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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

22 Oct 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Lebanon Cabinet Approves Economic Reforms After Growing Protests

  •  The Lebanon Cabinet  approved economic reforms, after growing protests that fuelled calls for Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation.
  • Lebanon's 30-member Cabinet also approved halving of ministerial wages, amid growing public anger at the perceived corruption of the country's political elite.
  • There is to be a 50 per cent decrease in salaries of all current and former presidents, lawmakers and ministers. Key measures bring in no new taxes or fees on citizens or public sector employees.
  • The protests which started five days earlier over tax hikes have evolved into an unprecedented push to remove Lebanon's entire political leadership.

India stands for three Ds - Democracy, Demography and Dimaag

  •  Members of US India Strategic Partnership Forum, USISPF called on the Prime Minister in New Delhi.
  • It was led by USISPF Chairman, John Chambers.  
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India stands for three Ds - Democracy, Demography and Dimaag. He said that the target of the government is to ensure Ease of Living.
  • A non-profit organization, USISPF aims at strengthening the India-US strategic partnership in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.

Pakistan Stops Postal Mails From India

  •  Pakistan has stopped postal mails from India in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370.
  • The last postal consignment from India was received by Pakistan more than one-and-a-half months ago on August 27, 2019.
  • This has made postal authorities in India put mails for Pakistan on hold.
  • The government has also criticised Pakistan for its decision to stop postal mail services between the two nations.
  • Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Pakistan took the decision without giving any notice to India.

ENVIRONMENT

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World's Oldest Known Natural Pearl Discovered On Abu Dhabi Island

  •  The oldest known natural pearl in the world has been discovered by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at a Neolithic site on Marawah Island, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
  • Dubbed the 'Abu Dhabi Pearl', it was found in layers that have been radiocarbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BCE, during the Neolithic period.
  • The discovery is a proof that pearls and oysters were being used in the UAE nearly 8,000 years ago, and represents the earliest known evidence for pearling yet discovered anywhere in the world.
  • Prior to the Abu Dhabi Pearl discovery, the earliest known pearl in the UAE came from a Neolithic site in Umm Al Qaiwain.
  • Ancient pearls have also been found at a Neolithic cemetery close to Jebel Buhais, in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Radio-Tagged Amur Falcon Heads For Northeast India From China

  •  A radio-tagged female Amur falcon (Falcon amurensis) named Longleng which had reached her breeding area in northern China in May 2019 for the third time since in 2016, is on her way to her roosting sites in Northeast India.
  • As per Wildlife Institute of India(WII) scientists, Longleng was around Shanghai in China some five days ago (on way her way to Northeast).
  • Longleng, named after a Nagaland district, was radio-tagged in October 2016 by WII scientists as part of a project to study the flight route of these long-distance migratory birds and the environmental patterns along the route.

SPORTS

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Ronaldo Singh Wins Gold Medal At Asian Track Cycling Championships

  •  Indian cyclist Ronaldo Singh bagged a gold medal in the men's junior Keirin event at the Asian Track Cycling Championships being held at Incheon in South Korea.
  • Apart from Ronaldo, James Singh clinched a bronze medal in the event.
  • The men's and women's junior sprint team won two bronze medals.
  • Ronaldo Singh won the gold medal in men's junior Kierin event at the Asian Track Cycling C'ships in Incheon, Korea. James Singh got bronze in same event. India also secured 2 bronze medals in men's and women's Jr. sprint team.

Andy Murray Wins His First Singles Title

  •  The former No. 1-ranked player won the European Open to claim his first ATP singles title in more than two years.
  • Murray beat Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in Antwerp, Belgium. The 32-year-old had last won a tournament in March 2017 at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
  • The three-time grand slam champion -- once considered part of tennis' "Big Four" alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic -- returned to the professional circuit in June 2019, initially only competing in doubles.

Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu Lost to South Korea's Se Young An

  •  Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu lost to South Korea's Se Young An 14-21, 17-21 in the second round of the Denmark Open 2019. This was Sindhu's third successive early exit from a tournament since claiming the World Championship at Basel, Switzerland.
  • Se Young dominated from the go and won four consecutive points to take a 6-1 lead in the first game. Sindhu fought to make it 7-8 but lost six consecutive points to fall behind at 7-14. The Indian was able to win seven points further into the game, but Se Young powered through to take the game 21-14.
  • Sindhu began the second game strongly as she won four consecutive points to lead 8-4, but the South Korean closed in the gap by winning four points in a row to make it 8-8.
  • The world No. 19 pegged back Sindhu every time she took a lead, as she went from 15-16 to 20-16 and then wrapped up the match at 21-17.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Voting Held For By-Polls To 2 Lok Sabha Seats

  •  By-Elections were held in two Parliamentary seats and 51 Assembly seats across 17 states, apart from assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, polling for 11 Assembly seats during the by-elections in the state completed peacefully.
  • Barring some incidents of glitches in EVMs, overall polling was peaceful in the by-elections in the state. Heavy security arrangements were in place on all the polling centres of 11 seats.

Winter Session Of Parliament To Commence From Nov 18, 2019

  •  The Winter Session of Parliament will commence from 18th November, 2019. It will conclude on 13th, December 2019. The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has communicated to the secretariats of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in this regard.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had met under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to decide on the dates of the next session.

DNA Technology Regulation Bill Referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee

  •  The DNA Technology Regulation Bill, which seeks to control the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of a person, has been referred to a parliamentary standing committee for examination.
  • The bill that seeks to control the use and application of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology for establishing the identity of certain categories of persons, including offenders, victims, suspects and undertrials, was passed by the Lok Sabha in July, 2019.
  • The bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests by Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

DEFENCE

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Kurdish-Led Syrian Democratic Forces Withdraw From Border Town Of Ras Al Ain

  •  In Syria, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have withdrawn from the border town of Ras al Ain under a U.S.-brokered ceasefire deal.
  • SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel said that they do not have any more fighters in the city, but a spokesman for Turkish-backed Syrian rebels said the withdrawal was not yet complete.
  • Ras al Ain is one of two towns on the Turkish-Syrian border that have been the main targets of Turkey's offensive to push back Kurdish fighters and create a safe zone inside Syria that is more than 30 km deep.
  • Turkey paused the offensive night for five days under a deal agreed between President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Erdogan has warned that Turkey will resume the assault when the deadline expires, if the SDF had not pulled back from the safe zone area.

DAC Approves Procurement Of Indigenous Equipment

  •  The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for Capital Procurement for the Defence forces amounting to over 3,300 crore rupees of indigenously designed and developed equipment. Maintaining its impetus on the Make in India initiative, the DAC accorded approval for three projects to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry. 
  • The first two projects include third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and the Auxiliary Power Units for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks.
  • The Third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles would provide Fire and Forget and Top Attack capabilities to the troops in an armoured battle.
  • The Auxiliary Power Units would enable incorporation of various upgrades to Fire Control System and Night Fighting capabilities of the Tanks. 
  • The third indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare systems for the mountain and High-Altitude terrain, which would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by design cum production partner from the Indian industry.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Indian Banks Association Elects Rajnish Kumar As Chairman

  •  SBI's head Rajnish Kumar has been elected as the chairman of the banking industry lobby Indian Banks Association for fiscal 2019-20.
  • The body, which represents banks' interests with the government and regulators, said it has three top bankers from various lenders as its deputy chairmen.
  • An official statement said these include Union Bank of India G Rajkiran Rai, S S Mallikarjuna Rao of Punjab National Bank and Madhav Kalyan JP Morgan Chase Bank.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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National Nut Day - October 22, 2019

  •  National Nut Day is celebrated annually on October 22 throughout the world.  Liberation Foods Company — the UK's only Fair Trade, farmer-owned nut company — created the day to raise awareness of Fair Trade nuts and encourage the public to include nuts as part of a healthy diet.

International Stuttering Awareness Day

  •  October 22 was designated International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) in 1998. The day is intended to raise public awareness of the millions of people – one percent of the world's population – who have the speech disorder of stuttering.
  • ISAD is organised by three organizations:
  1. European League of Stuttering Associations
  2. International Fluency Association
  3. International Stuttering Association

Police Commemoration Day 2019

  •  National Police Commemoration Day is observed every year on October 21 to remember the brave policemen who sacrificed their lives while discharging their duties. Rich tributes are paid to the martyrs on this day.
  • On Police Commemoration Day 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the people to visit the National Police Museum and salute police forces and their families.
  • On October 21, 1959, twenty Indian soldiers were attacked by the Chinese troops in Ladakh
  • This altercation between the troops led to the death of ten policemen. Seven of the others were also imprisoned and managed to escape from the Chinese troops.
  • On November 28, 1959, the Chinese troops handed over the dead bodies of the martyred policemen to India. Their cremation was held with full Police honours at the Hot springs in Ladakh.
  • Ever since the incident, October 21 is celebrated as Police Commemoration Day in remembrance of the martyrs.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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After 214 Births, Government To Boost 'Jiyo Parsi' Scheme

