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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

16 Jan 2021

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Sadyr Japarov Wins the Presidential Election in Kyrgyzstan

  • The frontrunner in Kyrgyzstan's presidential election, Sadyr Japarov, has won by a landslide. According to the Central Election Commission, Mr. Japarov had won 79% of votes cast. Mr. Japarov, who served time in jail for taking a rival hostage, will also have sweeping new presidential powers after voters by a similar margin opted to amend the Constitution in a referendum.
  • Kyrgyzstan has been in crisis since parliamentary elections last October. The results of those elections were disputed, leading to protests and the resignation of then-President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

US Rejects UN Plea to Reverse Yemen Rebel Terror Designation

  • The UN chief and top officials urged the United States to reverse its decision to declare Yemen's Iran-backed rebels a terrorist group to prevent massive famine and death in the conflict-torn Arab nation — but the Trump administration in its final days stood by its action.
  • US deputy ambassador Richard Mills told the Security Council that the US had listened to the warnings of the terrorist designation's humanitarian impact and would take measures to reduce the impact on aid deliveries and commercial imports.
  • In 2014, the rebel Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of Yemen's north, driving the government into exile. A US-backed, Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to try and restore the internationally recognised government but years of UN efforts to get both sides to agree to a cease-fire and start peace negotiations have not succeeded.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

RBI Forms Group to Regulate Digital Lending Frauds

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a working group to study digital lending activities of the regulated and unregulated players, due to the growing instances of frauds in digital lending space. The group will suggest steps to regulate digital lending including online lending platform and mobile lending. The group will evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities.
  • The six-member panel comprises of following four RBI internal and two external members:
  • Jayant Kumar Dash, Executive Director, RBI (Chairman), Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Supervision (Member), P. Vasudevan, Chief General Manager, Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, RBI (Member), Manoranjan Mishra, Chief General Manager, Department of Regulation (Member Secretary), Vikram Mehta, Co-founder, Monexo Fintech (External Member) and Rahul Sasi, Cyber Security Expert & Founder of CloudSEK (External Member).

Sri Lanka Revives Port Deal with India and Japan

  • Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has announced the revival of an Indian and Japanese investment project to develop a deep-sea terminal in Colombo harbour, next to a controversial $500m Chinese-run container jetty.
  • A tripartite deal by Sri Lanka's previous government had been on hold amid trade union resistance but Rajapaksa on Wednesday said the East Container Terminal (ECT) would proceed.
  • The approval came after reviewing regional geopolitical concerns, a reference to India's suspicion of China's role at the same port.
  • The terminal will be developed with 51 percent ownership by Sri Lanka's government and the remaining 49 per cent as an investment by India's Adani Group and other stakeholders including Japan.
  • The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) entered into a memorandum of cooperation in May 2019 with Sri Lanka, India and Japan to develop the ECT before Rajapaksa came to power in November 2019.
  • The deep-sea jetty is located next to the Colombo International Container Terminal, which is 85 percent owned by China and was commissioned in 2013. The SLPA owns the remaining 15 per cent.

RBI drains Rs. 2 Trillion in Bid to Nudge Shorter Rates Higher

  • India's central bank drained 2 trillion rupees ($27.4 billion) from the banking system, as it seeks to push up money-market rates that had crashed below the reverse repo rate.
  • The cutoff for the 14-day reverse repurchase operation was set at 3.55%, 20 basis points higher than the central bank's reverse repo rate of 3.35%. A Bloomberg poll of seven traders had estimated it at 3.50%. The central bank got bids worth 3.06 trillion rupees.
  • The RBI is draining excess cash after money-market rates crashed way below its 3.35%-4.00% interest-rate corridor late last year, spurring calls from investors for it to remedy a situation that could distort banks' asset pricing. Too sharp a rise could drive volatility, though, and raise concerns that the central bank is withdrawing stimulus support.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

CollabCAD Software Launched

  • The National Informatics centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) jointly launched the CollabCAD software.
  • The CollabCAD software provides engineering solution for students and Faculty of Engineering Graphics curriculum. It aims to provide a platform to students across the country to create and modify digital designs.
  • The aim is to provide a good platform to the students of Atal tinkering labs across the country. With the software the students of Atal tinkering labs will be able to create and modify 3D designs with free flow of creativity. It will enable students to create data across the network and access the same design data for storage and visualisation.
  • The software runs on zone Linux and OS platform. It is available in both standalone and client servant mode.

