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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

27 Jun 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

US Senate Passes China Sanctions Bill over Hong Kong

  • In a bipartisan rebuke of China, the Senate has unanimously approved a bill to impose sanctions on business and individuals including the police that undermine Hong Kong's autonomy or restrict freedoms promised to Hong Kong residents.
  • The bill targets police units that have cracked down on Hong Kong protesters, as well as Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for imposing a strict national security law on Hong Kong, which is considered a special administrative region within China and maintains its own governing and economic systems.
  • The measure also would impose sanctions on banks that do business with entities found to violate the law.
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ENVIRONMENT

Tillari Forest Area in Dodamarg and Sawantwadi Range Declared as Conservation Reserve Area

  • Maharashtra forest department declared the 29.53 square kilometre Tillari forest area in Dodamarg and Sawantwadi range in coastal Sindhudurg district as a conservation reserve area. The Tilari ecosystem breeds tiger population and serves as the source population for the Sahyadri tiger reserve.
  • This is the 1st conservation reserve in Sindhudurg district, 62nd for the state. It is the 13th such reserve in the western ghats.
  • Tillari will be the 7th corridor in the state announced as a 'conservation reserve'.
  • The decision was made considering the ecological, zoological and floral significance of the area, which will play a vital role in wildlife conservation, particularly for the movement of tigers.

Seven Hundred km Bolt in Brazil Sets Lightning World Record

  • The UN's weather agency announced that the longest lightning bolt on record is a single flash in southern Brazil on October 31, 2018 that cut the sky across 700 km.
  • It is equivalent to the distance between Boston and Washington, DC, or between London and Basel.
  • WMO's committee of experts on climate extremes also reported a world record for the duration of a lightning flash, with a single flash that developed continuously over northern Argentina on March 4, 2019 lasting for a full 16.73 seconds.
  • The previous record for the longest distance for a lightning flash was 321km, measured on June 20, 2007 in Oklahoma, US.
  • The previous duration record was 7.74 seconds, measured on August 30, 2012 in France.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

IOC Launches Battery Swapping Facility for Quick Recharge of Electric Vehicles

  • India's top oil firm IOC launched a battery swapping facility for electric vehicles (EVs) at its petrol pumps, offering to replace discharged batteries with fully charged ones in just couple of minutes.
  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will begin with a pilot of battery swapping at one of its outlets in Chandigarh and gradually scale it up to 20 stations.
  • Battery swapping technology offers the best alternative to slow charging and helps the drivers make optimum use of the operational hours, he said adding the battery swapping model is initially targeted at the commercial vehicles such as electric autos, rickshaws and electric two-wheelers and EVs that are either factory fitted or retrofitted.
  • IOC is the country's top fuel retailer, controlling close to half of the market. But, it is now making a foray into EV charging. It has partnered with Sun Mobility for setting up battery swapping facility, called Quick Interchange Station (QIS).

Yes Bank Launches Digital Wallet Solution 'Yuva Pay' in Partnership with UDMA Technologies

  • Yes Bank launches a digital wallet solution(app)'Yuva Pay' in partnership with UDMA Technologies Pvt Ltd to enable contactless payments for its customers. The wallet is issued under minimum Know Your Client (KYC) regulations.
  • The solution aims to help the low income group to access the digital and contactless transactions, which will enable broad access to secure electronic payment services.
  • Through this wallet utility bills like municipal, house, water tax, electricity, Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG), Direct to Home(DTH), mobile phone bill, licence fee, windmill and solar park fee, building sanction fees and billboard taxes can be paid through Bharat Bill Pay and Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Lt. Governor G. C. Murmu Launches Two Customised Loan Schemes of J&K Bank

  • Girish Chandra Murmu, the lieutenant governor of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), rolled out 2 customised loan schemes of J&K Bank namely 'J&K Bank Business Support Loan Scheme 2019-20' and 'J&K Bank Business Support Loan Scheme 2019-20 for Hotels and Guest Houses' with the aim to overcome business challenges that have stemmed up due to the prevailing conditions.
  • This scheme is valid up to October 31, 2020, this loan scheme offers 10% enhancement in existing working capital limit in the form of a 3 year working capital term loan (including one year moratorium on principal) with a maximum limit of Rs. 5 crore for SMA2 (special mention accounts 2) borrowers and Rs. 20 crore for other standard loans including SMA1 (special mention accounts 1).
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SPORTS

Weightlifter K. Sanjita Chanu to get Arjuna Award 2018 after IWF Clears Doping Charges

  • Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) Secretary Sahdev Yadav informed that 2 time Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Weightlifter K. Sanjita Chanu will get the Arjuna award for 2018. This comes after the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) cleared her doping charges.
  • IWF has dropped the doping charges due to "non-conformities" in the handling of her sample.
  • The doping charges were cleared on the basis of recommendation from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
  • The award is given to her as per the Delhi High Court order in 2018, where the selection committee was directed to consider her and keep the decision in a sealed cover until she was acquitted of the doping charges.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Voters Over 65, COVID-19 Patients Can Opt for Postal Ballot

  • In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Ministry has reduced the age limit for senior citizens who opt for postal ballot in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
  • Voters in the Bihar Assembly polls are likely to be the first beneficiaries of the revised guidelines.
  • In October 2019, the Law Ministry amended the Conduct of Election Rules to allow people with disabilities and those who are 80 years of age or above to opt for postal ballot during Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
  • The Election Commission, however, approached the government to change the rule as the pandemic could continue till the end of the year.

Karnataka First State to Amend Industries (Facilitation) Act for Small, Medium and Large-scale Industries

  • The Karnataka Government amended the " The Karnataka Industries(Facilitation) act, 2002", in the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister of Karnataka B. S. Yediyurappa, to facilitate and attract investment in the state.
  • The act helps to make simple regulations and procedures for requirements,creating an ideal environment for investment.
  • An industry does not need statutory permissions for the first three years to set up operations in the state. Permissions like approvals under multiple state laws, including trade license and building-plan approval.
  • Promotes ease of doing business and facilitate investors to invest in the state.

India Ranks 77th in Terms of Money Deposited in Swiss Banks

 According to the 'Annual banking statistics, 2019' released by Switzerland's central bank Swiss National Bank (SNB), India is at the 77th position in terms of money parked by its citizens and enterprises with Swiss banks at the end of the year 2019,compared to 74th the previous year, i.e 2018. Indians account for only 0.06 % of the money deposited by foreigners in Swiss banks.
While, Britain holds the first place in this list with a share of 27 % of the total deposits.
Talking of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, India is at the bottom of the list while Russia ranks highest at 20th among BRICS countries (same place in 2018) followed by China at 22nd position like last year, South Africa 56th place(climbed two places ), Brazil is at 62nd ( In 2018, it was ranked 65th ).
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DEFENCE

Indian Navy Inducts Indigenously Developed Anti-torpedo Decoy System

  • The Indian Navy inducted an advanced anti-torpedo decoy system called 'Maareech' that is capable of being fired from all frontline ships.
  • Maareech has been designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and it is capable of detecting, locating and neutralising incoming torpedo.
  • The prototype of this system installed onboard a nominated naval platform had successfully completed all user evaluation trials and demonstrated the features as per the Naval Staff Qualification Requirements. This induction not only stands testimony to the joint resolve of the Indian Navy and DRDO towards indigenous development of defence technology, but has also given a major fillip to the government's 'Make in India' initiative and the country's resolve to become 'atmanirbhar' (self-reliant) in niche technology.
  • Bharat Electronics Limited, a defence PSU, would undertake the production of this decoy system.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Punjab Gets First Woman Chief Secretary

  • The ascent of Vini Mahajan, a 1987-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, to the top bureaucratic position in Punjab is a story of many firsts.
  • Mahajan is the first woman chief secretary of the state. She is married to Punjab Police chief Dinkar Gupta. This is the first time a couple is holding the top administrative and police posts in the state, and perhaps the first time this has happened anywhere in the country.
  • Gupta, a 1987-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was appointed as head of the state police in February 2019. He was empanelled by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) last month for the post of director general or DG equivalent at the Centre.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Niti Aayog Launches Behaviour Change Campaign 'Navigating the New Normal'

  • NITI Aayog launched behaviour change campaign 'Navigating the New Normal' and its website to help people follow norms to contain the spread of Covid-19.
  • Focusing on Covid-safe behaviour, especially wearing masks, during the 'Unlock' phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign has been developed under the guidance of Empowered Group 6, chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
  • The campaign has two parts. The first is a web portal containing resources informed by behavioural science and the use of nudge and social norms theory, related to Covid-safe behavioural norms during the ongoing Unlock phase and the second is a media campaign focused on the wearing of masks.

Modi Launches 'Atma Nirbhar UP Rojgar Abhiyan'

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched "Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan" through video conferencing in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. About 1.25 crore migrant workers are expected to benefit from the programme.
  • Over 1.25 crore migrant workers who lost their jobs due to coronavirus pandemic are likely to benefit from this unique initiative. Over 35 lakh migrants returned to Uttar Pradesh and over 30 lakh migrant workers were also covered under skill mapping," he said. The Centre announced the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package to stimulate various sectors. In order to generate employment with a thrust towards creating infrastructure in backward regions of the country, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was launched earlier this month.The Uttar Pradesh government envisaged a unique initiative "Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan" which dovetails programmes of the Centre and state government while creating partnerships with industry and other organisations.
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