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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

14 Jan 2021

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Trump Impeached for Historic Second Time

  • Donald Trump became the first President in the history of the US to be impeached for a second time, as 10 of his fellow Republicans joined the Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with inciting an insurrection which led to the violent rampage at the Capitol last week.
  • The votes with 232-197 was in moved the motion for impeachment, though it is unlikely that the swift impeachment would lead to Trump`s removal before the end of his four-year term.
  • However, the Senate`s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, rejected calls from Democratic leaders for a quick impeachment trial, saying there was no way to conclude it before January 20 which is when Trump leaves office.
  • But a Senate conviction could lead to a vote on banning Donald Trump from running for office again in 2024.

US Scraps Top-level Diplomatic Trips to Taiwan, Europe

  • The United States cancelled two visits by senior envoys to allies in Europe and Taiwan, underlining a turbulent transition of power from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been set to make a final official visit to Europe while Washington's envoy to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, was on her way to Taiwan.
  • The diplomatic volte-face allows both Europe and Taiwan to avoid hosting potentially awkward trips by the outgoing administration.
  • Pompeo's two-day stay in Europe would have been his last foreign trip as secretary of state. However, the State Department announced he was staying in the US to ensure a "smooth and orderly" transition for the incoming Joe Biden administration.

WHO Team Probing Origin of Virus Arrives in China

  • A World Health Organization (WHO) team has arrived in the Chinese city of Wuhan to start its investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The long-awaited probe comes after months of negotiations between the WHO and Beijing.
  • A group of 10 scientists is set to interview people from research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market linked to the initial outbreak.
  • Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019.
  • The team's arrival coincides with a resurgence of new coronavirus cases in northern China, while life in Wuhan is relatively back to normal.
  • The probe, which aims to investigate the animal origin of the pandemic, looks set to begin after some initial hiccups.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

RBI Cancels the Licence of Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank

  • RBI has requested the Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS), Maharashtra to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for the bank.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the licence of Maharashtra-based Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank, with immediate effect. Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank Ltd will now not be allowed to conduct the business of 'banking', including acceptance of deposits and repayment of deposits, with effect from the close of business on January 11, 2021.
  • The Bank has failed to comply with the requirements of Section 11(1) read with Section 56 of BR Act and thus would be unable to pay its present depositors in full in its current financial position.

Two crore Fine on Deutsche Bank for Non-compliance

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs. 2 crore on Deutsche Bank AG for non-compliance with certain provisions of directions concerning interest rate on deposits. The central bank said the statutory inspection of Deutsche Bank's financial position as on March 31, 2019, and the Risk Assessment Report revealed non-compliance with the 'Reserve Bank of India (Interest Rate on Deposits) Directions, 2016'.
  • The action was based on the deficiencies in regulatory compliance and was not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

Paytm Money to offer F&O Trading

  • Paytm Money, a wholly-owned subsidiary of fintech major Paytm, will provide Futures & Options trading (F&O) on its platform as it eyes facilitating daily turnover of Rs. 1.5 lakh crore in next 18-24 months.
  • The platform, which also offers services around stocks, direct mutual funds, ETF, IPO, NPS, and digital gold, is focussed on bringing "wealth services to 100 million Indians.
  • According to Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, This product has been made keeping in mind the mobile-first experience and we believe that presenting simple, low price products can help make deep inroads into smaller towns and cities.
  • Given the limited penetration of stock investments in the country, Paytm sees a high growth trajectory for its stocks broking offering, similar to its mutual fund offerings.
  • Paytm Money will charge brokerage at Rs. 10 for all F&O trades, which is in line with its intraday charges of Rs. 10 and free for delivery.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Cabinet Approves MoU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between India and UAE

