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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

22 Feb 2020

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Hindi is the 3rd most Spoken Language in the World

  • The 22nd edition of the world language database Ethnologue stated Hindi, as the 3rd most spoken language of the world in 2019 with 615 million speakers. English language was at the top of the list with 1,132 million speakers and Mandarin Chinese was at the 2nd position with 1,117 million speakers.
  • Ethnologue publishes a yearly database of living languages of the world, since its establishment in 1951.
  • Bangla has been ranked as the 7th most spoken language of the world and has 228 million native speakers.
  • The database covers 7,111 living languages of the world at present (2020). Ethnologue also publishes data on languages which have gone out of use in recent history and the edition lists contains 348 such languages.

Pompeo Meets Saudi King in Talks Focused on Iranian Threats

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in a visit focused primarily on discussing shared security concerns about regional rival Iran.
  • Ahead of his arrival in the capital Riyadh, Pompeo said that he would also raise with the Saudi leadership concerns about human rights and the cases of dual Saudi-American citizens who are either imprisoned in the kingdom or barred from traveling abroad.
  • Following his meeting at the royal palace with the king, Pompeo headed to a Saudi air base where some 2,500 U.S. troops are stationed in response to threats from Iran.
  • The U.S. military presence in the kingdom at the Prince Sultan Air Base includes a squadron of U.S. Air Force F-15E fighters that fly daily missions over Iraq and Syria and two American Patriot missile batteries prepared to knock down any Iranian attack against the Saudi kingdom.
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ENVIRONMENT

Great Indian Bustard, Asian Elephant, Bengal Florican Classified as 'Endangered Migratory Species'

  • Great Indian Bustard, Asian Elephant and Bengal Florican have been classified as "endangered migratory species" by a UN body, paving the way for trans-boundary conservation efforts.
  • India's proposal for inclusion of the three species in the global list for international protection under the UN's Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species was accepted unanimously on Thursday.
  • The proposal was accepted by 130 countries that are party to the convention at the ongoing 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS COP 13).
  • Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention for which CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting them, conserving and restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

RBI Unveils 5-year Financial Inclusion Strategy

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came up with a National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2019-24, aimed at providing access to formal financial services in an affordable manner. It aims to promote financial literacy among customers.
  • The Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee of the RBI — in consultation with the Centre, Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA) recommended various ways in which the objective can be fulfilled.
  • The committee recommended universal access to financial services wherein every village should have access to a formal financial services provider within a 5-km radius. Customers may be on-boarded through an easy and hassle-free digital process. This includes increasing banking outlets of commercial banks. Further, digital financial services have to be strengthened in all tier-II to tier-VI centres to facilitate a less-cash society by March 2022.

RBI Clears Appointment of Sunil Gurbaxani as Dhanlaxmi Bank MD

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved the appointment of Sunil Gurbaxani as Managing Director and CEO of Dhanlaxmi Bank for a period of three years.
  • Dhanlaxmi Bank was removed from the RBI PCA framework, subject to certain conditions and continuous monitoring, as the bank is found to be not breaching any of the risk thresholds of the framework.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

First ever Long Endurance Solar-powered Unmanned Aircraft PHASA-35 Flies Successfully

  • High Altitude Long Endurance vehicle (HALE), Persistent High Altitude Solar Aircraft (PHASA)- 35 has the potential to remain airborne for a year is the first ever long endurance solar-powered unmanned aircraft which successfully completed its maiden test flight and it developed by BAE systems in collaboration with Prismatic Ltd.
  • PHASA-35 is an alternative to satellite having all the qualities of an aircraft, and it remains airborne within the stratosphere but above the weather and conventional air traffic level.
  • PHASA-35 can be used for fire detection, maritime surveillance and Border protection, etc.
  • And the flight trial is conducted at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Woomera range in South Australia.
  • The operation is being sponsored by United Kingdom's (UK) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and Australian Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and the design & product developed by UK based BAE systems aerospace company within 20 months.
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SPORTS

