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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

13 Mar 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Pulling Out Diplomats from Venezuela

  •  The U.S. is pulling out its last remaining diplomats from Venezuela, saying their continued presence at the country's embassy in Caracas had become a constraint on U.S. policy as the Trump administration aggressively looks to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
  • The U.S. has led an international effort to replace Mr. Maduro with Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who vows to hold a new Presidential election.
  • Mr. Guaido is backed by some 50 countries, while Mr. Maduro maintains support from countries such as China, Russia and Cuba.
  • Mr. Maduro ordered all U.S. diplomats to leave Venezuela in late January because of its support for Mr. Guaido, but he later retreated and allowed them to stay.
  • The U.S. still withdrew the bulk of embassy personnel, leaving skeletal staff led by career foreign service officer James Story.

Pakistan Assures that it Will Deal Firmly' with Terrorists

  •  According to National Security Advisor John Bolton, Pakistan has assured the U.S. that it would deal firmly with all terrorists operating from the country, and take steps to de-escalate tensions with India.
  • The assurance was given by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. 

Brexit Could Be Lost

  •  Theresa May warned MPs that Brexit could be lost unless they backed her deal, as she sought to persuade them to back her deal.
  • Meanwhile, she suffered a major political blow as Britain's Attorney-General said that despite legally binding changes to the EU withdrawal deal, the legal risk of the U.K. being locked in an indefinite backstop with the EU remained unchanged.
  • The advice published by Geoffrey Cox QC on three changes to the withdrawal deal (not included in the withdrawal agreement itself) said that the legal risk had been reduced but not eliminated entirely, and that the U.K. had no internationally lawful means of exiting the protocol's arrangements, save by agreement.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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McLeod Russel to Sell Assam Tea Estate

  •  McLeod Russel India Ltd. (MRIL), a bulk tea producer in the B.M. Khaitan Group has decided to sell its Boroi Tea Estate in Assam to the city-based Jatinga Agro Tech Private Ltd.
  • The firm decided to sell the estates and bearer plants and other assets of the Assam estate.
  • With a turnover of Rs. 23.2 crore, this tea estate contributed 1.5% to MRIL's turnover in 2017-18. The deal consideration is Rs. 28.2 crore.
  • Among the biggest bulk tea producers in India, MRIL's crop (118 million kg in 2017-18) came from its own gardens, from small tea growers and its overseas subsidiaries in Africa and Vietnam. 

Titan Seals Pact with FTS USA

  •  Titan Company Limited, one of the world's largest watch manufacturers, has entered into a strategic alliance with an American watch manufacturing company FTS USA LLC located at Phoenix, Arizona.
  • This alliance equips FTS USA by setting up a quartz movement assembly unit in the U.S. to manufacture 'Made in USA' for American watch brands.
  • Titan would further extend its support by supplying movement kits and setting up of the movement assembly facility, training of U.S. engineers at the Titan facility alongside Titan's engineers visiting the facility.

SEBI Lifts Cap on Corporate Bonds for FPIs

  •  Markets regulator SEBI withdrew the 20% limit on investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in corporate bonds of an entity.
  • The regulator said that the restriction is being withdrawn in accordance with a circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • In June 2018, the Securities and Exchange Board of India had mandated that no FPI shall have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.
  • However, the central bank, in February, lifted the restriction in view of market feedback.
  • To give effect to the directions of the RBI, the regulator said provisions of its June 2018 circulars with respect to exposure of more than 20% "stands withdrawn with immediate effect".

SPORTS

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Osaka into Indian Wells 4th Round

  •  World number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka defeated American Danielle Collins to book a fourth-round berth in the WTA premier mandatory tournament at Indian Wells.
  • Japan's Osaka moved to the top of the world rankings with her Australian Open title in January.
  • She will face resurgent Swiss Belinda Bencic, who defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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SUCI(C) to Contest 8 Seats

  •  Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) has decided to contest in eight Lok Sabha and 24 Assembly seats in Odisha during the election.
  • State secretariat member of SUCI(C), Bishnu Das criticised Left parties like CPI(M) and CPI for joining hands with the Congress in Odisha. 

India Bans Boeing 737 Max 8 Aircraft

  •  India joined a number of countries in banning Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from its skies, after two crashes in less than six months involving planes of this make.
  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has taken the decision to ban 737 Max 8 over Indian airspace in the aftermath of an Ethiopian Airline plane crash.
  • According to DGCA, these planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.
  • DGCA will continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety.
  • India joins the UK, France, Germany, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and South Africa in banning this particular model from its airspace.

Punjab DGP Orders Withdrawal of Unauthorised Gunmen

  •  Punjab director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta has directed the police commissioners, senior superintendents of police (SSPs) and commandants of battalions to immediately withdraw the 'unauthorised' deployment of gunmen with politicians and officers across the state.
  • An estimated 1,500-2,000 cops are assigned such duties in an unauthorised manner in the state.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Sujay Vikhe-Patil Joins BJP

  •  In a major setback to the Congress in Maharashtra, Dr. Sujay Vikhe-Patil, son of senior Congressman and Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who announced that his name was being recommended to the central Parliamentary Board as candidate from Ahmednagar South Lok Sabha seat.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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Anniversary of World Wide Web Celebrated

  •  Google celebrated 30 years of World Wide Web (WWW) with a doodle.
  • English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the WWW in 1989 and wrote the first web browser in 1990.
  • Working at CERN, Switzerland, Berners-Lee laid out the basic concepts of the WWW in a proposal which included ideas like HTML, URL and HTTP.
  • The first web browser was released in 1991 -- first to the research institutions and then to the general public on the Internet in the same year.

ART AND CULTURE

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Thakurani Jatra Festival

  •  Preparations for the famous biennial Thakurani Jatra festival in Odisha's Berhampur began with the hoisting of the holy mast or 'shubha khunti'.
  • According to Desibehera P. Durgaprasad, the traditional head of this festival, the celebrations will start from March 29 and continue for 32 days.
  • Goddess Budhi Thakurani is the traditional deity of silk handloom weavers or the Dera community of Berhampur.
  • On the night of March 29, an earthen pot representing the deity would be carried in a procession from the permanent temple to her temporary abode at Desibehera Street.

Gurugram Kala Utsav

  •  Gurugram Kala Utsav was started in 2017 to celebrate the Indian classical art forms. In its third year now, the annual festival is a cultural amalgam of classical Indian dance forms, such as kathak, bharatnatyam, kuchipudi and odissi, folk music, and Hindustani vocal and instrumental renditions.
  • Incidentally the festival falls on the same weekend as the popular Gurgaon Utsav, a festival that brings Sufi and fusion music, poetry and dramatic performances to city audiences.
  • The festival will take place at the Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
  • The two-day fest is being organised by an Odissi dance academy, and a not-for-profit organisation and supported by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram.
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