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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

01 Dec 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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No Plan to Allow Indian Military Base in Maldives

  •  The Maldives government has strongly denied reports which stated that India had offered USD 1 billion to Maldives in exchange for the deployment of Indian troops in the island nation.
  • According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, Maldivian territory would not be used for the establishment of any foreign military bases.
  • The new Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is scheduled to visit India on December 17 in keeping with his 'India-First' policy.

Russian Men Barred Entry in Ukraine

  •  Ukraine barred Russian men aged 16-60 from entry as tensions mounted between the two countries over Moscow's seizure of three Ukrainian ships last week.
  • The move came after Kiev imposed martial law in border regions this week in response to the Russian seizure of the ships and 24 sailors off Moscow-annexed Crimea.
  • The incident was the most dangerous in years between the ex-Soviet neighbours, who are locked in conflict over Russian-backed separatist regions, and has raised fears of a wider escalation.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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GDP Growth Rate Slows

  •  India's gross domestic product (GDP) (at market prices) grew at 7.1% between July 31 and September 30 (Q2 2019), a decline of 1.1 percentage points compared to the period between April 30 and June 30 (Q1 2019), not so much because of a slowdown in economic activity but the so-called base effect which amplified growth in the last quarter.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) growth went down by an equal amount between Q1 2019 and Q2 2019. 

Lockheed Open to Help India in Production of Tejas

  •  America's top fighter jet manufacturer Lockheed has said that it is open to help India in the production of the indigenously-designed light combat aircraft Tejas.
  •  Currently, the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is producing around eight Tejas annually and the defence ministry wants it to increase the number to 18 planes per year.
  • Lockheed Martin has a strong record of successful international industrial partnerships, many of which happen to be directly related to the F-16.
  • Lockheed has proposed to shift its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India, subject to it getting a major order from the Indian armed forces.

Lockheed Open to Help India in Production of Tejas

  •  America's top fighter jet manufacturer Lockheed has said that it is open to help India in the production of the indigenously-designed light combat aircraft Tejas.
  •  Currently, the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is producing around eight Tejas annually and the defence ministry wants it to increase the number to 18 planes per year.
  • Lockheed Martin has a strong record of successful international industrial partnerships, many of which happen to be directly related to the F-16.
  • Lockheed has proposed to shift its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India, subject to it getting a major order from the Indian armed forces.

Ginni Buys Zwing ERP Software

  •  Ginni Systems Pvt. Ltd., a retail software company, has acquired Pune-based Roxfortech Infosolutions' ERP product Zwing.
  • The strategic acquisition would add to the strength of Ginni Systems that already holds a significant market share with their flagship ERP software, Ginesys, that covers the entire retail value chain from manufacturing to distribution to retail.
  • Ginni Systems plan to invest $2 million in Zwing in the coming financial years.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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World's Biggest Gene Bank of Medicinal Plants

  •  Indian mint, Iranian saffron, Sri Lankan black pepper and mace from Indonesia, along with over 300 other spices and medicinal plants will have their genetic information profiled and saved at CSIR-CIMAP(Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants), Lucknow.
  •  Once established, it will be the biggest gene bank of medicinal and aromatic plants in the world.
  • These plants are native to the 23 countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The countries are represented by their consortium Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • Genetic bank refers to a collection of genetic information that is unique for all living species.
  • The programme titled, 'Diversity, documentation, gene banking and database for medicinal plants' is being attended by representatives of 11 IORA member countries.
  • The programme is being organised by the science and technology transfer wing of IORA. The wing has chosen the CIMAP as one of its regional centres for science and technology transfer.
  • The programme is being funded by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The members include countries of the gulf-Iran, Oman, UAE, Yemen- African sub continent, South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya- other south east Asian countries and Australia.

SPORTS

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Bajrang, Vinesh and Pooja Get Grade A Contracts

  •  Star wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat were included in the top Rs. 30 lakh Grade A along with Pooja Dhanda as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) rolled out its revolutionary contracts system for the grapplers.
  • Bajrang and Vinesh, who won the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games gold medals this year, will be kept in the top grade.
  • Pooja had become only the fourth Indian woman to win a medal at the World Championship recently.
  • Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, who are struggling with form could not make the top Grade.
  • They will figure in the Grade B, which will offer a financial support of Rs. 20 lakh for one year. 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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India Launches Passport Seva Project

  •  The Indian government has launched an initiative in major consulates in the US to simplify the overall passport applications procedure and reduce the turnaround time for applicants from 10 days to 48 hours or less.
  • The Passport Seva Project (PSP) prints Indian passports in the US and reduces turnaround for applicants.
  • The Consulate General of India, Houston, inaugurated the PSP in Houston along with a team led by Minister of State for External Affairs, General (Rtd) V. K. Singh.
  • The team has been in the US to launch the project at Indian Embassy, Washington DC and in five Consulates, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco.

