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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

08 Oct 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Portugal's Socialists Win Re-Election

  •  Portugal's incumbent Prime Minister Antonio Costa's Socialists won a general election marked by low turnout after presiding over a period of solid economic growth following years of austerity.
  • The Socialist Party (PS) took 36.65 per cent of the vote, followed by the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) with 27.9 per cent.
  • That left the PS, which has governed for the past four years with the support of two smaller hard-left parties, with 106 seats in the 230-seat parliament, up from 86 seats in the outgoing assembly and just ten seats short of an outright majority.
  • Four seats still must be attributed according to the results of votes cast abroad.
  • The election bucks the trend of declining centre-left fortunes and the rise of far-right populist forces seen elsewhere in Europe.

India, Mexico Agree To Work Together On Multilateral Issues

  •  The fifth round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Mexico were held in New Delhi.
  • The Indian side was led by Secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh and Mexican side was led by Deputy Minister of External Affairs of Mexico Julián Ventura Valero.
  • The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation, including political, trade and economic cooperation.
  • Both sides underscored the need to hold a regular dialogue in these areas through the established bilateral mechanisms.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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India Gets First Tranche Of Swiss Account Details Under Automatic Exchange Framework

  •  India has got the first set of Swiss bank account details of its nationals under a new automatic information exchange pact, a major milestone in the government's fight against black money stashed abroad.
  • India is among 75 countries with which Switzerland's Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on AEOI.
  • The next exchange would take place in September 2020.

Faceless E-Assessment Scheme For Taxpayers Launched

  •  Taking a big leap towards transparent tax administration, the income tax department rolled out faceless e-assessment scheme that eliminates physical interface between an assessing officer and an asssessee.
  • The launch of this facility also ends the relevance of geography free assessments on the lines of processing of returns.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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Astronauts Complete First Spacewalk In Series To Upgrade Station Batteries

  •  Two NASA astronauts worked to replace batteries outside of the International Space Station, completing the first in a series of five planned spacewalks devoted to upgrading the orbiting laboratory's power system.
  • Continuing a process that began with an initial set of battery replacements in January 2017, Koch and Morgan ventured to the far left, or port, side of the space station's backbone truss to work on some of the outpost's older power storage units. 

SPORTS

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World Athletics Championships

  •  Asian champion Gopi Thonakal finished 21st in the men's marathon race as India ended their World Athletics Championships campaign with mixed results.
  • Laggards at the world stage, the 27-member Indian team was not expected to win any medal but it performed better than expected in this world championships with three finalists — in mixed 4x400m relay, men's 3000m steeplechase and women's javelin throw.
  • Long jumper Anju Bobby George's bronze in Paris in 2003 still remained India's only medal at the showpiece event.
  • Out of the three finals, steeplechaser Avinash Sable and the mixed 4x400m relay team booked Tokyo Olympics quotas while javelin thrower Annu Rani finished a creditable eight.
  • Annu became the first Indian woman to qualify for javelin throw finals while Avinash broke his own national record twice in three days.
  • India had three finalists in the 2015 edition in Beijing while only one Indian made it to the finals in the last edition in London in 2017.
  • The 31-year-old Gopi clocked 2 hours 15 minute 57 seconds to end among the top half of 55 runners who completed the race on the Corniche under 29 degree Celcius temperature and around 50 per cent humidity.
  • 73 athletes had started the race which began just before midnight out of which 18 did not finish.

Taiwan Masters: India's Ajeetesh Sandhu Finishes Tied-Second

  •  India's Ajeetesh Sandhu finished tied-second after suffering a late double-bogey in the final round of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
  • Thailand's Suradit Yongcharoenchai held his nerve in a tight finish, securing an even-par-back-nine to card 70 to win the title and his career's biggest prize cheque. 

