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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

31 Oct 2019

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Fire Engulfs 500-Year-Old World Heritage Site In Japan

  •  A fire has destroyed the main structures of Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Japan's southern island of Okinawa.
  • Firefighters have been battling the flames. No injuries have been reported so far.
  • The wooden castle, built 500 years ago in the Ryukyu Dynasty, was designated Japan's national treasure in 1933.
  • It was almost completely destroyed in a battle during World War Two. The current structure is a reconstruction.
  • The main building, as well as the north and south structures of the castle have burned to the ground.

Three Indian-Origin CEOs in Harvard Business Review's top 10 Best-Performing CEOs

  • Three Indian-origin CEOs, Shantanu Narayen, Ajay Banga and Satya Nadella are among the world's top 10 best-performing chief executives, featured in a list compiled by the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
  • 'The Best-Performing CEOs in the World, 2019' list by the HBR features 100 CEOs and has been topped by American technology company NVIDIA's CEO Jensen Huang.
  • Among the top 10 chief executives on the list, three spots have been occupied by the Indian-origin CEOs.
  • On the 6th spot is Adobe CEO Narayen, followed by MasterCard CEO Banga, ranked 7th and Microsoft chief  Nadella on the 9th spot. The list also features India-born CEO of DBS Bank Piyush Gupta on the 89th spot. Apple CEO Tim Cook is ranked 62nd.
  • The list also includes Nike CEO Mark Parker ranked 20, JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon (23), Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson (37), Disney CEO Robert Iger (55) and SoftBank head Masayoshi Son (96).

Syrian Govt & Opposition Delegates Meet To Draft New Constitution

  •  Syrian government and Opposition delegates have begun meeting in Geneva to draft a new constitution as a prelude to U.N.-supervised elections for their war-torn country.
  • A total of 150 delegates representing the government, opposition and civil society met at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland. After nearly nine years of war, U.N. mediator Geir Pedersen calls the meeting of Syria's arch-enemies a historic moment.
  • Pedersen said reforming the Constitution is the first step towards the beginning for a political process that will lead to UN-supervised elections under UN resolution 2254.
  • Syrian government co-chair of the committee Ahmad Kuzbari said his delegation is prepared to consider possible amendments to Syria's existing constitution.
  • Opposition co-chair Hadi Albahra said Syrians seek a nation that respects all people, without discrimination. 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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RBI Imposes Penalty On Janata Sahakari Bank, Jalgaon Peoples Co-Operative Bank

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on Pune-based Janata Sahakari Bank and Rs 25 lakh on Jalgaon Peoples Co-operative Bank for violating income recognition, advances management and asset classification norms.
  • The RBI has imposed, by order dated October 16, 2019 monetary penalty of Rs 1 crore on Janata Sahakari Bank, Pune, for non-compliance with directions issued on income recognition and asset classification (IRAC) norms, management of advances and exposure norms and statutory or other restrictions.
  • The apex bank has imposed a penalty of Rs 25 lakh on the Jalgaon Peoples Co-operative Bank, Jalgaon, Maharashtra (the bank) for non-compliance of these norms.

DPIIT Kickstarts Exercise To Ease FDI Norms

  •  The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) kickstarted an exercise to relax India's foreign direct investment norms.
  • The department held an inter-ministerial meeting to discuss further opening up in sectors, especially where 100% FDI is not allowed on the automatic route. 
  • The department has asked ministries and departments to submit specific proposals wherever they seek scope for relaxation.

Reliance Industries Surpasses Strategic Partner BP In Terms Of m-Cap

  •  Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has surpassed its strategic partner British oil major BP Plc in terms of market capitalization.
  • The rise in market value of the Indian company was, however, driven by its retail and telecom businesses.
  • RIL hit a market cap of $132.24 billion compared with BP's $130.51 billion. At closing, shares of RIL traded at ₹1,478.70 on BSE, up 0.8% from its previous close. So far in 2019, it has gained 31.9%. 

