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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

19 Sep 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Israel Election Results

  •  Israel's ruling Likud party and its main rival Blue and White party are tied at 32 seats each, putting the country's longest serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a shaky ground with his right-wing bloc falling five short of a majority in the 120-member Parliament.
  • Netanyahu's Likud and centrist challenger Benny Gantz's Blue and White stood at 32 seats each after counting of 90 per cent of ballots were completed. 
  • The secular Yisrael Beitenu party won 9 seats, making its leader Avigdor Lieberman the kingmaker in the elections.
  • Netanyahu, 69, called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority.
  • Joint List, an alliance of mostly Arab Israeli parties, stood at the third place with 12 seats, followed by the ultra-Orthodox Shas with nine seats.

Mongolian Prez Arriving In New Delhi On Five Day State Visit

  •  President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga arrived in New Delhi on a five day State visit.
  • He will be accompanied by a high-level official and business delegation. Mr Battulga will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. 
  • The visiting dignitary will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • During his stay, the Mongolian President will visit Agra, Bodh Gaya and Bengaluru. Mr Battulga's visit to India will be the first State visit by a Mongolian President in last 10 years.

Sri Lanka To Hold Presidential Election On November 16

  •  Sri Lanka will hold presidential elections on November 16, 2019 the Election Commission announced. Nominations would be called on October 7, 2019.
  • The coming election has been drawing much interest locally and internationally, with Leader of Opposition and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa naming his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a controversial former Defence Secretary accused of war-crimes, as the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna candidate.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Hero Cycles Ties Up With Yamaha Motor To Launch Lectro e-Cycle Series

  •  Hero Cycles has partnered with Japan's Yamaha Motor Co to launch Lectro e-cycle series.
  • Priced at Rs 1.30 lakh, Lectro EHX20 is a high performance e-cycle powered by Yamaha.
  • The cycle plans this product mainly for the metro markets, and target the high disposable income group, which are spending on healthy lifestyle and physical fitness.
  • Hero Cycles plans to add more models in 'Lectro e-cycle powered by Yamaha' series and will adopt multi-channel retail strategy to reach the customers through its own sales network, multi-brand stores and the online sales channels.

Govt Scraps Import Duty On Open Cell TV Panel To Boost Manufacturing

  •  The government has scrapped import duty on open cell TV panel used to make television sets, as it aims to boost local manufacturing by lowering input costs for TV makers who have been complaining about a slump in demand.
  • The decision to remove 5 percent customs duty will help reduce manufacturing cost by around 3 percent but it wasn't immediately clear if all TV makers will pass on the benefit to consumers.
  • Panasonic said it will pass on the benefit of 3-4 percent reduction to consumers.
  • Finance Ministry in a notification said customs duty on "open-cell (15.6-inch and above), for use in the manufacture of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panels" will be nil as against 5 percent import duty previously.

Kishore Biyani-Backed Future Style Lab To Add 70 Stores Over 3 Years

  •  Kishore Biyani-backed Future Style Lab that operates the Cover Story and Ancestry brands is planning to expand its presence by adding about 70 stores in the next three years, investing Rs 50-60 crore.
  • While the fashion brands are currently positioned as metro and top city products, next on the company's list for expansion are Jaipur, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.
  • Future Style Lab makes a pre-store investment of Rs 60 lakh to Rs 1 crore on each of its Cover Story stores, inspired by London high-street fashion.   

T-Hub Inks MoU With Choose New Jersey

  •  T-Hub signed a tripartite MoU with 'Choose New Jersey', an economic development organisation and 'VentureLink', a community hub for technology companies at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for Northern New Jersey. 
  • T-Hub will provide Indian growth-stage startups with business opportunities, market understanding and access to clients in New Jersey.
  • The three entities will collaborate in the areas of startup innovation, funding and entrepreneurship.

SPORTS

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Vinesh Phogat Wins Maiden Wrestling World Championships

  •  Phogat ended her medal drought at Wrestling World Championships as the start Indian wrestler clinched a bronze in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
  • Vinesh Phogat defeated two-time world bronze medalist Maria Prevolaraki of Greece by fall in the bronze medal bout of 53 kg freestyle event. She is only the fourth Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the prestigious tournament.
  • The win comes as a double delight for the young Indian wrestler as she won India an Olympic quota in the 53 kg freestyle.
  • Vinesh Phogat had shown excellent defensive skills when she defeated World No. 1 Sarah Ann Hilderbrandt of USA in the second repechage round.

Hima Das Ruled Out Of World Championships

  •  Ace sprinter Hima Das will not be participating in the upcoming World Championships 2019 due to a back injury.
  • The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) provided the information and said: "Unfortunately 400 m athlete Hima Das will not compete at the World Championships 2019 in Doha due to back injury."

India Defeat South Africa By 7 Wickets In Mohali T-20 International

  •  In Cricket, skipper Virat Kohli's unbeaten knock of 72 runs guided India to beat South Africa by seven wickets in the second T-20  at Mohali.
  • India chased down the victory target of 150 runs in 19 overs, riding on a stunning start by both the openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
  • Later, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer steered their team to victory. Virat slammed unbeaten 72 runs off 52 balls. Shikhar Dhawan scored 40 runs off 31 balls.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty Crash Out Of China Open

  •  The Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty crashed out of the China Open badminton tournament in Changzhou.
  • The duo suffered a straight-game loss to Japan's Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
  • Satwik and Chirag, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against their fourth-seeded opponents.
  • The pair went down 19-21 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes

Beijing Unveils New 'Ice' Panda Mascot to Promote 2022 Winter Games

  •  Beijing has released its mascot for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games -- a smiling giant panda wearing a suit made to resemble ice.
  • The panda is named Bing Dwen Dwen -- in Mandarin, "bing" means ice and "dwen dwen" means robust and lively.
  • A creature not known for its agility, the giant panda is encased in a stylized sports helmet meant to "make the animal appear more athletic."
  • The mascot also looks like an astronaut according to a statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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4 New Supreme Court Judges Appointed

  •  Four new judges were appointed to the Supreme Court.
  • With the appointment, the judges' strength in the top court is now 34.
  • The new judges are -- Haryana High Court Chief Justice Krishna Murari, Himachal Pradesh High Court Chief Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Kerala High Court Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy.

