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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

22 May 2019


Bangladesh Halts Visas for Pakistani Nationals

  •  The Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad has stopped issuing visas to Pakistani nationals for one week over a fresh diplomatic row, amid strained bilateral ties since 2013 when Dhaka decided to hang several of the 1971 war criminals.
  • Dhaka denied visa to the Pakistan High Commissioner in 2018.
  • The Foreign Office in Dhaka, however, is yet to make any formal confirmation and no official notification has been issued on the halting of visas to the Pakistani nationals.

British PM Sets Out New Brexit Deal

  •  British Prime Minister Theresa May set out what she called a new Brexit deal, with safeguards and legal assurances on aspects of her controversial withdrawal agreement in the hope of getting cross-party backing for the bill when it returns to the House of Commons in June.
  • In a major compromise to a demand from the Opposition benches, she promised to include the option of a parliamentary vote on holding a second referendum on her deal if it clears the Commons.
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Indian Terrain Plans European Foray

  •  As per reports, Indian Terrain Fashions Ltd. (ITFL), a leading player in branded, men's casual wear, is toying with the idea of foraying overseas.
  • According to V. Rajgopal, founder-chairman, ITFL, to start with, one outlet in Denmark would be seeded to see the results.

Reliance Topples IOC

  •  Reliance Industries has toppled State-owned Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) to become the country's biggest company by revenue.
  • Reliance, in the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended March 31, reported a turnover of Rs. 6.23 lakh crore.
  • In comparison, IOC posted a turnover of Rs. 6.17 lakh crore for the fiscal.
  • It was also the most profitable company in the country with a net profit of more than double that of IOC in FY2019. 

Nepal Bans Chinese Digital Wallets

  •  Nepal banned popular Chinese digital wallets Alipay and WeChat to prevent the loss of foreign currency earnings from tens of thousands of Chinese tourists.
  • Over 1,50,000 Chinese holidaymakers visited Nepal in 2018, many using digital wallets to pay in hotels, restaurants and shops in tourist areas, especially in Chinese-run businesses.
  • Laxmi Prapanna Niroula, a spokesman for the central bank, said that Nepal was losing out since the actual transactions took place in China.
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ISRO Launches Radar Imaging Satellite

  •  India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket carrying radar imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2B lifted off from the first launch pad of the rocket port.
  • About 15 minutes into the flight the rocket ejected the 615 kg RISAT-2B into about 555-km orbit.
  • According to the ISRO, the RISAT-2B with a life span of five years will be used for agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
  • The satellite will also be used for surveillance purposes while the ISRO is silent on this aspect.
  • There is increased demand for satellites from strategic sectors. About six/seven satellites are planned to be built.
  • The PSLV is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.
  • The ISRO will also be launching another radar imaging satellite RISAT-2BR1 and two more defence satellites sometime in July or August with its new rocket Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

Chandrayaan 2 Launch Date

  •  India' ambitious moon mission Chandrayaan 2 will be launched after July 9, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman Dr. K Sivan said of the mission that missed an earlier launch window in January.
  • Chandrayaan 2 is going to be a landmark mission for India which will be launched between July 9 and 16. Chandrayan 2 is the most challenging mission undertaken by ISRO. It will land at a place where nobody else has landed before.
  • The Chandrayaan-2, which is set to cost about Rs 800 crore, will involve unloading of a rover to study the Moon.
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KSSC Standing Committee

  •  A seven-member standing committee, comprising internationals I.M. Vijayan and George Thomas and president of Kerala Olympic Association, V. Sunil Kumar, was elected, to serve as the executive arm of the Kerala State Sports Council (KSSC).
  • Besides the trio, the others elected were S. Rajiv, M.R. Ranjith, K. Rafique and Reju Suresh. The election of the committee was unanimous and was conducted in conformity with the decision of the State Government to reconstitute the KSSC.
  • Olympian Mercy Kuttan will be the new president as reported in these columns in April, but her appointment has been stalled due to the general elections to the Lok Sabha and consequent to the Model Code of Conduct being in force.

