Daily Current affairs and Questions from The Hindu & PIB - May 30

United Nations Award to Indian Army Officer Major Suman Gawani

  • Major Suman Gawani, an Indian Army officer who served as a women peacekeeper with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2019 is being awarded the prestigious “United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the year Award” on 29 May 2020.
  • She will receive the award from the UN Secretary General Mr Antonio Guterres during an online ceremony being organised at the UN Headquarters, New York on the occasion of International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
  • Major Suman will be receiving this award alongwith a Brazilian Naval Officer Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo.Major Suman served as a Military observer in UNMISS from November 2018 to December 2019.

Missile Park 'Agneeprastha' to be set up at INS Kalinga



  • Foundation Stone for a Missile Park "AGNEEPRASTHA" was laid at INS Kalinga by Cmde Rajesh Debnath, Commanding Officer, in the presence of Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain .
  • The Missile Park ‘AGNEEPRASTHA’ once completed will be dedicated to all the Officers, Sailors and Support Staff of INS Kalinga, who have served in this premier op-support Base of the ENC since its establishment in 1981. 
  • The Park also commemorates the award of the prestigious Unit Citation to INS Kalinga for the year 2018-19.
  • ‘AGNEEPRASTHA’ aims to capture glimpses of Missile History of INS Kalinga since 1981 till date. The Missile Park has been set up with a replica of missiles and Ground Support Equipment (GSE) that showcase the evolution of missiles handled by the unit. 
  • The exhibits have been created from scrap / obsolete inventory which have been reconditioned in-house. 
  • The main attraction is P-70 'Ametist', an underwater launched anti-ship missile from the arsenal of the old 'Chakra' (Charlie-1 submarine) which was in service with IN during 1988-91.
  • ‘AGNEEPRASTHA’ will also provide a one-stop arena for motivation and stimulation of inquisitive minds regarding the missiles and related technologies, from school children to Naval personnel and their families. 
  •  It is also intended to encourage a feeling of ownership and pride in the role of the Unit, and highlight the necessity of contribution of all personnel irrespective of rank/trade towards the overarching objective of ordnance availability, reliability and delivery on target, each and every time.

Assam varsity develops fungal powder to boost immunity



  • Bodoland University, one of Assam’s youngest universities, has developed a fungal powder to help people boost immunity during the time of a global pandemic.
  • The powder is from a parasitic but rare “super mushroom” called Cordyceps militaris.
  • The earth has more than 400 species of Cordyceps, a fungus parasitic on insects as well as other fungi.
  • Often referred to as a super mushroom, Cordyceps known for its antiageing, antiviral, energy and immunity boosting effect. 
  • “Natural Cordyceps is hard to get and if dried, costs at least ₹8 lakh per kg. Our lab has been growing C. militaris since 2017 at a fraction of the cost
  • C. militaris, powdered through lyophilisation or freezedrying at –80°C.

How important is Hong Kong to China as a free finance hub?


WHY DOES CHINA NEED HONG KONG AS IT IS?

  • China still has extensive capital controls and often intervenes in its financial markets and banking system.
  • Hong Kong is one of the world's most open economies and one of the biggest channels for equity and debt financing.
  • The size of Hong Kong's economy may only be the equivalent of 2.7 percent of mainland China's, down from 18.4 percent in 1997 when it reverted to Chinese rule, but the territory punches above its weight due to world-class financial and legal systems.
  • As a gateway between China and the West, Hong Kong attracts global capital for China more efficiently than its other cities.

HOW IS THAT CHANGING?

  • Under the 'one country, two systems' formula agreed as part of Britain's handover of the territory to China, Hong Kong is guaranteed liberties unavailable on the mainland such as freedom of expression and an independent judiciary.
  • These freedoms give Hong Kong a special international status -- for instance, it does not have to pay the US tariffs currently hitting Chinese imports.
  • With the US State Department recommending the removal of that status as it no longer deems Hong Kong sufficiently autonomous from Beijing, measures hitting trade, finance and investments among other areas could follow.
  • Australia, Britain, Canada, the European Union and others also have expressed concerns over the legislation.

WHAT IS AT STAKE?

  • China uses Hong Kong's currency, equity and debt markets to attract foreign funds, while international companies use Hong Kong as a launchpad to expand into the mainland.
  • While China has reformed its markets over the years, over 60 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) into and out of China continued to be channeled through Hong Kong as of 2018, according to Morgan Stanley.
  • Last year, Chinese companies raised $73.8 billion via initial public offerings (IPOs), $35 billion of which was bagged in Hong Kong, according to data from Dealogic.
  • Chinese businesses tapped Hong Kong's debt market for 25 percent of their $131.8 billion in offshore US dollar funding last year, Refinitiv data shows.
  • Schemes linking stock exchanges in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen provide the main gateway for foreigners to buy mainland stocks. A planned opening up of Chinese capital flows only increases the importance of these channels, and ultimately, Hong Kong, Fidelity said in a post this week.
  • Chinese banks hold more assets in Hong Kong -- $1.1 trillion in 2019 -- than lenders from any other region, according to Hong Kong Monetary Authority's data compiled by Natixis. Any squeeze on the massive financing channel risks destabilising the Chinese economy.
  • Among other deep linkages, Hong Kong's port continues to handle some of China's exports and imports, though it has been eclipsed by big Chinese ports in the last few decades.
  • Hong Kong has also been pivotal to China's ambition to turn the yuan into a widely-used international currency, competing with the US dollar and increasing its global influence.

                                                                         MCQ
1) "Cordyceps militaris"  sometimes seen in the news recently, is associated with which of the following? 
a. Fighter aircrafts 
b. Helicopters 
c. Submarines
d. super mushroom
2) Gross capital formation will increase if:
1. gross domestic savings increases
2. gross domestic consumption increases
3. GDP increases
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.
a) 1 only
b) 1 and 2 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) None

                                                                    Answer
1-d
2-d

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