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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

22 Nov 2019

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Abe becomes Japan's Longest-Serving Prime Minister

  •  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became Japan's longest serving prime minister beating previous record holder Taro Katsura by having served for a total of 2,887 days, and vowed to work on tackling deflation and dealing with the nation's graying population during the remainder of his term.
  • Abe's term is calculated as an accumulated total of his first, brief stint as prime minister in 2006, and then his time further in the top position since 2012, which is now approaching eight years.

US Warns Pak Of Risks From China Infrastructure Push

  •  The United States warned Pakistan that it faced long-term economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push.
  • The top US diplomat for South Asia said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor -- heralded as a game-changer by both Asian countries -- would profit only Beijing and said that the United States offered a better model.
  • She noted that the multibillion-dollar initiative was driven by non-concessionary loans, with Chinese companies sending their own labour and material.

Israel PM Netanyahu charged with corruption in three separate cases

  •  Israel's attorney general has charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases.
  • Mr Netanyahu is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favours to try to get more positive press coverage.
  • The prime minister described the charges as an attempted coup, blaming them on a tainted process. He has also insisted he will not resign and is not legally obliged to do so.
  • Earlier, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said, he made the decision with a heavy heart, adding that it showed nobody was above the law in Israel.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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RBI Puts DHFL Board Under Administrator

  •  The Reserve Bank superseded the board of the troubled Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) due to governance concerns and defaults on various debt instruments.
  • The central bank has also appointed R Subramaniakumar, the ex-managing director of Indian Overseas Bank as the administrator of the third largest pureplay mortgage lender.

Reliance Industries Overtakes BP Plc To Become World's 6th Largest Oil Company

  •  Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has overtaken BP Plc to become the sixth-largest energy company in the world.
  • The conglomerate is now valued at $138 billion. It overtook the British energy giant's $132 billion at the close of trading.
  • Reliance Industries' shares have increased at thrice the pace of India's benchmark index following an announcement by Ambani to cut the company's net debt to zero in 18 months.
  • He said stake sale in the oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco would be one of the measures to this end.
  • The sixth largest oil company in the world is ranked behind Exxon Mobil that's on top of the list with a market value of $290 billion.
  • However, Saudi Aramco's plans of initial public offering with a valuation target of between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 trillion, could topple Exxon as the largest oil company.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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NASA Confirms Water Vapor Is Present Under The Ice Of Jupiter's Moon Europa

  •  NASA has confirmed the presence of water vapor on one of Jupiter's 79 moons.
  • The American Space agency detected plume-like forms of water vapor above Europa's icy surface, which were detected as a wavelength of emitted infrared light.
  • The research showed the moon releases more than 5,000 pounds of water per second – enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in only a few minutes.
  • These findings have also reignited a longstanding theory that an ocean twice of the ones on Earth lays hidden under the frozen shell. 
  • Given the suspected abundance of warm, liquid water under its mile-thick ice shell, the moon is considered a 'top candidate' by NASA for life on a solar system body other than Earth.

Kolkata Becomes First City To Install 'Third Umpire' RT-PCR Machines

  •  In a major step towards upholding public health, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has installed first of its kind high-end reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines in India for quick detection of diseases like dengue, tuberculosis and swine flu.
  • These machines are to serve as a 'third umpire' in situations when medical reports and blood tests reveal contradictory results.
  • The purpose is to give accurate DNA report on blood tests in order to ascertain the exact cause of illness.

SPORTS

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Karman Upstages Ankita In Marathon

  •  Karman Kaur Thandi bounced back strong to beat second seed Ankita Raina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in the pre-quarterfinals of the $25,000 ITF women's tennis tournament at the Arera Club.
  • It was a commendable performance by the 21-year-old Karman, ranked 611th in the world, as she was playing only her second tournament after missing nearly eight months of the season owing to a shoulder injury.
  • In a gripping contest that lasted three hours and 11 minutes, Karman had led 3-0 in the first two sets. In the decider, it was Ankita who led 3-0 before Karman went ahead 5-4. The 187th-ranked Ankita had to save four match points in the 12th to force the tie-break.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Bengalureans To Get Free WiFi One Hour Each Day

  •  Bengaluru, India's information technology capital, will get free WiFi services for one hour each day, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka CN Ashwath Narayan said.
  • The proposed scheme, which will take nine months to be implemented, follows similar efforts by Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh governments which have tried to offer data as a commodity to their people.

UIDAI Operationalizes 21 Aadhaar Seva Kendras

  •  Unique Identification Authority of India, UIDAI has operationalized 21 Aadhaar Seva Kendras as part of its plan to open 114 stand-alone Aadhaar enrollment and centres across the country.
  • These are in addition to 35,000 Aadhaar Enrollment Centers run by Banks, Post Offices and State Governments.
  • These centres will be operational all days of the week including weekends, from 9.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. They will be closed only on public holidays. The centres will have the capacity to handle up to 1,000 enrollment and requests per day.
  • UIDAI plans to set up 114 Aadhaar Seva Kendras in 53 cities across the country.
  • While Aadhaar enrollment is free, a nominal charge of 50 rupees is payable for updating details like adding a mobile number to Aadhaar and updating address.

