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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

13 Feb 2020


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Hafiz Saeed Gets 5.5 Years in Prison Term

  • Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed was convicted by a court in Lahore and given a five-and-a-half year prison term in two terror financing cases – the first time the US-designated terrorist has been held guilty by the Pakistani judiciary.
  • Singnificantly, the verdict came four days before the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) plenary meeting in Paris to assess action taken by Pakistan to counter terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan has been keen to get off the so-called grey list of the organisation set up to combat terror financing and money laundering.
  • Anti-terrorism court judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta ruled that the five-and-a-half year prison terms given to Saeed in both cases would run concurrently and also fined him Rs. 15,000 in the two cases.

Vietnam's National Media Group VOV Inaugurates its First Indian Bureau

  • Vietnam's national media group VOV inaugurated its first Indian bureau in Delhi in the presence of Vietnamese Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh.
  • Voice of Vietnam (VOV), which runs multiple radio and television channels, two online newspapers and one print newspaper, has a total of 13 bureaus in countries other than Vietnam.
  • Delhi would be 13th overseas representative bureau of the VOV group.

Bernie Sanders Wins North Hampshire Democratic Primary

  • Senator Bernie Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire Democratic primary election, consolidating his hold on the progressive left wing of the party and his position in the race as a front-runner, fending off a surge from moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, who came second and third.
  • Former Vice-President Joe Biden, who entered the race as a front-runner and continues to lead in polls, finished a poor fifth amidst growing talk of fading prospects. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a progressive like Sanders, came fourth in yet another sign of rapidly diminishing chances.
  • Senator John Bennet and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, whose unorthodox run and style had generated a lot of interest and headlines, dropped out of the race after performing poorly in the primary, and the field will narrow further as the race travels to other and larger, and more diverse states.
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Italy Told to Stop Using Malaysia as Plastics Dumping Ground

  • The Italian government was urged to end the illicit export of plastic waste to Malaysia after an investigation exposed the environmental and health implications of the country being used as a prime dumping ground for unrecyclable plastic.
  • Demand for plastic is the second highest in the EU, after Germany, and it is the sixth-largest exporter of plastic waste to Malaysia. Malaysian imports of plastic waste from wealthy countries have risen dramatically since China, previously the world's biggest importer, imposed a ban in January 2018.
  • EU law stipulates that member states can export plastic waste to non-EU countries only if it is recyclable, and that recycling companies must adhere to the environmental and technical standards required of treatment facilities in Europe.
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Three Public Sector General Insurance Companies Get in Principle Approval for Capital Infusion

  • The Union Cabinet gave its in principle approval for capital infusion for three Public Sector General Insurance Companies, namely, Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL), National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) and United India Insurance Company Limited (UIICL).
  • The Cabinet allowed immediate release of Rs. 2500 crore in the light of the critical financial position and breach of regulatory solvency requirements of 3 PSGICs viz. OICL, NICL and UIICL.

FASTag to be Available Free of Charge Till Feb. 29

  • To further enhance electronic toll collection, the National Highways Authority of India has decided to waive FASTag fee till February 29.
  • The government has rolled out the FASTag-based toll collection system across more than 527 national highways in the country.
  • "In order to further increase digital collection of user fee via FASTag at NH fee plazas, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to waive off the FASTag cost of Rs. 100 for NHAI FASTag between February 15 and 29, 2020," the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.
  • Road users can visit any authorised point-of-sale location with a valid registration certificate (RC) of the vehicle and get an NHAI FASTag free of cost.
  • NHAI FASTags can be purchased from all national highway fee plazas, regional transport offices, common service centres, transport hubs, and petrol pumps, among others.

SEBI Notice to NSE on CAMS Stake Sale

  • The National Stock Exchange of India Ltd's received two notices from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • One of the communications has asked the exchange to divest its entire 37% stake in Computer Age Management Services Limited (CAMS) and the second is a show cause notice on the appointment of key managerial personnel - Anand Subramanian.
  • While announcing its December quarter earnings, the stock exchange had disclosed that SEBI, on 4 February, asked it to divest its entire stake in CAMS within a year. NSE has already started the process of offloading its stake.
  • SEBI, in its 4 February letter, alleged that NSE's acquisition of stake in CAMS in 2013-14 was done without its approval.
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USA Equals Lowest ODI Score

  • United States of America suffered a miserable collapse to lose eight wickets for nine runs to be bowled out for just 35 against Nepal in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 fixture in Kirtipur. The 35-run total is the joint lowest in ODI history as the USA equalled Zimbabwe's 16-year-old unwanted record. In 2004, Zimbabwe fell apart to be dismissed for just 35 against Sri Lanka in Harare.
  • Experienced Sandeep Lamichhane picked up six wickets with the remaining four going to Sushan Bhari. Xavier Marshall top-scored for the USA, with 16 runs, and was the only player to reach double figures.

