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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

26 Feb 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Trump Delays Hiking Tariffs

  •  U.S. President Donald Trump would delay a planned tariff increase on Chinese exports after both sides hailed substantial progress in trade talks, raising the prospect of a summit with President Xi Jinping to seal the deal.
  • The United States had been due to increase tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods on March 1.

Labour to Back Second Referendum

  •  Britain's Opposition Labour Party will back a call for a second referendum on Brexit, its leader Jeremy Corbyn told his lawmakers.
  • Parliament is due to debate and vote on the next steps in Britain's tortuous departure from the European Union (EU) on Brexit, and lawmakers are expected to put down proposals, or amendments, including at least one that would demand that the exit deal is put to a public vote.
  • The party will also support a bid by Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper to give Parliament the legal power to force Ms. May to seek an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period beyond the exit date currently set down in law, March 29.

Hand over Chagos Islands to Mauritius

  •  Britain has an obligation to end its administration of the Chagos archipelago, home to the U.S. military base of Diego Garcia, and complete the process of decolonisation of Mauritius, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has said in an advisory opinion that is a significant legal victory for Mauritius and other nations, including India, which supported its case.
  • Delivering the opinion, ICJ president Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said that the judges had rejected the contention that the issue did not fall within its jurisdiction because it was a bilateral matter for the two countries, and concluded that the decolonisation of Mauritius was not lawfully completed as a result of Britain's continued administration of the Chagos islands.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Adani the Highest Bidder for 5 Airports

  •  The AAI opened the financial bids of nine entities, more than a week after technical bids were opened in a two-phase bidding process.
  • Adani Enterprises was among the 10 companies which had submitted a total of 32 bids for the six airports.
  • Bids were invited on the basis of per-passenger fee for passengers handled at the airport. 
  • Adani Enterprises has offered Rs. 177 per passenger for Ahmedabad Airport, Rs. 174 for Jaipur, Rs. 171 for Lucknow, Rs. 168 for Thiruvananthpuram and Rs. 115 for Mangaluru. 

Luxmi Tea to Buy Tea Gardens

  •  Luxmi Tea Company, which came into the limelight with the acquisition of the iconic Makaibari Tea estate in Darjeeling, is aiming to boost its kitty of quality teas through a proposed purchase of the African tea estates of Mcleod Russel India Ltd. (MRIL) for about Rs. 149 crore.
  • MRIL, a B.M. Khaitan Group company, through its wholly owned subsidiary Borelli Tea Holdings Ltd., has entered into an agreement with Rwanda Tea Investments Ltd. (RTIL) for selling its entire stake in Gisovu Tea Company Ltd., Rwanda and half its stake in Pfunda Tea Company, also in Rwanda. Luxmi Tea Company and The Wood Foundation, Africa are the shareholders of RTIL.
  • The total turnover of Gisovu and Pfunda is Rs. 125 crore, accounting for 5.6% of MRIL's 2017-18 turnover.
  • MRIL had earlier sold four Assam tea estates to Luxmi Tea Company, which is more than 100 years old and whose crop averages 23 million kg.

JBM Acquires Stake in Linde-Wiemann

  •  Auto components major Jay Bharat Maruti Group (JBM) Group acquired majority shareholding in Germany-based Linde-Wiemann GmbH KG, a manufacturer of complex structural components and assemblies to automakers globally.
  • As per report, this was the biggest business transaction in the history of the JBM Group.
  • Linde-Wiemann, with revenues of $700 million and 2,300 employees, has base of 17 manufacturing plants across eight countries, including Germany, U.S., China, Spain, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Hungary and South Africa.
  • The acquisition is being done through the the group's flagship company, Neel Metal Products.

PPIs Get Six Months More to Finish KYC

  •  The Reserve Bank of India extended the deadline to complete know your customer process by the Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) issuers by another six months.
  • Earlier, PPI issuers were required to complete the KYC process by February 28, 2019.

BEL Receives Export Order from Elbit

  •  Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) received export orders valued at $33 million from Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop Ltd. (ELOP), a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel, for manufacture and supply of EOIR payloads for airborne applications.
  • BEL has entered into a technical collaboration pact with ELOP for the manufacture of the payloads and for providing lifetime support at its manufacturing facility at Chennai.

Thomas Cook India Group Acquires Stake in Digiphoto Ent

  •  Travel services firm Thomas Cook India Group acquired a 51% stake in imaging solutions and services provider Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging, at an enterprise value of $40.6 million.
  • This acquisition of DEI presents an opportunity to participate in an exciting new business space, adjacent to our core travel services portfolio that is both PAT and free cash accretive.

SPORTS

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First Indian to Score 8000 Runs in T20s

  •  Suresh Raina may have scored just 12 runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match against Puducherry, but those runs were enough for him to become the first Indian to score 8000 runs in T20 cricket.
  • The Uttar Pradesh batsman has scored 8001 runs in 300 T20s at an average of 33.47.
  • Raina has scored the sixth most runs in T20s.
  • He is behind Chris Gayle (12298 runs), Brendon McCullum (9922), Kieron Pollard (8838 runs), Shoaib Malik (8603 runs) and David Warner (8111 runs). 

