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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

18 Oct 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Qatar Pledges To End 'Kafala' Employment

  •  The energy-rich nation of Qatar is pledging to fully eliminate a labour system that ties foreign workers to their employer and requires them to have their company's permission to leave the country.
  • Workers would be able to freely change employers under draft laws described as being "expected to come into force by January 2020".
  • The ILO also says Doha also is considering a minimum wage.
  • Qatar, whose citizens enjoy one of the world's highest per-capita incomes due to its natural gas reserves, partially ended the "kafala" system in 2018.
  • The move comes as the Arabian Peninsula nation prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

EU And UK Reach Agreement On Brexit Deal

  •  Negotiators from the European Union and the UK have reached an agreement on a Brexit deal before the meeting of European leaders in Brussels.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called it a fair outcome. He urged MPs to come together to get Brexit done and get this excellent deal over the line. 
  •  The EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, there was no need to extend the Brexit deadline.
  •  On the other hand, British lawmakers voted narrowly in favour of holding the first Parliamentary Session on a Saturday in 37 years, to debate the government's new Brexit deal.
  • Members of the lower chamber House of Commons voted 287 to 275 in favour. It would only be Parliament's fifth Saturday session since the eve of World War II.

India Ranked Third In 2019 Hurun Global Unicorn List

  •  The Hurun Research Institute has released the inaugural Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019, a ranking of the world's billion-dollar tech 'start-ups' founded in the 2000s and not yet listed on a public exchange.
  • This is the first year of the list, and follows from the sixth quarterly Hurun China Unicorn Index. Valuations are a snapshot as of 30 June 2019.
  • Hurun Research found 494 unicorns in the world, based in 25 countries and 118 cities. Set up seven years ago on average, they are worth $3.4 billion on average and $1.7 trillion in total.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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Ericsson, Qualcomm Complete First Live 5G Video Call In India

  •  Ericsson and an arm of US-based Qualcomm completed the first-ever live 5G video call in India using 28 GHz spectrum.
  • The call was made at the ongoing India Mobile Congress 2019. The achievement is a significant milestone in the country as India gets ready for 5G.
  • Ericsson is a Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer, while Qualcomm is the name behind chips that power most of the smartphones in the world.
  • Both companies demonstrated India's first 4K video streaming, video calling and 5G cloud-based gaming using the 5G commercial system in both sub-6 GHz and mmWave using 5G commercial devices, set up by Ericsson at its booth.

CCI Clears Edelweiss-Kora Deal

  • Shares of Edelweiss Financial Services were traded nearly 5 per cent higher following the Competition Commission's approval for the US-based Kora's proposed investment worth $75 million (about Rs 532 crore) in Edelweiss Group.
  • As per the share subscription agreement, Kora is to invest in Edelweiss Securities Ltd (ESL) and Edelweiss Global Investment Advisory (EGIA) business subsidiaries.
  • The deal was announced in August, 2019.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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IIT Kharagpur Graduate Develops Device To Curb Air Pollution

  •  An IIT Kharagpur graduate has invented a device called "PM 2.5" which he claimed when fitted near the silencer pipe in vehicles will curb air pollution. 
  • Debayan Saha, a mechanical engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur, who has invented the device claims that one car fitted with the device can neutralise the pollution emitted from 10 cars in its vicinity.
  • The technology uses a combination of electric energy and wave energy to influence the pollutants like PM 2.5 such that they act like magnet attracting other particulate pollutants from the ambient atmosphere to get attached to it. As they grow bigger in size they become heavy and fall off safely on the ground like soil. 
  • Saha was also a research fellow at AIIMS who worked on air pollution.

SPORTS

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HCL-SCFRI Tour: Mahesh Mangaonkar Loses To Malaysia's Ivan Yuen In Final

  •  In the Chennai leg of the HCL-Squash Racket Federation of India tour, the top-seed Ivan Yuen of Malaysia won the Championship in the men's category.
  • In the summit clash of the PSA World Tour tournament, Yuen took on India's second seed Mahesh Mangaonkar in Chennai. In the epic battle, the visitor won 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8.
  • In the women's category, Rachel Arnold from Malaysia overpowered her compatriot Wen Li Lai 11-1, 11-44, 6-11, 11-5. 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Niti Innovation Index

  • Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana and Haryana have been ranked as top five states in innovation in NITI Aayog's first Innovation Index released.
  • The index, released by Aayog's vice chairman Rajiv Kumar and CEO Amitabh Kant, has been developed into the lines of Global Innovation Index.
  • Chattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand are at the bottom of the index among states. Among north-eastern states, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have topped the index while Delhi, Chandigarh and Goa have topped the list among union territories in the countries.

