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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

30 Aug 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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The World's Highest-Paid Women In Music 2019: Taylor Swift Doubles Up No. 2 Beyoncé

  •  Forbes revealed its list of highest-paid celebrities and Taylor Swift took the top spot, having earned $185 million from June 2018 to June 2019.
  • Swift beat out Kylie Jenner, and, according to Forbes' new list of the world's highest-paid women in music, she's number one in her industry too.
  • Her $185 million income far surpassed Beyonce's $81 million. Queen Bey is number two on the list, followed by Rihanna, who earned $62 million, according to Forbes.

ENVIRONMENT

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Rare Tarantula Sighted In Villupuram District

  •  The spider belonging to the genus Poecilotheria, commonly known as the Peacock Parachute Spider or Gooty Tarantula was spotted by a team of researchers of the Puducherry-based Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF) in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in Villupuram district.
  • The known habitat of Peacock Parachute Spider is in degraded forests near Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh.
  • In an interesting find, researchers have sighted a critically endangered species of tarantula for the first time beyond its known habitat in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The team of wildlife researchers was involved in field work in the reserve forests recently when they sighted a Gooty Tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica) resting in a cave.
  • The species was later cross-matched with photographic evidence published by the Zoo Outreach Organisation and Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society.

Centre Approves Gorewada International Zoo In Nagpur

  •  Union Minister Prakash Javadekar  announced the approval for the new Gorewada International Zoo to be inaugurated in Nagpur district of Maharashtra.
  •  According to Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (FDCML), the Government of Maharashtra has already issued its Government Resolution, for establishing International Standard Zoo and Rescue Centre at Gorewada village, Nagpur District on 1914 hectares of Forest Land through FDCML.

Special Tiger Force for Corbett Reserve set up

  •  The Uttarakhand government has decided to form a Special Tiger Force for Corbett Tiger Reserve, a move which will help serve as the much needed second layer of protection for the big cat.
  • The decision to set up the force was taken by the State Cabinet. The force will have 85 posts.
  • The STPF will be effective in checking illegal human intrusion into the reserve through villages located on its fringes and serve as a second layer of protection for tigers at the CTR.
  • Illegal intruders from fringe areas have been behind poaching incidents in the reserve in the past.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Govt Approves Rs 6,268 Crore Subsidy To Promote Sugar Exports

  •  The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved sugar export policy for evacuation of surplus stocks during sugar season 2019-20.
  • The CCEA, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave nod to sugar export subsidy of about Rs 6,268 crore to liquidate surplus domestic stock and help mills in clearing huge sugarcane arrears to farmers.
  • The government will provide a lump sum subsidy of Rs 10,448 per metric tonne to sugar mills for the sugar season 2019-20. The total estimated expenditure of about Rs 6,268 crore will be incurred for this purpose.
  • The export subsidy will be provided for expenses on marketing costs including handling, upgrading and other processing costs, international and internal transport costs and freight charges.
  • The subsidy would be directly credited into farmers' accounts on behalf of mills against sugarcane price dues. Subsequent balance, if any, would be credited to mills' account.

Air India To Be Privatized In Shortest Possible Time

  •  Civil Aviation Minister Mr Hardeep Singh Puri said that government is determined for the privatization of Air India and people are interested in buying it. 
  • Total privatization will be done in the shortest possible time and with the best deal.  
  • Earlier Mr. Puri launched an aviation job portal. Aviation jobs is a unique web-based portal which brings together job seekers and prospective employers in the Indian civil aviation sector. 
  • It is a common platform for enabling candidates to register their job interests across various sub-sectors. 
  • At the same time, it facilitates the sourcing of information about candidates available in the market by prospective employers with a view to improve prospects for employment or re-employment in the civil aviation ecosystem.

