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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

12 Jan 2021

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Nepal Ready to Mediate between India and China to Resolve their Border Dispute

  • Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli asserted that Nepal is ready to mediate between India and China to resolve the border dispute between the two nations. Nepal PM also conveyed his sentiments and his understanding of the ancient ties between the two neighbours as a historian, taking pride in the rich and variegated history of Nepal.
  • Oli said that we will talk on both sides, ask them to sit for the conversation as almost all of them are our peers. There might be a difference of one-and-a-half years. All of us have been in politics for a long time. Therefore, we are companions.

Joe Biden Names two Indian-Americans in US National Security Council

  • US President-elect Joe Biden named Indian-American Sumona Guha as senior director for South Asia and Tarun Chhabra as senior director for Technology and National Security.  Guha was co-chair of the South Asia foreign policy working group on the Biden-Harris campaign and serves on the transition's State Department Agency Review Team.
  • During the Obama-Biden Administration, Chhabra served on the National Security Council staff as director for Strategic Planning and director for Human Rights and National Security Issues, and at the Pentagon as a speechwriter to the Secretary of Defence.
  •  Guha is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. Named as senior director for Technology and National Security, Chhabra is a senior fellow at the Centre for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University.
  • Chhabra is a first-generation American and a graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.

Saudi Arabia to Build a Zero Emissions City

  • Saudi Arabia unveiled plans for a zero carbon city within the projected NEOM zone, the kingdom's futuristic business hub set to be built along the Red Sea coast.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the launch of the city, called 'The Line'.
  • According to the de-facto ruler of the oil-rich, the eco-city with "zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions" will have the capacity to house one million residents.
  • It will have facilities like schools, health centers and green spaces.
  • The construction of the city is set to begin in the first quarter of this year.
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ENVIRONMENT

Tirthan sanctuary, Great Himalayan National Park Best Performers among Protected Areas

  • Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the country.
  • India has a network of 903 Protected Areas covering about 5 per cent of its total geographic area of the country. According to the survey, Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary and Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh have performed the best among the surveyed protected areas.
  • The Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh was the worst performer in the survey.
  • Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Protected Areas has emerged as a key tool that is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

India's 7th Trade Policy Review (TPR) at WTO

  • The second session of the 7th Trade Policy Review (TPR) of India concluded at the World Trade Organization (WTO). This was the final session of the 7th trade policy review. Trade Policy Review is a key mechanism under the monitoring function of WTO. During this trade policy review, WTO examines the trade and related policies of the member countries with an aim to improve their adherence to WTO rules and to provide constructive feedback.
  • The official delegation of India for the 7th TPR was headed by Anup Wadhawan, the Commerce Secretary.
  • The Commerce Secretary responded to all the issues rose by the Members during the 1st TPR session of India.
  • The Commerce Secretary also urged the members to provide a permanent solution to Public Stock Holding (PSH) for food security.

IREDA-NHPC Partnership in Green Energy Projects

  • NHPC Limited has signed an MOU with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) for providing assistance in setting up renewable energy (RE) projects for the next 5 years. The agreement was signed in the presence of Abhay Kumar Singh, NHPC CMD, and IREDA, CMD, Pradip Kumar Das.
  • Under the agreement NHPC will help in the knowledge and technology transfer and provide consultancy and research services.
  • NHPC has undertaken an ambitious plan to make a significant impact on the renewable energy landscape of the country.

Adani Green Commissions 25 MW Solar Power Plant in Uttar Pradesh's Chitrakoot

  • Adani Solar Energy Chitrakoot One Limited, a step down subsidiary of Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) has commissioned a 25 MW solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh's Chitrakoot.
  • This plant has a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL) at Rs. 3.08/KWh. With this commissioning, AGEL's total operational renewable capacity grows to 2,975 MW.
  • According to Vneet S Jaain, MD and CEO Adani Green Energy Ltd, the plant will be connected to the state-of-the-art Energy Network Operation Centre (ENOC) that continuously monitors and analyses performance of 80+ solar and wind plants across diverse locations in India.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Preeti Pant Panel to Study Adverse Findings of NFHS-5

  • The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has set up a technical expert group to examine the adverse findings from the National Family Health Survey-5 and recommend programmatic and policy interventions to improve indicators pertaining to malnutrition, stunting, anaemia, and C-section.
  • The committee is chaired by Joint Secretary Preeti Pant and includes experts from medicine and nutrition. There are also State programme officers from Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The technical expert group is to meet regularly and share its recommendations as soon as possible.

