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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

24 Feb 2020

DAILY G.K. TEST

Start Test

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

FAFT Continues Pakistan in Grey List

  • Global terror financing watchdog FATF decided continuation of Pakistan in the 'Grey List' and warned the country of stern action if it fails to check flow of money to terror groups like the LeT and the JeM.
  • The decision was taken at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary in Paris.
  • The FATF decided to continue Pakistan in the 'Grey List' The FATF has also warned Pakistan that if it does not complete a full action plan by June, it could lead to consequences on its businesses.
  • The plenary noted that Pakistan addressed only a few of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Hizbul Mujahideen, which are responsible for a series of attacks in India.
  • The FATF said Pakistan has to swiftly complete its full action plan by June.
  • With Pakistan's continuation in the 'Grey List', it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, the ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation.

Largest Public Health Crisis since 1949: Xi

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping called the novel coronavirus epidemic the largest public health emergency since the founding of the country under Communist rule in 1949.
  • The outbreak has killed over 2,400 people and slowed down the world's second largest economy in just a few weeks' time.
  • Millions of people in China are currently facing restrictions on their movement in some way or the other and the epicentre - Hubei province - is under a lockdown.

Sanders Secures Big Win in Nevada Round

  • Senator Bernie Sanders secured an emphatic win in Nevada, consolidating his status as the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic nomination race. Former US vice-president Joe Biden finished a distant second.
  • The win in Nevada was crucial for Sanders as it is racially and ethnically more diverse than predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states in the 2020 nomination race that he tied and then narrowly won. It demonstrated his expanding base and appeal, which will be tested in the coming contests.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

LVB to Focus on Capital-efficient Lending

  • Cash-strapped private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (LVB) began focussing on increasing its loan book through assets that require zero or lesser capital allocation, to improve its profitability.
  • S. Sundar, MD and CEO, LVB said that we are fine-tuning some of our business verticals and have given additional powers to branches, regional managers and centralised executives who were earlier not in the loop. The focus areas are jewel and MSME loans and deposits.

Greaves to Tap EV, BS-VI Sectors

  • Greaves Cotton Ltd., a predominantly business-to-business (B2B) player supplying diesel engines to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Piaggio, has, following a business transformation strategy, moved into the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment to take advantage of the fast moving electric vehicles (EV) industry and the BS-VI compliant engine business.
  • Its fuel-agnostic engine solutions will add to its growth.
  • Three years ago, when disruptions were coming in, Greaves decided to shift focus from being a pure auto engine player to a fuel-agnostic solution provider and adopted a strategy to diversify into the non-automotive engine segment, clean mobility, including the fuel-efficient CNG engine, electric mobility and strengthen the after-market business.

Sweden's Riksbank Begins Testing World's 1st Digital Cersion of Currency

  • Sveriges Riksbank (or simply the Riksbank), the central bank of Sweden, began testing its digital version of currency, e-krona. If this year-long pilot project is successful, this would lead to the creation of world's 1st central bank digital currency (CBDC).
  • The pilot project will be in operation for one year, until February 2021, will use distributed ledger technology inspired by the blockchains that operates cryptocurrencies.
  • The digital currency e-krona will be used to simulate day-to-day banking functions like payments from a digital wallet such as a mobile phone application.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scientists Discover Powerful Antibiotic Using AI

  • In a world first, scientists have discovered a new type of antibiotic using artificial intelligence (AI).
  • It has been heralded by experts as a major breakthrough in the fight against the growing problem of drug resistance.
  • A powerful algorithm was used to analyse more than one hundred million chemical compounds in a matter of days.
  • The newly discovered compound was able to kill 35 types of potentially deadly bacteria.
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections have risen in recent years - up 9% in England between 2017 and 2018, to nearly 61,000.
  • If antibiotics are taken inappropriately, harmful bacteria living inside the body can become resistant to them, which means the medicines may not work when really needed.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the phenomenon "one of the biggest threats to global health security and development today".
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SPORTS

