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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

23 Jun 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Malawi Presidential Election

  • Polls opened in Malawi a year on from President Peter Mutharika's disputed election victory that was annulled nearly five months ago.
  • Mr. Mutharika, who wants a second term, is up against Lazarus Chakwera, who heads an opposition coalition.
  • Evidence of vote tampering including correction fluid on tally sheets led to judges scrapping his May 2019 victory and ordering a fresh election.
  • Malawi became the second African nation to annul a presidential election over irregularities, after Kenya in 2017.
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ENVIRONMENT

Arctic Circle Sees Highest-ever Recorded Temperatures

  • Temperatures in the Arctic Circle are likely to have hit an all-time record, reaching a scorching 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town.
  • The record still needs to be verified, but it appears to have been 18C higher than the average maximum daily temperature in June.
  • Hot summer weather is not uncommon in the Arctic Circle, but recent months have seen abnormally high temperatures.
  • The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average.
  • Verkhoyansk sits just inside the Arctic Circle, in remote Siberia. It has an extreme climate with temperatures plunging in January to an average maximum of -42C and then surging in June to 20C.
  • But a persistent heatwave this year in the Arctic Circle has worried meteorologists. In March, April and May, the Copernicus Climate Change service reported that the average temperature was around 10C above normal.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Yes Bank and Affordplan Jointly Launch Co-Branded Healthcare Card

  • Yes Bank Limited, an Indian public bank, has joined hands with Delhi-based fintech startup Affordplan, to launch a first of its kind co-branded healthcare card called 'Swasth Card' under Swasth program with the aim to enable families plan and manage their finances for their healthcare needs.
  • Besides, Yes Bank's wallet has also been integrated on Affordplan Swasth to pave the way for wallet QR (Quick Response) scan for making payments to merchant partners enlisted on the Affordplan Swasth app.
  • Swasth app will have affordable recharges from Rs. 100 up to a maximum balance of Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Yes Bank customers can get goal-based savings projection chart for medical treatment based on provided treatment & they will be given healthcare services and treatments at a discounted price.
  • The card also has insurance cover, cashback benefits, access to loan facilities for IPD (In Patient Department) treatments so as they can save on expenses related to OPD (Out Patient Department) consultation, diagnostics, medicines & IPD treatments.

UCO Bank Ties Up with Four Insurers

  • United Commercial Bank (UCO Bank) partnered with four insurers namely, State Bank of India (SBI) Life Insurance Company, the Oriental Insurance Company and Religare Health Insurance Company, Star Health and Allied Insurance Company to offer various insurance products for its customers.
  • This tie up will help to re-establish the bank's commitment to its customers for their financial well being.
  • With this tie up the bank will offer a broad range of insurance products.
  • The customer interface will be digitised to avail these features.

FPI Minister Launches Food Processing Edition of Exclusive Investment Forum

  • Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union FPI Minister launched the Food Processing Edition of the Exclusive Investment Forum by Invest India, the National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency of the Government of India.
  • Invest India has designed this form of unique sectoral series to conduct detailed conversations between global industry leaders and key decision-makers from the highest levels of the Union & State Governments of India. The forum witnessed participation from the senior-most policymakers from Union Government and 6 State Governments – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. Around 180 companies from 18 countries also participated in the forum.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

IIT-Bombay Develops 'Dhruva', Indian Receiver Chip for NAVIC, GPS Satellites

  • IIT-Bombay has developed a homegrown receiver chip - Dhruva – that can be used in smartphones and navigation devices to find locations and routes within the country. Dhruva will receive signals from India's NAVIC group of navigation satellites as well as the US Global Positioning System-based satellites to determine these accurately under all weather conditions.
  • The radio frequency receiver chip was designed in 18 months by students and researchers at IIT Bombay. It can receive in multiple frequency bands and handle weak signals.

China Launches Final Satellite in Challenge to GPS

  • China successfully put into orbit the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 navigation system, further advancing the country as a major power in space.
  • This launch allows China to no longer rely on the US government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • The $10bn (£8bn) network is made up of 35 satellites and provides global navigation coverage.
  • It comes as tensions between Beijing and Washington are increasing over the coronavirus, trade and Hong Kong.
  • The launch had been scheduled for last week but was delayed after technical problems were found with the rocket in pre-launch tests.
  • The third version of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) offers an alternative to Russia's GLONASS and the European Galileo systems, as well as America's GPS.
  • Future plans promise to support a more accessible and integrated system scheduled to come online by 2035 with BDS at its core.
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SPORTS

Rajinder Goel, Who Played for Haryana, Punjab and Delhi Passes Away

  • Former left-arm spin legend Rajinder Goel, whose record Ranji Trophy wicket haul of 637 scalps still stands, passed away in Rohtak. He was 77. Goel, who played for Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, was a towering presence in domestic cricket during a 25-year first-class career that began in the 1958-59 Ranji season and extended until 1984-85, when he was 42. Goel finished with 750 first-class wickets.
  • Goel and contemporary left-arm spinner, Padmakar Shivalkar of Mumbai, dominated batsmen in the domestic circuit for three decades. They were unlucky their careers ran parallel to that of Bishan Singh Bedi, who formed the famous spin quartet with off-spinners Erapalli Prasanna and S Venkataraghavan, and leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar.
  • Although Goel and Shivalkar were two of the finest spinners produced by India never to play for the country, their longevity and sustained success attested to their class.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Rajasthan Signs Pact With POWERGRID & EdCIL

  • As per Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara, the Rajasthan government signed a tripartite agreement with the Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID) and the Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) to set up smart classrooms in 100 schools with a cost of Rs. 1.85 crore.
  • The initiative is to promote online education during COVID-19 lockdown.
  • E-content syllabus will be available for students from classes 1 to 12. In each schools 4 teachers will be trained to teach in the smart classrooms
  • The priority for establishing the smart classrooms will be given to schools located in remote areas where computer teachers and laboratory assistants have already been appointed.

