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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

05 Dec 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Azov Sea Route Partially unblocked

  •  Russia has begun allowing some ships to enter Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov in what could signal an easing of tensions in the flashpoint area.
  • Ukraine has accused Moscow of blocking merchant vessels from entering and leaving the ports.
  • According to Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan, the Berdyansk and Mariupol Ports have been partially unblocked.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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India and the UAE Sign Currency Swap Deal

  •  India and the UAE signed two agreements, including one on currency swap, as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held exhaustive discussions with her counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed to step up bilateral cooperation in areas like security, defence, counter-terrorism, trade and energy.
  • This is the 12th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting for Economic and Technical Cooperation.
  • Currency Swap is such a pact between two countries that allows trading in their own currency and payments to import and export trade at pre-determined exchange rate without bringing in a third benchmark currency like the US dollars.

Kesoram Industries to Spin Off Tyre Unit

  •  B. K. Birla group company Kesoram Industries Ltd. (KIL) will de-merge its tyre business into a separate company. 
  • Post-merger, the resulting company, Birla Tyres Ltd. will be listed on the BSE and the NSE.
  •  KIL is now engaged in the manufacture of cement (Birla Shakti brand) and automotive tyres and tubes (Birla Tyres brand).

Yes Asset Management Forays into Mutual Fund Business

  •  Private sector lender Yes Bank's wholly-owned subsidiary 'Yes Asset Management' had received SEBI's approval to launch two mutual fund schemes.
  • Yes Asset Management (India) is the latest Indian company to enter the mutual fund segment. The asset management company will launch two schemes, Yes Liquid Fund and Yes Ultra Short Term Fund.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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Womb Transplant from Dead Donor

  •  As per reports, a woman in Brazil who received a womb transplanted from a deceased donor has given birth to a baby girl in the first successful case of its kind.
  • It comes after 10 previously known cases of uterus transplants from deceased donors, in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey, failed to produce a live birth.
  • Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at Brazil's Sao Paulo University hospital who led the research, said that the transplant carried out in September 2016 when the recipient was 32, shows the technique is feasible and could offer women with uterine infertility access to a larger pool of potential donors.

India Launches Heaviest Satellite

  •  India's heaviest satellite GSAT 11 was successfully launched by the European commercial launch provider Arianespace from Kourou space centre, French Guiana.
  • GSAT 11 is an advanced communication satellite. It is the largest and heaviest satellite built by ISRO. It will fulfil most needs of providing broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible gram panchayats under the "BharatNet project."
  • The satellite is the third of the four satellites that will give high-speed broadband connectivity to all parts of India, bridging the rural and urban divide. Two satellites, the GSAT 19 and 29, have already been launched and the fourth GSAT 20 will be launched later next year.

Scientists Discover New Exoplanets

  •  Scientists have discovered a cache over 100 new exoplanets using data from NASA's Kepler Space telescope as well as ground-based observatories.
  • The diverse planets are expected to play a large role in developing the research field of exoplanets and life in the universe.
  • Exoplanets, which revolve around stars other than the sun, have been actively researched in recent years.

SPORTS

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Gautam Gambhir Announces Retirement

  •  Former India opener Gautam Gambhir announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. 
  • In a career that spanned 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20 internationals for the Indian cricket team, Gambhir went on to win two global titles.
  • He was the top scorer for India in both the 2007 ICC WT20 final as well as the 2011 ICC World Cup final.
  • Gambhir is the only Indian and one of four international cricketers to have scored hundreds in five consecutive Test matches.
  • He was conferred the Arjuna Award, India's second highest sporting award, in the year 2008 by the President of India.
  • In 2009, he was the number one ranked batsman in ICC Test rankings. The same year, he was the recipient of the ICC Test Player of the Year award.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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India to Allow Business Visa Extension

  •  India has decided to allow extension of business visa for up to 15 years and conversion of a regular visa into medical category in an emergency for a foreigner.
  • As per Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the number of e-visas issued has seen a tremendous growth during the last four years from 5.17 lakh in 2015 to 21 lakh till November 30 this year.

DEFENCE

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Higher Military Service Pay Rejected

  •  The government has rejected a long-standing demand of the armed forces for higher Military Service Pay (MSP) for around one lakh personnel including Junior Commissioned Officers.
  • The MSP was introduced to the services recognising their unique service conditions and hardships.
  • At present, the MSP has two categories, one for officers and another for JCOs and jawans.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Uma Bharti Won't Contest 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

  •  Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti has declared that she will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • The former Madhya Pradesh leader, however, clarified that she would not retire from active politics.
  • She said that she would take a break from active politics to focus on the issue of Ram temple and cleanliness of river Ganga. 

DAYS AND EVENTS

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Indian Navy Day

  •  Navy Day in India is celebrated on 4th December every year to celebrate the achievements and role of the naval force to the country.
  • The Indian Navy is the marine branch of the Indian Armed Forces and is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief.
  • The Maratha Emperor, Chhatarpati Shivaji Bhosle of the 17th century is considered as "Father of the Indian Navy".
  • Navy Day in India is celebrated to commemorate the courageous attack on the Karachi harbour during the Indo-Pakistan war (on 4th December 1971) by the Indian Naval Missile boats as well as to reverence all the martyrs of that war.
  • It is celebrated using a particular theme (like "Safe Seas and Secure Coasts for a strong Nation") of the year for making it more powerful and potent.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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The First Book about a Stock Market

  •  The first book known to be written about a stock exchange went on sale at Sotheby's Rare Books and Manuscripts online auction, carrying an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
  •  Written by Joseph Penso de la Vega in 1688, the Confusion of Confusions is a primer for the Amsterdam stock exchange, which was set up by the Dutch East India Company in 1602.
  • The book remained relatively obscure until the late 19th century, when a series of economists, first German, then Dutch, began to draw on the text; the first translation appeared in English in 1959. Today a copy is available in hardcover for less than $30. 
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