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Current Affairs 15th June 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Kavli Prize

Context: The 2024 Kavli Prize winners have been awarded to eight individuals for their significant contributions in the fields of astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience.

Origins and Purpose of the Kavli Prize

  • Founder: The Kavli Prize was established in honour of Norwegian-American businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli (1927-2013).
  • Background: Born in Eresfjord, Norway, Kavli moved to California in 1956 after earning an engineering degree.
    • He worked for a company building high-tech sensors for missiles and became its chief engineer within a year.
  • Entrepreneurship: In 1958, Kavli founded his own company, Kavlico, which became a leading manufacturer of pressure sensors used across various industries.
    • He sold the company in 2000 for $340 million and established the Kavli Foundation to support basic research globally.

The Kavli Foundation and Prizes

  • Fields: The Kavli Prizes are awarded in astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience, reflecting the largest, smallest, and most complex phenomena, respectively.
  • First Award: The inaugural Kavli Prize was awarded in 2008 to seven scientists. Since then, 73 scientists from 19 countries have been honoured, with ten later receiving the Nobel Prize.
  • Award Components: Each prize includes $1 million, a scroll, and a medal.
  • Ceremony: The award ceremony is held in Oslo, with the Norwegian Royal Family presenting the prizes.

Selection and Administration

  • Collaborating Organisations: The Kavli Prize is administered by the US-based Kavli Foundation in partnership with the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
  • Selection Committees: Three independent committees, each with five members nominated by global scientific institutes, review the entries and present recommendations.

2024 Kavli Prize Winners

  • Total Awardees: Eight scientists from leading American universities were awarded for their contributions in astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience.
  • Astrophysics: David Charbonneau (Harvard University) and Sara Seager (MIT)
    • Recognized for their pioneering work in discovering exoplanets and characterising their atmospheres. Their methods included detecting atomic species in planetary atmospheres and measuring thermal infrared emission.
  • Nanoscience:
    • Robert Langer (MIT): Awarded for developing nano-engineered materials for controlled drug delivery systems, aiding in the treatment of diseases like aggressive brain cancer.
    • Armand Paul Alivisatos (University of Chicago): Recognized for his work on semiconductor crystals or “quantum dots” used in diagnostic imaging and fundamental medicine research.
    • Chad Mirkin (Northwestern University): Honoured for introducing spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), which have applications in gene regulation, intracellular detection, and immunotherapy.
  • Neuroscience: Nancy Kanwisher (MIT), Winrich Freiwald (Rockefeller University), and Doris Tsao (UC Berkeley):
    • The trio were awarded for mapping the brain’s facial recognition centre and further exploring its neural architecture through functional imaging and individual brain cell recordings.


Context: Myanmar’s junta has ordered thousands of people living around Sittwe to leave their homes and head into the city.

About Sittwe

Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine state in Myanmar, situated at the mouth of the Kaladan River where it flows into the Bay of Bengal.

Current Affairs 15th June 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1


  • Strategic Importance: Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which aims to connect eastern India’s landlocked states with the Bay of Bengal through Myanmar.
  • India-Myanmar Relations: The port enhances India’s connectivity with Myanmar, contributing to stronger economic and strategic ties between the two countries.
    • Act East Policy: It is a key component of India’s Act East Policy, which seeks to strengthen relationships with Southeast Asian countries.
    • Economic Development: The project is expected to promote economic development in the region, providing an alternative route for cargo transport that bypasses the congested Siliguri Corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.

RTI on Presidential Assent

Context: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has upheld the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s response to a Right to Information (RTI) Act query on the number of times former President Ram Nath Kovind returned any decision taken by the Prime Minister/Union Council of Ministers for reconsideration.

More in News

  • The President’s Secretariat had responded that no information was available on record.
  • Petitioner argued that providing information regarding the legislative actions of the President is important in the light of promoting transparency and accountability in the working of the public authority.
  • The stand of the Chief Public Information Officer/Deputy Secretary, Rashtrapati Bhavan, was that the appellant was already informed that “no such information was available”.

About Right To Information (RTI) Act

  • Introduced: October 12, 2005
  • RTI stems from the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19.
  • It ensures that citizens have the information necessary to form informed opinions on government operations.
  • Aim: To foster transparency and accountability in government workings.
  • Procedural Framework: The Act specifies procedures for requesting information, the time frame for its delivery, the method of dissemination, application fees, and information exemptions.
  • Information Commissions: The RTI Act establishes the Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions.
  • Public Information Officers: PIOs are tasked with providing information to individuals requesting it under the RTI Act.
  • Section 4 of the Act: It calls for proactive disclosure of information by all authorities so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information.
  • Exemptions: Section 8(1): National security, sovereignty, national eco interest, relation with foreign states, cabinet and other decision-making documents, trade secrets, personal privacy, law enforcement etc.
  • Section 24 of the RTI Act: It lists agencies that are exempt, which mainly include intelligence and security organisations.
    • However, even these organisations must provide information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations, subject to approval from the Central Information Commission.

Article 111 – President’s assent to bills

  • This power is vested in the President by Article 111 of the Indian Constitution.
  • The President can request that the Parliament reconsider the bill, particularly if there are concerns about its constitutionality or implications.
  • If the bill is passed again by Parliament with or without amendments and presented to the President, it must be signed into law.

Assent to Constitutional Amendment Bill

  • The President must offer his or her assent.
  • He is unable to return or withhold the bill (unlike ordinary bills).
  • After that, the bill becomes a Constitutional Amendment Act, which amends the Constitution in accordance with its provisions.

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