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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

03 Jul 2020


Britain Recognises Juan Guaido as Venezuela's President

  • Britain recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's President, the English High Court ruled, in a case over whether Guaido or Nicolas Maduro should control $1 billion of its gold stored in London.
  • A four-day hearing last week had been the latest part of a tug-of-war over the gold reserves held in the Bank of England and centered on which of the two rival Presidents Britain now views as Venezuela's legitimate leader.
  • In early 2019, the British government joined dozens of nations in backing Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress, after he declared an interim presidency and denounced Maduro as an usurper who secured a fraudulent re-election.

Russians Clear Way for Putin to Extend His Rule

  • Russians have granted President Vladimir Putin the right to stay in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for constitutional changes that reset the clock on the longtime Russian leader's tenure to zero, but critics said that the outcome was falsified on an industrial scale.
  • As per official results, after 99.9 per cent of ballots had been counted, showed that the former KGB officer who has ruled Russia for more than 20 years as President or Prime Minister had won the right to run for two more six-year terms after the current one ends in 2024.
  • According to the The Central Election Commission, 77.9 per cent of votes counted across the world's largest country had supported changing the constitution. About 21 per cent had voted against.
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KKR to Acquire Controlling Stake in JB Chemicals

  • Global investment firm KKR & Co. Inc. will pick up a controlling stake in Mumbai-based branded formulation player JB Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals (JB Chemicals).
  • As part of the deal, KKR will acquire stake from the founding Mody family at Rs. 745 per share (or 5 per cent premium to the closing price of Rs. 715 on the BSE).
  • According to a BSE notification, KKR has entered into an agreement to acquire 41.7 million equity shares of JB Chemicals, representing 54 per cent, from the promoters of the company.
  • After this transaction, an open offer will be launched to acquire 20.93 million fully paid-up equity shares of JB Chemicals, representing 26 per cent. The open offer, too, is being made at a price of Rs. 745 per share, said the company statement.
  • The deal size is estimated to be around $500 million (Rs. 3,750 crore).
  • This is the second KKR investment in the past two months. In May, it agreed to invest Rs. 11,367 crore ($1.5 billion) in Reliance Industries' digital assets subsidiary Jio Platforms to acquire 2.32 per cent stake — its largest investment in Asia to date.

JSW Group Will Bring Down China Imports to Zero

  • As the clamour to boycott Chinese products grows amid a stand-off between the Indian and Chinese armies in eastern Ladakh, several companies have indicated they would cut imports from the neighbouring country and support the government's self-reliance theme.
  • As per Parth Jindal, managing director of JSW Cement, the JSW group, would be bringing down its imports from China to zero within two years.
  • The firm's defence division does not import from China, its other businesses source products from that country.

HDFC Life To Replace Vedanta in Nifty

  • As per reports, NSE's index maintenance sub-committee is replacing Vedanta with HDFC Life Insurance Co in its flagship Nifty50 index, effective July 31 due to the proposed voluntary delisting of the mining major.
  • HDFC Life Insurance will cease to be a part of Nifty Next 50, and will be replaced by SBI Cards and Payments Services.
  • Vedanta will also cease to be a part of Nifty 500, Nifty 100, Nifty LargeMidcap 250, Nifty 200, and will be replaced by SBI Card in each of these indices.
  • Vedanta will be replaced in Nifty Metal, Nifty Commodities, Nifty MNC, Nifty 50 Value 20, Nifty 500 Value 50 and Nifty High Beta 50 indices by Mishra Dhatu Nigam, Coromandel International, Nippon Life India Asset Management, Hindalco Industries, SJVN and IDFC First Bank, respectively.
  • The index maintenance sub-committee also decided to exclude Total Transport Systems and Univastu India from Nifty SME Emerge index effective July 9, as these companies shift to the main board.
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Swedish Institute of Space Physics to Return to Venus on Indian Space Mission Shukrayaan-1

  • The Indian Venus Mission Shukrayaan-1, the Swedish Institute of Space Physics will explore Venus for the second time. The Shukrayaan-1 is scheduled for launch at the end of 2023 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Venusian Neutrals Analyzer (VNA), the satellite instrument of IRF will study the interaction between the charged particles of the sun and the atmosphere and exosphere of the planet.
  • It takes six months for the spacecraft to fly to Venus and it will spend a year in orbit around Venus to explore the planet.
  • ASPERA-4 (Analyzes of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms),IRF's instrument studied Venus on European spacecraft Venus Express between 2006-2014.
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Shivraj Expands MP Cabinet

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inducted 28 new ministers in his cabinet, including 12 former Congress leaders, three months after he assumed office for a fourth term.
  • The ministers include 20 cabinet ministers and eight ministers of state. The council of ministers now has 34 members, with only one ministerial berth lying vacant. The 12 former Congress leaders inducted are considered loyal to Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
  • Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel, who was sworn in as the acting governor on Wednesday due to the hospitalisation of governor Lalji Tandon in Lucknow, administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers in a simple function organised at the Raj Bhavan premises.

