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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Dec 2020


Major Blow to Pakistan and China

  • In a major blow to Pakistan and China, the US has placed them on violators of religious freedom list along with eight other nations.
  • The United States designated Pakistan, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and Myanmar, as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
  • The US also placed the Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.
  • Sudan and Uzbekistan have been removed from the Special Watch List based on significant, concrete progress undertaken by their respective governments over the past year.

Pakistan Lawmakers to Resign en Masse

  • The political crisis in Pakistan has deepened after an 11-party Opposition alliance announced that their lawmakers would resign en masse by the end of this month from parliament to paralyse the government and force Prime Minister Imran Khan to call early snap polls.
  • The decision was taken after the Pakistan Democratic Movement, a group of 11 opposition parties, held a meeting in Islamabad.

France Unveils Draft Law to Fight Islamist Radical Enemy

  • A draft law aimed at arming France against Islamist radicalism was unveiled, a measure promoted by President Emmanuel Macron to rout out what he calls "separatists" undermining the nation.
  • Parliament is expected to open what is likely to be a lively debate on the draft law in the months ahead. The measure, long in the making and refined until days before its presentation, has gone through various name changes and is now known by the delicate title "Supporting Republican Principles".
  • Prime Minister Jean Castex and others insist that neither Islam as a religion nor regular Muslims are targeted by the draft law.
  • Neither is named in the text made up of about 50 articles aimed at enabling better oversight of mosques, associations, public services and schools.
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Enormous Iceberg on Course to Collide with South Atlantic Penguin Colony Island

  • An enormous iceberg is heading toward South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic, where scientists say a collision could devastate wildlife by threatening the food chain.
  • Scientists have long been watching this climate-related event unfold, as the iceberg - about the same size as the island itself – has meandered and advanced over two years since breaking off from the Antarctic peninsula in July 2017.
  • The gigantic iceberg - dubbed A68a - is on a path to collide with South Georgia Island, a remote British overseas territory off the southern tip of South America.
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Centre Releases 6th Installment to States to Meet GST Compensation Shortfall

  • The Centre released the sixth installment of Rs. 6,000 crore to the states to meet the GST compensation shortfall.
  • With this installment, a total amount of Rs. 36,000 crore has been released so far.
  • Out of Rs. 6,000 crore released this week, an amount of Rs. 5,516.60 crore has been given to 23 states and Rs. 483.40 crore has been released to the 3 Union Territories (UTs) with Legislative Assembly (Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Puducherry) which are members of the GST Council.

MFSL Concludes Stake Swap with Mitsui Sumitomo

  • Max Financial Services Ltd concluded the swap of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company's (MSI) 20.57 per cent stake in Max Life Insurance Company Ltd (Max Life) with 21.87 per cent stake in MFSL.
  • MFSL has allotted 7.54 crore equity shares of Rs. 2 each constituting 21.87 per cent of the paid-up share capital to MSI, on a preferential allotment basis.

Sony to Buy AT&T's Animation Business

  • Sony Corp will buy AT&T Inc's animation business Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion, as the Japanese electronics conglomerate aims to beef up its entertainment content and distribution businesses.
  • The deal will give Sony access to Crunchyroll's 3 million paying subscribers across more than 200 countries and regions, helping Sony compete more globally with entertainment giants such as Netflix.
  • AT&T has been looking to monetize its non-core assets since CEO John Stankey took over in June. The latest deal will allow it to invest in other focuses of WarnerMedia, including content creation and gaming.
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Govt. Approves Setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks Through PM-WANI

  • In a bid to fuel broadband internet proliferation across the country, the government approved setting up of public Wi-Fi networks and access points by local Kirana and neighbourhood shops through public data offices that will not involve any licence, fee or registration.
  • The public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI, and it promises to unleash a massive Wi-Fi revolution in the country.
  • The Cabinet approved setting up of these public Wi-Fi Networks with an architecture involving multiple players—Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregators and app providers.
  • Public Data Office (PDO) will establish, maintain and operate Wi-Fi access points and deliver broadband services to subscribers, while Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA) will act as an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to authorisation and accounting.
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Parthiv Patel Hangs His Gloves

  • Parthiv Patel, who made his India debut at 17 years in 2002, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
  • Patel played 25 Tests and 38 One Day Internationals and made 111 international dismissals as a wicketkeeper — 72 in Tests and 39 in ODIs.
  • When Parthiv played for the Indian team in 2002, he became the youngest wicket-keeper to represent a country in Tests.

Government is to Start 1000 Khelo India Centres

  • The Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Government is to start 1000 Khelo India centres all over India.
  • The announcement was made at the tenth Global Sports Summit organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The centres will help the retired sportspersons to get employment. Also, the centres will aid in encouraging sports culture in the country.
  • The Sports Ministry is currently working on the target of making India one of the top ten medal grossing countries in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.
  • Earlier in June 2020, the Khelo India Centres of Excellence were launched under the Khelo India programme. These centres were established to create a robust sporting ecosystem in the country.
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India-Uzbekistan Virtual Summit, a First with Central Asian Nation

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will hold a virtual summit on December 11. This is the first such virtual summit with a Central Asian country, and the 7th in the series of a new format of diplomatic engagement amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • PM Modi has already had virtual summits with his counterparts from--Australia, EU, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg. More such meets are on the anvil.
  • Both countries have had close ties and a high-level of engagements. Prime Minister Modi had visited the doubly landlocked central Asian country in 2015 and 2016, followed by visits of Uzbek President Mirziyoyev to India in 2018 and 2019.

