Daily Current Affairs- September 12, 2023
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Visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

  • The main purpose of the visit is to discuss arms deals between the two countries, as Putin seeks artillery shells and antitank missiles from North Korea for his war in Ukraine, and Kim seeks advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as food aid for his starving nation.
  • Kim has not travelled outside North Korea since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and his last overseas trip was in 2019, also to Russia2. Kim has been a staunch supporter of Putin’s Ukraine invasion, and Washington has warned Pyongyang of consequences if it supplies Moscow with weaponry.

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India, UK explore possibility of shares listing at GIFT City and LSE

  • The UK and India held the 12th Economic and Financial Dialogue to discuss collaborations on various sectors.
  • India confirmed that it will explore the London Stock Exchange as a possible destination for direct listing of Indian companies, starting with the GIFT City in Gujarat.
  • The UK and India launched the infrastructure financing bridge to facilitate investment in major infrastructure projects in both countries.
  • The UK and India also discussed the negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Treaty and a Free Trade Agreement, aiming to expedite the process and find areas of convergence.
  • The UK and India agreed to advance climate action and green growth through public-private partnerships, such as the Green Growth Equity Fund.

6,000 metres under the sea: What we know about India’s deep-sea submersible Matsya 6000

  • Matsya 6000 is a three-person submersible that will be able to go 6,000 metres under the sea.
  • It is being developed by Chennai’s National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) as part of India’s Samudrayaan project to explore the deep sea.
  • The initial journey of the Matsya 6000 will be only 600 metres and it is designed not to disturb the marine ecosystem.
  • The Matsya 6000 is a 2.1-diameter sphere made of an 80mm-thick titanium alloy. It will be able to withstand a pressure 600 times greater than that at sea level.
  • The submersible will be able to operate from 12 to 16 hours straight and will have an oxygen supply of 96 hours.
  • The Matsya 6000 will likely undergo trials in early 2024 in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Scientists are taking a relook at its design after the Titan submersible disaster earlier this year.

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India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council (SPC), which was co-chaired by PM Modi and Crown Prince MBS on Monday

  • The SPC was established in 2019 to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various sectors, such as trade, investment, energy, defence, security, and culture.
  • The SPC has two main sub-committees: Political, Security, Social and Cultural Cooperation; and Economy and Investments1. Each sub-committee has four Joint Working Groups (JWGs) to identify and implement priority projects.
  • The SPC meeting on Monday resulted in eight pacts to boost collaboration in areas such as digitisation, infrastructure financing, renewable energy, and tourism.
  • The two sides also agreed to expedite the implementation of the $50-billion West Coast refinery project, which involves Saudi Aramco and Adnoc as partners.

Nipah Virus in Kerala: State Issues Health Alert After Two ‘Unnatural Deaths’

  • The Kerala Health Department issued an alert after two “unnatural deaths” were reported due to fever in Kozhikode.
  • These two deaths occurred at a private hospital in Kozhikode.
  • A 22-year-old relative of one of the dead persons is currently in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
  • Also, two children aged 4 and 9 years and a 10-month-old infant are under treatment in a private hospital.
  • Samples of the patients have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
  • The results will be out by Tuesday evening and Nipah virus infection can be confirmed after that only.
  • Kozhikode has experienced two previous Nipah virus outbreaks, one in 2018 and another in 2021.
  • During the first outbreak in 2018, a total of 23 cases were identified, with 17 people succumbing to this zoonotic virus.

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Rajnath Singh to inaugurate 90 BRO infrastructure projects in Jammu today

  • Rajnath Singh inaugurates 90 BRO projects: The Union Defence Minister dedicated 90 infrastructure projects constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in 10 border states and UTs.
  • Devak bridge in Jammu: Singh inaugurated the 422.9 metre Devak bridge on the Bishnah-Kaulpur-Phulpur Road in Samba district, which will facilitate speedy movement of troops and equipment to forward areas.
  • Nechiphu tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh: Singh also inaugurated the 500-metre Nechiphu tunnel on the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang road, which will provide all-weather connectivity to the strategic Tawang region.
  • Airfields in West Bengal and Ladakh: Singh laid the e-foundation of Nyoma airfield in eastern Ladakh, which will boost the IAF capability along the northern borders. He also inaugurated the reconstructed and revamped Bagdogra and Barrackpore airfields in West Bengal, which will enhance the defensive and offensive architecture of the IAF and facilitate commercial flight operations.
  • Indigenisation of defence equipment: Singh urged the DRDO scientists to establish a system in India where all defence equipment can be manufactured in the country and praised their role in empowering the country with cutting edge technology.

After 1-year pause, top science prizes announced: TB to astrophysics

  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards, the country’s top annual science prize, were announced Monday after being held back for a year.
  • The awards recognise the best science talent under 45 in seven categories: physical sciences, biological sciences, chemical sciences, mathematics, engineering sciences, earth and planetary sciences, and medical sciences.
  • Twelve scientists were selected for the awards for 2022, two each in five categories and one each in two categories.
  • The awards were declared at a low-key event in New Delhi, where Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh praised the role of DRDO scientists in empowering the country with cutting edge technology.
  • The awards have traditionally been announced on September 26, the foundation day of CSIR, which gives away these awards. Last year, the government had decided to rationalise the awards given by all the science-related ministries.
  • The list of awardees over the years is a who’s who of Indian science, with several of them going on to earn a formidable name for themselves. However, some in the scientific community expressed disappointment over the lack of women scientists in this year’s list.

