Today’s Current Affairs – 31 January 2024

These current affairs today are a part of our daily current affairs series. We cover a wide range of topics from state, national, and international news that are relevant and important for competitive exams. Our team prepares daily current affairs after going through many newspapers, such as The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, PRS, etc.

Scroll down for daily current affairs for 31 January 2024.

NTPC inks pact for green hydrogen project in Maharashtra

  • NTPC Green Energy Ltd (NGEL) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Maharashtra to undertake projects related to green hydrogen and its by-products within the state. 
  • This agreement, integral to the Green Investment Plan of the state government for the forthcoming five years, contemplates a prospective investment totaling Rs 80,000 crore.
  • Under the MoU, NGEL has formalized an agreement with the Government of Maharashtra for the advancement of green hydrogen and its derivatives, such as green ammonia and green methanol. 
  • The envisioned capacity is set at one million tonnes per annum. This includes the implementation of pump hydro projects with a capacity of 2 gigawatts and the development of Renewable Energy (RE) projects, ranging up to 5 gigawatts, with or without storage facilities.
  • NGEL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC, presently operates with a capacity exceeding 3.4 gigawatts and has an additional 26 gigawatts in the pipeline, which includes 7 gigawatts currently under implementation.

NTPC:

Headquarters: New Delhi

Founded: 7 November 1975

CEO: Gurdeep Singh (28 Jan 2016–)

Founder: Government of India

Amazon terminates $1.7 bn deal to acquire iRobot amid regulatory hurdles

  • Amazon canceled its plan to buy iRobot, the company that makes the round Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion in cash. They blamed it on too many and too big regulatory challenges, especially from the European Union, which didn’t like the idea.
  • Initially, the deal was worth less by 15% because iRobot took on some new debt. As a result of calling off the deal, Amazon agreed to pay iRobot a previously decided fee of $94 million. In a separate announcement, iRobot revealed it would let go of about 31% of its workers, and the CEO would leave.
  • With the deal gone, iRobot is going through a plan to fix things and make the company stable. As part of this, around 350 employees will lose their jobs. The current Chairman and CEO, Colin Angle, will also step down. In the meantime, Glen Weinstein, the company’s legal officer, will be the temporary CEO.
  • Amazon has bought other smart home companies before, like Blink, Ring, and Eero. It’s not the first time a big deal got canceled because of antitrust concerns. Last year, Adobe dropped its plan to buy Figma for $20 billion, and Illumina had to undo its $7.1 billion purchase of Grail due to legal battles with antitrust authorities in both Europe and the U.S.

Amazon:

Founder: Jeff Bezos

Founded: 5 July 1994, Bellevue, Washington, United States

CFO: Brian T. Olsavsky

President: Andy Jassy

Subsidiaries: Audible, Amazon India, Amazon Web Services

Sony scrapped $10 bn merger as Zee failed to meet financial terms: Report

  • Sony decided not to go ahead with the $10 billion merger of its Indian branch with Zee Entertainment. One reason was that Zee didn’t meet some money terms of the deal and didn’t come up with a plan to fix them.
  • If Zee and Sony merged in India, they would’ve made a big media company in the country with more than 90 channels covering sports, entertainment, and news.
  • Sony, in a 62-page notice, said that Zee messed up some parts of the deal so much that they couldn’t be fixed. Trying to talk more about it would be a waste of time, Sony mentioned.
  • Zee didn’t say anything about it, and Sony didn’t answer questions from Reuters. Since the deal didn’t happen, Zee’s shares fell about 30%.
  • Zee made less money from ads, going from $600 million to $488 million in the financial year 2022-23. Their cash reserves also went down from $116 million to $86 million in that time.
  • Sony, in the notice ending the deal, said Zee only had 4.76 billion rupees ($57.26 million) in cash by September 30, way less than what the merger agreement needed.

Sony:

Parent organization: Sony Group

Founders: Akio Morita, Masaru Ibuka

Headquarters: Minato City, Tokyo, Japan

Founded: 7 May 1946

CEO: Kenichiro Yoshida 

Subsidiaries: Sony Pictures, Sony Music Entertainment Japan

COO: Hiroki Totoki

Qatar Secures 15-Year Gas Supply Deal with Bangladesh to Bolster Energy Ties

  • QatarEnergy, the state-owned company from Qatar, made a deal with Excelerate Energy in the U.S. to give Bangladesh natural gas for 15 years. Starting in January 2026, Qatar will send one million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) each year to floating storage units in Bangladesh.
  • In the deal, Excelerate will buy 0.85 million tonnes of LNG in 2026 and 2027. After that, it will increase to one million tonnes each year until 2040. This shows Qatar’s promise to help Bangladesh with its energy needs.
  • Countries in Asia, like China, Japan, and South Korea, mostly use Qatar’s gas. But now, European countries are also interested, especially after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.
  • Qatar is one of the biggest producers of LNG globally, along with the United States, Australia, and Russia. It’s the main natural gas supplier to Bangladesh.

Qatar: 

Capital: Doha

Currency: Qatari Riyal

Prime minister: Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani

All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) inks deal to organise inaugural Pickleball League in India

  • The All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) has made a long-term deal with Natekar Sports and Gaming (NSG) to organize a pickleball league in India. This partnership is a big step in spreading the sport all over the country and making it more popular.
  • Pickleball is a sport that many people play in 92 countries, and it’s growing. In India, it’s catching on too, played in 21 states with more than 15,000 fans joining in.

