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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

19 Mar 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Gun Law Reforms

  •  New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to unveil reforms to the country's existing gun laws in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosques shootings that claimed the lives of 50 people.
  • Ardern's cabinet has agreed in principle on proposals to change the country's gun laws in response to the terror attack, but Ardern did not say what those changes might be.
  • Ardern also confirmed there would be a review of security agencies' actions following the shootings at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Masjid.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

RCom Pays Ericsson

  •  Reliance Communications paid Rs. 460 crore to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, a day ahead of the March 19 deadline set by the Supreme Court.
  • Failure to adhere to the deadline would have invited a three-month jail term to Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani.

L&T Mounts Bid for Mindtree

  •  Larsen & Toubro Limited has mounted a Rs. 10,700-crore hostile takeover bid on mid-sized Bengaluru-based IT services company Mindtree.
  • The company announced to the exchanges that it had entered into a definitive share purchase agreement with V.G. Siddhartha and his related entities namely, Coffee Day Trading Limited and Coffee Day Enterprises Limited, to acquire 20.32% stake in Mindtree at a price of Rs. 980 per share, aggregating to approximately Rs. 3,269 crore.
  • L&T followed it up immediately with an order on its broker for purchasing up to 15% of Mindtree's equity from the market at a price not exceeding Rs. 980 per share.
  • Assuming it manages to put the deal through, that would cost it a further Rs. 2,414 crore.
  • It has also announced an open offer as per SEBI Takeover Regulations, to the public shareholders of Mindtree to purchase up to an additional 31% of the outstanding shares of Mindtree at a price of Rs. 980 per share in cash.
  • This would cost L&T a further Rs. 4,988 crore, taking the total outlay to Rs. 10,700-crore for a possible 66.32% stake in Mindtree.

ArcelorMittal Gets NCLAT Nod

  •  The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) gave a conditional go-ahead to a Rs. 42,000-crore offer by steelmaker ArcelorMittal to buy Essar Steel.
  • According to a two-member bench headed by Justice S. J. Mukhopadhaya, the acceptance of the resolution plan submitted by ArcelorMittal and partner Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. would be subject to its final order in the appeal filed by the promoters of debt-laden Essar Steel against the move.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

First YouTube Channels to Cross 90 Million Subscribers

  •  PewDiePie and T-Series became first YouTube channels to cross 90 million subscribers.
  • The historic feat was first achieved by the Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg's PewDiePie, followed by the Indian production firm T-Series.
  • The battle between the two channels for the top spot on YouTube and the ensuing campaigns to get more followers was a key factor in achieving this milestone.
  • The race between the two YouTube giants has been going on for months now.
  • PewDiePie has dominated the top spot for six years and continues to do so.  
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SPORTS

Gopi Qualifies for World Athletics Championships

  •  India's Asian marathon champion Gopi Thonakal has qualified for the World athletics championships to be held in Doha in September-October after finishing 11th in the Seoul International Marathon.
  • Gopi clocked his personal best 2 hours 13 minutes 39 seconds, bettering the World Championships qualification mark of 2:16:00.
  • His earlier best was 2:15:16s in 2018.

Table Tennis Federation of India appoints Dejan Papic

  •  Table Tennis Federation of India has appointed, in principle, Dejan Papic of Canada as the coach of the Indian men's and women's teams.
  • Papic's contract runs till the end of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has a rich coaching experience of over three decades.
  • He has coached the Qatar and the Canada National teams.
  • Papic's name was recommended by Glenn Tepper, former Deputy CEO of ITTF and Massimo Costantini, India's previous coach. 

Dominic Thiem Wins Indian Wells

  •  Dominic Thiem climbed to a career-best ranking of fourth after clinching his maiden ATP Masters title defeating Roger Federer at Indian Wells.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

EC Approves Applications for Electronic Media Ads

  •  The BJP has got the Election Commission's nod for its 23 requests for putting out advertisements in the electronic media, while the Congress submitted its first application on 18th March.
  • When the model code of conduct is on, political advertisements have to be certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee within 24 hours of submission.
  • An application might contain several cases which may pertain to radio spots, advertisements on social media and television. 

India Lodges Protest with Pakistan

  •  India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over several incidents of alleged harassment of Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad between March 8 and 11, and demanded an immediate investigation into them.
  • The Indian High Commission issued a note verbale to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry on March 13, giving a detailed account of the incidents, including the tailing of India's Deputy High Commissioner, Naval Adviser and a first secretary on multiple occasions.

Notification for First Phase

  •  Notification for the first phase of the Lok Sabha election was issued, setting in motion the high-voltage electoral battle in which the BJP seeks to return to power amid the Opposition's efforts to present a united fight to unseat it.
  • Polling will be held in 91 constituencies spread across 20 States on April 11 in the first of the seven-phase schedule.
  • The nomination process which has now begun will continue till March 25.
  • Scrutiny of papers will be held on March 26, and the last day for withdrawal of nomination is March 28.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Reappointed

  •  Shareholders of IT services company Infosys have approved the reappointment of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw as independent director by an overwhelming majority.

Bengali Actor Chinmoy Roy Dies

  •  Veteran Bengali actor Chinmoy Roy, renowned for his comic characters, died at the age of 79.
  • Mr. Roy is survived by his son and daughter.
  • His wife, actress Jui Banerjee, had died a few years ago.
  • The actor had immortalised the character of Tenyda in the film Charmurti.  

Swaminathan, VSM Takes Charge as Flag Officer

  •  Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, VSM, assumed charge as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) at Kochi. Rear Admiral Swaminathan, a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare was commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1987.
  • Rear Admiral Swaminathan has commanded five frontline ships of the Indian Navy including the missile vessels, INS Vidyut and INS Vinash; the missile corvette, INS Kulish; the guided missile destroyer, INS Mysore; and the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
  • Prior to assuming charge as FOST, the Admiral was the Chief Staff Officer (Training) at Headquarters Southern Naval Command.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Brookfield-backed Fund to Buy Leela Hotels

  •  Hotel Leela Venture Limited (HLVL) has entered into a binding agreement with a Brookfield Asset Management (Brookfield)-sponsored private real estate fund to sell, by way of slump sale, four company-owned Leela hotels located at Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi and Udaipur and the property that it owns in Agra.
  • The total transaction value is Rs. 3,950 crore plus the applicable transaction costs.
  • The above transaction, which is expected to be completed in three-to-six months, is subject to the approval of shareholders, lenders and other regulatory and statutory approvals.
  • The transaction also includes assignment of all hotel management contracts currently in operation and or under development along with the employees of the hotels.

Visa on Arrival

  •  More than 50 countries across the world provide visa on arrival for Indian citizens.
  • Currently, 59 countries from around the world offer visa on arrival facility to Indian passport holders.
  • Recently added to the list are Kazakhstan, Thailand and Turkey [Indian passport holders who have valid visa or residence permit from Schengen, US, UK and Ireland].
  • The number of countries where you have the facility of visa on arrival has increased, mainly owing to the soaring number of international travel from India.
  • The outbound travel segment in India is growing rapidly. In the last five to six years, the number of countries that has granted visa exemptions or simplified visa processes to Indians grew tremendously.
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