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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

26 Dec 2020

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

UK clinch Narrow Brexit Accord from European Union

  • Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union, just seven days before it exits one of the world`s biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.
  • The deal, agreed more than four years after Britain voted by a slim margin to leave the bloc, offers a way out of a chaotic finale to a divorce that has shaken the 70-year project to forge European unity from the ruins of World War Two.
  • It will preserve Britain`s zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the bloc`s single market of 450 million consumers, but will not prevent economic pain and disruption for the United Kingdom or for EU member states.
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ENVIRONMENT

Ladakh's Tso Kar Now a Wetland of International Importance

  • India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site, the  second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.
  • The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex, consisting of two principal water bodies--Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake of about 438 hectares to the south, and Tso Kar itself, a hypersaline lake of 1,800 hectares to the north, situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India. 
  • It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Coal Import System

  • The Government of India is to implement Coal Import Monitoring System (CIMS). The system will require the importers to submit advance information online and obtain an automatic registration number to handle coal imports in the country.
  • The importers of Bituminous coal, anthracite coal, coking coal and steam coal are to be monitored under the system.
  • Under the system, the importers should submit advance information about the import items online.
  • It will also monitor steel products being dumped in India. The CIMS is to monitor the compliance of dumping duty to be imposed on cheap, less quality steel products.
  • The importer should enter the registration number and expiry date of registration in the bill of entry.
  • The system is to come into effect from February 1, 2021.
  • The monitoring system is launched to make the recently auctioned commercial coal mining viable in the country. 

Gujarat to Host India's First Lithium Refinery

  • India's first Lithium refinery which will process Lithium ore to produce battery-grade material will be set up in Gujarat.
  • Manikaran Power Limited, one of the country's largest power trading and renewable energy company will be investing over Rs. 1,000 crore to set up this refinery.
  • Lithium is a rare element not usually found in India. The company will be importing Lithium ore from Australia and will be processing it here.
  • Last year, Manikaran Power had collaborated with Australian firm Neometals to tap the Mount Marion Lithium mine in Western Australia.
  • The proposed project is expected to help Gujarat secure the raw material supply for domestic manufacturing of Lithium batteries as it looks to promote electric vehicles.

Reliance to Buy IMG from Sports Management Joint Venture

  • Reliance Industries (RIL) has agreed to buy out IMG Worldwide LLC from their sports management joint venture for Rs. 52.08 crore.
  • The nation's biggest company by market value said that it will buy IMG Worldwide's 50% stake in IMG-Reliance Ltd (IMG-R) for no more than Rs. 52.08 crore in cash. RIL will rebrand the company after the closure of the deal.
  • RIL had formed an equal joint venture with IMG Worldwide, an international sports marketing and management company, in 2010 to develop, market and manage sports and entertainment in India.
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SPORTS

Chetan Sharma Appointed Chairman of National Selection Panel

  • Former India pacer Chetan Sharma was appointed chairman of the senior national selection panel by the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which also picked Mumbai's Abey Kuruvilla and Odisha's Debasis Mohanty in the five-member team.
  • The new panel was formed on the sidelines of the Board's 89th Annual General Meeting (AGM), with Sharma pipping Maninder Singh and Vijay Dahiya from the north zone.
  • The selection panel also comprises former India players Sunil Joshi (south zone) and Harvinder Singh (central zone).
  • As per the BCCI constitution, the candidate with the most Test caps becomes the chief selector. Sharma represented India in 23 Tests and 65 ODIs during an 11-year-old international career, the highlight of which was his hat-trick in the 1987 World Cup.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Assam Congress MLA Ajanta Neog Expelled for 'Anti-party' Activities

  • The Congress expelled former Assam minister and its MLA Ajanta Neog for her "anti- party" activities.
  • The move came amid speculations that Neog, who was a close confidante of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and part of his cabinet, may join the BJP.
  • The four-time MLA from Golaghat constituency had recently met Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and North-East Democratic Alliance convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma.
  • Following her meeting with them, Neog was asked by the party's state unit to show cause why action would not be taken against her.

Senior UP Cong leader Pandit Vinod Mishraquits

  • Senior Uttar Pradesh Congress leader and convener of the Brahmin Mahasabha, Pandit Vinod Mishra resigned from the party.
  • Mishra is a former general secretary of the UP Congress, who also held the charge of Lucknow district during the Raj Babbar tenure.
  • Mishra blamed party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for his resignation.
  • He alleged that the Gandhi family was using the party for saving its skin from the CBI and ED and hence, insulting veteran leaders and forcing them to exit.

Little Alliance Chance, SP May Name Candidates by April End

  • The Samajwadi Party is likely to give the final shape to its list of candidates for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls by the end of April next year, as it aims to hit the campaign trail early to recapture power it lost to the BJP in 2017.
  • The party has already started receiving application forms from those who are eager to contest the polls. The last date for submission of application is January 26.
  • The party is not accepting applications for constituencies where it has its sitting MLAs.
  • As per reports, the SP is unlikely to enter into poll pacts with big political parties in the state. There are chances of alliance with small parties in different pockets. So, the selection of candidates for the 2022 assembly polls is not a difficult task.
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DEFENCE

Indian and Vietnam Navies Undertake PASSEX Exercises in South China Sea

  • Indian and Vietnamese navies undertook PASSEX or Passage Exercise in the South China Sea. Indian Navy Ship INS Kiltan which reached Nha Rong Port, Ho Chi Minh City is taking part in the exercises which is being held from December 26-27. The Indian Ship reached the country with 10 tons of humanitarian assistance under Mission Sagar 3.
  • Current visit seeks to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies and will further bolster the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries and contribute to security and stability in the region.
  • India and Vietnam have increased high-level engagement including defence engagement. New Delhi at the India-Vietnam virtual summit handed over the first of the 12 High-Speed Guard Boat to the country.