Kapurthala-Taran Taran Road Declared As NH- 703 AA Named As Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Marg

  • The road starting from Kapurthala connecting Goindwal Sahib and terminating near Taran Taran in Punjab has been declared as new National Highway - 703 AA and named as Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Marg. 
  • The naming would be effective from November, 2019. The decision has been taken to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev. 

Modi Govt Bans Import Of India's National Flag From China & Other Countries

  •  The government of India has banned the import of India's National Flag from other countries like China.
  • A notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade states that the national flag will not be imported due to non-compliance with the standards set in the Flag Code of India.
  • It has been said in the report that imported national flag was not following the rule of part 1, section 1.2 of flag code of India, 2002.
  •  Khadi and Village Industries Industry (KVIC) has called this decision of the government as a Diwali gift for millions of Khadi artisans.
  • According to the flag code, our national flag tricolor can only be made of hand spun, wool, cotton, silk and khadi.
  • Not only this, only clothes approved by the Khadi Village Industries Commission(KVIC) can be used to make the national flag.

DEFENCE

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India, Oman Begin Joint Training Exercise 'EX EASTERN BRIDGE-V'

  •  Indian Air Force (IAF) kickstarted its bilateral joint exercise with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO), named 'EX EASTERN BRIDGE-V' at Air Force Base Masirah. The exercise will be held till October 26, 2019.
  • The IAF contingent comprises of Mig 29 UPG (upgrade) combat aircraft along with C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
  • The Royal Air Force of Oman will be fielding Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 and Hawk 200 combat aircraft in the exercise.
  • For the first time, MiG-29 fighter aircraft will be participating in an international exercise outside India.

IAF Launches Fighter Operations From Six Civilian Airfields

  •  The Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force launched fighter operations from six civilian airfields under its area of command. The exercises will be conducted in two phases.
  • Six civilian airfields where the operations will take place are Dimapur, Imphal, Guwahati, Kolkata, Pasighat and Andal.
  • The exercise will be in two phases from Oct 16-19 and from Oct 29 to Nov 01, 2019.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI and Hawk 132 aircraft will be participating in the exercise.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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PM Economic Advisory Council Adds Three New Members

  •  Less than a month after the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (EAC-PM) was reshuffled and reconstituted, another three new part-time members have been added to the roster.
  • Economists and finance experts Neelkanth Mishra, Nilesh Shah and V. Anantha Nageswaran have been appointed to the council for a period of two years.
  • One of the members comes from the 'private sector' – Nilesh Shah is the well-known managing director of Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company. 
  • Neelkanth Mishra is the India Equity Strategist for Credit Suisse, while V. Anantha Nageswaran is the dean of IFMR Graduate School of Business and a well-known economic affairs commentator.

Veteran Journalist Kanwar Sain Jolly Passed Away At 86

  •  Veteran journalist Kanwar Sain Jolly passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 86.
  • Jolly  retired as Deputy General Manager of PTI news agency in 1993.
  • He served at various positions for 40 years at PTI, India's premier news agency.
  • During his tenure, Jolly was honoured with several awards.
  • Post his retirement from PTI, he served with various organisations such as KPMG, Pepsi and DuPont.

Veteran broadcast journalist P.V. Krishnamoorthy passes away

  •  P.V. Krishnamoorthy, veteran broadcast journalist, died at his residence in Chennai. He was 98.
  • He is survived by his two sons, including P.K. Balachandran, a Colombo-based journalist.
  • Born in Yangon, Myanmar, on April 1,1921, he did graduation in English literature there and as a World War II refugee from the Southeast Asian country, he joined External Services Division, All India Radio (AIR), as news reader/announcer in 1944.
  • He went on to become Station Director of the AIR in Chennai and Kolkata and of the Doordarshan Kendra in New Delhi and Mumbai.
  • He played a key role in ensuring the country-wide expansion of Radio Rural Forums. As one of the pioneers of Indian television, he was involved in a number of international projects, using the medium of television for education.
  • He was associated with the production of 1,320 hours of TV programmes on science education in four languages beamed to 2,400 villages.
  • He was made the first Director General of Doordarshan in 1976 and held the post for three years.
  • An avid connoisseur of art and music, he was elected as Vice-Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, which presented the Tagore Akademi Ratna (Fellowship) to him in 2012.
  • A recipient of several honours and awards, he was the first broadcaster to receive the Media Ratna award of the Indian Broadcasters Forum in 2011.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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October 15 - World Maths Day

  •  October 15 is celebrated as World Maths Day. The day comes with an interesting approach towards mathematics, instead of the usual formulas.
  • On this day, students are given an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of mathematics by participating in math-themed competitions, quizzes and games rather than understanding the boring theoretical mathematics and classroom courses.

