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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

01 Dec 2019

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Iraqis Keep up Protests Despite PM's Vow to Quit

  •  Iraqis kept up anti-government protests, unsatisfied with the Prime Minister's vow to resign and insisting on the overhaul of a system that they say is corrupt and beholden to foreign powers.
  • Protesters have hit the streets since early October in the largest grassroots movement Iraq has seen in decades, sparked by fury at poor public services, lack of jobs and endemic government graft.
  • The decentralised protests were met with violence from security forces and armed groups, leaving more than 420 people dead and 15,000 wounded, according to a tally compiled from medics and an Iraqi rights commission.

Hong Kong Elders Join Youths, Vow to Continue Pro-democracy Protests

  •  Hundreds of activists joined young Hong Kong protesters for a unity rally, vowing that their months' long movement will not fade away until there is greater democracy in the Chinese territory.
  • The rally at a park downtown was among several peaceful gatherings by protesters this week to keep up pressure on the government amid a lull in violence following a local election victory by the pro-democracy bloc and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause.
  • The protesters are angry over creeping Chinese interference in Hong Kong that they say is eroding their rights promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. 

Climate Protesters Storm German Coal Mines

  •  Several major coal mines in eastern Germany were hit by protests as activists criticized the German government's climate change plans and urged an immediate coal phase-out.
  • As per reports, more than 1,000 people took part in the protests, which targeted the Jänschwalde and Welzow-Süd mines in the state of Brandenburg, as well as the United Schleenhain mine in the state of Saxony.
  • Activists blocked train tracks at some sites, seeking to disrupt the flow of coal to power plants.
  • The energy plant at the Jänschwalde mine is considered one of the most climate-polluting in Europe — and was recently ordered by a court to scale back most operations due to a lack of environmental impact assessments.

ENVIRONMENT

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Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Values Damaged by Climate Change

  • Australia conceded in an official report that the Great Barrier Reef's unique values as a world heritage site have been adversely affected by climate change.
  • In the report to UNICCO's world heritage committee, the Queensland and federal governments said that the reef is an icon under pressure with a deteriorating long-term outlook.
  • The committee will review the status of the Great Barrier Reef at its June 2020 meeting in China, with the potential to place the reef on it's in danger list.
  • As part of the process, the committee asked Australia to submit a comprehensive state of conservation report for the reef – the first since 2015. 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

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12 Global Companies Want to Shift Base from China to India

  •  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 12 global companies are interested to shift their base from China to India, thanks to the corporate tax cut.
  • The government in September 2019 reduced the corporate tax rate by almost 10 percentage points in a bid to give a boost to sagging economy. The base corporate tax for existing companies has been reduced to 22 per cent from 30 per cent, and for new manufacturing firms incorporated after October 1, 2019, and starting operation before March 31, 2023, it was slashed to 15 per cent from 25 per cent.

Reliance Jio likely to Bag Reliance Infra's Mobile Tower, Optical Fibre

  •  Reliance Jio emerged as the highest bidder for mobile tower and optical fibre assets of Reliance Infratel by placing bids of around Rs. 3,600 crore. Bharti Airtel placed a bid of around Rs. 1,800 crore for the same.
  • Reliance Infratel's tower and fibre is likely to go to Reliance Jio as its bid of Rs. 3,600 crore is the highest and the company has committed to make the payment in 60 days. 
  • As per reports, the process of finalising the bids will take a minimum of one-two weeks as committee of creditors (CoC) will meet all the bidders and negotiate with them and then vote on it.
  • Bharti Airtel has also made conditional bid for spectrum of Reliance Communications (RCom).
  • The conditions placed by Bharti Airtel will make it difficult for the resolution professional (RP) to close the process by January 10 as directed by the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • Reliance Jio did not bid for RCom spectrum.