SPORTS

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BCCI Orders 72 Pink Balls From SG

  •  The BCCI has asked manufacturer SG to deliver 72 pink balls for India's first-ever day-night Test, to be held at the Eden Gardens from November 22, 2019.
  • The BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has already confirmed that SG pink balls will be used for the landmark game, leaving the manufacturer with very little room for error.
  • The BCCI confirmed that SG pink balls will be used for India's first ever Test match under lights, against Bangladesh from November 22, 2019 in Kolkata.

DEFENCE

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Indian Army Participates In Border Personnel Meeting Organized by PLA

  •  Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between the Indian Army and People's Liberation Army was conducted by the People 's Liberation Army (PLA) on 30 October 2019 on the Chinese side at Bum La.
  • The BPM on 30th Oct every year is in vogue since the signing of Border Peace and Tranquility agreement between both the Nations on 07 Sep 1993.
  • In the last 26 years, the BPM mechanism has evolved into a vital platform for resolving local issues and fostering mutual confidence amongst the Border Guarding Troops of both the countries.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Nation Remembers Former PM Indira Gandhi On Her 35th Death Anniversary

  • Nation remembers former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 35th death anniversary. She was martyred on this day in 1984 at her residence in New Delhi.
  • In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid heartfelt tribute to Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary. 

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar Appointed As Deputy NSA

  •  Former Mumbai Police Commissioner and Maharashtra DGP Datta Padsalgikar has been appointed as Deputy National Security Advisor (NSA).
  • The 1982-batch IPS officer had earlier served in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for 26 years before he was picked as the Mumbai Police Commissioner in 2016.
  • He retired as the Director General of Police (DGP) in 2018. Among other assignments, Padsalgikar had also served as DCP (Detection) in crime branch, and in EOW (Economic Offences Wing).
  • His last posting was deputy Lokayukta for Maharashtra. He had worked with current National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval during his stint in the IB. 
  • His colleagues in Maharashtra Police hail the role played by Padsalgikar in nailing Pakistan's involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. 

Argentine Diplomat Rafael Grossi Appointed Chief of UN Nuclear Watchdog

  • Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi was appointed to succeed late Yukiya Amano as the new director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations' nuclear watchdog.
  • He will be appointed for a term of four years and assume office no later than January 1, 2020. The 58-year-old will be the sixth head of the IAEA since it was founded more than six decades ago.
  • Grossi is a nuclear and diplomatic veteran from Buenos Aires in Argentina.
  • He graduated from the Argentine Foreign Ministry's National Foreign Service Institute and the University of Geneva in 1985.
  • He served as a diplomat for a decade before holding several senior positions within the United Nations. He chaired expert panels on the UN Register of Conventional Arms in 1997 and 2000.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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Halloween

  •  Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of Hallows' Even or Hallows' Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in several countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day.
  • It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.
  • It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain; that such festivals may have had pagan roots; and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church.
  • Some believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals like Samhain.

National Unity Day Being Observed Across The Country

  •  National Unity Day - Rashtriya Ekta Diwas - is being observed across the country today, on the occasion of the 144th birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Since 2014, October 31st is observed as the National Unity Day and people from all walks of life participate in the 'Run For Unity'.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid floral tribute to Sardar Patel at the  'Statue of Unity' at Kevadiya in Gujarat.

Diwali Milan Organized For PMO Staff At Lok Kalyan Marg

  •  Diwali Milan was organized for the officers and staff of Prime Minister's Office at Lok Kalyan Marg on October 30, 2019.
  • Appreciating the good work done by the entire PMO staff, Mr Modi said that the transformative work done by the government has been possible due to the hard work and continuous effort of the staff.
  • He enthused the staff to take stock of what has happened in the previous year and strive to achieve greater heights in the coming year.
  • Prime Minister said that PMO acts as a role model for the entire government.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Jagoori Wins Vyas Samman For Poetry

