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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

19 Sep 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Gaza Violence Flares After Israel Signs Deals With Gulf States

  • There has been a fresh round of violence between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel, after a ceremony in Washington at which Israel and two Gulf Arab states normalised their relations.
  • Militants fired two rockets into Israel. One hit the coastal city of Ashdod, wounding two men.
  • Another barrage of 13 rockets was launched.
  • In retaliation, the Israeli military bombed sites in Gaza it said belonged to the Palestinian group Hamas.

Israel Marks Jewish New Year

  • Israel is entering a second nationwide lockdown to curb surging coronavirus cases, just as people begin to mark the start of Jewish New Year.
  • Rosh Hashanah is traditionally a time for big, family get-togethers.
  • But under the new three-week lockdown, Israelis must stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes, with exceptions, and the number of people allowed in synagogues has been greatly reduced.

Bolivia's Interim Leader Jeanine Áñez Quits Presidential Race

  • Bolivia's interim President Jeanine Áñez has quit the presidential election due on 18 October.
  • She said she did not want to split the vote and see the return to office of former President Evo Morales' Mas socialist party.
  • Mas candidate Luis Arce is leading in opinion polls, with Ms Áñez trailing in fourth place.
  • Ms Áñez was sworn in last year after Mr Morales resigned and left the country amid allegations of electoral fraud.
  • Mr Morales, who currently lives in Argentina, later said he was forced into exile by the police and the military.
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ENVIRONMENT

Eight Indian Beaches Recommended for Coveted Blue Flag International Eco-Label

  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that eight beaches of the country have been recommended for the coveted 'Blue Flag' international eco-label. He said, clean beaches are a testimony to good environment in coastal areas and India's many beaches are among the best in the world.
  • Speaking on the eve of 'International Coastal Clean-Up Day' celebrated across 100 countries since 1986, Mr Javadekar said, for the first time, eight beaches of India have been recommended for the Blue Flag certification.
  • Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by an international agency 'Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark' based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads–environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation and safety and services in the beaches. 
  • The 'Blue Flag' beach is an eco-tourism model endeavouring to provide the tourists/beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.
  • In a video message, Mr Javadekar also announced India's own eco-label 'Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services' (BEAMS) under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project. The eight beaches recommended under the BEAMS are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman and Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden in Odisha and Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Canara Bank Introduces i-Lead 2.0 to Boost Customer Services

  • To provide its services to customers irrespective of where they reside, public sector lender Canara Bank has launched lead management system (LMS) - i-Lead 2.0 (Inspiring Leads System version 2.0).
  • This new initiative is being introduced with the motive of building and sustaining business relationships with bothnew customers to bank and existing customers to bank. Going beyond the principle of gaining profit and having competitive advantage, Canara Bank has opened a way for its services to reach all corners of the country.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Twitter Beefs up Security on Big-name Accounts Ahead of US Election

  • Twitter is beefing up its security ahead of  2020 November's US presidential election — a bid to avoid another debacle like the bitcoin scam earlier this year, which saw the accounts of Joe Biden and Barack Obama get hijacked by hackers.
  • Moving forward, accounts that Twitter designates as high-profile will be required or recommended to implement security measures including two-factor authentication and strong passwords.
  • High-profile accounts will include members of the executive branch and Congress, governors and secretaries of state, presidential campaigns as well as "major US news outlets and political journalists."
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

PM Dedicates Kosi Rail Mega Bridge to Nation

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the historical Kosi Rail Mega Bridge to the nation and inaugurated new rail lines and electrification projects in Bihar via video-conferencing. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was present at the event.
  • These projects will improve Bihar's railway network and also strengthen connectivity in areas of West Bengal and West India.
  • The PM took a dig at the Congress government for not expediting the Kosi Rail line programme for which foundation stone was laid by Atal Bihari Vajpayee when his government was in power before 2004. 

