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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

04 Aug 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Donald Trump Bans Hiring H1-B Visa Holders for Federal Contracts

  • In a major disappointment for Indian IT professionals, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning federal agencies from hiring H1-B visa holders for federal contracts.
  • Earlier on June 23, President Trump had passed an order suspending the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020. The Trump administration had justified the move saying that it was done to safeguard the American workers in the time of coornavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The new restrictions came into effect from June 24.
  • The H1B visa is most sought-after among Indian IT professionals as it allows US companies to hire foreigners for jobs which require theoretical or technical expertise.

Irfaan Ali President Elect of Guyana

  • The presidential candidate for the main opposition People's Progressive Party/Civic, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, was declared President elect of Guyana.
  • Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh in the declaration of the election stated that article 177 (2) of the Constitution (states) that where there are two or more Presidential candidates, if more votes are cast in favour of the list in which a person is designated as presidential candidate than in favour of any other list, that presidential candidate shall be deemed to be elected president and shall so be declared by the Chairman of the Elections Commission, acting only in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer, after the advice has been tendered to the Elections Commission at a duly summoned meeting.
  • According to a report by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, submitted to GECOM, the ruling Coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), received – 217 920 votes; the main opposition PPP/C received 233 336; while 5 214 went to other parties.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Amazon Launches New Warehouse in Ludhiana

  • With just days to go before its Prime Day' sale, Amazon India expanded its warehouse network with the launch of a new specialised fulfilment center (FC) for large appliances and furniture in Ludhiana, Punjab.
  • The new warehouse has a storage capacity of nearly 3 lakh cubic feet and is located in Doraha, Ludhiana.
  • With the new launch, Amazon India will have two warehouses with more than 4.5 lakh cubic feet of storage space in Ludhiana, Punjab.
  • The latest move would also enable faster delivery of products to customers with a wider product selection this Prime Day on August 6-7, 2020.
  • Amazon India offers over 4,500 products in the large appliances category including air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and TVs from brands such as LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Bosch, IFB and Haier.

Cognizant Bets on M&As to Grow Digital Business

  • Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp is betting on mergers and acquisitions (M&As) to build its digital business, which the company believes is still in a nascent stage.
  • The Nasdaq-listed company has already made five digital-based acquisitions this year, all of which are primarily in the cloud computing space.
  • In February, it acquired Code Zero, provider of cloud-based billing solutions, and the French operations of EI-Technologies, a Paris-based independent Salesforce specialist. In March, it acquired Lev, a digital marketing consultancy that helps businesses modernize their marketing campaigns with data-driven insights.
  • In May, it acquired Collaborative Solutions, which is expected to add new finance and HR advisory and implementation services to its cloud offerings and, in June, it entered into a deal to acquire New Signature, an independent Microsoft public cloud transformation specialist.
  • Except EI-Technologies, the four other acquired companies are based in the US, Cognizant's largest market, which contributed 75.8% to the overall revenue in 2019.

BOB Financial Solutions Partners with Innoviti Payment

  • BOB Financial Solutions Limited partnered with Innoviti Payment Solutions Pvt. Ltd to launch New Credit Card Equated Monthly Installments (EMI) offering on Point of Sale (POS) terminals. The association of Bank of Baroda (BOB) Credit Card with Innoviti Payment Solutions will enable BOB credit card holders to access EMIs that can be repaid conveniently through their credit cards.
  • The offering is in terms of convenient and affordable EMI options.
  • The Bank of Baroda credit cardholders pan India can receive the service from over 70,000 Innoviti POS terminals across more than 1,000 cities.
View Month Wise

SPORTS

Voluntarily Declare Age-fraud or Face Two-year Ban: BCCI

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said that it will grant amnesty to registered players who voluntarily declare any age fraud but those found to be in breach of the unusual scheme could be slapped with a two-year suspension.
  • Age fraud is a serious matter and is detrimental to the health of the sport. Many youngsters who are supposed to be playing in a particular age group fail to make it owing to age fraud. With the BCCI taking stern actions to curb this, it is only advisable for the players to come forward and abide by the directives issued by the Board.
  • A voluntary disclosure scheme for players who are already registered will be applicable to all cricketers participating in the board's age-group tournaments from the 2020-21 season onwards.
  • Under this scheme, players who voluntarily declare that they have manipulated their date of birth by submitting fake/tampered documents in the past will not be suspended and allowed to participate in the appropriate age group level if they disclose their actual date of birth (DOB).

Italian Club Lazio's Ciro Immobile Wins European Golden Shoe

  • Lazio striker Ciro Immobile won the Serie A Golden Boot and European Golden Shoe as he matched Gonzalo Higuain's record of 36 goals in an Italian top-flight season.
  • The 30-year-old scored in Lazio's 3-1 defeat by Napoli on the final day as his side finished fourth.
  • Fabian Ruiz put Napoli ahead before Immobile equalised from close range.
  • Lorenzo Insigne's penalty and Matteo Politano's late goal were enough for Gennaro Gattuso's side to win.
  • Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo - who was rested on the final day - was Serie A's second top scorer with 31 goals, with Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku on 23.
  • The European Golden Shoe rewards the top scorer across every European top-flight, with goals weighted by the quality of league.
  • Immobile finished two goals clear of Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, with Ronaldo third.
  • It was his third Serie A Golden Boot - winning in 2013-14 with 22 goals and sharing with Mauro Icardi on 29 in 2017-18.
View Month Wise

