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CURRENT AFFAIRS: DAYS
UNESCO World book and Copyright Day
- World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book, is an annual event observed on 23rd April organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.
- The first World Book Day was celebrated on 23 April in 1995, and continues to be recognized on that day.
- Kuala Lumpur is the UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2020 officially recognised with an online launch celebration of 2020.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL
Govt sanctions Rs15000 cr investment for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness Package’
- The Union Cabinet gave its post facto approval for significant investments to the tune of 15 thousand crore rupees for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’.
- The funds sanctioned will be utilized in 3 Phases. Out of the total amount, seven thousand 774 crore rupees has been provisioned for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response and rest for medium-term support of one to four years to be provided under mission mode approach. In Phase- 1, the Health Ministry with the support of all the other line ministries has already undertaken several activities.
- Three thousand crore rupees has been released under the Package to States for strengthening of existing health facilities as COVID Dedicated Hospitals, Dedicated COVID Health Center and Dedicated COVID Care Centers. Orders for procurement of 13 lakhs diagnostic kits have been placed to augment COVID 19 testing. All health workers have been covered with insurance under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan
- The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in the country through the development of diagnostics and COV1D-dedicatcd treatment facilities, centralized procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients.
- It also focuses on strengthening and building resilient National and State health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks.
- It also include setting up of laboratories and bolster surveillance activities, bio-security preparedness, pandemic research and proactively engage communities and conduct risk communication activities. These interventions and initiatives would be implemented under the overall umbrella of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
Pakistan to host SAARC virtual conference on COVID-19
- Pakistan will host a virtual conference of Ministers and senior officials from 8-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to discuss a common strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.
- The SAARC conference was proposed by Pakistan after the regional Ministers and representatives participated in a similar virtual summit on March 15 which was initiated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Besides ministers and senior officials, the meeting would also be attended by Saarc Secretary General Esala Ruwan Weerakon, the statement added.
- In addition to exchanging updates on the status of national containment efforts, the conference will deliberate on ways to promote deeper cooperation to combat the crisis through strengthening disease surveillance, sharing best practices, building national capacities, coordinating research efforts and promoting regional and international linkages.
- It stated closer coordination among regional countries through utilisation of all available institutional mechanisms, including the Saarc platform, remains important for combating the disease.
- Currency: Pakistani rupee
- Capital: Islamabad
- Prime minister: Imran Khan
- President: Arif Alvi
Lebanon legalises marijuana cultivation for medicinal use
- The Lebanese Parliament legalised medicinal use of cannabis to bolster the export that can help revive the crippling economy that is in dire need of foreign currency.
- Although marijuana is illegal in Lebanon, cannabis has long been farmed openly in the fertile Bekaa Valley.
- The idea of legalising cannabis cultivation with the aim of producing high value-added medicinal products for export was explored in a report by consultancy firm McKinsey commissioned by Lebanon in 2018.
- The decision, which makes Lebanon the first Arab country to legalise marijuana growing, offers economic incentives for the debt-ridden state.
- It makes the state the sole proprietor for trading cannabis, which has been grown illicitly for decades in Bekaa, in the east of the country.
- Capital: Beirut
- Currency: Lebanese pound
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
RBI eases investment norms under TLTRO 2.0
- The Reserve Bank eased some regulatory norms for investments in the second round of Targeted Long Term Repo Operation (TLTRO 2.0) to provide relief to banks investing in papers issued by small and medium sized non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) under the scheme.
- The central bank stated banks may deduct their investments in instruments issued by NBFCs from their Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) while calculating their priority sector commitment.
- Under the TLTRO 2.0 scheme, banks have to invest at least 50 per cent of the total funds in bonds issued by small NBFCs of asset size of Rs 500 crore and below, mid-sized NBFCs of asset size between Rs 500 crore and Rs 5,000 crore and MFIs.
- Besides, the banks will get 30 days to deploy money drawn under the TLTRO 2.0 in specified securities. This will be applicable for those lenders who have availed funds under the first tranche of TLTRO conducted on March 27, 2020.
- However, if a bank fails to deploy funds within the specified time frame, the interest rate on un-deployed funds will increase to prevailing policy repo rate plus 200 bps for the number of days such funds remain un-deployed. This incremental interest will have to be paid along with regular interest at the time of maturity, the RBI stated.
- Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Formation– 1 April 1935
- Governor– Shaktikanta Das
- Deputy Governors– 3 (Bibhu Prasad Kanungo, Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra)
RBI Announces Special Open Market Operations Of Purchase And Sale of Government Securities Of Rs 10000 Crore
- RBI has announced Special Open Market Operations (OMO) of Simultaneous Purchase and Sale of Government of India Securities.
