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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

Read today's headlines and TAKE TEST to keep a watch on current happenings


Punjabis Win British Columbia Election

  • Eight candidates of Punjabi origin have emerged winners in the British Columbia provincial elections in Canada. All eight belong to the ruling New Democratic Party, which secured an absolute majority with 55 seats in the 87-member House.
  • Three of them — Labour Minister Harry Bains, Deputy Speaker Raj Chouhan and Parliamentary Secretary Jagrup Brar — have been elected MLAs for the fifth time.
  • Chouhan won from Burnaby-Edmonds. He defeated Liberal Party's Tript Atwal, the daughter of former Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and SAD leader Charanjit Singh Atwal. Brar retained his Surrey-Fleetwood seat. He belongs to Deon village in Bathinda.
  • Rachna Singh, daughter of Punjabi writer Dr. Raghbir Singh and an alumna of Panjab University, has been re-elected from Surrey-Green Timbers. She defeated Dilraj Atwal of the Liberal Party.
  • Ravi Kahlon retained his Delta North seat. Aman Singh defeated Jas Johal from Richmond-Queensborough. Jinny Sims and Niki Sharma won from Surrey-Panorama and Vancouver-Hastings, respectively. 

Indian-origin Priest is Seychelles President

  • An Indian-origin priest from Bihar has been elected President of Seychelles which has a substantial population from the subcontinent.
  • Wavel Ramkalawan, whose grandfather came from Gopalganj, Bihar, defeated incumbent Danny Faure.
  • Ramkalawan, who had remained underground for some time during the one-party rule by Faure's predecessors, is opposed to the "Assumption agreement" for handing over an island to India.
  • In a reflection of the changing political climate in the country, a four-party parliamentary majority led by Ramkalawan's Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), has refused to ratify the agreement.

Guinean President Wins Third Term amid Stir

  • Guinea's President Alpha Conde has won a third term with 59.49 per cent of the vote, the National Independent Electoral Commission declared. 
  • His victory came amid widespread protests that were violently suppressed by security forces.
  • Some people went on to the streets to protest immediately after the announcement. Such demonstrations have occurred for months after the government changed the constitution through a national referendum, allowing Condé to extend his decade in power.
  • Opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo received 33.50% of the vote. Voter turnout was almost 80%.
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Japan Set to Target Zero Emissions by 2050

  • Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to bind Japan to a target for carbon neutrality by 2050, a shift in stance that will bring the country in line with the European Union and more than 60 other nations in efforts to combat climate change.
  • The move, if confirmed, would make the world's third-largest economy the second Asian country after South Korea to aim for the 2050 target that is considered the minimum needed to keep global average temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 Celsius.
  • Japan is the world's fifth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, the heat trapping gas that scientists say is already causing major heatwaves, bigger and more powerful cyclones and periods of drought around the world.
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Future-Reliance Retail Deal Put on Hold

  • has won an interim order against partner Future Group selling its retail business to Reliance Industries (RIL) for Rs. 24,713. The order, passed in a Singapore-based arbitration panel, effectively puts a pause to the Future-RIL deal.  
  • Amazon had taken the case to the panel alleging violation of contract by the Kishore Biyani-owned group. As per the deal, Future Retail signed off stake to Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL) in August 2020.
  • RRVL has entered into the transaction for acquisition of assets and business of Future Retail under proper legal advice and the rights and obligations are fully enforceable under Indian Law.
  • RRVL intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future group without any delay.

Britain and Japan Sign Post-Brexit Trade Deal

  • Britain and Japan have formally signed a trade agreement, marking the UK's first big post-Brexit deal.
  • The deal means nearly all its exports to Japan will be tariff free while removing British tariffs on Japanese cars by 2026.
  • UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss called it a ground-breaking, British-shaped deal.
  • But critics have said that it will boost UK GDP by only 0.07%, a fraction of the trade that could be lost with the EU.
  • The two countries had reached a broad agreement in September, and the deal is expected to boost trade between the UK and Japan by about £15bn.
  • The deal, which was negotiated over the summer, will take effect from 1 January 2021.
  • But some experts said it was a missed opportunity between the UK and its 11th biggest trading partner.

India and Philippines Commence Negotiations on Investment Treaty

  • India and the Philippines have commenced negotiations on a new bilateral investment treaty even as there has been a recent upswing in economic engagement that both sides are keen to accelerate.
  • The first round of talks on a new treaty took place in a virtual meeting between the Department of Economic Affairs and the Philippines department of trade and industry.
  • Both sides had exchanged their respective drafts a few years ago after India had decided to work on a new model Bilateral Investment Treaty text. 
  • Indian companies have made significant investments in the Philippines. These include Wipro Enterprises completing a $200 million acquisition of Philippines personal care brand Splash in 2019 and GMR completing two major airport projects in Cebu and Clark.
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Virat Kohli 3rd Indian to Hit 200 Sixes in IPL

  •  Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli added yet another feather on his already illustrious cap by becoming the third Indian batsman and fifth overall to notch up 200 sixes in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • The 31-year-old achieved the feat during the Bangalore franchise's clash against Chennai Super Kings in Match 44 of the ongoing 2020 season of the lucrative T20 tournament.
  • Indian skipper became the third player from the country after his Mumbai Indians counterpart Rohit Sharma (209) and CSK counterpart MS Dhoni (216) to achieve the milestone of 200 maximums in the cash-rich league.

