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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

04 Dec 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Immigration Centre at Kartarpur Border

  • Pakistan has set up a border check post with an immigration office in the Kartarpur section of the border with India in Narowal District.
  • According to Mufakhar Adeel, deputy director of the Federal Investigation Agency, the border crossing could be an easy target for terrorists, human traffickers and drug dealers. A strong mechanism is required to keep the situation under control on both sides of the border.

US-China Relations Take a Big Leap

  •  US President Donald Trump said that America's relationship with China has taken a "big leap forward" and he was willing to have a trilateral discussion involving Russia to reduce the arms race, a day after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina.
  • During the meeting, Xi and Trump agreed to suspend any new tariffs and take steps to address the trade disputes, which over the past few months had threatened to spill over into a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The First Visit by a Turkish Leader to Venezuela

  •  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heaped praise on Venezuela's embattled socialist leader as political and economic ties between the two countries blossom.
  • Erdogan took the stage with President Nicolas Maduro in the first visit by a Turkish leader to Venezuela. He stopped in Caracas after attending the G20 Summit in Argentina.
  • According to the Turkish President, Venezuela's government has been unfairly hit by international sanctions amid its economic crisis, punishing an entire nation.
  • The United States and several European nations have sanctioned Maduro's administration in an attempt to pressure Venezuela into making a return to democratic ways.

ENVIRONMENT

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Motor Vehicles Act Amended

  •  In a bid to promote bio-fuel run vehicles, the government issued a notification amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 to include dual-fuel vehicles for agricultural tractors and construction equipment vehicles.
  • Agriculture tractors, power tillers, construction equipment vehicles and combine harvesters can now be converted to run on bio-fuels.
  • According to the notification, dual-fuel with primary fuel as diesel and secondary fuel as CNG, Bio-CNG and LNG has been added in section 115 A of the Act.
  • According to the section, every agricultural tractor and construction equipment vehicle manufactured shall be maintained and used by its owner in such condition that visible and gaseous pollutants emitted by them comply with the standards prescribed in this rule.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Instant Payout Facility Launched

  •  ICICI Securities, along with the BSE, has launched a facility wherein clients of the domestic brokerage entity would be able to receive the pay-out within 30 minutes of selling the shares.
  • This is much quicker than the current system in which it takes at least two days after the transaction for investors to get the money in their bank account.
  • The facility, called eATM, is available to all clients of ICICI Securities. The new service would have a cap of Rs. 50,000 per client a day, and would be applicable on about 600 stocks listed on the BSE. 

Qatar Says Will Exit OPEC

  •  According to Saad al-Kaabi, the country's Energy Minister, Qatar is withdrawing from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019.
  • The decision to withdraw from OPEC came after Qatar reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan its long-term strategy.
  • Oil prices soared by around 5 percent after the United States and China agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war, and ahead of a meeting this week by OPEC that is expected to result in a supply cut.
  • At the meeting, the producer group, along with non-OPEC member Russia, is expected to announce cuts aimed at reining in a production overhang that has pulled down crude prices by around a third since October.

TVS Motor Sales Rise

 
  • TVS Motor Company registered a growth of 27% with total sales increasing from 2,51,965 units in November 2017 to 3,19,965 units in November 2018.

NTPC Crosses Generation Milestone

  •  NTPC has generated 5 trillion units of electricity as on November 30 from its power stations spread across the country since inception.
  • The power major with an installed capacity of 52,946 MW has 20 coal-based, 7 gas-based, 11 solar PV, 1 hydro, 1 small hydro, 1 wind and 9 subsidiaries/joint venture power stations. 

