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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Nov 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India Supports Expansion of NDB Membership at BRICS Meet

  • India supported the expansion of the membership of the New Development Bank, set up by India and other BRICS nations, and emphasised on the importance of regional balance.
  • Participating in the 1st BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting under the BRICS Russian Chairmanship, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said that a consensus solution will play an important role in ensuring fairness, equity and sustainability of tax systems.
  • The agenda of the meeting included discussions on the outcomes of G20 Saudi Presidency in 2020, a digital platform to encourage infrastructure investments and expansion of the membership of the New Development Bank.

India-Maldives to Sign MOUs and Discuss COVID-19 Crisis

  • A number of MoUs in the field of sports and on implementation of some high impact community development projects were signed between Maldives and India in Malé. The signing came during the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla to the country.
  • Maldivian Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed and his Indian counterpart held official discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with particular emphasis on the recovery and resilience efforts to curb the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including boosting tourism.
  • Amidst the COVID pandemic, India had sent relief to Maldives in terms of food, medicine.
  • Focus was also on "accelerating" the implementation of the ongoing development cooperation projects across the Maldives.

Peru's Martín Vizcarra Faces another Impeachment Vote

  • Peru's Congress is expected to vote on whether to impeach President Martín Vizcarra over corruption allegations.
  • A previous impeachment vote held less than two months ago failed to get the necessary votes.
  • Eighty-seven votes are needed in the 130-member Congress to remove the President from his post.
  • Mr. Vizcarra has denied any wrongdoing and said that the vote creates turbulence just months ahead of elections.
  • Mr. Vizcarra would go to Congress later on Monday to give his defence to allegations he accepted bribes worth 2.3m soles ($640,000; £487,000) when he was governor of the southern Moquegua region.
  • The impeachment vote is expected to be held once Mr. Vizcarra has finished presenting his defence.
  • Last week, 60 lawmakers voted in favour of the proceedings going ahead, while 40 opposed the move and 18 abstained.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

NeoBenk Launches Global Partners Program for Innovative Financial Services

  • NeoBenk, a worldwide digital payment corporation, announced the launch of its Global Partners Program that spurs wider availability and mass adoption of digital assets.
  • NeoBenk's Global Partners Program is designed to enable a full range of financial solutions and infrastructure that empowers millions of people.
  • NeoBenk announces a total reward distribution of $1 Million (about Rs. 750 Lakh) for celebrating its official launch on 20th November. Any customer who joins NeoBenk till 20th November will take part in this reward distribution.
  • NeoBenk Ventures, the strategic investment arm of NeoBenk, last week said it sets up $10 Million (about Rs. 7.5 Crore) for Indian Startups in Digital Payments.

RailTel Corporation Gets SEBI's Approval to Float IPO

  • State-owned RailTel Corporation of India Ltd received capital markets regulator SEBI's go-ahead to raise Rs. 700 crore through an initial share-sale.
  • The initial public offer (IPO) is entirely an offer-for-sale through which the government will offload 8.66 crore equity shares, according to draft papers filed with SEBI.
  • The company, which filed its IPO papers in October, obtained the regulator's observation in November.
  • The regulator's observation is necessary for any company to launch public issues like initial public offering, follow-on public offer and rights issue.

Tata Steel and POSCO Join Forces to Develop Hyperloop Tubes

  • Tata Steel Europe and South Korea's POSCO will collaborate to develop steel tubes needed for high-speed hyperloop transportation systems.
  • Richard Branson's Virgin Hyperloop completed the world's first passenger ride on their levitating pod system, which it hopes will transform human and cargo transportation while slashing carbon emissions.
  • Tata Steel Europe, a unit of India's Tata Steel, in a joint statement with the world's fifth biggest steelmaker POSCO said that they would develop high-quality steel grades needed for the huge vacuum tubes that allow high-speed transport using very little energy.
  • POSCO has been conducting hyperloop related research such as feasibility, design and structural optimisation of various types of steel tubes for more than 10 years.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

China Launches World's First 6G Test Satellite into Orbit

  • China has successfully launched what has been described as the world's first 6G satellite into space to test the technology.
  • It went into orbit along with 12 other satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province.
  • Named after the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, the satellite was jointly developed by Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology, UESTC, and Beijing MinoSpace Technology.
  • It will be used to verify the performance of 6G technology in space as the 6G frequency band will expand from the 5G millimeter wave frequency to the terahertz frequency.
  • The satellite is the first technical test of terahertz communication's application in space.