BCCI Elections in October

  •  The Committee of Administrators said that the much-awaited BCCI elections will be held on October 22.
  • The CoA announced the elections date after due consultation with the apex court-appointed amicus curiae P.S. Narsimha.
  • The Supreme Court had assigned Narsimha in March to mediate with various state associations which had filed 80 interim appeals.

India Open International Boxing Tournament

  •  Six-time World champion M. C. Mary Kom gave a commanding performance on her return to 51 kg as she defeated Mala Rai of Nepal to reach the semifinals of the second India Open International boxing tournament .
  • With a target of competing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Mary, who had a first round bye, used the opportunity to test herself and boxed for three rounds before recording a victory.
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 Proposal to Fill 45 District Judge Vacancies

  •  The State government has accepted a proposal submitted by the Registrar General of the Madras High Court in April to promote 45 Senior Civil Judges in the State to the cadre of District Judges (Entry Level) with effect from the day they assume charge of the new posts.
  • According to a Government Order issued by the Public department, Senior Civil Judges C. Buvaneswari, R.K.P. Tamilarasi, K. Karunanithi, L.S. Sathiyamurthy, M. Ilangovan and 40 others now serving as Sub Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates across the State would henceforth be elevated to the post of District Judge.
  • The promotions would fill up 65% of vacancies on the basis of merit-cum-seniority. As per rules, the rest 10% should be filled only on the basis of merit and 25% should be filled through direct recruitment. 

Nitish Revives Special Category Status Demand

  •  Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, said that the demand for special category status was a key concern for the state and his JD(U) was committed to pursuing it, despite the Centre declaring it a closed chapter on the basis of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. It has remained an important agenda for us, since 2006.
  • The demand has been unanimously endorsed by both houses of the state legislature.
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Prasanth Kumar Named CEO

  •  WPP-owned media agency GroupM promoted its South Asia chief operating officer (COO) Prasanth Kumar as chief executive officer (CEO) for the region, in place of Sam Singh, who is set to quit.
  • Kumar, who joined GroupM in 2004, has played several leadership roles across India and the region, before becoming the South Asia COO in January.
  • Singh will leave GroupM in June 2019 to takes up a senior role at ByteDance India, a technology firm specialising in content platforms.

Joko Widodo Re-elected as President of Indonesia

  •  The surprise early announcement of official election results handed Joko Widodo another term as leader of the world's third-biggest democracy, Indonesia.
  • Presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto, a retired general, vowed to take his claims of widespread cheating to court as several thousand supporters protested in the capital.

Trump Names Woman as Head of US Air Force

  •  US President Donald Trump nominated a former ambassador and Arizona businesswoman to lead the Air Force.
  • Barbara Barrett served as the US ambassador to Finland from 2008 to 2009 under the George W. Bush administration.
  • She also chaired an aeronautics research and development center, The Aerospace Corporation, until 2017.
  • A former lawyer and test pilot, Barrett is also a board member at the Rand Corporation, a think tank that provides research and analysis to the US armed forces.
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Internal Day for Biological Diversity

  •  The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) is a United Nations–sanctioned international day for the promotion of biodiversity issues. It is currently held on May 22.
  • From its creation by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1993 until 2000, it was held on December 29 to celebrate the day the Convention on Biological Diversity went into effect.
  • On December 20, 2000, the date was shifted to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on May 22, 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, and partly to avoid the many other holidays that occur in late December.
  • The theme for 2019 International Day for Biological Diversity is ''Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health''.
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Japanese Award for Shyam Saran

  •  Japan bestowed 'the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star' a national award on former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran in recognition of his contribution to strengthening Japan-India ties. 
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Civic Body Offers Funeral Services

  •  A civic body in Telangana's Karimnagar district has come up with a novel scheme, offering funeral services at a nominal cost of just one rupee, to help the poor perform last rites of their departed family members.
  • Sardar Ravinder Singh, mayor of Karimnagar Municipal Corporation, announced that the civic body would bear all the expenses required for the last rites of a deceased irrespective of their caste or religion, whether it is cremation or burial.
  • The scheme, christened as "Antima Yatra" or "Aakhri Safar", will be formally launched on June 15.
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