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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

09 Aug 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

US Sanctions Hong Kong's Chief Carrie Lam

  • The US is placing sanctions on 11 Chinese officials and their allies in Hong Kong, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, over their roles in curtailing political freedoms in the former U.K. colony.
  • As per Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy.
  • Lam was sanctioned because she is directly responsible for implementing Beijing's policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes.
  • The sanctioned individuals include Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of China's State Council, and Chris Tang, commissioner of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Mahinda Rajapaksa Takes Oath as Prime Minister

  • Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaka was sworn in as the country's new Prime Minister at a historic Buddhist temple, days after his party won a landslide victory in the General Election.
  • The Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) leader was administered the oath of office for the ninth Parliament by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the sacred Rajamaha Viharaya in Kelaniya, a north Colombo suburb.
  • Mahinda Rajapaksa completed 50 years of parliamentary politics in July this year. He was elected as a Member of Parliament at the age of 24 in 1970. He has since been elected President twice and has been appointed Prime Minister thrice.

Germany and France Challenge US Role in WHO Reforms

  • Germany and France have challenged Washington's role in leading talks over reforming the World Health Organisation, citing the US decision to quit the global body.
  • Germany's Health Ministry said that the issue was discussed during a call of health ministers from the Group of Seven leading economies.
  • The ministry said that in view of the United States' withdrawal from WHO, "Germany and France currently see no mandate for the US to lead the WHO reform process for the G-7."
  • "How can you be leading while you are leaving?" the ministry added.
  • The Trump administration, which holds the rotating presidency of the G-7 this year, has accused WHO of bowing to pressure from China in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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ENVIRONMENT

Breakthrough: Restored Corals Ready to Become Parents

  • For the first time, massive corals restored to Florida's Coral Reef are ready to become parents in the wild—a breakthrough in Mote Marine Laboratory's scientific efforts to restore critically imperiled coral reefs, the "rainforests of the sea," to self-sustaining life.
  • This month, Mote's coral reproduction scientist, Dr. Hanna Koch, identified gametes (eggs and sperm) inside colonies of two threatened, yet key, reef-building species that Mote restored to Florida Keys reefs in recent years: the massive or mounding species called mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) and branching staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis). Both species are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The presence of gametes indicates that these corals are sexually mature, gravid (pregnant), and ready to produce the next generation of coral "babies" with fresh genetics to help revive declining coral populations.
  • These corals are achieving critical milestones for the entire field of coral reef restoration—showing the first signs that they are capable of producing new generations of corals on their own. These and other corals in Mote's restored populations survived big challenges to reach this point, demonstrating resilience. Their success validates the significance and progress of Mote's science-based, resilience-focused coral restoration.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Murugappa Firm to Invest in CG Power

  • Murugappa Group firm Tube Investments of India Ltd (TIIL) will invest Rs. 700 crore in CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd for a 51% stake, the scam-hit company said. TIIL will be issued 64.25 crore shares at Rs. 8.56 apiece aggregating to Rs. 550 crore, CG Power said. Also, TIIL will invest Rs. 150 crore over the next 18 months in the form of buying warrants that can be converted into shares.

Flipkart Signs MoU with UP Government's One District, One Product Scheme

  • E-commerce marketplace Flipkart signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government to bring artisans, weavers and craftsmen into mainstream business. Flipkart said that the partnership will enable these under-served communities to showcase their specialised products and crafts to millions of customers across the country.
  • The initiative called `Flipkart Samarth` will enable them to break entry barriers by extending time-bound incubation support which includes benefits in the form of on-boarding, free cataloguing, marketing, account management, business insights and warehousing support.
  • The ODOP scheme was introduced to give a boost to the MSME sector while preserving and promoting the exquisite, indigenous legacy of art in Uttar Pradesh.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indus Water Treaty: World Bank Expresses Inability to Appoint Neutral Expert or Court of Arbitration

  • The World Bank has expressed its inability to take an independent decision on the appointment of a neutral expert or a Court of Arbitration for the settlement of a long-pending water dispute between India and Pakistan, saying the two countries will have to bilaterally choose one option.
  • India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the Washington-based World Bank being a signatory.
  • The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers. However, there have been disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the treaty.
  • "Both India and Pakistan should come together as to which option to take forward," Patchamuthu Illangovan, the World Bank's former Country Director of Pakistan, said.
  • Pakistan had made a request for the appointment of a Court of Arbitration (COA) while India had sought a neutral expert to resolve the dispute on two hydroelectric projects.

Centre to Introduce New Law to Protect Land Rights of J&K Natives

  • The Centre is considering to bring a law to protect the land rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. As per reports, the new law is expected to be enacted in the Parliament.
  • A bill to this effect will be introduced in Parliament as there is no legislature in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir because no election was held since the bifurcation of the erstwhile state.
  • The fears of Jammu and Kashmir domicile people about the settlement of outsiders in the Union Territory arose after the government abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019, which ended the exclusive rights of locals over lands or immovable property and jobs.
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DEFENCE

India to Participate in Multi-nation Kavkaz 2020 (Caucasus-2020) Military Exercise

  • India will take part in the multilateral military "Russian Kavkaz 2020" strategic command-post exercise to be held in Astrakhan, Russia. The Indian contingent includes 150 Army personnel and a smaller number of personnel from the Navy and Air Force.
  • The invitation for participation to Kavkaz 2020, also referred to as Caucasus-2020, has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other Central Asian Republics part of the SCO.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Veteran Congress Leader Nandi Yellaiah Passes Away

  • Veteran Congress leader Nandi Yellaiah, who was elected to Lok Sabha six times and Rajya Sabha twice, died while under treatment at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences. He was 78.
  • He was admitted with illness at NIMS where he tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Yellaiah was first elected to the Lok Sabha from Siddipet in 1979 and repeated the feat from the same constituency in 1980, 1989, 1991 and 1996. He lost elections to Telugu Desam candidates in 1984 and 1998. After two stints in the Rajya Sabha from 2002 to 2014, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha but this time from Nagarkurnool constituency (SC) in 2014. He continued in the post till general elections last year.
  • Yellaiah began his political career as a corporator of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation in 1964. He was a close associate of former Chief Minister Marri Channa Reddy.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

PM Launches 'Gandagi Mukt Bharat', a Special Week-long Campaign to Free India of Garbage

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched "Gandagi Mukt Bharat", a week-long campaign for 'swachhata' in the run-up to Independence Day.
  • During this week, each day till August 15 will have special 'swachhata' initiatives in urban and rural India to re-enforce the 'jan andolan' for 'swachhata'.
  • PM Modi launched the campaign while inaugurating the Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra (RSK) which is an interactive experience centre on the Swachh Bharat Mission at the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti at Rajghat in New Delhi.
  • The RSK is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and was first announced by the Prime Minister in April 2017, on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Gandhi's Champaran Satyagraha.

Nagasaki Day 2020

  • The 9th August of every year is observed as Nagasaki day all over the world to promote peace and to create awareness about the hazards of nuclear weapons. The 9th August 2020, Marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.
  • On 9th August 1945, three days after the bombing on Hiroshima, The United States dropped the Atomic bomb code named "Fat Man" over the city of Nagasaki, Japan which instantly killed around 74,000 people.
  • The survivors of the atomic bombing developed various illnesses and cancer due to the exposure to high level radiation.
  • Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of Nagasaki read the Peace declaration on the ceremony on 9th August 2020 and he urged the global ban on nuclear weapons.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the event along with the survivors and their family members.
  • During the event, the message of António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General was read by his undersecretary, Izumi Nakamitsu.
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