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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

27 Dec 2018

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Afghanistan Postponed 2019 Presidential Election

  •  Afghanistan's presidential election, initially scheduled for April, has been postponed to allow time to fix technical problems that surfaced during October's parliamentary elections.
  • As per Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, deputy spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, more time is needed to verify voter lists and train staff on a biometric identification system designed to reduce fraud. 

Japan Announces IWC Withdrawal

  •  Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission and will resume commercial whaling next year. The move is expected to spark international criticism.
  • The announcement comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling.
  • As per reports, commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan's territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.
  • The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world's whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Manufacturing Posted Strong Sales Growth

  •  As per RBI, the manufacturing sector, particularly the textile, iron and steel segments, maintained the pace of sales growth in the second quarter of 2018-19 compared with the year-earlier period.
  • Demand conditions in the manufacturing sector maintained its pace in the September quarter 2018-19 as reflected in strong sales growth (year-on-year), as per the RBI analysis of 2,700 listed private sector non-financial companies. 

RBI's Economic Capital Framework Panel

  •  The Reserve Bank of India, in consultation with the government, has set up a six-member committee to review the economic capital framework of the central bank.
  • Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan will be the committee's chairman and former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan deputy chairman.
  • The other members are Economic Affairs Secretary Subash Chandra Garg, RBI Deputy Governor N. S. Vishwanathan and two board members of the RBI, Bharat Doshi and Sudhir Mankad.

US-made GE Locomotives to Railways

  •  Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone concluded the import and delivery of 50 U.S.- made GE locomotives to the Railways.
  • They were manufactured by GE Electromotive Division in the U.S. and imported to Mundra Port.
  • The final locomotive was handed over to the Railways at the Roza Loco Shed (U.P.).

Nepal Imposed Limit on Expenditure of its Citizens in India

  •  Nepal imposed a monthly limit on the amount of Indian currency its citizen can spend in India. 
  • As per a spokesperson of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), a visiting Nepali citizen would not be able to spend more than Rs. 1 lakh every month while paying for goods and services in India and that the decision was taken to deal with the current account deficit of Nepal.
  • The announcement is a historic first as it is the first time that Kathmandu has enforced such a limit on individual Nepali citizens and businessmen in India.
  • The policy is applicable to prepaid, credit and debit cards of Nepali banks.

Norms Tightened for E-commerce Firms

  •  Tightening norms for e-commerce firms like Flipkart and Amazon, the government took host of steps and barred them from selling products of the companies in which they have stake.
  • The commerce and industry ministry also prohibited e-commerce companies from entering into an agreement for exclusive sale of products.
  • An entity having equity participation by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, or having control on its inventory by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, will not be permitted to sell its products on the platform run by such marketplace entity.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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USTAD Robot for Safety and Maintenance

  •  The Nagpur Division of Indian Railways has made an in-house robot that can help the Railways maintain safety and security of its passengers through artificial intelligence.
  • The Undergear Surveillance Through Artificial Intelligence Assisted Droid (USTAD) robot can go under the Railway coaches to check for deeper details related to security and maintenance of the train.
  • It can thoroughly test the locomotive for any technical faults and inform the Railway maintenance authority in case of any fault.
  • The artificial intelligence used in the robot will also help in repair work.

SPORTS

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Heena Equals Air Pistol World Mark

  •  Heena Sidhu shot a world record equalling 587 in women's 10m air pistol qualification in the shooting National selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range.
  • Anna Korakaki of Greece had earlier shot the record in the World Cup in Fort Benning, US, in May this year.

Solo Trek across Antarctica

  •  Colin O'Brady, an American adventurer, became the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.
  • He took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) crossing of the frozen continent from north to south.
  • In 1996-97, a Norwegian polar explorer, Borge Ousland, made the first solo crossing of Antarctica but he was wind-aided by kites on his voyage.

DEFENCE

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Successful Test of Hypersonic Missile

  •  Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the final test of a hypersonic missile, which he had earlier said would render existing missile systems obsolete.
  • The Ministry of Defence prepared and conducted a final test of this system on Putin's instructions.
  • Russia has a new type of strategic weapon. The intercontinental "Avangard" system would be ready for use from 2019.
  • The hypersonic missile can fly at 20 times the speed of sound and manoeuvre up and down, meaning that it could breach defence systems.
  • The final test comes after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to pull out of a key Cold War-era nuclear weapons pact, the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). 

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Bijay Kumar Appointed Deputy MD

  •  Cash-strapped Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) appointed retired Indian Administrative Service official Bijay Kumar as deputy managing director of the company.
  • The company has also appointed N. Srinivasan as non-executive director of the company.

Rajesh Subramaniam Named FedEx President

  •  Indian-American Rajesh Subramaniam has been named as the president and chief executive officer of US multinational courier delivery giant FedEx Express.
  • Subramaniam, currently the executive vice president, chief marketing and communications officer of FedEx Corporation, will assume his new role on January 1, 2019.
  • He replaces David L Cunningham at the Tennessee-headquartered company.

Air Marshal Rajeev Sachdeva

  •  Air Marshal Rajeev Sachdeva has taken over as the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations).
  • He has earlier served in three out of the four wings of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) headquarters.
  • He was commissioned as an Indian Air Force pilot in December 1981. 
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