  •  Noted Hindi poet Leeladhar Jagoori, whose poems often celebrate love and hope, received the KK Birla Foundation's 2018 Vyas Samman for his collection of poems, Jitne Log Utne Prem, his 12th anthology of poetry.
  • Renowned author Govind Mishra presented the 28th Vyas Samman to Jagoori, saying the love that is celebrated in his poetry is capable of bringing freshness even to a city as polluted as Delhi.
  • Jagoori, whose rich and varied experience includes a stint in the army, said that all religions expressed themselves through poetry. The award is conferred especially for contributions to Hindi literature and carries a prize of Rs 4 lakh and a citation. The KK Birla Foundation also confers the Saraswati Samman and Bihari Puraskar for literature in Indian languages.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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OCI Can Now Apply For National Pension System

  • Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) will now be eligible to apply for the National Pension System at par with Non Resident Indians (NRIs). Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has permitted Overseas Citizen of India to enrol in NPS. 
  • OCI may subscribe to NPS, provided such person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act and the accumulated saving will be repatriable, subject to Foreign Exchange Management Act guidelines.

Nagaland Govt Launches Ex-Gratia Scheme For Students

  •  Nagaland Government launched the Nagaland Ex-gratia Scheme for Students Studying outside Nagaland belonging to any recognized scheduled tribes and indigenous inhabitants of the state.
  • The scheme is targeted for students who die outside the state while pursuing secular, technical, professional, diploma and theology courses.
  • Launching the scheme at the Directorate of Higher Education in Kohima, Minister of Higher & Technical Education and Tribal Affairs Temjen Imna Along, said it is a historic day for the state and a visionary step taken towards the students' community.
  • The Minister also assured that the scheme will be implemented in a transparent manner.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Harsh Vardhan Releases 14th National Health Profile, 2019

  •  Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the 14th National Health Profile (NHP), 2019 and its e-book in New Delhi.
  • The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence and covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country.
 

ART AND CULTURE

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Amit Shah Flags Off 'Run For Unity' To Commemorate Patel's Birth Anniversary

  •  Union Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off a run to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the national capital.
  • The 'Run for Unity', which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities, sports enthusiasts and personnel of central police forces among others.
  • The 1.5-km run in Delhi takes place at the India Gate C-Hexagon-Shah Jahan Road radial. People wearing white T-shirts and bearing Patel's photo assembled at the national stadium and India Gate roundabout for the run.

Bronze Age Monument Discovered In Forest Of Dean

  •  A previously unknown Bronze Age monument has been discovered hidden in woodland in the Forest of Dean following an airborne laser scan.
  • The ritual monument, known as a ring cairn, dates back to about 2,000 BC.
  • It consists of a circular bank with several small limestone standing stones on top.
  • Archaeologist Jon Hoyle, who found it, said it was the only site of its kind known about in Gloucestershire, and was a "very significant" discovery.

Nagar Kirtan Leaves For Shri Harmandir Sahib

  •  The Nagar Kirtan (a religious procession) dedicated to 550th Prakash Purab of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji led by former President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Parmjit Singh Sarna left for Shri Harmandir Sahib from Sultanpur Lodhi a place associated with first Sikh Guru.
  • The Nagar Kirtan started off their spiritual journey from Delhi to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, the birthplace of the founder of Sikhism Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji.
  • The Nagar Kirtan was accorded warm welcome on reaching at Sultanpur Lodhi from Ludhiana.
  • The Nagar Kirtan will enter Amritsar via Tarntaran and it takes rest in Shri Harmandir Sahib before crossing over to Pakistan tomorrow through the Attari border.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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New Book Deep-Dives Into Brahmaputra's History

  •  The Brahmaputra river that has shaped both the landscape of the Assam valley and the livelihoods of its inhabitants, is the subject of a new book.
  • Titled "The Unquiet River: A biography of the Brahmaputra", the book reimagines the layered history of Assam with the river at the centre.
  • It has been written by historian Arupjyoti Saikia, and published by Oxford University Press (OUP).
  • The book claims to combine a range of disciplinary scholarship to unravel the geological forces as well as human endeavour which have shaped the river into what it is today.
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