Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 16 April 2022
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 16 April 2022
Army feels strain of manpower crunch amid recruitment freeze
The Indian Army is beginning to feel the strain of a manpower crunch stemming from a lingering two-year freeze on recruitment because of Covid restrictions even though the shortage, which is mounting every month, has not blunted the army’s operational readiness at this juncture and units are performing optimally, people familiar with matter said.
The army is currently short of around 120,000 soldiers in the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) cadre, with the deficiency growing at the rate of at least 5,000 men every month, HT learns. It has an authorised strength of 1.2 million soldiers.
“The strain on manpower has increased because of the recruitment freeze but efficiency of front-line units has not dropped. The focus is on manpower planning so that we can make do with the existing numbers,” said a senior officer posted in a forward area, who asked not to be named.
The freeze on recruitment has not been rolled back by the government despite the Covid situation stabilising and normalcy returning in several areas -- India has resumed international flights after two years, schools have reopened, and shopping malls and cinema halls are back in business, but not the army recruitment drives.
The army used to conduct up to 100 recruitment rallies, on average, every year in the pre-Covid era, with each covering six to eight districts, defence minister Rajnath Singh told RajyaSabha last month while responding to a question on the subject. Before Covid struck, the army recruited 80,572 candidates in 2019-20 and 53,431 candidates in 2018-19. To be sure, the pandemic has not affected the officer intake in the army.
Mariupol battle rages, US says war may not end in 2022
As Russia and Ukraine enter day 52 of the war, several parts of the war-torn country continue to be bombed. Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelensky said he discussed the fate of the besieged port city of Mariupol in a meeting on Friday with the country’s military leaders and the heads of its intelligence agencies.
“The details cannot be made public now, but we are doing everything we can to save our people,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation.
Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, officials claimed Russian troops who occupy areas around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were ‘terrorizing civilians’ and looking for anyone who had served in the army or the government.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine on February 24 for what he calls a "special military operation" to demilitarise and "denazify" Ukraine. Russia’s aggression has driven a quarter of Ukraine's 44 million people from their homes and led to the deaths of thousands.
The bodies of more than 900 civilians have been discovered in the region surrounding the Ukrainian capital following Russia's withdrawal - most of them fatally shot, police said Friday, an indication that many people were "simply executed.” Russia’s defence ministry ‘promised to step up missile attacks on Kyiv’ earlier this week in response to Ukraine’s alleged assaults on Russian territory.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and top Ukrainian finance officials will visit Washington next week during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. This will be the first chance for key Ukrainian officials to meet in person with a host of financial officials from advanced economies since Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Twitter says it will defend against Elon Musk buyout bid
Twitter Inc. adopted a measure that would shield it from hostile acquisition bids, taking steps to thwart billionaire Elon Musk’s unwelcome offer to take the company private and make it a bastion of free speech.
The board set up a shareholder rights plan, exercisable if a party acquires 15% of the stock without prior approval, lasting for one year only. The plan seeks to ensure that anyone taking control of Twitter through open market accumulation pays all shareholders an appropriate control premium, according to a statement Friday.
Twitter enacted the plan to buy time, according to a person familiar with the matter. The board wants to be able to analyze any deal, and may still accept it.
“The Rights Plan does not prevent the Board from engaging with parties or accepting an acquisition proposal if the Board believes that it is in the best interests of Twitter and its shareholders,” the company said.
The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer on Thursday offered $54.20 a share in cash for Twitter, valuing the social media company at $43 billion. Musk, who said it was his “best and final” offer, had already accrued a stake of more than 9% in Twitter since earlier this year. Twitter’s board met Thursday to review Musk’s proposal to determine if it was in the best interest of the company and all of its shareholders.
Under Twitter’s plan, each right will entitle its holder to purchase, at the then-current exercise price, additional shares of common stock having a then-current market value of twice the exercise price of the right.
Alliance Air no longer Air India subsidiary; moves to own website, flight code
A day after Air India announced that Alliance Air is no longer its subsidiary, the latter, on Friday, confirmed the development, saying that effective immediately, it will function independently under the Union government.
“Alliance Air, from 15th April 2022, will no longer be a part of Air India after its divestment and will be run as an independent Business unit the Government of India. MrVineetSood, CEO, informed that going forward with absolute efficiency, Alliance Air will now sell its tickets under the Alliance Air banner under flight code 9I-XXX,” the newly-independent airline informed in a statement, according to news agency ANI.
The press release also noted that the carrier now has its own website, www.allianceair.in, on which passengers can start booking their tickets.
On Thursday, Air India, the now-former national carrier which was taken over by Tata Sons on January 27, said in a tweet that Alliance Air is not its subsidiary anymore. “Passengers holding tickets of Air India with a 4-digit flight number starting with ‘9’ or 3-digit flight number starting with ‘9I’ may please be informed that these bookings belong to Alliance Air. Bookings, queries related to Alliance Air will not be handled by Air India from 15th April, 2022,” it said.
Previously known as Air India Regional, Alliance Air, mainly operates flights under the Centre's Regional Connectivity Scheme, UDAN. It was founded in April 1996 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian Airlines; in February 2011, Indian Airlines merged with Air India.
::Science and tech::
California start-up sends tiny robots on voyage into brains
Sending miniature robots deep inside the human skull to treat brain disorders has long been the stuff of science fiction -- but it could soon become reality, according to a California start-up.
Bionaut Labs plans its first clinical trials on humans in just two years for its tiny injectable robots, which can be carefully guided through the brain using magnets.
"The idea of the micro robot came about way before I was born," said co-founder and CEO Michael Shpigelmacher.
"One of the most famous examples is a book by Isaac Asimov and a film called 'Fantastic Voyage,' where a crew of scientists goes inside a miniaturized spaceship into the brain, to treat a blood clot."
Just as cellphones now contain extremely powerful components that are smaller than a grain of rice, the tech behind micro-robots "that used to be science fiction in the 1950s and 60s" is now "science fact," said Shpigelmacher.
"We want to take that old idea and turn it into reality," the 53-year-old scientist told AFP during a tour of his company's Los Angeles research and development center.
Working with Germany's prestigious Max Planck research institutes, Bionaut Labs settled on using magnetic energy to propel the robots -- rather than optical or ultrasonic techniques -- because it does not harm the human body.
Magnetic coils placed outside the patient's skull are linked up to a computer that can remotely and delicately maneuver the micro-robot into the affected part of the brain, before removing it via the same route.
The entire apparatus is easily transportable, unlike an MRI, and uses 10 to 100 times less electricity.
Tsitsipas back from the brink to set up semi-final with Zverev in Monte Carlo
Defending champion StefanosTsitsipas came out on top from a thrilling quarter-final clash with Diego Schwartzman, prevailing 6-2 6-7(3) 6-4 on Friday to set up a meeting with Alexander Zverev at the Monte CarloMasters.
The Greek third seed was 5-2 up in the second set but inexplicably lost the plot and trailed 4-0 in the decider before rediscovering his touch.
He will take on Alexander Zverev for a place in Sunday's final after the German world number three claimed an epic 5-7 6-3 7-6(5) victory against Italian Jannik Sinner.
Earlier, Spain's Alejandro DavidovichFokina reached his first Masters semi-final by beating American Taylor Fritz 2-6 6-4 6-3 and will take on Bulgarian GrigorDimitrov.
In the penultimate match of the day, Zverev and Sinner provided the Monte Carlo Country Club crowd with an intense encounter.
A terrible service game by Sinner gave Zverev a break for 3-1 but the German failed to hold on to the advantage and the Italian broke back before bagging the opening set.