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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

11 Mar 2020


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Ashraf Ghani Takes Oath for a Second Term

  • Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the President of Afghanistan for the second term at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
  • The ceremony was attended by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, US Charge d'Affaires Ross Wilson, and US, NATO forces commander Gen. Scott Miller, along with the ambassadors from the EU, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany and Norway.
  • Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, who too claimed to have won the Presidential election, also held a swearing-ceremony for himself.
  • Ghani was declared to have won a second term in February, nearly five months after the polls were held in September amid a record number of Taliban attacks intended to destabalise the election.
  • The preliminary results of the September votes were announced in December 2019. Ghani was narrowly declared the winner while Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah got 39 per cent of a total of over 1.8 million votes. However, opposition parties immediately protested the result, threatening a full-blown political crisis on the cusp of a United States peace deal with the Taliban. The IEC conducted the assessments of votes and announced the results in February 2020, declaring Ghani as the winner.

Inclusive Internet Index 2020

  • Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released the 4th iteration of the Inclusive Internet Index 2020 for 100 countries where India is overall ranked in 46th place and Sweden in 1st place. The index aimed to measure the extent to which the Internet is not only accessible & affordable, but also relevant to all, allowing usage that enables positive social & economic outcomes at the individual & group level. It is commissioned by Facebook.
  • Among South Asian countries India ranked first followed by Srilanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • The 1st country ranked is Sweden, followed by New Zealand (2nd) and the US (3rd). Australia & Denmark both ranked (4th), followed by South Korea (6th), Canada (7th), the United Kingdom (8th), France (9th), Spain (10th) & Pakistan (76th).

UN Adopts Political Declaration on Women's Rights

  • The United Nations (UN), an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, adopted a stripped-down political declaration on women's rights that sought to protect the benefits under threat but does not recommend new ways to ensure progress toward equality.
  • A UN declaration on women is approved every 5 years.
  • The declaration was adopted during the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held in New York, US (United States), that was compressed to just one day meet from a normal 2-week meet due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
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New Colony of Rare Freshwater Pearl Mussels

  • A new colony of endangered freshwater pearl mussels has been discovered in north Highland.
  • The rare species was uncovered during a watercourse survey being carried out before culvert replacement work.
  • The pearl mussels are similar in shape to common marine mussels, but can grow larger and live for up to 130 years in fast-flowing rivers.
  • The Highlands and Islands are among Britain's last strongholds for the critically-endangered species.
  • The location of the find is being kept secret to prevent illegal poaching.
  • The survey was carried out ahead of habitat improvement work funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS).
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TESCO Sells Asia Unit

  • TESCO Plc agreed to sell its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia to Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont for more than $10 billion and will return almost two-thirds of the proceeds to shareholders. Britain's largest supermarket chain plans a £5 billion special dividend after agreeing to sell the assets to Chearavanont's Charoen Pokphand Group. The deal will generate cash proceeds of £8 billion and represents an enterprise value of £8.2 billion.

Mukesh Ambani Loses Asia's Richest Crown

  • Mukesh Ambani, an Indian industrialist and chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), is no longer Asia's richest man. Now, Jack Ma has become the richest man of Asia as RIL's share prices crashed at the stock market due to the Coronavirus epidemic and fall of oil prices.
  • Mukesh Ambani lost USD 5.8 billion in net worth due to the crash of share prices. The founder of Alibaba became Asia's richest man with a net worth of USD 44.5 billion. However, Mukesh Ambani is the richest man of India with a net worth of USD 41.8 billion.

Saudi Arabia and Russia Raise Stakes in Oil Standoff

  • Saudi Arabia will raise its crude supply to a record high in April, the kingdom announced on Tuesday, as it ratcheted up a standoff with Moscow over market share and appeared to reject Russian overtures for new talks.
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New Type of Pulsating Star Discovered After 40-Year Search

  • A star that pulses on just one side has been predicted in theory. But it took two simultaneous discoveries on opposite sides of our planet to uncover the first such example of a 'one-sided pulsator.
  • A star that pulsates on just one side has been discovered in the Milky Way about 1500 light-years from Earth. It is the first of its kind to be found and scientists expect to find many more similar systems as technology to listen inside the beating hearts of stars improves.
  • Stars like this are usually fairly rich with metals — but this is metal poor, making it a rare type of hot star.
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Punjab Launches Mobile App to Spread Awareness on Coronavirus

  • The Punjab government launched a mobile application to spread awareness about the precautions to be taken against coronavirus.
  • The "Cova Punjab" app has been developed by the Department of Government Reforms and Public Grievances in consultation with the Health and Family Welfare Department.
  • The application, launched by Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, will spread awareness among people by sharing travel and preventive care advisories.
  • The chief secretary said the mobile application provides options to check for symptoms as provided by the government from time to time and follow the advice given thereafter.
  • The application also suggests the nearest hospital where people can report in case they show symptoms of the virus.

Karnataka Scraps Shaadi Bhagya Scheme

  • The BJP government in Karnataka scrapped the Shaadi Bhagya Scheme that was launched by Congress government in the state in 2013.
  • Under the scheme, Rs. 50,000 was given to Muslim brides for marriage expenses after they submitted their Aadhar and BPL cards.
  • While the previous coalition government had allocated Rs. 60 crore budget for the scheme, the BJP government decided to discontinue the scheme. Congress called the move by the state government as anti-minority.

