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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

23 Mar 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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EU Gives U.K. New Brexit Deadlines

  •  Brexit is to be delayed till April 12 at the earliest, after European leaders agreed to a modified version of Theresa May's request for an extension.
  • Now, if Ms. May's withdrawal deal is passed by MPs next week, then Brexit will be delayed till May 22, the day before elections to the European Parliament are set to take place.
  • The European Council said that if it fails, then the U.K. will be given time till April 12, two weeks after the date the U.K. had been set to leave the EU, to come up with a plan.
  • This means in practice is that until that date, all options will remain open, and the cliff-edge will be delayed.
  • Britain still had the choice between a deal, no-deal, a long extension and revoking Article 50.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Government Exempted from Open Offer for UBI

  •  Markets regulator SEBI exempted the central government from making an open offer for the shareholders of Union Bank of India following capital infusion.
  • In February, the government had proposed a capital infusion of Rs. 4,112 crore in the public sector lender through preferential allotment of shares.
  • Post-allotment, the Centre's shareholding is likely to rise from 67.43% to 73.98%, an increase in excess of 5% in the current fiscal thereby attracting takeover provisions.

Government Earns from Disinvestment

  •  According to the Ministry of Finance, the government has overshot its disinvestment target for the second consecutive year.
  • As against a target of Rs. 80,000 crore for disinvestment for the current year, the divestment receipts have touched Rs. 85,000 crore.
  • During the current FY, DIPAM has realised the proceeds through 28 transactions. In 2017-18, the government had earned a little more than Rs. 1 lakh crore from disinvestments against a target of Rs. 72,500 crore.

SpiceJet in Talks with Lessors

  •  SpiceJet was in discussion with various lessors to bring in more planes into its fleet.
  • The no-frills airline has grounded 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft following regulatory directives earlier in March.
  • In order to cater to the gap from the reduced fleet size due to grounding of Max fleet, the company is in discussion with various lessors globally to induct aircraft in its fleet.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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Robot Watchman to Monitor Illegal Activities

  •  A residential community in China's capital Beijing has adopted a first-of-its-kind robot watchman that integrates facial recognition, man-machine communication and infrared thermal imagery, replacing human night patrol.
  • Robot Meibao not only monitors illegal activities but also provides useful information to residents at the Meiyuan community in Beijing, Liu Gangjun.
  • The robot is being tested from December 2018 to April 2019.
  • It was developed by the BAACI with the support of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

SPORTS

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India Lifts Fifth Straight Title

  •  India continued its dominance at the SAFF Women's Championship by lifting its fifth straight title defeating hosts Nepal in the final.
  • With this win India has extended its unbeaten run in the tournament's history to 23 games.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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JKLF Banned Under Anti-terror Law

  •  The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under anti-terror law. 
  • The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu's Kot Balwal jail.
  • This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned in March. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.

India Boycotts Pakistan National Day Event

  •  Indian authorities boycotted the Pakistan National Day celebrations, after it was reported that Kashmiri separatists were to attend the event.
  • The decision was conveyed by the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a briefing where he stated that the decision was prompted by the possible presence of Hurriyat leaders at the event.
  • He said that we are very clear that any attempt by the Pakistani High Commission or the Pakistani leadership to engage with the Hurriyat representatives will not be taken lightly.
  • Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood referred to the ongoing tension between two sides and said that the goal of his country is to seek relationship based on sovereign equality.

Penalty on Geelani

  •  The Enforcement Directorate has imposed a penalty of Rs. 14.40 lakh on Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani under the Foreign Exchange Management Act in connection with a seizure of $10,000 by the Income-Tax Department in 2002. 

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Hitesh Patel Detained

  •  Hitesh Patel, wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Rs. 8,100-crore bank fraud case involving the Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech Group, has been detained at Tirana in Albania.
  • Albanian authorities acted on the basis of an Interpol Red Notice issued against Patel, following a request from the ED.
  • He is the brother-in-law of Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, owners of the group. A U.S. citizen, the accused managed overseas assets of the Sandesaras.

Bhaichung to Contest Assembly Polls

  •  Football star Bhaichung Bhutia has decided to contest the upcoming Assembly polls in his home State Sikkim.
  • Mr. Bhutia's newly formed Hamro Sikkim Party announced candidates for the 23 Assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat in the State.
  • He had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election and 2016 Assembly poll from West Bengal on Trinamool Congress ticket but lost. 

Gautam Gambhir Joins BJP

  •  Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined the Bharatiya Janata Party with weeks to go for the Lok Sabha elections and said that he was impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision.
  • With his reach of nearly nine million followers, the ex-cricketer has been frequently commenting on social and security issues leading to speculation that he was planning to join politics.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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World Meteorology Day

  •  Every 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization commemorates the coming into force of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization on 23 March 1950.
  • World Meteorological Day takes place every year on 23 March and commemorates the coming into force on 23 March 1950 of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization.
  • It showcases the essential contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to the safety and wellbeing of society and is celebrated with activities around the world.
  • The themes chosen for World Meteorological Day reflect topical weather, climate or water-related issues.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Afghan Star

  •  An Afghan woman has become the first to win a popular singing competition.
  • Zahra Elham from Afghanistan's Hazara ethnic minority snatched first place from her male runner-up on Afghan Star, a local version of American Idol, in which hundreds of men and women have competed for 14 seasons.
  • Known for her high pitch and raspy voice, she had previously said she wanted to break the grasp of male winners on the competition, first launched in 2005 and one of Afghanistan's most popular television shows.
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