- On a review of current and evolving liquidity and market conditions, the Reserve Bank has decided to conduct simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMO) for Rs 10,000 crores each on April 27, 2020.
- The central bank will purchase certain securities using the multiple price auction method with tenor between six to ten years.
- Simultaneously, it will sell securities using the multiple price auction method with tenor between two to twelve months.
- The Reserve Bank reserves the right to decide on the quantum of purchase, sale of individual securities; accept bids and offers for less than the aggregate amount; purchase, sell marginally higher, lower than the aggregate amount due to roundingoff and accept or reject any or all the bid and offers either wholly or partially without assigning any reasons, the RBI statement stated.
About open market operation (OMO) :
- An open market operation (OMO) is an activity by a central bankto give (or take) liquidity in its currency to (or from) a bank or a group of banks.
- The central bank can either buy or sell government bonds in the open market or, in what is now mostly the preferred solution, enter into a repo or secured lending transaction with a commercial bank: the central bank gives the money as a deposit for a defined period and synchronously takes an eligible asset as collateral.
- A central bank uses OMO as the primary means of implementing monetary policy.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
TCS to power Israel’s first fully digital bank
- India’s largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will launch Israel’s first fully digital bank in what is being seen as a transformative initiative that can impact the business model of other sectors as well.
- TCS was selected by Israel’s Ministry of Finance to transform its banking sector by building a banking service bureau that would serve as a shared, plug-and-play, digital banking operations platform — powered by the TCS BaNCS Global Banking Platform — to help startup banks launch their operations very quickly, the company stated in a press release.
- The yet-to-be-named digital bank is the first to receive a banking license in Israel in over 40 years and is to be launched in 2021. The fully digital bank will have no physical branches and will provide Israeli citizens with all the services that regular brick and mortar banks offer, including credit, deposits, loans, account management, securities trading and processing.
- The new bank will also have access to all of Bank of Israel’s liquidity tools and various payment systems.
- TCS is uniquely positioned to deliver these services due to its market-ready and industry-leading TCS BaNCS Global Banking Platform as well as its ecosystem integration.
About Tata Consultancy Services (TCS):
- CEO: Rajesh Gopinathan
- Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Prime minister: Benjamin Netanyahu
- Capital: Jerusalem
- Currency : New shekel
Fitch Ratings sees India growth slipping to 0.8 per cent in FY21
- Fitch Ratings slashed India’s economic growth projections to 8 per cent in the current 2020-21 fiscal saying an unparalleled global recession was underway due to disruptions caused by the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdowns.
- In its Global Economic Outlook, Fitch Ratings stated India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slip to 0.8 per cent for the year April 2020 to March 2021 (FY21) as compared to an estimated 9 per cent growth in the previous fiscal.
- Growth is, however, expected to rebound to 7 per cent in 2021-22.
- The rating agency predicted two consecutive quarters of contraction or negative year-on-year growth in current fiscal (-)0.2 per cent in April-June and (-)0.1 per cent in July-September. This compares to 4.4 per cent estimated growth in January-March.
- Growth is expected to rebound to 1.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2020 calendar year.
About Fitch Ratings :
- Headquarters: New York , United States
- CEO: Paul Taylor
CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATES
Gujarath govt’s water conservation scheme begins
- Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani gave the green signal for the third edition of his government’s ”Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan” , a conservation plan to deepen water bodies in the state before monsoon.
- The scheme, which will continue till June 10, will see the deepening of lakes, check dams and rivers by removing silt, and it will be done with people’s participation as well as under MNREGA.
- It would create employment opportunities for the rural population amid the lockdown, adding that norms in place to combat the coronavirus outbreak will be adhered to while carrying out works under the scheme.
- The soil excavated during the drive will be given free of cost to farmer.
- The scheme was started in 2018 after a weak monsoon, and till date, the state’s water storage capacity has increased by 23,000 lakh cubic feet due to deepening pf lakes, check-dams, rivers and reservoirs.
- Capital- Gandhinagar
- Chief Minister- Vijay Rupani
- Governor- Acharya Dev Vrat.
JKSLSA launches helpline under ‘Serve-the-Seniors Initiative’ for senior citizens
- While the entire world is facing the threat of COVID-19, the senior citizens have been identified as the most vulnerable segment of the society. Jammu and Kashmir State legal Services Authority (JKSLSA) has launched a helpline under ‘Serve-the-Seniors Initiative’ under the guidance of Justice Gita Mittal, Patron-in-Chief and Justice Rajesh Bindal Executive Chairman of State Legal Services Authority.
