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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

29 Mar 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Russian Troops to Stay in Venezuela

  • According to Russia, its troops will stay in Venezuela for as long as needed, rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's demand that Russia removes its military from the crisis-stricken country.

Maldives Former President Freed

  • A Maldives court ordered the release of former President Abdulla Yameen, who was arrested in mid-February on charges of money laundering.
  • According to the Male-based Maldives Independent, the decision on his release came on procedural grounds, after the composition of the three-judge bench hearing the case was changed. The ex-President, who had earlier been held at the Maafushi prison, was transferred out, and held under "house arrest" before his release.
  • The development comes with less than a fortnight left for the Maldives's parliamentary election.

China Asks US to Act Cautiously

  • China said that the US has complicated the issue of listing Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by moving a separate resolution at the UN Security Council (UNSC), bypassing the anti-terror committee in the UN itself where Beijing has repeatedly blocked the listing process.
  • Beijing's sharp reaction came after the US, supported by France and the UK, moved a draft resolution at the UNSC to list the Pakistan-based terror group's chief.

ENVIRONMENT

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World's Longest Salt Cave

  • Israeli researchers say they have discovered the world's longest salt cave.
  • The Malham Cave in Mount Sedom, also known as Mount Sodom, is 6.2 miles long, surpassing Iran's Cave of the Three Nudes, which is almost 4.1-miles in length. A team led by Hebrew University's Cave Research Center, the Israel Cave Explorers Club and Bulgaria's Sofia Speleo Club, as well as 80 cavers from nine countries, has successfully mapped the Malham Cave.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Infosys to Buy Stake in Stater N.V.

  • Infosys will acquire 75% of the shareholding in Stater N.V. a wholly owned subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank N.V. that offers pure-play, end-to-end mortgage administration services in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. ABN AMRO will continue to hold the remaining 25% of the shareholding.
  • India`s second-biggest IT services company, Infosys Ltd said that it would buy controlling stake in ABN AMRO Group's mortgage administration services arm Stater N.V.
  • The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of fiscal 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, Infosys added.
  • ABN AMRO is the third largest bank in the Netherlands headquartered in Amsterdam.

Bandhan Bank to Open more Branches

  • Bandhan Bank opened a branch at Burrabazar in Kolkata. The private sector lender plans to open five more to take the count to 986 by March 31. Its total number of banking outlets would be 4,000 by the end of this month from 3,014 now. The bank has presence across 34 of the 36 states and union territories.

Daimler and Geely Team Up

  • German car maker Daimler and China's Geely announced plans for a new venture to develop and produce the next generation of electric Smart cars in China.
  • Both firms will share the company equally under the terms of the plan to be finalised by the end of the year. The first new vehicles are set to go on sale worldwide by 2022.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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India Despatches Fourth Ship to Mozambique

  • The Indian Navy has despatched a fourth ship to Mozambique hit by tropical cyclone Idai to assist in disaster relief.
  • INS Magar, an amphibious warfare vessel, departed Mumbai for Port Beira in Mozambique with essential relief material for the cyclone ravaged areas.
  • The warship is carrying 300 tonnes of relief supplies, including essential medicines, anti-epidemic drugs, food provisions, clothing, repair and rehabilitation equipment, and temporary shelters.
  • INS Magar will join INS Sujata , Shardul and Sarathithat are already operating there for over 10 days.

Government Defends Move on Finance Act

  • The Centre defended the passing of the Finance Act, 2017 as a Money Bill.
  • Arguing before a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said that the Lok Sabha Speaker's certification of the Money Bill was final. The Centre countered the allegation that the passing of Finance Act, 2017 as a Money Bill was a colourable exercise of power and a fraud on the Constitution.
  • The Constitution Bench is hearing a clutch of petitions, including one by Member of Parliament Jairam Ramesh, challenging certain provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 which modify the terms of appointment and functioning in various statutory tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Best Sportspersons' Awards

  • Asian Games gold medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia, hockey star Rani Rampal, Test cricketer Rishabh Pant and pistol shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker were presented the Delhi Sports Journalists Association (DSJA) 'Best Sportspersons' awards. The awards were given away by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra.

NRAI Gets ASSOCHAM Award

  • The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) was presented the 'best Sports Federation' award in the country by the Association Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM).
  • NRAI secretary-general D.V.S. Rao and secretary Rajeev Bhatia received the trophy from Director General of SAI Neelam Kapoor and cricketer Madan Lal.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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Coffee Table Book Titled Shirtopedia Launched

  • A coffee table book on shirt industry titled 'Shirtopedia', chronicling the history of the garment since 3,000 BC - was unveiled.
  • The domestic shirts market, which was pegged at Rs. 44,830 crore in 2017, is expected to grow at 6 per cent annually to become Rs. 81,578 crore by 2027, as per the upcoming book.
  • Shirts account for around 12 per cent of the total apparel market in the country.

Chetan Bhagat's New Book 'India Postive'

Best-selling author Chetan Bhagat announced the launch of his new non-fiction book "India Positive", which comprises essays examining a gamut of subjects such as education, employment, Goods and Services Tax (GST), corruption and casteism.
Published by Westland Publications, Bhagat's latest English title will be released in May. The new book also consists of tweets that highlight and touch upon the current issues that need focus today.
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