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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Jan 2020


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Meghan and Harry Give Up on Royal Life

  •  Prince Harry and his wife Meghan stunned the British monarchy by quitting as front-line members — reportedly without first consulting Queen Elizabeth II.
  • In a shock announcement, the couple said that they would spend time in North America and rip up long-established relations with the press.
  • The surprise news follows a turbulent year for the couple, who have openly said they have struggled in the spotlight and grown apart from Harry's brother Prince William. They have also reacted badly to negative news coverage.

British Lawmakers Approve Brexit Deal

  •  Britain's parliament finally approved Brexit, allowing it to become the first country to leave the European Union by the end of this month, ending years of arguments that toppled two governments and divided a nation.
  • The House of Commons erupted in cheers after MPs ratified Prime Minister Boris Johnson's divorce deal with Brussels 330 votes to 231, drawing a line under an extraordinary era of political drama and chaos.
  • For much of the time since the 2016 Brexit referendum, lawmakers have been at each others' throats over how, when or even if Britain should leave its closest trading partners after nearly 50 years. Some viewed Brexit with horror, fearing that it stripped them of their European identities and turned Britain into an insular, less important nation.
  • Others embraced it with fervour, viewing it as a chance to "take back control" from officials in Brussels and see Britain regain some of its past might.
  • Businesses and governments in Europe, puzzled by Britain's struggles, hoped that Brexit could still somehow be undone.

House Approves Measure to restrain Trump's Actions on Iran

  •  Reigniting a debate over who has the power to declare war, the Democratic-controlled House approved a resolution asserting that President Donald Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran.
  • The war powers resolution is not binding on the President and would not require his signature. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nonetheless insisted it "has real teeth" because "it is a statement of the Congress of the United States."
  • The measure will "protect American lives and values" by limiting Trump's military actions, Pelosi said. "The administration must de-escalate and must prevent further violence.?
  • The White House called the resolution "ridiculous" and "completely misguided."
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Chinese PADDLEFISH is Extinct

  •  According to the country's fisheries experts native to China's Yangtze River, the Chinese paddlefish, one of the largest freshwater fish species which had survived for millions of years, has been declared extinct, but haven't been spotted since 2003.
  • The fish could grow up to 7 metres in length and weigh as much as 450 kg and is known for its silver-coloured body and long snout.

Australia Bushfire Crisis: 24 Killed, Over 6 Mn Hectares Of Land Burned

  •  Australia's raging bushfire crisis, one of the worst in its history, has killed 24 people, burned over six million hectares of land, reduced to ashes hundreds of homes and pushed many species towards extinction. Authorities on March  issued fresh warnings and evacuation orders in the country's southeast as hot and windy conditions threatened to regenerate huge bushfires.
  • Around 23 fires were still burning in Victoria, according the state's emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp.
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India Set for Slow Recovery Next Year: World Bank

  •  As per the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects, after growing at 5% in 2019-20, the slowest pace in a decade, India's GDP growth will start increasing from the next fiscal year, downgrading its previous estimate for the fiscal year from 5.4%.
  • However, the recovery is likely to be slow and GDP growth will be just above 6% until 2022-23. This means that annual economic growth for the next three years will be less than what it has been between 2013-14 and 2018-19.
  • The latest projections involve a significant downgrade from the June 2019 forecasts, which expected the Indian economy to grow at 7.5% or more in the next three years.

India Set for Slow Recovery Next Year: World Bank

  •  As per the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects, after growing at 5% in 2019-20, the slowest pace in a decade, India's GDP growth will start increasing from the next fiscal year, downgrading its previous estimate for the fiscal year from 5.4%.
  • However, the recovery is likely to be slow and GDP growth will be just above 6% until 2022-23. This means that annual economic growth for the next three years will be less than what it has been between 2013-14 and 2018-19.
  • The latest projections involve a significant downgrade from the June 2019 forecasts, which expected the Indian economy to grow at 7.5% or more in the next three years.

Tax Dept Eases Norms for Filing Tax Forms 1 and 4

  •  The government lifted the bar on taxpayers having joint property ownership from filing income tax return in forms 1 and 4 meant for people with income up to Rs. 50 lakh. An official statement from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the eligibility norms for filing tax returns in forms 1 (called Sahaj) and form 4 (called Sugam) have been eased. The move comes after taxpayers expressed concerns about the conditions regarding use of these forms that were notified on January 3,2020. The earlier notification had said a person who owns a property in joint ownership was not eligible to file tax returns in these two forms.
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Titanic Wave Of Star-Forming Gases Found In Milky Way