About AIPA:

AIPA is like the boss of Pickleball in India. It’s not there to make money, just to help other pickleball groups. It created the Amateur Pickleball Federation, India, to run pickleball tournaments in the country. Started by Mr. Sunil Valavalkar in 2008, AIPA joined the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) in 2015, where Valavalkar is the Vice President.

Jatinder Aulakh takes oath Punjab Public Service Commission chairman

  • Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit swore in Jatinder Singh Aulakh as the new Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission and Inderpal Singh as the Chief Information Commissioner.
  • Aulakh, who used to be a police officer, retired as the head of intelligence on January 31, 2023. He worked his way up from deputy superintendent to become the intelligence chief during his time in the Punjab Police. In different roles, he managed the police in SAS Nagar, Sangrur, Ropar, Jagraon, SBS Nagar, Khanna, and also led as the police commissioner in Amritsar and Ludhiana. Additionally, he served as the inspector general for Patiala and Ferozepur regions, as well as the inspector general for headquarters and intelligence.
  • The new Chief Information Commissioner, Singh, had previously worked as Punjab’s senior additional advocate general.

AZALI Assoumani re-elected as President of the Comoros

  • Azali Assoumani got elected again as the President of Comoros for the fourth time earlier this month. The opposition didn’t agree with the results, causing serious fights. However, the Comoros Supreme Court said his re-election was okay.
  • Assoumani, who used to be in the military and took control in a coup in 1999, has been president two times before – from 2002 to 2006 and from 2016 till now. There was a rule change in 2018 that allowed him to run again.
  • The court confirmed Azali’s win and said he got 57.2% of the votes, a bit less than the first announcement of 62.97%. It’s important to note that Assoumani is also in charge of the African Union.
  • Note: Prime Minister Modi expressed hope that India and Comoros will keep working together to make their partnership stronger, along with India’s partnership with all of Africa. He mentioned ‘Vision Sagar,’ which is India’s plan for working together in the Indian Ocean region to make things safe and prosperous for everyone. PM Modi introduced this idea on March 12, 2015.

Tata Power installs 1,000 kW bifacial solar project in West Bengal.

  • Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) announced on Monday that it finished setting up a 1,000-kilowatt bifacial solar system in West Bengal.
  • This special solar system uses panels that can catch sunlight from both sides, producing power from both. TPREL completed a unique 1040 kW Bifacial Solar System project with Chengmari Tea Estate. It’s the first time this kind of solar system has been installed on the ground in eastern India.
  • This project is expected to make about 1.5 million units of energy each year and reduce the carbon footprint by 29,420 lakh tonnes, which is like planting 47,000 teak trees. It’s happening in West Bengal.
  • This cool bifacial technology, grabbing sunlight from both sides of the solar panels, is a big step forward in making more clean energy.

Tata Power: 

CEO: Praveer Sinha 

Subsidiaries: Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited

Founder: Dorabji Tata

Founded: 1911

Headquarters: Mumbai

Sharat Chauhan Appointed As Puducherry’s New Chief Secretary

  • Sharat Chauhan, a senior officer from the AGMUT cadre, has become the new Chief Secretary of Puducherry. He has a lot of experience working as an administrative officer, and he previously served in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This change is part of a series of transfers happening in the AGMUT cadre. The person who was Chief Secretary before, Rajeev Verma, will now be an advisor to the Chandigarh administrator after his time in Puducherry.
  • A few more officers are also moving around. A R Talwade, from the 2009 AGMUT batch, is now in Puducherry, having been transferred from Arunachal Pradesh. E Vallavan, from the 2011 AGMUT batch, is moving to Goa from Puducherry, showing a shift in administrative roles.
  • Chaudhuri Abhijit Vijay, from the 2012 AGMUT batch, is going to Chandigarh after being in Puducherry, contributing to the ongoing changes in the AGMUT cadre.
  • Apart from these bureaucratic moves, Ajit Kumar Singla, a police officer from the 2004 IPS batch, is now posted in Puducherry from Delhi. R Kalaivanan, a police officer from the 2018 batch, is joining the Puducherry administration from Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

NSA Ajit Doval, CDS Gen Chauhan release BrahMos deputy CEO’s book

  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan unveiled the book ‘Ek Samandar, Mere Andar,’ authored by Sanjeev Joshi, the Deputy CEO of BrahMos Aerospace. 
  • Comprising 75 poems, the book was officially introduced at a ceremony held at the India International Centre.
  • The launch of ‘Ek Samandar, Mere Andar’ highlights the lesser-known creative side of individuals deeply involved in the defense sector. 
  • Sanjeev Joshi, known for his role in BrahMos Aerospace, showcases his poetic prowess in this collection, offering a unique perspective on life and experiences.
  • The book launch event was further dignified by the presence of notable personalities such as actor Ashutosh Rana, author Rambahadur Rai, DRDO chief Dr. Samir V Kamat, Deputy Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit, and many senior dignitaries from the fields of literature and defense.

Today’s Current Affairs MCQs/ GK Quiz 31th January 2024

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