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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

23 Apr 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Bomb Detonators at Colombo's Main Bus Stand

  •  Sri Lankan police found 87 bomb detonators at the main bus station in the capital, Colombo.
  • The detonators were found just a day after suicide bombers targeted churches and hotels in Colombo killing at least 290 people and injuring about 500.
  • Security forces are carrying out searches at several places across the island nation to find those who were involved in the deadly attacks.
  • No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far.
  • According to Minister Rajitha Senaratne, none of the suicide bombers behind the ghastly attack was a foreign national and that the National Tawheed Jamath outfit is suspected to be have organised and coordinated the attacks.

Sri Lanka Names Local Islamist Group

  •  Sri Lankan authorities named a little-known local Islamist radical group, the National Thowheed Jamaath, as responsible for the ghastly Easter serial blasts that claimed nearly 300 lives and injured over 500 at different locations across the island nation.
  • The country's National Security Council has decided to enforce a state of emergency from midnight.
  • The police have arrested nearly 30 suspects in connection with Sunday's explosions at churches and hotels in and around Colombo and in Batticaloa, in the island's Eastern Province.

Iran and Pakistan to Form Rapid Reaction Force

  •  Iran`s President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran and Pakistan will form a joint quick reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border.
  • Khan is in Iran to discuss security and regional issues.
  • Relations between Iran and Pakistan have been strained in recent months, with both sides accusing each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

ENVIRONMENT

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Coal-free Power Record

  •  Britain has broken its record for the longest continuous period without generating electricity from coal.
  • National Grid said that the coal-free period lasted more than 90 hours before coming to an end.
  • It is the longest period since the industrial revolution and breaks the previous record set in April 2018 of 76 hours and 10 minutes.
  • The government plans to phase out Britain's last coal power plants by 2025 to cut greenhouse gases.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Highest Bidder for IL&FS Wind Assets' Portfolio

  •  State-run GAIL (India) Ltd. has emerged as the highest bidder for seven wind power projects of the debt-ridden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), after it made an offer of Rs. 4,800 crore.
  • The process to sell the assets was initiated in November. The seven operating wind power plants have a total generation capacity of 874 MW.
  • The deal is expected to close in three weeks.

Blackstone to Buy Stake in Essel Propack

  •  Leading investment firm Blackstone has entered into a definitive agreement with Ashok Goel Trust to purchase a majority stake in Essel Propack Limited (EPL), a speciality packaging company and one of the largest global manufacturers of laminated tubes, for up to $462 million.
  • Ashok Goel Trust and its affiliates currently hold about 57% of EPL and Blackstone would pay a purchase price of Rs. 134 per share to acquire a 51% shareholding from the trust.
  • The trust would retain a minority stake in EPL. The deal is expected to be completed in the coming months, subject to customary closing conditions and approvals. 

U.S. Ends Waiver for India

  •  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. will not renew exemptions from its sanctions for importing oil from Iran.
  • The exemptions were granted in November 2018 for a 180-day period for India and seven other countries, and are due to expire in May.

SPORTS

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Kavinder Bisht Enters Asian Championship Semis

  •  Boxer Kavinder Singh Bisht (56 kg) upstaged reigning world champion Kairat Yeraliyev and assured his maiden Asian Championship medal, while Sonia Chahal (57 kg) advanced to the last-four of the women's draw at the continental showpiece in Bangkok.

India's First Gold at Asian Athletics Championships

  •  India's first gold at the 23rd Asian athletics championships came from an unlikely source at the Khalifa International Stadium.
  • Gomathi Marimuthu ran the race of her life, with a smart strategy, to take the women's 800 m honours. It was the 30-year-old Tamil Nadu athlete's first major gold.
  • Shivpal Singh took the silver with an impressive second-round effort of 86.23 m. 

