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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

17 Sep 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India, Brazil, South Africa Jointly Call for Comprehensive Reforms of UNSC

  • India, Brazil and South Africa jointly called comprehensive reforms of the UN Security Council at the IBSA Foreign Ministers' virtual meeting on September 16, 2020. 
  • The customary meeting of IBSA Foreign Ministers was chaired by Union External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and attended by his Brazilian counterpart Fabio Marzano and South African Counterpart Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor.
  • During the meeting, the foreign ministers of the three-nation group- India, Brazil and South Africa adopted a joint statement on the Reform of the UN Security Council, as a common endeavour of the Global South. 

NSA Ajit Doval to Participate in BRICS NSA Virtual Meet

  • The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of BRICS countries met "virtually". India was represented by NSA Ajit Doval. 
  • This was the tenth such meeting of BRICS NSAs. The Chinese side was represented by diplomat Yang Jiechi. 
  • Russia was the host of the meet.

Trump Identifies India, 20 Other Nations as Major Drug Transit or Major llicit Drug-producing Countries

  • US President Donald Trump has identified India along with 20 other nations as major drug transit or illicit drug-producing countries and asserted that his administration is taking the fight to criminal organisations engaged in narcotics substances and their enablers on an unprecedented scale.
  • In his presidential determination, Mr. Trump also designated Bolivia and the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela as having failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements.
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ENVIRONMENT

Global Initiative to Reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef Program Launched at G20 Environment Ministers Meet

  • The Environment Ministerial Meeting (EMM) of the G20 countries took place through video conferencing under the Presidency of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Representing India, Union Environment, Climate Change and Forest Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar said, India has taken significant steps to protect environment and forest and wildlife as well as combating pollution and climate change.
  • Shri Javadekar said, India is committed to work with G20 nations for a better world. He said, India is blessed with vast bio-diversity and ecosystem.
  • The Minister said, India has been taking measures to enhance coral reef conservation.
  • He noted that India's steps towards dealing with climate change have been remarkable and stated that the world has to channel its best practices to deal with climate change and to get concrete results.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

India Plans to Introduce Law to Ban Cryptocurrency Trading

  • India plans to introduce a new law banning trade in cryptocurrencies, placing it out of step with other Asian economies which have chosen to regulate the fledgling market.
  • The federal government will encourage blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, but is not keen on cryptocurrency trading, according to two people. 

Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Bring Co-operative Banks Under RBI Supervision

  • Protecting depositors' interests, the Lok Sabha passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, to bring co-operative banks under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured the House that the legislation empowers the central bank to regulate only the banking activities of co-operatives and it is not applicable to a primary agricultural credit society or a co-operative society providing finance for agricultural development.

RBI Issues Draft on Rupee Interest Rate (IR) Derivatives

  • RBI issues draft on rupee Interest Rate (IR) derivatives. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed allowing foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to undertake exchange-traded rupee interest rate derivatives transactions subject to an overall ceiling of Rs 5,000 crore.
  • These RBI Proposed Interest Rate Derivatives (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2020 are aimed at encouraging higher non-resident participation, enhance the role of domestic market makers in the offshore market, improve transparency, and achieve better regulatory oversight, according to the RBI.
  • Interest Rate Derivatives (IRD) are contracts whose value is derived from one or more interest rates, prices of interest rate instruments, or interest rate indices.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Lok Sabha Clears Bill to Reduce Salaries of MPs by 30%

  • Lok Sabha has passed the bill on September 15, 2020, that reduces the salary payable to the Members of Parliament by 30% for one year starting from April 1, 2020.
  • The Salary, Allowances, and Pensions of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has replaced an ordinance that was brought earlier as part of the measures to gather resources for fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The bill was introduced in the lower house on September 14, 2020. The temporary suspension of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme Fund for 2020-21 and 2021-22 was also approved by the government in the wake of the pandemic.

PM Narendra Modi's Birthday: BJP Organises 'Sewa Saptah'

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised several events as part of the "sewa saptah" programme to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 70th birthday.
  • From blood donation camps to distribution of oximetres, food items etc, the party has organised a series of events to celebrate the PM's birthday.
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DEFENCE

India joins Djibouti Code of Conduct

  • India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment, as Observer, following the high level meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment (DCOC/JA) held virtually boosting its Indian Ocean Region outreach.
  • DCOC/JA is a grouping on maritime matters comprising 18 member states adjoining the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the East coast of Africa and Island countries in the IOR. India joins Japan, Norway, the UK and the US as Observers to the DCOC/JA.

Adani Defence Picks Up 51% Stake in Small Arms Manufacturer

  • Adani Land Defence Systems and Technologies Ltd, a step down subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, has bought 51% stake in the small arms business of Gwalior-based PLR Systems in an all-cash transaction.
  • PLR Systems produces machine guns, carbines and other weapons for domestic and export markets. It was incorporated in 2013 and supplies indigenously manufactured defence equipment to armed forces. Israeli defence manufacturer IWI holds 49% stake in the company.
  • The deal will help the Adani group company acquire capabilities ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to helicopter systems and major aero structures.

