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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

29 Nov 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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World's Most Valuable Company

Microsoft Corp. surpassed Apple Inc. to become the world's most valuable publicly traded company. All it took was a $300 billion rout.
After briefly claiming the top spot, Microsoft shares rose 0.6 percent, pushing the company's market value to $828.1 billion that exceeded by more than $1 billion the value of Apple.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the last time Microsoft's market capitalisation was bigger than Apple was in 2010.

Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Run-off

The last of the U.S. Senate midterm races was decided in a run-off vote in Mississippi, when Republican candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, who ran a controversial campaign, beat her Democrat rival.
Ms. Hyde-Smith had won just over 54% of the vote with 95% precincts reporting as of this writing, beating Democrat Mike Espy, the first African-American Congressman from Mississippi since the Reconstruction (1865-1877, when the American South was rebuilt after the Civil War).

Russia to Deploy New S-400 Missiles on Crimea

According to the Russian defence ministry, Russia will deploy new S-400 surface-to-air missile systems on the Crimean peninsula soon.
News of the deployment comes after Ukraine introduced martial law for 30 days in parts of the country following Russia`s seizure of three Ukrainian navy vessels off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea.
 

ENVIRONMENT

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EU Aims to Be Climate Neutral by 2050

The European Union says it is aiming to become the first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050.
Under the plan, emissions of greenhouse gases after that date would have to be offset by planting trees or by burying the gases underground.
Scientists say that net-zero emissions by 2050 are needed to have a fighting chance of keeping global temperatures under 1.5C this century.
The EU says the move will also cut premature air pollution deaths by 40%.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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SBI Hikes Fixed Deposit Rates

Country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has increased Domestic Term Deposits or Fixed Deposit (FD) rates for some select maturity periods with immediate effect.
The revised FD rates apply for amount less than Rs 1 crore. After the revision in the rates, FDs with maturity period of one to two years will fetch 6.8 percent interest as compared to 6.7 percent previously. Similarly, for senior citizens the FD for maturity period of one to two years has been revised to 7.30 percent, from 7.2 percent earlier. 

Unilever Frontrunner for Glaxo's Horlicks Business

Unilever has emerged as the leading bidder in a tight contest for GlaxoSmithKline's Indian Horlicks nutrition business.
If it is able to clinch the deal, Unilever will trump fellow European consumer giant Nestle, the other main contender to buy Horlicks and other GSK consumer healthcare assets in India.
Unilever had been given "preferential treatment" to complete the deal but did not have exclusivity in negotiations, so it was possible GSK might re-open talks with Nestle if it could not agree terms with Unilever. 

Merging Two-state Owned Power Lenders

India is considering a proposal to combine two state-run lenders to utilities, REC Ltd. and Power Finance Corporation as it seeks to raise funds to bridge a budget gap.
The first phase of the deal will see REC acquiring a majority stake valued at about $2.5 billion in Power Finance, possibly by the year ending March 2019. Subsequently, the plan is to merge the subsidiary with REC, a departure from the original plan to keep their operations separate.
The merger plan is being considered after REC expressed concern that just acquiring a controlling stake in Power Finance would weaken its credit profile and wouldn't yield any operational benefit. 

SpiceJet Asked to Pay Dues

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has served a notice to Ajay Singh-controlled budget carrier SpiceJet, asking it to pay Rs. 20 crore by November end to partially clear its dues.
The authority claims the airline's dues have crossed the 80 per cent threshold of its security deposit.
As per the AAI norms, all the carriers are supposed to keep their dues within 80 per cent of their security deposit with the state-run aerodrome operator.
SpiceJet's outstanding towards landing, parking and route navigation charges currently stands at Rs. 117 crore, against its security deposit of Rs. 104 crore.

NGT Allows Sterlite to Reopen Plant

A three-member committee of the National Green Tribunal has found no grounds for the closure of Sterlite's controversial copper plant in Thootukodi, Tamil Nadu, in a move that puts the state government, which ordered the shutdown, in a spot. 
As per Tamil Nadu Industries Minister M. C. Sampath, the government will take all necessary legal steps to ensure that the factory, closed for causing pollution, remains closed. 

Goyal to Sell Controlling Stake in Jet Airways

Naresh Goyal has agreed to sell his controlling stake and give up operational control of the struggling carrier.
Although Goyal has been reluctant to relinquish his controlling stake in the 25-year-old airline, he is said to have met all three prospective buyers - Tata Group, Etihad Airways and a consortium of Air France - KLM and Delta Air Lines Inc.
Goyal has, however, laid out certain conditions including retaining a minority stake of below 5 percent and a board seat on the firm.

SPORTS

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Asian of the Year Award

Indian Navy commander Vijay Varma and captain P. Rajkumar were among those honoured at the 'Asian of the Year' awards, acknowledging their selfless service and bravery in rescue operations during the Kerala floods.

 Hockey World Cup 2018

The much-awaited 2018 edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup kick started at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Third-ranked Belgium defeated eleventh-ranked Canada in the first match.
Fifth-ranked India defeated fifteenth-ranked South Africa. 
All the teams have been divided into the following 4 pools:
Pool A: Argentina, New Zealand, Spain and France
Pool B: Australia, England, Ireland and China
Pool C: Belgium, India, Canada and South Africa
Pool D: Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia and Pakistan

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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UPSC Gets New Chairman

Arvind Saxena has been appointed as chairman of the Union Public Service Commission, which conducts examination to select bureaucrats, diplomats and police officers.
Saxena will have a tenure till August 7, 2020, when he attains the age of 65 years.
He has been working as acting head of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) since June 20.
Saxena joined the UPSC as a member in May 2015. Prior to joining the UPSC, he was working as director of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC).

India Won't Attend SAARC Meet

According to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, India will not attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan and unless the neighbouring country stops sponsoring terror activities even as she welcomed Islamabad's decision to build the Kartarpur corridor.
India had pulled out of the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit that was to be held in Islamabad in 2016 after the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year.

India among Countries Worst Hit by Climate Change

Ahead of the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change begins in Katowice, Poland, a Lancet report has raised concern on the debilitating impact of climate change on human health across the world. India is one of the countries worst hit by heat stress and labour hours lost as a result.
According to the Lancet Countdown 2018 on Health and Climate Change report, globally each person was exposed to an additional 1.4 days of heat wave between 2000 and 2017 compared to the baseline period of 1986 to 2005. In 2017, an additional 157 million heat wave exposure events took place, which is 18 million more heat exposure events than in 2016.
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