DEFENCE

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IAF's Mobile Video Game Gets Selected For Google 'Best Game-2019' Contest

  •  Internet giant Google has selected Indian Air Force's video game, 'Indian Air Force: A Cut Above', to compete for 'Best Game-2019' in the 'Users Choice Game' category.
  • The IAF urged netizens to vote for the IAF's 3D mobile video game to win in the 'Users Choice Game' of 2019.
  • In a bid to make the youth aware about the IAF and encourage them to join the forces, the Indian Air Force had launched the multiplayer version of its interactive mobile game which lets users experience the thrill of flying a combat aircraft.

US Okays Sale Of Naval Guns Worth $1 Bn To India

  • The United States warned Pakistan that it faced long-term economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push.
  • The top US diplomat for South Asia said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor -- heralded as a game-changer by both Asian countries -- would profit only Beijing and said that the United States offered a better model.
  • She noted that the multibillion-dollar initiative was driven by non-concessionary loans, with Chinese companies sending their own labour and material.

India, Singapore Agree To Conduct Trilateral Maritime Exercise Annually

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging talks with his Singapore counterpart Ng Eng Hen during which the two sides agreed to conduct the trilateral maritime exercise involving Singapore, India and Thailand annually from 2020.
  • The first Singapore-India-Thailand maritime exercise (SITMEX) was held in the Andaman Sea in September, 2019 as part of the security and safety of Indo-Pacific sea lines.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Satya Nadella Tops Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list

  •  Microsoft's India-born Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has occupied the top spot in Fortune's Businessperson of the Year 2019 list, an annual compilation that also includes Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga and Arista head Jayshree Ullal.
  • Fortune's annual Businessperson of the Year list features 20 business leaders "who tackled audacious goals, overcame impossible odds, found creative solutions".
  • The list is topped by Nadella, who has been at the helm of the technology giant since 2014.
  • Banga is ranked 8th, while Ullal comes in at the 18th spot in the list for which Fortune looked at 10 financial factors ranging from total return to shareholders to return on capital. Both Banga and Ullal are of Indian-origin.

1986 Batch IPS Officer Abhay Named New DGP Of Odisha

  •  Odisha Government appointed 1986 batch IPS officer Abhay as the new Director General of Police (DGP) and head of police force.  
  • Abhay, on Central deputation, is serving as the Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.
  • The decision came after Union Public Service Commission recommended a panel of three names, which included In-charge DGP Bijay Kumar Sharma and 1986 batch officer Pradip Kapur apart from Abhay. Sharma, DG Fire Services, has now been transferred and posted as Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Home Department.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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BEE Conducts International Workshop on EV Charging Infrastructure

  •  The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in association with the International Energy Agency (IEA) organised an international workshop on 'Policy Framework to deploy Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure.
  • The day-long workshop was part of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) framework.
  • The workshop featured highly insightful sessions that deliberated on best international practices, policies, regulatory framework, etc for stakeholders of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), service provider, state nodal agencies and policymakers to lay the foundation of future actions towards accelerated deployment of EV charging system in the country.
  • Abhay Bakre, Director General,Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), said the need of the hour was to create a well-planned, accessible and affordable charging infrastructure.

World Philosophy Day

  •  Philosophy is the study of the nature of reality and existence, of what is possible to know, and of right and wrong behavior.
  • It comes from the Greek word phílosophía, meaning 'the love of wisdom.' It is one of the most important fields of human thought as it aspires to get at the very meaning of life.
  • World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
  • In 2005 the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed that World Philosophy Day would be celebrated every third Thursday of November (November 21, 2019).
    2019 observance
  • The 2019 edition aims to highlight the importance of philosophy in different regional contexts.
  • The goal is to obtain regional contributions to global debates on contemporary challenges that support social transformations.
  • The purpose of this approach is to foster regional dynamics, stimulating global collaboration to address major challenges such as migration, radicalization, environmental change, or artificial intelligence.

World Fisheries Day

  •  World Fisheries Day is celebrated on 21 November every year. The day aims to highlight the importance of healthy ocean ecosystems.
  • It also ensures the sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world. Fishing communities celebrate the day by conduction events like public meetings, rallies, workshops, exhibitions, cultural dramas, and music shows.
  • A study by the United Nations reported that more than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have been overfished or are fully harvested. It also said that more than one third are in a state of decline because of factors such as the loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming.