UK Industry Bids Farewell to EU's Galileo System

  • The UK's final big industrial contribution to the EU's Galileo sat-nav system has been delivered.
  • European Space Agency officials confirmed that Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of Guildford has shipped the last of the navigation payloads it was assembling.
  • These payloads are the "brains" of the spacecraft and generate the signals the Galileo network sends down to Earth.
  • Britain left the project on its departure from the EU.
  • "Third country" status means home companies can no longer be involved in the way they once were. Galileo is regarded by the Union as a security programme and only firms in its 27 member states can take on sensitive work - such as payload integration.
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SPORTS

Tokyo Olympics: Japan to Ban Entry of Foreign Athletes in COVID-19 Emergency

  • Japan will temporarily suspend exemptions allowing foreign athletes to train in the country ahead of the Summer Olympics, as it closes its borders to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases just six months before the Games.
  • The suspension will last until February 7, the scheduled end of the coronavirus state of emergency in the capital.
  • Japan is grappling with record surges in coronavirus infections, prompting the government to tighten border controls and expand its state of emergency to cover more than half of the country's population.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

AK Sharm Joins BJP in UP

  • Gujarat cadre IAS officer AK Sharma, who recently took voluntary retirement from service, formally joined the BJP. He joined the party in Lucknow.
  • Sharma joined the BJP at a time the party is finalising candidates for elections to the 12 seats of the Legislative Council on January 28. The last date for filing of nominations is January 18.

India, Oman Hold Discussions on Bilateral Cooperation

  • A meeting of the India-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (IOSCG) was held, wherein both sides participated in bilateral discussions pertaining to many issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • According to an official release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), during the IOSCG both sides reviewed the entire spectrum of the India-Oman relationship including in political, energy, trade, investment, defence, security, space, mining, S&T, culture and consular fields. It was agreed that the two sides will pursue various agreements and MOUs in these areas for a future-oriented relationship.
  • The Indian delegation was led by Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary (CPV&OIA), MEA while the Omani delegation was led by Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali al-Harthy, Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Foreign Ministry.
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DEFENCE

Bharat Dynamics and Thales Partner to Manufacture STARStreak Air Defence System

  • Bharat Dynamics and Thales have signed a Teaming Agreement to work in partnership on the STARStreak Air Defence system with the support of both the Governments of India and the United Kingdom.
  • The Teaming Agreement was signed at a virtual ceremony held on 13 January 2021.
  • BDL will become a part of the STARStreak global supply chain, providing the opportunity for export of the system to existing and future STARStreak Air Defence customers, including the UK Armed Forces through this agreement.
  • BDL, as a part of its Global Outreach, is endeavouring to forge alliance with foreign companies to take the "Make in India" mission further.
  • Earlier, Thales and BDL have signed a "Memorandum of Understanding‟ to assess the opportunity for the transfer of technology for STARStreak.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Honey Bee Network Creativity Inclusive Innovation Award 2020

  • A Maharashtra teacher, who did not allow coronavirus-induced lockdown to come in the way of continuing his classes for his students in rural areas, has won recognition for his efforts that involved use of conference calls and storytelling.
  • Balaji Baburao Jadhav, who hails from Sangavi village under Renapur tehsil of Latur district in central Maharashtra, has been selected for the Honey Bee Network Creativity Inclusive Innovation Award 2020.
  • He is a Zilla Parishad teacher at Vijayanagar in Maan tehsil of Satara district and won the award for his teaching through conference call method.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

51 Govt. and 21 Private Colleges to be Set up in Uttar Pradesh

  • The Uttar Pradesh Government will be setting up 51 government and 28 private colleges in the state. The purpose of opening new colleges is to boost higher education in the state. The Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Dinesh Sharma said that as many as 120 colleges have started constructing e-learning parks. The Uttar Pradesh Government, as per reports, has granted Rs. 15 lakh as grants against big projects and Rs. 5 lakh for smaller projects.
  • Earlier, the government has launched several jobs for teachers and scholarships for students. Apart from this, the state government has been actively participating in improving the education sector.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Uttarakhand Working at Putting Harsil Valley on Global Tourism Map

  • Looking at reducing migration from areas along the Indo-China border, the Uttarakhand government is now working towards putting Harsil valley on the global tourism map.
  • Harsil valley, which has around eight villages, is located in Uttarkashi district near the Indo-China border. The district administration is preparing a detailed plan which will soon be submitted to the state tourism department. The valley has potential for wildlife and adventure tourism.
  • Harsil valley has a lot of potential for tourism, but due to poor connectivity not many tourists are able to reach there.
  • The Uttarakhand government is also working to develop the country's first Snow Leopard Conservation Centre in the region, with the aim of engaging the local Himalayan community in conservation along with employment generation.
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