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Punjab Tourism Summit begins in Mohali; CM Bhagwant Mann pitches state as ideal tourism destination

  • The page is a news article from The Tribune about the Punjab Tourism Summit, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday.
  • The summit is a three-day event to showcase the state’s tourism potential and attract investors and tourists from across the country and abroad.
  • Mann announced several new projects to promote tourism in Punjab, such as Celebration Point in Amritsar, Film City in Punjab, and Saragarhi memorial.
  • Mann also highlighted the state’s achievements in creating employment opportunities, attracting investments, and providing a conducive environment for industry.
  • The summit also featured stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma, who praised the state government’s initiative and urged people to visit Punjab.

U.S. welcomes India’s move of reducing tariffs on agricultural products

  • India reduces tariffs on U.S. agricultural products: India agreed to lower tariffs on certain U.S. products, such as frozen poultry, fresh and dried berries, and processed blueberries and cranberries.
  • U.S. welcomes the move: U.S. officials said the tariff cuts will expand economic opportunities for U.S. farmers and exporters in the Indian market and praised India’s cooperation.
  • Previous tariff issues resolved: The move follows the lifting of India’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. apples, almonds, and other products, which was announced earlier this summer.
  • Remaining barriers and challenges: U.S. officials also said that significant tariff and non-tariff barriers still remain for American agricultural products in India and urged India to address them.
  • Senators and industry leaders applaud the agreement: Several U.S. senators and industry representatives welcomed the agreement and thanked the U.S. and Indian governments for their efforts to reduce trade barriers and create a level playing field for U.S. producers.

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India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor to help Adani, but poser on Green Hydrogen exports remains

  • India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC): A rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, IMEC will provide an alternative route for shipments to Europe via rail and sea.
  • Adani group to benefit: The Indian conglomerate has acquired the Haifa port in Israel, which will be a key node in the IMEC network connecting India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe.
  • Green Hydrogen exports: The IMEC will also include a pipeline for clean hydrogen export along the railway route, but experts question the feasibility and viability of this aspect.
  • Strategic and diplomatic implications: The IMEC will not only enhance trade and investment opportunities for India and its partners, but also counter China’s influence and foster regional cooperation, especially with Israel.

Fintech unicorn Razorpay acquires BillMe

  • Razorpay acquires BillMe: Razorpay, a payments and banking platform for businesses, has bought BillMe, a digital invoicing and customer engagement startup.
  • BillMe’s features and clients: BillMe eliminates paper bills and increases value-add for merchants with digital invoicing. It has served over 4,000 businesses, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Decathlon, and Cinepolis.
  • Razorpay’s growth and portfolio: Razorpay is valued at $7.5 billion and has transformed the payment and banking landscape for businesses in India. It has acquired eight startups so far, such as PoshVine, Ezetap, and TERA Finlabs.
  • Razorpay’s revenue and profitability: Razorpay’s operating revenue spiked 76.1% to Rs 1,481.2 crore in FY22 from Rs 841.2 crore in FY21. The company was profitable in FY22.
  • Disclaimer: Bareback Media, the publisher of this article, has recently raised funding from a group of investors5. Some of the investors may be involved in a competing business or associated with other companies mentioned in this article.

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India Imposes Anti-Dumping Duty On Chinese Steel Imports For Another Five Years

  • The anti-dumping duty of $613 per tonne has been imposed on flat-base steel wheels from China, according to a notification on Monday.
  • The duty was first imposed in 2018 and the DGTR has recommended a continued imposition of duties for another five years.
  • The move comes after the steel industry raised concerns over potential dumping by Chinese sellers, as China was the second-biggest steel exporter to India during April–July period.
  • The article also provides some data and quotes from the government and industry sources on the impact and rationale of the decision.

Political Cartoonist Ajit Ninan passes away at 68

  • Ninan was famous for his Centrestage series in India Today and Ninan’s World in Times of India, which satirized the political and social issues of the country.
  • Ninan also created popular characters for children’s literature, such as Detective Moochwala and his dog Pooch, which appeared in Target magazine in the 1980s.
  • Ninan’s cartoons were known for their wit, humour, and defiance, and he was widely admired by his peers and readers.

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Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2023-24 Series II Opens Today; All You Need To Know

  • Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2023-24 Series II is a government initiative to encourage investment in gold without physical ownership.
  • The scheme offers a fixed interest rate of 2.5% per annum on the issue price, which is Rs 5,923 per gram of gold for online applicants and Rs 5,973 for others.
  • The scheme is open for subscription from September 12 to September 15 and the bonds will be issued on September 20.
  • The scheme has a tenure of eight years, with an exit option from the fifth year. The bonds are denominated in grams of gold, with a minimum investment of one gram and a maximum of four kilograms per fiscal year.
  • The scheme has several benefits, such as security, convenience, tax exemption, and regular income. It also aims to reduce the demand for physical gold and shift savings to financial products.

Vijayawada Railway Station gets IGBC’s ‘Green Railway Station’ certification

  • Vijayawada Railway Station got the ‘Green Railway Station’ certification with the highest rating of Platinum by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
  • The station has implemented several green initiatives, such as using star-rated electrical appliances, LED lights, sewage treatment plant, waste segregation and disposal, and plastic-free environment.
  • The station has also improved its amenities for passengers, such as Wi-Fi facilities, smart card ticketing, food courts, pharmacies, and coach watering.
  • The IGBC-CII Green Railway Stations Rating System is a voluntary initiative that aims to facilitate the adoption of green concepts in railway stations and enhance the overall commuter experience.
  • The rating system is based on six environmental categories, such as sustainable station facility, health, hygiene and sanitation, energy efficiency, water efficiency, smart and green initiatives and innovation and development.

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