Rowing Federation of India Re-elects Rajalaxmi as President

  • Rajalaxmi Singh Deo was re-elected as the president of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) after the successful conclusion of the elections.
  • Rajpal Singh, G. Bhasker, Souvik Ghose, and Sreekunara Kurup were elected as vice-presidents.
  • M. V. Sriram was voted as secretary-general of the RFI while Krishna Kumar Singh and Chirajit Dhukan were chosen as joint-secretaries of the federation.
  • The post of the treausurer was won by Nababudin Ahmed. Jasbir Singh, Venkateshwara Rao, Ismail Baig, Jacob, and Manjunatha were elected as the executive committee members.
  • The winning candidates would remain at the post for four years till 2024.
  • The elections were conducted under the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) observer K. Govindraj.

Yulimar Rojas Sets New Indoor Triple Jump World Record

  • Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas claimed a new world indoor triple jump record at the final World Indoor Tour event of the season in Madrid.
  • The 24-year-old double world champion recorded 15.43 m with her sixth and final attempt.
  • It eclipsed Russian Tatyana Lebedeva's previous landmark from 2004 by 7 centimetres.
  • The outdoor record stands at 15.50 m, set by Ukraine's Inessa Kravets in Gothenburg in 1995.
  • Rojas secured a South American indoor record of 15.03 m in Metz earlier this month in her first triple jump competition of the year.
  • Madrid is a successful venue for her, having been the scene of her first outdoor 15 m leap in 2016 as well as four of her indoor personal best performances.

Taylor First Player to Play 100 Matches in All Formats

  • Veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor made history when he took the field against India in the opening Test as he became the first player to play 100 matches in all three formats of the game.
  • The 35-year-old played his 100th T20 International against India last month. He has also played 231 ODIs for New Zealand.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

First Anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme

  • The Centre has disbursed Rs. 50,850 crore to farmers so far under its landmark scheme PM-KISAN, enabling them to meet farm input cost and household expenses.
  • The agriculture ministry shared the progress made under the scheme, ahead of its first anniversary on February 24.
  • The PM-KISAN was formally launched on February 24 last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Under the scheme, the Centre transfers an amount of Rs. 6,000 per year, in three equal instalments, directly into the bank accounts of the farmers, subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status.
  • February 24, 2020 was the 1st anniversary of starting of a new Central Sector Scheme, namely, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).

Country's First Floating Jetty in Goa

  • Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurated the country's first floating jetty and an immigration facility at a cruise terminal in Vasco.
  • The jetty is located in the state port department's premises on the banks of Mandovi River.
  • Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar were present on the occasion.
  • Mandaviya said that this floating jetty is the first such facility in the country. It is made of cement concrete. It will boost inland waterways. They are environment friendly and can be built in a short time. Three more will be built in Goa.
  • The Union minister said that the immigration counter at the cruise terminal in Mormugao Port will help foreign nationals who arrive on cruise ships.

Ministry of MSME Launches National Level Awareness Programme(NLAP) 2020

  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched a National Level Awareness Programme (NLAP) 2020 from February 17, 2020 to February 28, 2020.
  • The main objective of NLAP is to spread awareness about the schemes & activities undertaken by the Ministry and its attached organisations such as Office of Development Commissioner (MSME), Khadi & Village Industries Commission, Coir Board, National Small Industries Corporation Limited, National Institute of MSME, MSME Technology Centres, and Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Industrialisation.
  • A total of 126 field offices of the Ministry & its organisations are conducting the awareness programmes across the country to spread the information among students of colleges and educational institutes.
  • The awareness drive will be conducted in more than 600 colleges covering almost 60,000 students from all parts of the country.
  • Audio-Video films about the activities of the Ministry & its organisations, details of the schemes implemented by the Ministry are displayed to the students.
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DEFENCE

IIT Madras Developing Ramjet-powered Artillery Shell for Indian Army

  • The department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Madras is working on developing a next-generation artillery shell that can be used by the Indian Army to hit far away targets with greater precision. Lt Gen PR Shankar, a (retd) Professor of Practice at IIT Madras, whose team had exhibited the theoretical possibilities of the project at the recently concluded Defense Expo in Uttar Pradesh, said that his team is working on an artillery shell that is based on the Ramjet technology.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Bhaskar Khulbe and Amarjeet Sinha Advisors to PM

