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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

12 Jun 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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US Submits Extradition Request for Assange

  •  The U.S. government has formally submitted an extradition request to the U.K. for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
  • Mr. Assange faces an 18-count indictment that accuses him of soliciting and publishing classified information.

MPs Defy President to Resume Easter Attack Probe

  •  The Sri Lanka's Parliament defied President Maithripala Sirisena and resumed investigations into security lapses surrounding the Easter suicide bombings that killed 258 people as a political crisis in the country deepened.
  • The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) began hearing testimony from Muslim leaders who claimed they repeatedly alerted the authorities to dangerous radicalisation.
  • In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, Mr. Sirisena did not call the routine weekly Cabinet meeting to discuss the day-to-day running of the administration.
  • The Opposition Sri Lanka People's Front said that the standoff between the President and the Cabinet, controlled by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's party, meant the government was at a standstill.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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AAI Cancels Ground Handling Tender

  •  The Airports Authority of India (AAI) cancelled its tender for ground handling services at 76 airports following concerns over some short-listed bidders offering steep royalties.
  • A decision was taken to cancel the tender. AAI will now have to start a fresh bidding procedure.
  • The tender procedure was initiated May 2018, but faced several delays.
  • In January, AAI short-listed bidders and asked other players to match the bids when objections were raised about royalties as high as 226% quoted by some entities and how that would make ground handling business unviable in the country.

RIL and BP Project in KG Basin

  •  Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP Plc. have sanctioned the development of MJ project, known as D55, in Block KG D6, offshore east coast of India.
  • MJ is the third of the three new projects in the Block KG D6 integrated development plan and its approval follows sanctions for the development of 'R-Series' deep-water gas field in June 2017 and for the satellites' cluster in April 2018.
  • As per Mukesh Ambani, CMD, RIL, the gas will satiate the increasing demand for clean fuel in the country, save foreign exchange and reduce dependency on imported gas.

NEFT/ RTGS Charges Waived

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to waive the charges levied on banks for Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) and the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) transactions from July 1.
  • Banks were advised to pass on the benefits to their customers. Separately, the RBI formed a committee to review the entire gamut of automated teller machines' (ATMs') charges and fees. 

SPORTS

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Another Game Abandoned

  •  Sri Lanka's World Cup match against Bangladesh was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain.
  • The umpires' decision left tournament organisers with the unwanted record for the most number of abandoned games at a World Cup, surpassing the two each at the 1992 tournament in Australia and New Zealand and the 2003 edition in southern Africa.
  • It was the second successive World Cup match at Bristol that had fallen victim to bad weather, with Sri Lanka's group game against.
  • Only one of three World Cup matches scheduled to take place in Bristol produced any play.

Ashwin Begins a New Spell

  •  The Ashwin Foundation was launched by India all-rounder R. Ashwin.
  • Prizes and awards were given away to deserving young cricketers from GenNext Cricket Institute to mark the occasion.
  • The Ashwin Foundation will partner with GenNext, launched in 2012 by his father N. Ravichandran, to unearth young talent in the state, particularly from the poorer sections of the society.
  • GenNext began with a handful of young cricketers. Now it has around 300 boys across five centres in Chennai and 300 more aspirants in Dubai.
  • The Ashwin Foundation will be chaired by his wife Prithi Ashwin.

Indians One Win away from Olympic Berths

  •  Indian men's recurve team stormed into the pre-quarterfinals of the World Archery Championships with a commanding victory over Norway and is now just one win away from securing an Olympic quota.
  • The trio of Tarundeep Rai, Pravin Jadhav and Atanu Das will next face Canada's Eric Peters, Crispin Duenas and Brian Maxwell in a bid to secure the three-athlete quotas for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Wreckage of Missing IAF AN-32 Found

  •  The wreckage of the Indian Air Force AN-32 which went missing on June 3, was found north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • With eight crew members and five armed forces personnel on board, the IAF aircraft had lost contact with the ground control before it went off radar on June 3. 

Congress to Focus on Leadership Crisis

  •  Amidst continuing uncertainty over Congress leadership, the Congress core group would meet in New Delhi to deliberate on an institutional mechanism for collective decision making.
  • As per reports, the party could look at a body of 11-15 members that could be made in charge of collective decision making along with the party president.

India Backs Israel

  •  India voted in favour of a resolution moved by Israel at a UN body to bar a Palestinian rights organisation called Shahed being given observer status at UN institutions, with Israeli diplomats describing the move as a significant development.
  • According to the Israeli foreign ministry, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) overwhelmingly rejected Shahed's request to obtain observer status at UN institutions.
  • The resolution initiated by the Israeli delegation to the UN was passed in a 28-14 vote on June 6.
  • India, the US, the UK, France, Germany and Japan were among the 28 countries that voted in favour of the resolution, which was opposed by China, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco and Russia.

