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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

03 Dec 2018

ENVIRONMENT

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Delhi's New Draft Policy on E-Vehicles

The Delhi government has put its new draft policy on electric vehicles which sets an ambitious target of electrifying 25% of all new vehicles registered by 2023 in public domain for suggestions. Electric vehicles can help because they have zero tailpipe emissions and can reduce the dangerous nitrogen-oxide and particulate matter in the air. They also offer quieter and smoother rides. The new draft policy's focus on electrifying two-wheelers, besides auto rickshaws, cabs, goods carriers and public buses, could address a big problem.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Whatsapp Seeks RBI Nod

  •  Whatsapp chief Chris Daniels has written to the Reserve Bank of India seeking a formal nod to expand payments services to all its 200 million users in India.
  • The messaging app continues to wait for a regulatory clearance to launch full-fledged payments operations in India. The development comes at a time when competitors such as Google have forged ahead with their payments offerings. 

Russia Nudges Indian Policy Makers to Use Alternative Currencies

  • To counter US President Donald Trump's economic sanctions, snap trade wars and the dollar's dominance in world trade, Russia is nudging Indian policymakers to explore ways to stop depending on the greenback and conduct trade in alternative currencies.
  • An underlying reason behind the US's ability to enforce sanctions and its economic agenda on a global scale has to do with the greenback's pre-eminent status as a currency of choice for international trade. When two countries trade goods or services, they will most likely pay each other in dollars, which are then either changed back into local currency or even held in dollar reserves.
  • In the two-hour discussion witnessed by this correspondent, the Russians proposed to the Indian side if they could think of moving away from the dollar.
  • India has signed up for massive military purchases from Russia, including S-400 missiles and warships. The first payments for the Rs. 39,000-crore missile deal will be due soon.

Microsoft Returns to the Top

  •   Microsoft is back at the top of the technology world following an extraordinary comeback to close the gap with Apple, some three years into a transformation of the onetime leader by chief executive Satya Nadella.
  • Microsoft regained its title as the world's most valuable company when it closed Friday at a higher market value than Apple for the first time since 2010, after a brief move ahead of the iPhone maker earlier in the week.
  • At Friday's close, Microsoft's market capitalization was $851.2 billion, having tripled in value since Nadella took over in early 2014.
  • Apple's valuation stood at $847.4 billion, having dropped some 20 percent in the past eight weeks. Not far behind were Amazon ($826 billion) and Google parent Alphabet ($763 billion).
  • In the 1990s, Microsoft held the crown as the top tech firm and most valuable company as it powered the revolution in personal computers with its Windows operating system.
  • But in recent years, it appeared headed to obscurity after spectacular failures in mobile computing, while Apple, Google and Amazon saw their fortunes rise.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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First Locomotive-less Train Breaches 180 kmph Speed Limit

  •  India's first locomotive- less train, known as Train 18, breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run. When this 100-crore indigenously designed train is made operational, it will become the country's fastest train.
  • The train breached the 180 kmph speed in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. 

SPORTS

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IAAF puts India in 'high doping risk' category

  • There has been a spate of doping cases in Indian athletics of late, and as per world athletics federation's (IAAF) new anti-doping rules, severe sanctions could be imposed on national federations for violations. 
  • The IAAF, during its meeting earlier this month, updated its anti-doping rules. Nations have been classified into three groups as per their doping history and international success.
  •  Due to high doping risk and low success at international level India have been clubbed in group B. Nations with high doping risk and high success level are in category A. Countries with low success at international level and low doping risk are in group C
  • There will be an annual review and any significant rise in doping will see federations put on category A.
  • As per the new rules, which will come into effect in January, sanctions will be imposed on federations for positive dope cases and participation in international events, World Championships and even Olympics, could be in jeopardy depending on the number of violations.
  • Since 2012, more than 100 Indian athletes, including some high profile names, have failed dope tests. If three or more athletes fail tests within a span of 12 months in international meets, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) will be at risk of facing sanctions.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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First Ever Formal Meeting for Opposition Parties

  •  The first-ever formal meeting of political parties opposed to the BJP has been scheduled for December 10 on the eve of the winter session of Parliament. The meeting also comes a day before votes for the five assemblies will be counted. 
  • Coordinated by TDP Chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the meeting of leaders belonging to the Congress, NCP, Left, SP, BSP, NC, JD(S) and Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal, among others, is the firs major attempt to work on a plan ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

India to Host First G-20 in 2022

  • For the first time, India will host the annual G-20 summit in 2022, coinciding with the country's 75th anniversary of Independence. 
  • PM Modi thanked Italy for allowing India to play the host. Italy was to host the international forum of the world's top 20 economies in 2022. The 14th edition will be held in Japan, while Saudi Arabia will host the 15th. 

