppu Sadashiv Murthy: Assumed the role of CMD at BHEL, a leading engineering and manufacturing enterprise. An Electrical Engineering graduate with an MBA in Finance, with 34 years of career at BHEL.
  • Anupama Priyadarshini: Joined ONDC as the Senior Vice President – Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance, and Investor Relations. A 25-year veteran from diverse sectors, including retail, steel manufacturing, and beverages. Former CFO and director for IKEA Supply, South Asia.

PayGlocal gets RBI nod for Payment Aggregator license

  • PayGlocal: A cross-border focused payments platform provider, founded in 2021 by Prachi Dharani, Rohit Sukhija, and Yogesh Lokhande.
  • Payment Aggregator license: A license granted by the RBI to enable online payment processing for merchants through various instruments, including cards and global alternative payment methods.
  • In-principle approval: A provisional approval given by the RBI to PayGlocal, subject to fulfilling certain conditions and requirements within a stipulated time frame.
  • Competitive edge: PayGlocal claims to offer a technology platform that facilitates secure online payments and transaction risk management for cross-border transactions, catering to the needs of merchants, payment aggregators, and banks.
  • Investor backing: PayGlocal has received funding from prominent investors, such as PeakXV (formerly known as Sequoia Capital India) and Tiger Global.

International Week of Science and Peace 2023: Celebrating the role of science in peace and development

  • International Week of Science and Peace (IWOSP): An annual observance from November 9 to 15, recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1988, to highlight the links between scientific progress, technology, and the maintenance of peace and security.
  • Origin of IWOSP: Started as a non-governmental initiative in 1986 during the International Year of Peace, and continued in subsequent years due to its success and popularity among scientists and the public.
  • Significance of IWOSP: Emphasizes the pivotal role of science in achieving sustainable development goals, enhancing international collaboration, inspiring future generations, promoting public understanding of science, and highlighting science’s role in peacebuilding.
  • Activities during IWOSP: Various events and activities organized by governments, organizations, institutions, and individuals to explore and demonstrate the impact of science on peace and development, such as seminars, workshops, exhibitions, competitions, and public outreach programs.

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