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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

18 Aug 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Vice Prez Embarks On Three-Nation Visit To Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia

  •  Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has embarked on a three-nation visit to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
  • He is accompanied by a high-level delegation. Vice President's visit will be the first ever high level visit to the three Baltic countries.
  • The visit takes place in the context of increasing political engagement, as well as intensified trade and commercial ties.
  • The visit of Vice President to the three Baltic countries is to advance India's outreach to the important countries in the region. 
  • This visit will also provide an opportunity to brief the Baltic countries and get their views on enhanced opportunities for cooperation, thus further strengthening our existing friendly ties.
  • Notably, India and Baltic countries have historical connect and common linguistic roots.
  • The cutting edge technology and innovation ecosystems of the Baltic countries complement India's huge market and appetite for these technologies.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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I-T Department To Adopt 'Taxpayer Friendly' Approach

  •  According to the sources, the I-T department is set to change its approach and adopt friendly language but not at the cost of forgoing any lapses. 
  • The department will use friendly language in its communications with taxpayers rather than intimidating, amid allegations of intrusive, threatening and arbitrary behaviour by the department. 
  • The voices of concern have grown louder in recent weeks after Cafe Coffee Day founder V.G. Siddhartha committed suicide and, in a purported note, alleged harassment by an income tax official. 
  • With the help of data mining and data analytics, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is now working on ways to ensure the department makes information "such as large-cash deposits or high-value transactions" available to taxpayers well in time for filing of tax returns.

No Proposal To Privatise Ordnance Factory Board

  •  The Defence Ministry  clarified that there was no proposal to privatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
  • The government is considering plans to turn the OFBs into public sector units fully owned by the Defence Ministry.
  • That would come as a relief for workers of ordnance factories across the country who have been agitating against the proposal. 

SPORTS

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Esow Bags Cycling Sprint Silver

  •  India's Esow Alben bagged a silver medal in men's individual sprint.
  • Esow was beaten 2-1 by Greek cyclist Konstantinos Livanos in a closely-fought final as he settled for second place.
  • Having led India to a gold medal in team sprint and then bagged a keirin bronze earlier in the competition, Esow has now completed his medal collection in Frankfurt with the individual sprint silver.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Modi Embarks On Two-Day Bhutan Visit

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering held wide ranging talks  during which they discussed steps to further expand the bilateral partnership across several sectors as the two countries inked 10 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to infuse new energy in their ties.
  • Modi inaugurated 740 MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant and also launched stamps to commemorate five decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation.
  • The two countries signed 10 agreements in the field of space research, aviation, information technology, power and education. One of the MOUs include establishment of SATCOM Network in Thimphu for the utilisation of South Asia Satellite.
  • The two leaders jointly inaugurated the Ground Earth Station and SATCOM network, developed with assistance from ISRO for utilization of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan.
  • Modi also launched RuPay Card in Bhutan by making a purchase at Simtokha Dzong, built in 1629 by Shabdrung Namgyal, which functions as a monastic and administrative centre and is one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan.
  • The two leaders also unveiled e-plaque of the interconnection between India's National Knowledge Network and Bhutan's Druk Research and Education Network. 
  • He also announced to increase the supply of LPG from India from 700 to 1000 MT per month.

India Studying Early Chinese Proposals On Boundary Issue

  •  The 22nd round of the India-China Special Representatives dialogue on the boundary issue will take place in New Delhi. 
  • National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is evaluating the "early harvest" proposals sent by Beijing to build trust between the two sides ahead of the meeting.
  • The foreign ministers dialogue on August 11-13 (2019)  in Beijing and the Special Representative talks are precursors to the October 11-12 (2018) informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in India for which Varanasi is being considered as the potential venue.

AAP's Mishra and Party's Women's Wing Chief Richa Join BJP

  •  Disqualified rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Kapil Mishra and the party women's wing chief, Richa Pandey, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • BJP vice-president Shyam Jaju and Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari handed over the membership slips to Mishra and Pandey at an event, where Mishra's mother, Annapurna Mishra, a senior BJP leader and former east Delhi mayor, was present .
  • On August 2, 2019, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel disqualified Mishra for sharing the stage with prominent BJP leaders and campaigning against the ruling AAP in Delhi in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections 2019.
  • Mishra, who was elected from Karawal Nagar, has challenged his disqualification in the high court.