  • The Union Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on scientific and technical cooperation between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the National Centre of Meteorology of the UAE.
  • The MoU provides for sharing of knowledge, data and operational products for meteorological, seismological and oceanic services such as radar, satellite, tide gauges, seismic and meteorological stations.
  • The pact will pave the way for deployment of meteorological observation networks on mutual agreement over ocean waters, cooperation in the development of special capacities of tsunami models researches for their faster and more reliable forecasts propagating through the Oman Sea and the Arabian Sea which affect the coastal areas of India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • The MoU will also enable cooperation to support the Tsunami Early Warning Centre (TEWC) in the form of forecast modelling software, specifically designed to support tsunami forecasting operations.
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SPORTS

Punit Bisht Creates New Indian Record for Maximum Sixes

  • A blistering 51-ball 146 by captain Punit Bisht, which included six fours and 17 sixes, powered Meghalaya to a massive 130-run win over Mizoram in a Plate group match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament. In the process, the former Delhi wicketkeeper batsman created a new record for most sixes hit by an Indian in T20 cricket.
  • West Indian Chris Gayle holds the record for most sixes in a T20 -- in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 for the Rangpur Riders -- but Bisht almost matched that record hitting 17 sixes. His 146 not out was also the second-highest score in the history of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after Shreyas Iyer's 147.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

B. S. Yediyurappa Expands Cabinet, 7 New Ministers Take Oath

  • Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa expanded his cabinet, inducting seven new ministers. This comes after days of hectic parleys and discussions, including with the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • Those who took oath are: MTB Nagaraj, Umesh Katti, Aravind Limbavali, Murugesh Nirani, R. Shankar, C.P. Yogeeshwara and Angara S.
  • This was the third expansion of the cabinet since Yediyurappa assumed charge in July last year after the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government in the wake of revolt by 17 MLAs of the coalition partners.

Mumbai Second most Congested City in the World after Moscow

  • According to the latest report released by TomTom Traffic index which conducted a study in 416 cities across 57 countries, Mumbai was the second most congested city in the world after Moscow in 2020 in terms of traffic.
  • Bengaluru and New Delhi - ranked sixth and eighth respectively in the list of most congested cities.
  • Mumbai's position worsened from the fourth spot in 2019 and 2018. Bengaluru improved its position from fifth to sixth with 51 per cent of congestion compared to 71 per cent in 2019.
  • According to TomTom data, drivers in Mumbai spend an average of 53 per cent extra travel time because of the traffic congestion. Other global cities that feature among the top 10 include Manila from The Philippines, Bogota from Colombia, Moscow and Novosibirsk from Russia, Kyiv in Ukraine, Lima from Peru, Istanbul from Turkey and Jakarta from Indonesia.

First time in History, Union Budget 2021 to be Paperless

  • Union Budget 2021, slated to be presented on February 1, is going to be completely paperless in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This will be the first time since independence that the budget papers will not be printed. The Centre has received permission for the same from both houses of parliament. The decision has been taken as several people (approximately 100) would be required to stay at the printing press for around a fortnight amid the COVID-19 fear.
  • The budget papers are usually printed at the ministry's in-house printing press in the North Block. This year's budget may reportedly witness several conventions being broken as the traditional 'Halwa' ceremony, which is a given every year is also not likely to take place, or a low-key function may be held with limited gathering in attendance.
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DEFENCE

Cabinet Approves Procurement Deal of 83 Tejas

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved procurement of 83 Tejas aircraft at a cost of about Rs. 48,000 crore from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The deal is considered to be the biggest ever in the indigenous military aviation sector.
  • As per Defence Minister Rajnath, This deal will be a game changer for self reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing.
  • The LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were never attempted in India. The indigenous content of LCA-Tejas is 50% in Mk1A variant which will be enhanced to 60%.
  • The HAL has already set-up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru Divisions. Equipped with the augmented infrastructure the HAL will steer LCA-Mk1A production for timely deliveries to the IAF.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Swami Harshanandaji Maharaj Passes Away