Tamil Nadu's Dindigul Locks And Kandangi Sarees Get GI Tag

  •  After a long wait, Tamil Nadu's Dindigul locks and Kandangi sarees have received Geographical Indication (GI) tags. 
  •  The Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Workers Industrial Co-operative Society, and the Amrar Rajiv Gandhi Handloom Weavers Cooperative Production and Sales Society now have the exclusive rights over these products.
  • The lock-making industry in Dindigul is said to be over 150 years old, started by the Sankaralingachari brothers, and spread over five villages in the district. They make over 50 varieties of locks.
  • Similarly, the hand-woven Kandangi sarees also have a 150-year-old tradition, and its history is interwoven with the story of the influential business community of Chettiars.
  • The Geographical Indication sign is used on products which correspond to a specific geographical location.
  • The use of a geographical indication may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.
  • It has evolved its unique craftsmanship distinct from other lock making hubs, such as Aligarh in UP and Das Nagar in West Bengal.
  • Every lock is designed and possesses a unique style and special name such as  Mango Lock, Door Lock, Almirah Lock, Export Lock, Excise Lock. Trick Locks, Mango Seven Lever Locks, Mango Nine Levers Locks, Drawer Lock and Square lock. 

SPORTS

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India's Elavenil Valarivan Wins Gold In 10m Air Rifle At ISSF World Cup

  •  Young Elavenil Valarivan won her maiden gold medal in the women's 10m Air Rifle event even as fancied teammates Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela finished out of medal bracket at the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol Stage.
  • In her debut year at the senior level, Elavenil shot 251.7 in the finals to help India extend their newly found dominance in the event leaving behind Seonaid Mcintosh of Britain, who won silver with an effort of 250.6.
  • India has now won three out of the four World Cup gold medals in the women's 10m Air in 2019.
  • Chinese Taipei's Ying-Shin Lin won bronze as well as one of the two Tokyo 2020 quota places on offer. The second quota was won by Iran.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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DoT Allocates Two Additional Frequencies For Community Radio

  •  The Department of Telecommunications has allocated two additional dedicated frequencies for running Community Radio - 89.6 and 90.0 MHz.
  • Information and Broadcasting Secretary, Amit Khare said this while delivering the Valedictory Address of 7th National Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi.
  • He also announced that on the lines of recent hike in advertisement rates for print and electronic media, the advertisement rates for Community Radio will be revised by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication within two months. 
  • Mr Khare also announced that a Community Radio Cell will be set up in the Ministry for grievance redressal and collating actionable suggestions received from stakeholders.
  • Information and Broadcasting Ministry will establish Community Radio Stations in every district of the Country. 

IIT Guwahati Signs MoU With RD Grow Green India

  •  Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RD Grow Green India Pvt. Ltd. for safe drinking water.
  • The Technology Transfer Signing Ceremony was held at the IIT Guwahati campus between T G Sitharam, Director IIT Guwahati and Rajeev Saikia, MD, RD Grow Green India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Drinking water contamination is a major problem in most of the states including Assam. This "chemical-free" treatment technique might be useful to the citizens in rural and urban areas as well.
  • The initiative made by the team from IIT Guwahati  has resulted in one of the successful incubation of a company within IIT Guwahati (RD Grow Green India Pvt Ltd) who have taken the challenge to supply contaminant-free drinking water in the Assam state, presently using the technology developed by Prof. M. K. Purkait.
  • The technology is based on the 'Apparatus and Method for Removal of Fluoride, Iron, Arsenic and Microorganisms from Contaminated Drinking Water' by Prof. Mihir Kumar Purkait, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati.
  • The technology is patented by Prof. Mihir Kumar Purkait under the Indian patent Number: 286481.

Mumbai Ranked 45th, Delhi 52nd on world's safe cities list

  •  Mumbai has been ranked as the 45th safest city on the Safe Cities Index (SCI), while Delhi stood at the 52nd position, a report by Economist Intelligence Unit said.
  • Cities in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) region made up six of the top-10 safest cities with Tokyo taking the top spot.
  • Along with Tokyo, APAC cities dominated the SCI 2019. Singapore and Osaka came second and third, while Sydney and Melbourne also made it to the top-10 cities list.
  • Though Hong Kong dropped out of this group since 2017, Seoul has joined the top-10 cities' league taking eighth place with Copenhagen.
  • The Safe Cities Index (SCI) 2019 ranks 60 countries worldwide across five continents and measures the multi-faceted nature of urban safety, with indicators categorised as digital, infrastructure, health and personal security.

