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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

17 Sep 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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India, Slovenia Sign Seven Agreements And MoUs

  •  President Ram Nath Kovind and his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor have agreed to strengthen multilateralism and promote multi-polar world.
  • Mr Kovind  held a bilateral meeting with President Pahor at Lubliyana, the capital city of Slovenia.
  • In a statement issued after meeting, President Kovind thanked Slovenian President for supporting India in its fight against cross border terrorism.

TN Officials to Learn Highway Safety Skills From Australia

  •  Tamil Nadu has sent a team of senior bureaucrats to Australia to understand highway safety using Safe System Solution and emulate the best practices back home.
  • A team comprising S.K. Prabhakar, Principal Secretary (Highways & Minor Ports), Beela Rajesh, Secretary to Government (Health & Family Welfare), A. Arun, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) and A. Arun Thamburaj, Project Director, Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project left for Melbourne  to participate in six-day workshop. 
  • The programme is part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the State Government with VicRoads and Highways Department, Australia.

France To Press Dropping Sudan From US Terror Blacklist

  •  French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France will press to drop Sudan from the US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism and to support efforts to reintegrate the country into the international community.
  • Le Drian was in Khartoum for a day-long visit, the first such trip to Sudan by France's top diplomat in more than a decade. His visit comes as the northeast African country transitions to civilian rule after decades of authoritarianism.
  • Decades of US blacklisting along with a trade embargo imposed on Sudan in 1997 has kept overseas investors away from the country, in turn isolating it from the global economy.

ENVIRONMENT

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India to Generate 175 GW Of Clean Energy By 2022

  •  Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan said that the country was on course to generate 175 GW of clean energy by 2022.
  • The country has set a target of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases between 33 per cent and 35 per cent to combat climate change and global warming. So far, the country has been able to reduce it to 21 per cent.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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German Consumer Electronics Brand Telefunken to Enter Indian TV Market

  •  German consumer electronics brand Telefunken will make a foray into the Indian market by September, 2019 as it introduces its range of LED TVs.
  • Frankfurt-based Telefunken Licenses GmbH, which owns the trademark rights of the company, will enter India with a local partner.
  • Telefunken is brought in India by Japan-based Toyoichi Tsusho Co, which in May 2019 acquired the right to use the brand.

SDF India Rolls Out New Tractor Of Agromaxx Series

  •  Same Deutz-Fahr(SDF) India, one of the world's largest manufacturers of tractors, harvesters, agricultural machinery and engines launched its new range of Agromaxx series.
  • Having set two important milestones of introducing the first diesel engine tractor and the first 4-wheel drive tractor in the world, the company is now focused on providing farmers with state-of-the-art, reliable and versatile technology that would enhance their productivity and reduce their labour cost.

Microfinance Industry Gets 'Code For Responsible Lending'

  •  Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) and Sa-Dhan, the RBI-recognised self-regulatory organisation and industry association for the microfinance industry, along with FIDC, have jointly released the 'Code for Responsible Lending' (CRL) for the micro credit industry.
  • The CRL was launched at Sa-Dhan's 15th  Annual National Conference in New Delhi.
  • The CRL is sector-specific and entity-agnostic. In addition to the CRL, a revised industry Code of Conduct (CoC) was also released for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) that will act as a binding and compulsory set of principles with respect to lending practices.

RBI Allows Payment of All Recurring Bills Through BBPS

  •  In a consumer friendly initiative, the RBI expanded the scope of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to cover all repetitive bill payments, which may include school fees, insurance premiums and municipal taxes.
  • Currently, the facility of payment of recurring bills through BBPS is available only in five segments -- direct to home (DTH), electricity, gas, telecom and water. BBPS functions under the aegis of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • As per BBPS website, the facility would be expanded to include other types of repetitive payments like insurance premium, mutual funds, school fees, EMIs, and municipal taxes, among others.

BEML, Wipro to Work Together In Aerospace, AI And 3D Printing

  •  Defence PSU BEML Limited and Wipro  Infrastructure Engineering (WIN)  signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together in aerospace, industrial automation, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and hydraulic system engineering.
  • This is a first of its kind MoU for WIN with a large public sector enterprise in India.
  • The MoU entails working together on projects, products, systems, services and projects in defence, DRDO Labs, DPSUs and other relevant government entities in India as well as export customers.

SPORTS

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Sumit Nagal Hits Career-Best 159 ATP Ranking

  •  India's Sumit Nagal jumped 15 places to achieve a career-high ranking of 159 in the latest ATP rankings.
  • The 22-year-old from Haryana ended runners-up in the Banja Luka ATP Challenger following a first round appearance at the US Open.
  • He had leap frogged 16 places after his first-round exit in the US Open where he took a set off Swiss maestro Roger Federer before losing the match.