Bopanna & Shapovalov in Quarter-finals

  • India's Rohan Bopanna teamed up with Canada's Denis Shapovalov to enter the quarter-finals of the Rotterdam Open with a hard-fought victory over Australia's John Peers and Michael Venus. The Indo-Canadian pair defeated Peers-Venus 7-6 6-7 10-8 in a thrilling match at the ATP 500 event.
  • Bopanna and Shapovalov will next face the fourth-seeded pair of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
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Govt. Treasury Gets Rs. 52L Bounty from Poll Losers

  • Out of the total 672 candidates who were in fray in the Delhi assembly polls, 529 contestants, including those of national parties, lost their deposits, as per figures from the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).
  • A candidate has to deposit a sum of Rs. 10,000 while filing their nominations. The deposit is forfeited if they fail to secure a sixth (16.66%) of the total valid votes cast in a constituency.
  • Besides the Congress party that bagged less than 5% of the total votes polled and 67 of its candidates had to forfeit their deposits (including four of its ally the Rashtriya Janata Dal [RJD]). All candidates fielded by four other national parties could not save their deposits.

President of India Addresses the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of National Institute of Bank Management

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM) in Pune Maharashtra.
  • The President said that banks are fulcrum of our economic system. Their efficiency in this role has earned trust and respect of people. Our Constitution promised economic justice for all citizens. Banks were considered the crucial vehicle to deliver this Constitutional commitment. He commended banks for charting out a mandate well beyond their traditional role as a financial intermediary. He said that our banks have done a commendable job in changing banking from an elitist pursuit to a service available to common man. Millions of lives have been touched through direct transfer of funds under various welfare schemes to bank account of poor and needy.

Second Batch of Foreign Envoys Visit Jammu and Kashmir

  • The second batch of foreign envoys arrived for a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir for a first-hand assessment of the situation in the Union Territory six months after the nullification of Article 370.
  • The envoys of over 20 countries arrived at the Srinagar airport but could not visit Baramulla town in north Kashmir as per the schedule due to inclement weather.
  • Those who were part of the delegation include envoys from the European Union, South America and the Gulf countries.
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Developed and Designed in India! Deadly .338 Sniper Rifles

  • For the first time ever an Indian company has managed to indigenously design and develop a complete make in India product for the Indian Armed Forces and which will be exported to a third country too. The Bangalore-based SSS Defence has indigenously designed and developed country's very first sniper rifle platform as well as a family of weapon systems comprising a recon carbine, rapid engagement combat rifle, and a designated marksman rifle. The weapon systems being designed and developed in house are made to offer compact size, rugged build, and highly reliable features.
  • The Joint Venture (JV) that we have with Companies Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC) Brazil for manufacturing ammunition also dovetails with our strategy to ensure that the forces benefit from sustained ammunition supplies. Most countries that have a sniping culture preserve the advantage primarily because there is no shortage of match grade ammunition.

India Begins Manufacturing Parts for Rafale Fighter Jets' in Nagpur

  • In a first, India started manufacturing parts for Rafale, some of which could even be used on the 36 French fighter jets ordered by the Narendra Modi government in 2016. The first set of doors that cover the twin engines of the fighter jets has come out of the Nagpur facility, which is a joint venture of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence and French firm Dassault Aviation.

HAL Seeking to Export Su-30MKI and MiG-29 Engine Spares

  • India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) plans to export assorted spares and accessories for the engines that power the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI and Mikoyan MiG-29 combat aircraft to foreign air forces that also operate the two Russian-developed fighter types.
  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by HAL with Russia's defence export agency Rosoboronexport envisages the export of Saturn AL-31FP and Klimov RD-33 engine components and services to friendly countries. The parties will subsequently sign an agreement on mutually agreed terms and conditions.
  • HAL officials told Jane's that possible customers for AL-31FP-related spares include Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, while those for RD-33-related parts comprise Algeria, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, and Serbia.
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Leading Designer Wendell Rodricks Dies

  • Renowned fashion designer and activist Wendell Rodricks died at his home in Goa's Colvale village. He was 59.
  • A Padma Shri award-winning designer known for infusing modern aesthetics with traditional Goan influences, Rodricks was also an author, an environmentalist and a gay rights activist. He was among the first prominent Indians to come out as gay in the early 2000s. Rodricks handed over his designing label to his protege, Schulen Fernandes, a few years ago and chose to focus on the 'Moda Goa Museum', which was to be launched this year.