- The objective of starting this helpline, comprising is to help and facilitate the senior citizens who live alone and are unable to step out to get medicines, groceries and other essentials in this hour of crisis.
- The helpline numbers of the Nodal Officers who could be contacted in the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh have been declared.
- The initiative has been taken realizing the fact that the elderly are doubly affected by the COVID lockdown and are not only vulnerable to contracting the virus in view of their old age but are in tremendous difficulty to manage their day to day needs like groceries and medicines.
About Jammu and Kashmir:
- Capitals: Jammu Cantonment (Winter), Srinagar (Summer)
- Lieutenant Governor : Girish Chandra Murmu
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPS AND PORTALS
Karnataka govt launches “Apthamitra” helpline and app to fight COVID-19
- The Karnataka government launched “Apthamitra” helpline with an exclusive toll free number and a mobile app, aimed at providing required medical advice and guidance for those in need.
- The help line and app was launched by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
- If anyone has symptoms of coronavirus, they can call the helpline from their home, get medical advice or assistance and get their doubts cleared. Based on the symptoms, an expert team of doctors will advice on what to do next.
- According to the department, the ‘Apthamitra’ helpline will work from 8 AM to 8 PM, with helpline Centers at six locations in Bengaluru (four centers), Mysore and Mangalore (Bantwal) with total of 300 seat capacity are being set up.
- The intention of the platform is to analyse incidence of IlI, inform decisions for graded relaxation of the lockdown to resume economic activities in areas with low prevalence of the symptoms while stepping up containment measures in hotspots, clusters and disease break-out area.
- This entire Solution is owned by Health and Family Welfare Department and State Disaster Management Authority.
- The system works under the aegis of NASSCOM, Bengaluru.
- The Digital Mobile app and the back end CRM system have been developed by Infosys BPM (the subsidiary of Infosys Ltd)
- Further Infosys BPM and Hinduja Global Solutions have worked together to design, build and execute the Multi-Channel customer contact Solution with the Contact Center Infra being provided by Infosys, HGS, Concentrix, MPhasis and HCL as partners in the fight against coronavirus.
- Capital- Bengaluru.
- CM- B S Yediyurappa.
- Governor- Vajubhai wala
Union HRD Minister launched VidyaDaan 2.0 on DIKSHA used by CBSE,NCERT to strengthen e-learning content
- Govt of India has launched a national program VidyaDaan 2.0, for inviting e-learning Content contributions. VidyaDaan 2.0 is a common national program to develop and contribute e-learning content and a chance to be recognised nationally.
- Due to the spread of Covid-19, education of students across schools is impacted everywhere. Traditional ways of teaching and learning are being rapidly augmented with online methods.
- It is the right time and opportunity to strengthen the e-learning content for school education on DIKSHA and leverage its potential used by all students and teachers of CBSE, NCERT and 30 states/UTs which have already adopted DIKSHA.
- The programme brings together academicians and organisations to develop and contribute fun and engaging e-learning content aligned to the curriculum. Contributors can contribute a variety of e-learning content in the form of explanatory videos, animations, teaching videos, lesson plans, assessments and question banks in the prescribed format.
- The content will be monitored by a panel of academic experts and released for use on the DIKSHA app to help millions of children across the country continue learning anytime and anywhere.
- The standardised templates available on VidyaDaan 2.0 via a content contribution tool will also help in creating a uniform structure ensuring easy accessibility.
- The contributed content will be available for use across the education ecosystem such as government departments, education boards- national and states, schools (government and privates) and for the use of all other institutions, organisations and entities engaged in education.
- For more information on the process of nomination and contribution through VidyaDaan 2.0, you may visit–diksha.gov.in or diksha.gov.in and click on VidyaDaan 2.0.
- Minister of Human Resource Development- Ramesh Pokhriyal
- Constituency- Haridwar ,Uttarakhand
App that warns about COVID-19 containment zones, filters fake news developed by IIIT-Delhi
- Researchers at IIIT-Delhi have developed an app which warns people about a coronavirus containment zone nearby and helps them check whether a news item about the pandemic is genuine or fake.
- The WashKaro app, developed by professor Ponnurangam Kumaraguru and Dr Tavpritesh Sethi of the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Delhi) along with five students, is currently available for android platforms.
- The research team had also presented the app at the World Health Conference in Geneva on April 8 through video conferencing.
