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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

09 Jan 2020


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Ukrainian Boeing Plane Crashes In Iran

  •   Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 plane crashed after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.
  • Victims from seven countries: The victims include 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals, according to Ukraine's Foreign Minister.
  • Minutes after takeoff: The airline also confirmed that the plane disappeared from radars a few minutes after its departure from the Iranian capital.

Turkey, Russia Launch Turkstream Pipeline Carrying Gas To Europe

  •  The presidents of Turkey and Russia formally launched the TurkStream pipeline which will carry Russian natural gas to southern Europe through Turkey, part of Moscow's efforts to reduce shipments via Ukraine. 
  • The pipeline project, stretching 930 km (580 miles) across the Black Sea, reinforces strong energy ties between Moscow and Ankara, which have also increased defense cooperation after Turkey bought advanced Russian missile defenses last year.
  • The pipeline was a sign of interaction and cooperation for the benefit of our people and the people of all Europe, the whole world.

World's Most Powerful Passports In 2020

  •  Indian passport, ranked 84th in the world's most powerful passport index 2020, can get you visa-free entry to 58 destinations worldwide.
  •  Based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Henley & Partners has come out with a passport index where countries are ranked according to the number of destinations their passport holder can access without a prior visa.
  • While Japan continues to top the list of the world's most powerful passport as it fetches visa-free access to 191 countries, India's rank has dropped from 82nd spot in 2019 to 84th in 2020.
  • World's top 10 most powerful passports:
            1) Japan: Visa-free entry to 191 countries
            2) Singapore: 190 countries
            3) Germany, South Korea: 189
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2019 7th warmest year recorded in country since 1901: IMD

  •  2019 was recorded as the seventh warmest year since 1901, but the heating was substantially lower than the highest warming observed in 2016.
  • In its report for 2019, the IMD said 1,562 people died due to extreme weather events -avalanches floods, heat wave and thunderstorms. The figure is based on media reports and government agencies.
  • Bihar was the most adversely affected state during the year, which reported about 650 lives due to heavy rain and floods, heat wave, lightning, thunderstorm and hailstorm.
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SBI Announces 'Residential Builder Finance With Buyer Guarantee' Scheme

  •  Country's largest public sector bank, State Bank of India has announced a 'residential builder finance with buyer guarantee' (RBBG) scheme. It aims at giving a push to residential sales and improve homebuyers' confidence
  • Under this scheme, the SBI will issue a guarantee for completion of select residential projects to customers who have availed home loans from it. The scheme will focus on affordable housing projects priced up to 2.50 crore rupees in 10 cities initially. SBI Chairman said that this will be a win-win situation for homebuyers, builders and the bank. Under RBBG, the guarantee would be given by the bank till the project gets the occupation certificate (OC)
  • The guarantee will be available for RERA registered projects and a project will be considered stuck after it crosses the RERA deadline.    

Govt. Approves capital grant to north east gas grid project

 As part of government's focus on India's northeast, the Union government will provide ₹5,559 crore towards the construction of the North East Gas Grid project across the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the marquee project of Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited "with viability Gap Funding/ Capital Grant at 60% of the estimated cost of ₹9,265 crore (Including interest during construction)."
Currently, the country's northeast region is in turmoil because of protests against the government's contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Cabinet Approves 'In Principle' Strategic Disinvestment Of Equity Shareholding Of 4 PSUs In Neelachal Ispat Nigam

 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has given 'in principle' approval for strategic disinvestment of equity shareholding of Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) (49.78%), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) (10.10%), MECON (0.68%) and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) (0.68%) and two Odisha State Government PSUs namely; Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (IPICOL) (12.00%) and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) (20.47%) in Neelachal Ispat Nigam (NINL) to a strategic buyer, identified through a two-stage auction procedure.
NINL is a Joint Venture company, in which four CPSEs namely MMTC, NMDC, BHEL and MECON and 2 State PSUs of Odisha Government, namely IPICOL and OMC are shareholders.
The proposed strategic disinvestment of NINL would unlock resources to be used to finance the social sector/developmental programmes of the Government benefiting the public.