  •  Astronomers have discovered a titanic wave of star-forming gases practically right under our noses in the Milky Way.
  • Harvard University scientists reported Tuesday that this massive structure has been hiding out in the Milky Way galaxy's spiral arm closest to Earth.
  • The researchers were building a 3-D map of our galaxy's interstellar matter, using a star census gathered by Europe's Gaia spacecraft when they spotted the wave-shaped structure.
  • It's an astounding 50 quadrillion miles (85 quadrillion kilometres) long and it's home to tens of thousands of baby stars, with the potential for countless more stellar births, according to the paper published in the journal Nature.
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Fouaad Mirza Becomes 1st Indian Equestrian To Qualify For Tokyo Olympics

  •  Double Asian Games medallist equestrian Fouaad Mirza on 7 January, 2020 officially became the first Indian to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, ending a wait spanning two decades.
  • As per the latest rankings issued by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), which include all results between January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, Mirza's Tokyo Games qualification has been confirmed.
  • The 27-year-old Mirza, who had won a silver in individual eventing in the 2018 Asian Games, had scored 34 points on his first horse Fernhill Facetime and 30 with his second horse Touchingwood.
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Arunachal Assembly Adopts New Logo

  •  The Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly adopted a new logo, reflecting the distinct identity and culture of the state.
  • Speaker Pasang Dorjee Sona had circulated pictures of the new logo among the members of the House.
  • The new logo consists of the national emblem and foxtail orchid (Rhynchostylis Retusa), the state flower.
  • The symbol of national emblem signifies the federal system of the Indian Constitution while the foxtail orchid represents the state, its people and culture as a whole, while the blue colour denotes the autonomy of the assembly secretariat.

World's Highest Rail Bridge To Connect Kashmir To Rest Of India By 2021

  •  Soon, Kashmir to be connected by Indian Railways to the rest of India! By December 2021, Kashmir will be connected to the rest of the country through the Indian Railways network as the government has set a new deadline for completion of the world's highest railway bridge – Chenab bridge.
  • The Chenab railway bridge will be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
  • According to Konkan Railways, it is the most challenging project in the post-independent history of the national transporter. 

Envoys Begin two-day J&K Tour

  •  A group of 15 envoys and diplomats interacted with security officials, politicians and civil society representatives in Srinagar as part of the first such visit organised by the government since Jammu & Kashmir's special status was revoked in August 2019, restrictions on movement and communication imposed, and many political leaders detained.
  • The group, which is making a two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir to assess the ground situation, includes US ambassador Kenneth Juster, South Korean envoy Shin Bong-kil and Norwegian envoy Hans Jacob Frydenlund. The diplomats had frank interactions during their meetings.
  • The diplomats went to 15 Corps headquarters, where security officials and army commanders briefed them on the situation in Kashmir after Article 370 of the Constitution was nullified last August, and the challenges in maintaining security, including the threat of terrorism and the situation along the Line of Control (LoC).
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Visakhapatnam Gearing Up To Host MILAN 2020

  •  After successfully hosting the International Fleet Review (IFR) in Feb 2016, Visakhapatnam is gearing up to host another International Naval event 'MILAN' in March 2020.
  • With about two months to the mega event, the preparations were reviewed at the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) by Vice Admiral S N Ghormade, Chief of Staff on January 7,2020.
  • The review meeting saw an overwhelming and positive response from the civil administrators and stakeholder organizations.
  • A detailed presentation to apprise the attendees of the planned activities of MILAN was conducted.
  • Vice Admiral S N Ghormade has solicited wholehearted support and cooperation from the City Administration, Civic Bodies, Police Department and PSUs in co-hosting the multinational Naval event as was done during IFR in 2016.

Indian Navy deploys warship in Gulf following spiralling tension between US & Iran

  •  The Indian Navy has deployed warships in the Gulf region to ensure security of India's sea-borne trade and effectively respond to any emergent situation in the wake of fast escalating tension between the US and Iran.
  • Iran launched missile strikes against two American military bases in Iraq on 8 January 2020, in retaliation to the killing of its top commander General Qassem Soleimani by the US in a drone strike.
  • The Indian Navy said warships and aircraft were deployed to establish presence, provide a sense of reassurance to the Indian merchant men, monitor the ongoing situation and respond to any emergent crises.
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Rajya Sabha MP Chandra Pal Singh New Chairman Of KRIBHCO

  •  Agri-cooperative leader and Rajya Sabha MP Chandra Pal Singh has been unanimously elected as Chairman of Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (KRIBHCO).
  • According to KRIBHCO,  Besides, V Sudhakar Chowdary, a versatile farmer's leader, he was unanimously elected as Vice Chairman of the cooperative society.
  • A decision in this regard was taken at a special general board meeting called to elect nine directors. Eight directors were elected unanimously but there was a fight for the post of ninth director which was won by Gujarat''s Maganlal Dhanjibhai Vadaviya.

