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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

09 Dec 2019


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Unacceptable that India is Not in UNSC

  • German ambassador Walter Lindner said that India and Germany, which are working closely on multilateral issues, are both ideal candidates for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council (UNSC) that reflects the realities of today's world.
  • Following German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to India last month, the two countries are now focusing on implementing more than 20 existing MoUs and cooperation in key areas such as smart cities, green mobility and climate change.

Hong Kongers Mark Half Year of Protest Movement

  • Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong to mark Human Rights Day and press for greater democracy in the city in the biggest rally in about six months.
  • Protesters still clogged the main streets of the city hours after the masses began to leave the gathering point in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and wind their way to the Central district. The rally was the first Civil Human Rights Front-organised event in four months to be given the go-ahead by the government.

N. Korea Conducts Very Important Test

  • North Korea carried out a very important test at its Sohae satellite launch site, a rocket testing ground that US officials once said Pyongyang had promised to close.
  • The reported test comes as a year-end deadline North Korea had imposed nears, warning it could take a "new path" amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States.
  • South Korea's defence ministry said that South Korea and the United States are cooperating closely in monitoring activities at major North Korean sites including Tongchang-ri, the area where Sohae is located.


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Tesco Considers Sale of Thai and Malaysian Stores

  • The UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, is considering the sale of its stores in Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Tesco has about 2,000 stores in the two countries under the Tesco Lotus brand and employs some 60,000 people.
  • If a deal is agreed it would mean an almost complete retreat from international markets for the supermarket giant.
  • The company's only other overseas stores, other than Ireland, are in its loss-making European unit.

Bharti Telecom Seeks Approval for Rs. 4,900 cr FDI

  • Bharti Telecom Ltd has sought government approval for a Rs. 4,900 crore investment from Singapore-based Singtel and other foreign entities. Bharti Telecom is the promoter company of Bharti Airtel Ltd, the oldest private telecom operator in India.
  • Bharti Telecom applied for infusion of Rs. 4,900 crore in the company, which includes investments from Singtel and some other foreign investors. With this, Bharti Telecom will become a foreign entity, as majority stake will be held by overseas investors. DoT (department of telecommunications) is expected to approve this investment this month.
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal and his family currently own around 52% stake in Bharti Telecom. The fund infusion, if approved, will raise the foreign stake in Bharti Telecom beyond 50%.

RIL Eyes Tie-ups to Enter Diagnostics Biz

  • Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, now wants a share of your diagnostics budget, in a move that can potentially shake up the sector similar to the disruption in telecom market after the entry of Reliance Jio.
  • Reliance Life Sciences or RLS, the biotechnology subsidiary of RIL, plans to start pathology labs across India through partnerships with local entrepreneurs. RLS is controlled by the Ambani family, the promoter group of RIL.


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SpaceX Delivers Mice, Worms and Robot to Space Station

  • SpaceX made an early holiday delivery to the International Space Station (ISS), bringing muscle-bound "mighty mice," pest-killing worms and a smart, empathetic robot.
  • The station commander, Italy's Luca Parmitano, used a large robot arm to grab onto the Dragon three days after its launch from Cape Canaveral.
  • The two spacecraft soared 420 kilometers above the South Pacific at the time of capture.
  • It marks the third visit for this recycled Dragon. Flight controllers quickly secured the capsule to the orbiting lab, paving the way for the hatch to open and the unloading to begin. The capsule holds 3 tons (2,720 kilograms) of supplies, including 40 mice for a muscle and bone experiment.
  • There also are 120,000 roundworms, or nematodes of a beneficial variety that are part of an agricultural study aimed at controlling pests here on Earth.
  • The capsule also has a large, round robot head with artificial intelligence and the ability to sense astronauts' emotions. Named Cimon, it's an improved version of what flew up in 2018 to be tested as an astronaut's helper.


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Russia Doping Scandal

  • Russia could face an unprecedented four-year ban from major international sporting events over accusations that it manipulated laboratory doping data.
  • The decision will be made later at a meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Russia could be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. It could also be ruled out of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar.

Vidarbha Seeks Ranji Hat-trick

  • Vidarbha will look to become the only team other than Mumbai to win three consecutive Ranji Trophy titles when the 86th edition of India's premier domestic cricket competition gets underway.
  • Mumbai, then Bombay, won 15 titles in a row across three decades, starting in the 1950s before winning three consecutive titles in the 1970s. There have been a few states, including Delhi and Karnataka, who have won two in a row but never three. Vidarbha, who depend mostly on solid teamwork as they have no major, current international stars, won the last two titles and will be eyeing their third title.

Indian Junior Women's Team Wins Three-nation Hockey Tournament

  • The Indian junior women's team won the three-nation hockey tournament even though they lost to Australia 1-2 in the final game at Canberra. The Indian eves finished top on the point table, with seven points from four matches. They were ahead of the hosts, Australia on goal difference. New Zealand finished third, with only three points from their four matches.


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Assam Up in Arms against CAB

  • Protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which is expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday, have intensified in Assam, prompting chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to call for peace.
  • The bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there. It proposes to make people from Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Parsi faiths who entered India till December 31, 2014, eligible for citizenship.

Now, MP Temples to Get Qualified Priests

  • Being a pure vegetarian, with no criminal record, minimum class 8 pass and having knowledge of the ved puranas; these are some of the qualifications for a temple priest and head of a math (a religious institution) in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The department, which finalised the rules, had started formulating them in February 2019 to end disputes related to the appointment of head in a math and priest of government controlled temples of the state to save the sanatan dharma.