IPL Final Shifted

  •  The IPL final, originally allotted to Chennai, will now be played in Hyderabad on May 12. The change of venue was necessitated because the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association failed to get the State government's permission to use three stands closed since 2012.
  • Chennai Super Kings can host Qualifier 1 at home if it finds a place among the top two teams.
  • Visakhapatnam will get to host the Eliminator and Qualifier 2.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Congress Releases All Seven Names for Delhi

  •  The Congress released the names of all seven candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, while the BJP, which had renominated four sitting MPs, announced the names of former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir and incumbent MP Meenakshi Lekhi from East Delhi and New Delhi seats respectively.
  • Former three-term Chief Minister and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit is the party's candidate from North East Delhi against Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.
  • Former Union Minister Ajay Maken will fight from the prestigious New Delhi seat and former MPs J.P. Agarwal and Mahabal Mishra have been named from Chandni Chowk and West Delhi constituencies respectively.

The Third Phase of the Lok Sabha Elections

  •  The third phase of the Lok Sabha elections will see as many as 117 seats going to vote.
  • Among the seats will be a solitary seat from Tripura, Tripura East, where elections were delayed by one phase due to security reasons.
  • The third phase of the Lok Sabha elections will cover the highest number of seats in any phase across 13 states and 2 Union Territories - Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
  • The third phase of the Lok Sabha elections will see all 26 seats of Gujarat, 20 seats of Kerala and both the North and South Goa seats coming out to vote.
  • In the heartland state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, voters from 10 Lok Sabha constituencies will exercise their franchise. In Bihar, where the BJP is in an alliance with the Janata Dal (United), 5 out of the state's 40 seats will go to vote.

India Completes Vital Ladakh Road

  •  One of the most treacherous and strategically vital road routes in the Himalayas has been completed, providing the military with an all-weather road access to north-eastern Ladakh.
  • Building the DS-DBO section of the road was a key thrust area of the Ministry of Defence for this strategic northernmost corner of India — termed Sub-Sector North (SSN) by the military.
  • A previous effort to build the DS-DBO section of the road (between 2000 and 2012) at a cost of Rs 320 crore had failed. 

DEFENCE

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Indian Coast Guard on High Alert

  •  The Indian Coast Guard has been put on high alert along the maritime boundary with Sri Lanka in the aftermath of deadly explosions in the island nation.
  • The Coast Guard is has increased patrolling activities in the Palk Strait. Ships and maritime surveillance aircraft Dornier have reportedly been deployed with the primary objective of ensuring that the suicide bombers responsible for the explosions are unable to escape from Sri Lanka.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Manish Maheshwari Appointed as India MD Twitter

  •  Twitter India appointed Manish Maheshwari, ex-CEO of Network18 Digital, as the Managing Director for its India operations.
  • Maheshwari will be responsible for driving an integrated business strategy to accelerate Twitter`s audience and revenue growth in the country.

Special Observer for Tripura

  •  The Election Commission has appointed former Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi, a retired IAS officer, as a special observer for East Tripura polls.
  • The Commission had earlier made Mr. Zutshi a special observer, along with retired IAS officer Noor Mohammad and retired IPS officer A.S. Gill, for assessing the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir and determine the feasibility for holding State Assembly elections there.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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World Book Day

  •  World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book, is an annual event the organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.
  • World Book Day was first celebrated on 23 April 1995, and continues to be recognised on that day.
  • The original idea was of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, first on 7 October, his birth date, then on 23 April, his death date.
  • In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors. 

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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IMC Digital Technology Award 2018

  •  Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. was conferred the IMC Digital Technology Award 2018 in the energy and utility (large company) category for implementation of pan India all IP based 4G network.
  • Set up in 1907, the 110-year-old IMC is an apex Chamber of trade commerce and industry, based in Mumbai.
  • The IMC Digital Technology Awards recognise and reward the accomplishments of the IT industry across a varied spectrum.
  • The Awards reward both IT Companies and End Users of IT for technological solutions, applications and improvements that have transformed business.
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