Kiren Rijiju to Launch 200-km ITBP Fit India Walkathon

  • Union Minister Kiren Rijiju will flag off a 200-km long 'Fit India Walkathon' being organised by border guarding force ITBP in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer. Personnel of various central armed police forces (CAPFs) and residents of the city will participate in the event between October 31 and November 2, 2020.
  • ITBP Director General S. S. Deswal and senior officials and jawans from all CAPFs will participate in the 200 km Fit India Walkathon. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju will flag it off.
  • He said that the route march will continue day and night and pass through the dunes of the Thar Desert in the area located along the India-Pakistan border. The exercise aims to create awareness for a fit and healthy lifestyle. The ITBP and its chief have undertaken numerous such walkathons in the past.
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Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress to Contest BMC Polls Together

  • Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners, including the Sena, NCP and Congress, will contest the 2022 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls together.
  • Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson expressed confidence that it would win the civic polls in the country's commercial capital.
  • The Shiv Sena-ruled BMC is the country's richest civic body with an annual budget of over Rs. 33,400 crore.
  • The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress last year forged an alliance to form government after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party parted ways with long-term ally BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post. 
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Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty to Enter into Force

  • The United Nations announced that 50 countries have ratified a UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons triggering its entry into force in 90 days, a move hailed by anti-nuclear activists but strongly opposed by the United States and the other major nuclear powers.
  • The treaty had 49 signatories, and UN officials said that the 50th ratification from Honduras had been received.
  • The 50th ratification came on the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the UN Charter which officially established the United Nations and is celebrated as UN Day. 
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Rajan Sushant Floats New Political Outfit

  • Former Lok Sabha member Rajan Sushant launched a new political outfit named 'Hamari Party Himachal Party'.
  • Sushant said that the party will emerge as an alternative to the Congress and BJP.
  • The party will contest elections in all four parliamentary seats and 68 Vidhan Sabha seats. 
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Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Prize

  • Alessandra Korap of the Munduruku tribe in the Amazon was awarded the 2020 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights prize for her work defending the rights, ancestral lands and culture of Indigenous people in Brazil.
  • The $30,000 award was presented to her by the former U.S. senator's daughter, Kerry Kennedy, in a virtual ceremony from Washington at which keynote speaker former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised her courage.
  • The award draws attention to the struggle of her tribe to stop the building of hydroelectric dams on the Tapajos River, where the Munduruku live, and gain recognition for their reservation lands.
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Pakistan could be the Next Polio-free Country: WHO

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Pakistan could be the next polio-free country, after years of continued efforts to eradicate the crippling disease.
  • The remarks were made by the WHO's Country Representative Palitha Mahipala at an event to mark World Polio Day.
  • Mahipala said that the polio eradication programme and partners have affirmed they will remain undeterred in Pakistan.
  • Due to enormous challenges such as misconceptions about vaccines and the Covid-19 lockdowns, the efforts against polio have been affected.
  • The polio programme, with its partners, has now been able to ramp-up activities which are vitalised resolve to end polio in Pakistan, as recently done by Africa.

IIT-Guwahati Students Selected for the Prime Minister's Research Fellows Scheme

  • Students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati have been selected for the Prime Minister's Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme that was announced recently. A total of 14 students have been selected for the scheme through the channel of Lateral Entry.
  • The PhD students selected for the PMRF fellowship this year are pursuing research in interdisciplinary and forefront areas at various departments and centres such as Departments of Design, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and the Centres for Nanotechnology, Rural Technology, Energy and Environment.

Gujarat is First in Direct Plays on Online Learning

  • Gujarat ranks first among the states in terms of the number of times online learning initiatives by the state government were accessed on DIKSHA, the central government's online learning portal.
  • The state-wise analysis of data collected from DIKSHA portal — the Digital Infrastructure for School Education — an initiative of Ministry of Education, from April to October, reveals that Gujarat is at the top among other states in the direct plays category.
  • The direct plays shows the number of times all initiatives of the state government covering live as well as online learning sessions was accessed. Gujarat has over 1.75 crore direct plays.
  • While, in other categories, like ETB-Energised Textbooks that have QR code, which is aimed at providing access to digital content for various topics in physical textbooks,and course plays,  it ranks at fifth and fourth position, respectively.
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Shakespeare's Globe to Get Slice of Culture Recovery Fund

  • Shakespeare's Globe, the Sage Gateshead and the company behind the Lady Boys of Bangkok are among the latest recipients of emergency government arts funding.
  • The replica Elizabethan theatre in London will receive almost £3m from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.
  • The Birmingham Hippodrome, London's Old Vic theatre and the English National Ballet will all get the maximum £3m.
  • Gandey Productions, which stages the Chinese State Circus and the Lady Boys of Bangkok, will get more than £1m.
  • The Sage concert hall will receive £1.8m. Overall, 35 organisations and venues across England will receive up to £3m each in the latest round of grants, which is worth £75m in total. More than 70% is going go to venues and organisations outside London.
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