24th November 2020

Booker Prize – Scottish writer Douglas Stuart

Scottish writer Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for fiction with his debut novel Shuggie Bain, which described a boy growing up in Glasgow in the 1980s with a mother battling addiction.

  • The awards ceremony saw six shortlisted authors joining virtually and included messages from former US President Barack Obama, the Duchess of Cornwall and former Booker winners Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo.
  • Stuart, 44, who won the 50,000 Pound prize after being announced the winner by chair of the judges Margaret Busby, delivered an acceptance speech.
  • Based on his own childhood, Stuart’s book is described as a searing account of the boy growing up in Thatcher’s Glasgow. 
  • He dedicated the book to his own mother, who died of alcoholism when he was 16. 
  • The Booker Prize shortlist also included Indian-origin writer Avni Doshi’s novel ‘Burnt Sugar’.
  • First awarded in 1969, The Booker Prize is considered one of the leading prizes for literary fiction written in English. 
  • The list of former winners features several of the literary giants of the last five decades: from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro to Hilary Mantel.


Virtual Court (traffic) and e-Challan project

  • The Virtual Court (traffic) and e-Challan project have been recently inaugurated in Assam by Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, the chief minister of Assam. 
  • The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee of Gauhati High Court in association with Government of Assam and Assam Police, under the aegis of e-Committee of Supreme Court of India, are spearheading the project in the State.
  • Maharashtra’s 2nd virtual court called “NyayKaushal” was recently inaugurated on 31st October by Shri Arvind Bobde, the Chief Justice of India and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of the Supreme Court at Judicial Officers Training Institute in Nagpur.
  • E-challan solution is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) whereas the software has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC). 
  • It will replace the present concept of manual challan with an electronically generated digital challan.
  • Virtual court is an initiative of E-Commitee of Supreme Court along with Department of Justice, Ministry of Law& Justice, Government of India.
  • Virtual Court is an online court being managed by Virtual Judge (which is not a person but an algorithm) whose jurisdiction can be extended to entire state and working hours may be 24X7. 
  • There is no brick& mortar building of the court. 
  • In a trial by Virtual Court, neither litigant shall come to the court nor will Judge have to sit physically in the court to adjudicate the case. 
  • The communication may only be in electronic form and the sentencing and further payment of fine or compensation will also be online. 
  • Only single process is allowed and there can be no argument. 
  • It may be proactive admission of guilt by the accused or proactive compliance of the cause by defendant on receipt of the summons in electronic form. 
  • On payment of Fine, such matters may be treated as disposed off. 
  • Citizen neither  have to wait in lines in courts nor have to confront Traffic Police man. 
  • It will increase productivity of citizen as well as judicial officers. 
  • It will promote greater accountability and less corruption in Traffic Police Department thus bettering life of people. 
  • In Assam due to Virtual Court work of 10 judges will be done by only single judge thus sparing 9 Judges for judicial work.


Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative

  • India will see an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore in setting up 5,000 plants that will produce gas from bio and crop wastes by 2023-24, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
  • To boost the availability of affordable and clean transport fuel, an agreement was signed for setting up 900 compressed bio-gas or CBG plants by companies such as Adani Gas and Torrent Gas.
  • Under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative, the government is looking at setting up of 5,000 CBG plants by 2023-24 with a production target of 15 million tonnes, an official statement said.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said, “We have developed a clear-cut roadmap for SATAT. Letter of intent for 600 CBG plants have already been given and with today’s signing of MoUs for 900 plants, a total of 1500 CBG plants are at various stages of execution.”
  • A total of 5000 CBG plants with an approximate investment of Rs 2 lakh crores are envisaged.
  • The gas produced at CBG plants can be used as fuel to power automobiles.
  • Biofuels have the potential to reduce fuel import bill by Rs 1 lakh crore, he said without elaborating.
  • SATAT provides for generating gas from municipal waste as well as forest and agri waste.
  • Animal husbandry and marine wastes are also included.
  • The policy provides for guaranteed offtake of the gas produced at the CBG plants by the state-owned firms.
  • “SATAT will establish an ecosystem for the production of compressed bio gas from various waste and biomass sources in the country leading to multiple benefits such as reduction of natural gas import, reduction of greenhouse gas emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, remunerative income to farmers, employment generation and effective waste management,” the statement said.