DEFENCE

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Panel Formed To Speed Up Defence Purchases

  •  The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has decided to form a high powered committee to review the country's defence procurement procedure and manual to hasten the acquisition of weapons and defence systems with a special focus on life-cycle support and provide impetus to the Make in India initiative to cut down reliance on imported weapons.
  • Defence minister Rajnath Singh has green-lighted the setting up of an 11-member panel, under the director general (acquisition), to carry out the review and asked the committee to submit its report in six months.
  • The panel, whose members will be of the rank of at least joint secretary/major general and their equivalents in the navy and air force, will review the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), 2016 and the Defence Procurement Manual (DPM), 2009.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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Indian Amy Emerges as Champions at 5th Army International Scout Masters Competition

  •  The Closing Ceremony of the Fifth Army International Scout Masters Competition 2019 was held in Jaisalmer on 16 August 2019.
  • Honorable Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh was the Chief Guest.
  • The ceremony was attended by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General SK Saini, Southern Army Commander, delegations of participating countries, members of the International Organising Committee and several civilian and military dignitaries.
  • The Defence Minister gave away the Champions Trophy to the winning Indian team, Runner's Up Trophy to Uzbekistan and the Second Runner's Up trophy to Russia.

Parsi New Year 2019

  •  The Parsi New Year, also known as Navroz, is celebrated to mark the beginning of the new Iranian calendar. In Persian, 'Nav' means new, and 'Roz' stands for the day, this literally translates to 'new day'.
  • This tradition is believed to have begun over 3,000 years ago, and is observed by Iranians and the Parsi community around the world on 18 August every year, and most prominently in Maharashtra and Gujarat in India on account of the sizeable Parsi population. 

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Deepa Joins Bajrang For Khel Ratna

  •  Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was  nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour, joining Asian and Commonwealth Games champion wrestler Bajrang Punia.
  • The name of 48-year-old Deepa, who won a silver in shot put F53 category in 2016 Rio Paralympics, was added for the Khel Ratna by a 12-member selection committee on the second day of the two-day meeting.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Govt Plans GPS Tracking To Prevent Rogue Drones

  •  The civil aviation ministry is trying to figure out ways of ensuring that drones don't turn rogue and pose a security threat in areas deemed to be no-fly zones — a quandary that has impeded government efforts to make the operation of unmanned aircraft systems legal in India.
  • One possible solution is to have a GPS (global positioning system) trackers installed in all privately owned and operated drones that are registered for use.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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MP Colleges To Conduct Sessions On Rajiv Gandhi

  •  The Madhya Pradesh government decided to introduce special sessions in government and private colleges to teach students about the "life, ideology and policies" of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • The state government will observe 75th birth anniversary of former PM Rajiv Gandhi the whole year, as 'Yuva Sankalp Varsh' by organising different programmes and inviting experts to inform the students about Rajiv Gandhi's life, ideology and policies.
  • The programmes will be held from August 20, 2019, birth anniversary of late Rajiv Gandhi to May 21, 2020, his death anniversary.

Union Health Minister Inaugurates Medical College Named After Atal Bihari Vajpayee

  •  On the first death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Union Health Minister of India Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the medical college named after the late Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi on August 16,2019.
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences (ABVIMS) started with 100 MBBS seats this year. It will be a state-of-art medical college with reputed faculties and world class infrastructure.
  • The super specialty block has more than 550 beds and the new Resident Doctors' Hostel has 827 bed units.

ART AND CULTURE

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President Kovind Inaugurates Bunker Museum At Mumbai Raj Bhavan

  •  President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the underground Bunker Museum at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.
  • The 15,000 square feet underground bunker museum has virtual reality booths in which visitors can "time travel" to the 19th century.
  • The bunker was created in the 19th century to fire cannons at approaching enemy ships.
  • Another section depicts the history of Raj Bhavan.
  • The museum will be opened for the general public with an online booking facility later in 2019.
  • President Kovind was shown around the exhibition and given an audio visual experience of the history of Raj Bhavan at a virtual reality booth.
  • Earlier, he unveiled the foundation stone for the proposed reconstruction of Jal Bhushan, the Governor's office-cum-residential building.
  • Jal Bhushan has a history of nearly 200 years, and the present building has undergone several modifications and renovations.
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