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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

27 Nov 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Former President Nasheed Cleared of Terror Conviction

The Maldives top court overturned a terrorism conviction against the country's first democratically elected leader Mohamed Nasheed, who fled into exile after being sentenced to 13 years behind bars.
As per the Supreme Court, Nasheed was wrongfully charged and should not have been convicted in the 2015 trial described by the United Nations as politically motivated.
Nasheed, the leader of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, was expected to contest the September poll but was barred on account of his terrorism conviction.

EU and Iran Commit to Uphold Nuclear Pact

The European Union and Iran are affirming their support for the international nuclear deal and say they aim to keep it alive despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the landmark pact. EU Energy Commissioner Arias Canete said that the deal was 'crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world.'

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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India Eying Bigger Share in Global Trade

India will focus on boosting its exports to the US and other global markets as Chinese shipments become unattractive amid a trade war between the world's biggest economies.
New Delhi is focusing on a handful of items including automotive parts, chemicals, electrical equipment, among others, after the US and China slapped reciprocal duties on each other's goods. India's share in global merchandise exports is at 1.7% compared to China's 12.8%.

ECB Hedging Norms Eased

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has eased hedging norms for companies that raise funds through external commercial borrowings (ECB), a move that will lower the cost of hedging.
As per a notification, the mandatory hedge coverage has been reduced from 100% to 70% under Track I of the ECB framework.
The RBI also clarified that the ECBs raised prior to this circular would be required to mandatorily roll over their existing hedge only to the extent of 70% of outstanding ECB exposure.
According to the RBI, Track I refers to medium-term foreign currency-denominated ECBs with a minimum average maturity of 3-5 years.

Government to Infuse in PSU Banks

The government will infuse Rs. 42,000 crore in the state-owned banks by March-end and the next tranche would be released as early as next month.
The government earlier this year had pumped Rs. 11,336 crore in five PSBs, PNB, Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank, to improve their financial health.

Insurance Claim rules Eased for Farmers

The Union government has introduced several norms tightening the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), its flagship farm insurance scheme. One of the new rules taking effect later this month is that claims of farmers not cleared by insurance firms within two months of harvest will be automatically approved.
The new rule means insurance firms will not be able to verify claims or carry out further checks to ascertain the validity of claims of farmers if they don't do it within two months.
Beyond the two-month deadline, all claims will be auto approved by the PMFBY portal (website).

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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World's First Gene-edited Babies

A Chinese scientist's claim that he helped make the world's first 'genetically-edited babies', a pair of twin girls, who could be resistant to HIV and other diseases, has triggered controversy, with a group of 122 leading scientists from his country, in a rare move, condemning 'gene editing'.

SPORTS

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Highest French Civilian Award For Azim Premji

IT czar and philanthropist Azim Premji will be conferred Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour), the highest French civilian distinction-later this month.
Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, will confer the award to Premji.
The award comes in recognition of his outstanding contribution to developing the information technology industry in India, his economic outreach in France, and his laudable contribution to society as a philanthropist through the Azim Premji Foundation and University.
Some of the past Indian recipients of the prestigious award include Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee and superstar Shahrukh Khan.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Next Chief Election Commissioner

President Ramnath Kovind has cleared the appointment of former bureaucrat Sunil Arora as the Chief Election Commissioner.
Arora, who is currently election commissioner, will take over the top job at the poll panel on December 2, when the incumbent O. P. Rawat demits office. Ashok Lavasa is the second election commissioner.
A former secretary in the ministry of information and broadcasting, Arora has also served as the secretary in the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship. A 1980-batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, Arora has served stints in ministries such as finance, textiles and planning commission and served as joint secretary in the ministry of civil aviation.

Lakshminarayana Joins Politics

Former joint director of Central Bureau of Investigation V. V. Lakshminarayana, who took voluntary retirement this March, announced his entry into politics.
The Andhra IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre joined Lok Satta, a political party founded by retired IAS officer and former legislator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.
Lakshminarayana will be reviving the party that had gone defunct four years ago after Jayaprakash Narayan wound it up as a political force and has been running it as a social organisation. He declared that the party would contest the next assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh.

Iravatham Mahadevan Passes Away

Iravatham Mahadevan one of the world's leading scholars on the Indus Valley Script, the pre-eminent scholar on the Tamil Brahmi script, and a man of many accomplishments, passed away.
 A former member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Mr. Mahadevan joined the service in 1954 and took voluntary retirement in 1980, after holding various positions in the Central and Tamil Nadu governments.
In August 1987, he became the Editor of the Tamil daily, Dinamani and served the paper for four years. 
Mr. Mahadevan was awarded the Padma Shri in April 2009.
He was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 for his research on the Indus script and the National Fellowship of the Indian Council of Historical Research in 1992 for his work on the Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.

Neiphiu Rio Launches Tourist Police

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio  launched the Nagaland Tourist Police which will work for the safety and security of the tourists and report any crime against them to the nearest police station. He also flagged off tourist police vehicles and inaugurated an Integrated Police Control Room for tourists. 
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