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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

06 Mar 2020

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Singapore's Daren Tang New Director General of Geneva-based WIPO

  • Singapore's intellectual property chief is poised to head the global intellectual property office, after becoming the first Singaporean to be nominated to helm a United Nations agency.
  • Mr. Daren Tang received the nomination to become the next director-general of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which shapes global rules for intellectual property and oversees patents.
  • He was selected by the agency's 83-member coordination committee from a slate which originally comprised 10 candidates. In the final round of voting, he garnered 55 votes against China's candidate, lawyer Wang Binying, who received 28 votes.
  • The nomination of Mr. Tang, who is chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), will have to be confirmed by the WIPO general assembly when it convenes on May 7 and 8, 2020.
  • WIPO's general assembly has the final say, and has never rejected a committee nominee since the agency was created in 1967.

TIME Magazine Names 100 Powerful Women who Defined the Last Century

  • Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and freedom fighter Amrit Kaur were named by the TIME magazine among world's 100 powerful women who defined the last century in a new project that "spotlights influential women who were often overshadowed."
  • TIME named Kaur as 'Women of the Year' for 1947 and Gandhi for 1976 in special covers recreated by the publication.
  • Daughter of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi was "as ruthless as she was charismatic," the profile said, adding that by 1975, as a result of economic instability, Gandhi's government was "swamped by an avalanche of street protests, and after her election was deemed invalid, she declared an emergency."
  • Kaur's profile said that the young princess returned to India in 1918 after studying at Oxford and soon became fascinated by Mahatma Gandhi's teachings. Born into the royal family of Kapurthala, Rajkumari Kaur "decided her life's mission was to help India break free from its colonial ties and oppressive societal norms."
  • She tackled social issues, pushing for women's education and the right to vote and to divorce, and speaking out against child marriage.
  • After India got independence in 1947, Kaur became the first woman to join the Cabinet, serving as Health Minister for 10 years. In that position, she founded the Indian Council for Child Welfare; helped establish the country's top hospital and medical college; and campaigned to prevent malaria, likely saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

Russia and Turkey Declare Syria Ceasefire

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that they have reached agreements that could end fighting in northwestern Syria.
  • They said that a ceasefire will come into force in Idlib at midnight. Putin also voiced hope that the deal would end civilian suffering and help contain a humanitarian crisis.
  • The two countries' Foreign Ministers said that the agreement involves a cease-fire that must be enforced starting at midnight along the existing battle lines.
  • The deal also envisages setting up a 12km-wide security corridor along the M4 highway. The corridor will be jointly patrolled by Russian and Turkish troops, starting March 15.
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ENVIRONMENT

In 15 Years, Amazon Forest May Turn into CO2 Source

  • As per reports, the world's tropical forests are rapidly losing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions, with the Amazon rainforest at risk of turning from carbon sink to source within 15 years.
  • Tropical forests provide humans with medicine, food, shelter and water and currently account for around half of all terrestrial carbon absorption.
  • But they are rapidly getting saturated as man-made emissions continue to climb year on year. Forests act as a carbon sink when the amount of carbon retrieved through photosynthesis outweighs that emitted by tree loss - be that through fire, drought or deforestation. The rate of forest decline varies throughout the world, with the Amazon's absorption ability dropping far faster than the tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • A team of dozens of Europe- and Africa-based researchers monitored tree growth and mortality data from undisturbed forests across 11 countries in Africa stretching back over 50 years.
  • They then compared that data with similar measurements taken across more than 300 plots of Amazon rainforest.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

RBI Imposes Moratorium on Yes Bank; Caps Withdrawals

  • The Reserve Bank imposed a moratorium on the capital-starved Yes Bank and capped withdrawals at Rs. 50,000 per account till further orders.
  • The RBI also assured the depositors of the bank that their interest will be fully protected and there is no need to panic.
  • Former SBI CFO Prashant Kumar has been appointed as administrator for Yes Bank.
  • The latest development comes six months after the regulator did the same with the city-based cooperative lender PMC Bank after a large scam was unearthed.

