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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

24 Mar 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Italy Signs New Silk Road Protocol

  •  Italy signed a non-binding protocol with China to take part in Beijing's new Silk Road of transport and trade links stretching from Asia to Europe.
  • Italy has become the first G7 country to sign up for the massive project which has sparked unease in the U.S. and the European Union (EU) as China aspires to a greater world role.

North Korea Quits Liaison Office

  •  North Korea said that it was quitting the joint liaison office set up in September in the border city of Kaesong after a historic summit between leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea's President Moon Jae in early 2018.
  • The move came after the US blacklisted two Chinese shipping companies it says helped North Korea evade sanctions over its nuclear programme and cited 67 vessels it said engaged in illicit trade helping the North.

ENVIRONMENT

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Tyrannosaurus Rex Found in Canada is World's Biggest

  •  A team of paleontologists said that the towering Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in western Canada in 1991 is the world's biggest, following a decades-long process of reconstructing its skeleton.
  • Nicknamed Scotty for a celebratory bottle of scotch consumed the night it was discovered, the T. rex was 13 meters (yards) long and probably weighed more than 8,800 kg (19,400 pounds), making it bigger than all other carnivorous dinosaurs.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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IT Department Exempts Startups from Angel Tax Net

  •  The intimation, sent to startups in the last few days under a new scheme announced in February, brings to an end a major tax problem faced by new-age companies that have been wrongly caught in an anti-evasion provision in the Income Tax Act.
  • The communication from the tax department acknowledging the tax relief is especially helpful to startups that have already got tax notices for share premium that is higher than their fair value.
  • They can now produce the intimation from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) before the tax officers who issued the notices.
  • Wherever assessments have been completed and final tax demands are issued, the startups can produce the exemption certificates at the stage of appeals to a higher authority within the tax department.
  • About 150 firms have applied for tax relief to startups announced in March, of whom 120 have so far received the tag of 'startup' eligible for tax relief, a person familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.

GVK Hikes MIAL Stake

  •  The GVK group has acquired the entire 10% stake of Airports Co. South Africa (ACSA) Global Ltd in Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) for Rs.924 crore, increasing its total holding in the airport to 74%.
  • MIAL runs the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, one of the busiest in India, as a special purpose joint venture company in which GVK initially owned a 50.5% stake, while two South African companies, Bidvest Group and ACSA Gobal Ltd, held 13.5% and 10%, respectively.
  • The remaining 26% is held by state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI).
  • In February GVK Airport Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd, signed a definitive agreement with Bidvest Group, exercising its right of first refusal to acquire its 13.5%.

Asian Rich List 2019

  •  Leading London-based NRI industrial tycoons, the Hinduja family topped the Asian Rich List 2019 for the sixth successive year with an estimated net worth of 25.2 billion pounds, an increase of over 3 billion pounds over the previous year.
  • Steel magnates Lakshmi Mittal and his son Aditya Mittal remained in second place, with 11.2 billion pounds- down 2.8 billion pounds.
  • S. P. Lohia (Petrochemicals) took the third place with 5.8 billion pounds.
  • The entries of the Asian Rich List 2019 have a combined wealth of more than 85.2 billion pounds. 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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India to Launch Electronic Intelligence Satellite

  •  In April, India will launch an electronic intelligence satellite Emisat for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third-party satellites and also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of PSLV rocket.
  • The new variant of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket will first put the 436 kg Emisat into a 749 km orbit.
  • After that, the rocket will be brought down to put into orbit the 28 satellites at an altitude of 504 km.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Congress and NCP Launch New Alliance

  •  The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), with the support of 57 splinter groups, announced the launch of the United Progressive Grand Alliance for the Lok Sabha election.
  • Maharashtra Congress Chief Ashok Chavan said that the Congress has decided to contest 26 seats and NCP the remaining 22.
  • The two senior partners will part with two seats each for their allies.

ECourt Fee System

  •  The eCourt fee system is set to be launched in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, which will enable a citizen to pay judicial stamp duty levied on court cases from their home.
  • The service is a computer-based application and a secure electronic way of paying the judicial stamp duty.
  • This will replace the prevailing system of physical stamps in the city in a phased manner.
  • To avail this service, a citizen will have the option to pay required stamp duty online or through authorised collection centres.
  • For paying online, a citizen will be required to visit www.shcilestamp.com and register her/himself for eCourt system. The payment can be made through debit card or net banking.
  • The system will curb stamp paper shortage, leakages and other shortcomings of present system.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Randhir to Head OCA Committee

  •  Raja Randhir Singh, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) life vice-president, was appointed as chairman of its Coordination Committee, during the 38th OCA general assembly held in Bangkok.
  • The committee will be responsible for the conduct of the Asian Games, Asian Winter Games, Asian Beach Games, Asian Youth Games and Asian Indoor Games.

Karambir Singh is Next Navy Chief

  •  The government appointed Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS).
  • With the announcement, the government has for the second time overlooked the seniority principle in service chief appointments.
  • Vice Admiral Singh will take over as the 24th Navy Chief from incumbent CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is set to retire on May 31 on completing three years in office.
  • He is currently the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of Eastern Naval Command headquartered at Visakhapatnam.

India's First Lokpal

  •  Justice Pinaki Ghose took oath as the first Lokpal of India.
  • He was sworn-in in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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World TB Day

  •  Each year, World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is commemorated on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
  • The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.
  • Each World TB Day addresses a different theme. This year's theme is 'It's time'.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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New Subjects to be Part of CBSE Curriculum

  •  The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will introduce some new subjects like artificial intelligence, early childhood care education and yoga in its curriculum from the 2019-2020 academic session.
  • The decision to introduce artificial intelligence as a skill subject was taken at a recent meeting of the board's governing body.
  • It was decided that the subject would be introduced from classes 8, 9 and 10 as a skill subject, a member of the board's governing body said that it would be the optional 6th subject. 
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