Telangana Amends State FRBM Act 2005

  • The Governor of Telangana Dr. Tamilisai Sounderarajan has promulgated an ordinance No.3 of 2020, amending the Telangana Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act-2005 which will enable the State to increase the borrowing limit by 2% to 5% from earlier 3%. With the new Telangana FRBM (Amendment) Act 2020, state government's additional borrowing limit can go up to Rs. 20,000 crore now, without any hassles.
  • With this amendment, the Telangana State government has accepted the recent decision of the Central government to expand the borrowing limit of the States under FRBM Act, 2003 from 3% to 5% allowing the States to borrow more as there is fall in state's revenues due to COVID-19 induced lockdown.
  • As per ordinance, due to the shortfall in the devolution of share of Central taxes, Telangana has been allowed an additional borrowing of Rs. 1,435 crore during 2019-20 over and above the normal fiscal deficit limit of 3% as a one-time special dispensation. However, due to the current crisis, the limit needs to be raised in FY20-21 too.
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Defence Ministry Approves Procurement of MiG-29 and Sukhoi Fighter Jets

  • The Defence Ministry gave its approval to the Indian Air Force to speedily procure 21 MiG-29 fighter jets besides 12 Sukhoi MK1 from Russia – a key development that comes in the middle of an almost two-month long military standoff with China.
  • The Defence Ministry's Defence Acquisition Council also gave its nod for the upgradation of existing 59 MiG-29 aircrafts.
  • The DAC also approved acquisitions of various platforms and equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces for an approximate cost of Rs. 38,900 crore.
  • It also cleared the acquisition of 248 Astra Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missiles for the Indian Air Force and the Navy.
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Chola MS General Insurance Gets New MD

  • The Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company promoted V. Suryanarayanan, President and COO of the company as the new Managing Director (MD). He succeeded S. S. Gopalarathnam.
  • S. S. Gopalarathnam, who joined the Murugappa Group in 1979 served the company for around 41 years in finance and marketing function retired in July.
  • S. S. Gopalarathnam, started Cholamandalam MS General Insurance in 2002 as a founding member.
  • Suryanarayanan served in Cholamandalam Investments and Finance for 10 years and moved to Chola MS as the CFO in 2006 and became the President and COO in April 2019.

Rattan Lal and Dr. Uma Lele from India Named by UN Chief to Scientific Group for 2021 Food Summit

  • Antonio Guterres, Chief of United Nations, named Prof. Rattan Lal and Dr. Uma Lele (Agricultural experts) from India as members of International Scientific group to offer foremost scientific evidence for sustainable food systems for global food summit 2021.
  • UN Secretary General, Gutters will Convene the Food Systems Summit in 2021, as a critical contribution to the decade of Action to deliver 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • It aims to raise awareness about the food system challenges to be solved by the nations and to change food systems to provide safe and nutritious food around the globe.
  • Prof. Lal is an Indian-American soil scientist.
  • Dr. Uma is from the International Association of Agricultural economists (IAAE).

Saroj Khan Passes Away

  • Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 71.
  • Saroj was admitted to Mumbai's Guru Nanak Hospital last month after she complained of trouble in breathing. She had tested negative for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
  • She was fondly called 'Masterji' by stars whom she choreographed, Saroj directed over 2000 songs in her long and storied career.
  • Born in 1948, Saroj Khan started her career as a child artiste at the age of 3. Graduating to a back-up dancer in the 1950s, she worked with choreographer B Sohanlal.
  • She started working as a choreographer with Geeta Mera Naam (1974), but it was while working with Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit in the 80s and 90s that her career touched new heights.
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Siddhartha Mukherjee and Raj Chetty Named among '2020 Great Immigrants' Honourees

  • Carnegie Corporation of New York has named 2 renowned Indian-Americans, Siddhartha Mukherjee, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Raj Chetty, Economics Professor at Harvard University among '2020 Great Immigrants' honourees.
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee is a noted biologist, oncologist, and the author of several acclaimed books. He has been a faculty of Columbia University since 2009.
  • He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer' in 2011. He received the Padma Shri in 2014. Among other honours this book was listed in the Time magazine's "All-Time 100 Nonfiction Books".
  • Raj Chetty served as a economics professor in University of California, Berkeley in 2003, Stanford in 2015.
  • He has helped to launch a resource to monitor the real-time economic impact of COVID-19 on people, businesses, and communities across the United States.
  • He received the Padma Shri in 2015, the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 2013 & Young Labor Economist Award in 2010.
  • He has been named a MacArthur Fellow (2012) and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (2019).
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York every 4th of July since 2006, recognises an extraordinary group of immigrants who have made exemplary contributions to the progress of American society.
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SERB Launches 'Accelerate Vigyan' Scheme to Provide Platform for Research Internships

  • The Union Government's Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) launched the 'Accelerate Vigyan' (AV) scheme for research internships.
  • The objective of the scheme is to encourage high-end scientific research and prepare scientific manpower which leads to research careers and knowledge based economy.
  • It identifies research potential, mentors and helps in training on national scale.
  • It will organise about 10,000 High-end Workshops to provide opportunities to about 25000 doctoral PG students in another 5 years.
  • The SERB will launch an application to attain early success.
  • It has started to call applications for the process under ABHYAAS scheme for Winter.
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India's First Plasma Bank Gets Operational

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the country's first 'Plasma Bank', which is set up at Delhi's ILBS (Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences) Hospital.
  • Under plasma therapy, antibodies from the blood of a person who has recovered from Covid-19 are taken and transfused into a coronavirus infected patient to boost the immune system to fight the infection.
  • Plasma is the almost-clear liquid left behind after red and white blood cells and platelets are removed from the blood.
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M. Venkaiah Naidu Releases the Book "Future of Higher Education - Nine Mega Trends"

  • Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu virtually released a book, "Future of Higher Education – Nine Mega Trends". The book is authored by CA V Pattabhi Ram, a Public Speaker, author and teacher. The Virtual event was hosted by ICT Academy.
  • The book covers the new norms in the key areas of higher education such as Student-Teacher relationship, Learning methods, Laboratories & Examinations among others which has taken a paradigm shift during this COVID pandemic.
  • The book is based on a survey of about 5000 educators across India who were part of ICT Academy's "SkyCampus" Digital Knowledge Series.
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