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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

04 Mar 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Kurds Free 283 Syrians

  •  According to Kurdish authorities, nearly 300 Syrians suspected of belonging to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group have been freed because they have no blood on their hands.
  • Their release was announced by the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration of northern Syria.

Sanders Kicks off His Presidential Campaign

  •  Bernie Sanders kicked off his presidential campaign, miles from the rent-controlled apartment where he grew up in Brooklyn, and forcefully made the case that he is nothing like fellow New Yorker Donald Trump, proclaiming himself the Democrat best prepared to beat the incumbent in 2020.
  • Mr. Sanders called Mr. Trump the most dangerous President in modern American history and said that the President wants to divide us up.
  • Mr. Sanders's rally was his first campaign event since announcing a week ago that he would run against Mr. Trump for the White House.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Fianacial Bids for Pawan Hans

  •  Shortlisted bidders of Pawan Hans have time till March 6 to submit their financial bids for buying the government's and ONGC's stake in the helicopter service provider.
  • Separately, the transaction adviser has worked out a reserve price which will be submitted to the Aviation Ministry.
  • The Centre holds 51% stake in Pawan Hans, which has a fleet of 46 choppers.

Adani Gas' Application Rejected

  •  PNGRB has rejected Adani Gas Ltd.'s (AGL) application for authorisation to retail CNG for automobiles and piped natural gas to households in Jaipur and Udaipur, saying that AGL was not in compliance with rules for a licence.
  • PNGRB had given reasons for rejecting AGL's claim of having 'deemed authorisation' to operate a gas distribution network before the regulator came into being. 

MUDRA Loan Lending Target

  •  With less than one month left in the fiscal current, banks will have to work overtime to meet the MUDRA loan lending target of Rs. 3 lakh crore, as only about Rs. 2 lakh crore has been disbursed till February 22.
  • As per government data, as on February 22, the total loans disbursed under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd. (MUDRA) scheme stood at Rs. 2,02,668.9 crore versus the sanctioned amount of Rs. 2,10,759.51 crore.
  • Data from the Finance Ministry said that more than 3.89 crore MUDRA loans have been sanctioned so far this fiscal.

Cumulative Spending on CSR

  •  According to Crisil Foundation, cumulative spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has crossed the Rs. 50,000-crore-mark four years after the legislative mandate was implemented.
  • A Crisil estimate shows spending by listed companies rose 12% year-on-year in fiscal 2018 to Rs. 10,000 crore, for the first time.
  • Assuming the same rate of growth, spending by unlisted companies is estimated to be Rs. 5,100 crore for the year, taking the total for the year to Rs. 15,100 crore.
  • With this, cumulative spending over the four years stands at Rs. 34,100 crore for listed companies and Rs. 18,900 crore for unlisted ones, totalling Rs. 53,000 crore.

Trend of Recycling Gold on the Rise

  •  The quantum of recycled gold in the system is on the rise in India on account of an increase in gold prices and some players ensuring transparency in evaluation and pricing.
  • This trend is also helping curb imports, thus, saving foreign exchange. India is the second-largest consumer of gold and the largest importer of the yellow metal, importing about 700-800 tonnes annually.
  • This has a bearing on India's current account deficit (CAD). In 2017-18, India's gold imports increased by 22.3% to $33.65 billion and the CAD jumped to $48.7 billion, or 1.9% of the GDP.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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SpaceX's Capsule Docks on ISS

  •  NASA and SpaceX confirmed SpaceX's new Dragon capsule successfully docked on the International Space Station (ISS.
  • The mission is a test launch with only a dummy on board the capsule ahead of a manned flight scheduled for later this year.
  • The Dragon capsule will remain on the ISS before detaching to splash down in the Atlantic. It will be slowed by four parachutes, in what is the one of the mission's riskiest stages.

SPORTS

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 Bajrang and Pooja Win Gold

  •  India's star wrestler Bajrang Punia won the gold at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria.
  • Punia, a World Championship silver medallist, overpowered Jordan Oliver of the U.S. 12-3 in the 65 kg freestyle final to begin the season on a resounding note. The Indian also secured the maximum ranking points from the tournament.
  • This was Punia's 10th medal in as many international tournaments since failing to finish on the podium in the 2017 World Championships in Paris.
  • Earlier, Pooja Dhanda claimed the gold in 59 kg beating compatriot Sarita Mor, while Sakshi Malik won silver in the 65 kg freestyle. Sandeep Tomar had to be content with silver in the 61 kg freestyle event.

Rahul Bharadwaj Wins Kenya Open

  •  Rahul Bharadwaj clinched the Kenya Open Future Series badminton tournament, beating compatriot Aman Farogh Sanjay in Nairobi.
  • He had won the Uganda International title.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Umesh Jadhav Likely to Join BJP

  •  Umesh Jadhav, one of four Congress rebel MLAs in Karnataka submitted resignation to Karnataka Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.
  • Jadhav is a two-time MLA from the Chincholi constituency.
  • He is expected to join the BJP soon and could be their candidate against Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge for the Gulbarga seat in the Lok Sbaha elections.

Mumbai Monorail's Second Leg Inaugurated

  •  Railway minister Piyush Goyal and chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated phase-2 of the Monorail, extending from Wadala to Jacob Circle, operationalising the entire 19.5-km (Chembur to Jacob Circle) stretch after a delay of eight years.
  • Mumbai will become the first city in the country to have a Monorail, Metro and suburban rail services.
  • The first phase of the Monorail, from Chembur to Wadala, became operational in 2014.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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National Security Day

  •  Since 1972 our country commemorates National Security Day on March 4 every year. The day has a huge significance.
  • It is celebrated to pay tribute and honour to our nonpareil security forces (including our Army Officers, guards, policemen, commandos) and others who play a major role in maintaining peace and security of our nation.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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English Medium Junior High Schools in UP

  •  In a first, the state government has decided to come up with 1,000 English medium junior high schools across Uttar Pradesh.
  • The decision has been taken in view of the growing demand for government-run English medium schools for students between class 6 and 8.
  • In addition to this, 5,000 more English medium primary schools will come up in the state.
  • The basic education department will establish an English medium junior high school in every block while an additional one would come up in those blocks where the demand for such schools is higher.

ART AND CULTURE

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Kumbh Mela 2019

  •  As per the Ministry of Culture, the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest crowd management, largest sanitation drive and largest painting exercise of public sites.
  • A three-member team from the Guinness World Records visited Prayagraj for the purpose.
  • The Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation of people anywhere in the world. Ardh Kumbh is held in every six years, while the Kumbh Mela comes after 12 years.
  • This year the Uttar Pradesh had renamed Ardh Kumbh as Kumbh and the Kumbh as Maha Kumbh. The Kumbh Mela is attended by ascetics, Saints, Sadhus, Sadhvis, Kalpvasis and pilgrims from all walks of life.
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