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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

19 May 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Leonardo DiCaprio Joins DR Congo Gorilla Park Campaign After Attack

  • Leonardo DiCaprio has joined a campaign to support Africa's oldest nature reserve after it came under a deadly attack.
  • Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a popular tourist attraction and is known for its endangered mountain gorilla population.
  • In April 2020, 12 rangers at the park were killed in an ambush by a suspected Rwandan rebel group.
  • DiCaprio has now contributed to a new fund which aims to support the park.
  • Earth Alliance, a group co-founded by the actor, has donated part of the initial $2

Coronavirus has Japanese Businesses Mulling a Future Without Hanko

  • Amid government stay-at-home requests to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Japanese companies are increasingly trying to implement work-from-home policies. But some say the use of traditional seals, called hanko or inkan, as proof of agreement is hampering their efforts.
  • A hanko/inkan (used interchangeably) is a carved stamp that can be used in any situation where an individual, or an individual on behalf of a company, might otherwise use a signature or initials. Signing contracts, doing your banking (at a bank) or receiving a parcel are just three such cases.

Thomas Thabane Resigns as Lesotho Prime Minister

  • Thomas Thabane has announced he will step down as prime minister of Lesotho following months of pressure after he was named as a suspect in the murder of his ex-wife.
  • He did not say when he would leave office but his party said a new premier would be sworn in.
  • The 80-year-old's current wife, with whom he was living at the time of the murder, was charged in connection with the killing in February, 2020.
  • The pair have denied any involvement.
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ENVIRONMENT

Amphan Develops Into a Super Cyclonic Storm

  • Cyclone Amphan has intensified into a super cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal. West Bengal and Odisha are expected to witness intense winds.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting on the preparedness and evacuation plans that have been drawn up by disaster management authorities ahead of Amphan cyclone's landfall.
  • Coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal are expected to witness wind speeds of up to 230-240 kmph gusting to 265 kmph.
  • Heavy rainfall is also expected in the region. 

Rare Dinosaur Identified in Australia

  • A fossil unearthed in Australia by a volunteer digger has been identified as a rare, toothless dinosaur that roamed the country 110 million years ago.
  • The elaphrosaur, whose name means "light-footed lizard", was related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.
  • The five-centimetre (two-inch) vertebrae fossil was discovered during a dig near Cape Otway in Victoria in 2015.
  • It is the first elaphrosaur bone ever to be found in Australia.
  • The fossil was discovered by volunteer Jessica Parker, who was taking part in an annual dig led by Melbourne Museum.
  • At the time, it was thought to be from a flying reptile called a pterosaur. But when palaeontologists at Swinburne University in Melbourne studied the fossil further, they realised it was a delicately-built dinosaur.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Exoplanet Climate 'Decoder' Aids Search For Life

  • After examining a dozen types of suns and a roster of planet surfaces, Cornell University astronomers have developed a practical model -- an environmental color "decoder" -- to tease out climate clues for potentially habitable exoplanets in galaxies far away.
  • Madden and Kaltenegger are co-authors of "How Surfaces Shape the Climate of Habitable Exoplanets," released May 18 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Researchers Found a New Species Fungi Named Troglomyces Twitteri

  • Researchers from the University of Copenhagen's Natural History Museum of Denmark discovered new species of parasitic fungus via Twitter.
  • The newly discovered fungus was named "Troglomyces twitteri", after Twitter.
  • The discovery was made by the biologist and associate professor Ana Sofia Reboleira of the National Natural History Museum.
  • She stumbled upon a photo of a North American millipede shared by US colleague Derek Hennen of Virginia Tech on Twitter in 2018.
  • The researcher spotted a few tiny dots on the North American millipede.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Eight Others Sworn in As Legislative Council Members

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took oath as a member of the Legislative Council on May 18, 2020.
  • Thackeray was administered the oath of the office by Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar at a function held at the Vidhan Bhawan in south Mumbai.
  • Along with Maharashtra CM, eight others were also sworn in to the council including Council Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena), four BJP candidates, two NCP candidates and one Congress Candidate.
  • All the members were elected to the upper house of the Maharashtra state legislature unopposed on May 14, 2020. 

J&K Notifies Amended Domicile Certificate Rules

  • Jammu and Kashmir government notified Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020.
  • These rules prescribe the procedure for issuance of Domicile Certificate, which has been made the basic eligibility condition for appointment to any post under the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Under the rules, 15 days will be required for issuance of the certificate, after which the applicant shall be free to approach an Appellate Authority.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Jack Ma Resigns From SoftBank's Board of Directors

  • Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma will be stepping down from Softbank Group's board of directors, after serving for nearly 13 years. Ma is expected to resign from the Group's board on June 25, 22020 when the group is scheduled to convene its annual shareholder meeting.
  • Jack Ma had retired as the Executive Chairman of Alibaba in September 2019. His resignation from SoftBank Group comes as he attempts to pull back from formal business roles to focus on philanthropic activities. 
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DAYS AND EVENTS

World AIDS Vaccine Day

  •  World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, is observed annually on May 18.
  • HIV vaccine advocates mark the day by promoting the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS.
  • The concept of World AIDS Vaccine Day is rooted in a May 18, 1997 commencement speech at Morgan State University made by then-President Bill Clinton.

Armed Forces Day

  • Armed Forces Day is observed on the third Saturday in May.
  • In 2020, it was celebrated on the 16th of May.
  • This day is celebrated to pay tribute to the men and women who served the United States Armed Forces.

World Hypertension Day Observed Globally on 17th May

  • World Hypertension Day is observed globally on 17th May every year.
  • The day was celebrated for the 1st time in May 2005. World Hypertension Day (WHD) is an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension.
  • The theme for World Hypertension Day 2020: Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Madhya Pradesh Launches Charan Paduka Initiative

  • In Madhya Pradesh, in a first of its kind of initiative, Charan Paduka (चरण पादुका) campaign has been started for the migrant labourers passing through the state.
  • Under this campaign, the migrant labourers going barefoot are being providing shoes and slippers to reduce their pain.
  • The most notable thing is that this campaign is being conducted by the police at most places.
  • The Charan Paduka campaign started from the Rau Police Station of Indore. 
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