Myanmar Buys Military Aircraft from Jordan

  • Myanmar's air force is buying two Airbus CASA C295 aircraft worth $38.6 million from the Royal Jordanian Air Force to reduce dependence on Chinese armoury. Major General Zaw Min Tun informed that the new aircraft from Jordan are transport planes to replace the military's ageing fleet of Chinese-made Y-8s. However, CASA C295s can be outfitted to deploy paratroopers or serve as gunships.
  • The airplane is manufactured and assembled on the Airbus Protection and House facility in Seville, Spain. The airplane's quick takeoff and touchdown capabilities make them nicely suited to Myanmar's panorama. The deal is a part of Myanmar Navy efforts to look past China following realisation that navy hardware from China was sub-standard.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Ivry Gitlis One of the Modern Greats of Classical Music Passes Away

  • Celebrated Israeli violinist Ivry Gitlis died in Paris aged 98.
  • A hugely charismatic figure with a passion for experimentation, Gitlis has been described as one of the modern greats of classical music.
  • He played with the world's finest orchestras but was said to be equally at home performing with rock stars and jazz virtuosos.
  • In 1955, he became the first Israeli musician to play in the Soviet Union.
  • Gitlis was also a staunch advocate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
  • He was born in 1922 in Haifa to Jewish parents who had left what is now Ukraine.
  • As well as having a successful music career, he was a goodwill ambassador for the UN.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

Army Organises Cultural Event Jashn-e-Baramulla

  • The Chinar Corps of the Indian Army organised the cultural event Jashn-e-Baramulla to promote the talent of youth.
  • Ameesha Patel also attended the event and performed on the title track of her debut movie "Kaho Na Pyar Hai" with participants on the stage.
  • The event also marked the starting of Chillai Kalan period. Many participants gave breath-taking performances in the Kashmir's Got Talent and mesmerised the locals with their singing, cultural dance, folk music and mimicry.
  • The K9 warriors from the Army Dog Unit displayed their obedience and guarding prowess which left the audiences in awe.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Himachal Pradesh Integrated Drug Prevention Policy

  • The Himachal Pradesh government will frame an integrated drug prevention policy for the state, which would include the policy of drug prevention, treatment, management and rehabilitation/ social/ integration programme.
  • This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the first meeting of the HP Nasha Nivaran Board.
  • The Chief Minister said that better coordination between the Police, media and the Nasha Nivaran Board is vital for curbing the menace of drug abuse in the state. He said that numerous drug peddlers were from the neighbouring states.

Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Gives Nod to Religious Freedom Bill

  • The Madhya Pradesh cabinet approved the Religious Freedom Bill 2020, which provides for prison term of up to 10 years and fine of Rs. 1 lakh for conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
  • Once enforced, this will be the most stringent law in the country against religious conversion carried out by fraudulent means, allurement or threat.
  • After the approval by the cabinet, the bill will now be presented in the state Assembly.
  • This bill will replace the Religious Freedom Act of 1968 (after the approval by the state Assembly).
  • Any marriage solemnized only for the purpose of converting a person will be considered null and void under the provisions of this proposed legislation, he said.
  • A provision is also being made that those willing to convert need to apply before the district administration two months prior, Mishra said. 
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

NIT Srinagar and IIT Delhi Sign MoU to Collaborate on Academic Activities

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi to collaborate on different academic activities.
  • The scope of collaboration on academic and research activities in the MoU includes Academic and Research collaboration in the areas of mutual interest, exchange of students and faculty, exchange of academic information, scholarly information, materials and publications and admission of NIT Srinagar students for direct PhD entry at IIT Delhi.
  • For research collaboration, proposals for collaborative research work under this Memorandum will be submitted with the prior approval of the Head of each institution or his/her nominee."Each institution will nominate one of its members as its representative in allergic to the cooperative programme.

IIT Kanpur Launches New diploma programme in Geodesy

  • Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) launched of a new program- Diploma of IIT (D-IIT) in Geodesy, the science of measuring the Earth.
  • The D-IIT program, approved by the Board of Governors, IIT-K at its board meeting held on December 7, 2020, will be offered by the Department of Civil Engineering in three broad areas: Geodesy, Navigation & Mapping, and Remote Sensing & GIS.
  • The NCG is the first of its kind in the country to support education and research activities in the field of Geodesy.

Jammu Gets Its First Woman Bus Driver

  • Breaking the glass ceiling, Pooja Devi of Kathua district has become the first woman passenger bus driver in Jammu and Kashmir. Mother of three children, Pooja Devi ferried passengers on Jammu-Kathua route for the first time.
  • Pooja Devi learnt truck driving from her maternal uncle Rajinder Singh and later applied for a license for driving heavy vehicles.
  • Pooja also has the support of male bus drivers as well as the public who have appreciated her decision to take up driving as a profession.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

India's First Tiger Reserve Hot Air Balloon Safari in MP

  • The country's first hot air balloon wildlife safari in a tiger reserve was launched in the world famous Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve by Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister Vijay Shah.
  • The activity would be restricted to the buffer area and people could watch tigers, leopards, Indian sloth bear and other wild animals from a height.
  • Shah said that the state was planning to introduce this service in Pench, Kanha and Panna tiger reserves as well.
  • The service is being operated by Jaipur-based Sky Waltz and company official Jai Thakur said it was hoping for a good response from tourists.
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