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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Jul 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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First Expat to Get UAE's Permanent Residency

  • UAE-based Indian business tycoon Lalu Samuel became the first expat in Sharjah to get the gold card permanent residency.
  • Unlike the long-term visa of 5-10 years for businessmen and talented individuals, the gold card gives permanent residency of the UAE to the holder.
  • The Kingston Group chairman was handed over the gold residence card by Brigadier Arif Al Shamsi, Director-General of residency and foreigners affairs in Sharjah.
  • The Kingston Holdings owns one of the largest manufacturing companies in the Middle East that comprises several manufacturing units that process plastic and metal. Samuel was selected as one of the top 100 Most Influential Indian Business Leaders in the Arab World by the Forbes magazine continuously for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Vote on Bill to Remove Country-cap on Green Card

  • The US lawmakers would decide on lifting the country-cap on issuing Green Cards through voting in Congress, a move which may benefit thousands of highly-skilled Indian IT professionals.
  • Having a Green Card allows a person to live and work permanently in the US.
  • Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Cards or permanent legal residency.
  • Being supported by more than 310 lawmakers from both the Republican and the Democratic Party, the 'Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act' is all set to sail through the 435-member US House of Representatives.
  • Buoyed by the fact of 203 Democrats and 108 Republicans are co-sponsoring the bill, the proponents of the legislation are using a fast-track process which requires 290 votes to pass a bill without hearing and amendments.

Extradition Bill Dead

  • Hong Kong's embattled pro-Beijing leader said that a China extradition bill that sparked unprecedented political unrest is dead, but protesters immediately dismissed her comments, threatening more mass rallies.
  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam admitted her administration's attempt to introduce the bill was a complete failure, saying that her government would not seek to reactivate it in parliament.
  • But she once against refused to buckle to demands to completely withdraw the bill from the legislative agenda, provoking outcry from the anti-government camp.
  • As per leading democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was released from jail, Lam's words about the bill are another ridiculous lie.

ENVIRONMENT

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Bahrain Records Hottest June

  • Bahrain recorded temperatures that make the month of June the hottest ever experienced in the Arab Gulf country in more than a century.
  • Summers in the Arabian Peninsula are consistently hot and humid. The Bahrain News Agency's report, however, showed temperatures are soaring even higher.
  • Bahrain's Meteorological Directorate said that the average temperature in June was 36.3 Celsius (97.3 Fahrenheit), about 3.9 degrees Celsius (39 Farenheit) above the long-term normal for that month.
  • As per the report, June had the highest average temperatures for that month since 1902, with 20 days recording temperatures exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The hottest day clocked in at 45.3 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). Humidity levels were on average about 40%.

NGT Asks States to Submit Plan to Curb Stubble Burning

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to submit their plan for tackling crop residue burning this year, which is a major contributor to air pollution in neighbouring Delhi.
  • The green tribunal asked the states concerned to file their respective progress reports, including the strategies and proposed action plan they intend to implement to curb the problem in the current year.
  • Crop residue burning takes place during winter, which is also the time for peak air pollution.
  • A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that according to news reports, 25-30% of air pollution in the national capital region was caused due to crop burning in Punjab, Haryana and UP.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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France to Impose Green Tax

  • The French government is to impose a tax of up to 18 euros on plane tickets for all flights from airports in France to fund less-polluting transportation projects.
  • The move, which would take effect from 2020, would see a tax of 1.5 euros imposed on economy-class tickets on internal flights and those within Europe, with the highest tariff applied to business-class travellers flying outside the bloc.
  • The new measure is expected to bring in some 182 million euros a year which would be invested in greener transport infrastructures, notably rail, This would only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country.
  • A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to €40 on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate.

Wealth of High Net Worth Individuals falls

  • According to the World Wealth Report 2019, the overall wealth of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) declined by 3 per cent in 2018, resulting in a worldwide loss of $2 trillion.
  • This is the first drop in the last seven years.
  • Largely due to a drop in wealth in the Asia-Pacific region (specifically China), this decline has resulted in a loss of $2 trillion worldwide.
  • The global HNWI population and wealth declined by 0.3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, with Asia-Pacific hit the hardest.
  • The region (Asia Pacific) represented $1 trillion of the global decline in wealth, as the HNWI population decreased by 2 per cent and HNWI wealth by 5 per cent. China alone was responsible for more than half (53 per cent) of Asia-Pacific and more than 25 per cent of global HNWI wealth loss.

