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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

25 Oct 2020


Sudan Joins UAE, Bahrain in Recognizing Israel

  • Sudan became the third country to join UAE and Bahrain in recognizing Israel. The United States recently brokered pacts between Israel and UAE and Bahrain. Under the agreement, UAE and Bahrain agreed to recognise Israel as an independent state.
  • In September 2020, UAE, Bahrain and Israel signed the first peace agreement in 26 years. The agreement was called the Abraham Accord.
  • Egypt was the first country to recognise Israel. Following Egypt Jordan recognised Israel by establishing peace with the country. After 26 years following Jordan, UAE signed a peace deal with Israel recently.  After UAE, Bahrain became the fourth country to sign a peace deal with Israel.
  • On May 14, 1948, the head of Jewish agency David Ben Gurion proclaimed the establishment of Israel. 

Malaysia's King to Consult with Rulers amid Talk of Emergency

  • Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, after the premier had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.
  • Muhyiddin met with the king to present the emergency proposal that includes a suspension of the Parliament, a move that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim denounced as an attempt by the premier to retain control amid a power struggle.
  • The proposal comes as Malaysia faces a resurgence in coronavirus cases, a pandemic-battered economy and doubts over Muhyiddin's ability to command a majority in parliament and pass the budget for 2021.
  • The palace did not identify the recommendations made by Muhyiddin and said that the king would soon hold the consultation with other Malay rulers.

Central Asia's Biggest State Takes Key Step towards Democracy

  • Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed a decree scheduling Majilis elections for January 2021, in what can be described as a key step towards democracy in the region.
  • Majilis is the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament consisting of 107 deputies, who are elected for a five-year term.
  • The previous elections were held in March 2016. Six political parties participated in the elections and three of them including Nur Otan (82.2 per cent), AkZhol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (7.18 per cent), the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan (7.14 per cent), received more than 7 per cent of the votes and won the right to delegate their deputies to the chamber.
  • Currently, the Nur Otan party has a majority of 84 deputies in the Majilis, the Ak Zhol and the Communist People's party have 7 deputies each.
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Karnataka HC asks Franklin MF to not Proceed with Winding up of Schemes without Investor Consent

  • Karnataka High Court has asked Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund to not proceed with the winding up of its debt schemes without obtaining the consent of investors. Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund shut down six of its debt mutual funds on April 23, citing the difficult conditions in the bond market due to the Covid pandemic.
  • Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund voluntarily decided to wind up six of its fixed-income debt schemes -- Franklin India Low Duration Fund, Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund, Franklin India Credit Risk Fund, Franklin India Short Term Income Plan, Franklin India Ultra Short Bond Fund and Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund. These schemes cumulatively managed assets worth Rs. 26,000 crore.
  • The fund house was in the process of conducting e-voting to ratify the decision when group investors managed to obtain a stay from the court. 

Dubai Announces $136 Million Extra Stimulus Package

  • Dubai has announced a new 500 million dirhams ($136.14 million) stimulus package to support the local economy, taking Dubai's total stimulus measures this year to 6.8 billion dirhams.
  • "The private sector is a major partner in Dubai's development process, and we have adopted a set of new exemptions for some fees and a reduction in rents for some sectors, as well as an extension of the validity of a previous set of exemptions from fees," said Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum. 

New Management Takes Over Intu Braehead Shopping Complex

  • One of Scotland's largest shopping centres, Intu Braehead, has been taken over by new management after going into administration.
  • The complex on the outskirts of Glasgow will now operate under the management of Global Mutual and Savills.
  • Intu, which also owns the Trafford Centre and the Lakeside complex, said in June that it had not reached a financial agreement with its lenders.
  • Intu's 17 UK centres were partially shut during the coronavirus lockdown, with only essential shops remaining open.
  • The company had about 60% of shopping centre staff and about 20% of head office employees on furlough.
  • Earlier this month, the leisure and entertainment complex next to Intu Braehead was saved from administration.
  • The future of Soar, formerly Xscape, was secured after a takeover by Debenture PLC from Intu.
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OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Collects Significant Amount of Asteroid Bennu

  • Two days after touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission team HAS received images that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements – acquiring at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid's surface material.
  • The spacecraft captured images of the sample collector head as it moved through several different positions. In reviewing these images, the OSIRIS-REx team noticed both that the head appeared to be full of asteroid particles, and that some of these particles appeared to be escaping slowly from the sample collector, called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) head.
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Indian Men and Women in Asian Chess Finals