Unilever to Acquire GSK Health Food Portfolio

  •  Anglo-Dutch FMCG giant Unilever said that it will acquire health food and drinks portfolio of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in India and over 20 other markets predominantly in Asia for a consideration of 3.1 billion pounds.
  • As part of the transaction, Unilever's Indian arm, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) will acquire GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (GSK CH India) via an all-equity merger, valuing the total business of the latter at Rs. 31,700 crore.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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Material to Help Soldiers Avoid Detection by Enemy Developed

  •  Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) have developed textile-based meta-materials that can help defence personnel and vehicles avoid being detected by enemy radars.
  • The project was supported by the Defence Research Development Organisation, the department of science and technology, and IIT-K.
  •  It was carried out by Kumar Vaibhav Srivastava of the electrical engineering department and J. Ramkumar of the mechanical engineering department of the institute.
  • The material can be used as uniforms for personnel and skirting or covering ground vehicles to avoid their detection by the enemy's advanced battlefield radars, motion-detecting ground sensors and thermal imaging systems.
  • The material is flexible and can be customised for different climates.

Russia's First Manned Voyage to ISS

  •  A Russian-made Soyuz rocket blasted a three-man crew into orbit, beginning the first manned voyage to the International Space Station since a mission in October was aborted mid-air because of a rocket malfunction.
  • The Soyuz MS-11 flight lifted off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.
  • The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the United States retired the space shuttle in 2011.
  • Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on board in 2013. 

SPORTS

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Hockey World Cup 2018

  •  The match between France and Spain ended in a 1-1 draw.
  • The result keeps the hopes alive for both teams to make it to the crossover stage in a group headed by Argentina. 
  • Olympic champions Argentina beat New Zealand 3-0 to inch closer towards a direct quarter-final spot at the men's hockey World Cup.

2018 Ballon d'Or

  •  Real Madrid`s Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was named winner of the 2018 Ballon d'Or, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo`s and Lionel Messi's decade-long hold on the prestigious award.
  • Juventus forward and 2017 winner Ronaldo came second, while Atletico Madrid and France striker Antoine Griezmann came third.
  •  Paris St Germain`s France forward Kylian Mbappe, who collected the Kopa Award for the best under-21 player, was fourth, with Barca forward Messi finishing fifth.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Ludhiana Airport Proposal Cleared

  •  The Punjab Cabinet cleared the proposal to set up an international airport at Halwara in Punjab's Ludhiana district.
  • The airport will be set up on 135 acres of land in coordination with the Airports Authority of India.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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The Woman who made 'friendly contact' with Andaman's Sentinelese

  •  Madhumala Chattopadhya has a desk job at the ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in New Delhi. But nearly 30 years ago, Chattopadhay, an anthropologist, was one of the first people to make 'friendly' contact with the North Sentinelese tribes people.
  •  In 1989, she received a fellowship from the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct research in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Chattopadhyay, who lived there till 1996, has published a book and written papers on most of the six tribes, who have lived on the islands for thousands of years.
  • Currently, all six tribes, the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas and Sentinelese on Andaman, and Shompen and Nicobarese on Nicobar, live on reserved land, and no one can visit them without permission from the authorities.
  • The 50-odd sq. km North Sentinel Island is home to an estimated 80 to 150 people.

Yes Bank Appoints Vijayan to Board

  •  Yes Bank has appointed former Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) chairman T.S. Vijayan as an independent director on the board of the private sector bank with immediate effect.
  •  Mr. Vijayan has been given a five-year term.

New Finance Secretary

  •  A. N. Jha, Secretary, Expenditure, has been appointed as the new Finance Secretary.
  • Jha has replaced Hasmukh Adhia, a 1981-batch Gujarat cadre officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), who retired on November 30.
  • Ajay Narayan Jha is a 1982-batch IAS officer of Manipur Tripura cadre.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

  •  Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been annually observed on 3rd December around the world.
  •  The theme for this year's IDPD is "Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality".
  • This theme focuses on the empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The 2030 Agenda, pledging to "leave no one behind," is an ambitious plan of action of the international community towards a peaceful and prosperous world, where dignity of an individual person and equality among all is applied as the fundamental principle, cutting across the three pillars of the work of the United Nations: Development, Human Rights and Peace and Security.
  • It is critical to ensure, in this regard, the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disabilities.
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