Sanjay Kaul Launches Start-up Named Sofyx

  • Former Country Manager Apple India, Sanjay Kaul launched his own start-up named 'Sofyx', a social commerce platform for general traders dealing in smartphones and accessories in India.
  • Sofyx would bring together the mobile reseller community along with other stakeholders like telecom operators, device manufacturers, distributors and other vendors on a single platform.
  • As per Sanjay Kaul, the first and foremost objective is to strengthen and improve the General Trade (GT) business in India. At the basic level, the platform would enable information exchange, engagement, real-time feedback and community building amongst the stakeholder group.
  • At a functional level, Sofex would help drive business transactions between various stakeholders. Our platform would streamline and digitize in-store operations, buying, as well as customer interactions.

SPORTS

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BCB Terminates Rhodes' Contract

  • The Bangladesh Cricket Board announced it would let go head coach Steve Rhodes after a disappointing campaign in the World Cup.
  • As per BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the decision will be effective immediately.
  • The decision came a day after Bangladesh returned home after ending its campaign in the World Cup eighth in the league phase with only three wins in eight matches.
  • Head coach Rhodes joined Bangladesh in June last year and guided the team to its first-ever title in a multi-team tournament in Ireland just before the World Cup.
  • He was contracted with Bangladesh until the ICC World Twenty20 in Australia next year but his inability to give the team the expected results appear to have cost him his job.

India-New Zealand Semi-final Pushed to Reserve Day

  • With less than four overs to go in what was a New Zealand batting innings that never really did get going, rain halted play first temporarily for three hours, and then permanently for the day. This, then, ensured that the umpires had no other option than to push the first semi-final of this World Cup into its reserve day, where the match would resume (hopefully, considering there is rain forecast for the reserve day as well) exactly where it left off; Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling the 47th over to Ross Taylor.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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West Bengal Congress Chief Offers to Resign

  • West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) president Somen Mitra offered to resign from the post, accepting responsibility for the party's debacle in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
  • Mr. Mitra was appointed to the post in September 2018.
  • He said that his appointment was given by Sri Rahul Gandhi and when Rahul is not willing to be Congress president, there is no meaning in continuing as PCC president.
  • Gourav Gogoi, in charge of the WBPCC, had not accepted the resignation and the he had advised Mr. Mitra to start working as PCC president with all new efforts, it stated.

CMs of all NE States to Protest

  • If the Centre brings the Citizenship Amendment Bill once again, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that he along with his counterparts in the northeastern states, would protest jointly.
  • Khandu, who heads a BJP government, informed the assembly that earlier also he had urged the Centre to exempt the tribal state from the purview of the Bill.
  • The contentious Bill provided for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

Police Verification Must for Foreign Volunteers

  • As per the Delhi government, all foreign volunteers coming to the national capital to work with NGOs working for people with disabilities would have to get a mandatory police verification certificate from the police of the country of their origins.
  • The Delhi High Court disposed off a plea, which had sought the formation of rules and regulations regarding volunteers and donors in special schools and institutions, based on the government's submission.
  • According to a senior official of Delhi government's Social Welfare Department, the government has already included the police verification of the foreign volunteers as one of the guidelines and it would now be mandatory for these volunteers to get a police clearance certificate from the police of their country.
  • The government's submission comes after a series of High Court orders on a plea by a social activist Prashant Kumar, who had sought framing of rules and regulations for monitoring the entry and exit of volunteers and donors in special schools and institutions. Kumar had filed the plea in 2017, following the arrest of Murray Ward, a British citizen, for abusing children of the National Association for Blind (NAB).