Austria's Kurz Sworn In As Chancellor

  •  Conservative Sebastian Kurz was sworn in 7 January 2020, as Austria's chancellor, completing a comeback from the collapse of his previous government as the leader of a new and very different coalition, with the Greens.
  • Kurz, 33, returned to the top job after a seven-month absence. The cabinet sworn in by President Alexander Van der Bellen is Austria's first with a female majority and marks the first time that the environmentalist Greens have entered the country's national government.

Former PM Zoran Milanovic Wins Croatia Presidential Polls

  •  Former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, who has pledged to make Croatia a tolerant country turning the page on its wartime past, has won presidential runoff, defeating the incumbent conservative leader.
  • Milanovic, the Social Democrat candidate, took 52.7 percent of the vote, while President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who had tried to unite a fractured right wing, garnered 47.3 percent, according to results based on a vote count at nearly all polling stations released by the electoral commission. The turnout was about 55 percent.
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World Laughter Day

  •  World Laughter Day takes place on the first Sunday of May of every year. The first celebration was on January 10, 1998, in Mumbai, India, and was arranged by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. Positive and powerful emotion that has all the ingredients required for individuals to change themselves and to change the world in a peaceful and positive way.
  • The day is now celebrated worldwide.
  • World Laughter Day was created in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide 
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Pak varsity sets up Research Chair to honour Indian-American Nobel winner

  •  Indian-American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana, who won the 1968 Nobel Prize for medicine, was on 9 January 2020 , honoured by a Pakistani university, which announced to set up a Research Chair in his name.
  • The Government College University Lahore (GCU) is going to set up a Research Chair at its Chemistry Department in the name of its alumni Prof. Har Gobind Khorana.
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Cabinet approves ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France

  •  The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement was signed in March, 2018 during the State Visit of the French President to India.
  • The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to-people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.
  • The Agreement is a testimony to India's rapidly expanding multi-faceted relationship with France and symbolizes the increasing trust and confidence between the two sides.

Jagan Launches Rs. 6,455-cr Cash Transfer Scheme

  •  Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched a direct cash transfer scheme to encourage women to send their children to school.
  • Under the scheme, Jagananna Amma Vodi, an amount of Rs. 15,000 would be directly transferred into the accounts of women enrolled for the same, as an incentive for sending their children to schools. The scheme aims to cover 42,12,186 mothers to benefit 81,72,224 school-going children, with effect from the current academic year 2019-20.
  • An amount of Rs. 6,455 crore has been allocated by the state government in the current budget. The scheme will not be applicable to school or college dropouts. Government employees and income taxpayers will also not be eligible for the scheme.

Cabinet Apprised Of Amendments In Motor Vehicles Act

  •  The Cabinet has been apprised of the amendments to the motor vehicles law that will ensure concurrence of state governments while formulating the National Transport Policy.
  • The new Motor Vehicles Act with stricter penalties for violation of traffic laws has come into force Pan-India from September 1, 2019.
  • "The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been apprised of information about the amendments moved to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 as passed by the Rajya Sabha.
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'Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020' to be held on 20th Jan

  •  The third edition of Prime Minister's Interaction with school students, "Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020", will be held at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on 20th of this month. Over 2000 students, parents and teachers will be participating from all over India in this event.
  • The Human Resource Development Ministry in partnership with MyGov last month launched a 'short essay' competition for students of classes 9 to 12 for the third edition of Prime Minister's Interaction with school students.
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World Hindi Day

  •  World Hindi Day is celebrated every year on 10 January. The first World Hindi Day was celebrated in 2006 for the first time, followed by Hindi Day on January 10 every year. Earlier in 1975, Hindi World Hindi Conference was organized under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. After this it started being held in Mauritius, UK, US.
  • It is completely different from Hindi Day. Hindi day is celebrated on 14 September in India. On this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as the official language for the first time. At the same time, the main purpose of World Hindi Day is to recognize it globally.
  • Hindi is taught in more than 30 countries of the world. 
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BRO Inducts Hi-Tech Snow Clearance Equipment In Jammu And Kashmir

  •  Border Roads Organization (BRO) has inducted hi-tech snow clearance and cutting machines in Jammu and Kashmir which are state of the art snow clearance equipment that clear one kilometre of snow in just three hours. Snowfall in winter blocks important strategic roads including the Srinagar-Leh, Jammu-Srinagar, Gurez-Bandipora and Kupwara-Karnah highways which takes a lot of time for clearance. 
  • To deal with the problem, seven high-tech snow cutter FRESIA machines have been purchased by the BRO from Italy for swift snow cutting and clearance of these important highways and passes. 
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