Digital Application is called “ANANDA”

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India has launched a digital application for agents for onboarding to get a life insurance policy. 
  • The Digital Application is called “ANANDA”, which is an acronym for Atma Nirbhar Agents NewBusiness Digital Application.
  • The Digital application is a tool for the onboarding process to get the life insurance policy through a paperless module with the help of the agent or intermediary.
  • ANANDA will enable an agent to complete a policy even without physically meeting the customer.
  • This application has evoked tremendous response from all intermediaries of the Corporation.
  • LIC has come up with this initiative to facilitate the process of proposal completion which is totally paperless and completely digital. 
  • The process of new business completion has been re-engineered by converting physical formats into digital ones.


TN banned Online game

  • Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit promulgated an ordinance that banned online gaming in the state, with a fine up to Rs 5,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.
  • The earliest versions of community-based games were gaming arcades, which were very popular in the US and Japan in the early 1990s.
  • These arcades required the gamer to buy in-game time with some chips. From the arcade, the games moved to house consoles, and then further to personal computers.
  • With the invention of the internet and the arrival of connectivity on personal computers, these multiplayer games saw players hosting gaming parties using local area networks.
  • With the arrival of affordable internet, all the arcade-based multiplayer games moved online. 
  • These days, though nearly all games are played online when the user connects their device to a central server hosted by the gaming company, most of them are free and meant only for entertainment.
  • Multiplayer games such as Defense of the Ancients or Dota, Players Unknown’s Battleground or PUBG, Counter-Strike (CS) though free for most users, give the option of buying in-game additions to the player’s avatar. 
  • Other multiplayer card games such as Rummy, Blackjack, and Poker require the user to invest some money to enter the game to play with other players across the globe.


Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite

  • The Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, designed to monitor oceans, was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket .
  • This is a part of the next mission dedicated to measuring changes in the global sea level. 
  • Other satellites that have been launched since 1992 to track changes in the oceans on a global scale include the TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and OSTN/Jason-2, among others.
  • The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite has been named after Dr. Michael Freilich, who was the Director of NASA’s Earth Science Division from 2006-2019 and passed away in August this year.
  • The mission, called the Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission, is designed to measure the height of the ocean, which is a key component in understanding how the Earth’s climate is changing. 
  • The spacecraft consists of two satellites, one of them launched on Saturday, and the other, called Sentinel-6B, to be launched in 2025.
  • It has been developed jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA, European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat), the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the EU, with contributions from France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).


Delirium can predict corona virus

  • A new study supports evidence that delirium can predict corona virus infection in older patients who show no other typical symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the study is by researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife, a healthcare, education and research facility affiliated to Harvard Medical School.
  • Delirium is an acute state of confusion, marked by disorientation, lack of attention etc. 
  • Even beyond Covid-19, delirium is a common symptom in older adults with severe disease. 
  • And in Covid-19, adults aged 65 years and older are at greatest risk of severe disease, and death.
  • The new study examined 817 elderly patients of Covid-19. 
  • The researchers found that almost a third of the patients had delirium.
  • A delirium diagnosis was the main presenting symptom for 16% of those patients, and 37% had no typical COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Delirium was the sixth most common presenting symptoms in all patients.
  • The researchers stressed the importance of including delirium on the checklist of Covid-19 symptoms.


Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre (INWTC), Mumbai

The Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre (INWTC), Mumbai is organising the commencement of sailing activities in Mumbai harbour with the Maiden IN-MDL Cup, National Yachting Championship.

At the behest of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, as Patron of the Indian Naval Sailing Association, the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has stepped up to sponsor an annual IN-MDL Cup to promote sailing in the country.

  • The maiden IN-MDL Cup 2020 is being conducted under the aegis of the Yachting Association of India (YAI) for all Senior Olympic classes as the YAI Senior National 2020.
  • The regatta will be a ranking event and will be conducted from 22- 27 Nov 20 near the Sunk Rock lighthouse.
  • The IN-MDL Cup will see participation from 12 sailing clubs from across India.


Roridomyces phyllostachydis – Bioluminescent fungi

  • A mushroom documentation project in the forests of Northeast India has led to a new discovery: a bioluminescent — or light emitting — variety of mushroom.
  • The new species — named Roridomyces phyllostachydis — was first sighted on a wet August night near a stream in Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district and later at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hills district.
  • Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.
  • Animals, plants, fungi and bacteria show bioluminescence. Bioluminescent organisms are usually found in the ocean environments, but they are also found on terrestrial environments.
  • The colour of the light emitted by the organism depends on their chemical properties. In the case of fungi, the luminescence comes from the enzyme, luciferase.
  • It is now one among the 97 known species of bioluminescent fungi in the world.
  • The new species was important because it was the first mushroom in the Roridomyces genus to be found in India.
  • It was the only member in its genus to have light emitting from its stipe or stalk.
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