- The app delivers government advisories from official pages and contains a Symptom Tracker (based upon WHO) for people to know if they are safe.
- WashKaro aims to provide the right information to people in the right format at the right time, he stated.
- He also stated in case we get access to database of coronavirus positive patients, the app can also alert whether someone is close to such a patient.
- Another interesting feature of the app is onAIr, which makes use of the Artificial Intelligence technology to cross-reference news with WHO documents.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION
BWF names PV Sindhu ambassador for its ‘I am badminton’ campaign
- World Champion P V Sindhu unveiled as one of the ambassadors for Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s ‘i am badminton’ awareness campaign.
- The campaign provides a platform for players to express their love and respect for badminton by advocating and committing to clean and honest play.
- Besides Sindhu, other ambassadors include Canada’s Michelle Li, Chinese duo of Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong, England’s Jack Shephard, Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch, Hong Kong’s Chan Ho Yuen and Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, who is Athletes’ Commission Chair.
- The idea of the ‘i am badminton’ campaign is for us as role models to share our experiences with these target groups so they have a heightened level of awareness on the importance of anti-match manipulation and anti-doping.
- It has been five years since BWF’s Integrity Unit was formed and this time the campaign has been at the forefront of the governing body’s efforts to communicate its approach towards integrity.
- Headquarters– Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Founded– 5th July 1934
- President– Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen
- Membership- 194 member associations
CURRENT AFFAIRS: AWARDS AND HONOURS
‘Midnight in Chernobyl’ author Adam Higginbotham wins William E. Colby Award
- Adam Higginbotham’s “Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster” has won a $5,000 prize.
- Higginbotham has received the William E. Colby Award, given for an outstanding book on military or intelligence history.
- The award is named for the late CIA director. It’s presented by Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, and sponsored in part by the Chicago-based Pritzker Military Foundation.
- The Colby award was established in 1999. Previous winners include Karl Marlantes’ novel “Matterhorn” and Dexter Filkins’ “The Forever War.” Colby was CIA director during the Nixon and Ford administrations.
- Earlier this year, “Midnight in Chernobyl” won the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-fiction.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SUMMITS AND CONFERENCE
Shri Narendra Singh Tomar participates in the G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meeting through Video Conferencing
- Union Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar participated in an Extraordinary virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture Ministers to address the issue of COVID-19 impacts on food security, safety and nutrition.
- The G-20 Agriculture Ministers virtual meeting was organized through video conferencing by the Saudi Presidency to deliberate on the ways and means of ensuring continuity of food supply value chain including livelihood of farmers. It was attended by Agriculture Ministers of all G-20 members, some guest countries and International organizations.
- The G-20 nations resolved to have international cooperation in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid food wastages and losses, maintain the continuity of food supply value chain across borders. They also resolved to work together for food security and nutrition, share best practices and lessons learnt, promote research, responsible investments, innovations and reforms that will improve the sustainability and resilience of agriculture and food systems.
- The G-20 nations also agreed to develop science based international guidelines on stricter safety and hygienic measures for zoonosis control.
About G20 Presidency
- 2019- Japan
- 2020- Saudi Arabia
- 2021- Italy
- 2022- India
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
IIT-Mandi team develops magnetic RAM to enable higher data storage, faster computation
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi, developing magnetic Random Access Memory (RAM) which is faster, more energy-efficient and capable of storing more information in a smaller volume than existing data storage technologies.
- The team, which is in process of patenting the technology, claims that the Spin-transfer torque (STT) based nano spintronic devices will also put an end to computer data loss due to interruptions of power supply and hence will have the capability to transform next-generation computers, smartphones and other gadgets.
- Magnetic RAMs in which data are represented as spin of electrons, promise better storage capabilities than conventional charge-based RAM.
- A device using spintronic technology utilises the spin of the electrons to transmit and process information, unlike normal electronic devices that are driven by electron charges.
- Harnessing the spin of electrons to be manipulated from the magnetic state leads to what is known as Spin-Transfer Torque-Magnetic Random Access Memory (STT-MRAM).
- Existing semiconductor RAM cannot meet these massive demands of data storage. Indeed, experts in data science predict that the demand for memory capacity will outpace production by the end of 2020.
- The five-member team includes Sharma, his colleague Srikant Srinivasan and three research scholars– Mohamad G Moinuddin, Shivangi Shringi and Aijaz H Lone.
SVP Institute becomes first to carry out plasma research in view of Covid-19
- Ahmedabad based Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Science and Research became the first authorized study centre in the country to carry out plasma research under trial in view of Covid 19. The MoU was signed between ICMR and the institute in this regard.
