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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

11 May 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Colombian Airline Avianca Files for Bankruptcy in US court

  • Colombia's national airline, Avianca, has filed for bankruptcy protection in a US court.
  • The carrier is the second-largest in Latin America, but its passenger operations have been grounded since March 2020 because of coronavirus.
  • If it fails to come out of bankruptcy, Avianca will be the first major airline to go under amid the pandemic.
  • Behind KLM, Avianca is the second-longest continually running airline in the world.

Saudi Arabia Triples VAT to Support Coronavirus-hit Economy

  • Saudi Arabia is tripling its value added tax (VAT) as part of austerity measures to support its coronavirus-hit economy.
  • The government in Riyadh also said it will suspend its cost of living allowance to shore up state finances.
  • The oil-rich nation has seen its income plummet as the impact of the pandemic has forced down global energy prices.
  • The kingdom first introduced VAT two years ago as part of efforts to cut its reliance on world crude oil markets.
  • Saudi Arabia's state news agency said VAT will increase from 5% to 15% as of 1 July, 2020 while the cost of living allowance will be suspended from 1 June, 2020.
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ENVIRONMENT

Number of Tigers in the Indian Sunderbans in 2019-20 Rose to 96

  • According to the latest estimation of tiger numbers in the Indian Sunderbans by the West Bengal Forest Department, the tiger count for the year 2019-20 rose to 96, from 88 in 2018-19.
  • The Sunderbans delta, spread over India and Bangladesh, is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers.
  • The increase in the number by eight was significant as it was the biggest annual jump reported from the Sunderbans.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Carlyle to Buy 74% Stake in SeQuent for Rs 1,587 Crore

  • The US based private equity firm The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire 74% stake in SeQuent Scientific Limited, the largest pure-play animal healthcare company in India, for $210 million (Rs.1587 crore). Carlyle will buy shares at a price of Rs.86 a piece.
  • ET was the first to report about the transaction in its Friday edition.
  • Carlyle will buy 56.15% (94 million shares) stake held by promters including founders Arun Kumar and KR Ravishankar, and 26% stake (64 million) from public through open offer

GSK sells $3.35 Billion Stake in Hindustan Unilever

  • GlaxoSmithKline sold its stake in Unilever's Indian business for $3.35 billion, which Refinitiv says is the largest block trade ever to have been carried out in India.
  • The funds will help GSK in its goal of reinvigorating its drug development pipeline, having made costly bets on experimental cancer treatments and future cell and gene therapies amid sluggish revenue growth.
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DEFENCE

India Launches Mission Sagar to Assist Island Nations in Eastern Indian Ocean

  • India launched Mission Sagar as part of the government's outreach initiative towards five Island nations in the Indian Ocean amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a statement said, "Indian Naval Ship Kesari has departed for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, to provide Food Items, COVID related Medicines including HCQ Tablets and Special Ayurvedic Medicines with Medical Assistance Teams embarked."
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Edu-Tech Firm ELSA Corp Appoints Indian Cricketer Ajinkya as its Brand Ambassador

  • ELSA Corp (English Language Speech Assistant Corporation) India, the education technology company based out of the US (United States), has appointed Indian Test team vice-captain Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane as its brand ambassador for India, Middle East, ANZ (Australia & New Zealand) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).
  • Now Rahane will work with company's mobile app 'ELSA Speak' to popularize it among Indian people who want to better their English pronunciation.

Ratan Khatri, Matka King of 60s-90s, Dead

  • Ratan Khatri, considered by many as among the pioneers of betting in India, has died. Khatri, 88, died after a brief illness at his home in Navjeevan Society in Mumbai Central area.
  • Hailing from a Sindhi family, Khatri came to Mumbai from Karachi in Pakistan when he was a teenager during the partition in 1947. Famous for his 'Matka King' sobriquet, Khatri is credited with transforming matka (a form of gambling that originated in Mumbai in 1962) into India's biggest betting racket and established a nation-wide gambling network that lasted for decades under his control.

Seinfeld Star and Father of Actor Ben Dies Aged 92

  • Born in New York in 1927, Stiller spent many years in a comedy team with his wife Anne Meara, who died in 2015.
  • Comedian Jerry Stiller, best known for his recurring role as George Costanza's father on TV's Seinfeld, has died aged 92, his actor son Ben has confirmed.
  • His other roles included Arthur Spooner in TV sitcom The King of Queens.
  • Stiller appeared with son Ben in several film comedies, among them Zoolander, Zoolander 2 and The Heartbreak Kid.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

National Technology Day

  • National Technology Day is being observed on May 11 to signify the glorious achievements of Indian science and technology.
  • On this day in 1998, India successfully carried out nuclear tests in Rajasthan's Pokhran. On the same day India also performed successful test firing of the Trishul Missile and had test flown the first indigenous aircraft - 'Hansa - 3'.
  • A high-level digital conference on Rebooting the Economy through Science, Technology and Research is  being  organized by Technology Development Board  to mark the day.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Central Board of Direct Taxes Amends Rule 44G of Income-tax Rules 1962

  • Central Board of Direct Taxes on Thursday has amended Rule 44G of Income-tax Rules, 1962 for making an application to invoke the mutual agreement procedure in Form no. 34F.
  • It also states that if a resolution is arrived, the same shall be communicated to the assessee, who shall communicate his acceptance or non-acceptance within 30 days. Upon acceptance of the resolution, the assessee shall withdraw any appeal filed in this regard and pay the tax determined by the assessing officer after giving effect to the resolution.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Prince Harry, Meghan Tell-All Biography Set for August Release

  • A new tell-all biography of Britain''s Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle is topping the pre-order charts as it went online on e-commerce site Amazon.
  • ''Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family'' by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand will be released worldwide on August 11, 2020 and claims to go beyond the headlines to reveal details of the couple who stepped back as frontline royals to settle down in the US.
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