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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

15 Nov 2019


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Capacity-Building Programme For Afghan Diplomats Begins

  •  Indian and Chinese began a course to train diplomats from Afghanistan at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) here run by the External Affairs Ministry.
  • The two-week intensive programme, launched in the presence of Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, is designed to give the visiting diplomats an exposure to Indian diplomatic practices and traditions.
  • Inaugurating the event, J.S. Mukul, Dean of the Foreign Service Institute, said 179 Afghan diplomats had been trained at the FSI till date, the largest number of diplomats to be trained from any country at the institute.
  • It had emerged as an important centre of training of diplomats in South Asia.

Dera Baba Nanak Railway Station Leading To Kartarpur Sahib Gets Free Wi-Fi Connection

  •  Pilgrims on their way to Kartarpur Sahib through Dera Baba Nanak railway station will now be able to avail free Wi-Fi services introduced by RailTel.
  • The station, not far from the new international checkpost on the Indian side of the border, leads to Kartarpur Sahib.
  • The free Wi-Fi can be used inside the railway station premises by anyone who has a smart phone with a working connection for KYC consideration.
  • Sultanpur Lodhi station, which sees a rush of pilgrims visiting Dera Baba Nanak, has also been provided with Wi-Fi.

Prince Charles Concludes India Visit, Holds Bilateral Talks To Deepen Cooperation

  •  Britain''s Prince Charles concluded his two-day visit to India after holding a diverse range of engagements to deepen bilateral cooperation on issues like sustainability and climate change.
  • Charles began his visit by presenting a Commonwealth ''Points of light'' award to Keralan Jolly Johnson, the founder of Helping Hands Organisation (H20), the statement said.
  • Charles held a bilateral discussion with President Ram Nath Kovind, where they noted their mutual interest in green issues and traditional medicine, as well as the important role of the Commonwealth.
  • The president gave Charles a tour of the herbal garden, where he planted a champa tree in his name. He also visited the India Meteorological Department to discuss weather forecasting systems.


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HMSI Launches BS VI-Compliant SP 125 Bike

  •  Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) launched a new BS VI-compliant bike SP 125 with price starting at Rs 72,900 (ex-showroom Delhi).
  • The new bike replaces the company's 125cc model CB Shine SP. The Japanese two-wheeler major would, however, continue to sell BS IV CB Shine in the market.
  • The new model is around 11 per cent costlier than the outgoing model and, as per the company, delivers 16 per cent better fuel efficiency.
  • HMSI Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Yadvinder Singh Guleria said the company has a market share of 39 per cent in the 125 cc bike category.

Govt Eases Norms For Opening Bank Account For Migrants

  •  The government has eased KYC norms for migrants to open bank account by allowing them to give a self-declared local address as sufficient proof of residence in case it is different from one mentioned in Aadhaar document.
  • Migrants face difficulties in having proof of residence as address on Aadhaar is different from their current location.
  • The Department of Revenue notification is with regard to easing of Aadhaar KYC use for opening of the bank account for the convenience of people who often migrate from place to place for jobs or any other reason.
  • The changes were made by amending the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules.

Amazon Begins Appeal Over Pentagon Cloud Contract

  •  Amazon has filed an intention to appeal the US Department of Defense's decision to give a major contract to Microsoft.
  • Amazon had been considered the favorite to win the deal, worth $10bn over the next 10 years.
  • The company, which already provides cloud computing to the US Central Intelligence Agency, said the decision was made due to political pressure.
  • In July, President Donald Trump threatened to intervene after what he described as "tremendous complaints".
  • Mr Trump had previously attacked Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.
  • The Pentagon subsequently delayed its decision to award the contract until 25 October, when it was announced the work would be given to Microsoft.


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Facebook Removes 5.4 Billion Fake Accounts

  •  Facebook says it has stopped 5.4 billion fake accounts so far this year, in a sign of a persistent battle on social media against manipulation and disinformation.
  • In its latest transparency report, the Internet firm said it has improved its ability to detect and block attempts to create fake and abusive accounts.
  • The detailed report also showed that government demands for user information hit a new high led by the US.
  • Overall, requests by governments for Facebook user data rose 16 per cent to 128,617 in the first half of this year. 

NASA probes oxygen mystery on Mars

  •  The oxygen in Martian air is changing in a way that can't currently be explained by known chemical processes.
  • That's the claim of scientists working on the Curiosity rover mission, who have been taking measurements of the gas.
  • They discovered that the amount of oxygen in Martian "air" rose by 30% in spring and summer.
  • The pattern remains a mystery, but researchers are beginning to narrow the possibilities.
  • While the changes are most likely to be geological in nature, planetary scientists can't completely rule out an explanation involving microbial life.
  • The results come from nearly six Earth years' (three Martian years') worth of data from the Sample Analysis at Mars (Sam) instrument, a portable chemistry lab in the belly of the Curiosity rover.