Odisha Becomes the 1st State to Introduce Department for SHGs: "Mission Shakti"

  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that Odisha is the 1st state to own a separate department for Self Help Groups named "Department of Mission Shakti". It is created for the development of women & is dedicated to all the women of Odisha.
  • Mission Shakti and Mamata Scheme combinedly benefit 70 lakh women in the state.
  • 50% reservation in Panchayati Raj has created a new era for the socio-economic development of women.
  • Earlier in the state budget, it has introduced an independent Nutrition Budget, whose primary focus will be on mother-child nutrition.
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Lt Gen KJS Dhillon is DG of Defence Intelligence Agency

  • Former decorated Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon was appointed as Director General, Defence Intelligence Agency, and Deputy Chief of Integrating Defence Staff (Intelligence) under the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the Department of Military Affairs.
  • The Defence Intelligence Agency is an organisation responsible for providing and coordinating military intelligence for the Indian armed forces. The DIA was created in 2002 on recommendations of a Group of Ministers which looked into lapses leading to the Kargil intrusion in 1999.

Nupur Kulshrestha Becomes Indian Coast Guard's First Woman DIG

  • Nupur Kulshrestha became the 1st woman to be promoted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Indian Coast Guard. She joined Indian Coast Guard in 1999.
  • On August 18, 1978 ICG was established by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent armed force of India & is operated under the Ministry of defence.
  • It is an armed forces & multi-mission organisation, which conducts real life operations at sea round the year. Maritime zones of India are divided into 5 coast guard regions, namely; North- West, West, East,North-East & Andman & nicobar & are headquartered in Gandhinagar, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolakata& Port Blair.
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UNGCNI Organises 3rd Gender Equality Summit 2020

  • UNGCNI (United Nations Global Compact Network India), a country level platform for public & private sector, businesses to align stakeholders' responsible practices towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), organised the 3rd edition of its Gender Equality Summit 2020 with the theme "India Inc. For Generation Equality: Decade of Action" in New Delhi.
  • The summit, aimed to create a strong roadmap towards gender equality at workplaces in India, focused on driving and bringing in change for equal opportunities in employment and growth for the women skill workforce.
  • The summit also coincided with the International Women's day (March 8), and consequently linked the international theme with the Indian context to underscore the present generation as a main role and the India Inc as a key catalyst for gender equality.
  • The summit saw the participation of over 250 leaders including Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Representative of UN Women MCO for India, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka & Anjali Singh, MD, Deutsche Bank to share insights on 'women empowerment.

Traditional 'Fagli' Festival in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur

  • The traditional "Fagli" festival at kinnaur district in Yangpa village, Himachal Pradesh is celebrated every year in March. This festival is celebrated to denote the end of the winter and the start of the Spring. It is mainly celebrated on the moonless night.
  • It is also celebrated to receive blessings from Deota (God) for the upcoming harvest season.
  • Men start to dance in circles wearing their traditional attire and face masks, where a large number of local people gather to watch the event.
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Telangana State Agricultural University Vice Chancellor Praveen Rao Wins Dr. MS Swaminathan Award

  • V. Praveen Rao, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Professor Jaya Shankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), won the 7th edition of Dr. MS Swaminathan Award for the period 2017- 2019. The award will be conferred on him in June 2020. The award was constituted by Retired Indian Council of Agricultural Research Employees Association (RICAREA) and Nuziveedu Seeds Limited (NSL).
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 2 lakh and a citation.
  • The Award Selection Committee was held under the Chairmanship of RS Paroda, former Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  • The Selection Committee selected Praveen Rao for the award recognising his contributions in the fields of agricultural research, teaching, extension and administration.
  • Praveen Rao handled 13 research & 6 consultancy projects on micro irrigation in India, Israel and South Africa.
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MSDE Launches Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) in IIM-Bengaluru

  • Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey initiated Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship programme (MGNF) in the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bengaluru in Karnataka. This fellowship is a part of SANKALP (Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion) programme of the ministry to boost skill development at the district level.
  • MGNF is an initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) which is implemented by IIM Bangalore in collaboration with State Skill Development Missions (SSDMs).
  • Under the pilot project, IIMB will train 75 graduates for two years in preparing the District skill plan. Graduates from 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Meghalaya are chosen for the training.
  • -The two-year comprises of classroom sessions at IIM Bangalore with mentorship of Fellows while in district.

Second Patient Cured of HIV, Say Doctors

  • A man from London became the second person in the world to be cured of HIV, doctors say.
  • Adam Castillejo is still free of the virus more than 30 months after stopping anti-retroviral therapy.
  • He was not cured by the HIV drugs, however, but by a stem-cell treatment he received for a cancer he also had.
  • The donors of those stem cells have an uncommon gene that gives them, and now Mr. Castillejo, protection against HIV.
  • In 2011, Timothy Brown, the "Berlin patient" became the first person reported as cured of HIV, three and half years after having similar treatment.
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Tahira Kashyap Announces a New Book Titled "The 12 Commandments Of Being A Woman"

  • Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, writer- producer, professor, announced her 4th book titled "The 12 Commandments Of Being A Woman" on the occasion of Women's Day and the new book will be published by Juggernaut Books, New Delhi.
  • Tahira Kashyap is married to actor Ayushmann Khurrana and started writing books from the year 2011.
  • The books authored by her are "I Promise", "Souled Out" and in the year 2015 she co-authored Ayushmann's biography "Cracking the Code: My Journey in Bollywood".
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