2020- "Year of AI" For Telangana

  •  The Telangana government has decided to declare 2020 as Artificial Intelligence year by organising various activities related to the emerging technology.
  • A lot of hackathons and meetings will happen and the government agencies will give challenges and make available data sets on which companies can run algorithms.
  • The state government has signed up with NITI Aayog, which has come out with the 'National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence' to run pilot projects in Telangana.

Arunachal: Resurfaced Runway at ALG Inaugurated

  •  The Indian Air Force (IAF) inaugurated the resurfaced runway at the Advance Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh, which will enable operations by military transport aircraft at the base near the China border.
  • Eastern Air Commander Air Marshal RD Mathur and Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan jointly inaugurated the runway.

Govt Inaugurates 15 Power Projects In Jammu & Kashmir

  •  Union Power Minister RK Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik have jointly inaugurated 15 power projects and laid the foundation stone for 20 others worth 10,000 crore rupees in the state.
  • The government is working to ensure 24 hours electricity supply to all the citizens of the country, including in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. 
  • Governor Satya Pal Malik said  development works in Jammu and Kashmir will prompt People of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to revolt against Islamabad and join India.

DEFENCE

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Rajnath Singh Flies In Tejas Fighter Jet, Becomes First Defence Minister To Fly In Light Combat Aircraft

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flew in the Tejas fighter aircraft from the HAL airport in Bengaluru, becoming the first defence minister to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA).
  • He was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengaluru.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Trump Names Robert O'Brien as National Security Adviser

  •  President Trump named Robert C. O'Brien as his new national security adviser, picking a top hostage-affairs official for the high-profile White House role at a time when the U.S. is weighing how to respond to attacks on Saudi Arabia.
  • Mr. O'Brien succeeds John Bolton, who departed the administration  amid differences with Mr. Trump and other top advisers. 
  • Mr. O'Brien, who currently serves as special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, will be Mr. Trump's fourth national security adviser. He also served under the George W. Bush administration at the State Department and the U.S. mission to the U.N.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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19 September - International Talk Like a Pirate Day

  •  International Talk Like a Pirate Day is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers, of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate. 
  • An observer of this holiday would greet friends not with "Hello, everyone!" but with "Ahoy, maties!" or "Ahoy, me hearties!".
  •  The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy.

63rd IAEA General Conference

  •  The 63rd Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference is being held from 16 to 20 September 2019 at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) in Vienna, Austria, where high-ranking officials and representatives from IAEA Member States will consider a range of issues.

WAWE summit

  •  Human Resource Development Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank  praised Waste Management Accelerator for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs (WAWE) summit initiative stating that it will empower women and encourage entrepreneurship among youngsters.
  • The initiatives included 'Margadarshan and Margadarshak', 'Model Curriculum for Diploma Courses', 'WAWE Summit 2019' and '360-degree Feedback of Faculty'.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Union Minister Launches MIS Portal Under Accessible India Campaign

  •  Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot launched the Management Information System (MIS) portal for stakeholders of the Accessible India Campaign (AIC).
  • Fully accessible for 'divyangjans', the MIS has been developed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The MIS portal will bring all the nodal ministries, and states and Union Territories on a single platform for monitoring the progress being made against each target of AIC.

Cabinet approves payment of bonus to railway employees for 2018-19

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18 September 2019 has approved the payment of Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days wages to over 11.52 lakh eligible non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) for the Financial Year (FY) 2018-19, for maintaining industrial peace and motivation of railwaymen.
  • This entails an expenditure of Rs 2024.40 crore to the exchequer.
  • This is the sixth consecutive year that the Government led by Narendra Modi has maintained a bonus of 78 days wages. It has never lowered it.

Cabinet Bans e-Cigarettes; An Ordinance Soon

  •  The government banned production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and similar products, citing health risk to people, especially youth, and an ordinance will be brought in to make it an offence, entailing jail term up to three years as well as fine.
  • The decision, taken by the Union cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also hit the plans of foreign companies such as Juul Labs and Philip Morris International (PM.N) to enter the Indian market.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Govt, IBM Join Hands For Train-the-Trainer programme

  •  To train the trainers in AI, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and IBM have joined hands with the aim to train 10,000 faculty members from ITIs across India. 
  • The programme will involve 14 trainers across seven locations with over 200 workshops during a one-year period. 
  • As part of the programme, ITI trainers will be trained on basic artificial intelligence (AI) skills towards using the technology in their day-to-day training activities.

Meghalaya Launches Health Insurance Merging it with Ayushman

  •  Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma launched the Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS-IV) in convergence with that of the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme.
  • The MHIS-IV targets to cover more than 8 lakh households offering over 2300 medical and surgical packages and up to Rs 5 lakh per family.
  • The new scheme will be functional from February 1, 2020.

IIM Skips Quota For PhD Course

  •  The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, has invited applications from prospective researchers for its doctoral programme but the advertisement has no provision for reservation of seats for candidates from socially disadvantaged sections, triggering criticism that it was blatantly violating a central law.
  • The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act provides for setting aside 49.5 per cent of seats in institutes of higher learning — 15 per cent for Scheduled Castes, 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes and 27 per cent for the Other Backward Classes.
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