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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

28 Feb 2020


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IAEA: Release Fukushima Water

  • The world's nuclear watchdog IAEA gave its backing to Japanese plans to release contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. Japan has around a million tonnes of contaminated water stored in tanks at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after a huge tsunami in 2011. A government panel last month recommended the water be released into the ocean or vaporised, but no final decision has been taken.

Mahathir: Parliament Will Pick New PM

  • Malaysian interim leader Mahathir Mohamad said that Parliament will pick a new prime minister next week following the collapse of the ruling alliance, and that snap elections will be called if the vote ends in an impasse. Mahathir, who met the king earlier, said the monarch couldn't find a candidate with a clear majority to lead the nation after consulting all 222 lawmakers.

Putin Dismisses Rumours He Uses Body Double for Security

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that he was offered the chance to use a body double for security purposes, but rejected the idea.
  • He said that the plan was tabled in the early 2000s, when Russia was fighting a war against separatists in Chechnya.
  • A 67-year-old former KGB agent, Mr. Putin made several trips to the region during the conflict.
  • For years he has been the subject of conspiracy theories online, including that he uses lookalikes for security.
  • But Mr. Putin, who has been in power since 2000, declined these body double on every occasion he was offered.
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China to Send 'Duck Army' to Fight Locusts

  • China is planning to dispatch a 100,000-strong army of ducks to help Pakistan combat a massive locust infestation. The legion of lotus-eating waterfowl will be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang following the earlier dispatch of a team of Chinese experts to Pakistan to advice on a response to the infestation that is being called the worst in 20 years.
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ONGC and HPCL Acquire 34.56% Stake of 8 PSBs in Petronet MHB Ltd

  • State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and its subsidiary Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) have bought out lenders in Petronet MHB Ltd, the firm that owns a petroleum product pipeline in Mangalore, for about Rs. 371 crore.
  • A consortium of eight public sector banks held 34.56 per cent stake in Petronet MHB Ltd, where ONGC and HPCL held 32.72 per cent apiece.
  • ONGC and HPCL bought 17.28 per cent stake each from lenders.
  • The two firms paid Rs 185.38 crore each for acquiring 17.28 per cent more share in Petronet MHB Ltd. They now hold 49.99 per cent each in the company that transports petroleum products from Mangalore Refinery.

IndusInd Bank Appoints Sumant Kathpalia as New MD & CEO

  • IndusInd Bank elevated bank's head for consumer banking Sumant Kathpalia as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
  • As previously advised to the exchanges, the bank's nomination and remuneration committee and the board had considered and submitted the name of a potential candidate for the role of MD and CEO, to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), seeking an approval for the appointment.

Thyssenkrupp to Sell Elevator Unit to Advent-led Consortium

  • Thyssenkrupp agreed to sell its elevators division to a consortium of Advent, Cinven and Germany's RAG foundation for 17.2 billion euros ($18.7 billion) in what could be the world's largest buyout this year. The bidding group prevailed against a rival consortium comprising Blackstone, Carlyle and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
  • The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
  • The price, which makes the deal Europe's biggest buyout since 2007, beats the most optimistic estimates and roughly matches a bid that had been submitted earlier in the process by Finnish rival Kone, which dropped out of the race earlier this month over expected antitrust risks.
  • Thyssenkrupp Elevator is the world's fourth-largest lift manufacturer behind United Technologies Corp's Otis, Switzerland's Schindler and Finnish rival Kone.
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Cambridge Team Finds Exoplanet Twice Earth's Size

  • A Cambridge-based Indian-origin astronomer has led the discovery of an exoplanet more than twice the size of Earth considered potentially habitable, opening the search for life on planets significantly larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.
  • The research team led by Nikku Madhusudhan at the university's Institute of Astronomy used the mass, radius, and atmospheric data of the exoplanet K2-18b, and determined that it is possible for the planet to host liquid water at habitable conditions beneath its hydrogen-rich atmosphere. The results reported show that the exoplanet is 124 light-years away, and is 2.6 times the radius and 8.6 times the mass of Earth.
  • It orbits its star within the habitable zone, where temperatures could allow liquid water to exist.
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India First to Seal Semi-finals Spot

  • Teenage prodigy Shafali Verma helped India earn a nail-biting win over New Zealand and reach the women's T20 World Cup semi-finals, as defending champions Australia inched closer to joining them.
  • New Zealand won the toss at Melbourne's Junction Oval and opted to bowl, restricting India to 133/6 after 16-year-old Verma gave them a strong start with three sixes and four fours in a quickfire 46.
  • But New Zealand failed with the bat, narrowly missing their target despite a swashbuckling late charge by Amelia Kerr, leaving them on 129/6.
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India and Myanmar Sign 10 MoUs

  • India and Myanmar exchanged 10 agreements, four of which focus on the construction of water supply systems, distribution of electricity by solar power, as well as construction of roads and schools in Rakhine state, located on the western coast of the South Asian country.
  • The deals were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar President Win Myint at the Hyderabad House.
  • Last month, India had extended relief assistance including noodles, toor dal, chana dal, soya oil, chili powder, and other edible materials, to Rakhine residents who were displaced in the ongoing conflict in Myanmar as part of its continued endeavour to support the socio-economic development of the region.
  • India and Myanmar had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2017 on providing assistance to the socio-economic development of Rakhine state.
  • The other agreements called for cooperation for the prevention of trafficking in persons; rescue, recovery, repatriation, and the re-integration of victims of trafficking.