DEFENCE

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Pak Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Surface-To-Surface Ballistic Missile 'Ghaznavi'

  •  Pakistan has successfully test-fired nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile 'Ghaznavi' with a range of up to 290 kms, amid fresh Indo-Pak tensions after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
  • Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority  closed three aviation routes of Karachi airspace till August 31, 2019 leading to reports that the Pakistan Army may conduct a missile test from a flight test range in Balochistan.
  • The Pakistan military's media spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor  shared a video of the "night-training launch" of the short range ballistic missile on Twitter.
  • The Ghaznavi missile is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to 290 kms, that could cover parts of India.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Fraud-hit CG Power Sacks Gautam Thapar As Chairman

  •  After its Board-instituted investigation unearthed a multi-crore financial fraud, CG Power & Industrial Solutions  removed its founder Gautam Thapar as chairman of the company, prompting the tycoon to break his silence to say that there was neither any fraud nor any misappropriation of funds.
  • The Board of the fraud-hit firm through a circular resolution approved by a majority of the members removed Thapar as the chairman, the company said in a regulatory filing.
  • Thapar opposed the resolution, while CEO and managing director KN Neelkant, whose continuance has been questioned by investors, abstained from voting on the resolution.
  • The Board is likely  to elect a new chairman. In all likelihood, one of the independent directors will be appointed as the non-executive chairman.

Lakshmi Vilas Bank MD & CEO Announces Resignation

  •  Parthasarathi Mukherjee, MD & CEO of  Lakshmi Vilas bank, has submitted his resignation letter dated August 28, 2019, owing to personal reasons. The letter was placed before the board in the meeting held and the board has accepted the same.
  •  Mukherjee will be relieved of his responsibilities on August 31, 2019.
  • The bank is in the process of getting approvals from the regulators for a proposed merger of Indiabulls Housing Finance (IBHFL) and its wholly owned subsidiary Indiabulls Commercial Credit with LVB.
  • According to the plan, IBHFL is to hold around 90.5% of the post-merger enhanced equity capital of the merged entity, while shareholders of LVB are to hold around 9.5%.

Government Extends CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody's Tenure By One Year

  •  The tenure of CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody has been extended by an year. According to the order, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved "re-appointment" of Mody for a period of one year.
  • Mody was to retire on August 3, 2019. A 1982-batch Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre) officer, Mody took over as the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chief in February 2019. His appointment came after Sushil Chandra, the then CBDT chief, was appointed as an Election Commissioner.
  • The ACC in an another order appointed 1983-batch IRS officer Prabhash Shankar as a new member in the CBDT. The other members are P K Dash, Akhilesh Ranjan and Neena Kumar. There are still two vacancies in the Board.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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Small Industry Day: August 30

  •  An industry day is an event held by a military to present requirements to industry representatives for weapons or vehicles.
  • Common presentation methods include outlines by powerpoint. Industry days are usually held in succession with each event holding fewer people as contractors drop their bids.
  • Small Industry Day is celebrated on 30 August every year in support and promotion of small Industries.
  • Industry day is celebrated as a part of its effort to provide balanced growth to existing small, medium and large scale enterprises and render assistance for setting up new industries to boost the state's financial health.

Rajnath Inaugurates Ladakhi-Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan Mela In Leh

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the 26th Mela of Ladakhi-Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan Mela.
  • The mela was organised by the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) of DRDO, which was established in 1960 to meet the fresh food requirement of the soldiers deployed in the harsh terrain of Ladakh.
  • Gyal Phunchok Wangyal, Chief Executive Counselor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), and Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal amongst others were also present there.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Gagan Narang To Receive Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 

  •  On National Sports Day, Gagan Narang received yet another award.  Ram Nath Kovind will present to Narang the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar at the Arjuna Awards ceremony in New Delhi. 
  • But this one won't be for his sharpshooting skills. With gun in his hands, he has made India proud on many occasions.
  • From Commonwealth Games to Olympics, Narang has earned a lot of medals and his contribution has been duly recognized by the government multiple times, including Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2010.  
  • For, it's a recognition of his contribution in the growth of his favourite sport and a reward for sacrifices he has made to realise this dream.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Centre Releases ₹47,436 Crore To 27 States For Afforestation

  •  The Union Environment Ministry transferred ₹47,436 crore to 27 States for afforestation. These are long-pending dues part of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF), a ₹54,000 crore tranche that has been collected for nearly a decade as environmental compensation from industry, which has razed forest land for its business plans.
  • The amount to be paid by industry depends on the economic value of the goods and services that the razed forest would have provided.
  • These include timber, bamboo, firewood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal. Industrialists pay this money and this is eventually transferred to the States concerned to carry out afforestation.
  • Only a fraction of this corpus had actually been disbursed to States, due to the lack of a legal framework and instances of States using it for non-forestry purposes.

