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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

02 Dec 2018


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Romania Celebrates 100th Birthday

  •  Thousands turned out to celebrate 100 years since Romania became a modern-day state, amid concerns about rule of law and the state of democracy. Romania's 100th National Day marks the country's unification in 1918.
  • Romania's full independence had been recognised in 1878  but it was not until December 1, 1918, in the city of Alba Iulia, when Romania was united with Transylvania area. National Day has been celebrated on December 1 since 1990, after the fall of the communist regime. 

Major Changes Proposed to H-1B Visa Application

  •  The Trump Administration has proposed major chagnes to the H-1B application process, including a new rule requiring companies to electronically register their petitions in advance, aimed at awarding this popular American work visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers. 
  • The H-1B visa has a numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. 


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India Presents a 9-point Agenda to G-20 countries

  •  India presented a nine-point agenda to G-20 countries, calling for "strong and active cooperation" among them to comprehensively deal with fugitive economic offenders. PM Narendra Modi presented the agenda in the second session of the G-20 Summit on International trade, financial and tax systems. 
  • PM Narendra Modi announced that India will host the G-20 summit in 2022, the year the country would celebrate the 75th year of Independence.  

Banks Strike over Mergers

  •  A day after Indian Banks' Association (IBA) raised its wage hike offer to 8 percent from 6 percent, the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) called a nationwide strike on December 26 against bank mergers and pay revision.
  •  UFBU, the consortium of nine unions in the banking sector, is opposed to the merger of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank. 


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Force India F1 Team Renamed

  •  The new owners of the Force India F1 team, who saved the team from going into administration, have renamed it as Racing Point F1. 
  • The publication of the entry list for next year's F1 calendar confirmed this development. This means that Force India will not be part of the starting grid for the coming season, a first in 11 years. 
  • Force India, which was the only F1 team named after a country, was given this name in 2008 after Vijay Mallya and his Dutch partner Michel Mol bought Spyker F1 team. 

Vinesh Phogat Grabs 57kg Title

  • Vinesh Phogat capped a highly successful season by grabbing the 57kg title while Sakshi Malik ended a terrible year by emerging champion in the 62kg category at the Senior National Championship. 


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SC Dismisses Petition Regarding NJAC

  •  The Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking review of its October 2015 verdict that declared National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) unconstitutional and revived the Collegium system of judicial appointments.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the review petition filed by the National Lawyers' Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms, saying it was delayed and devoid of merit. 
  •  In accordance with the practice followed in the Supreme Court, the review petition was taken up 'in chamber' and it was dealt with 'by circulation' without advocates being allowed to advance arguments.
  • The review of the 2015 verdict was primarily sought on the ground that it went against the doctrine of separation of powers as the top court assumed the role of both Parliament and the Executive.
  •  It has resulted in a "ridiculous scenario" where Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution (which deal with appointment of SC and HC judges) were to be read diametrically opposite to what they stated, the review petitioner contended. However, the review Bench - which also included Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph (since retired), AM Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan - was not convinced.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench had on October 16, 2015 struck down the NJAC Act, 2014 and revived the Collegium system under which a panel of top judges appoint judges of the Supreme Court and high courts following a 1993 verdict that reduced the role of the executive to mere checking of antecedents and issuance of formal warrant of appointment.

Mufti Writes to PM Modi to Open Sharada Peeth Pilgrimage

  •  Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to initiate the process of opening the Sharada Peeth pilgrimage on the lines of the Kartarpur corridor.
  • The ancient Sharada Temple across the line of Control in the PoK is of immense significance for Kashmiri Pandits. 

Maharashtra Government Notifies 16% Maratha Quota

  •  The Maharashtra government issued a gazette notification confirming 16% reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and education.
  • With this, the Marathas, who form around 30% of the state's population, can get reserved seats in government jobs, in addition to aided and unaided educational institutes in the state, with immediate effect.
  • The state legislature had cleared the Maratha quota bill. The bill got the assent of the Maharashtra governor C. Vidyasagar Rao.
  • The move has effectively increased the caste-based quota in Maharashtra to 68%, breaching the Supreme Court-mandated cap on caste-based reservation of 50%. The quota is likely to face a legal challenge, with OBC groups planning to move court.


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Iran Launches Stealth Warship

  •  Iran's navy launched a domestically made destroyer, which has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the US.
  • The Sahand destroyer, which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply, rejoined Iran's regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. 
  • The Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters, torpedo launchers, anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and electronic warfare capabilities.
  • Iran launched its first locally made destroyer in 2010 as part of a programme to revamp its navy equipment.


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Republic Day Chief Guest

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of G20 summit and invited him to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Celebrations next year, which also marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The South African leader accepted the invitation to grace the occassion. 

British Minister Quits over Brexit Deal

  •  British government minister Sam Gyimah quit over Prime Minister Theresa May's "naive" Brexit plan dealing her another blow in fight to pass it through parliament.
  • The universities and science Minister is the seventh member of May's government to quit since she brought back the draft Withdrawal Agreement from Brussels. 


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Haryana Government to Give Pension to HIV Positive

  •  The Haryana government has decided to give a monthly pension of Rs. 2,300 to each HIV-Positive persons in the state.
  • Besides, six facilitation-integrated anti-retroviral therapy (FIART) centres have been opened in different parts of the state to facilitate the increasing number of HIV- positive cases. 
  • This was started by Dr. Veena Singh, the Project Director of the Haryana state AIDS Control Society, while addressing a state-level event organised to mark World AIDS day on the premises of PGIMS. 


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Fifth Edition of Urdu Fest

  •  The fifth edition of Jashn-e-Rekhta, touted as one of the world's biggest Urdu language festivals, will begin on December 14 with an address by popular Hindu poet Morari Bapu, also an exponent of Ramcharitmanas - a 16th century epic.
  • The highlight of the three-day festival, which will be held at Dhyan Chand Stadium near India Gate, would be a poetry competition (mushaira) for women and a Ramlila performance in Urdu.
  • The organisers said that the event aims at uniting Urdu lovers and engage, enlighten and entertain audiences from diverse backgrounds.
  • In the next two days, a discussion with Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi will bring to fore the life and works of Jan Nisar Akhtar, Javed's father and Kaifi Azmi, Shabana's father.
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