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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

27 Mar 2019


MPs Wrest Control of Brexit Process

  •  British MPs are set to debate and take part in a series of indicative votes to help chart a course that could command support in the Parliament.
  • This came after the government suffered a major political defeat, as MPs voted to wrest control of the Brexit timetable from the government, to hold the votes, despite assurances from the government that it would be willing to hold a series of such votes itself.
  • Three ministers resigned in order to be able to vote for the amendment.
  • It also comes as the government continues to struggle to rally MPs behind the Prime Minister's controversial withdrawal deal.
  • While some hard line Brexiteers, notably European Research Group chair Jacob Rees-Mogg, have indicated their willingness to support the deal if it means avoiding no Brexit at all, the Democratic Unionist Party and other Conservative MPs have held fast in their opposition, a day after the Prime Minister acknowledged she didn't have the majority in Parliament but warned that the alternatives included no Brexit at all or a slow Brexit.

China Destroys Maps Showing Wrong Border

  •  China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet, and routinely objects to Indian leaders visiting the State to highlight its stand.
  • The two countries have so far held 21 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute covering the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control.
  • The maps were meant for export to an unspecified country.
  • Almost 30,000 incorrect world maps, showing Taiwan as a separate country and wrong depiction of the Sino-Indian border, were destroyed by the customs authorities in Qingdao in eastern Shandong province.
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India's Carbon Dioxide Emissions Up

  • According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, a 4.8% rise from last year.
  • India's emissions growth this year was higher than that of the United States and China, the two biggest emitters in the world, and this was primarily due to a rise in coal consumption.
  • China, the United States and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand.
  • India's per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden.
  • The United States, the largest emitter, was responsible for 14%.
  • As per its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, India has promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
  • It has also committed to having 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and, as part of this, install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
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L&T makes an open offer to buy stake in Mindtree

  •  Engineering and construction major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) made an open offer to acquire up to 5.13 crore equity shares of Mindtree, representing 31% of the voting share capital, for Rs. 980 a share or Rs. 5,030 crore.
  • As per the terms of the offer, L&T does not have any intention to dispose-off or otherwise encumber any assets or investments of Mindtree or any of its subsidiaries, through sale, lease, encumbrance, reconstruction, restructuring or otherwise, other than in the ordinary course of business.
  • Earlier, L&T had agreed to buy 20.32% stake in Mindtree for Rs. 3,269 crore from Indian coffee baron V.G. Siddhartha.
  • L&T had also placed an order with its broker for an on-market purchase of up to 15% of Mindtree's shares at Rs. 980 a share. 

RBI Receives Aggressive Bids

  •  As per data released by the central bank, the first dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction by Reserve Bank of India, which was aimed at infusing primary liquidity, saw aggressive bidding by banks.
  • RBI received $16.31 billion in bids for the auction for a notified amount of $5 billion. In turn, RBI infused Rs. 34,561 crore rupee liquidity.
  • Participants said that the auction was successful as RBI got bids three times more than what it had intended to purchase, adding that both domestic and foreign banks participated in the auction.

RBI Slaps Penalty on PNB

  •  The RBI has slapped a penalty of Rs. 2 crore on Punjab National Bank (PNB) for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations.
  • SWIFT is a global messaging software used for transactions by financial entities.
  • The massive Rs. 14,000-crore fraud perpetrated by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi at the PNB was a case of misuse of this messsaging software.
  • Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank had imposed penalties worth Rs 71 crore on 36 public, private and foreign banks for non-compliance with various directions on time-bound implementation and strengthening of SWIFT operations.
  • However, the list did not include PNB.
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 NASA Scraps All-women Space Walk

  •  The US space agency NASA scrapped a planned historic spacewalk by two women astronauts, citing a lack of available spacesuits that would fit them at the International Space Station.
  • Christina Koch will now perform tasks in space with fellow American Nick Hague, instead of Anne McClain as originally planned.
  • Had Koch and McClain done their spacewalk together, it would have been the first ever by two women astronauts.
  • Until now, male-only or mixed male-female teams had conducted spacewalk since the space station was assembled in 1998, 214 spacewalks until now.
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India Swamps Malaysia

  •  India went to the top of the table of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 with a dominating 4-2 win against host Malaysia.
  • After sharing points with Republic of Korea in a 1-1 draw in its second match, India put in a strong performance against an error-prone Malaysia to have one foot in the final.
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Army Most Trusted Institution

  •  According to a report, the Army is India's most trusted institution followed by the judiciary while the police, government officials and political parties are the least trusted.
  • Bengaluru's Azim Premji University and Delhi-based research institute Lokniti Centre For the Study of Developing Societies' report titled Politics and Society Between Elections (2019) is based on a survey of public opinion related to politics, society, and governance between elections.
  • The survey was conducted in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and the National Capital Region of Delhi.
  • According to the report, the key concern among those between the ages of 18 and 35 (49%) was related to jobs.

Hathin MLA Kehar Singh Joins BJP

  •  Four days after Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA from Nalwa, Ranbir Singh Gangwa joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), another INLD MLA Kehar Singh of Hathin constituency joined hands with the saffron party.
  • Kehar Singh was taken into the fold of saffron party by Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala and national general secretary and Haryana in-charge Anil Jain at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
  • Besides Kehar Singh, the first Indian Paralympics medalist Deepa Malik also joined the BJP in New Delhi.
  • Malik is the first Indian woman athlete to have won a medal at Paralympics with her silver in the women's shotput event at the Rio Games in 2016.
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World Theatre Day

  •  World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI).
  • It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organised to mark this occasion.
  • One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace.
  • The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962.
  • It was first in Helsinki, and then in Vienna at the 9th World Congress of the ITI in June 1961 that President Arvi Kivimaa proposed on behalf of the Finnish Centre of the International Theatre Institute that a World Theatre Day be instituted.
  • The proposal, backed by the Scandinavian centres, was carried with acclamation.
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The Bodley Medal

  •  Nobel laureate Amartya Sen was awarded the Bodley Medal by the University of Oxford, an honour that goes back to 1646, for his outstanding contribution in various fields, including literature, culture, science and communication.
  • The medal is awarded by the university's Bodleian Library, one of the oldest and largest libraries in Western Europe that houses rare manuscripts and collections linked to India.
  • The medal was instituted in 1646 by Thomas Bodley, founder of the libraries.
  • Sen received the medal in Oxford during an event called the 'Founder's Lunch' from Chris Patten, chancellor of the university, and Richard Ovenden, librarian.
  • The Bodley Medal is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to the worlds in which the Bodleian Libraries is active.
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New Rules for Drugs and Clinical Trials

  •  The Union Health Ministry has notified the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019, with the government stating that the move is aimed at promoting clinical research in the country.
  • The rules will apply to all new drugs, investigational new drugs for human use, clinical trials, bio-equivalence studies and ethics committees.
  • As per the new rule, the requirement of a local clinical trial may be waived for approval of a new drug if it is approved and marketed in any of the countries (EU, U.K., Australia, Japan and U.S.) specified by the Drugs Controller General with the approval of the government.
  • The new rules will ensure patient safety and an ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events.

Happiness Classes Likely in Uttarakhand Schools

  •  Taking a cue from Delhi schools, the Uttarakhand education department will introduce 'happiness classes' as a part of its motto 'Government School, Happy School,' from July onwards.
  • Seema Jaunsari, director, Academic, Research and Training at the education department said that due to (Election Commission's) model code of conduct, we cannot start happiness classes when the school reopens in April. So, we are planning to introduce the classes from the next academic session.
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