Terrorism Hindered Realising Full Potential of SAARC: Modi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that an atmosphere of threats and acts of terrorism have impeded the realisation of the full potential of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • In a letter sent to the SAARC secretariat, extending his greetings to the people of member countries on the occasion of the grouping's 35th Charter Day on Sunday, Modi recalled that the organisation was set up to build a connected and integrated South Asia, and aimed at promoting the development and progress of all countries in the region.


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Philippines Likely to Finalise BrahMos Deal by 2020

  • The Philippines is set to become the first country to buy the BrahMos cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia, with New Delhi and Manila focusing on price negotiations with the aim of concluding a deal in 2020.
  • India has been in talks with several countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, over the past few years to sell them land and sea-based versions of the supersonic cruise missile.
  • As far as the Philippines Army is concerned, the consensus on the BrahMos system is a done deal. Now, it's all about the price negotiations.

Rafale Jet Tail Numbers to Have Dhanoa's Initials

  • In recognition of Air Chief Marshal (retd) B. S. Dhanoa's unrelenting backing for the Rafale deal, the Indian Air Force has decided to put tail numbers in 30 Rafale jets with 'BS' initials.
  • Six Rafale trainer aircraft will carry RB series tail numbers which stand for Air Chief Marshal R. K. S. Bhadauria, the current Chief of Air Staff who was the lead negotiator for the mega deal.

Rafale Jet Tail Numbers to Have Dhanoa's Initials

  • In recognition of Air Chief Marshal (retd) B. S. Dhanoa's unrelenting backing for the Rafale deal, the Indian Air Force has decided to put tail numbers in 30 Rafale jets with 'BS' initials.
  • Six Rafale trainer aircraft will carry RB series tail numbers which stand for Air Chief Marshal R. K. S. Bhadauria, the current Chief of Air Staff who was the lead negotiator for the mega deal.


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Sanna Marin to Become Youngest PM

  • Sanna Marin, aged 34, will become the world's youngest Prime Minister as head of a women-led coalition government in Finland.
  • The Transportation Minister was picked by her Social Democratic party to take charge after PM Antti Rinne quit. She is expected to be sworn in.
  • She will lead a centre-left coalition of five parties all headed by women.
  • Mr. Rinne stepped down after losing the confidence of a coalition member over his handling of a postal strike.
  • When she takes office, Ms. Marin will be the world's youngest sitting Prime Minister. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern is 39, while Ukrainian Premier Oleksiy Honcharuk is 35.


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International Anti-Corruption Day

  • Anti-Corruption Day December 9, is observed as the International Anti-Corruption day since the year 2005.
  • The United Nations General Assembly on October 31, 2003, adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and designated December 9 International Anti-Corruption Day, in order to raise awareness about corruption and of the role of Convention in fighting and preventing it. This convention came into force in the year 2005, and since then the day is being observed annually.
  • Theme of the day is, 'united against corruption.' The global campaign #UnitedAgainstCorruption focuses on corruption as one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


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Roy Krishna Wins ISL Hero of the Month Award

  • Fijian international footballer Roy Krishna was awarded the ISL Hero of the Month for November 2019 after some scintillating performances for his team ATK. The striker saw off stiff competition from the likes of Jamshedpur FC's Sergio Castel, Odisha FC's Aridane Santana, FC Goa's Mourtada Fall and Bengaluru FC custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Miss Universe 2019 Winner is Zozibini Tunzi

  • South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi is the Miss Universe 2019. Zozibini and Miss Universe Puerto Rico Madison Anderson were the top two contestants for the Miss Universe title. Miss Universe Mexico is the second-runner up. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray crowned Zozibini Tunzi at the event held in Atlanta.
  • The 2019 Miss Universe pageant was held in Atlanta, the capital of the US state of Georgia. The pageant brought 90 women together to see who will bring home the title. Contestants competed in swimsuit, evening gown and on-stage question rounds.


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Malaysia: First Polio Case Since 1992

  • A three-month-old Malaysian infant was diagnosed with polio, the first case reported in the country in nearly three decades. The baby boy from Tuaran in Malaysia's Sabah state on Borneo Island tested positive for polio after being admitted to hospital with a fever and muscle weakness.
  • Malaysia was declared polio-free in 2000, after reporting its last known case of the disease in 1992. Its resurgence comes just months after the Philippines, north of Borneo, reported its first cases of polio since 1993 in September. Noor Hisham said that tests showed the child was infected with a polio strain that shared genetic links with the virus detected in Philippine.

No PhD Students in ISEC for Two Years

  • For two consecutive academic years (2018–19 and 2019–20), there have been no PhD scholars admitted to ISEC — which is funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research and the government of Karnataka.
  • The classrooms and the hostels are deserted. In 2017–18, only one student was admitted, a marked drop when compared with the year before that when the PhD student intake was 30.
  • The faculty members and students said this was because the institute entered into a memorandum of understanding with the University of Mysore to grant degrees in 2016–17, which they had opposed claiming it snatched the autonomy of the institute.

Saudi Arabia Ends Gender Segregation in Restaurants

  • Saudi Arabia will no longer require restaurants to have separate entrances segregated by sex.
  • Previously, it was mandatory to have one entrance for families and women, and another for men on their own.
  • The restrictions had already been quietly eased in practice, with many restaurants, cafes and other meeting places no longer enforcing segregation.
  • A series of sweeping social reforms in Saudi Arabia has been accompanied by an intensified crackdown on dissent.
  • Earlier in 2019, a royal decree allowed Saudi women to travel abroad without a male guardian's permission, and in 2018 the Gulf kingdom ended a decades-long ban on female drivers.
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