  • Retired IAS officers Bhaskar Khulbe and Amarjeet Sinha were appointed as Advisors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointments in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the rank and scale of Secretary.
  • Both the Indian Administrative Service officers are from the 1983 batch. Khulbe was from the West Bengal cadre and Sinha was from the Bihar cadre.
  • Sinha retired as the Rural Development Secretary last year, while Khulbe has served in the PMO.
  • The appointments have been made on contractual basis initially for a period of two years, or until further orders.

USIBC Appoints Vijay Advani as New Chairman of Global Board

  • The US-India Business Council appointed Vijay Advani as new Chairman of its Global Board of Directors. Advani took the charge as Board Chairman at a time of significant growth in US-India bilateral trade, which reached USD 160 billion in 2019.
  • Prior to assuming his current role as Executive Chairman in January 2020, Advani served as the CEO of Nuveen. Earlier, he was also Co-President of Franklin Templeton Investments. Advani has spent over a decade at the World Bank, advising governments on developing financial markets and arranging equity, quasi-equity and debt financing.
  • The council also announced two new members of the Global Board of Directors -- Lockheed Martin International Senior Vice President Tim Cahill and GE South Asia President & CEO Mahesh Palashikar.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

International Judicial Conference in New Delhi

  • International Judicial Conference was held in New Delhi on 22nd February. The conference was addressed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
  • The topic of the one-day conference was "Judiciary and The Changing World".
  • Also, the theme of 'Gender Just World' was introduced at the conference.
  • They discussed the changes made by GoI to bring gender equality including recruitment of women in military service, changes in the selection process of fighter pilots, and the freedom to work at night in the mines.
  • The need for technology to deliver speedy justice was emphasised. The government made an effort to connect every court of the country to the e-court Integrated Mission Mode Project.
  • So far, 1500 obsolete laws have been abolished in the country. Also, many new laws to strengthen the society have been enacted.
  • Centre established National Judicial Data Grid, in order to make court procedures easier.
  • The synergy of artificial intelligence (AI) and human conscience is expected to give further impetus to judicial processes in India.
  • Distinguished Judges of the Supreme Court and various High Courts, Eminent lawyers and delegates from overseas also took part in the Conference.

Central Excise Day in India

  • Central Excise Day in India is celebrated on February 24. The holiday was established to recognise the contribution of the Central Board of Excise and Custom. The Board is a government agency responsible for administering matters relating to customs, central excise, service tax, and narcotics.
  • The Central Board of Excise and Custom is one of the oldest government agencies in India, it was established in 1855 as the Customs and General Excise department. Currently it operates under the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance. It is responsible for collecting excise duty, service tax, customs duty and narcotics duty, preventing smuggling and drug trafficking.
  • Central Excise Day is celebrated on February 24 to mark the enactment of the Central Excise and Salt Act in 1944. The holiday aims to honor the contribution of the Central Board of Excise and Custom to the country's economy and to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of its employees.
  • This professional holiday is celebrated across the country with seminars, workshops, educational and cultural events, awareness programs, competitions, and award ceremonies. The most outstanding employees of the excise and custom department are rewarded with special prizes for their service to the Indian government.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards

  • Malaika Arora and Dia Mirza shared thankful notes on being conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards.
  • Malaika received the Fit Icon of the Year award, while Dia was honoured with the Best Actress award for web series 'Kaafir'during an event in Mumbai.
  • Hrithik Roshan was awarded the Best Actor award for his film 'Super 30', while the movie directed by Vikas Bahl was selected as the Best Film.