DEFENCE

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Additional Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs and MiG-29 Fighters for IAF

  • Indian Air Force (IAF) is eyeing 18 more Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multirole fighters and 21 Mikoyan MiG-29 air superiority jets from Russia to add extra teeth to its arsenal, and tackle the twin threats of Pakistan and China. IAF already has a sanctioned strength of 272 Su-30 MKIs and also operates 69 MiG-29 UPGs.
  • IAF requires 42 squadrons to be effective during a two-front war with China and Pakistan but is currently operating with only 31 as it retires the older MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft. The additional Su-30 MKI and MiG-29 jets would add two more squadrons to the IAF fighter fleet.
  • Russia's Federal Service for Military- Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Deputy Director Vladimir Drozhzhov said that India placed a request for an additional 18 Su-30 MKI kits and over 20 modernised MiG-29 aircraft. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will assemble the Sukhoi twinjet multirole air superiority fighters from the kits at its Ozar plant in Maharashtra's Nashik while the MiG will come in flyaway condition.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Rajat Bhargava Head of EV Biz

  • Hero MotoCorp Ltd. appointed Rajat Bhargava as head of its newly created Emerging Mobility unit as India's biggest motorcycle manufacturer looks to claim a slice of the country's electric vehicle (EV) market. The government, in a bid to promote electric automobiles in polluted cities, last week proposed tax waivers on the purchase of EVs and removed import taxes on some auto components to help boost sales. Reuters reported last month that the country's leading think-tank had proposed electrifying most motorbikes and scooters within the next 6-8 years, helping reduce the world's third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases dependence on fossil fuels.

Arun Kumar New Head of Civil Aviation

  • Arun Kumar, additional secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, was appointed the Director General of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • Kumar was leading the DGCA as an additional charge between May 31 and July 9 but an order issued by the ministry means that he would now serve as full-time head of aviation regulator DGCA.
  • According to an official order, Kumar's appointment as Director General in DGCA in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Kumar is an IAS officer of 1989 batch of Haryana cadre. He would succeed B. S. Bhullar as the new chief of DGCA.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Castrol Super Mechanic 2019

  • Sarvanakumar Subramaniam and Hardevsinh Jadeja emerged as winners of the Castrol Super Mechanic Contest 2019 in a glittering finale organized by Castrol India, the country's leading automotive and industrial lubricant manufacturing company.
  • Sarvanakumar Subramaniam from Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore was announced the winner in the bike category while Hardevsinh Jadeja from Morbi, Gujarat won in the car category. K Jayavel from Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kishor Kalalpa Gatade from Kolhapur, Maharashtra emerged as runners-up in car and bike category respectively.
  • Over 1.27 lakh mechanics from across the country participated in the third edition of the Castrol Super Mechanic Contest and 40 of them competed in the final stages.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Panel to Review Contents of WB Text Books

  • Amid a controversy over history text book in state-run schools describing a section of the freedom fighters as "extremists", the West Bengal government Tuesday announced formation of a committee to review the contents of such books.
  • Headed by educationist Jiban Mukhopadhyay, the "textbook review committee" comprises headmasters and senior school teachers.
  • The panel was asked to submit its report to the education department within three months.

NCC Compulsory in Schools

  • Punjab would provide compulsory National Cadet Corps (NCC) training to students at all government schools and colleges in areas located close to the international border with Pakistan.
  • Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took a decision in this regard at a high-level meeting, saying that it would help make the youth employable in the armed and paramilitary forces besides inculcating a strong sense of disciplinein in them.
  • Gradually, NCC training would be made compulsory at all the schools in the state.
  • Amarinder Singh announced a pilot project to provide compulsory NCC training to all students of Class IX and XI at government schools and first and second year students at all colleges in the border districts of Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Amritsar.
  • There are 365 high schools and 365 senior secondary schools in these districts.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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Mrigendra of UP Has Written 135 Books

  • A 12-year-old child prodigy from Uttar Pradesh has written 135 books on subjects like religion and biographies of well known personalities including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
  • Mrigendra Raj started writing books at the age of six and his first one was a compilation of poems.
  • He uses the pen name of 'Aaaj Ka Abhimanyu' and already has four world records to his credit.
  • He has written books after analysing 51 characters of the Ramayana. Each of his books runs into 25 to 100 pages. He even received an offer from the World University of Records in London for doctorate.
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