India's Kaushal Dharmamer Wins Myanmar International Series

  •  Indian shuttler Kaushal Dharmamer clinched the Myanmar International Series title with a come-from-behind win over Indonesia's Karono Karono in a thrilling men's singles final.
  • The 23-year-old from Mumbai, who had won the Hatzor International in October 2018, recovered after dropping the opening game to outwit Karono 18-21, 21-14, 21-11 in a match that lasted an hour.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Centre For Clean Coal Research Launched

  •  With the aim of addressing opportunities and challenges in the development of clean coal technologies, the National Centre for Clean Coal Research and Development (NCCCR&D) has been launched at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • NSSSR&D is a national consortium on clean coal research and development led by IISc with IIT- Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati, Bombay, and Hyderabad as partners.

DEFENCE

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Russia and Asian Partners To Hold Mass Military Drills

  •  Russia and seven of its Asian partners, including China, India and Pakistan, will hold massive joint military drills from September 16 to 21, 2019.
  • The exercises, named "Tsentr 2019," will also include four Central Asian republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The war drills will involve 128,000 military personnel from the eight nations, as well as 20,000 pieces of military equipment, around 600 aircraft and up to 15 naval vessels.
  • The exercises will take place at eight locations in Russia and will focus on air defense operations, counterterrorism and simulated combat.

India, Singapore, Thailand Naval Exercise Begins

  •  The maiden trilateral naval exercise involving India, Singapore and Thailand commenced at Port Blair.  The exercise was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address at Shangri-La dialogue in June 2018.
  • The five-day exercise is aimed at bolstering the maritime inter-relationships amongst  Singapore, Thailand and India, and contribute significantly to enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.
  •   This would also strengthen interoperability and development of a common understanding of procedures.

DRDO Hands Over New War-Gaming Software to Indian Navy

  •  The DRDO handed over to the Navy a new-generation wargaming software, aimed at creating an environment that would enable the Maritime Warfare Centres (MWCs) to train using the latest technological and computing tools.
  • The software has been developed by the Institute for Systems Studies and Analysis (ISSA) in Delhi, a premier Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, in collaboration with the MWC, Visakhapatnam to meet the contemporary operational and tactical level wargaming requirement of the Indian Navy.

BEL To Deliver More Akash Missiles To Indian Air Force

  •  State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi to deliver its surface-to-air Akash missile systems to seven more squadrons of the Indian Air Force at a cost of Rs 5,357 crore over the next three years.
  • The company supplied the medium-range missile defence system to six Air Force squadrons in 2015-16 against an earlier order by the MoD.
  • The missiles are designed and developed by the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Ltd for BEL's radars and control centres across the country.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Journalist Ajay Kumar Singh Is New Press Secretary To President Ram Nath Kovind

  •  Political journalist Ajay Kumar Singh was  appointed as the Press Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind. Singh, 55, is currently associated with the Firstpost as a contributor.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the appointment of Singh as Press Secretary to the President on contract basis initially for a period of one year or until further orders.
  • He succeeds Ashok Malik, whose term ended in July 2019.
  • Singh started his career with the Times of India in 1985 (Lucknow) and worked in the Economic Times and the Telegraph. He later joined the Pioneer in Delhi.

Mayank Vaid Becomes First Indian To Complete Enduroman Triathlon

  •  Mayank Vaid has become the 44th person in the world and the first Indian to finish the Enduroman, considered one of the toughest endurance competitions in the world.
  • Remarkably, Vaid also broke the record for the shortest time in which the triathlon has been completed.
  • The triathlon starts with a 140 km run from London's Marble Arch to Dover on the Kent coast, then a cross-Channel swim (shortest distance 33.8 km) to the French coast, and finishes with a 289.7 km bike ride from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Farooq Abdullah Booked Under PSA

  •  Jammu and Kashmir administration  booked National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah under Public Safety Act (PSA) to maintain law and order.
  • Dr Abdullah is currently detained at his residence in Srinagar. Officials said the residence has been converted into and designated as a sub-jail, with security arrangements by Special Services Group.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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38th Sharjah Intl. Book Fair to be organized

  •  The 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will be organized from 30th October to 9th November, 2019, where authors, publishers, intellectuals and artists worldwide will bring their experiences and expertise to this prominent event and partake in a vibrant cultural programme.
  • UNESCO has named Sharjah as the World Book Capital City for the year 2019 in recognition of the city's continuous efforts in promoting books and literacy.
  • Aligning itself with the title of the World Book Capital, the SIBF will be organized under the theme 'Open Books, Open Minds'.
  • Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) Chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, in a statement said that it will be an exceptional edition of the book fair, where the events and discussions will all shine a spotlight on the book's ability to ignite peoples' minds, appreciate cultural differences and bring them closer.