IITS and IISC Lead Race for Patents

  •  The Indian Institutes of Technology in Bombay, Madras and Delhi, along with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, are at the forefront of centrally funded technical institutes leading in research and innovation this year.
  • According to latest data available with the human resource development (HRD) ministry, IIT Madras leads the race with 132 patents filed by its students and faculty this year.
  • IIT Mumbai is second with 104 patents as on November 25, IISc Bangalore is close behind with 101 patents and IIT Delhi has registered 96 patents.
  • Only three institutes had crossed the century mark last year, with IIT Mumbai registering 185 patents, IIT Madras 132 and IISc Bangalore 106.

Drones to Soon Transport Organs

  •  India could soon see the use of drones for transporting organs and other emergency medical supplies between hospitals under the new policy for remotely piloted aircraft, the official registration process for which began on Friday.
  • As per Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the government is examining the possibility of creating "drone ports" in hospitals to permit this kind of transportation.
  • Drone ports in hospitals can allow quick transportation of harvested organs to recipients under the Drone Policy 2.0 or the next generation of our policy that was recently announced.

DEFENCE

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Vigil Tightened Along Border

  •  With just a month to go before the Bangladesh Parliamentary elections, security has been tightened along the 856-km-long international border in Tripura to prevent anti-national elements from sneaking into Indian territory.
  • The election in the neighbouring country is scheduled to be held on December 30.
  • BSF Inspector-General Hemant Kumar Lohia said that the guarding forces on both sides of the border have been put on alert in view of the polls.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Hyundai Motor India Gets New MD

  •  Y.K. Koo, the present MD and CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) will be moving back to Korea to take up a new role after completing three-year term in India.
  •  He would be replaced by Seon Seob Kim, head of business operations division.
  • Mr. Koo had been with the Hyundai Motor Company for more than 34 years, handling different assignments. He has served HMIL for over nine years.

H.C. Gupta Convicted

  • A Delhi court convicted former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta in a corruption case relating to allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal during the previous UPA regime at the Centre.
  • Five others, including one retired and another serving public servant, K.S. Kropha and K.C. Samria, were held guilty for various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
  • Mr. Gupta, who was the Coal Secretary from December 31, 2005 to November 2008, has already been convicted before this in two other cases of coal block allocation in which he has been sentenced to jail for two and three years respectively. He is out on bail in both the cases.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey New Revenue Secretary

  •  UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey took over as the new Revenue Secretary, replacing Hasmukh Adhia who retired yesterday.
  • Pandey, a 1984-batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre will continue to head the Unique Identification authority of India (UIDAI) as its CEO and will also hold his position as the Chairman of GSTN.
  • Prior to joining UIDAI in 2010, Pandey played an important role in reforming power distribution system as Managing Director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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World AIDS Day

  •  World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
  • World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day.
  • As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.
  • According a report by UNICEF, India has the highest number of children and adolescents aged 0-19 with HIV in 2017, the highest number in South Asia. 

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Abhinav Conferred with Shooting's Highest Honour

  •  India's Olympic and world champion shooter Abhinav Bindra has been conferred the sport's highest honour for his outstanding services as the chairman of the International Shooting Sport Federation's Athletes Committee.
  • Bindra, India's lone individual Olympic gold medallist, has been bestowed with the Blue Cross, the ISSF's highest award.
  • He has also been awarded with the President's Button and the Diploma of Honour in January 2016 in appreciation for his outstanding career as an athlete and role model for shooters globally.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Uttarakhand's New Tourism Policy

  •  About two decades after its formation, Uttarakhand finally has its tourism policy that aims to 'facilitate reverse migration' to the fast emptying-out hills by promoting village-based tourism. The policy also aims to tap the hill state's potential for wellness and adventure tourism.
  • V. S. Chauhan, joint director, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board said that we have a tourism policy in place about 18 years after the state's formation. It is a comprehensive strategy that aims to tap the state's vast potential for eco-tourism, wellness as well as adventure tourism.
  • The policy aims to facilitate reverse migration to the fast emptying out hills by creating entrepreneurship avenues for the local youth in the tourism sector. 
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