  •  A government scheme that offers cash assistance to encourage Parsi couples to have children has resulted in 214 births over the last five years through assisted reproductive techniques (ART).
  • Buoyed by the results, the government is considering allocating more funds for the scheme for the next financial year (2020-21).
  • The Centre announced the Jiyo Parsi Scheme in September 2013 to check the declining Parsi population. According to the Union minority affairs ministry, the population declined from about 114,000 in 1941 to 57,264 in 2011.
  • There is no clarity on the fertility rate in the community, but ministry officials estimate it is under one per woman.

From 2021, No Assam Govt Jobs For Those With More Than Two Children

  •  The Assam Cabinet decided that no government jobs will be given to persons having more than two children after January 1, 2021.
  • The important decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting held late Monday evening that also adopted a New Land Policy, which will give three bighas of agricultural land to landless indigenous people and half a bigha for constructing a house.
  • A communique from the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's public relations cell stated that those having more than two children will not be considered for government jobs with effect from January 1, 2021 as per the small family norm.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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AYUSH, Defence Ministries Ink MoU To Provide Traditional Medicine Services

  •  The AYUSH ministry has signed an MoU with the Defence ministry to provide traditional medicine services at the armed forces' hospitals and dispensaries. Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik inaugurated an Ayurveda Palliative Care Unit at the Base Hospital in the Delhi Cantonment.
  • Under the MoU, ayurveda units will also be established at palliative care centres at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, Air Force Hospital, Hindon in Ghaziabad and five identified ex-service men Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) polyclinics in Delhi –NCR.

United Nations WFP Launches 'Feed Our Future' Cinema Ad Campaign

  •  The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a cinema advertisement campaign 'Feed Our Future' to raise awareness and take steps against hunger and malnutrition in India.
  • The campaign launch event included a panel discussion hosted by TV host Mini Mathur, which had actor-director Nandita Das and filmmakers Neeraj Ghaywan and Anubhav Sinha sharing their perspectives over cinema and social change.

Deepika Padukone and PV Sindhu lead the BharatKiLaxmi campaign started by PM Modi

  •  Indian shuttler PV Sindhu and Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone have come out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Bharat Ki Laxmi' movement which aims at promoting women empowerment in the country.
  • Apart from women empowerment, the campaign initiated by PM Modi focusses on honouring daughters, who have made a mark with their achievements in various fields for the public good.
  • Meanwhile, on the professional front, Sindhu will soon start with her French Open badminton tournament while on the other hand, Deepika will be seen on the silver screen in Meghna Gulzar directorial 'Chhapaak' and Kabir Khan's sports drama '83'.

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

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Siachen, World's Highest Battlefield, Now Open For Tourists

  •  The world's highest battlefield, Siachen Glacier, is now open for tourists, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced. Tourism will be allowed from Siachen base camp to Kumar Post that lies above 15,000 feet.
  • Meanwhile, while explaining that India and China have handled the boundary issue with maturity, Singh added that Kashmir is India's internal matter and Chinese President Xi Jinping didn't mention it during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai.

Piyush Goyal Launches Jaipur-Sikar- DEMU Passenger Service

  •  Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal inaugurated 79603/04 Jaipur-Sikar-JaipurDEMU (6 days a week) Service between Jaipur and Sikar through Video-conferencing.
  • Member of Parliament from Sikar Shri SumedhanandaSaraswati participated in the inaugural ceremony from Ringus.
  • This service will operate on the newly Gauge converted Jaipur – Ringus section.

IRCTC To Pay Around Rs 1.62 Lakh As Compensation For Late Running Of Tejas Express

  •  A delay of more than three hours in the running of Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express on October 19, 2019 has cost IRCTC around Rs 1.62 lakh which the railway subsidiary will pay through its insurance companies as compensation to around 950 passengers, a first in the history of Indian Railways.
  • While from Lucknow to Delhi there were 450 passengers who will get Rs 250 as compensation each, from Delhi to Lucknow there were around 500 passengers who will be paid Rs 100 each.
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