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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

25 May 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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N. Korea Says Talks Won't Resume

  •  North Korea said that nuclear negotiations with the U.S. will never resume unless President Trump's administration moves away from what Pyongyang described as unilateral demands by U.S. for disarmament. 

U.S. to Deploy Additional Troops to West Asia

  •  President Donald Trump announced that some 1,500 additional U.S. troops would be deployed to West Asia against a backdrop of soaring tensions with Iran.
  • The deployment includes reconnaissance aircraft, fighter jets, engineers, and the extension of the presence of a Patriot missile defense battalion that accounts for 600 of the personnel.

ENVIRONMENT

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Petition against Yettinahole Project Dismissed

  •  The National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave the go-ahead for the Yettinahole Project.
  • It directed the State Forest Department and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change to monitor the project and said that they were at liberty to commission a new study on the impact of the project on the Western Ghats or take appropriate action if they found any violation. 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Changes to FPI Rules

  •  As part of its attempts to streamline the regulations to encourage foreign inflows in the Indian market, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) proposed fast track on-boarding procedure for such investors, apart from a simplified registration process.
  • The capital markets regulator released the report of the working group formed under the chairmanship of former RBI deputy governor HR Khan in 2018.
  • Against this background, the group's primary objectives were consolidation, simplification, rationalisation and liberalisation.
  • Among other things, the group also recommended pension funds to be considered for Category I FPIs registration, removal of opaque structure and the review of broad-based conditions for appropriately regulated entities.
  • The committee further proposed a liberalised investment cap under a review of prohibited sectors for foreign investment for FPIs, restriction on Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) for investment in corporate debt securities, and permitting FPIs for off-market transactions.

Ashok Leyland eyes 5-7.5 tonne LCV space

  •  With an eye on strengthening its presence in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) space, Ashok Leyland Ltd., (ALL), the flagship company of the Hinduja Group, is planning a foray into the 5 to 7.5 tonne LCV category under a project codenamed Phoenix.
  • ALL will be launching products under 'Project Phoenix' by 2020.
  • Project Phoenix would fill the gap in the 5 to 7.5-tonnes category and help us grow our business better.
  • Gopal Mahadevan, chief financial officer said that the LCV business is very crucial for the company to explore new markets in Africa and southeast Asian countries.
  • The LCV is a big market in most countries.

TPG Growth to Sell CTSI to Varian Medical Systems

  •  TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG, signed a definitive agreement to sell Cancer Treatment Services International (CTSI) to Varian Medical Systems for $283 million (approximately Rs. 1,980 crore).
  • CTSI is part of Asia Healthcare Holdings (AHH), a healthcare operating platform founded by TPG Growth. The transaction is expected to close in June and is subject to customary closing conditions.
  • CTSI owns and operates a network of cancer treatment facilities across India and south Asia, including several brands.
  • CTSI is one of the largest and leading providers of high-quality oncology services across the country and broader South Asia.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

  •  SpaceX took a giant leap towards making global Internet coverage a reality as its fifth Falcon 9 rocket of the year took flight, sending 60 Internet-beaming Starlink satellites into space.
  • The Falcon 9 lifted off from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida`s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, following several delays: first a 24-hour delay due to high upper-level winds on May 15, and then a week-long delay so SpaceX could give the onboard satellites a software upgrade.
  • Following the successful launch, the rocket`s first stage gently touched down on a floating platform at sea, marking the company`s 40th booster recovery. 
  • It was the third flight for this particular booster, marking just the second time SpaceX has flown a Falcon 9 first stage more than twice.

SPORTS

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All India Basketball

  •  The prestigious 54th all-India basketball tournament for men for the Nachimuthu Gounder Cup and the 18th all India tournament for women for the CRI Pumps Trophy will be held at the VOC Park Corporation Sports Complex courts here from May 27 to June 1.
  • Organised by the Coimbatore District Basketball Association (CDBA), the tournament has attracted some of the top men and women teams in the country.
  • Defending champion Customs and Indian Overseas Bank (from Chennai) have given it a miss for reasons best known. And that is expected to throw open the contest in the men's section.

State Junior and Sub-junior Aquatic Championships

  •  Eight records were set on the opening day of the State junior and sub-junior aquatic championships at the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Aquatic complex.
  • The girls stole the show by setting six of them. S. Varsha of Thiruvananthapuram broke the 11-year-old 800m freestyle record, winning group II in 10:45.67s and erased M.R. Nithya's 11:07.62 set in 2007.
  • The day's other individual records breakers were Shaan Antony (100m breaststroke), Keziah Cathrine John (200m freestyle), Sanaskrita (800m frestyle), Sanaa Mathew (50m backstroke) and Shreya Mary Kamal (200m butterfly).