Rajnath Singh Inaugurates Model of A-SAT Missile System

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a model of the anti-satellite missile system (A-SAT) at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) headquarters in Delhi. The missile system is seen as a symbol of national technological advancement for India.
  • Earlier, DRDO had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test 'Mission Shakti' from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on March 27, 2019, which propelled India into an elite club of few nations having the advanced capability.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Fifteenth Finance Commission Submits Final Report to President Kovind

  • The 15th Finance Commission, chaired by N. K. Singh, submitted its report for 2021-22 to 2025-26 to President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The report titled 'Finance Commission in Covid Times' was submitted by Singh along with members of the Commission — Ajay Narayan Jha, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri and Ramesh Chand.
  • Last year, the Commission had submitted its report containing recommendations for 2020-21 which was accepted by the Union Government and tabled in Parliament in January 2020.
  • As per the terms of reference (ToR), the Commission was mandated to give its recommendations for five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Mayanglangbam Sworn in as MLA in Manipur

  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Mayanglangbam Rameshwar who secured second place in 2017 assembly elections was sworn in as a member of Manipur Legislative Assembly after the High Court last week declared the election of Congress candidate Y. Surchandra null and void.
  • Manipur Assembly Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh administered the oath of office in secrecy to the new MLA at his office chamber of Manipur Legislative Assembly premises in Imphal in the presence of Chief Minister N Biren Singh and his ministers.
  • Forty eight year old Rameshwar took oath after he was named as the elected member of Kakching Assembly Constituency. 
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DEFENCE

Russian Firm Looks to Buy Reliance Naval

  • Most shipbuilding firms are backing away from purchasing Anil Ambani's Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd (RNaval), which is being sold to pay its debts. However, Russia's state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) remains interested.
  • RNaval is under the hammer under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to recover debts that have mounted to almost Rs. 10,000 crore. Besides USC, two large Indian companies – Chowgule and APM Terminals Management BV – were in the fray, along with a number of asset reconstruction companies. RNaval's primary asset is the Pipavav Shipyard in Gujarat.
  • Stating that USC had passed the accreditation procedure to obtain access to RNaval's electronic account, the Embassy stated that USC is currently conducting the due diligence of RNaval's condition and assessing parameters of the possible investments.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Omaxe Appoints Retail Veteran Benu Sehgal as President

  • In an effort to strengthen its leadership team, Omaxe has appointed Benu Sehgal, a veteran in retail, mall management, amusement, media and entrepreneurship as president - retail.
  • She will be responsible for retail and commercial projects of Omaxe.
  • Benu Sehgal has over 23 years of experience in senior positions in organisations like Ambience, DLF Utilities, International Recreation Parks, B4U Television Networks, and Whistling Woods International.

Aloke Singh New CEO of Air India Express

  • Air India Express appointed Aloke Singh as its new Chief Executive Officer. Singh has taken charge at airline's corporate headquarters in Kochi, Kerala.
  • Aloke Singh has three decades of diverse experience in air transport and travel, with leadership roles in Air India, Alliance Air and a Gulf-based national carrier.
  • Before taking on the current assignment at Air India Express, Singh was associated with an aviation advisory and consulting firm in New Delhi. He also co-founded a travel venture as an entrepreneur.
  • Singh holds an MBA from Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi and has attended London School of Economics on a Chevening Fellowship.

Veteran Author Father Valles Pases Away

  • Veteran author and columnist Father Carlos Gonzalvez Valles SJ, also known as Father Valles, passed away at the age of 95.
  • He distinguished himself in diverse areas such as mathematics and Gujarati literature. He was also passionate about serving society.
  • Saddened by his demise, the priest also translated many mathematical concepts into Gujarati and coined special terms for them. He contributed regularly to Suganitam, the first mathematical review in an Indian language.
  • In 1960, the author penned a book titled Sadachar, which was published with the help of his mother. He also wrote for a monthly called Kumar and won its annual Kumar Prize for best writing. Besides, he also wrote in the Sunday supplement of Gujarat Samachar in a column called 'Navi Pedhine' or 'the new generation'.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

World Immunization Day

  • World Immunization Day is celebrated every year on November 10. This day is celebrated to make people aware about the importance of getting timely vaccinations against vaccine preventable diseases.
  • Immunization helps protect the child from life threatening diseases. It also helps reduce the spread of disease to others. Vaccines stimulate the body's own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. 
  • According to WHO, immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year but an estimated 18.7 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.