London's World Book of Records Felicitates Manoj Kumar

  • Actor Manoj Kumar, 82 years old, was felicitated by the World Book of Records (WBR), London, with the WBR Golden Era of Bollywood honour for highlighting patriotic, social and cultural feelings through his contribution to Indian Cinema.
  • The certificate of honour was presented to Manoj Kumar by Santosh Shukla, Supreme Court Advocate (President World Book of Records), Usman Khan (Vice President, World Book of Records, India) and Professor Rajeev Sharma.
  • Manoj Kumar was the winner of 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015 and was also awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1992.
  • The hit films of Manoj Kumar are Hariyali aur Rasta, Woh Kaun Thi?, Himalay Ki Goad Mein, Upkar, Neel Kamal, Purab aur Paschim, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan and Kranti.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

IFIM B-school Starts Indo-Europa BBA

  • IFIM Business School, Vijaybhoomi University, one of India's top-six AACSB-accredited B-schools, tied up with ESCP Europe, the world's oldest B-school, to launch a dual-degree BBA programme. "It will help students pursuing BBA at IFIM Business School by having the option of completing one year in India at our campus, and pursuing the remaining two years at ESCP to obtain a Bachelor in Management from ESCP and BBA from IFIM Business School," said Sanjay Padode, president, Vijaybhoomi University.
  • What makes the ESCP BBA unique is that it is a three-country programme where students will need to complete their second year at one of the ESCP campuses (Paris, Frankfurt, London) after their one year in India and the third year in one of these campuses other than the campus selected by them in the second year. Students will pay the standard fee of Rs 3.2 lakh per year for the first year at IFIM Business School at Karjat Campus, near Mumbai, and will be paying the ESCP fees for the remaining two years.
  • The new programme was announced last week at the International Conclave on Learning Ecosystems in Bengaluru, held to celebrate IFIM's 25-year journey, and inaugurated by Eric Cornuel, CEO & director general of European Foundation for Management Development, and Debashis Chatterji, director, IIM Kozhikode.
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ART AND CULTURE

India Seeks Return of Tamil Statue in Oxford

  • India asked the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to return a 15th century bronze statue of Tamil poet Tirumankai Alvar, which was reportedly stolen from a temple in Kumbakonam in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu in the 1960s.
  • The museum, which bought the statue in a London auction in 1967, informed the Indian High Commission in December that new research questioned its provenance. According to Rahul Nagare, first secretary, the mission had received a report from the Tamil Nadu police that unambiguously shows that the original idol was stolen and replaced with a fake one and that the stolen idol is the same one that is with the Ashmolean.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Former PM Releases Book 'Who is Bharat Mata?'

  • Former Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh released the book 'Who is Bharat Mata' by Prof. Purushottam Agrawal and its Kannada translation 'Yaaru Bharat Maate?' by Prof. K. E. Radhakrishna. The book was published by Swapna Book House, Bengaluru in association with Delhi Karnataka Sangha.
  • Addressing the gathering, Dr. Singh said that the book 'Yaaru Bharat Maate?' is wonderful. The book contains writings and speeches of former Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. It also gives a complete picture of India's freedom movement. This book is a collection of great achievements of freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Moulana Azad, Arun Asaf Ali, Sheikh Abdullah, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mohammed Aris Singh, Ali Sardar and others. The Kannada translation of the book has really come out well.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

A 2-day Long First-ever Bharat-Bangla Tourism Festival 2020 in Tripura

  • The first-ever 2 days long Bharat-Bangla Paryatan Utsav 2020 (Tourism Festival) was held at Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala, Tripura from February 20-21, 2020 to boost the Tripura tourism sector.
  • It was inaugurated by Tripura Chief Minister (CM) Biplab Kumar Deb & organised by Department of Tourism, Government of Tripura in memories of the contribution of Tripura in 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
  • The key attraction of the festival includes seminars, discussions, cultural events, etc.
  • The festival saw the participation of Tourism Minister Pranajit Singha Roy, Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner to Tripura Kiriti Chakma, MP (Member of Parliament) Pratima Bhwomik, MP from Bangladesh Md. Abdus Saheed (who paid tribute to the Indians, who helped Bangladesh in the 1971 liberation war) and many other officials of Bangladesh.
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