International Current Affairs | May 2021

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International Current Affairs | May 2021

International Current Affairs- May, 2021

31st May, 2021

WHO names the Indian COVID-19 variants as ‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’

World Health Organization (WHO) has named the B.1.617.1 and B1.617.1 strains found in India using the Greek alphabets ‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’ respectively. The above mentioned variants have been designated as Variants of Concern (VOC) and Variants of Interest (VOI) by the WHO. The labels used by WHO will not replace the existing names of the Indian strains/ variants as they convey important scientific information.  

29th May, 2021

Colonel Assimi Goita becomes the Transitional President of Mali

Colonel Assimi Goita has been named as the Transitional President of Mali. He was previously serving as the Interim Vice President of Mali. The military coup that arrested the Prime Minister of Mali, Moctor Ouane and Mali’s Interim President of Mali, Bah N’Daw was led by Colonel Assimi Goita which led to the resignation of Moctor Ouane and Bah N’Daw from their respective posts. Assimi Goita is the leader of National Committee for the Salvation of the People that overthrew former President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the military coup of 2020.

28th May, 2021

‘One Health’ panel gets established by UN bodies for dealing with animal disease risks

Organizations under United Nations (UN) have set up ‘One Health’ panel for advising on risks of animal diseases. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Organization for Animal Health (OIE), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organization (WHO) have formed a team of high-level experts under the ‘One Health High-Level Expert Panel’ initiative launched by France and Germany in 2020. The panel will devise a global action plan for the preventing the transmission of diseases from animals to humans.    

Bashar Al-Assad becomes the President of Syria for the 4th time

Bashar Al-Assad belonging to Syrian Ba’ath Party has been re-elected as the President of Syria for the 4th time. His 4th stint will last for 7 years. 55-year old Bashar defeated Abdallah Salloum Abdallah and Mahmud Merhi by securing 95.1 % votes in the Presidential elections. Bashar became the President of Syria for the first time at the age of 34 years succeeding his father Hafez Al-Assad. He has also served as the Commander of the armed forces and Secretary-General of the Syrian Ba’ath Party.

27th May, 2021

Penpa Tsering becomes the new President of Tibetan Government-in-exile

Penpa Tsering has become the 2nd democratically elected President of Tibetan Government-in-exile. He has succeeded Lohsang Sangay who completed his second 5-year tenure. Spiritual leader, Dalai Lama also attended the oath taking ceremony virtually. Penpa Tsering has served as the speaker of the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). He was elected to the Tibetan Parliament in 1996. Dalai Lama founded the CTA in Dharmashala, India with the assistance of Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India.

The President and the Prime Minister of Mali stepped down from their posts

Prime Minister of Mali, Moctor Ouane and Mali’s Interim President of Mali, Bah N’Daw resigned from their respective posts after they got arrested by the military under the command of the Interim Vice President, Assimi Goita. The order for their arrest was passed by Goita after the reshuffling of the cabinet. Moctor Ouane and Bah N’Daw were appointed as the in charge of the transitional government formed after the military coup against former President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.   

26th May, 2021

India will launch ‘UNITE AWARE’ platform dedicated to the UN Peacekeepers

India is set to launch a mobile platform, ‘UNITE AWARE’ for the United Nations Peacekeepers for their safety and security during their duty. India will launch the platform during its Presidency tenure at the United Nations Security Council starting in August 2021. The presidency of the members of UNSC lasts for 1 month. The mobile platform has been developed by India in partnership with UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Operational Support at a cost of US $ 1.64 million. The platform will increase the situational awareness of the peacekeepers by feeding them information related to the surrounding terrains.

25th May, 2021

WHO’s 1st BioHub Facility will be established in Switzerland

World Health Organization (WHO) has signed an MoU with Switzerland for setting up its 1st BioHub Facility in Switzerland. The BioHub Facility is a part of WHO BioHub system constituted during the 74th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland. The BioHub facility will enable rapid sharing of pathogens and viruses between the global partners of WHO as well as the international level laboratories. The proposed BioHub Facility will be set up in the premises of the Spiez Biocontainment Laboratory, Spiez in Switzerland. It will act as a repository of the pathogens with an epidemic or pandemic potential.