India's First Terminal for Private Jets Inaugurated at Delhi Airport

  • Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated India's first General Aviation Terminal at Delhi airport. The exclusive terminal will handle the flight operations of private jets.
  • With the facility, Delhi Airport marks a milestone of setting up high-end infrastructure for passengers. The new terminal has been built to support the movement and processing of passengers flying through chartered flights from IGI Airport.
  • The terminal has 57 parking bays and can handle up to 150 private jet flights per day.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Forrest Gump Author Winston Groom Dies Aged 77

  • Writer Winston Groom, whose novel Forrest Gump was made into the hugely successful Oscar-winning 1994 film starring Tom Hanks, has died aged 77.
  • The book, about the childlike optimism of a slow-thinking but kind-hearted man, won six Oscars including best film and actor, plus three Golden Globes.
  • Directed by Robert Zemeckis and also starring Sally Field and Robin Wright, it made $683m (£526m).
  • Groom's death was confirmed by Alabama governor Kay Ivey.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

  • International Talk Like a Pirate Day is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers, of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate. 
  • According to Summers, the day is the only known holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. During a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of "Aaarrr!", and the idea was born. 
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Udit Singhal Named in UN's List of 2020 Class of Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals

  • Udit Singhal, an 18-year old Indian boy has been named by the United Nations in the list of 2020 Class of Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals. It is a highest-profile recognition opportunity for the youngsters who are leading efforts on the world's most pressing issues.
  • He has been named to the 2020 Class of 17 Young Leaders for SDGs. Udit Singhal is the founder of Glass2Sand, a zero-waste ecosystem that has been addressing the growing problem of glass waste in Delhi.
  • The 2020 Class of 17 Young Leaders included the representatives from Bangladesh, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Columbia, China, Egypt, Ireland, India, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Peru, Pakistan, Uganda, Turkey, and United States.

12 Teachers Awarded Under AICTE's First-ever Visvesvarya Best Teacher Awards 2020

  • A total of 12 faculty members of AICTE-approved institutes received the first-ever Visvesvarya Best Teacher Awards 2020.
  • The awards were conferred by Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' on the eve of Engineers Day. The event was organised in the virtual mode due to the pandemic.
  •  The Minister said that the awards have been introduced to identify extraordinary teachers and recognise their excellence, best practice, and innovation in the field of higher technical education at the national level for degree and diploma institutions.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Rupani Announces Subsidy Schemes for E-scooters, Rickshaws

  • In order to encourage the use of electric vehicles to prevent air pollution, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced subsidy schemes for electric two-wheelers and e-rickshaws, during a virtual programme on climate change to commemorate the founding day of the state climate change department.
  • The CM announced the subsidy as a "Panchsheel gift" of five development schemes in Gujarat to celebrate the 70th birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Announcing a support plan for the use of a battery-powered two-wheelers and three-wheelers, the CM declared that students will get a subsidy of Rs 12,000 each to buy e-scooters.
  • Under this scheme, the government will provide assistance to students studying from Class 9 to college to purchase battery-powered two-wheelers. The target is to provide this assistance to 10,000 such vehicles.

J-K LG Launches NGDRS For Online Registration

  • Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha launched the National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS), marking a major shift from the existing manual registration system to online registration for transactions in sale or purchase of land.
  • The NGDRS represents a major shift from the existing manual registration system to online registration of all transactions in sale-purchase/transfer of land and the stamp papers have been replaced by e-stamps which have been incorporated in coordination with Stockholding Corporation of India.
  • Today's launch marks another step of the government towards the establishment of an accountable and transparent governing system where the welfare of common citizen is at the core.

Jal Shakti Ministry Ropes in Ministry of Electronics for 'Jal Jeevan Mission'

  • The Union Jal Shakti Ministry has roped in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to bolster the implementation of its Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
  • This is to develop and inject technological intervention for monitoring the implementation and sustenance of the JJM.
  • The JJM aims to provide piped water connection to every rural household by 2024.
  • The homing in on technological solutions is to deal with future challenges relating to supplies in the piped water connections to the households, and functional aspect of the infrastructure (the network of pipes) laid down under the JJM.
  • To this effect, the National Jal Jeevan Mission of the Jal Shakti Ministry and MeitY has launched, "ICT Grand Challenge".
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