Current Affairs in Short: 21 May 2018
China launches satellite to explore dark side of moon
• China on May 21, 2018 launched a relay satellite designed to establish a communication link between earth and a planned lunar probe that will explore the dark side of the moon.
• The satellite, known as Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, will settle in an orbit about 455,000 km from earth and will be the world’s first communication satellite operating there.
• China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030.
• The nation is also planning to launch construction of its own manned space station in 2019.
Paraguay inaugurates embassy in Jerusalem
• Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes inaugurated his country's Israel embassy in Jerusalem on May 21, 2018.
• With the decision, the nation becomes the third one to take the controversial step of moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
• The first move was made by the United States and Guatemala followed suit just days later.
• While the move was welcomed by Israel, it received widespread criticism from the international community.
India successfully test-fires BrahMos supersonic cruise
• India on May 21, 2018 successfully test-fired the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a test range along the coast of Odisha.
• The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher stationed at Launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur.
• The trial was conducted to validate its life extension technologies developed for the first time in India by DRDO and team BraHmos.
• The successful test will result in huge savings of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of the Indian Armed Forces.
Kumaraswamy to take oath as Karnataka CM on May 23
• With the resignation of BS Yeddyurappa from CM’s post after failing to gather the required numbers to form a majority government, H D Kumaraswamy who heads the Congress-JDS coalition is set to become the chief minister for a second time on May 23, 2018.
• Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited Kumaraswamy, the leader of Congress-JD(S) joint legislature party, to form the government on May 19 after BJP withdrew its claim before the scheduled SC-ordered floor test.
• The Governor has directed Kumaraswamy to prove the majority on the floor of the House in 15 days but he plans to do it much before.
UN to send War Crimes Investigators to Gaza
• UN Human Rights Council has voted to send a team of international War Crimes Investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces.
• The resolution was backed by 29 members while 2 members US and Australia voted against and 14 abstained.
• Israel has defended the killing of protesters, saying it was acting in self-defence to protect its borders and communities.
Anil Kumar Jha appointed CMD of Coal India
• Anil Kumar Jha has been appointed as the Chairman-Cum-Managing director (CMD) of Coal India Limited.
• Anil Kumar is at present the CMD of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd.
• Anil Kumar would be replacing acting chairman Suresh Kumar, an IAS officer, who has been holding the post of additional secretary at the ministry of coal.
• CIL is a state-owned coal mining company, which is headquartered in Kolkata.
Rajinder Singh named Hockey India president
• Rajinder Singh has been named as the new President of Hockey India, following Mariamma Koshy’s resignation from the post.
• He is currently the Senior Vice President of Hockey India.
• Koshy was appointed as the President of Hockey India in November 2016 following Narinder Batra’s decision to step down after being elected as the President of International Hockey Federation.
India decides to include Artificial Intelligence in its defence forces
• After US, Russia and China, India has decided to include Artificial Intelligence in its defence forces with an aim to enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces.
• A task force has been set up under the chairmanship of N Chandrasekaran to finalise the specifics and framework of the project.
• Most of the major countries in the world are taking steps to ensure that their defence systems are fully empowered by the use of Artificial Intelligence.
World Bank extends $300 million credit
• The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $220 million loan and an $80 million (Rs 544 crore) guarantee for the India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program.
• The programme will be implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
• The programme will help scale up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors and strengthen EESL’s institutional capacity.
Amit Khare appointed as new I&B secretary
• Senior bureaucrat Amit Khare has been appointed as the new Secretary of the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
• Khare, a 1985-batch IAS officer, was previously serving in his cadre state-Jharkhand.
• He had in June 1996 reportedly exposed the multi-crore fodder scam, involving the then Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav.
• He will take over the charge from incumbent NK Sinha.