DEFENCE

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Rajnath Singh Heads To France To Receive IAF's first Rafale Jet

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who reached France's capital city of Paris for a three-day visit, met French President Emmanuel Macron, hours before he received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. 
  • The Defence Minister received first of the 36 Rafale jets but India will officially get the first batch of four jets by May 2020.
  • Before meeting Macron, Singh met the French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and the Defence Adviser to the French President, Admiral Bernard Rogel.

Indian Army Organizes "Veer Kutumb Rally" In J&K's Akhnoor

  •  In Jammu and Kashmir, Crossed Swords Division organized a "VEER KUTUMB RALLY" at Tanda, Akhnoor with an aim to reach out to veterans, veer naris, widows and their families. 
  • The Rally was organised by the Indian Army as part of its activities to observe 2019 as the 'Year of the Next of Kin'.  
  • General Officer Commanding (GoC) Crossed Swords Division, Maj Gen R. Dewan, was the Chief Guest on the occasion. 

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Ajay Kumar Lallu Replaces Raj Babbar As UP Congress Chief

  •  The Congress appointed Ajay Kumar Lallu as its Uttar Pradesh president, replacing Raj Babbar, and revamped the state unit, bringing in four vice presidents, 12 general secretaries and 24 secretaries.
  • Ajay was the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in Uttar Pradesh and is a two-time MLA from Tamkuhi Raj constituency.
  • He is considered close to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who is the party's General Secretary.

Anumula Gitesh Sarma Appointed India's High Commissioner To Australia

  •  Senior diplomat Anumula Gitesh Sarma has been appointed as India's next High Commissioner to Australia.
  • Sarma, a 1986 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • He will replace A M Gondane as India's envoy in Australia.
  • Sarma was serving as Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

India's Vishnu Nandan among 300 researchers to join largest ever Arctic expedition

  •  A native of Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram, the 32-year-old polar researcher will be the only Indian among 300 scientists from across the world aboard the multidisciplinary drifting observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, which will help the researchers better understand the impact of climate change and aid in improved weather projections.
  • For four months from November, 2019 Vishnu Nandan will not see sunlight.
  • He will be aboard the German research vessel Polarstern, anchored on a large sheet of sea ice in the Central Arctic, drifting along with it during the pitch-black Polar winter.
  • Spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, MOSAiC, the largest ever Arctic expedition in history, will be the first to conduct a study of this scale at the North Pole for an entire year.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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WTO Hosted First World Cotton Day Celebrations In Geneva

  •  World Trade Organisation, WTO hosted the first World Cotton Day (WCD) celebrations in Geneva. This event stems from the application by the Cotton-4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) to the United Nations General Assembly for its official recognition of a World Cotton Day, reflecting the importance of cotton as a global commodity.
  • Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani represented India in the five-day event of World Cotton Day being observed at Geneva.
  • The plenary session was attended by heads of states, heads of international organisations and executives from the private sector. 
  • A cotton exhibition is also being held where TEXPROCIL, Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC), Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) will be setting up their stalls.

Jal Shakti Ministry launches Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan

  •  The newly constituted Jal Shakti Ministry has launched Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan, a unique open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River to create awareness on Ganga rejuvenation and water conservation. 
  • Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan will be held from October 10 to November 11, 2019.
  • The expedition will start from Devprayag and end at Ganga Sagar, covering the whole stretch of 2500 km of the Ganga River.
  •  The Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched the Abhiyan on October 7, 2019 and he would be participating in the event as well.
  • The Minister is expected to lead from the front. He will flag off the expedition and be a part of it from Devprayag to Rishikesh.