UP Govt. to Rename 'Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Urdu, Arabi-Farsi University' in Lucknow

  • The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved a proposal to change the name of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Urdu, Arabi-Farsi University in Lucknow. The Cabinet decided to rename the university as Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Languages University.
  • For this, the State University Act - 1973 will be amended. State governor Anandiben Patel had suggested that the varsity be renamed as Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti University.
  • The Urdu, Arabi-Farsi University was rechristened four times in the last 10 years under the successive regimes in the state.
  • The institution was established on October 1, 2009 during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) rule.

First Govt. Entity to Adopt Centralised Invoicing Platform, TreDS

  • Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), an industrial organisation, functioning under the Department of Defence Production of Ministry of Defence, Government of India (GoI), became the 1st government entity to adopt centralised invoicing platform,TreDS (Trade Receivables electronic Discount System), under which a total of 41 OFBs adopted this platform, which would help smaller MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) vendors access working capital easily.
  • Under this platform, MSME vendors will get financing facilities from OFB by collateralizing the receivable invoices under sovereign guarantee. These vendors sell products that go into making tanks, complex artillery pieces, or day-to-day use items such as helmets or gloves.
  • At present, the government departments such as the Defence Ministry transact only through a treasury account with the State Bank of India (SBI). NACH (National Automated Clearing House) mandates are not enabled in these accounts & preventing the onboarding of such departments onto TReDS.
  • The adoption of TreDS by OFBs will help government departments such as the Ministry of Defence and Railway with limited MSME procurements to bring their whole vendor network on the single platform.
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Launch Offshore Patrol Vessel Vajra

  • The sixth Offshore Patrol Vessel Vajra was formally launched at an impressive ceremony in the presence of Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh L Mandaviya and senior government officials.
  • The vessel built by Larsen and Toubro under the Centre's 'Make in India' campaign would be utilised for day and night patrolling.
  • Geeta Mandaviya, the wife of the Union Minister, launched the vessel at L&T Shipbuilding Ltd at the Kattupalli Port.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Inaugurates HAL's LCH Production Hangar

  • Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Light Combat Helicopters Production Hangar at Bengaluru. The Defence Minister also informed about HAL acquiring many operational clearances for its LCA and LCH platforms.
  • Designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, LCH is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter that is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armour protection and low visibility features which makes it agile and survivable. LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 4700 metres above sea level with 500 kg load.
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Centenarian Freedom Fighter Sudhakar Chaturvedi Passes Away

  • Centenarian freedom fighter and Vedic scholar Sudhakar Krishna Rao, widely known as Sudhakar Chaturvedi died due to old age related ailments. Rao, an eye-witness to the Jalianwala Bagh massacre on April 13, 1919, breathed his last at his resident in. He was said to be 122 year old. Rao was given the title Pundit Sudhakar Chaturvedi for his authority on all the four Vedas.

Former Tamil Nadu Minister K. P. P. Samy Passes Away

  • Former Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK) present Thiruvottiyur (state assembly constituency) Member of Legislative assembly (MLA) K. P. P. Samy passed away at age of 57 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • Samy born in Chennai was elected as MLA of Tiruvottiyur in 2006 election and became Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development and corporation Minister between 2006 and 2011 under the cabinet formed by the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi.
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National Science Day

  • In India, the National Science Day (NSD) is celebrated on 28th February. The day is observed every year to commemorate the discovery of the 'Raman Effect' by Sir C. V. Raman on 28th February 1928. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for the same. Science Week is also observed along with the National Science Day.
  • The National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) had asked the Government of India to designate 28th February as National Science Day in 1986. Followed by which the Government declared 28th February as NSD. The first National Science Day was celebrated on February 28, 1987.
  • On the occasion of the first NSD (28 February 1987), NCSTC announced the institution of the National Science Popularisation awards for recognising outstanding efforts in the area of science communication and popularisation.
  • The theme for National Science Day 2020 is "Women in Science."
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Sahitya Akademi's Translation Prize 2019 Awarded to English Translation of 'Kusumabale'

  • Sahitya Akademi's Translation Prize for 2019 in the category of translation into English was awarded in 2020 to Kannada novel Kusumabale by Devanur Mahadeva, translated into English by Susan Daniel.
  • Chandrashekar Kambar, President of Sahitya Akademi, announced a total of 23 awards in various Indian languages.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and a copper plaque.
  • Kusumbale was published in 1998, is a classic novel in Kannada Literature, written in a language typically spoken in Chamarajnagar district in Southern Karnataka, it combines prose, poetry, mythology of Dalit life.
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Atal Innovation Mission, NASSCOM launches AI Based Learning Courses for Students

  • NITI Aayog supported Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and NASSCOM have joined hands to impart Artificial Intelligence-based learning at Atal Tinkering Labs aimed at empowering students to innovate and create valuable solutions to problems.
  • With an imperative to empower the youngest minds of the country with the latest technologies, NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in collaboration with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) launched an AI-based Module rolled out for students in Indian schools.
  • The objective of the AI-based module is to leverage the full potential of AIM's ATL and empower students to innovate and create valuable solutions benefiting society at large.
  • The module contains activities, videos and experiments for students to work through and learn various concepts of AI.
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