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ISRO To Launch IDRSS Satellites For Seamless Crew Communication

  •  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it aims to launch its own satellite pair for space communication purposes, called Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS). 
  • IDRSS is already being worked on, and will be pivotal in maintaining communication with the astronaut crew and ground mission control at any given phase, during manned space missions. 
  • The two satellites, which will be deployed in phases, are already being worked on by ISRO. 
  • The second satellite will be launched in 2021, before the manned mission is embarked upon in 2022. 
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Ladakh Lifts 7th National Ice Hockey Championship Women Trophy

  •  Ladakh lifted the 7th National Ice Hockey Championship Women trophy. The match was held at the Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink .
  • The tournament was organised by the Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) in association with the Ladakh winter sports club. Four women teams representing Chandigarh, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Ladakh participated in the tournament.
  • The chief guest at the event, Ladakh Buddhist Association President PT Kunzang, distributed the trophies and certificates to the players.
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Eight North-Eastern States To Participate In The Madhavpur Mela Of Gujarat In April

  •  The eight States of the Northern Eastern Region will participate in a big way during the Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat due to be held in the first week of April this year.
  • The annual fair is held at Madhavpur Ghed in Porbandar district and the Mela this year will commence on 2nd April, a day after the Ram Navami festival. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh chaired a high level meeting with senior officials of the Gujarat Government to review preparations for the mega festival.
  • Secretary, North Eastern Council (NEC), Shri Moses Chalai and senior officers of NEC, besides Resident Commissioners/representatives of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur also participated. The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat shares it's connect to the Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Mishmi Tribe traces its ancestry to the legendary King Bhishmak and through him to his daughter Rukmini and Lord Krishna. The festival celebrates the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna. Bhismak nagar, located near Roing in the lower Dibang Valley district, also finds mention in Kalika Purana.
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Army Gets Working On Government Owned Contractor Operated Model To Improve Efficiency

  •  The Army has initiated the process of identifying potential industry partners to implement the Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) model for its base workshops and ordnance depots intended to improve operational efficiency.
  • A Request For Information (RFI) was issued to shortlist service providers with experience in "warehousing, logistics and supply chain management" for Central Ordnance Depot (COD), Kanpur. 
  • Separately, the Army's Master General of Ordnance (MGO) began evaluating the GOCO model for Army Base Workshops (ABWs) to drive "higher operational efficiencies" and PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd. (PwC) hired as a consultant to run this engagement is scheduled to hold conferences and consultations with the industry.
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Hudco Appoints M Nagaraj As Chairman, Managing Director

  •  State-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco),  has appointed, M Nagaraj,the company's Chairman and Managing Director.
  • Nagaraj is also Director (Corporate Planning) of the company.
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'Advantage Maharashtra Expo 2020' To Be Inaugurated Today

  •  Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will inaugurate Advantage Maharashtra expo 2020 in Aurangabad.
  • The four-day mega industrial exhibition has been organised by the Marathwada Association Zf Small Scale Industries and Agriculture (MASSIA).
  • Growth of Marathwada industries in technology and innovation and the products produced and exported from the region will be showcased in this exhibition.
  • Convener of the expo Sunil Kirdak informed that over 450 exhibitors from within the state as well as outside the state are participating in this exhibition. He added that conferences and seminars will also be held during the event.

World Day Of War Orphans Day

  •  The World Day of War Orphans was celebrated on 6 January 2020. The day is observed every year. The day enables the global Communities to recognize the plight of a, particularly vulnerable group. 
  • Aim: The day aims to address the war orphans as it has become a growing worldwide humanitarian and social crisis. The day ensures to voice out the predicament of war orphans. It highlights that children growing up in orphanage experience emotional, social and physical handicaps. 
  • War orphans: The World Day of War Orphans was initiated by the French organization, SOS Enfants en Detresses. 
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Jasbinder Bilan Wins 2019 Costa Children's Award

  •  Jasbinder Bilan has won the UK based Costa Children's Award 2019 . She has won the award for her debut novel 'Asha and the Spirit Bird'. 
  • She will receive 5,000 pounds as prize money associated with the award. Jasbinder's novel "Asha and the Spirit Bird" was shortlisted from 144 other entries.
  • The Costa Children's Award is awarded annually in 5 categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book.
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Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center

  •  Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center (VSCIC) will be set up soon in Gujarat. The announcement for the same was made by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani while speaking during the felicitation ceremony of Children's Innovation Festival (CIF) in Gandhinagar.
  • The Gujarat CM felicitated the top 30 innovation ideas by the school teams during the Children's Innovation Festival . The Gujarat University also exchanged a letter of intent with the UNICEF on the occasion. 