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Dutee Chand Features On 'Time 100' List Of Rising Stars

  •  India sprinter Dutee Chand has been named in the TIME 100 Next, an expansion of the TIME 100 list of the most influential persons in the world.
  • The list, an initiative of TIME magazine, highlights 100 rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, health, science, activism etc.
  • Dutee had won two silver medals -- 100m, 200m -- at Jakarta Asian Games and had become the first Indian woman sprinter to win gold at the Universiade in Napoli, where she competed in 100m,
  • She was invited by the IAAF to compete at the women's 100m event at the Doha World Championships in September but could qualify for the semifinals, fading in the heats after clocking 11.48s.


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Rajnath Singh To Inaugurate Sisseri River Bridge In East Siang

  •  Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a two-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh, will inaugurate the Sisseri River Bridge on the Pasighat-Ranaghat-Roing Road in East Siang District.
  • Mr Singh attended the Maitree Diwas celebration at strategically important Tawang District along the Indo-China Border.

UP Govt Launches e-Ganna App, Web Portal

  •  Uttar Pradesh government has launched a dedicated web portal and a mobile application, e-Ganna App, for sugarcane farmers of the state. Cane supply slip will now be issued to the farmers by sugar mills online.
  • Launching the facilities at a function in Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his government is relentlessly pursuing the goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double farmers' income.


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Air Chief Bhadauria Flies Sortie In India-Made HTT-40 Trainer Aircraft

  •  Showing strong support for indigenisation, IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria  flew in the under development HTT-40 trainer aircraft.
  • ACM RKS Bhadauria, CAS flew HTT40, tested its flying capabilities for one hour. First serving Air Chief to fly in prototype as Chief of Air Forc.
  • The plane is still under development by the HAL. The IAF chief has been associated with the indigenous trainer aircraft project for a long period now as he had assured full support to it since he was the deputy chief of air staff.

Supreme Court Strikes Down All Rafale Review Petitions

  •  The Supreme Court refused to go back on its December 14, 2018 order, rejecting a probe into the controversial Rafale deal.
  • It also closed a contempt case filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who had incurred the court's wrath over allegedly attributing his chowkidar chor hai remarks to the court.
  • Though Gandhi later claimed that the remarks were made in the thick of campaigning and apologised for it, the bench was yet to formally let him off on contempt charges. 


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Bandhan Bank's C S Ghosh Is Business Standard Banker Of The Year 2018-19

  •  Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, founder, managing director (MD), and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bandhan Bank, is the Business Standard Banker of the Year for 2018-19, just four years after he turned his Kolkata-based microfinance institution into a scheduled commercial bank.
  • The unanimous decision was taken by a high-profile jury of five, chaired by former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor S S Mundra.
  • Other members were former State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, Vice Chairman and CEO of Housing Development Finance Corporation Keki Mistry, Ican Investment Advisors Chairman Anil Singhvi, and Saurabh Mukherjea, chief investment officer and founder of Marcellus Investment Managers.

Delhi High Court Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal Appointed CCI Member

  •  The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for the appointment of Delhi High Court judge Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal as a member in the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
  • Justice Sehgal will serve as a member of the CCI for a period of five years from the date of assumption of charge or till attaining the age of 65 years.
  • Justice Sehgal was a member of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) implemented by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, with support from United Nation Development Programme, which aimed to strengthen access to justice, particularly for women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and minorities.
  • She has authored several books on different laws relating to women in India. 

PM Modi Condoles Demise Of Renowned Mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh

  •  Narendra Modi described the death of renowned mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh as the loss of a rare talent in the field of science.
  • Vashishtha Narayan Singh, who had been ailing for quite some time, died at the Patna Medical College and Hospital in Bihar. Vashishtha Narayan Singh died at the age of 74.
  • He was born in Basantpur village of Bhojpur district in Bihar. Vashishtha Narayan Singh completed his schooling in Netarhat in undivided Bihar.
  • He was graduated from the Patna Science College and completed his PhD on cycle vector space theory from the University of California in 1969.
  • He used to teach at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.


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'Rosogolla Day'

  •  'Rosogolla Dibas'' (Rasgulla Day) was celebrated in West Bengal to mark the granting of Geographical Indication (GI) tag of ''Banglar Rosogolla'' (Bengal''s Rasgulla) to the state on this day two years ago.

Rajnath Singh To Attend Maitree Diwas Celebrations In Arunachal Pradesh

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Arunachal Pradesh to attend the Maitree Diwas celebrations at Tawang.
  • Maitree Diwas (Civil-Military Friendship) will be celebrated for two days at Gyalwa Tsangyang Gyatso High Altitude Stadium Tawang.
  • This will be the 11th edition of Maitree Diwas which celebrates civil-military bonhomie in the area.
  • Rajnath Singh will also inaugurate Sisseri River Bridge and National Highway-52 in East Siang District.