Fiame Naomi becomes the 1st female Prime Minister of Samoa

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has become the first female Prime Minister of Samoa. She is the leader of ‘Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi’ (Fast) Party. She has replaced Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi of Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP). The FAST Party won the General Elections of April by 26-25 defeating HRPP with a single seat. Naomi served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa from 2016-2020 during the tenure of the HRPP as she was in HRPP before moving to Fast Party.

24th May, 2021

Anatole Makosso becomes the new Prime Minister of Congo

Anatole Makosso has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Republic of Congo by President, Denis Sassou Nguesso. Anatole Makosso belongs to the Congolese Labour Party. He was previously serving as the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. He will succeed Clement Moumba who held the post since 2016. Makosso was born in 1965 and started his career in 1990. He joined the government in 2011 by assuming the post of ‘Minister of Youth and Civil Instruction.

23rd May, 2021

Microsoft to retire the iconic Internet Explorer in 2022

Microsoft has recently announced the retirement of the iconic desktop browser ‘Internet Explorer 11’ in 2022. Microsoft will not provide any support to Internet Explorer after 15th June, 2022 for various versions of Windows 10. Internet Explorer 11 will no longer get the support of Office 365, OneDrive, Outlook and other online services of Microsoft. Microsoft is putting down the Internet Explorer as it holds only 3.8 % market share losing to Google Chrome that holds 70 % market share.

21st May, 2021

Iran unveils its most powerful supercomputer ‘Simorgh’

Iran has unveiled its most powerful supercomputer ‘Simorgh’ designed by the Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT). The supercomputer has been named after the mythical Phoenix-like bird called ‘Simorgh’. It has been set up at the Iranian High-Performance Computing Research Center (IHPCRC) at AUT. It has been developed at a cost of 1 trillion Iranian Rials (INR 173 crores). Simorgh has a processing power of 0.56 petaflops which will be used for handling the workloads of Artificial Intelligence (AI), weather and traffic related data.

19th May, 2021

Six more locations added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A total of 6 locations have been recently added to India’s tentative list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites. It was announced by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel. All the six places have been included on the proposal on the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). UNESCO has received a total of 48 proposals in the tentative list of India. The newly added sites are- Maratha Military Architecture (Maharashtra), Temples of Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Satpura Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh), Hire Benkal-Megalithic Site (Karnataka), Bhedaghat-Lameta Ghat (Madhya Pradesh) and Ganga Ghats (Uttar Pradesh).

15th May, 2021

K P Sharma Oli gets re-appointed as the Prime Minister of Nepal

President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari re-appointed K P Sharma Oli as the Prime Minister of Nepal because the opposition parties failed to secure majority seats for a new government. K P Sharma Oli has previously served as the PM of Nepal 2015 to 2016 and from 2018 to 2021. 69 year- K P Sharma is the Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal called -Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML). K P Sharma Oli has to take a vote of confidence at the house within 30 days.    

14th May, 2021

Moctor Ouane gets reappointed as the Prime Minister of Mali

Mali’s President, Bah Ndaw reappointed Moctor Ouane as the Prime Minister of the country. Moctor will now form a new cabinet and the interim government will hold a constitutional referendum on 31st October, 2021. The elections will be held in February, 2022. Moctor Ouane has served as the Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations (UN) from 1995 to 2002. He was appointed as the Prime Minister of Mali in September, 2020 after the military coup overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August, 2020.

China becomes the 2nd country in the world to land its rover on Mars

China has become the 2nd nation in the world after USA to land its rover on the Martian surface. China’s Zhurong rover has successfully landed on Utopia Planitia region of Mars. The rover was carried to the Red Planet by the Chinese spacecraft Tianwen 1. The 240 kilogram rover will last till three Martian months (around 92 day on Earth). The rover has been named after ancient Chinese God of FireZhurong’. The objective of the mission is to explore the characteristics of the Red planet’s surface.

