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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

24 Jan 2021

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

McConnell Seeks to Push Donald Trump Impeachment Trial to February

  • Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump's impeachment trial to February to give the former president time to prepare and review his case.
  • House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot have signaled they want to move quickly to trial as President Joe Biden begins his term, saying a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on.
  • But McConnell suggested a more expansive timeline that would see the House transmit the article of impeachment next week, on Jan. 28, launching the trial's first phase. After that, the Senate would give the president's defence team and House prosecutors two weeks to file briefs. Arguments in the trial would likely begin in mid-February.

China Backs Guterres for Second Term as UN Secretary-General

  • China announced its backing for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is seeking a second five-year term as the chief of the world body.
  • Guterres whose current term ends on December 31, in a letter to General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir has expressed his wish to continue for another five years.
  • Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on January 1, 2017. Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world's foremost humanitarian organisations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Morgan Stanley Fund Invests $25 mn in LEAP India

  • Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure has made an investment of Rs. 180 crore (US$ 25 Million) to acquire a stake in LEAP.
  • Founded by Mr. Sunu Mathew in 2013, LEAP is India's largest pallet pooling company with an asset pool of approx. 4 million units including pallets, foldable large containers (FLC), crates and utility boxes.
  • This is the single largest round of investment raised by LEAP. Now with Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure as a partner, LEAP aims to achieve a total asset pool of 6 million and provide technologically advanced products to the market.
  • LEAP's business is linked to India's consumption story and primarily caters to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), consumer durables, beverages, e-commerce, retail, auto and auto- component manufacturing sectors.

RBI Imposes Penalty on Standard Chartered Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 2 crore on Standard Chartered Bank–India for delays in reporting of frauds.
  • The central bank said that the penalty has been imposed on the bank for non-compliance with certain directions issued by it contained in the 'Reserve Bank of India (Frauds — Classification and Reporting by commercial banks and select FIs) Directions 2016'.
  • The penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in the RBI under the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act 1949, for delays in reporting of frauds to RBI, revealed during the statutory inspection of the bank with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2018, and March 31, 2019.

Reliance General Insurance Launches Hospi Care Health Policy

  • Reliance General Insurance, a 100% subsidiary of Reliance Capital, has launched Hospi Care policy, a hospitalization cash benefit product that provides lump sum payout  for 150+ listed surgeries and 140+ daycare procedures occurring due to an illness or an accident. This policy is designed specifically to provide seamless cash flow for healthcare needs to our retail customers.
  • The policy provides surgical procedure cash, hospital daily cash, day care treatment cash, other surgeries cash and covers hospitalizations due to dengue/malaria/chikungunya. Customers can choose this product to safeguard themselves against the increasing incidences of medical expenses. Reliance Hospi Care enables policyholders to claim up to 100% of sum insured in lump sum depending on the surgical procedure, allowing them access to quality and timely healthcare.
  • For instance, if the insured is covered under a Rs. 10 lakh policy, in case of a heart or lung transplant surgery 100% of the sum-insured is payable, also the policy has a special feature where the insured could receive coverage for surgeries that are over and above the listed ones and benefit with a lump sum cash of up to Rs.  20,000.
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SPORTS

Sindhu and Sameer Ease into Thailand Open Quarterfinals

  • Indian shuttler Sameer Verma continued his stellar run at the Thailand Open as he eased past Denmark's Rasmus Gemke in straight games to enter the quarter finals of the men's singles event. Verma defeated Gemke 21-12, 21-9 in the second-round contest of the Super 1000 tournament that lasted for almost 40 minutes. 
  • Verma led the match from the start and took the opening game in less than 20 minutes. Having beaten the eighth seed Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the opening round, the world number 31 took his game a notch higher as he won the second game 21-9 to march into the last eight.
  • P.V. Sindhu also cruised to the quarter finals of the Thailand Open after a victory over Malaysia's Kisona Selvaduray. The Olympic silver medallist outclassed Kisona in the second-round clash to register an easy 21-10, 21-12 win in an encounter that lasted less than an hour.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

India Willing to Support Colombia in its Journey Towards Peace, Progress

  • Commending the remarkable progress in the process of peacebuilding in Colombia, India said that it is willing to support Bogota in its journey towards peace, progress, and prosperity.
  • Speaking at United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on Colombia, TS Tirumurti, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, said democracy in Colombia is deepening through increased political participation and applauded the efforts of the people and the Government of Colombia in realising the achievements of the last four years.
  • A peace deal was signed between the previous Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016. The deal was meant to put an end to a bloody 50-year armed conflict that killed over 260,000 and displaced millions in Colombia.

Abbas Siddiqui Floats New Political Party in Bengal

  • A young and popular Muslim cleric in West Bengal, Abbas Siddiqui, has floated a new political outfit — the Indian Secular Front -- in the poll-bound state.
  • Siddiqui, who has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, recently held a meeting with Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM).
  • As per Siddiqui, the party has been formed so that everybody can enjoy social justice and constitutional democracy can be protected.
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DEFENCE

Hawk-i Aircraft Test-fires DRDO's Smart Weapon

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that a Hawk-I aircraft successfully fired a Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) for the first time off the coast of Odisha, in what is being seen as a significant boost to an upgrade programme for the Hawk advanced jet trainer operated by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.
  • The SAAW is a precision strike weapon that can be used to target enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxi tracks and runways. Indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation's research centre Imarat, the weapon has a range of 100 km. It was test-fired from the IAF's Jaguar fighter planes.
  • It is the first smart weapon to be fired from an Indian Hawk Mk132 trainer aircraft. "HAL has been focusing on the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign. The company-owned Hawk-I platform is being extensively used for certification of systems and weapons developed indigenously by DRDO and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research labs," HAL chairman R Madhavan said. The plane was flown by HAL test pilots Wing Commanders (retd) P Awasthi and M Patel.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Siddhartha Mohanty New MD of LIC

  • The government has appointed KIC Housing Finance chief executive officer (CEO) Siddhartha Mohanty as the managing director of Life Insurance Corp. (LIC) with effect from February 1.
  • The appointment of Mohanty is till superannuation on June 30, 2023.
  • Mohanty will replace TC Susheel Kumar who is set to retire on January 31, 2021. 
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DAYS AND EVENTS

International Day of Education

  • International Day of Education is an annual international observance day held on January 24 and is dedicated to education. On December 3, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming January 24 as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for bringing global peace and sustainable development.
  • This year's International Education Day theme 'Recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 generation' echoes the global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity. The closure of schools, universities, and other learning institutions, as well as the interruption of much literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries.

National Girl Child Day

  • National Girl Child Day in India is celebrated on January 24 every year. The day was an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008. The objective behind celebrating the National Girl Child Day is to provide support and opportunities to the girls of India. It also aims towards promoting awareness about the rights of the girl child and to increase awareness on the importance of girl education, and their health and nutrition.
  • National Girl Child Day was first initiated in 2008 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The purpose of this day is to spread awareness about the gender-based discrimination that girls face in our society and to bring change in the attitude towards girls.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Manipur Ranks 3rd in Niti Aayog's Innovation Index for Hill States

  • Manipur bagged third position in NITI Ayog's India Innovation Index, 2020, in the North East and Hill States category. The first and second position has been secured by Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, respectively, in the same category.
  • In the India Innovation Index-2020, the states and union territories have been divided into 17 major states, 10 north-east and hill states and nine union territories and small states for effectively comparing their performance.
  • Karnataka retained its first position in the major states' category. Maharashtra moved one position higher and stood at second spot while Tamil Nadu slid to third position.
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