RBL Bank to Raise Rs. 826 cr. via Preferential Allotment

  •  Private sector lender RBL Bank is raising Rs. 825.79 crore in equity capital from five investors by issuing shares through preferential allotment. The investors are Bajaj Finance, East Bridge Capital Master Fund I, FEG Mauritius FPI, Ward Ferry Management-controlled hedge fund WF Asian Reconnaissance Fund, and Asia-focused stock hedge fund lshana Capital.
  • The bank's board agreed to allot 24.24 million shares at Rs. 340.7 a piece on a private-placement basis in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018.

SPORTS

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Third Edition of Khelo India Youth Games to Begin from Jan. 10

  •  The third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games would begin from January 10 next year.
  • The launch ceremony held on Saturday marked the unveiling of the composite logo of the 3rd edition of the Games, the players' jersey, the games' mascots and the theme song at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium.
  • The event was attended by Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge), Government of India, Kiren Rijiju. Hima Das, Swapna Burman and Lovlina Borgohain.
  • Over 10,000 participants from across the county would compete in 451 medal events and the coveted purse in 20 sport disciplines, two more than last year.
  • The two new disciplines are cycling and lawn bowls.

Afghanistan U-19 Team Stuns India in Youth ODI

  •  Afghanistan's U-19 team produced a disciplined effort to script a stunning two-wicket victory over India in a low-scoring fifth Youth ODI.
  • The five-match series, though, ended 3-2 in favour of host India.
  • Batting first after winning the toss, India was bowled out for 157 in 49.3 overs at the Ekana Cricket Stadium B ground.
  • In reply, Afghanistan managed to reach the target of 158 in 47.3 overs, with Asif Musazai top-scoring with 42 off 77 balls.

BCCI AGM to Consider Amendments and Policy Matters

  •  The outcome of the 88th Annual General Meeting of the BCCI at the Cricket Centre could substantially diminish the new BCCI Constitution written by the now defunct Committee of Administrators (CoA) and accepted by the Supreme Court in August 2018.
  • While issuing notice for the AGM, the BCCI secretary Jay Shah proposed amendments to six key clauses of the new BCCI Constitution.
  • The amendments — with explanatory notes given for the benefit of 38 members in the agenda notice — are likely to be adopted, but to make them legal and effective, the BCCI would have to place them before the Supreme Court for approval.
  • The amendments seek to alter a touchy issue related to the cooling-off period for the office-bearers, namely the president and secretary.
  • The BCCI has proposed to its members that the cooling-off period should come into effect after two consecutive term of three years each only in the BCCI and should not take into account their tenure as office-bearers in the State association.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Uddhav Wins Trust Vote

  •  The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra won the trust vote in the state Assembly amid a ruckus and walkout by the opposition BJP. Of the 288 members in the Assembly, 169 members voted in favour of the government while four abstained. The 105 BJP MLAs walked out during voting with former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis accusing the government of violating rules while convening the Assembly session.
  • Two MLAs from the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), and one legislator each from the CPI-M and the MNS abstained. Pro Tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil carried out a headcount. In his speech shortly before the walkout, Fadnavis said the session was not being held as per the constitutional norms. He hit out at the government for replacing Kalidas Kolambkar with Dilip Walse Patil as Pro Tem Speaker. 
  • Never in the history of India has Pro Tem Speaker ever been changed. Why was this done? Never in the history of the Maharashtra Assembly was a trust vote conducted without the Speaker getting elected first. 

Northeastern States to be Shielded from Citizenship Law Impact

  •  Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured civil society and political representatives from the northeastern States that tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura, and States protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system — Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland — would be shielded from the impact of the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019.
  • The exemption will mean that undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who acquire Indian citizenship under the new law, will not be allowed to settle in these areas and States, but can do so in other parts of the country. Civil society groups and political representatives from the region met Mr. Shah in Delhi as part of a consultative process on the CAB, which is expected to be introduced in the ongoing Parliament session. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Director, Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar were also part of the consultative process.