DEFENCE

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Nirmala Sitharaman to chart course for India-US tri-service military exercise

  •  Days after the apex Japan-India-America (JAI) trilateral meeting on Indo-Pacific on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be visiting the US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii to review military-to-military relations and chart the course for the first ever India-US tri-service military exercise off in Bay of Bengal in May-June, 2019. 
  • According to Indian and US diplomats familiar with the agenda of her visit, Sitharaman will be meeting her US counterpart James Mattis on December 3 to follow-up on the tri-lateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe and prepare grounds for sharing of information in the Indo-Pacific theatre through the secure COMCASA network.
  • India recently signed a deal allowing it to become part of this network. With Japan, the US, Australia, and India all flying the P-8I anti-submarine surveillance aircraft, the Indo-Pacific theatre has become transparent for the QUAD grouping (of which these four countries are part) also as military information can now be exchanged through the secure network.
  • This new network will be put to test during the tri-service amphibious exercise off the Indian seaboard next summer with all elements of Indo-Pacific command participating with their respective Indian military elements.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Bangladesh EC Rejects Papers of Khaleda Zia

  •  The Election Commission rejected the nomination papers of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, from three constituencies, citing her conviction in two corruption cases.
  • The decision came four days after the High Court ruled that a person jailed for more than two years cannot contest. 

Sunil Arora Appointed as Chief Election Commissioner

  •  Seniormost Election Commissioner Sunil Arora took charge as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), a day after Om Prakash Rawat demitted the office. 
  • Sunil Arora is the 23rd CEC, and was appointed an Election Commissioner on August 31, 2017.
  • The 62-year old former bureaucrat will have a tenure till October 2021. This means that besides the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019, he will also lead the poll panel in conducting Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim. 

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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9-Lakh Preventable C-Sections in Private Hospitals

  •  There were as many as nine lakh "preventable" unplanned Caesarean section (C-section) deliveries out of 70 lakh in private hospitals in India in one year, driven mainly by "financial incentives" , according to a study by Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
  • Such medically unjustified births not just cause large out-of-pocket expenses, but also delayed breastfeeding, lower birth-weight, respiratory morbidities, among other troubles for the new-borns.
  • The study is titled "Too much care? Private Health Care sector and surgical interventions during child birth in India", and was carried out by IIM-A faculty member Ambrish Dongre and doctoral student Mitul Surana. 

JNU Mulls Diploma Course on Ambedkar

 Jawahar Lal Nehru University is mulling an online diploma course on BR Ambedkar's principles and his contribution to socio-economic development of the country in collaboration with Dr Ambedkar International Centre (DAIC) 

Expenditure on Special Kids to be Reimbursed

  •  The HRD Ministry has given directions to all schools in the country that the expenditure incurred on books, uniforms, and transport of children with disabilities would be reimbursed.
  • Besides, girl child will be given Rs. 200 per month. 

A+ NAAC Rating for Delhi University

  •  Delhi University has been ranked A+ in National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) review, held in the last week of October.
  •  DU got a cumulative grade point average of 3.28.
  • The CGPA for A++ accreditation is between 3.51 to 4. 

ART AND CULTURE

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Khalsa College 's Sikh Centre to Digitise Painting

  •  Khalsa College is set to launch the second phase of digitisation of rare photographs, paintings, and important documents at the Sikh History Research Centre on the campus. 
  • Manuscripts and handwritten documents were digitised during the first phase. The second phase will focus on digitisation of images related to Sikh heritage.
  • These include photographs of heroes of the two World Wars, pictures of gurudwaras in Pakistan clicked in the 19 century, and paintings of Sikh warriors such as Hari Singh Nalwa. 
  • The museum displaying documents of historical importance, weapons, coins and historical artefacts is also being upgraded at the centre. 
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