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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 May 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Bolsonaro Relaxes Brazil's Gun Laws

  •  Truckers, lawyers and politicians are among millions of Brazilians eligible to carry loaded weapons in public under President Jair Bolsonaro's decree relaxing gun laws.
  • As per the order, people from a wide range of professions, including hunters, farmers and even certain journalists, are now allowed to carry guns.

Ruling ANC Takes Comfortable Lead

  •  The ruling African National Congress (ANC) held a comfortable lead with more than half the votes counted from South Africa's presidential and parliamentary election, but it received much lower support than in the last ballot five years ago.
  • Opposition parties made widespread allegations of corruption against the ruling ANC party a major part of their campaigns ahead of the vote and voter apathy also appears to have affected turnout, which fell to 65% from 74% in 2014.
  • According to results announced by the Electoral Commission, the ANC, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, won 57% of the votes with 60% of the polling districts counted.
  • The Democratic Alliance (DA) received 22% of the vote so far, the most of any Opposition party.

China Will Not Capitulate to U.S. Pressure

  •  China rejected U.S. accusations of backtracking in trade talks and warned that it would not capitulate to any pressure as the two sides headed into make-or-break negotiations.
  • The United States has raised the stakes with plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, prompting Beijing to vow to hit back with necessary countermeasures.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Bank Credit Grows

  •  Bank credit grew by 13.2% in financial year 2018-19 as compared to 10.3% in the previous financial year (2017-18), mainly aided by loans to services and retail sector.
  • Deposit growth also gained momentum, growing by 10% as compared to 6.7% in 2018.
  • Banks typically tend to push for more loan disbursement and also try to get more deposits ahead of the end of a financial year to shore up their balance sheet and meet year-end targets.

India to Add 3 Million Tech Jobs 

  •  According to the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), the apex body for the 'flexi' working industry, Indian tech industry will add another three million new jobs in the next five years.
  • With the additions, the size of the country's tech army will be 7 million by 2023.
  • As per Rituparna Chakraborty president, ISF, all these new jobs would come up in digital technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Internet of things (IOT), data science, analytics, big data, block chain and augmented reality.
  • Jobs would also be created in newer technology areas that are presently unknown but are expected to emerge and evolve in the next few years.

Morgan Stanley Downgrades RIL

  •  Morgan Stanley has downgraded Reliance Industries Limited's (RIL) stock to 'equal weight' (EW), leading to a 3.41% fall in the company's shares.
  • With this fall, the company has again lost the tag of India's most-valued firm to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as RIL's market capitalisation fell to Rs. 7,98,628.55 crore compared with TCS's Rs. 8,13,779.67 crore.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Rice Husks Can Remove Toxins

  •  A study has observed that rice husk can effectively remove microcystin (a toxin released by harmful algal blooms) that are increasingly occurring in the great lakes and other freshwater lakes around the world.
  • According to the study, rice husks can effectively remove microcystin from water, a finding that could have far-reaching implications for communities along the great lakes and across the developing world.
  • An abundant and inexpensive agricultural by-product, rice husks have been investigated as a water purification solution in the past. However, this is the first time they have been shown to remove microcystin, the toxin released by harmful algal blooms.
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SPORTS

Federer Notches His 1200th Career Win

  •  Roger Federer saved two match-points to defeat Gael Monfils and reach the Madrid Open quarterfinals but women's world no.1 and top seed Naomi Osaka was dumped out.
  • Federer, playing only his second match of a 2019 comeback to clay after three years away, took two hours to defeat French showman Monfils and record his 1,200th career win.
  • Osaka fell for the second time in two months to Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic.

35th Asian Snooker Championship

  •  Pankaj Advani, Laxman Rawat and Aditya Mehta will represent India in the 35th Asian Snooker Championship to be held in Doha from June 16 to 28.
  • At the end of the selection camp at the KSBA, India will field two sides: Team A (Advani, Rawat and Aditya) and Team B (Kamal Chawla, Sundeep Gulati and Sourav Kothari).

Milind and Bhagat Named Head Selectors

  •  Milind Rege was named chairman of the Mumbai Cricket Association's senior selection committee and U-23 committee for 2019-2020 season.
  • He will be working with three other selectors, Guru Gupte, Sanjay Patil and Shridhar Mandale.
  • The senior women's selection committee will be headed by Vrunda Bhagat (chairperson).
  • Others named are Arundhati Ghosh, Surekha Bhandare, Sandhya Relekar. The four are also the U-23 selectors.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Supreme Court Pushes for Full Strength

  •  The Supreme Court Collegium, led by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, recommended the names of two judges to the court and rejected the Union government's disapproval of the elevation of two others.
  • If the four judges are elevated without delay, the Gogoi Court would reach the full sanctioned judicial strength of 31 judges by the time it re-opens in July after the summer vacations.
  • The Collegium refused the government's request to reconsider its April 12 recommendation to elevate Jharkhand High Court and Gauhati High Court Chief Justices Aniruddha Bose and A.S. Bopanna as Supreme Court judges.
  • The Collegium said their names were recommended after all parameters were considered.

