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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

30 Nov 2018


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Trump Cancels Meet with Putin

  •  U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled his planned meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, citing the naval stand-off in which Russian forces seized three Ukrainian ships.
  • Mr. Trump said that based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not  returned to Ukraine from Russia, he has decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel his previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin.
  •  He looks forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved.


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TAFE Joins Hands with ISEKI & Co

  • Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE), the flagship company of the Amagamation Group, has joined hands with ISEKI & Co., Ltd. of Japan to make compact tractors that complement the Indian manufacturer's range of tractors in terms of horsepower and end-use.
  • ISEKI is the largest Japanese farm machinery manufacturer for tractors. It also makes tractors for AGCO, a well-known global name in the area of design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural solutions.
  • TAFE has over five decades of association with AGCO, and is also a significant shareholder in AGCO Corporation.

Jubilant Life Arm Inks Pact to Acquire Inipharm Inc

  • Jubilant Life Sciences' subsidiary Drug Discovery and Development Solutions Ltd. (DDDSL) Singapore, has entered into an agreement to acquire 10% stake in Inipharm Inc. USA for around $28.5 million (over Rs. 199 crore).
  •  DDDSL has entered into a stock purchase agreement to acquire 5,34,194 shares of common stock of Inipharm, for $534.20 per share.

RBI Relaxed the Securitisation Norms

  •  In a move to make more liquidity available to non-banking finance firms, the Reserve Bank of India has relaxed the securitisation norms by relaxing the minimum holding period requirement.
  • The move follows a demand from the government for a special window for NBFCs, to provide them liquidity support.
  • RBI has decided to relax the Minimum Holding Period (MHP) requirement for originating NBFCs, as they are now allowed to securitise loans with maturity of more than five years after holding them for six months on their books, as compared to one year earlier.
  • The relaxation on the minimum holding period will be allowed when the NBFC retains 20% of the book value of these loans.

Government to Move Nearly Half of Air India's Debt

  • As per R.N. Chaubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, the government has decided to transfer more than half of Air India's nearly Rs. 55,000-crore debt into a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to help the airline cut expenditure on servicing the huge loan.
  • More than Rs. 29,000 crore will be moved from Air India into an SPV, which will also house the non-core assets such as the ground-handling arm and land.
  •  Liquidation of these assets will enable paying off the debt. This will help Air India to reduce an expenditure item because of the interests it pays on its loans. 

Sri Lanka Agrees Port Deals with China

  • Sri Lanka signed two multi-million dollar contracts with Chinese firms for a port upgrade project in the middle of a political hiatus that has raised doubts over the legitimacy of the government and the legality of the deals.
  • The debt-saddled island has long been a target of Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure scheme to connect China with countries cross Asia and beyond, while regional power India has also been vying for deals to counter China's influence.

US Slams Harmful China Trade Policies

  •  US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer slammed Beijing for failing to offer "meaningful reform" on aggressive trade policies that harm US workers and industry, and threatened tariffs on Chinese autos.
  • The latest trade threat against China comes days before President Donald Trump is due to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Argentina to defuse the ongoing trade conflict between the world's top two economic powers. 


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ISRO PSLV C43 Launch

  •  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched an earth observation satellite, along with 30 micro and nano-satellites of eight other countries, after a 16-hour countdown.
  • The 31 satellites were launched in two different orbits by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C43) in its 45th flight.
  • According to ISRO, the Indian satellite, Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS), will help in monitoring pollution from industries. It will also have other applications in agriculture, forestry, geology, coastal zone study and inland water studies.

Research in Artificial Intelligence

  •  The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has decided to set up a Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to promote research in the technology and offer solutions to complex problems in fields such as medicine, finance and customer support.
  • The centre is expected to come up on the campus in the next six months.
  • The Institute currently offers courses in artificial intelligence at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. With this centre for excellence, the IIT-D is planning to bring researchers from all the departments, to inculcate AI in their respective disciplines and find solutions for various problems.


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World Chess Championship

Norwegian chess superstar Magnus Carlsen cemented his reputation as the game's greatest player after demolishing US hopeful Fabiano Caruana in a winner-take-all world championship decider.


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Maharashtra Assembly Passed Bill for Maratha Quota

  •  The Maharashtra legislature unanimously approved a bill to offer 16% reservation in government jobs and university seats to Marathas, a politically influential community that makes up 30% of the state's population. 
  • The passage of the bill takes caste-based reservation in the state to 68%, breaching a Supreme Court-mandated cap of 50% and making a legal challenge likely.
  • Both houses of the state legislature passed the Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in education institutions in the state and for appointments in the public services and posts under the state) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
  •  This will make Maharashtra the state with the second-highest reservations in the country, after Tamil Nadu, which has 69% caste-based quotas.


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Bilateral Exercise between IAF and US Air Force

  • The Indian Air Force and the US Air Force will participate in a bilateral exercise 'COPE INDIA 2019' scheduled to be held between December 3 and 14 of this year in West Bengal.
  • The bilateral flying training programme will be held at two important airbases in West Bengal, Air Force Station Kalaikunda and Air Force Station Arjan Singh at Panagarh.
  • Air Force Station Kalaikunda is an important training air base for the IAF, Air Force Station Arjan Singh at Panagarh has the second squadron of the C130J Super Hercules aircraft.
  •  The first squadron of the C130J Super Hercules is based at Hindon.
  • 'COPE INDIA' began in 2004 as a fighter training exercise held at Air Force Station Gwalior.    


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Justice Kurian Joseph Retires

  •  Justice Kurian Joseph one of the four judges who took part in the unprecedented press conference against former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra earlier this year, retired as a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Justice Joseph started legal practice before the Kerala High Court in 1979.
  • At the age of 42, he went on to become the youngest advocate in Kerala to be designated as a senior advocate.
  • After an illustrious career as an advocate, he was appointed as a judge of the Kerala High Court in the year 2000.
  •  He served at the Kerala High Court and Himachal Pradesh High Court as its Chief Justice before being elevated to the Supreme Court in 2013.
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