Jaishankar Inaugurates Tele-Education, Tele-Medicine Projects For African Countries

  •  External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar  inaugurated tele-education and tele-medicine project for African countries in New Delhi.
  • The EAM inaugurated e-VidyaBharti and e-ArogyaBharti (tele-education and tele-medicine project) for African countries on the occasion of the 55th Anniversary of India's flagship capacity building programme - Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC).
  • The project(s) will enable African students to access premier Indian education through the comforts of their homes and offer Indian medical expertise to African doctors and patients alike.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Nobel Prize In Medicine Awarded For New Discovery On How Humans Respond To Oxygen

  •  The 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine has been jointly awarded to William Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza for their pioneering research into how human cells respond to changing oxygen levels.
  • Announcing the prize at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the Nobel committee said that the trio's discoveries have paved the way for "promising new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer and many other diseases."
  • Randall Johnson, prize committee member, described the trio's work as a "textbook discovery."

Vedanta Wins Golden Peacock Global Award For Excellence In Corporate Governance - 2019

  •  Vedanta has been bestowed with the coveted Golden Peacock GLOBAL award for excellence in Corporate Governance 2019 instituted by Institute of Directors, Delhi (IOD), in recognition of its exemplary commitment towards corporate governance practices.
  • The award will be presented at the 'Golden Peacock Awards Presentation Ceremony', to be held on 14 November 2019, at London (UK) in the presence of a distinguished gathering of business leaders during IOD's 19th Annual London Global Convention on Corporate Governance & Sustainability" and Global Business Meet.

IFS Officer Ramesh Pandey Selected For Asia Environmental Enforcement Award By UNEP

  •  Senior Indian Forest Service officer Ramesh Pandey has been selected for the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Award by the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • The 1996-batch IFS officer, posted as Chief Conservator Forests in Lucknow and Secretary, UP State Bio-diversity Board, is known for his investigation and intelligence gathering on poachers.
  • Pandey will receive the award on November 13, 2019 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok.  

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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AIIMS, Health Ministry Launch 'Edantseva' Website And App

  •  The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in collaboration with the Union Health Ministry launched the first-ever website and mobile application on oral health awareness.
  • The digital platform, 'e-DantSeva', contains information about the National Oral Health Programme, a detailed list of all the dental facility and colleges, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material and a unique feature called the 'Symptom Checker'.
  • The website also provides GPRS route satellite images of the facility for easier access to the people.

HRD Minister Lays Stone For IIM Campus In Amritsar

  •  Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank laid the foundation stone of the campus of the Indian Institute of Management in Amritsar's Manawala.
  • IIM campus would come upon 60,000 square metres and have state-of-the-art facilities in the library, academic block and hostels.
  • The allocation of 350 crore rupees has been sanctioned for the first phase of the construction while an additional amount of 250 crore rupees would be allocated for the project.

NHA And Google Join Hands, Plans To Strengthen Ayushman Bharat Scheme

  •  The National Health Authority (NHA) and Google have joined to strengthen the implementation of Prime Minister Modi's scheme - Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY). 
  • The NHA and Google will be exploring several cases to increase the efficiency of application processes. 
  • The collaboration is said to achieve PM Modi's goals to help the poor and improve their access to proper healthcare. 

ART AND CULTURE

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President, Vice President Greet People On Eve Of Dussehra

  •  President  Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaish Naidu have greeted the people on the eve of Dussehra.  
  • In his message, the President wished people success, prosperity and happiness. 
  • Mr Kovind said the life of Lord Rama is, in essence, a reflection of these values which remain as relevant today as ever.
  • The President expressed hope that this festival will inspire people to work for the nation-building and making a society that cares for the needy and the deprived.

ART AND CULTURE

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Hellaro, Nooreh To Open Indian Panorama At 50th IFFI

  •  Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar announced the 26 feature and 15 non-feature films, among the 250 films, which will be screened in the Indian panorama section at the 50th International Film Festival of India in Goa to be held from November 20 to 28, 2019 in Goa.
  • The festival's flagship section, which showcases a selection of contemporary Indian feature and non-feature films, will be opened by Abhishek Shah's Gujarati movie, Hellaro, which won the best film at the 66th National Film Awards, in the feature category.
  • Ashish Pandey's Nooreh, which follows a young girl whose life is disrupted by daily crossfire at the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir, will open the non-feature category.
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