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Catalan Poet Joan Margarit Wins Spain's Cervantes Prize

  •  The Spanish government said Catalan poet Joan Margarit has won the 2019 Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honour.
  • Margarit, who is also an architect, has published over 20 volumes of poetry mainly in Catalan but also in Spanish. The 81-year-old has won several awards for his verse, including the Pablo Neruda prize in Chile.
  • Catalan is the language spoken along with Spanish in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia.
  • The award for Margarit comes amid an increase in tensions in Catalonia over its separatist movement.
  • The jury said Margarit "has enriched both the Spanish and the Catalan language and represents the plurality of our culture".
  • The 125,000-euro (USD 137,600) award generally alternates between Spanish and Latin American writers.

At Global Event, UP Police Bags 3rd Prize For Response To Emergency Among 500 Forces

  •  The Uttar Pradesh Police was awarded third prize in emergency response category during an international call centre event organised by the Dubai Police.
  • More than 500 police services from across the world including the 911 of the US considered in the maiden edition of the 'Dubai Police International Call Centre Award'.
  • The first prize was bagged by the Singapore Police, while the second was won by the Sharjah Police.

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla Conferred With ABLF Lifetime Achievement Award

  •  In a befitting celebration that complements the 'Year of Tolerance', the 12th edition of the Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF) presented its prestigious ABLF Awards to visionary leaders from across Asia, who inspire and set high standards in leadership excellence.
  • Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, founder and chairman of Serum Institute of India, was conferred with the ABLF Lifetime Achievement Award in Dubai, UAE at a glittering ceremony.
  • It was in 1966, that Dr Poonawalla embarked on his journey to establish Serum Institute of India, which is now the world's largest producer of vaccines by number of doses, producing at least 1.5 billion doses a year of life-saving vaccines used in over 170 countries.


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AP CM Launches 'Nadu-Nedu' Programme To Transform School Education

  •  With an aim to transform the government schools in the state into vibrant and competitive institutions, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the 'Nadu-Nedu' programme.
  • The CM said that the government will overcome all the challenges with a goal to meet the requirements of what the changing world expected from the youth then years from now.
  • The scheme launched will be implemented in two phases where the first phase will have 15, 715 government schools.
  • The scheme will cover all the schools in three years with a budget of Rs 12,000 crores. For the first year of the scheme, Rs 3,500 crores will be spent on the development of the infrastructure of the schools.
  • The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering at a school when he said that in spite of all the criticism faced the government will go ahead with the English Medium Schools as it is the need of the hour to prepare the students to meet the requirements of the world.
  • He also added that it is being done for the future generation to prepare themselves.


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Review of Verdict Allowing Women, Girls Into Sabarimala

  •  In a 3:2 majority verdict, the Supreme Court referred to a larger 7-judge bench the pleas seeking review of its historic 2018 judgement allowing women and girls of all ages to enter Kerala's Sabarimala temple, set to open on November 17, along with other contentious issues of alleged discrimination against Muslim and Parsi women.
  • As the majority verdict, penned by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, kept the review pleas pending for a 7-judge bench and did not stay its September 28, 2018 majority judgement, girls and women of all age groups will be entitled to undertake the pilgrimage to the shrine.

Climate Change To Hurt Health Of Children Born In India For Life: Lancet

  •  At current emission rates, a child born today will face lifelong health impacts of climate change, according to a new report. By the time he or she turns 71, the world will be 4 degrees-Celsius (deg-C) warmer than the pre-industrial levels of the mid-1700s. The Lancet Countdown report published in The Lancet, a medical journal:
  • Shrinking average yields of rice and maize will inflate the price of these crops, increasing the malnutrition burden, which is already higher among Indian children
  • Changing weather will increase the prevalence of infectious diarrhoeal and mosquito-borne diseases to which children are particularly susceptible
  • Air pollution will worsen, increasing the number of deaths attributable to fine particulates
  • Incidence of severe floods, prolonged droughts and wildfires will increase with rising temperature, putting lives at risk

Air Force Chief Wants To Draw Youth To Aerospace Medicine

  •  The chief of the Indian Air Force has a new concern — lack of interest among doctors to pursue aviation medicine.
  • At the 57th conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ISAM), IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria asked: "How come youngsters are not taking this up as a preferred field?"
  • Praising the aviation medicine fraternity as a principal contributor in keeping pilots fit and maintaining the combat capability of the Air Force, he said the area has not attracted young doctors because it does not offer good career growth or opportunities for super-specialisation.


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Westland Launches New Children Imprint ''Red Panda''

  •  Leading Indian publishing house Westland announced the launch of their new children publishing programme under the imprint "Red Panda", on Children''s Day.
  • Under the imprint, Westland will publish a range of books for children across genres including fiction, non-fiction, picture books, activity books and young adult fiction.
  • ''Red Panda'' adds a new and exciting dimension to our publishing in India and, in some ways, completes the circle for us. We hope these books will be read and loved by young readers as well as by their parents and educators.
  • The first release from the imprint will be "Happy Birthday, World!", a picture book for young readers (four years and above) by India''s beloved children''s writer Ruskin Bond in collaboration with artist Maya Ramaswamy.
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