- SVP institute is a government hospital run by City Municipal Corporation which has become a major treatment centre for Covid 19 patients.
About Plasma Therapy
- The convalescent plasma therapy aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered Covid-19 patient to treat those critically affected by the virus. The therapy can also used to immunise those at a high risk of contracting the virus — such as health workers, families of patients and other high-risk contacts.
- This therapy’s concept is simple and is based on the premise that the blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability of fighting novel coronavirus. The theory is that the recovered patient’s antibodies, once ingested into somebody under treatment, will begin targetting and fighting the novel coronavirus in the second patient.
- Headquarters– New Delhi
- Director General– Balram Bhargava
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SPORTS
NADA and BFI conduct online anti-doping awareness session
- The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) in collaboration with Boxing Federation of India (BFI) conducted an online anti-doping awareness session.
- Utilising the lockdown period, Dr Ankush Gupta of NADA took a special interactive session on “Anti-Doping Awareness” which was attended by 450 participants.
- NADA is using this period to create awareness amongst athletes as the body has minimised dope testing due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- As all the sporting activities have been suspended due to COVID-19, the sports bodies are conducting interactive online sessions for their athletes.
About National Anti Doping Agency (NADA)
- CEO: Navin Agarwal
- Headquarters: New Delhi, India
World Games Birmingham unveils new title, logo after postponement of event
- The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama has unveiled an updated logo and title after being delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Olympic-style competition for sports and events that are not on the Summer Games program will now be known as The World Games 2022.
- The event was initially scheduled for July 2021, but it will now be held in July 2022 to accommodate the one-year postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
- While those games will continue to be known as “Tokyo 2020,” the World Games decided to go with a more accurate moniker.
DAILY CA 22nd APR:
- World Creativity and Innovation Day – 21st april
- World earth day- 22nd april
- Iran’s Guards launch its first military satellite
- ADB sells $4.5 billion five-year global benchmark bond
- Facebook buys 9% stake in Reliance Jio for Rs 43,574 crore in largest tech FDI
- MP Anganwadi workers, Assistants to get benefit of CM COVID-19 Yoddha Kalyan Yojana
- SIMFED launches mobile ration van in Gangtok
- TCS partners with Telangana State Council of Higher Education
- Federal Bank to acquire additional stake in IDBI Federal Life Insurance
- Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launches ‘COVID India Seva’ to address citizens’ queries
- MoRTH launches dashboard on its website to provide ‘dhabas and repair shops’ details
- Pune’s mobile App ‘Saiyam’ tracks home quarantined citizens
- Huawei India appoints David Li as CEO
- Bajaj Auto ED Rakesh Sharma appointed as IMMA President
- UST Global wins Microsoft’s AI application award for social impact
- India drops two places down to be ranked 142nd on global press freedom index
- Pune-based ARI develops ‘sensor-based bug sniffer’
- Former Fiji prime minister Qarasepasses away
- BMW Group India President & CEO Rudratej Singh passes away at 46
DAILY CA 23rd APR
- UNESCO World book and Copyright Day- 23rd april
- Govt sanctions Rs15000 cr investment for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness Package’
- Pakistan to host SAARC virtual conference on COVID-19
- Lebanon legalises marijuana cultivation for medicinal use
- RBI eases investment norms under TLTRO 2.o
- RBI Announces Special Open Market Operations Of Purchase And Sale of Government Securities Of Rs 10000 Crore
- TCS to power Israel’s first fully digital bank
- Fitch Ratings sees India growth slipping to 8 per centin FY21
- Gujarath govt’s water conservation scheme begins
- JKSLSA launches helpline under ‘Serve-the-Seniors Initiative’ for senior citizens
- Karnataka govt launches “Apthamitra” helpline and app to fight COVID-19
- Union HRD Minister launched VidyaDaan 2.0 on DIKSHA used by CBSE,NCERT to strengthen e-learning content
- App that warns about COVID-19 containment zones, filters fake news developed by IIIT-Delhi
- BWF names PV Sindhu ambassador for its ‘I am badminton’ campaign
- ‘Midnight in Chernobyl’ author Adam Higginbotham wins William E. Colby Award
- Shri Narendra Singh Tomar participates in the G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meeting through Video Conferencing
- IIT-Mandi team develops magnetic RAM to enable higher data storage, faster computation
- SVP Institute becomes first to carry out plasma research in view of Covid-19
- NADA and BFI conduct online anti-doping awareness session
- World Games Birmingham unveils new title, logo after postponement of event