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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

14 Nov 2020


US Election Security Officials Reject Trump's Fraud Claims

  • US election security officials rejected President Donald Trump's fraud claims and said that there is no evidence that the 2020 presidential election, the most secure in American history, was compromised.
  • Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud and has not yet conceded. He has also launched a flurry of legal challenges to projected results in key states won by his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
  • The security groups said all the states with close results in the race have paper records of each vote, which can be counted if necessary.

War Crimes Feared in Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict

  • Fighting between Ethiopian government forces and rebellious northern leaders could spiral out of control and war crimes may have been committed, the United Nations said that as repercussions spread around the volatile Horn of Africa.
  • The 10-day conflict in Tigray region has killed hundreds, sent refugees flooding into Sudan, and raised fears it may suck in Eritrea or force Ethiopia to divert troops from an African force opposing al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.
  • It may also blemish the reputation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for a 2018 peace pact with Eritrea and had won plaudits for opening Ethiopia's economy and easing a repressive political system.
  • UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said that there is a risk this situation will spiral totally out of control, leading to heavy casualties and destruction, as well as mass displacement within Ethiopia itself and across borders.
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RIL to Invest $50 mn in Bill Gates' Company

  • Reliance Industries (RIL) will invest $50 million in Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), a climate change company owned by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
  • Reliance will make the investment in tranches over the next 8 to 10 years. The capital contribution commitment of $50 million constitutes 5.75% of the size of the fund contemplated at present.
  • The transaction is subject to approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • BEV will invest the funds raised from the investors to support innovation in clean energy solutions.

China Halts Imports of Seafood Products from Indian Firm

  • China has suspended the import of seafood products from an Indian company for a week, after traces of COVID-19 were reportedly found on the outer packaging of some samples of frozen cuttlefish exported by the firm.
  • The report, however, has not provided any details of the company which exported the fish to China.
  • It also said Liangshan county in East China's Shandong Province reported that packaging from one batch of imported frozen beef tested positive for COVID-19.

RBI Imposes Rs. 1 crore Penalty on PNB

  • RBI imposed a penalty of Rs. 1 crore on Punjab National Bankit for contravention of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act.
  • RBI observed that the bank was operating a bilateral ATM sharing arrangement with Druk PNB Bank Ltd, Bhutan, (international subsidiary of the Bank), since April 2010 without the prior approval/authorisation from RBI.
  • RBI also cancelled the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of five Payment System Operators (PSOs) engaged in issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments.
  • The certificates of Card Pro Solutions Private Limited and InCashMe Mobile Wallet Services Private Limited were cancelled because of 'noncompliance with regulatory requirements', while Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Limited and Pyro Networks Private Limited voluntarily surrendered their certificates.
  • The CoA of Aircel Smart Money Limited was cancelled because of non-renewal.
  • All these five entities were into issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments (PPIs).
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New Sentinel Satellites to Check the Pulse of Earth

  • Yet more Sentinel satellites are to be built for the EU's Copernicus Earth observation network.
  • Contracts have been announced with industry to procure spacecraft that can provide information on a range of parameters - from the extent of Arctic sea-ice to the condition of soils in drought-hit regions of the world.
  • The new satellites are expected to launch towards the decade's end.
  • This depends, however, on sufficient further funding being identified.
  • Copernicus, with its Sentinel spacecraft, represents arguably the most ambitious EO programme in the world right now.
  • While a number of commercial concerns are launching larger numbers of satellites to map the Earth, none is investing in so wide a range of high-fidelity sensor types.
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Novak Djokovic Drawn with Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev at ATP Finals

  • World no.1 Novak Djokovic has been drawn in a group with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman at the upcoming ATP Finals.
  • The men's tennis season finale is going to be held in London from November 15 to 22.
  • Djokovic, 33, will try to clinch the trophy for a record of six times while the Serbian needs to reach the semifinals first by qualifying from the Group Tokyo 1970 containing Russia's world number four Medvedev, German's world number seven Zverev and debutant Schwartzman from Argentina.
  • World number two Rafael Nadal leads Group London 2020 alongside Austrian Dominic Thiem, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece and Russian Andrey Rublev, who reached the year-ending event with a career-high world ranking of eight.
  • This is the 50th anniversary of the ATP Finals, which was first held in 1970 in Tokyo and it is the tournament's 12th and final edition in London. Next year, it will move to Turin, Italy.