Atul Kumar Gupta New President of ICAI

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) elected Atul Kumar Gupta as its new president.
  • Gupta was the vice-president.
  • The institute elected Nihar Niranjan Jambusaria as the new vice-president.
  • They have been elected for 2020-21.
  • Gupta joined the central council of the ICAI in 2013. He was in the council for two consecutive terms before getting elected as vice-president last year.
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Second BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise-2020

  • The "2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise-2020 (BIMSTEC DMEx-2020)" was held at Bhubaneswar/Puri, Odisha from 11-13 February, 2020 with themes "A cultural heritage site that suffers severe damage in the Earthquake" & "Flooding or Storm". Organised by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), on behalf of the Government of India, BIMSTEC DMEx-2020 was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik on February 11, 2020. While Minister of State (Home), Nityanand Rai launched field training exercise scheduled on 12th February, 2020 at Ramachandi Beach, District-Puri, Odisha. The first similar kind of exercise took place in 2017.

World Radio Day

  • Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD).
  • Radio is a medium to educate and provide information. It also helps in promoting freedom of expression across cultures.
  • The main purpose of celebrating World Radio Day is to spread awareness among the public and the media to raise the importance of radio. It also encourages decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio, enhance networking and generate a sort of international cooperation among the broadcasters.
  • The theme of World Radio Day 2020 is "Radio and Diversity". The theme focuses on diversity and plurilingualism. It is an important medium to celebrate humanity in all its diversity and provides a platform for democratic discourse.

National Women's Day (Sarojini Naidu's Birth Anniversary)

  • India celebrates Sarojini Naidu's birthday as National Women's Day of India every year on February 13. Sarojini Naidu was India's first women governor and also famous as 'Bharat Kokila'. Sarojini Naidu was born on February 13, 1879. She actively participated in the Indian National Movement for the independence of the country.
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IIMC Awards Alumni for Best Work in Journalism, PR

  • The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) awarded the exemplary work in journalism and allied fields. The IIMC Alumni Association announced winners of the fourth IFFCO IIMCAA Awards during the annual alumni meet – Connections 2020, at IIMC headquarters in New Delhi.
  • Several awards including 11 in reporting, 12 in desk production, 7 awards in advertising, PR and communications and 1 in media research were distributed. Priyamvada Rana and Pratyush Deep Kotoky jointly received the highest winning amount of Rs. 51,000 for Agricultural reporting while other winners received Rs. 21,000 each.
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Singing National Anthem Mandatory in Maharashtra Colleges

  • According to Cabinet Minister Uday Samant, singing the national anthem will be made compulsory in all colleges of Maharashtra from February 19.
  • The State government will issue a notification asking colleges to begin their work with the national anthem from February 19, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • Last month, the Shiv Sena-led government made it compulsory for school students to read out the preamble of the Constitution during morning assemblies.

Two Indian Crew on Cruise ship off Japanese Coast Test Positive for Coronavirus

  • Two Indians, part of the crew of a cruise ship that is docked off the Japanese coast, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The Diamond Princess cruise ship with 3,711 people on board include 138 Indians including passengers and crew.
  • The ship was quarantined last week off the Japanese coast after a passenger who had de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the virus on the ship.
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Book Titled 'A Commentary and Digest on The Air, Act 1981' Released

  • Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar released a book titled "A Commentary and Digest on The Air, Act 1981," at Chandigarh. The book was written by Dr. K. K. Khandelwal, Chairman, Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (HRERA), Gurgaon and Apoorva Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning and Urban Estates Department.
  • The book focuses on ways to prevent and control air pollution.
  • The book has given an elaborate explanation of law devised to prevent air pollution.
  • The book aims to create awareness on air pollution in society.
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A 117 Year-old Steam Engine Attracting Foreign Tourists

  • A 117-year-old steam engine in the Himalayan region is attracting scores of foreign tourists on the Kalka-Shimla heritage line, helping the tourism in the area and boosting the revenue of Northern Railways in equal measure.
  • Tourists come from many countries, including England to ride this steam engine train. It helps the promotion of the heritage culture of the country and helps in the earning of the Indian Railways as well.
  • The northern railway is offering the steam engine travel on booking to the tourists on 12 to 20 miles (20 km to 32 km) on the Kalka-Shimla heritage line.
  • The railway department has kept the train running for its historical importance.
  • The Kalka-Shimla railway line was declared the UNESCO's world heritage line in 2008. It has been attracting tourist in the area ever since.
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