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General Awareness

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General Awareness - Top Stories

22 Sep 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Gujarat, New Jersey Ink Sister State MoU

  •  Gujarat and New Jersey in the United States of America inked a 'sister state agreement' MoU for cooperation in economic development, clean energy, higher education, tourism, cultural exchange as well as health and trade-investment.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy at a function in Gandhinagar.
  • Murphy is heading a trade and education delegation from New Jersey.

ENVIRONMENT

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Global Climate Strike: Millions Protest Worldwide

  •  Protesters take part in the Global Climate Strike as they march to parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. 
  • People around the world have been walking out of school and work to join the latest protests against the climate crisis. The global day of action, calling for a reduction in emissions, is being held in the run-up to a UN summit in New York
  • Protesters across continents waved placards and chanted slogans in what could be the biggest ever demonstration over global warming caused by humans.
  • The day began in the Pacific and Asia and culminated in a massive demonstration in New York.
  • It comes ahead of a UN summit at the organisation's headquarters in Manhattan. Activists are demanding greater efforts be made at the meeting to tackle climate change.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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GST Council Meet Key Takeaways

 After hours of deliberation, the GST Council announced rate cut on a number of items, amid a chorus of demands for measures to address the slowing economy. All GST rates will be effective from October 1, 2019.
Key takeaways from the meeting:
  • GST Council approves proposal to hike rates on caffeinated drinks from 18% to 28%, plus additional 12 % compensation cess. Aerated drinks shall no longer be under compensation scheme.
  • Council approves proposal to cut rates on hotel tariffs. Rooms with tariff Rs 7,500 and above will now be taxed at 18%. Prior to the cut, the GST rate on this category was 28%. GST on rooms with tariff between Rs 1001 and Rs 7,500 now stands at 12%. No GST on tariffs upto Rs 1,000.
  • GST on cups, plates made from flower, leaves and bio-friendly material has been reduced to zero from 5%.
  • GST on goods under Chapter 12 which includes supplies to railways has been hiked to 12% from 5%. This is without refund on the accumulated input tax credit (ITC).
  • Compensation cess on petrol motor vehicles with 10-13 person capacity reduced to 1%, while on diesel vehicles it has been reduced to 3%. Before the cut, the compensation cess was at 15 per cent.
  • GST on marine fuel cut to 5% vs 18% earlier.
  • Uniform rate of 12% on woven / non-woven polyethylene bags.
  • Exemption from GST/iGST is being given on import of specified defence goods not being manufactured indigenously. It is being extended only up to 2024. Supply of goods and services to FIFA & other specified persons are also exempted for Under-17 Women's World Cup in India.

CBDT Issues Order To Set-Up National Centre For I-T e-Assessment

  •  A National e-Assessment centre (NeAC) will be setup in the national capital as part of the government's ambitious plan to launch faceless and nameless assessment for income tax payers from October 2019.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), that frames policy for the Income-tax department, has issued an order for the creation of the Centre.
  • The Centre will have 16 officials and will be headed by a Principal Chief Commissioner of Income-tax (PCCIT) as its chief.

Postal Accounts To Be Linked With Aadhaar For Transparency

  •  IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said postal accounts will be linked with Aadhaar for greater transparency.
  • He was speaking after inaugurating Bihar's first and the country's tenth Aadhaar Seva Kendra in Patna.
  • One thousand Aadhaar cards will be made at this centre and other facilities will be also available. Mr Prasad said 114 such Kendra will soon be operational in 53 cities in the country.

SPORTS

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South Africa's Kyle Abbott Picks 9

  •  Former South Africa pacer Kyle Abbott ran through the Somerset batting line-up to register career-best figures of 9 for 40 in a County Championship Division One match at the Rose Bowl in Southampton to get his side on brink of victory.
  • Abbott's 9-wicket haul which helped Hampshire bowl Somerset out for 142 in the first innings, is the second best figures by any Hampshire bowler in first-class cricket.
  • The record still stands with Cardigan Connor, who took 9 for 28 back in 1996.
  • Abbott dismissed India's Murali Vijay for a duck in his second over and then got his second breakthrough in 9th over of the innings.
  • There was no looking back for the former South Africa pacer as he continued to pick wickets in each of his spells.

Deepak Punia Reaches Final Of World Championships, Books Tokyo Berth

  •  The 19-year-old, who became the youngest Indian ever to make it to the final of the World Championships, also bagged a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota in the process.
  • Deepak, who also won the World Cadet title in 2016, is thus the fourth Indian grappler to book a Tokyo ticket, following Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya.
  • While each of them pocketed a bronze medal, Deepak will be the only Indian to return home with at least a silver.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Social Media Firms Can't Avoid Liability For Damage Caused By Fake News: HC

  •  The Madras High Court has held that social media companies cannot escape liability for the damage done to society through fake news or rumours spread through their platforms, and they need to be held accountable for such misuse by users.
  • Underscoring the importance of holding intermediaries responsible for the content shared by users, the court said, "Fake news, misinformation and hate speeches can reach hundreds of people and consequently have a psychological impact on them leading to even unrest."

Maharashtra, Haryana Assembly Elections 2019

  •  Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana will take place in a single phase on October 21, 2019 while counting of votes will be held on October 24, 2019.
  • Both Maharashtra and Haryana are the first states to go to polls after the Lok Sabha elections earlier in 2019.
  • While the term of Maharashtra assembly ends on November 9, 2019, the Haryana assembly expires on November 2, 2019.
  • With the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in the two states.
  • Maharashtra, which has a total of 288 assembly seats, will see a direct contest between the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine and Congress-NCP alliance.
  • Whereas, in 90-member Haryana assembly, the ruling BJP will aim to fend off Congress to secure a second term.