RBI Deputy Governor Vishwanathan to Quit

  • RBI Deputy Governor N. S. Vishwanathan has decided to step down by March 31 due to ill health, three months before the end of his extended one-year tenure.
  • While the Reserve Bank has accepted his request to be relieved by March 31, the same has to be accepted by the Cabinet as well, which is likely to happen any day given his health condition.
  • His one-year extension was to end on July 3.
  • Vishwanathan has been in-charge of the key supervisory and regulatory functions at the Mint Road and it was this powerful position that led the government to offer him an extension given the mess in the banking system.

SEBI Launches Mobile App for Investors to Lodge Grievances

  • Markets regulator SEBI launched a mobile application for convenience of investors to lodge grievances in SEBI Complaints Redress System (SCORES).
  • The app, 'Sebi SCORES', is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
  • "SCORES' mobile app will make it easier for investors to lodge their grievances with SEBI, as they can now access SCORES at their convenience of a smartphone. The mobile app will encourage investors to lodge their complaints on SCORES rather than sending letters to SEBI in physical mode.
  • The app has all the features of SCORES, which is currently available electronically.
  • SCORES is a platform for investors to lodge online complaints with SEBI against listed companies, registered intermediaries and market infrastructure institutions.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

IIT-M Develops AI-powered Drones to Counter Rogue Drones

  • Institute of Technology, Madras, claimed to have developed an AI-powered drone to counter rogue drones (unregulated unmanned aerial vehicles) ensuring safety at vital locations.
  • The AI-powered system would be an assistance to law enforcement agencies, security services, armed forces in order to secure air space over critical civilian and military installations by rogue drones.
  • The drones can hack into the GPS navigation system of the rogue drones forcing it to change its flight path or make a safe landing.
  • The current prototype is equipped to detect and track objects visually, precisely land. The next step will be to conduct exhaustive tests on the system for and ensure its reliability to cater wide range of missions.
  • The system is designed by department of aerospace engineering, final year student Vasu Gupta, project associate Rishabh Vashistha. The team is mentored by Ranjith Mohan.

NASA's 2020 Mars Rover Now Has an Official Name

  • NASA announced the name of its next Mars rover: Perseverance.
  • It will be the fifth exploratory vehicle on the Red Planet following in the tire tracks of the similarly augustly titled Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity.
  • The name was announced at an event at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia, to congratulate Alex Mather, the seventh grade student who picked it.
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SPORTS

Badminton Asia Championships 2020 Shifted to Manila from Wuhan

  • Badminton Asia confirmed that Badminton World Federation (BWF) shifted the Badminton Asia Championships 2020 to Manila, Philippines from Wuhan, China. It will be conducted in Manila from April 21 to 26, 2020.
  • The Badminton Asia Championship 2020 event was shifted due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and this championship falls within the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualification window.
  • The Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) had successfully hosted the Asia Team Championships from Feb 11-16 2020, in Manila.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Maharashtra Government Renames Aurangabad Airport

  • The Maharashtra Government renamed the Aurangabad Airport as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Airport.
  • The airport has been renamed after Sambhaji Maharaj, the son of Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • The decision was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
  • The BJP, a former ally of Shiv Sena, had reportedly demanded that the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government rename the city of Aurangabad as 'Sambhajinagar'.

Punjab Govt. to Install Statues of Religious Figures and Freedom Fighters

  • Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh approved the installation in the state statues of Hindu deity Parshuram, iconic king Maharaja Agrasen, legendary Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, freedom fighter Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna and Father of the Indian Constitution Dr. B R Ambedkar. The decision has been taken to promote the nation's and the state's rich historical legacy.
  • The chief minister described the initiative as an instrument to connect the youth with the glorious past of their ancestors.
  • The Chief Minister gave approval to install a bronze statue of Lord Parshuram at Ludhiana and that of legendary Indian king of Agroha, Maharaja Agarsen, at Bathinda.
  • The statue of legendary Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur would be installed at Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib district, the statue of Ambedkar will be erected by Punjab Technical University in and around Phagwara or Jalandhar, while a bust in the memory of Baba Sohan Bhakna, to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the legendary freedom fighter, will be put up in Amritsar district.
  • Singh also gave in-principle approval for the installation of the statue of Baba Maharaj Singh in his native village Uchi Rabbon in Ludhiana district.
  • Recognising the immense contribution of Victoria Cross recipient and hero of Saragarhi battle Sepoy Ishar Singh, the CM also asked the steering committee to install his statue as a humble tribute to the iconic Sikh soldier in Ludhiana.