National Mammography Day

  •  Every year on the third Friday in October (18 October, 2019) National Mammography Day joins in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • This day serves as a reminder to all women that the best defense is early detection. A mammogram can often detect a problem before there is any outward physical sign. 
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States according to the CDC. 

National No Beard Day

  • Annually, National No Beard Day on October 18th celebrates the cleanshaven among us. The smoother the face, the bigger the celebration.
  • Whether one has had your beard for years or it is relatively new for him, this is the day to shave it off and go smooth. No Beard Day is the day to see what one looks like without it.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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India Post Launches Mobile Banking App For Its Savings Account Customers

  •  India Post has launched a new mobile app to facilitate easier transactions for customers. The app is available on Google Play Store.
  • Customers can use it to make deposits into their PPF accounts and other schemes without having to visit the post office in person.
  • The Department of Post announced the app launch via a circular on October 14, 2019. The facility will be available to all savings account holders of core banking solutions (CBS)- enabled post offices.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Young Women From Tribal Areas To Receive Digital Skills Training

  •  Minister of Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda announced the second phase of GOAL (Going Online as Leaders), a Facebook program aimed at inspiring, guiding and encouraging tribal girls from across India to become village-level digital young leaders for their communities.
  • In the second phase of the program, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Facebook will digitally mentor 5000 young women in India's tribal-dominated districts, together.
  • Participants from the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, who are enrolled in the current program were also present at the event.
  • The program will include weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions, focused on a range of skills such as digital literacy, entrepreneurship, and online safety.
  • In total, more than 2,00,000 hours of guidance will be provided using the Facebook family of apps including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
  • Following the program, the participants will graduate to the GOAL alumni and will continue to receive support and guidance from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Facebook.

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

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Sirisena Inaugurates Lanka's 3rd International Airport

  •  An Alliance Air flight from Chennai landed at the Jaffna International Airport as Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated the country's third international airport, upgraded with India's assistance, in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province.
  • The inaugural flight from Chennai was the first to land at the new international airport in Jaffna. The ATR 72-600 aircraft was accorded water salute as it landed at the Jaffna airport, about 400-km from capital Colombo.
  • The Jaffna International Airport was earlier known as Palaly airport which was used as a military air base and for domestic flights.
  • President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe formally unveiled a plaque commemorating the inauguration of the airport. Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu was also present.

Railways Buddhist Circuit Train Covering 26 Sites In India, Nepal To Run From Oct 19-26

  •  The Railways will run its first Buddhist Circuit train from this October 19 to October 26, 2019 covering sites related to Gautam Buddha in India and Nepal.
  • IRCTC will run the train covering destinations like Lumbini, where Buddha was born; Bodhgaya, where he gained enlightenment; Sarnath, where he gave his first sermon; and Kushinagar, where he attained nirvana.
  • The package will cost Indians Rs 1,23,900 per couple in AC first class and Rs 1,01,430 per couple for AC two tier.
  • It will include road transport by AC deluxe coaches for the Nepal tour, visits to monuments and locations, accommodation, meals, services of tour manager, guides, entrance fees and travel insurance.
  • However, passengers will have to pay their visa fee for the Nepal leg of the journey and any other expenditure like laundry and other services.
  • The train will have four first AC coaches with 96 seats, two second AC coaches with 60 seats, two exclusive dining cars with a capacity of 64 guest in each and a pantry car.

ART AND CULTURE

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Jammu University Concludes 5 Day Youth Festival

  •  Jammu University concluded the five-day youth festival organized by the university. The youth festival which was inaugurated on October 11, 2019, was conducted by Jammu University's Bhaderwah campus in collaboration with the Rashtriya Rifles.
  • The Youth festival – Sangam 2019-20 which was conducted to promote peace and prosperity in the Chenab Valley region was held in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district.
  • The theme for this year's youth festival was 'Let's Build our Nation'. The youth festival saw a participation of over 1000 students from close to 32 colleges of the university.

UP Culture Dept To Organise Training & Performance Programme Of KHON Ramlila

  •  The Culture Department of Uttar Pradesh government is going to organise the country's first training and performance programme of world famous KHON Ramlila, a masked form of Ramlila art of Thailand in collaboration with Thai government. Artists, who will get training from experts of Thailand as part of cultural exchange programme between two nations, will perform at Grand Deepotsav function which will be organised on 26th of October in Ayodhya.
  •  KHON Ramlila of Thailand is included in the list of UNESCO's Intangible cultural heritage and it's a form of masked dance depicting the scenes of Ramlila.
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