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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

10 Jan 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Envoys from 12 Countries Visited Xinjiang

  •  China took diplomats from 12 countries with a large Muslim population, including India and Pakistan, to its Xinjiang province where tens of thousands of Uighur Muslims have been interned in education camps.
  • The envoys, from Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Kuwait and many other countries, visited local markets, educational institutes, mosques, factories, as well as vocational and training centres.

ENVIRONMENT

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NDMC to Rent Out Electric Scooters

  •  After the success of smart bikes, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) plans to extend the rental concept to e-scooters for last mile connectivity in its area by end of September.
  • The project will be implemented in two phases in NDMC's jurisdiction. In the first phase, 500 e-scooters will be procured and provided on rent at 50 stations while the remaining 500 will be made available in second phase by December 2019.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Pfizer Plans to Shut Two Units

  •  U.S.-based pharma major Pfizer plans to shut down its manufacturing units in Chennai and Aurangabad in the current fiscal due to very significant long-term loss of product demand.
  • The closure is expected to impact nearly 1,700 workers.
  • The company's Irungattukottai unit in Tamil Nadu currently employs approximately 1,000 workers and Maharashtra's Aurangabad site employs approximately 700.

Black Box Corporation Buy-out Completed

  •  AGC Networks Limited, an Essar Group technology firm, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, has completed the acquisition of Black Box Corporation, a leading digital solutions provider in the U.S. to strengthen AGC's presence and offerings to 25 countries across six continents.
  • The acquisition will also help add $600 million to AGC's revenue, taking the company's combined revenue to over $750 million, and global headcount to more than 4,000 people serving clients worldwide.

Shell Bought Stake in Hazira from Total

  •  Shell Gas B.V. has completed the acquisition of 26% equity interest in the Hazira LNG and Port venture in India from Total Gaz Electricité Holdings France (Total).
  • This brings Shell's equity interest in the venture to 100%.
  • The move allows Shell to build an integrated gas value chain — supply from its global LNG portfolio, regasification at the Hazira facility and downstream customer sales.
  • Shell Gas B.V. is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (Shell).

IndusInd Q3 Profit Increased

  •  IndusInd Bank posted a 5.21% increase in net profit to Rs. 985.03 crore for the quarter ended December 31.
  • The overall provisions for the October-December period was Rs. 607 crore compared with Rs. 237 crore in the year-earlier period.

Interim Budget

  •  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the interim Budget for 2019-20 fiscal on February 1, 2019.
  • This will be the sixth consecutive Budget to be presented by Jaitley.
  • The budget session of the Parliament will be held from January 31 to February 13. 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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BJD Not Part of Mahagathbandhan

  •  Biju Janta Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the BJD will not be part of the 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance).
  • CM Patnaik also added that the party will continue to remain equidistant from both BJP and Congress.

DEFENCE

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Naval Radar Developed By China

  •  As per reports, China has developed an advanced compact size maritime radar which can maintain constant surveillance over an area of the size of India.
  • The domestically-developed radar system will enable the Chinese navy to fully monitor China's seas and spot incoming threats from enemy ships, aircraft and missiles much earlier than the existing technology.

Coast Guard to Add 50 Vessels

  •  As per reports, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will acquire 50 new vessels and around 40 aircrafts in the next four years.
  • According to K. Natarajan, Additional Director General and Coast Guard Commander Western Sea Board, with this addition, the force will have 200 platforms (boats and ships) by 2022.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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N. Ram Appointed Chief of Media Body

  •  N. Ram, chairman, THG Publishing Private Limited, has been appointed president of the Alliance for Media Freedom (AFMF), a cross-media advocacy and action group of media organisations, promoters and journalists.

John Mendelsohn Passes Away

  •  John Mendelsohn, a pioneering physician scientist in the arena of cancer treatment and a strong advocate of traditional Indian medicine system Yoga, passed away. He was 82. 
  • Mendelsohn was the president emeritus of prestigious Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre.
  • Mendelsohn was a pioneer in embracing alternative medicines and Yoga. His vision helped make yoga a household name across the US and worldwide.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Quota Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha

  •  The Bill to provide 10% reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker section, including upper castes, got Parliament's approval even as leaders from Opposition parties questioned the Union government's haste in pushing the bill through just months ahead of the 2019 general elections.
  • From its introduction in the Lok Sabha to the final approval in Rajya Sabha, the 124th amendment to the Constitution was cleared in two days.
  • The bill, however, was passed with a 165-7 count in the Upper House of the 172 members present and voting.
  • The BJP and the Congress voted in favour, with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) voting against it.
  • In the Lok Sabha, the Bill was passed with 323 "yes" and just three "no". 

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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Malala Pens New Book

  •  Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai is coming up with a new book, charting her experiences travelling the world and visiting refugee camps.
  • The book is titled "We are Displaced".
  • The publishers of the book are Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Hachette India.
  • In the book, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story of adjusting to a new life while longing for home, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her various journeys. 
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