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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

26 Nov 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Scotland Becomes First Country in the World to Make Sanitary Products Free for Women

  • Scotland became the first country to make sanitary products free. It is the first nation in the world to take a step against period poverty, which refers to the prevalent phenomena of being unable to afford products such as pads or tampons to manage menstrual bleeding.
  • With this new bill, called the Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill, tampons and sanitary pads will be available free of cost at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies.
  • The bill was passed unanimously, and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon called it "an important policy for women and girls." 

Bhutan and Germany Establish Diplomatic Ties

  • Bhutan and Germany established diplomatic ties with each other, something that was in the pipeline for a while now. In a small ceremony at the Bhutanese mission in Delhi, German ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner and Bhutan's envoy to India Major General V. Namgyel exchanged the diplomatic documents marking the establishment of ties.
  • The announcement does not involve plans to open resident missions in both countries. As per a statement from Bhutanese foreign ministry, with the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two ambassadors expressed the desire to further deepen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
  • Bhutan now has diplomatic relations with 53 countries and the European Union. It is interesting that Thimphu does not have any formal diplomatic relation with any P5 country--US, Russia, UK, France or China.

Shanghai Becomes World's Most Connected City

  • Shanghai has dethroned London to become the world's most connected city as the coronavirus shakes up international travel.
  • According to airline industry body IATA, London has seen a 67% fall in connectivity in air travel.
  • Shanghai has risen up the ranks, and the world's four most connected cities are now all in China.
  • Large transport hubs including London, New York and Tokyo have been hit hard by the dramatic reduction in flights in and out of their cities.
  • The top four most connected cities in the world are now Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
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ENVIRONMENT

Antrim Dinosaur Bones Belong to Different Species

  • The only dinosaur bones ever found in Ireland have been confirmed to belong to two different species.
  • The bones were previously discovered on the east coast of County Antrim.
  • But a new scientific study from the universities of Portsmouth and Queen's in Belfast has confirmed the origins of the bones for the first time.
  • One is part of the lower leg bone of a carnivore similar to Sarcosaurus; the other is from the upper leg bone of a Scelidosaurus, a four-legged herbivore.
  • The two fossil bones, confirmed to be from early Jurassic rocks, were discovered in Islandmagee during two separate finds in the late 19th Century and the 1980s.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Cabinet Approves Merger of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS India

  • The government approved merger of crisis-ridden Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with DBS Bank India Ltd (DBIL) and removed restrictions on withdrawal of deposits by depositors.
  • As per Prakash Javadekar, the decision will provide comfort to 20 lakh depositors and protect the services of 4,000 employees.
  • LVB has 563 branches, 974 ATMs, 20 lakh depositors and 320,000 borrowers.
  • DBS India, the local subsidiary of Singapore's DBS Group Holdings, will invest Rs 2,500 crore while the equity, reserves and surplus of the 94-year-old LVB will be extinguished. 

Union Cabinet Approves Rs. 2,481 crore worth FDI into ATC Telecom Infra

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved foreign direct investment (FDI) worth Rs. 2,480.92 crore in ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. by ATC Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.
  • Prakash Javadekar said that it shows the growing confidence in India's infrastructure sector and the international community's faith in India's growth, the minister said. The deal is for acquiring 12% stake in ATC Telecom Infrastructure for Rs. 216 a share.
  • India currently allows FDI up to 100% in telecom services sector wherein 49% is permitted under automatic route and anything beyond 49% must seek government approval.
  • ATC Telecom Infrastructure was set up in March 2004 as Tata Tele Info Limited, a Tata group firm.

BSNL Selects Route Mobile for SMS Firewall to Monetise international Traffic

  • Homegrown cloud services provider Route Mobile has been selected by state-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to deploy its SMS Firewall Platform across Southern and Western Zones in India.
  • Route Mobile will provide enhanced control and security over BSNL user's SMS traffic, subscriber protection, and the monetisation of international SMS traffic terminating over their network.
  • Under the contract, Route Mobile will deploy its Firewall Platform in BSNL's SMS network at the zonal level on a revenue-sharing basis, and will integrate with the STTP for both submissions of SMS and recon of delivered SMS, ICB (Interconnect Billing) Solution/Reconciliation, and DLT Platforms, along with other relevant network elements such as Testing, Commissioning, and Support.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA 'Megarocket' Assembly Begins in Florida

  • NASA has started assembling the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on a launch platform ahead of its maiden flight next year.
  • The SLS is the giant rocket that will send US astronauts back to the moon this decade — with the first crewed landing targeted for 2024.
  • Engineers in Florida have begun stacking the segments that make up the vehicle's two solid rocket boosters.
  • The rocket is scheduled to make its debut in November 2021.
  • The SLS consists of a giant, 65 m (212ft) — long core stage with four engines that's flanked by the twin solid fuel boosters.
  • Together, these produce a massive 8.8 million pounds (39.1 Meganewtons) of thrust that can loft astronauts into orbit; the rocket subsequently hurls them towards the moon.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Odisha Asks for a Second AIIMS in its Tribal Dominated Region

  • The Odisha government has proposed the Centre to set up an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in tribal-dominated Sundargarh district. After a review of upcoming healthcare facilities in the State, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy has requested Union Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Rajesh Bhushan to consider Odisha's demand for the second AIIMS at Sankara in the district where the NTPC has already developed infrastructure.
  • At present, the State has a fully functional AIIMS at Bhubaneswar which has emerged as one of the leading institutes in the country in terms of medical education and quality healthcare. Another satellite centre of the institute is under construction at Balasore.

