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Important Current Affairs 5th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Apple becomes first company to hit $3 trillion market value

• The stock market value of Apple Inc. hit $3 trillion and became the world’s first company to do so. The market cap of Apple hit $182.86 per share, which made it the world’s first company to touch the $3 trillion mark. However shortly after hitting the mark, the share value dipped below it and did not rise again until the market closed. The iPhone maker passed $2 trillion in 2020 and over $1 trillion in 2018.

• The world’s most valuable company reached the milestone as investors bet that consumers will continue to shell out top dollar for iPhones, MacBooks and services such as Apple TV and Apple Music. In China, the world’s largest smartphone market, Apple continued to lead for the second straight month, beating rivals such as Vivo and Xiaomi, recent data from CounterPoint Research showed.

Ex-UK PM Tony Blair now 'Sir Tony', joins top royal order

• Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Baroness Amos are to be appointed as members of the Order of the Garter, England’s oldest and most senior order of chivalry. The former prime minister now will be known as ‘Sir Tony’. The appointments are the personal choice of the Queen, who has up to 24 “knight and lady companions”. The ceremonial order, founded in 1348, is a recognition of significant public service and made without prime ministerial advice.

• Under Sir Tony’s leadership, the UK joined the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan – an official inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war was strongly critical of his government and UK military chiefs. He famously referred to Diana, Princess of Wales, as the “people’s princess” after her death.

IHU Variant of C-19 Detected in France 

• Scientists and experts in France have reportedly identified a new variant of C-19 termed ‘IHU’. The new variant is said to be a more mutated strain than Omicron. The B.1.640.2 or IHU variant was first identified by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection and contains 46 mutations, which is more than Omicron. Nearly 12 cases of this new variant have been reported near Marseilles and has been linked to the African country Cameroon. But, the Omicron strain is still dominating in most parts of the world.

• This new variant can be a major threat, however, the cases have not been reported so far in countries other than France and is not labelled as ‘variant under investigation’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

NATIONAL

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched NEAT 3.0

• Union Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan has launched National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT 3.0), and regional language textbooks prescribed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). NEAT 3.0 aims to provide the best-developed ed-tech solutions and courses to students on a single platform. It will be beneficial especially among the economically disadvantaged students. It is a Public-Private Partnership model between the Government (through its implementing agency AICTE) and the Education Technology companies.

• 58 global and Indian ed-tech startup companies have come together for this solution and are offering 100 courses and e-resources to enhance learning outcomes, developing employable skills as well as overcome learning loss. The collaboration of global ed-tech companies and Indian start-ups by way of NEAT will help to build on the digital education bedrock of India.

Telangana stood first in the country in the list of highest number of ODF Plus villages

• Telangana stood first in the country in the list of the highest number of open defecation free (ODF Plus) villages under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II programme till December 31, 2021. As many as 13,737 out of 14,200 villages in the State are on the ODF Plus list, which is 96.74%. This was followed by Tamil Nadu with 4,432 villages (35.39%) and Karnataka with 1,511 villages (5.59%). Gujarat took the 17th position with only 83 villages (0.45%).

• The State government has enacted a new Telangana Panchayat Raj Act to ensure the holistic development of villages. A secretary has been posted in every panchayat for smooth execution of welfare programmes, close monitoring, digital reporting and to ensure the prevalence of good governance in villages. Multi-purpose workers have been appointed to maintain proper sanitation in villages. There are 12,769 dedicated compost sheds in all gram panchayats. Tankers have also been provided to water the plants for greenery in villages.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Sudan’s Hamdok resigns as prime minister amid political deadlock

• Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok has announced his resignation on January 02, 2022. The decision follows a military coup that caused political deadlock and widespread pro-democracy protests in the country. The 66-year-old Hamdok served as the 15th Prime Minister of Sudan from 2019 to 2022.

• Mr Hamdok called for a dialogue to agree on a “national charter” and to “draw a roadmap” to complete the transition. The October coup had upended Sudan’s plans to move to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Alka Mittal becomes first woman to head ONGC as CMD

• Director HR in ONGC, Alka Mittal has been given the additional charge as the new interim chairman and managing director (CMD) of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the largest oil and gas producer in India. She is the first woman to head the top post at the Maharatna company. She replaces Subhash Kumar who superannuated on December 31. He was also serving as an interim head.

• Alka Mittal has been appointed for a period of six months with effect from January 1, 2022, or till the appointment of a regular incumbent to the post, or until further order, whichever is the earliest.

Indian-origin Ashok Elluswamy was first employee to be hired for Tesla's Autopilot team: Elon Musk

• Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, who has been using social media to recruit people, has disclosed that Indian-origin Ashok Elluswamy was the first employee to be hired for his electric vehicle company’s Autopilot team. Before joining Tesla, Mr Elluswamy was associated with Volkswagen Electronic Research Lab and WABCO Vehicle Control System.

• Ashok Elluswamy holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the College of Engineering Guindy, Chennai and a Master’s degree in Robotics System Development from Carnegie Mellon University.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank continue to remain systemically important banks: RBI

• Reserve Bank of India has retained State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). These three banks have continued to be on the D-SIBs list published by RBI, since Sep 04, 2017. Domestic Systemically Important Banks are those banks which if fail would have a significant impact on the economy.

• The D-SIBs banks are classified into 5 buckets. Bucket 1, Bucket 2, Bucket 3, Bucket 4 and Bucket 5. With Bucket 5 being the most important followed by rest in decreasing order. State Bank of India is in Bucket 3, while ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are in Bucket 1. The updated list is based on the data collected from banks as of March 31, 2021.

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