Government Denies Perjury Charge

  •  Rubbishing the charge of perjury, the government said that the contents of briefs and responses made in the Supreme Court in the Rafale fighter purchase case were finalised after extensive deliberations at the highest levels in government after a series of meetings.
  • In a reply affidavit filed in the court, the Centre said that its averments in court were based on the final decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
  • The submissions were based on the final decisions of the Defence Acquisition Council, the Defence Minister, provisions in the Defence Procurement Procedure and inputs received from the Air Force and the Ministry of Defence.
  • These had endeavoured to bring out the final conclusions of the process, which led to the signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement with France.
  • The government played down the mismatch between the December 14, 2018, judgment of the court, upholding the deal on the basis of a non-existent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, and unsigned confidential notes filed by the Centre in the court. 

AAP Punjab Manifesto

  •  The Aam Aadmi Party released its manifesto for Punjab for the Lok Sabha election. Senior party leader and MLA Aman Arora said that the elected representatives would prioritise the issues and concerns of the people and raise their voice to redress the grievances.
  • The issue of the beleaguered farming community would be taken up with the Union government for the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission. 
  • The manifesto bats for setting up of agro-based industry to boost the farmers' income to stop the unending trail of suicides committed by them and the farm hands.
  • The party would fight for 'One-country-one-tax'.
  • The manifesto sought to reduce and simplify the GST, offering relief to traders and industrialists. To generate employment opportunities, the party would focus on large-scale PSUs.
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DEFENCE

South China Sea Exercises

  •  Navy ships INS Kolkata and Shakti carried out group sail with the naval ships of Japan, the Philippines and the U.S. in the South China Sea from May 3-9.
  • The ships undertook various exercises en route which included formation manoeuvring, under way replenishment runs, cross-deck flying and exchange of sea riders.
  • The group sail exercise showcased India's commitment to operating with like-minded nations to ensure safe maritime environment through enhanced inter-operability.
  • China, which claims a major part of the SCS, has disputes with most of its maritime neighbours.
  • Six ships, including a frigate and helicopter carrier JMSDF Izumo from Japan, a Philippines frigate and an Arleigh Burke class destroyer from the U.S. Navy took part in the six-day exercise.
  • Indian Navy ships were on return passage from their deployment to the South and the East China Seas as part of the annual Eastern Fleet overseas deployment during which they visited Vietnam, China and South Korea.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

UPS Madan Opts for Voluntary Retirement

  •  Barely a month after taking charge the State's Chief Secretary UPS Madan has opted for voluntary retirement.
  • The government has forwarded a proposal, prepared by the government at a high-level meeting, to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for approval to appoint a new chief secretary.
  • Mr. Madan took charge from D.K. Jain, who was appointed judicial member, Lokpal.
  • The three names forwarded in the proposal are Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) Satish Gavai, and Additional Chief Secretary (Housing) Sanjay Kumar, all of the 1984 batch of the Indian Administrative Services.

Kidari Sravan Kumar Resigns

  •  Kidari Sravan Kumar resigned from the Cabinet as Minister for Tribal Welfare and Empowerment, Primary Health and Family Welfare, A.P. Vaidya Vidhana Parishad, AYUSH and Drug Control, consequent to the expiry of the six-month deadline (May 10) before which he was supposed to get elected as a member of the Legislature.
  • Mr. Kumar was inducted into the Cabinet (took oath on November 11, 2018) after his father Kidari Sarveswara Rao (MLA from Araku in Visakhapatnam district) was killed by Maoists.
  • By-elections were not held within the stipulated time.
  • Mr. Kumar thanked Mr. Naidu for giving him the opportunity to serve as a Minister in his Cabinet.

Jet Accepts Gaurang Shetty's Resignation

  •  Jet Airways announced the resignation of its whole-time director Gaurang Shetty. He had stepped down from the board and also resigned on April 23, 2019.
  • His resignation was accepted on May 9, 2019. While Mr. Shetty wanted to be relieved immediately, the board asked him to continue till May 23, 2019.
  • After seeking legal opinion, the board accepted his resignation with effect from April 23, 2019.
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ART AND CULTURE

Temple Festival 'Thrissur Pooram'

  •  A parade of around 50 elephants has been the centrepiece of Kerala's popular temple festival, Thrissur Pooram, since the late 18th century when the erstwhile Kochi royal family started it.
  • The week-long festival at Thrissur's Vadakkumnathan Temple would not be the same when it starts this year without the parade.
  • The elephant owners have announced a boycott of the festival in protest against the ban on a 54-year-old tusker, Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, from participating in Thrissur Pooram.
  • The elephant, which suffers from a partial loss of vision, has been the centre of attraction at the festival since the 1970s.
  • It was barred from participating in the festival after trampling two people to death in February. The elephant has been symbolically pushing open the Vadakkumnathan Temple's southern entrance to mark the beginning of Thrissur Pooram for four decades.
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