13th May, 2021

Yoweri Museveni becomes the President of Uganda for the 6th time

Yoweri Museveni has sworn-in as the President of Uganda for his 6th term. 76-year old Museveni belongs to the National Resistance Movement Party that won the re-election in January, 2021 by securing 58.6 % of the vote. Museveni is serving as the President of Uganda since 1986 and is one of the longest-serving leaders of the world. He was the leader of the rebellion against the Dictator, Idi Amin in 1979 and became Uganda’s 1st directly elected President in 1996.

11th May, 2021

China becomes the 1st nation in the world to ban synthetic cannabinoids

The Chinese Government has announced that it will add all the synthetic cannabinoids to its list of banned drugs. With this action, China has become the 1st country in the world to ban synthetic cannabinoids. The action has been taken to regulate the manufacturing of the cannabinoids and curb trafficking and abuse of the drug. Synthetic cannabinoids are artificially made compounds that bind with the same receptors of the brain as marijuana. The ban will come into effect from 1st July, 2021,

9th May, 2021

SpaceX is set to launch DOGE-1 Satellite to Moon in 2022

SpaceX is all set to launch the DOGE-1 Satellite to the lunar surface in 2022. The DOGE-1 satellite is being developed by the Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) which will be carried by the Falcon-9 rocket of SpaceX. The payment for carrying the payload to the lunar surface will entirely be done on ‘Dogecoin’ cryptocurrency. This transaction will make it the first ever commercial lunar payload to be paid-off with a cryptocurrency. Dogecoin is the 4th largest cryptocurrency in the world.

8th May, 2021

Portugal opens world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge ‘516 Arouca’

Portugal has opened world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge ‘516 Arouca’ in the Northern Portugal. The 516 meter long bridge has been constructed across the Paiva River within the campus of Arouca Geopark. It has been constructed by the Institute for Research and Technological Development for Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability. The walkway has been built from 127 interlocking metal cages. The ‘516 Arouca’ bridge has surpassed the 494 meter long Charles Kuonen Bridge in Switzerland.

7th May, 2021

Sunder Pichai, Punit Renjen and Shantanu Narayen join steering committee of Global Task Force on Pandemic Response

Google CEO, Sunder Pichai; Deloitte CEO, Punit Renjen and Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen have joined the Steering Committee of the Global Task Force  on Pandemic Response. The 3-Indian American CEOs will lead the unprecedented initiative of corporate sector to help India successfully fight the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. All the three CEOs have been very active in organizing the response of American companies towards the COVID-19 crisis in India. CEO of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman; President of Business Roundtable, Joshua Bolten and President of US Chamber of Commerce, Suzzane Clark have also been added to the list.

IBM unveils world’s first 2 nanometer chip based technology

Global tech-giant, International Business Machines (IBM) has developed the world’s first 2 nanometer (nm) chip based technology. The newly developed 2nm chip promises to increase speed of internet, consume less power and prolong battery life along with faster processing of heavy applications. The 2nm chip offers 45 % more performance and 75 % more power-efficient as compared to the most advanced 7 nm chip. This will also reduce the carbon footprint of the data centers that accounts for around 1 % of the Global Energy Usage.

5th May, 2021

World’s 1st AI-driven unmanned vessel, Mayflower 400 to navigate the Atlantic

A team of researchers from ProMare has built the world’s 1st unmanned vessel named ‘Mayflower 400’ which will be driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Mayflower 400 is all set to navigate through the Atlantic. The unmanned vessel has been built in collaboration with IBM as its technology partner. The 15 meter long vessel will track aquatic mammals, study marine pollution and analyze plastic waste in water. The AI-driven vessel will run on solar energy. Nations like India, Switzerland and USA have also contributed in the development of the technology for the project.