DEFENCE

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New Agency to Develop Space Warfare Weapon Systems

  •  To enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government approved the setting up of a new agency which would develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the setting up of the Defence Space Research Agency (DSRO) which is entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.
  • The decision was taken at the topmost level some time ago and the agency has started taking shape under a Joint Secretary-level scientist.
  • The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
  • It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services. 
  • The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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New Rajya Sabha Leader

  •  Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot was appointed the leader of the house in Rajya Sabha.
  • He would replace Arun Jaitley, the former Finance Minister who opted out of the council of ministers due to health reasons.
  • Gehlot is a prominent Scheduled Caste leader of the BJP, and the only SC leader to have a seat in the party's parliamentary board.

Dr. Virendra Kumar to be Protem Speaker

  •  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Dr. Virendra Kumar would be the Protem Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha. He represents the Tikamgarh constituency of Madhya Pradesh and has been a member of the Lok Sabha in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha too.
  • A Protem Speaker's duty is to administer the oath of office to new members of the Lok Sabha.
  • A temporary post, the Protem Speaker presides over the first meeting of lower House of Parliament after the General election besides presiding over the sitting in which the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected if it is a newly constituted House.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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World Day against Child Labour

  •  The World Day against Child Labour is an International Labour Organisation (ILO)-sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002 aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour.
  • It was spurred by ratifications of ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment and ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour.
  • The World Day against Child Labour, which is held every year on June 12, is intended to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Government to Introduce Ambulance-cycles

  •  To help people get medical aid faster, the Haryana government announced that it decided to introduce motorcycle ambulances or "ambu-cycles" in the city.
  • The state government would use the assistance of the government of Israel for this venture.
  • Ambu-cycles are essentially motorcycles with all the necessary medical equipment found in an ambulance. Due to its size, they can reach an emergency spot faster than an ambulance and are useful in those areas of the city that have a high volume of traffic.
  • As per government officials, the service would initially be started in Gurugram and Faridabad. 

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Life Expectancy Down by 2.6 Years

  •  According to a recent report by an environment think tank, life expectancy in India has gone down by 2.6 years due to deadly diseases caused by air pollution.
  • The report by the environment organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) revealed that outdoor and household air pollution together are causing deadly diseases.
  • Air pollution is now the third highest cause of death among all health risks ranking just above smoking in India.
  • This is a combined effect of outdoor particulate matter (PM) 2.5, ozone and household air pollution, revealed the report.
  • Due to this combined exposure, South Asians, including Indians are dying early - their life expectancy has reduced by over 2.6 years. This is much higher than the global tally of reduced life expectancy by an average of 20 months.

Course on Digital Mindsets

  •  Indian Institute of Management Calcutta rolled out a Long Duration Programme on Competing on Digital Mindsets (CDM).
  • The Programme aims to equip participants with the ability to think about technology and business differently – such that they can re-wire client organisations enabling them to become agile in technology and business, and redesign organisation and business processes with a digital mindset and outlook.
  • The one-year programme would focus on the following modules Ontology of the Digital Shift, Cognitive Tools for the Digital World, Competences and Skills for the Digital Landscape and Organizing and Executing for Digital Business.
  • It has been designed with the belief that the most robust talent in the IT Sector shall compete not merely on the basis of digital technologies, digital capabilities, or digital experience but, more importantly, on the basis of a carefully cultivated digital mindset.
  • The programme which starts in July 2019 will have one session of three hours every week for a period of 11 months. The sessions will be delivered through Direct to Desktop mode.

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

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ITC Exploring Opportunity in Nepal

  •  ITC is exploring the possibility of setting up a hotel in Nepal through its subsidiary ITC Surya Nepal.
  • According ITC chairman Sanjiv Puri, this was part of ITC's strategy to expand its footprint in the hotel segment in neighbouring countries. Ideally, these would be countries where there is a tourist inflow from India.

ART AND CULTURE

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Theatre Workshop Begins

  •  The annual edition of the month-long theatre workshop, which brings in the best from National School of Drama(NSD) to interact and hone the theatrical skills of aspiring artistes from the city, began at Virsa Vihar, Amritsar.
  • The workshop would be in collaboration with the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi.
  • According to Kewal Dhaliwal, chairperson of Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi, the workshop has become one of the most awaited and prominent theatre activities in the city.
  • The entries were received from as far as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, while artistes from all parts of Punjab and Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir too come to participate.
  • A similar workshop has been organised for children with age group of five to fifteen years. The children theatre workshop for 15 days will culminate in a play production.
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