Lakshadweep Declared 100% Organic

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer's welfare has declared the Union Territory of Lakshadweep as Organic Agricultural Area by. The UT is second after Sikkim to achieve the status of 100% organic region. It is first in the Union Territories of India to achieve the status.
  • The entire 32 sq km area of the UT has been certified as organic under the Union Government's Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (organic farming improvement programme). Lakshadweep has been separated from the main stream India geographically. There has been no shipment of chemicals and fertilizers to the island group for the last 15 years. The UT administration has been practicing farming only using inputs like compost, poultry manure, green leaf manure. The UT has not made any expenditure for procurement of chemicals.

Asom Gana Parishad to Contest Assembly Polls in Alliance with BJP

  • Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) announced that it will contest next year's assembly polls in alliance with BJP.
  • AGP is a partner in the ruling BJP led coalition in Assam. AGP believes in the politics of alliance.
  • A section of AGP has proposed that AGP must fight 2021 polls separately. AGP is yet to start seat sharing negotiation with BJP. AGP has worked on building organisations in the last five years.
  • Regional party AGP was formed after a six year long anti-foreigners movement in 1985.
  • Prior to assembly polls in 2016 BJP in Assam stitched grand alliance which included AGP and Bodoland People's Front (BPF).
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India's Weapon Procurement from US Jumps

  • According to the official data, India's weapon procurement from the United States jumped from $6.2 million to $3.4 billion in the final year of the Donald Trump's administration.
  • As per the data released by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale of weapons from the US to other countries has dipped to $50.8 billion in 2020 from $55.7 billion in 2019.
  • The major buyers in 2020 are India: $3.4 billion, up from $6.2 million in 2019, Morocco: $4.5 billion, up from $12.4 million, Poland: $4.7 bn, up from $673 mn, Singapore: $1.3 bn, up from $137 mn, Taiwan: $11.8 bn, up from $876 mn and UAE: $3.6 bn, up from $1.1 bn.
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Eminent Hindi Poet and Journalist Manglesh Dabral Passes Away

  • Eminent Hindi poet and journalist Manglesh Dabral passed away at the age of 72.
  • Manglesh Dabral was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2000 for his poetry collection 'Ham Jo Dekhte Hain'.
  • Dabral was a prolific writer and has several collections in poetry as well as prose. His poetry collections include Pahar Par Lalten, Ghar Ka Rasta, Ham Jo Dekhte Hain, Awaz Bhi Ek Jagah Hai and Naye Yug Men Shatru.
  • His prose collections include Lekhak Ki Roti and Kavi Ka Akelapan, besides a travel diary Ek Bar Iowa.
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Human Rights Day

  • Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10th December, the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly in December 1950.
  • This year, the United Nations has set the theme for Human Rights Day 2020 as 'Recover Better -- Stand Up For Human Rights'. The theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts.
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Maharashtra Cabinet Clears Draft Bill for 'Shakti Act'

  • The Maharashtra Cabinet approved the introduction of two draft bills pertaining to the prevention of incidents of violence and atrocities against women and children in the state. The bills, to be introduced in the assembly session, were approved by a State Cabinet meeting presided by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
  • The "Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill, 2020" has been drafted along the lines of the Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act, 2019. Once passed by the state legislature it will be called the "Shakti Act".
  • The second draft bill, which is meant for the implementation of the Shakti legislation, has been named as Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Criminal Law, 2020.
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IIM Nagpur Inks MoU with MullenLowe Lintas

  • The Indian Institute of Management Nagpur (IIMN) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with advertising and marketing communications company MullenLowe Lintas, to establish the Centre of Excellence in Brand Management at the institute.
  • According to IIMN Director Bhimaraya Metri, the collaboration would focus primarily on joint research, advisory services and organization of events centred around brand management.

NDRI Best Agriculture University in India

  • ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal is the best institute in the field of agriculture, as per the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) ranking of Agricultural Universities of 2019. The Karnal-based institute has maintained its top spot since last year, however, the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi has lost its position from rank 2 last year and is at spot 3. Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana which was at spot 8 has taken a huge leap to rank at number 2 this year.
  • While last year 60 institutes were ranked, this year, a total of 67 institutes made it to the list. The ICAR ranking is based on several parameters including student and faculty profile, student placements, research publications and citations, patents, technologies generated and transferred to farmers, resources generated, and linkages.
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Rajasthan Tourism, UNESCO Adopt 'Art of Life' to Develop Cultural Tourism Hubs

  • With an aim to tap the potential of Rajasthan's cultural heritage, the state Tourism department has tied up with UNESCO and implemented a project. Around 10 cultural tourism hubs are being developed in Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Barmer districts. The tourism hubs are being developed by adopting the 'Art of Life' methodology. The project is adding prosperity to the life of 884 performing artists and 594 handicraft artists and safeguarding the traditional art forms.
  • The UNESCO and Rajasthan Tourism collaboration envisions to promote these arts on a global platform and connect the artists with admirers of their work.
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