DEFENCE

Russia Offers India Sprut Lightweight Tanks

  • Russia has offered India its 18-tonne Sprut SDM1 lightweight tanks for possible procurement amid the ongoing stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh, ThePrint has learnt. Sources in the defence and security establishment said the offer for Spruts, capable of being airlifted, was made during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Russia in June.
  • The move came as India has deployed heavy T-90 tanks, weighing about 46 tonnes, in Ladakh, besides T-72 tanks, which weigh around 45 tonnes and were deployed earlier. China, meanwhile, has deployed its new lightweight tanks, Type 15, which weigh around 33 tonnes. Lightweight tanks allow faster mobility in mountainous terrain than regular battle tanks that weigh over 40 tonnes.
  • During Rajnath Singh's visit, New Delhi and Moscow prepared a list of items that could be bought and sold in wake of the tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The lightweight tank did not feature in India's demands but was part of the Russian offer.
  • As per reports, the technical discussions are ongoing between the Indian embassy in Moscow and Russian authorities. Under technical discussions, both sides talked about the technical aspects of the weapons system to understand its capabilities and limitations.
  • But defence sources maintained that no emergency procurement is planned for these lightweight tanks currently.
View Month Wise

PERSONS IN NEWS

Nippon Life India AMC Appoints Parekh Ashvin as Independent Director

  • Nippon Life India Asset Management (NAM India), asset manager of Nippon India Mutual Fund (NIMF), appointed Parekh Ashvin, as Independent Director for 5 years.
  • Parekh brings with him more than 40 years of rich experience in business and operational strategies in banking, insurance, asset management and para-banking Institutions across the Indian sub-continent, US, Europe and Australia. He was Senior Partner of Ernst & Young before his retirement and most recently, served as the Chairman of National Pension Scheme.

Rajesh Kumar New Manipur Chief Secretary

  • Senior IAS officer Rajesh Kumar was appointed the new Chief Secretary of Manipur.
  • Kumar, who was the additional Chief Secretary, is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1988 batch, belonging to the Manipur cadre.
  • J. Suresh Babu retired as the Chief Secretary of the state on his scheduled superannuation from government service.
View Month Wise

DAYS AND EVENTS

US Coast Guard Day

  • Coast Guard Day is held every August 4 to commemorate the founding of the United States Coast Guard as the Revenue Marine on August 4, 1790, by then-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. On that date, U.S. Congress, guided by Hamilton, authorised the building of a fleet of the first ten Revenue Service cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by the U.S. Congress under the U.S. Constitution.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard received its present name through an act of the U.S. Congress signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson on January 28, 1915 that merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, and provided the nation with a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards 2020

  • A group of researchers from IIT Kharagpur was conferred the 'Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards 2020' for developing a mechanism for generating electricity from wet clothes left under sunlight to dry.
  • Another team from the institute was separately granted the same award for addressing the problem of energy conservation and thermal management in wearable and flexible electronic devices.
  • The 'Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards' was instituted by the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institution (SRISTI), a voluntary organisation.
  • The GYTI Award celebrates the spirit of student innovation in all the fields of engineering, science, technology and design through extremely affordable/frugal solution or the ones pushing the technological edge.
View Month Wise

GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

NIT Trichy to Offer MA in English Literature

  • The National Institute of Technology (NIT) Trichy has started an MA programme in English Literature, as a first step in removing barriers between arts, sciences and Technology, in line with the recently announced National Education Policy (NEP).
  • The NIT is also taking serious steps to achieve the status of being "Locally Relevant and Globally competitive" as envisaged by the Prime Minister in his Man Ki Baat address.
  • Programmes are being charted out with the aim of utilising technology development for the benefit of the local communities.
  • NIT Director Dr Mini Shaji Thomas said that the Institute has also plans to start an
  • online programme which will increase the number of students in a big way, in
  • alignment with NEP 2020.
  • She also pointed out that NIT Tiruchirappalli's incorporation of the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota from the year 2019 onwards for undergraduate and PhD
  • programme in tune with the ethos and rationale of NEP 2020.
  • Dr. Mini Shaji also revealed that NIT is embarking on a programme to nurture and increase the teaching skills of its faculty.
  • Accordingly, fresh Ph.D. entrants, irrespective of discipline, will be required to take credit-based courses in teaching skills, pedagogy and writing skills related to their topic of research.
View Month Wise

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Releases Book Titled "Siyasat Mein Sadasyata"

  • Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar released a book titled, "Siyasat Mein Sadasyata" authored by Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary. The book is a compilation of the author's views, three dozen articles on different important issues and his life journey. The book was published by Bihar Assembly Secretariat.
  • The book is compiled and edited by senior journalist Arvind Sharma and its preface has been written by another senior journalist Vinod Bandhu.
  • The book also reflects the different aspects of the author's personality.
  • It mentions various developmental works in different sectors and welfare measures taken by the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar.
  • It states about the special bonding between the author and CM.
  • It has described various other important activities of assembly like, successful completion of 6th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region among others.
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