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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

06 Dec 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Putin Threatens to Develop Nuclear Missiles

  •  Vladimir Putin threatened to develop nuclear missiles banned under a treaty with the United States after Washington gave Moscow a deadline to comply with the key arms control agreement.
  • The latest spike in tensions came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington would withdraw from a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms within 60 days if Russia does not dismantle missiles that the US claims breach the deal.
  • Putin dismissed Pompeo's statement as a smokescreen, and said that Washington had already decided to ditch the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).
  • According to Putin, about a dozen countries were now producing mid-range missiles of the type banned by the INF treaty.

Yemen Peace Talks

  •  Yemeni government representatives were expected to join a rebel delegation in Sweden for high-stake peace talks aimed at ending four years of devastating war.
  • The first Yemen talks since 2016 are widely seen as the best chance yet for peace, as the international community throws its weight behind efforts to resolve a conflict that has pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine. 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Supplementary Budget Tabled in Uttarakhand Assembly

  •  The Uttarakhand government tabled its supplementary budget of Rs. 2,452.41 crore in the assembly to meet the additional expenditure for the financial year 2018-19.
  • In an attempt to appease the salaried class and farmers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the government has allocated a major portion of the budget for revenue expenditure and agriculture sector.
  • The annual budget with an outlay of Rs. 45,585.09 crore was presented in March this year.
  • The supplementary budget was presented by Finance Minister Prakash Pant.
  • Allocations have been made to almost all sectors but the focus is primarily on key sectors such as horticulture, animal husbandry, agriculture, rural development, education and health.

Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Review

  •  The Reserve Bank of India has left the key interest rate or the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% during the fifth bimonthly monetary policy review, which was on expected lines, while maintaining the 'calibrated tightening' stance though it reduced the inflation projection sharply.
  • All the six members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted in favour of status quo on repo rate while only one member R.H. Dholakia voted for change in the stance to neutral.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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World's first Telerobotic Coronary Intervention

  •  India became the first country to perform a telerobotic coronary surgery on human. The "first-in-human" telerobotic coronary intervention was performed by Padma Shree and noted cardiologist Dr. Tejal Patel on a middle-aged woman who had volunteered for the first experimental coronary stenting. 
  • Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was present at the console in the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar from where Dr. Patel with remote control was conducting the surgery on the patient 32 km away at Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad.
  •  It took just 15 minutes to complete the telerobotic coronary intervention. 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Legal Divisions in Ministries

  •  Every ministry and department of the Central Government will soon have a legal division of its own, as the Ministry of Law and Justice has mooted a proposal in this regard with an aim to minimise litigation and time consumption in decision-making.
  • The move is in line with the present government's intent to restructure the legal apparatus at its disposal for implementing a rule-based regime.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Ogilvy's Next Global Creative Chief

  •  Advertising giant Ogilvy appointed Piyush Pandey as its next global chief creative officer to work in partnership with chief executive officer John Seifert and lead the company's global creative efforts.
  • Pandey who has three decades of experience in advertising, will be chief creative officer, worldwide, in Ogilvy from January 1, 2019.
  • He has been executive chairman and creative director (South Asia) in Ogilvy, owned by WPP Plc, the British advertising and marketing company.

South Africa's Prosecuting Authority Head

  •  Indian-origin lawyer Shamila Batohi has been appointed to head South Africa's prosecuting authority, the first woman to head the agency.
  •  She will start her new role as the National Director of Public Prosecutions in February 2019.

Milan Paleja to Step Down

  •  As per drug firm Novartis India, its vice chairman and managing director Milan Paleja has decided to step down from the company, with effect from May 31, 2019.
  • The company's board has requested the nomination and remuneration committee to identify and recommend a suitable successor for the role.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Sahitya Akademi Award

  •  Tamil writer, traveller, essayist and scriptwriter S. Ramakrishnan has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2018 for his novel 'Sancharam,' which captures the lives of nagaswaram players in karisal bhoomi, the arid land, of Tamil Nadu.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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India's First Witness Protection Scheme

  •  The Supreme Court brought in place a witness protection regime in the country noting that one of the main reasons for witnesses turning hostile is that they are not given security by the State.
  • As per Justices A. K. Sikri and S. Abdul Nazeer, the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 will come into effect immediately across all States.
  • Under it, witness protection may be as simple as providing a police escort to the witness up to the courtroom or, in more complex cases involving an organised criminal group, taking extraordinary measures such as offering temporary residence in a safe house, giving a new identity, and relocation at an undisclosed place.

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

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Taj Group of Hotels Eyes Expansion

  •  The Taj Group of Hotels has announced plans to expand their projects in Punjab in a big way.
  • According to a Punjab Government press note, the company has identified about 10 projects for expanding its business in the state. This was disclosed by Tata Sons' chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran during a meeting with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
  • The Chief Minister asked Tata Sons to come out with a detailed project report for its proposed project on the rejuvenation of Chhoti Nadi and Badi Nadi river bodies in Patiala. He handed over to the company chairman a formal letter of mandate for the same.  

Cox & Kings Starts New Segment

  •  Cox & Kings Ltd. has started a new business called 'Tour to Feast' to promote food-related travel across India's popular culinary destinations.
  • Each of these journeys is designed and accompanied by hand-picked experts who will take travellers through the evolution of the indigenous cuisines of each region.
  • According to Debolin Sen, head, Tour to Feast, the distinctly crafted tours give travellers a taste of a region's culture through its cuisine. To begin with, Tour to Feast will offer journeys across the most popular culinary destinations in India
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