State Orders Idol Wing Special Officer to Hand over All Records

  •  The Tamil Nadu government issued an order asking A.G. Ponn Manickavel, Special Officer, Idol Wing CID and retired Inspector General of Police(IG) to hand over all records/ details pertaining to cases and work done by him and by the special investigation team, to the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the special wing.
  • On the date of his retirement last year, the Madras High Court reappointed Mr. Manickavel, former Inspector General(IG) of Police, as a special officer for a period of one year to conduct a probe after being impressed with his work during his tenure as IG. His appointment was challenged by the State government in the Supreme Court. The apex court also confirmed his appointment as special officer.
  • The State government has moved Supreme Court opposing the reappointment of Mr. Manickavel since his one-year extension term ends Saturday. The government also asked the Court to order the special officer to hand over all records. It is learnt that the Supreme Court has adjourned the case to December 2.

DEFENCE

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BSF Working on Solutions to Combat Drones Along Indo-Pak Border

  •  Border Security Force (BSF) is working on technical solutions to combat the threat of rogue drones along the India-Pakistan International Border.
  • BSF Director General V K Johri also said that the force has expanded its strategic capabilities by using new technology and intelligence to guard the over 6,386 km long borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Addressing the 55th Raising Day event of the force at a BSF camp, the DG said that the Line of Control (Loc) in Kashmir and the International Border in Punjab have become operationally sensitive in recent times.

PERSONS IN NEWS

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Ajit Pawar Back in Key Role in NCP

  •  Ajit Pawar seems to be gradually taking over his old position as the 'number two' in the NCP, after party chief Sharad Pawar. After his failed rebellion and 'return', he is essentially back to his old role — holding important meetings and addressing legislators. He is among the key leaders who devised the strategy for the floor test, and the upcoming Speaker's election.

Keiko Fujimori Walks Free from Jail

  •  Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori walked free from prison after being jailed for more than a year pending a trial over allegations she accepted illegal campaign contributions from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.
  • Fujimori, leader of the powerful right-wing Popular Force party, left prison in the Chorrillos district of capital city Lima.
  • The country's Constitutional Tribunal, Peru's top court, ordered her release after she was handed an 18-month pre-trial sentence in October last year.
  • Fujimori is the daughter of Peru's ex-President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights crimes and graft.

DAYS AND EVENTS

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World AIDS Day

  •  The commemoration of World AIDS Day, which takes place on 1st December every year, is an important opportunity to recognise the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.
  • Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind. Communities include peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by HIV, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, women and young people, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists.
  • World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy.
  • The theme for the 2019 observance is "Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community".
  • World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988. Each year, organisations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ending the HIV epidemic: A Plan for America.

Women's Fest on North Delhi's Ajmal Khan Road

  •  In an effort to boost women's safety at night and encourage them to reclaim public spaces, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation will host its first all-night "woman-centric" street festival on the recently pedestrianised Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh market next week.
  • The shopping, dance and food festival will be held over two nights on December 5 and 6 from 7 to 11 pm.
  • According to experts, such events allow women to reclaim public spaces and also normalises the perspective that it is not just men who can dominate the city's nightscape.
  • Notably, the event will mainly be hosted by and for women. "Various non-governmenta organisations that work for women's rights — UN Women, Jagori, Safetipin, etc. — have helped us put together programmes for the evenings. These include zumba, dance and music performances, movie screenings, street plays, etc.

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

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E-pharmacies Cannot Stock Meds

  •  According to revised draft regulations by the Union Health Ministry, online medical stores, or e-pharmacies, will not be allowed to stock medicines and will have to tie up with offline retail pharmacies to deliver drugs to consumers.
  • The original draft regulations for online medicine retailers have been tweaked by the ministry after stiff opposition from so-called brick-and-mortar retailers. The revised draft also has a provision to allow retail pharmacists to deliver medicines at a customer's doorstep.
  • The initial draft, released August last year, had allowed online sale of medicines, barring narcotics, psychotropic drugs and tranquillizers, by a registered e-pharmacy.
  • The changes were recently made in the draft regulation, after public consultation held in September this year, to address concerns of retail pharmacists over the impact of online pharmacies on their businesses.
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