India & US Sign Deal for Missile Protection Suites for New Boeing-777 VVIP Planes

  • India signed Rs. 1,200 crore deal with the United States to procure the missile protection suites for two new Boeing-777 VVIP planes. The missile protection suites will be code named as 'Air Force One' and it will be expected to arrive India in middle of 2021 to begin VVIP planes.
  • Boeing-777 VVIP planes are being acquired for the purpose of President and Prime Minister's Domestic and International visits.
  • The features of self-protection suites include infrared and electronic warfare countermeasures suites, countermeasure dispensing systems, and missile warning sensors.
  • The aircraft will be operated by Indian Air Force pilots trained by Air India, which already maintained four Boeing 777 planes earlier.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

5th Edition of India Pharma & India Medical Device 2020 Conference

  • The 5th edition of India Pharma 2020 and India Medical Device 2020 Conference & Exhibition started on March 5 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat and will go on till March 7, 2020 and the 3 day conference was inaugurated by Shri Sadananda Gowda, Chemicals and Fertilizers (C&F) Minister and Shri Mansukh Mandviya, Minister of State (MoS of C&F) addressed the conference. The conference was organised by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
  • Theme of 2020: India Pharma: Meeting Challenges of Affordable and Quality Healthcare
  • India Medical Device (IMD): Promoting Affordable Responsible and Quality Medical Device for Universal Healthcare.
  • The theme encourages innovations to further reduce the cost of quality healthcare for all and a platform to the global investment community to connect with stakeholders in the Medical Device Sector.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2019

  • World champion shuttler P. V. Sindhu was named Sportsperson of the Year at the fourth Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2019 in New Delhi.
  • Rio Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who won the world championship gold at Basel, Switzerland, last year also bagged the Unbreakable Spirit of Sports award.
  • Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia was given the Lifetime Achievement award, while hockey legend and three-time Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr. was honoured with the Icon of the Century award.
  • National badminton coach Pulella Gopichand won the Mentor of the Year award, while former shooter Jaspal Rana was recognised as the Coach of the Year.
  • Sindhu bagged a hat-trick of awards when she was named as the Badminton Player of the Year in female category, while B. Sai Praneeth got the recognition among male shuttlers.
  • India's first world championship silver medallist pugilist Amit Phanghal won the recognition among male boxers while Lovlina Borgohain bagged the award among female boxers.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

IIT-Delhi Signs MOU with ZTE Telecom India

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi) entered into a collaboration with ZTE Telecom India private limited for offering scholarships to undergraduate students. Under this ZTE Telecom India Scholarship three new students of undergraduate course will be offered Rs. 1 lakh per year for four years.
  • The scholarship will be awarded to the needy bright student from low income family who get selected in IIT for four years of his/ her undergraduate course.
  • The MOU was signed between ZTE India CEO Yan Xiao and Professor Sanjeev Sanghi Dean Alumni Affairs and International Relations at Board Room IIT Delhi in the presence of other senior Professors of IIT Delhi and officers of ZTE India.
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ART AND CULTURE

Oldest Egyptian Pyramid Reopens

  • The oldest Egyptian pyramid officially reopened after many years of restoration work.
  • The Djoser step pyramid in Saqqara dates back 4,700 years.
  • It was built during the Third Dynasty of the Pharoahs.
  • Work on its restoration began nearly 15 years ago.
  • It was interrupted for several years during the unrest that followed the uprising against ex-President Hosni Mubarak.
  • The design of the pyramid set the style for the great pyramids of Giza.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Smriti Irani Releases Book; Collection of 25 Initiatives Taken under BBBP Scheme

  • Union Minister of Women & Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani released a book, titled "Chronicles of Change Champions" at an event held in New Delhi.
  • The book is a compilation of 25 innovative initiatives taken at the State and District levels under the Prime Minister's flagship scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP). It captures the convergent approach adopted at the grassroots level and provides insight into the unique manner of community engagement by the District Administration and frontline workers.
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