10th Defense Technology and Trade Initiative Meeting Held

  • The 10th Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) Group Meeting was held virtually on September 15, 2020. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Raj Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, from the Indian Ministry of Defence and Ms Ellen M. Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, from the U.S. Department of Defense. DTTI Group Meetings are normally held twice a year, alternating between India and the United States. This time, the meeting was held via VTC on account of COVID pandemic.
  • The aim of the DTTI Group is to bring sustained leadership focus to the bilateral defence trade relationship and create opportunities for co-production and co-development of defence equipment.
  • Four Joint Working Groups focused on land, naval, air, and aircraft carrier technologies have been established under DTTI to promote mutually agreed projects within their domains. The groups reported to the co-chairs on ongoing activities and collaborative opportunities including a number of near-term projects targeted for completion on priority.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Online Poker Platform 9stacks Signs Suresh Raina as Brand Ambassador

  • Online poker platform 9stacks has signed Suresh Raina as its brand ambassador. Raina, who announced retirement from the international cricket, will be a part of 9stacks' upcoming campaigns and engagement activities.
  • A left-handed batsman and a spin bowler, Raina will anchor the brand and help in creating a higher brand recall amongst the key target audience. "During the lockdown, we all learned a lot of new things and I for one picked up playing poker online on 9stacks.

Former India Cricketer Sadashiv Raoji Patil Dies

  • Former India player Sadashiv Raoji Patil, who represented the country in one Test match, died at his residence in Kolhapur.
  • He was 86 and is survived by wife and two daughters.
  • Patil, who was a pace bowling all-rounder, played a Test match against New Zealand in 1955.
  • He didn't get any more chance to play for the country.
  • Patil played 36 First Class matches for Maharashtra from 1952-1964, scoring 866 runs and taking 83 wickets.
  • He had also captained Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy.

Moussa Traore, Who Led Mali's First Military Coup, Dies at 83

  • Mali's former military leader Moussa Traore, who overthrew his predecessor in a 1968 coup, has died at the age of 83.
  • Traore ousted Modibo Keita, Mali's first democratically elected president since the West African nation's independence from France in 1960, and ruled until 1991 when he himself was overthrown in a military takeover.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

Liberation Day Celebrations

  • Kalaburagi is all decked up for the celebrations marking the 73rd anniversary of Kalyana Karnataka (Hyderabad Karnataka) Liberation Day on September 17, a red letter day in the annals of the freedom movement of the region when it was liberated from the Nizam's rule.
  • The main roads in the city are decorated with giant colourful entrance arches and the many government offices are decked up with lights matching the festive spirit.
  • The district administration has chalked out elaborate programmes to mark the occasion on a grand scale.

Global Ayurveda Summit, Being Held Online, Inaugurated

  • The 4th edition of Global Ayurveda Summit was virtually inaugurated by Vice-President Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu on the theme "Emerging Opportunities for Ayurveda during Pandemic".
  • The objective of the summit is to showcase the Ayurveda immunity model to the global level as a solution named 'Health as One' and 'Immunity through Ayurveda'. 
  • Global Ayurveda Summit is being organized by the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry)-Kerala in partnership with Ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), and with the support of Ayurveda Medical Association of India (AMAI), Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organisation in India (AMMOI) and Ayurveda Hospital Management Association (AHMA).
  • It is also supported by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) in the United States (US), Association of Swiss Ayurveda Doctors and Therapists in Switzerland, Association for Ayurvedic Medicine in the Netherlands.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister to Inaugurate 'Poshan Sarkar' Programme

  • The month of September is observed every year as the month of nutrition under the Nutrition Campaign.
  • Efforts are being made to make nutrition a priority and generating awareness by involving all sections of the society. In the same series, the 'Poshan Sarkar' programme is being started to ensure participation and leadership of local bodies-Gram Panchayats and Urban Bodies in the nutrition campaign.
  • Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan will inaugurate this programme. He will also hold talks with one each gram panchayat of Gwalior, Balaghat, Sheopur, Hoshnagabad, Chhatarpur, Sehore, Barwani, Shajapur and Anuppur as well as beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Matra Vandana Yojana besides Ladli Laxmi Yojana of Satna Municipal Corporation.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

India ranks 116 in World Bank's Human Capital Index

  • India has been ranked at the 116th position in the latest edition of the World Bank's annual Human Capital Index that benchmarks key components of human capital across countries.
  • However, India's score increased to 0.49 from 0.44 in 2018, as per the Human Capital Index report released by the World Bank.
  • The 2020 Human Capital Index update includes health and education data for 174 countries - covering 98 per cent of the world's population - up to March 2020, providing a pre-pandemic baseline on the health and education of children, with the biggest strides made in low-income countries.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Delhi Metro Launches First Indigenous Signal System

  • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took a major step towards development of an indigenously-built communication-based train control with the launch of i-ATS — the first Made-in-India signalling system.
  • The ATS (or Automatic Train Supervision) is a computer-based system, which manages train operations, including basic functioning such as running and halting. The i-ATS will significantly reduce the dependence of Indian Metros on foreign vendors dealing with such technologies.
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