Greetings Pour in for PM Modi on his Birthday

  •  President, Vice President, several Ministers, leaders cutting across party lines, sportspersons, legends from various other fields and common people have greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday on September 17, 2019.
  • Extending his best wishes and greetings, President Ramnath Kovind wished Mr. Modi good health, happiness and many more years of dedicated service to the nation.

World Patient Safety Day: September 17, 2019

  •  The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared September 17, 2019 as the first World Patient Safety Day.
  • Globally, 134 million adverse events contribute to 2.6 million deaths each year due to unsafe care. At 28,000 deaths per year in Canada, patient harm ranks third in mortality after cancer and heart disease. 
  • The slogan for the day is "Speak Up for Patient Safety".
  • This campaign will mobilize patients and their families, health workers, policy makers, academicians, researchers, professional networks and the healthcare industry to speak up.  

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Gates Foundation Set To Honour Modi For Swachh Bharat Mission

  •  Mr. Modi will receive its annual Goalkeepers Global Goals Award for providing safer sanitation to 500 million people in India.
  • The Gates Foundation's annual event focusing on global inequality on September 24 and 25, 2019 coincides with the UN General Assembly gathering and has drawn big-name politicians and celebrities, from Barack Obama to Ed Sheeran.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates aren't backing down from honouring Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite concerns about the Kashmir region.
  • A dozen people, some wearing "Free Kashmir" T-shirts, with the 'Justice For All' coalition delivered 100,000 petition signatures to the Gates Foundation's Seattle headquarters, asking the world's largest private nonprofit not to honor Modi's Swachh Bharat Mission, a sanitation initiative that improved access to toilets.

Bangladesh Accords Guard Of Honour To ICG DG Natarajan

  •  The Bangladesh Coast Guard accorded the Guard of Honour to India Coast Guard Director General Krishnaswamy Natarajan during his maiden visit to Dhaka.
  • Natarajan also held a courtesy meeting with his counterpart Rear Admiral M Ashraful Haque on the sidelines of 5th high-level meeting scheduled on September 17, 2019 for further enhancing Maritime Cooperation.

Raghu Rai Chosen As First Recipient Of Newly Instated International Photography Award

  •  Renowned Indian photographer Raghu Rai has been chosen as the first recipient of the inaugural edition of the Acadmie des beaux-arts Photography Award - William Klein.
  • Established in 2019, the award is in honour of the celebrated American-born French photographer and filmmaker William Klein, best known for his unusual photography techniques.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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HP CM Launches Helpline For Speedy Redressal Of Public Grievances

  •  Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched the Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline '1100' for speedy and time-bound redressal of public grievances.
  • The main focus of the present state government from the day it assumed office was to ensure that the issues, problems and grievances of the general public were redressed at the earliest and in a time-bound manner.
  • The helpline will function six days a week (Monday-Saturday) from 7 am to 10 pm.

Centre To Give Support Of Rs 8,500 Crore To ECG

  •  Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has said the Central government will give support of 8,500 crore rupees to Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, ECGC, in the next five years.
  • Interest rates will now be just close to 3.5 per cent. Banks have been advised to extend this new facility to all exporters.
  • Mr Goyal  said ECGC has introduced a scheme called Niryat Rin Vikash Yojana - NIRVIK to enhance loan availability to exporters.
  • The scheme will also help ease the lending process. He said ECGC provides credit guarantee to exporters up to 60 per cent of loss.
  • Under the new scheme NIRVIK, up to 90 per cent of the principal amount and interest will be covered through insurance. It will cover both pre and post-shipment credit.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Wing Commander Anjali Singh Becomes India's First Female Military Diplomat

  •  Wing Commander Anjali Singh has become India's first female military diplomat to be posted in any of the Indian missions abroad.
  • Singh has joined the Indian Embassy in Russia as the Deputy Air Attache.
  • Singh, who is trained on MiG-29 fighter aircraft, joined her new assignment on September 10, 2019.

ART AND CULTURE

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Hindi Pakhwada Being Observed At Prasar Bharti Secretariat

  •  Hindi Pakhwada is being observed at Prasar Bharti Secretariat in New Delhi.
  • During the fortnight event, various activities related to Hindi would be taken up. These include essay writing, Hindi typing and dictation.
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