9 PM Current Affairs Brief – April 28th, 2020

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Hubble Marks 30 Years in Space and releases picture of Cosmic Reef

News: Hubble Space Telescope captured picture of NGC 2014 and NGC 2020. The picture has been dubbed as Cosmic Reef


  • Giant red nebula (called NGC 2014) and a smaller blue nebula (called NGC 2020) are part of a star-forming complex located in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
  • The structure is often called the Cosmic Reef because of coral-like appearance.

Hubble Space Telescope

  • It is a space-borne observatory and is part of NASA’s “Great Observatories. It was deployed in 1990.
  • It was built by NASA with contributions from the European Space Agency. It is the largest optical telescope ever launched into space.

Additional Facts:


  • It is a giant cloud of dust and gas in space.
  • Some nebulae come from the gas and dust thrown out by the explosion of a dying star, such as a supernova.
  • Other nebulae are regions where new stars are beginning to form. For this reason, they are also called “star nurseries.

NASA’s series of Great Observatories satellites:

  • They are four large, powerful space-based astronomical telescopes.
  • The telescopes other than Hubble Space Telescope, are Spitzer Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

World Intellectual Property Day

News: World Intellectual Property Day is observed every year on April 26.


  • Background: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) established it in 2000. April 26th marks the date when the ‘Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization’ entered into force in 1970.
  • 2020 Theme:Innovate for a green future.

Additional Facts:

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

  • It is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation.It was established in 1967
  • It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations with 192 member states.
  • It’s aim is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

World Malaria Day 2020

News:The World Malaria Day is observed on April 25 every year by the World Health Organisation (WHO).


  • Background:It was established in 2007 at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly
  • 2020 Theme:“Zero malaria starts with me”.

Additional Facts:

Malaria: It is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Global Malaria Report, 2019:

  • In 2018, an estimated 228 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide. Most malaria cases were in the WHO African Region (93%).
  • India registered a fall of 2.6 million malaria cases in 2018 as compared to 2017.

China names its Mars mission Tianwen-1 ahead of its planned launch this year

News:China National Space Administration (CNSA) named its Mars mission as “Tianwen”


  • It is China’s first Mars exploration mission. The name comes from the long poem “Tianwen,” meaning Questions to Heaven, written by Qu Yuan
  • It is planned to be launched in 2020. It aims to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission.

PM Narendra Modi launches e-Gram Swaraj, Swamitva yojana

News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched two mobile portals E-Gram Swaraj Portal & Swamitva Scheme on April 24, 2020.


  • eGram Swaraj:It will provide panchayats a single interface to complete development projects. The app will help in accelerating projects in villages from planning to completion.
  • Swamitva Yojana:It will use drones in mapping of properties in villages. This will help in reducing disputes over property and help villagers to avail loans from banks.

SIPRI Military Expenditure Database Report

News:Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released the Military Expenditure Database report.


  • Top five largest Military Spenders: United States, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Additional Facts:

  • Top five arms importers during 2015-19: Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China.
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI):Itis an independent international institute established in 1966 in Stockholm, Sweden.It is dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team)

News:CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) has decided to conduct a security audit of COVID-19 data in the wake of Cyber security threats.


  • CERT-In was established in 2004 as a functional organisation of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • Objectives:
    • Preventing cyber attacks against the country’s cyber space.
    • Responding to cyber attacks and minimizing damage and recovery time Reducing ‘national vulnerability to cyber attacks.
    • Enhancing security awareness among common citizens.

Additional Facts:

  • Budapest Convention on Cybercrime:It is the first international treaty that seeks to address Internet and cybercrime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation among nations.It came into force in 2004.India is not a signatory to this convention.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Yojana:It was launched in 2018 by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in association with National e-Governance Division(NeGD) and industry players.It includes awareness programs on cyber security; workshops on best practices and enablement of the officials with cyber security health tool kits.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre): It provides for the detection of malicious programs and free tools to remove such programs.
  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre(I4C): It was established in 2018 to combat cybercrime in India in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.It functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Dispute over Paracel and Spratly Islands

News:China has again increased its presence in the South China Sea by unilaterally renamed 80 islands around the two disputed archipelagos of the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands.


Spratly Islands:

  • Spratly Islands are a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea.It is largely uninhabited.
  • Countries in Dispute: China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.Brunei has also claimed the southeastern part of the Spratlys.

Paracel Islands:

  • The Paracel Islands is a disputed archipelago located in the South China Sea.It is almost equidistant from China and Vietnam.
  • Countries in Dispute: China and Vietnam.

Additional Facts:

  • Natuna Islands:Itis located in Indonesia’s Riau Islands province, the west side of the South China Sea.It is claimed by China.
  • Scarborough Shoal: It is located between the Macclesfield Bank and Luzon island in the South China Sea.It is claimed by China, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Exercise Pitch Black 2020

News:Australia has informed India that their Exercise Pitch Black 2020 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.


  • Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial multilateral air combat exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force(RAAF) since 1981.
  • Aim:To practice Offensive Counter Air(OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat in a simulated war environment.
  • The Indian Air Force had taken part in the exercise for the first time in 2018.

Additional Facts:

Exercise between India and Australia:

  • AUSINDEX: It is a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy(RAN).The first edition of the exercise took place in 2015.


Facts: Ruhdaar is a low-cost mechanical ventilator developed by a team from IIT Bombay, NIT Srinagar and Islamic University of Science & Technology (IUST), Jammu and Kashmir.The ventilator can provide adequate breathing support necessary to save the life of a critically ill COVID-19 patient.

RBI announces special liquidity facility for mutual funds

News: Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has announced a special window of Rs.50,000 crore for Mutual Funds in view of the pressure that the fund houses are facing in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.


  • Mutual Funds: It is a type of financial vehicle made up of a pool of money collected from many investors to invest in securities like stocks, bonds and other assets.
  • They are operated by professional money managers, who allocate the fund’s assets and attempt to produce income for the fund’s investors.
  • Benefits: a) Profession expertise b) Less risk as fund managers invest the pooled money in diversified assets c) Potentially Higher Returns and d) Relatively easier to buy and exit.
  • Disadvantages: a) High management fees b)Loss of Control by investors and c) Vulnerable to market volatility.

Constitutional Crisis in Maharashtra

News:A constitutional crisis has occurred in Maharashtra that threatens the position of incumbent Chief Minister.


  • Issue:The current Chief Minister took the oath of office without being a member of either the State legislature or council.Hence,he has to become a member of either House within six months.
  • However, the Election Commission has postponed all elections due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Governor’s quota: The state cabinet has recommended that the present Chief Minister be nominated to the Legislative Council from the Governor’s quota.However, the Governor has not taken any decision yet.

Constitutional Provisions related to the Issue:

  • Article 164(4): It allows a person to become a Minister without being a member of either House of State legislature for the period of six months from the date of oath.
  • Article 171(5):It mandates the Governor to nominate members to the Legislative Council who have special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
  • Article 163(1): It says that the Governor must follow recommendations of the Council of Ministers in all situations except insofar as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them at his discretion.
  • Section 151A of Representation of the People Act 1951: It mandates the Election Commission to fill the vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if a) remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than a year or b) Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye-election within the said period.
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