An Emotional Win for Sarita Devi

  •  L. Sarita Devi defeated Simranjit Kaur for the women's 60 kg gold medal in the India Open international boxing tournament at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium.
  • It was an emotional moment for the 37-year-old, who won her maiden gold medal in the event.
  • The final was not an easy affair for Sarita as Simranjit is 14 years younger and at her peak.
  • However, Sarita used her experience to move around well, unleash her precise left-right combinations and avoid Simranjit's power-packed counters to register a 3-2 win.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Ahead of Forming New Govt. Modi Submits Resignation

  •  A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected with a thumping majority, the process of putting in place the new government began, with Ministers of the Union Cabinet meeting and passing a resolution to dissolve the 16th Lok Sabha and tendering their resignations.
  • A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique confirmed that Mr. Modi called on President Ramnath Kovind and handed over his resignation, along with that of the Union Cabinet.
  • The resignations were accepted and Mr. Modi has been asked to continue till a new government, again under him, takes charge.

TSEC Defers Counting of ZPTC, MPTC Votes

  •  The counting of votes in the elections to the zilla parishad (ZPTCs) and mandal parishad territorial constituencies (MPTCs) slated for May 27 has been postponed.
  • The Telangana State Election Commission has taken a decision to this effect following representations made by representatives of the Opposition parties.
  • In the representations submitted to the TSEC, the Opposition parties expressed concern that the long gap between counting of votes on May 27 and the indirect elections for the chairpersons of ZPTCs and presidents of Mandal Praja Parishads on July 5 was likely to result in huge horse trading.
  • They urged the commission to either advance the date of indirect election or defer the counting process to avoid scope for horse trading.
  • TSEC secretary M. Ashok Kumar, in the order issued on 17 May , said there was considerable truth in the representations made by the political parties.

Sena to Demand Extra Central Berths

  •  With the two saffron NDA partners putting in a strong showing in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena is likely to demand three ministerial berths at the Centre.
  • Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would travel to New Delhi to demand two additional Ministries for his party, one of Cabinet rank and the other of Minister of State (MoS).
  • The party has already shortlisted the names of the three candidates, which includes the party's Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai.
  • The other two names are from the MPs who have repeated their 2014 performance. 
  • The Sena currently holds a single Cabinet berth, Anant Geete, who is the Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises.
  • The Sena had rejected the BJP's offer for another MoS berth in 2014, but is unlikely to do so this time around, if offered. 

DEFENCE

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DRDO Test Fires Guided Bomb

  •  The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired an indigenously-developed 500 kg class guided bomb from a Sukhoi combat jet at Pokhran in Rajasthan.
  • The guided bomb achieved the desired range and hit the target with high precision.
  • The DRDO successfully flight tested a 500 kg class Inertial Guided Bomb  from Su-30 MKI Aircraft from the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan.
  • All the mission objectives were met during the test firing of the guided bomb.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Chandrani Murmu is the Youngest-ever MP

  •  Until a few months ago, Meet Chandrani Murmu was unknown and was hunting for a job.
  • Her aim was to become a probationary officer in a bank or an assistant section officer in the Odisha government or a mechanical engineer in a private company. But she has become an MP.
  • Chandrani Murmu won the Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat (reserved for Scheduled Tribes) on Biju Janata Dal (BJD) ticket by a margin of 66,203 votes.
  • She will enter the Lok Sabha as the youngest member in the Lower House's history.
  • Until now, the record was been held by Dushyant Chautala, who, at 26, represented the Hisar seat in Haryana in the 16th Lok Sabha.

List of winning heavyweights: Elections 2019

  •  Narendra Modi from Varanasi, Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad , Smriti Irani won from Amethi, Manish Tewari from Anandpur Sahib, Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal West, Babul Supriyo from Asansol, Akhilesh Yadav from Azamgarh, Giriraj Singh from Begusarai, Supriya Sule from Baramati, Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal, Kirron Kher from Chandigarh, Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi, Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, VK Singh from Ghaziabad, Sunny Deol from Gurdaspur, Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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First Pancreas Transplant in Mumbai

  •  A 33-year-old woman suffering from diabetes and kidney failure became the first in Mumbai to undergo a kidney and pancreas transplant at Jupiter Hospital in Thane.
  • Her transplant became possible after the family of a 16-year-old boy, who was declared brain dead at MGM Hospital, consented to donate his pancreas along with heart, liver, kidneys, and corneas. 
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