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the death of Swami Harshananda, head of the Bengaluru unit of the Ramakrishna Ashram. He was 91.
  • Swami Harshanandaji Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Math at Basavanagudi, Bengaluru, worked tirelessly for the betterment of society. His compassionate nature and insightful knowledge on a wide range of issues will never be forgotten.
  • Swami Harshananda, President of Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru was walking encyclopaedia of Hinduism.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

Biren Singh Virtually Inaugurates Cherry Blossom Festival

  • The 4th edition of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Mao in Manipur was virtually inaugurated by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. However this year, the authority decided to scale down the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Festival featured the picturesque landscape of Mao adorned with beautiful cherry trees laden with blooming flowers which have traditionally attracted visitors from across the world.
  • Manipur has been celebrating the festival every year since 2017.
  • The festival which featured the picturesque landscape of Mao town adorned with beautiful Cherry Blossom flowers was streamed live from 2 pm on various social media platforms.
  • The Mao area of Senapati district in Manipur is known for Cherry Blossom, a plant which is popularly known as Sakura in Japan.

Armed Forces Veterans Day

  • In India, the Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed each year on 14 January since 2017 to acknowledge and honour the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our veterans in the service of the nation. The day was initially called Armistice Day. 2021 marks the 5th Armed Forces Veterans Day.
  • The day is observed as a mark of respect and recognition of the services rendered by Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces who retired on 14 January 1953.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

PEDA Bags National Energy Conservation Award

  • Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has been awarded certificate of merit by the Ministry of Power for its achievements in energy conservation. It was received by Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, CEO, and MP Singh, director, from RK Singh, MoS (Power) through video conferencing.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Scholastic India Launches Language Improvement Programme

  • Scholastic India, the country's largest publisher of children's books and a leader in educational technology and children's media has recently introduced a comprehensive Language Improvement Programme for kids of grades 3 to 8. The newly introduced online programme offers interactive live classes in small batches of up to 6 students conducted by experienced coaches, based on a scientific learning methodology to provide an engaging peer learning experience to every child.

Kerala to Launch 'One school, One IAS' Programme

  • An institute helmed by top academics and retired IAS and IPS officers in Kerala is organising an ambitious programme called 'OneSchool One IAS, seeking to demolish the general notion that civil services are for the elite class alone.
  • Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan will this weekend inaugurate the scheme, being rolled out under the Vedhik Erudite Foundations Scholarship Programme, the foundation.
  • The programme provides free training to economically backward, but academically bright aspirants of civil services and other competitive exams.
  • The scheme, supported by sponsors, envisages enrollment of 10,000 boys and girls across Kerala. The beneficiaries will be selected by a panel headed by the heads of respective educational institutions.
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ART AND CULTURE

Rare Tintin Comic Book Art Set to Sell for Millions

  • Not even the coronavirus can get in the way of intrepid Belgian reporter and comic book legend Tintin.
  • Comic book lovers and tourists alike can catch a socially distanced glimpse of a Tintin drawing by Herge in Paris before it goes under the hammer, estimated to sell between 2 and 3 million euros and possibly break the record for the most expensive comic book art in history.
  • The 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolor, was destined as a cover for The Blue Lotus, the fifth volume of the Belgian journalist's adventures. But it never sat on any book store shelves because it was rejected for being too expensive to reproduce on a wide scale - a victim of its own rare craftsmanship.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Najma Heptulla Releases Book 'Making of a General A Himalayan Echo'

  • Manipur Governor, Dr. Najma Heptulla has virtually released a book titled "Making of a General-A Himalayan Echo" authored by (Retd) Lt General Konsam Himalaya Singh at Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan, Imphal. The book elegantly summons the essence and imperatives of superior command of one of the most formidable forces in the world.
  • The book is the memoir of Lt Gen Konsam Himalay Singh who has traced his journey from a small village in Manipur to becoming the first person from North East India to hold the rank of a Three-Star General of the Indian Army.
  • The book has also highlighted about Manipur, the "Land of Emeralds".
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