Cash Crunch Blocks Archery Resumption

  • The Archery Association of India (AAI) is feeling the pinch as it bids to resume competitions. The competition calendar has been decided and a few state associations are willing to host events, but financial issues and an expected rise in expenses due to Covid-19 protocols is posing a big challenge.
  • As a norm, AAI budgets around Rs. 30 lakh to host the Nationals. However, the Covid safety protocol, which entails testing, sanitisation, and separate rooms for participants, would see a rise in expenses, by up to Rs. 10 lakh. AAI, which is currently not recognised by the Sports Ministry, is struggling to cope with the costs.
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BJP Announces New Team of State In-charges

  • Two days after winning the Bihar assembly election 2020, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced new state in-charges for the crucial assembly elections scheduled in 2021.
  • The BJP that secured 74 seats in the Bihar assembly election results 2020 have already started its preparations for the assembly polls in the states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerela and Assam.
  • In poll-bound West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya will continue to be the in-charge.
  • For Tamil Nadu, CT Ravi will be in-charge who will also take care of Maharashtra and Goa. CP Radhakrishnan will see work in Kerala and Baijayant Panda in Assam and Delhi.
  • Radha Mohan Singh has been appointed as the in-charge of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, while Sambit Patra for Manipur and Sukanta Majumdar for Sikkim.
  • Bhupender Yadav will remain the in-charge for Bihar and Gujarat. Chuba Ao for Meghalaya and Nalin Kohli for Nagaland. Vinod Sonkar will handle work in Tripura.

Our Help Unconditional: India to G-77 Nations

  • India's assistance to other nations does not create indebtedness and is "without conditionalities", a top Indian diplomat has said, asserting that the country's cooperation would be guided by the development priorities of its partners.
  • India's Permanent Representative to the UN TS Tirumurti, reiterated India's commitment to work with developing partners towards a resilient and sustainable recovery from Covid.
  • In India's development cooperation, TS Tirumurti said that we will be guided by our partners' development priorities. Our assistance does not create indebtedness and is without conditionalities at the 44th Annual Meeting of the G-77 Foreign Ministers, in a veiled reference to China's loans which have led to debt-traps in some countries.
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India's QRSAM Achieves Major Milestone, Hits Pilotless Target Aircraft

  • India's Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) System achieved a major milestone by a direct hit on to a Banshee Pilotless target aircraft at medium range and medium altitude. The missile launch took place from ITR Chandipur off the Odisha coast.
  • The missile is propelled by a single-stage solid-propellant rocket motor and uses all indigenous subsystems. The missile is canisterised for transportation and launch using a mobile launcher capable of carrying six canisterised missiles.
  • Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Secretary DD R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy congratulated DRDO Scientists for the achievement.
  • All QRSAM weapon system elements like Battery Multifunction Radar, Battery Surveillance Radar, Battery Command Post Vehicle and Mobile Launcher were deployed in the flight test. The system is capable of detecting and tracking targets on the move and engaging target with short halts. The system is designed to give air defence coverage against strike columns of Indian Army.
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Japanese Astrophysicist Masatoshi Koshiba Passes Away

  • Japanese astrophysicist Masatoshi Koshiba, a co-winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in physics for confirming the existence of elementary particles called neutrinos, passed away at the age of 94. He was a distinguished professor at the University of Tokyo.
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World Diabetes Day

  • World Diabetes Day is the primary global awareness campaign focusing on diabetes mellitus and is held on 14th November each year.
  • Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), each World Diabetes Day focuses on a theme related to diabetes; type-2 diabetes is largely preventable and treatable non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers worldwide. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections. Topics covered have included diabetes and human rights, diabetes and lifestyle, diabetes and obesity, diabetes in the disadvantaged and the vulnerable, and diabetes in children and adolescents. While the campaigns last the whole year, the day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
  • World Diabetes Day was launched in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the rapid rise of diabetes around the world.
  • The theme for World Diabetes Day 2020 is "The Nurse and Diabetes." The campaign aims to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.