Shooting World Cup

  •  Indian shooters failed to make the final of the men's 10m air rifle event of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.
  • The three Indians in the fray, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Ravi Kumar and Deepak Kumar finished 12th, 14th and 34th respectively at the DR Karni Singh Shooting Range.
  • They will have to wait until the next World Cup to earn their quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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SP-BSP Tie-up

  •  After coming together in Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are set to contest the Lok Sabha election in Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh as well in an alliance.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the SP will contest 3 seats and the BSP the remaining 26. In Uttarakhand, the SP has been allotted the Garhwal seat and the BSP will contest the remaining 4. 

PM Dedicates National War Memorial 

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the National War Memorial at India Gate to the memory of martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty in independent India.
  • Spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy, the National War Memorial is dedicated to soldiers martyred during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.
  • The names of 25,942 battle casualties have been inscribed across 16 walls at the national memorial.
  • The National War Memorial complex includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy.
  • The design of the National War Memorial has a layout comprising four concentric circles, namely, the 'Amar Chakra' or Circle of Immortality, the 'Veerta Chakra' or Circle of Bravery, the 'Tyag Chakra' or Circle of Sacrifice, and the 'Rakshak Chakra' or Circle of Protection. 

DEFENCE

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Afghanistan Moves UN over Violations by Pak Military

  •  Afghanistan has complained to the United Nations about violations of its territory by Pakistan's military, including shelling of Afghan territory, violation of its airspace by military aircraft and construction of military posts and barriers on its soil.
  • The complaint was made in a letter sent by Afghanistan's deputy permanent representative at the world body, Nazifullah Salarzai, to the president of the UN Security Council earlier in February.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Muhammad Akil Replaces Krishan Kumar Rao

  •  Senior Indian Police Service officer Muhammad Akil was named the new Gurugram commissioner of police by the Haryana government.
  • Akil, who was previously additional director-general of police (ADGP) law and order, was also holding the additional charge of chief vigilance officer.
  • He replaces 1996-batch IPS officer, Krishan Kumar Rao, who has been made the inspector-general of police (IGP), Regional Training Centre, Bhondsi.
  • The two officers were among nine senior police officers to be transferred by the Haryana government.

Amazon Appoints Indra Nooyi

  •  Amazon.com Inc appointed former PepsiCo Inc Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi as a director, making her the second woman to be named to the e-commerce giant`s board.
  • Earlier in February, the company named Starbucks Corp`s Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer as a director, the second black woman to serve on its board.
  • Amazon`s eleven-member board now has five women including Nooyi, Brewer, Jamie Gorelick, Judith McGrath and Patricia Stonesifer. 

Askar Mamin Appointed as Prime Minister

  •  Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed Askar Mamin as Prime Minister, after ordering the cabinet to resign last week.
  • Mamin has previously served as first Deputy Prime Minister of the oil-exporting Central Asian nation and also worked as the mayor of capital Astana and chief executive of the state railways.

Iran's Foreign Minister Resigns

  •  Iran`s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the urbane, U.S.-educated architect of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, announced his resignation unexpectedly.
  • Zarif played the lead role in striking the deal under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international financial sanctions.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Lifetime Achievement Award for Karthikeyan

  •  G.R. Karthikeyan, father of India's first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at the FMSCI annual awards function.
  • Raghul Rangasamy was applauded as he walked up to receive the Upcoming Motorsport Person of the Year award for the Raymond Gautam Singhania Trophy.
  • Narain spoke about his father's inspiring presence in his career and as one of the pioneers in establishing a framework for Indian motorsport.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Haryana Finance Minister Doles Out Schemes

  •  Haryana Finance Minister Capt. Abhimanyu announced two new schemes, providing financial and social security cover to families of farmers and workers in the unorganised sector.
  • The Finance Minister said that he is providing an outlay of Rs. 1,500 crore in the budget for these schemes.
  • The newly announced schemes, CM Smridhi Kisan Pariwar Khata and CM Smridhi Shramik Pariwar Khata, will provide financial and social security cover to families of farmers having landholding of 1 to 5 acres and workers whose monthly family income is less than Rs 15,000.
  • In case of farmers, the benefit will be in addition to the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, which provides a benefit of Rs. 6,000 per annum to small and marginal farmers.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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STEP Gets Award for Best EdTech Firm

  •  STEP (Standardized Test of English Proficiency) received the prestigious Digital learning company of the year award at EdTech Review Summit and Expo 2019, India's biggest EdTech gathering.
  • The event was attended by more than 1,000 members of the EdTech community including startup founders, venture capitalists and educators.
  • Launched by The Hindu Group in 2016, STEP's mission is to address the prevalent English language communication gap in the country, identified as one of the major reasons for underemployment and unemployment.

AIIMS and University College London Ink Pact

  •  All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi has entered into a partnership with the University College London (UCL) to enable collaborations in research and increase the number of academic and student exchange opportunities between both the institutions.
  • UCL and AIIMS will explore a number of potential collaborative areas, including academic staff collaboration in research and education in mutually agreed areas of common interest, potential development of staff exchange programmes, visiting scholars programmes and research fellowship programmes among others.
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