  • B. Adhiban and R. Vaishali shone bright as the top-seeded Indian men's and women's teams entered the final of the Asian Nations Online Chess Championship with victories over Kazakhstan and Mongolia, respectively.
  • While the men beat Kazakhstan 2.5-1.5 and 3-1 in the two-leg semifinal, the women's side posted 3.5-0.5 and 4-0 wins over Mongolia. The women will meet Indonesia in the final.
  • The Indian team, led by Surya Sekhar Ganguly, faces Australia in the final. 
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Israel is to establish a "Water Attache" in India

  • Israel is to establish a "Water Attache" in India. It is to operate from January 2021 under the Israel Embassy in India. The Water Attache division will share Israel's best practices, technologies and water management in agriculture sectors.
  • Also, Israel is to soon appoint an honorary Consul to the north-east.  Its objective is to increase its presence and collaboration in the north-east region.
  • A strategic cooperation of G2G level in the field of agriculture is under implementation between the countries. The cooperation focuses on crop diversity, increased productivity and enhances water efficiency in horticulture. This is currently addressing the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic. Under the cooperation, Centres of Excellence are to be established.
  • The centres will adopt advanced agriculture farm Technology of Israel. The COE's main objective is to benefit farmers on selected key crops. The COE will focus on Nursery Management, irrigation, fustigation and cultivation techniques. The COE will be the meeting point for Government, Academy and farmers to cooperate towards the beneficial achievement.

Modi Inaugurates Paediatric Heart Hospital, Girnar Ropeway

  • The Prime Minister inaugurated Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre and a Mobile Application for telecardiology at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. Besides, he also inaugurated Asia's longest temple ropeway on mount Girnar via video-link.
  • The 2320 metre-long ropeway has a capacity to carry 1000 passengers per hour.
  • The UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology is undergoing expansion at the cost of Rs 470 crores. The number of beds will increase from 450 to 1251 after the completion of the expansion project. The Institute will also become the biggest single super specialty cardiac teaching institute in the country and one of the biggest single super specialty cardiac hospitals in the world.

Farooq Abdullah to Lead Gupkar Alliance

  • Seven mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir gave a formal shape to their recently cobbled alliance for the restoration of Article 370, electing National Conference's Farooq Abdullah as its chairman and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti as vice-chairperson, and asserted that theirs was "not an anti-national" grouping.
  • Veteran CPM leader M. Y. Tarigami was elected as the convenor, while Lok Sabha member from South Kashmir Hasnain Masoodi would be the coordinator of the conglomerate known as People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).
  • Sajjad Gani Lone of People's Conference would be the spokesman for the amalgam.
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Centre Gives Approval for 47 ITBP Border Outposts

  • In the wake of tension between Indian and Chinese troops, the Centre has given approval to the ITBP to set up 47 border outposts to increase vigil along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), besides acquiring special clothing and equipment for high-altitude locations. The work is on to prepare priority border roads for the force.
  • The armies of some countries had a myth that they were among the powerful armies of the world, but during the developments in the past few months, the ITBP has broken that myth. The ITBP is the designated force to guard the 3,488-km-long Sino-India LAC that runs from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

DRDO Start Prototype Work on VL-SRSAM (Astra BVRAAM) for Indian Navy

  • Fresh Tender documents issued by the DRDO for an 8 Cell A vertical launching system (VLS) for Vertically Launched -Short-range Surface Air to Missile, a system based on Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile has confirmed that Prototype work on construction of an VL-SRSAM missile has begun. Previous tender documents had called for the interested parties to submit bids of VL-SRSAM missile integration Jig.
  • Fresh documents show that VL-SRSAM based on the Astra Mk1 BVRAAM will be getting a first-stage Booster motor for the initial launch and for the first time a TVC (Thrust Vector Control) nozzle has also been sported. VL-SRSAM will be a next-generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system that will provide complete protection against all known and projected air targets Over 25 km and the addition of a first-stage Booster motor will ensure a 40km+ Interception range now.
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Lee Kun-hee, the Chairman of South Korea's Largest Conglomerate, Passes Away

  • Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of South Korea's largest conglomerate, Samsung Group, passed away at the age of 78.
  • Mr. Lee helped to grow his father's small trading business into an economic powerhouse, diversifying into areas like insurance and shipping.
  • During his lifetime, Samsung Electronics also became one of the world's biggest tech firms.
  • He was the richest person in South Korea with a net worth of nearly $21bn (£16bn).
  • Mr. Lee was the third son of Lee Byung-chul, who founded Samsung Group in 1938. He joined the family firm in 1968 and took over as chairman in 1987 after his father's death.
  • At the time, Samsung was seen as a producer of cheap, low-quality products. But under his leadership radical reforms were introduced at the company.
  • Mr. Lee became famous for telling employees in 1993: "Let's change everything except our wives and kids." The firm then burned its entire mobile phone stock, consisting of 150,000 handsets.
  • Samsung is by far the largest of South's Korea's chaebols - the family-owned conglomerates that dominate the country's economy.
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Kati Bihu Festival in Assam

  • Kati Bihu is celebrated in Assam and is one of the three Bihu festivals. The Kati Bihu is also called as Kangali Bihu, the festival of the poor (the word "Kongal" means "poor"). It is celebrated in mid-October when the crops are at growing stage and the granaries of the farmers are empty.
  • Bihu is associated with agriculture and rice. On Kati Bihu festival day, earthen lamps are lit in households. During ancient times, earthen lamps were lit all around the paddy crops to captivate the insects.  Therefore, it acted as a natural insectide. In the evening, cows and bulls are fed with food made from rice items and this is called pitha.
  • There are three different types of Bihu festivals namely Bohag Bihu, Kati Bihu and Bhogali Bihu.
  • Bohag Bihu: It is also known as Rongali Bihu.  The most popular Bihu celebrates the beginning of the Assamese New Year and the arriving of spring. The Bohag Bihu is celebrated in middle of April month.  Bohag Bihu marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar.  The folk songs related with the Bohag Bihu are known as Bihugeets or Bihu songs.
  • Kati Bihu festival is also celebrated in Bengal, Manipur, Mithila, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala though called by various names.
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Kisan Suryoday Yojana

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Kisan Suryoday Yojana in Gujarat. The scheme aims to provide day time power supply for irrigation.
  • Under the scheme, the farmers are to be availed with power supply between 5 AM and 9 PM. In order to implement the scheme, the State Government of Gujarat has allocated budget of Rs 3,500 crores.
  • These funds will install transmission infrastructure by 2023. Around 234 transmission lines are to be installed under the scheme. Each line is to carry power of 66 KW. They are to be erected to a total length of 3,490 km. Also, additional 220 KV substations are to be installed.
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Andhra Pradesh's Rajamahendravaram to Get Heritage City Tag

  • Andhra Pradesh's Rajamahendravaram or Rajahmundry is striving to get the heritage city tag from the Central government. The state Archaeological department has prepared a plan in this regard. The state authorities are collecting evidence and seeking remnants of Chalukya dynasty between the 10th and 11th centuries. The state Archaeological is gearing up to submit concrete evidence to get the Heritage City tag soon. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be approached for obtaining a nod for the excavations process. If the city manages to get the Heritage city tag from the central government, it will receive funds.
  • Rajamahendravaram used to be known as Rajahmundry. Once the city was the first capital of several Telugu Kingdoms. However, the original name underwent a steady metamorphosis. Finally, the city got the name of Rajamahendravaram during the British rule, as per details provided by Rajamahendravaram Municipal Corporation. The city is located on the left bank of the river Godavari.

Life in Miniature Project

  • Life in Miniature Project is a combination between the Ministry of Culture, National Museum, New Delhi, and Google Arts & Culture.
  • Life in Miniature project was launched by the Union Ministry of Culture.
  • The project will allow online viewing of various hundred small-scale paintings (like Royal Saga, the Ramayana, Pahari style paintings) from the National Museum, New Delhi on Google Arts & Culture by people all over the world.
  • The project highlights upon the importance of the Digital India mission. It also spotlights the role of technology in the conservation of India's heritage.
  • The miniature paintings are colorful handmade paintings. They are very small in size. The main feature of these paintings is intricate brushwork. It gives unique identity.
  • Miniature paintings derived in India around 750 A.D. when the Palas ruled over the eastern part of India. These paintings became famous when religious writings were written beneath the images of Lord Buddha.  During the Mughal Empire, the miniature paintings started emerging on a different level.
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