Children's Day

  • Children's Day (also known as Bal Diwas) is celebrated across India to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children. It is celebrated on 14th November every year as a tribute to India's First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Fondly known as Chacha Nehru among children, he advocated for children to have fulfilled education. Nehru considered children as real strength of a nation and foundation of society. On this day, many educational and motivational programs are held across India for children.
  • The celebration of Children's Day in India dates back to 1956. Prior to the death of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, India celebrated Children's Day on 20th November (the date observed as Universal Children's Day by the United Nations). After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, his birth anniversary was deliberated to be celebrated as Children's Day in India. It was done so because he was very popular with the kids as Chacha Nehru, hence, a resolution was passed in the parliament to give a befitting farewell to the first Prime Minister of India.
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Sadat Rahman Wins the International Children's Peace Prize

  • Sadat Rahman , a 17-year-old Bangladeshi boy, won the International Children's Peace Prize for his work combating cyberbullying in his country, and he vowed to keep fighting online abuse until it is eradicated.
  • Rahman developed a mobile phone app that provides education about online bullying and a way to report cases after he heard the story of a 15-year-old girl who took her own life as a result of cyberbullying.
  • The award is accompanied by a fund of 1,00,000 euros (USD 1,18,225), which is invested by the KidsRights Foundation in projects that are closely linked to the winner's work.
  • Previous high-profile winners of the prize include Pakistani human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and the students who organized the March For Our Lives after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
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IIT Madras Conducts First Ever Online Orientation for Students

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras conducted an orientation session for the new batch of students for the academic year 2020-21 in online mode for the first time. Parents also attended the event organised to welcome the first-year students of BTech, Dual Degree, and MA.
  • The Academic year for the incoming students will commence on Monday, November 16, 2020. A total of 938 BTech students,175 Dual Degree Students, and 52 MA Students have been admitted for the Academic Year 2020-21.
  • Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said that we have one of the most flexible academic curriculum in the system in India and anywhere in the world. In all programs and all departments, at least 40 per cent of your courses are electives, and half of these courses, you can opt for any elective in the Institute. The rest of the electives will have some restrictions but students will still get to choose.
  • These MTech. courses are in several new, emerging, and interesting interdisciplinary areas such as data science, robotics, computational engineering, quantum science and technology, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology and energy systems, among other areas. More and more such programs are being created by IIT Madras faculty and will be offered in the years to come.

Seven New UG, PG Programmes By Indian Railways' Institute

  • The National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI) in Vadodara launched seven new programmes at the undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) level. The programmes consist of two at the undergraduate level (BTech) and five at the postgraduate level (2 MBA and 3 MSc).
  • According to the Ministry of Railways, the BTech programmes are focused on rail infrastructure, rail systems and communications engineering, while the MBA programmes are focused on transportation and supply chain management. The MSc programmes are focused on systems engineering and integration, systems and analytics, policy and economics.
  • Also, the MSc programme on Systems Engineering and Integration is offered in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, and the students will get international exposure.
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Ayodhya Creates World Record with 6 Lakh Diyas

  • The Uttar Pradesh government went all out in marking the homecoming of Lord Ram to this holy town the mythical event in 'treta yug' on which the festival of Diwali is based. Along the way, the organisers broke a world record. As dusk fell, volunteers lit up over six lakh earthen lamps lined up on the Saryu riverbank.
  • A team from the Guinness World Records was present to see if it made it to their book. Hours later, team leader Nishchal Barot gave the final count as 6,06,569 `diyas', and told that it was 'largest display of oil lamps' in the world. The 'Deepotsav' included the reenactment of the arrival of God Ram and Goddess Sita to Ayodhya on their 'pushpak viman', a laser and sound show, cultural programmes and the lighting of a record 5.51 lakh earthen lamps on the banks of the Saryu.
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