BJP's Vijay Kumar Sinha New Speaker of Bihar Assembly

  • Vijay Kumar Sinha, a three-time BJP MLA from Lakhisarai and former state minister, was elected speaker of the Bihar assembly.
  • Sinha polled 126 votes in favour and 114 votes against. One independent and the lone LJP MLA also voted for Sinha. Members of the AIMIM voted against the NDA candidate. The opposition had fielded RJD MLA Awadh Bihari Choudhary as their speaker candidate.
  • Opposition members also demanded voting via secret ballot, which was rejected by the pro-tem speaker. During the voting, Manjhi had to briefly adjourn the house amid protests by the Opposition.

NITI Aayog Forms Panel to Study Feasibility of Virgin Hyperloop in India

  • Government think-tank NITI Aayog has formed a high-level panel to explore the technological and commercial viability of the Virgin Hyperloop technology for ultrahigh speed travel in India, weeks after its first test was completed with humans on board.
  • The Virgin Hyperloop test run was conducted on a 500-meter track in Las Vegas in the USA with a pod, as the hyperloop vehicles are called.
  • The committee has Niti Aayog member V. K. Saraswat as its Chairman and Adviser (Infrastructure Connectivity, NITI Aayog) Sudhendu Jyoti Sinha as its convener. Its other members are Railway Board Chairman & CEO V. K. Yadav, the secretaries of the ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Road Transport and Highways, and the Maharashtra government's Transport Secretary.
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation's Chairman, the Delhi Metro's Managing Director, the IIT-Delhi Director and the Chairman (Technology Information) of the forecasting and assessment council are also its members.
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DEFENCE

Government Approves Joint Military Logistics Nodes in Run-up to Theatre Commands

  • The government has now formally approved the first set of joint structures to handle logistics in the 15-lakh strong armed forces, in a step towards injecting some desperately-required integration among the three Services and the eventual creation of unified theatre commands.
  • The first three joint logistics nodes (JLNs) at Mumbai, Guwahati and Port Blair will handle small arms ammunition, rations, FOL (fuels, oils and lubricants), general stores, civil-hired transport, aviation clothing, spares and engineering support for the Army, Navy and IAF to ensure cost-effectiveness in operations.
  • Similar nodes will come up in other parts of the country as the integrated "functional" and "geographical or theatre" commands begin to take shape over the next two to three years. 
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Diego Armando Maradona Passes Away

  • Argentine footballing legend Diego Armando Maradona died at the age of 60 years. Regarded by many as the greatest player to ever play the game of football, Maradona had recently undergone a brain surgery. Maradona suffered a massive heart attack and died because of it.
  • Maradona is most fondly remembered for winning the 1986 World Cup for Argentina with a stellar performance that captivated the hearts of millions of fans across the globe. In the same World Cup — Maradona scored, arguably, two of the most famous goals in football history in the quarter-finals against England.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

Constitution Day of India

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 19th November 2015 notified the decision of Government of India to celebrate the 26th November every year as 'Constitution Day' to promote Constitution values among citizens.
  • Constitution Day, also known as 'Samvidhan Divas' is celebrated in our country on 26th November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. On 26th November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, which came into effect from 26th January 1950.
  • The Constitution Day is celebrated as a mark of tribute to India's first Law Minister BR Ambedkar, who played a pivotal role in drafting the Indian Constitution.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Malayalam Film 'Jallikattu' is India's Official Oscar Entry

  • Malayalam film Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been selected as India's official entry for the Best International Feature Film category for the 93rd Academy Awards. Jallikattu is the third Malayalam film after Guru (1997) and Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) to be chosen as the country's official entry for the Oscars.
  • The selection was made by a fourteen-member committee of the Film Federation of India, from a shortlist of 26 films.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

SPPU, US Embassy Officials Discuss Joint Cooperation in Education

  • Senior officials of the US Embassy in Mumbai, including Consul General David J. Ranz, met representatives of the Savitri Phule University (SPPU) to discuss strengthening of ties between higher education institutions in the US and the university.
  • As per Ranz, the US is keen on partnering with universities across western India, supporting curriculum development and new technology.
  • US Embassy official have expressed interest in The Centre for Molecular Diagnostic, set up SPPU during the pandemic, which has conducted research on communicable and con-communicable diseases.
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