Government Decides To Achieve 100 Per Cent Electrification Of Railways

  •  The government has decided to move towards achieving 100 per cent electrification of railways, as part of efforts to curb carbon footprints.
  • The railways minister also said he has a mission that in next 10 years, Indian Railways will be running on renewable energy. 
  • The railways is taking various environment-friendly or energy-efficient measures to reduce carbon footprint and protect the environment. 
  • In 2018-19, Indian Railways consumed about 20.44 billion units of electricity and 3.1 billion litres of high-speed diesel (HSD) for its energy requirement. 

Angikaar Campaign Launched To Enrol PMAY (urban) Beneficiaries In Other Central Welfare Schemes

  •  The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry launched the 'Angikaar campaign', a move aimed at bringing beneficiaries of PMAY (urban) into the fold of other central schemes such as Ujjawala and Ayushman Bharat. 
  • At an event, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the convergence would especially focus on Ujjwala for gas connection and Ayushman Bharat for health insurance to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(U). 
  • The campaign will officially be rolled out in all cities with PMAY(U) on October 2, 2019 and culminate on December 10, 2019. 
  • According to the ministry, around 88 lakh houses have so far been approved against the demand of 1.12 crore. The 'Angikaar' aims at reaching out all the beneficiaries of the PMAY(U) in a phased manner. 
  • At the event, the ministry also launched the e-course on vulnerability atlas in collaboration with the School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, and the Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC). 

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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AYUSH And Yoga Are Strong Pillars Of 'Fit India' Movement: PM

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi  said AYUSH and Yoga are strong pillars of 'Fit India' movement.
  • He said Mahatma Gandhi used to believe that Naturopathy is a way of living. India has vast and ancient texts highlighting the importance of Ayurveda and Yoga.
  • Giving away Yoga Awards to the winners for Outstanding Contribution for Promotion and Development of Yoga in New Delhi, Mr Modi said he makes full use of Yoga and Ayurveda in his life.
  • He said that attending a program related to Ayush and Yoga on the very next day of launch of Fit India is a strange coincidence. 
  • During the ceremony, Mr Modi released 12 commemorative postal stamps to honour eminent scholars, practitioners and Great Master Healers of AYUSH Systems. These commemorative postal stamps highlight the great work and acknowledge the achievements of the Great Master Healers of AYUSH Systems. 
  • He also launched ten AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres located in Haryana. This is in line with Ministry of AYUSH's commitment to make 12 thousand 500 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres functional in next three years.
  • The main focus of these centres will be empowering the community for self care by imbibing AYUSH based healthy food and lifestyle, social behaviour and use of medicinal plants for primary health care.

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

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Unique Tribal Eco Tourism Programme To Restart From Sep 2, 2019

  •  The unique tribal eco tourism programme is being conducted in various parts of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu.
  • Reservations can be made for the tour programme, according to Tourism department officials in Mettupalayam, the entrance to the famous Ghat highway to Udhagamandalam, the Queen of the Western Ghats.
  • The eco tourism programme is being conducted jointly by the tourism and SC/ST Welfare departments.
  • The trekking tour also includes the excitement of a boat ride in the expansive water bodies including the Pilloor dam. Tourists are also given guided tours to the dense forests of Sathyamangalam as well as the option to take part in a lunch cum music and dance session with the forest tribes of the area. 
  • The tour programme, that had attracted much attention, had been temporarily suspended because of the heavy rains that had lashed the Western Ghats areas in the past few weeks. Now things are under control and the sporadic rains do not possess any problems to tourists according to meteorologists
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