AWARDS AND HONOURS

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Tamil Nadu Awarded With Swachh Sarvekshan Grameen Award

  •  Tamil Nadu has received the 'Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2019' award for the best 'quantitative and qualitative' sanitation facilities. This award is given to the best performing states, union territories and districts.
  • The Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2019 was carried out between August 14 and September 30, 2019.
  • The Swachhta Survey is conducted by an independent agency based on parameters like the observation of existing sanitary conditions, progress in community services and feedback from citizens.

Telangana Bags Swachh Sarvekshan Grameen Award

  •  Telangana has bagged the 'Swachh Sarvekshan Grameen-2019' award that Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Errabelli Dayakar Rao received from Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers at a function held in New Delhi.
  • The State government is also planning a dumping yard in every village as part of further improving the sanitation. Secretary in the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer and Panahcyat Raj Commissioner of Telangana M. Raghunandan Rao participated in the event.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

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Assam Govt To Gift 10 Gm Of Gold To Every Bride

  •  The Assam government announced that it will gift 10 grams of gold to every adult bride, if she has studied at least up to class 10 and her marriage is registered.
  • The annual family income of the bride has to be less than Rs 5 lakh to avail the benefit of the scheme.
  • There are some other conditions as well to avail the benefit of the 'Arundhati Gold Scheme', which will cost the state exchequer around Rs 800 crores per annum.
  • The minister clarified that the benefit will be given only in case of the first marriage of the girl and it has to be registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. 
  • The scheme has some riders like the girl has to be at least 18 years of age and the boy 21 years. This will also stop child marriage. Besides, the girl has to pass matric exams (class 10 board exam) to avail the scheme. This will also emphasise on girls' education.
  • However, the educational qualification norm will not be applicable to the girls from the tea garden communities and adivasis as "the government has not been able to set up high schools in such places. 
  • All the conditions, including the educational and financial, are not applicable to the bridegroom.
  • The figure of Rs 30,000 for 10 grams of gold has been arrived at after taking its average price for the entire year and it will be revised during the presentation of every budget.
  • Gold will not be given in the physical form. After registration and verification, the government will deposit Rs 30,000 in the bride's bank account. Then she has to submit the receipt of the gold purchase. This amount cannot be used for other purposes
  • The scheme will commence from January 1, 2020.

Cabinet Approves Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for introducing the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in order to replace the Ordinance.
  • Economic developments after the enactment of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 2019 (Finance Act) along with reduction of rate of corporate income tax by many countries world over necessitated the provision of additional fiscal stimulus to attract investment, generate employment and boost the economy.
  • As these could have been achieved through amendment to the Income-tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) or to the Finance Act and the Parliament was not in session, it was done through promulgation of The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 (the Ordinance) in September, 2019. 

Union Cabinet Approves Proposals To Mitigate Telecom Sector's Financial Stress

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved proposals for mitigating financial stress being faced by telecom service sector. 
  • Under the approval, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will provide an option to telecom companies to defer payment of the spectrum auction installments that are due for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, either for one or both years. 
  • This comes soon after Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Jio said they will increase phone call and data tariffs.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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Cabinet Approves Establishment Of National Institute For Sowa-Rigpa In Leh

  •  The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of the National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa (NISR) in Leh as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of AYUSH at an estimated cost of Rs. 47.25 crore.
  • It also approved creation of the post of director in Level-14 to oversee implementation of the project from the construction stage itself.
  • The setting up of the National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa (NISR) would provide an impetus for the revival of Sowa-Rigpa in the Indian Sub-continent. The Institute will also provide opportunities for students of Sowa-Rigpa not only in India but also from other countries.
  • Sowa-Rigpa" commonly known as Tibetan system of medicine is one of the oldest, Living and well documented medical tradition of the world.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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Late Pak Writer Intizar Husain's 1987 Urdu Novel To Be Translated Into English

  •  Booker-prize shortlisted Pakistani writer Intizar Husain's 1987 Urdu novel, "Tazkirah" has been translated into English as "The Chronicle" by American writer Matt Reeck, publishers Penguin Random House announced.
  • Originally published by Lahore-based Sang-e-Meel publications, the book is set in the "terrifying times" of the rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan's former president, and chronicles the story of a family and its illustrious homes.
  • As Ikhlaq, the main character, struggles to build a home in Lahore, the reader is introduced to a darkly comedic and dramatic chain of events.

ART AND CULTURE

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World's First Muslim Yoga Camp Starts At Kotdwar

  •  The first Muslim Yoga Sadhna camp in the world began at Kotdwar. Kotdwar would be renamed Kanvanagari Kotdwar.
  • Rawat inaugurated the five-day Yoga camp for Muslims at the Kotdwar Vedic Ashram Gurukul Mahavidyalay on the occasion of the institution's golden jubilee. More than 500 Muslim women and men from across India and abroad are participating in the event.
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