Finance Ministry Clears Way for Individual, Institutional Contributions to NDRF

  • The Finance Ministry cleared the way for individual and institutional contributions to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), nearly 15 years after it was set up.
  • The letter from the Department of Expenditure, Finance Ministry addressed to Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on the issue of contributions or grants by individuals and institutions under Section 4(1)(b) of the Disaster Management Act, said that it has no objection to the proposal.
  • The matter has been consulted with the Budget Division of the Department of Economic Affairs and the department has no objection to the proposal of contributions/grants from individuals/institutions towards the NDRF as per Section 46(1)(b) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

India Gets Permanent Signatory Status of Washington Accord

  • The Union HRD Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank informed that India has got the Permanent Signatory status of Washington Accord for 6 more years.
  • In the Washington Accord, India is represented by the National Board of Accreditation.
  • The membership of the Washington Accord is an international recognition of the quality of undergraduate engineering education offered by the member country and is an avenue to bring it into the world-class category.
  • It encourages and facilitates the mobility of engineering graduates and professionals at the international level.
  • Earlier in 2014, India had become a permanent signatory of the Washington Accord.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Natarajan Chandrasekaran Re-nominated as a Part-time Non-Official Director on RBI Central Board

  • As per a notification from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Chairman of the Board of Tata Sons, Natarajan Chandrasekaran has been re-nominated as a Part-Time Non-Official Director on RBI Central board for 2 years from March 2020 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • The government had 1st nominated him as the Director on RBI Central board for 4 years from March 4, 2016.
  • The Natarajan Chandrasekaran joined Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 1987, he became its Chief Executive Officer from 2009-17 , prior to which he was Chief Operating Officer (COO) and executive director of TCS
  • He served as the chairman of Tata Motors and Tata Global Beverages(TGB). He has also served as the Chairperson of the Information and Communication Technology Industry Governors at the World Economic Forum, Davos in 2015-16.

IFTAS Appoints T.Tabi Sankar as Chairman and N. Rajendran as CEO

  • The Indian Financial Technology & Allied Services (IFTAS), wholly owned subsidiary of Reserve Bank of India appointed T. Rabi Sankar as the Chairman and Dr. N. Rajendran as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Mr. Shanka is a member of committees including Expert Committee on Integration of Commodity Spot and Derivative Markets (established by the Government of India), Working Group on Establishing Viable Capital Markets and Working Group on Dollar Funding Markets (established by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS))
  • Mr. Rajendran holds a PhD in Computer Science and experience in technology management, cybersecurity, strategizing, people and technology management.
  • He worked as the chief architect in the creation and implementation of Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
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DAYS AND EVENTS

India's First Virtual Healthcare & Hygiene EXPO 2020

  • The Minister of State for Shipping (Independent charge) and Chemicals & Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya introduced India's largest 1st Virtual Healthcare & Hygiene EXPO 2020. This Expo has been organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
  • This unique exhibition aims to give a boost to such health and hygiene endeavours. This is the first-ever largest virtual exhibition in India making a new beginning. This is the new norm, wherein a business will happen virtually as Digital India is now making a way forward. The government giving incentives for setting up of Bulk Drug Parks and Medical Device Parks in the country which will act as a cog in the wheel of Atmanirbharat Abhiyan.

I&B Minister Virtually Inaugurates India Pavilion at Cannes Film Market 2020

  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Market 2020 virtually. Mr. Javadekar highlighted the government's initiative of instituting Film Facilitation Centres for granting quick and easy clearances for shooting of International Films in the Country. Mr. Javadekar called upon global film makers to shoot movies in India and produce them for the global market. He informed that the Marathi movie Mai Ghat and Gujarati movie Hellaro, are the official entrants to be showcased in the Cannes film festival this year.
  • The Minister also launched the poster and information booklet for the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) , slated to held in Goa from the 20th November this year.
  • One of the most prestigious film festivals and cinema's largest annual gathering, Cannes Film Festival had earlier postponed its 73rd edition of this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

International Olympic Day

  • International Olympic Day is celebrated across the world on June 23 every year to mark the importance of games and sports in our lives and to promote participation in games and sports across the world, irrespective of age, gender, cast or religion.
  • The International Olympic Day was first celebrated on June 23, 1894 in nine countries -- Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela. The National Olympic Committees of these nine countries had organised ceremonies and competitions, marking the importance of sports in our lives. Since then, International Olympic Day is celebrated on June 23 every year across the world.
  • This event also marked the start of "modern Olympic Movement" and soon the International Olympic Committee was founded with France's Charles Pierre de Frédy becoming its first President. Therefore, he is also known as the "father of modern Olympic Games.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Book "Legend of Suheldev: The King Who Saved India"

  • Best-selling author and the Director of Nehru Centre, London(since 2019) Amish Tripathi released his fiction book,"Legend of Suheldev: The King Who Saved India". The book is published by Westland Publications Pvt Ltd.
  • The book is about the Indian King Suheldev who struggles to defend his homeland, makes tremendous personal sacrifices, shows glorious leadership & unites everyone in the country irrespective of their religion, caste, region, or status in society.
  • Idea behind the book is to bring national awareness about the ignored pages of Indian history.
  • Amish Tripathi is the 1st author in the Indian publishing history to hold his 6 fiction books in the top 10 of the HT-Nielsen Bookscan national bestseller list for 4 weeks in a row.
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