National Intelligence Grid To Be Ready By Early 2020

  •  The NATGRID - a robust intelligence gathering mechanism related to immigration, banking, individual tax payers, air and train travels - is likely to be operational by January 2020.
  • The work on the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) set up to track any terror suspect and prevent terrorist attacks with real time data, has been accelerated after Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the progress of the ₹3,400 crore project, conceptualised following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
  • In all probability, the NATGRID will start functioning from 2020.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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IDBI Bank Appoints Samuel Joseph as Deputy Managing Director

  •  IDBI Bank's Board of Directors has approved the appointment of Samuel Joseph Jebaraj as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) for a period of 3 years with effect from September 19, 2019.
  • The decision has been taken as per the approval received by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • This is the first major appointment on the Bank's Board, in which the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) acquired a majority stake of 51 per cent in January 2019.
  • The DMD position became vacant after KP Nair superannuated in May 2019.

IndiGo Board Appoints Advocate Pallavi Shardul Shroff as Independent Director

  •  India's largest domestic airline, InterGlobe Aviation Limited operated IndiGo, said that the board of directors of the airline has approved the appointment of advocate Pallavi Shardul Shroff as an independent woman director in the company.
  • Shroff, who's a managing partner at law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, has been inducted in the airline's board, with effect from 19 September, 2019.
  • The induction of Shroff into the airline's board of director comes after the shareholders of the company voted in favour of expanding the board's strength to 10 at the annual general meeting (AGM) in New Delhi.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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Coastal Cleanup Day

  •  Coastal Cleanup Day was established by the Ocean Conservancy, an organization on September 21 that work to help protect the ocean from the challenges it faces every year.
  • They serve as a voice for the ocean, speaking of the issues that aren't often represented through social networking, publicized updates, and challenges like asking your waitress to skip the straw for your drink.
  • Efforts like that work towards a trash-free ocean.

Daughters' Day 2019 - 22 Sept

  •  September 22, 2019 marked Daughters' Day in India. Usually this day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of September.
  • Just like celebrations are held to celebrate the value and importance of fathers and mothers via Fathers' Day and Mothers' Day, Daughters' Day is a celebration of daughters, and the gift they are to their families and those around them, be it friends, teachers, distant relatives, the list goes on.

World Rose Day 2019

  •  Every year September 22 is observed as World Rose Day. This day, celebrated in the memory of 12-year-old Melinda Rose from Canada, aims at introducing sparks of happiness into the lives of people who are fighting cancer.
  • Like every year, in 2019 too, people are rolling out all sorts of comments on different social media platforms – especially Twitter - to show their support to cancer patients. 

India To Mark Mahatma Gandhi's 150th Birth Anniversary In Netherlands With Gandhi March

  •  A number of public awareness events, including a Gandhi March for non-violence, will be held in the Netherlands to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The celebrations will commence with a cycling rally on September 29, 2019 to spread awareness about the Gandhian philosophy of simplicity and sustainability, officials said
  • The events — which also includes a cycling rally, an exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, a commemoration meeting, events surrounding the four Gandhi statues in the country and a school outreach programme — are being organised by the Indian Embassy in cooperation with the Gandhi Non-Violence Foundation and other groups.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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ISB Hyderabad Ranked 1st In Asia In Forbes Best International 1-Year Business Schools 2019

  •  Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad, Telangana ranked 7th globally and 1st in Asia in the Forbes Best International 1-Year Business Schools 2019 rankings.
  • The Forbes surveyed more than 100 schools. The annual Forbes list ranked the schools on their 5-year MBA (Master of Business Administration) gain.
  • ISB participated in the ranking for the first time.
  • ISB's Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) is currently ranked 24 worldwide as per the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2019.The top most institutes are:
  1.  International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. Insead Fontainebleau (France) & Singapore
  3. Judge Business School Cambridge, United Kingdom
  4. SDA Bocconi School of Management Milan, Italy
  5.  Said Business School Oxford, United Kingdom

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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CM Launches 'Champions Campaign' Against Dengue

  •  Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched "champions campaign" in the fight against dengue and urged people to encourage their friends to inspect their homes to clean stagnant water.
  • Earlier, Kejriwal had launched a mega drive against dengue. Lakhs of Delhiites are joining the #10Hafte10Baje10Minute campaign against Dengue.

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

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Railways Install First Plastic Bottle Crushing Machine

  •  The Western Railway for the first time has installed a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle crushing machine in Mumbai Rajdhani Express.
  • This machine can crush up to 3,000 bottles per day. The PET bottle crusher machine was installed in the train as part of the Indian Railways' Swachh Bharat and Go Green missions and ties in with an impending ban of single-use plastic by the Centre.
  • The move by the Western Railway of installing a PET bottle crushing machine is expected to reduce carbon footprints by 100 per cent recycling and will also avoid littering in landfill from bottle waste.

ART AND CULTURE

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Zoya Akhtar's 'Gully Boy' India's Official Entry To 92nd Academy Awards

  • Director Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy", featuring Ranveer Singh in the lead, has been selected as India's official entry in the International Feature Film category at the 92nd Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India.
  • The movie, which released commercially across the country in February 2019, also features Alia Bhatt, Vijay Raaz, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Varma and Amruta Subhash.

Mongolian President visits Mahabodhi temple

  •  Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga visited the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya and offered prayers under the tree where Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment.
  • Khaltmaagiin was received at the Gaya International Airport by Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sharwan Kumar.
  • From the airport, the cavalcade of the President and 72 members of his delegation drove straight to the Mahabodhi Temple amid tight security.
  • They offered prayers at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and meditated under the Mahabodhi tree.
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