World Science Day for Peace and Development

  • World Science Day for Peace and Development is an international day that highlights the important role that science has in society and is celebrated each year on November 10. It also highlights the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. World Science Day was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001 and celebrated for the first time in 2002.
  • The theme for World Science Day for Peace & Development 2020 is "Science for and with Society".
  • At the time when the world is suffering from COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of the day is on "Science for and with Society in dealing with the global pandemic".
View Month Wise

AWARDS AND HONOURS

S. Hareesh Bags 2020 JCB Prize for Literature

  • 'Moustache' by S. Hareesh, translated from the Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil, was announced the winner of the Rs. 25-lakh JCB Prize for Literature.
  • The book, which is the author's debut novel, is a contemporary classic mixing magic, myth and metaphor into a tale of far-reaching resonance.
  • It is the second debut novel as well as the second Malayalam translation to win the award.
  • The book was selected by a panel of four judges "writer and translator Aruni Kashyap, professor, cultural theorist and author Tejaswini Niranjana, playwright, and director Ramu Ramanathan, and Head of the Arts & Culture portfolio at Tata Trusts Deepika Sorabjee."

Elsa Wins People's Choice Award

  • Kenya's internet comedian Elsa Majimbo was named winner of African Social Star category at the 2020 People's Choice Awards event.
  • It is America's biggest award shows and celebrates the top stars in fashion and entertainment with fans voting to decide the winners.
  • The 19 year-old comedian, who is based in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, rose to popularity in March during the coronavirus restrictions in her country. Her short comedic videos drew a worldwide audience and attracted interviews by top media houses in the US and Europe.

Ahimsa Award for Kenya-based Teacher

  • Kenya-based teacher Peter Tabichi, who was awarded the $1-million Global Teacher Prize last year, has been given the 2020 Ahimsa Award by the Institute of Jainology in London.Tabichi is a maths and physics teacher from Pwani village in the poverty-stricken region of Nakuru in Kenya.
  • The Institute of Jainlology (IOJ) represents 32 UK-based Jain organisations in government and inter-religious affairs and this year's award was announced at the 18th Jain All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Ahimsa Day meeting last month.
  • The award celebrates the Jain tenets of Ahimsa or non-violence and compassion.
View Month Wise

ART AND CULTURE

Stolen Items to be returned to UK from US after Decades

  • Items belonging to World War Two Bletchley Park code-breaker Alan Turing that were stolen from the UK decades ago are to be returned from the US.
  • The mathematician's miniature OBE medal is among 17 items that were taken from Dorset's Sherborne School by Julia Turing, who is no relation, in 1984.
  • They were found at her home in Colorado in the US in 2018.
  • A US civil court case launched against her has been settled out of court and the items are due to be returned.
  • According to US court papers and Sherborne School, Ms. Turing, who legally changed her name from Julie Schwinghamer in 1988, removed the items without permission from archives given to the school in 1965 by the Turing family, in memory of the time he spent there as a pupil.
View Month Wise

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Anupam Kher Unveils Cover of His New Book 'Your Best Day Is Today!'

  • Veteran actor Anupam Kher unveiled the cover of his latest book "Your Best Day Is Today!"
  • Kher had announced the book during the coronavirus-induced countrywide lockdown.
  • Through this book, Kher will recount his experiences during the lockdown, several ups and downs, including the time when his mother Dulari and brother Raju Kher had contracted the virus.
  • The versatile actor's previous two books are his biography "Lessons Life Taught Me Unknowingly" published last year (2019) and another is "The Best Thing About You is You!", which was released in 2011.
View Month Wise

TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Kenya Takes Top Spot at Africa World Travel Awards

  • Kenya with its tantalising cocktail of epic savannah landscapes, immense herds of wildlife and palm-fringed beaches has been voted 'Africa's Leading Destination' by the World Travel Awards.
  • The news was unveiled during the inaugural Africa Winners Day, with World Travel Awards – the global initiative to recognise and reward excellence in travel and tourism – honouring the best from across the continent.
  • Kenya's thriving capital, Nairobi, was also named 'Africa's Leading Business Travel Destination', and Kenyatta International Convention Centre collecting 'Africa's Leading Meetings & Conference Centre').
  • Cape Town was declared 'Africa's Leading Festival & Event Destination' and its majestic Table Mountain picked 'Africa's Leading Tourist Attraction'.
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