Institutions At Gujarat Ayurved University To Get Status Of Institution Of National Importance

  •  The Cabinet approved conferring the status of Institution of National Importance to a cluster of Ayurvedic institutions at Gujarat Ayurved University campus in Jamnagar.
  • Considering the rapidly growing role of AYUSH Systems in addressing the Public Health challenges of India, conferring the status of National Importance will boost the role and importance of Ayurveda in Public Health

Two Indian-Origin Women Appointed Judges In New York City

  •   Two Indian-origin women have been appointed as judges to the criminal and civil courts by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  •     Ambekar was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in May 2018 and has been serving in Criminal Court.
  •     Prior to her appointment, she served with the New York City Council as a Senior Legislative Attorney and Counsel to the Committee on Public Safety.
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First-Ever Selfie Museum Opens In Dubai

  •  The Selfie Kingdom (TSK), Dubai's first ever dedicated selfie museum, has opened its doors for photo/selfie enthusiasts of all ages. Located Close to the Expo 2020 site, TSK is an interactive space that aims to inspire creativity, art, design and promote digital content.
  • The hub currently features 15 pop-up rooms with vibrant and unique backdrops/props and proper lighting offering guests a photo-worthy experience. The rooms would be remodelled every few months to provide a fresh immersive photo-friendly set up. In addition, it will feature interesting exhibits/ installations from various artists, designers and innovators for visitors to enjoy.
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Amit Shah Releases A Book 'Karmayoddha Granth' On The Life Of Pm Narendra Modi

  •  Union Home Minister Amit Shah released the book 'Karmyodha Granth', written on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on January 07, 2020. 
  •  Apart from that, Amit Shah also informed about the other social welfare works done by PM Modi.

India To Be Guest Of Honour At Paris Book Fair

  • This will be the third time that India would be the guest country at the fair after 2002 and 2007.
  •  India will be the guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair 2020 to be held in March this year.
  • As part of Indian participation, the fair will see representation by 30 Indian authors from various linguistic regions of the country, alongside 15 Indian publishers. It will explore themes like the ''India of tomorrow'', ''writing and rewriting India''s history'', among others.
  • Around 20 new Indian titles and 15 books will be translated into French and get into reprint, respectively.
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Railways To Test Facial Recognition Tech At Bengaluru, Manmad Stations

  •  Facial recognition technology backed by artificial intelligence has been installed at Bengaluru, Manmad and Bhusawal stations as test cases to identify and nab criminals.
  • The objective of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is to link the facial recognition system with existing databases such as the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and systems to identify criminals who may be roaming the railway stations. The real-time face recognition software will alert the RPF command centre of any known offenders.

IRCTC To Run Two Bharat Darshan Trains From Tirunelveli

  •  Two Bharat Darshan Special tourist trains from Tirunelveli covering Jyotirlinga temples and Ramayana related places across the country would be operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC.
  • The 13-day Mahashivratri Nava Jyotirlinga Special Express will leave Tirunelveli on February 19. 
  • The 14-day Ramayana Yatra Special Express will leave from on March 5, IRCTC South Zone South Zone Joint General Manager P Sam Joseph told reporters.

Government Panel Approves Rolling Out Of 150 Private Trains

  •  A high-powered panel set up by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has approved the rolling out of 150 private trains on 100 routes, including Mumbai-Delhi and Howrah-Delhi sectors. 
  • According to the plan, private operators will be free to fix the fare, decide on halts and procure coaches and engines from any source as long as they comply with the Railways' standards. The private players will have to deploy all the trains within five years of award of contract, and the time taken by a train to complete a journey will be comparable with the fastest train operated by the Indian Railways on that route. 
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Gujarat: 31st International Kite Festival Launched In Ahmedabad

  •  In Gujarat, the 31st International Kite Festival has been launched at Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad  morning. It will continue till 14th January- Makarsankranti- the festival of Kites in different parts of the state. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has inaugurated the colourful kite festival, which is also attracting large number of foreign tourists in the state.
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