SC Advises Nagaland Lokayukta to Resign

  • Nagaland Lokayukta Uma Nath Singh, the state's anti-corruption ombudsman, was advised by the Supreme Court to step down from his position given the spate of controversies the former High Court Chief Justice has been embroiled in.
  • The state government has sought removal of the Lokayukta, alleging various acts of impropriety and unjustified personal demands by him. Its petition contended that the Lokayukta has continued to work online from Delhi even though the chief secretary did not approve of this.
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DEFENCE

Maritime Security, Coastal Defence Exercise

  • The Navy will coordinate the second edition of the coastal defence exercise on January 12 and 13. It will be undertaken along the entire coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
  • Sea Vigil 2021, a biennial exercise that began in January 2019, "will be undertaken along the entire 7516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India and will involve all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories along with other maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.
  • The exercise is a build up towards the major Theatre-level exercise TROPEX (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise) conducted by the Navy every two years.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

National Youth Day

  • National Youth Day is celebrated on 12th January being the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. In 1984 the Government of India declared this day as National Youth Day and since 1985 the event is celebrated in India every year. Swami Vivekananda the One of the Most Famous Philosopher or Monk in the World.
  • From 12th to 16th January National Youth Festival is celebrated every year. Along with the National Youth Festival, this year, the National Youth Parliament Festival is being organised. Due to COVID-19, the 24th edition of the National Youth Festival is being held in a virtual mode.
  • The National Youth Day is observed all over India at schools and colleges, with processions, speeches, music, youth conventions, seminars, Yogasanas, presentations, competitions in essay-writing, recitations and sports on 12 January every year.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Indian Railways Bags 13 Prizes at National Energy Conservation Awards 2020

  • The Indian Railways bagged 13 prizes at the National Energy Conservation Awards, 2020, which are given by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency to those organisations that put in special efforts to reduce energy consumption.
  • The 13 prizes were awarded to multiple zones and workshops of the national transporter.
  • As per reports, relentless and continuous efforts to provide clean and green transportation to all its stakeholders and commuters has resulted in Indian Railways bagging 13 awards in three prestigious categories of the National Energy Conservation Awards (NECA) for the year 2020.
  • In the 'transport category', the Western Railway got the first prize, the Eastern Railway received the second prize, and the North Eastern Railway and the South Central Railway received Certificate of Merit, it said.
  • In the 'building category', Divisional Railway Manager's offices at Bhavnagar and Rajkot won the first and second prize, respectively.
  • The electrical department of Divisional Railway Manager office in the North Eastern Railway received Certificate of Merit in the building category.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Punjab Cabinet Approves One-time Settlement Scheme for Traders

  • The Punjab cabinet approved a one-time settlement scheme for traders to clear their pending arrears. The scheme will be implemented across the state from February 1 and the state exchequer would bear a financial burden of Rs. 121.06 crore.
  • All dealers whose assessments have been framed up to December 31, 2020 could apply for the benefit under the scheme till April 30.
  • Various trade associations had urged the state government to introduce a one-time scheme (OTS) for the clearance and settlement of outstanding arrears under the Punjab Value Added tax Act, 2005 and Central Sales tax Act, 1956. 
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

IIM Ahmedabad Team to Represent India in FABLES Consortium

  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad researchers will be representing India in The Food and Land Use Coalition, the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium, which mobilizes top knowledge institutions from 20 countries to support the development of decision-support tools and long-term pathways towards sustainable food and land-use systems.
  • IIM Ahmedabad Professor Ranjan Kumar Ghosh is leading the team for FABLE Pathways for India which identifies ways in which food and land-use systems can contribute to raising climate ambition, aligning climate mitigation and biodiversity protection policies, and achieving other sustainable development priorities in India.
  • The FABLE Pathways presents two pathways for food and land-use systems for the period 2020-2050: Current Trends which represents the Business as Usual scenario and a Sustainable, more ambitious pathway.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

"Modi India Calling - 2021" Book Released

  • A coffee table book named "Modi India Calling – 2021" was released on the occasion of 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. The book contains various photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi captured during his "107 overseas and bilateral visits".
  • The book is the idea of BJP leader Vijay Jolly and it was released by Adesh Gupta, the Delhi BJP president. The book has been published by Maneesh Media and has 450 pages containing thousands of photographs of the PM Modi. Jolly has also said that he wishes to form a similar book on Rahul Gandhi and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Sushma Group Unveils First Holiday Home Project in HP

  • Real estate developer Sushma Group has ventured into Himachal by launching a residential project 'SushmaElementa'.
  • The project offers an ideal destination for holiday home in Kasauli. Spread across six acres, the project will be developed with an investment of Rs. 50 crore.
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