National Municipal Games Kicks

  • The first 'National Municipal School Games' was inaugurated at the Dr. Sahib Singh Verma Stadium in Kakrola near Dwarka, Delhi.
  • The three-day event was hosted by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). Over 500 students from across India participated in the event.
  • The students were from schools run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Pune Municipal Corporation and Amravati Municipal Corporation, besides those from Delhi's three civic corporations, the Delhi Cantonment Board and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
  • Competitions like throwball, table tennis, volleyball, chess, football, kabaddi, kho-kho, pope skipping were organised on the first two days. The prize distribution was be held in the closing ceremony on February 22.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

India and Norway Sign LoI for Collaboration on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development in New Delhi

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan along with Norway's Minister for Climate and Environment, H.E. Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn have jointly inaugurated the 'India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development' at the 3rd meeting of the Task Force in New Delhi, India.
  • The two countries also signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) and agreed to support and work together on Integrated Ocean Management & Research.
  • The Task Force on Blue Economy:
  • It was launched jointly by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, and the Norwegian Prime Minister (PM) Ms. Erna Solberg, during her visit to India in January 2019.
  • It primarily aims to promote and undertake joint initiatives between the two nations. It enables respective stakeholders from both the countries at the highest level. It will also ensure continued commitment and progress across ministries and agencies.

Madhya Pradesh Breaks Own record in Thermal Power Generation

  • Madhya Pradesh has surpassed its earlier record of thermal power generation by producing 1099.7 lakh units in one day.
  • The Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Company created a new record by producing 1099.7 lakh units of thermal power in one day.
  • The state's previous highest power generation in a day was recorded at 1074.5 lakh units in March 2019.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

President to Inaugurate 'The Huddle'

  • The fourth edition of 'The Huddle', The Hindu's annual thought conclave, was held at the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru on February 22 and 23.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the audience as the Chief Guest and inaugurated the conclave on February 22. The keynote address was delivered by the former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
  • Over the two days, The Huddle features 15 sessions and 32 speakers, showcased some of the best minds from the world of politics, business, academics, sports, entertainment and the arts. The sessions are designed to be interactive, and they take place before an invited audience.
  • From its launch in 2017, The Huddle has been designed to expand the space for democratic debate and provide an opportunity for speakers and members of the audience to interact formally and informally.
  • This year (2020), The Huddle is powered by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd.(HCCB), in association with the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Assembly Speaker/Ideal Legislative Council Chairman Award

  • The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the Ideal Legislative Assembly Speaker/Ideal Legislative Council Chairman Award to the Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, P. Ramakrishnan, at the inauguration of the 10th edition of Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad, in New Delhi in February 2020.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

IIT Ropar launches New-Age Multidimensional Certificate Programme in Data Sciene

  • IIT Ropar with the Canada-India Centre for Excellence (CICE), Canada at Carleton University and International School of Engineering (INSOFE) has launched Post Graduate Program (PGP ) in Data Science for Senior and Middle Management roles and for top executives in-charge of Profit & Loss or innovation with a focus on teaching frameworks that help the senior leaders define the AI blueprint, people strategy, infrastructure strategy, data strategy etc. The launch of these executive training programs took place in the august presence of H. E. Mia Yen, Consul-General of Canada to Chandigarh among other dignitaries.

From April 1, Classes 5 and 8 Students can be Detained

  • Delhi government's amended no-detention policy — according to which students of government and private schools can be detained in classes 5 and 8 in certain circumstances — will come into effect from April 1.
  • The committee was set up to advise the government after Parliament amended the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, in January 2019 and did away with the no-detention policy, under which no student could be failed till class 8. The states were given the option of deciding if they wanted to continue with the policy or not.
  • According to officials, the government will issue a notification announcing the implementation of the amended policy in March first week.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Union Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar Unveils an Annual Reference Book India/Bharat 2020

  • The Union Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar released the 64th edition of the book "The Reference Annual- India/Bharat-2020" in both English and Hindi and also released the e-version of the book.
  • The book consists of the information about India and its developments, progress and achievements of various Government Ministries, Departments and Organisations during the year 2019.
  • The book has been published by the Publications Division (India) along with New Media Wing (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting).
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