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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

28 Jan 2021

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Russia Okays Extension to Arms Control Pact with US

  • Russian lawmakers quickly approved the extension of the last remaining nuclear Russia-US arms control treaty, a fast-track action that comes just days before it's due to expire.
  • Both the Houses voted unanimously to extend the New START treaty for five years, a day after a phone call between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin said they agreed to complete the necessary extension procedures in the next few days.
  • Putin hailed the decision to extend the treaty as "a step in the right direction", but warned of rising global rivalries and threats of new conflicts. The pact's extension doesn't require congressional approval in the United States.

Biden Signs Order to Ensure Racial Equity

  • US President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders to ensure racial equity across the country, acting on one of his core campaign promises to dismantle "systemic racism" that has plagued America far too long.
  • While announcing the four presidential actions at the White House, Biden cited the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer last May, which touched off demonstrations across the country. "In my campaign for President, I made it very clear that the moment had arrived as a nation where we face deep racial inequities in America and systemic racism that has plagued our nation for far, far too long," Biden said.

Tunisia's Parliament Approves Cabinet Reshuffle

  • Tunisia's parliament approved a Cabinet reshuffle that deepened the conflict between the Prime Minister and the President, as hundreds protested outside the heavily barricaded parliament over social inequality and police abuses.
  • Hundreds of protesters had marched from the Ettadhamen district of the capital, Tunis, where young people have clashed with police several nights this month, and were joined by hundreds more near the parliament.
  • Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi named 11 new ministers and said he hoped it would inject new blood into his government.
  • President Kais Saied indicated he would reject the Cabinet reshuffle, condemned the absence of women among the new ministers and said some likely new Cabinet members may have conflicts of interest.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Aditya Birla Fashion Buys Stake in Sabyasachi

  • Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) has signed a definitive agreement to buy 51 per cent stake in designer brand Sabyasachi for Rs. 398 crore. The deal is expected to be closed in late-February or mid-March.
  • Through this investment, ABFRL will strengthen its position in the largest and amongst the fastest growing apparel segments, in line with its stated long-term strategy of building a formidable play in the ethnic wear segment.
  • Through Sabyasachi brand, ABFRL will be able to tap luxury and bridge to luxury segments across all categories such as apparel, jewellery and accessories.

Intel Invests Additional $475 Million in Vietnam Plant

  • Intel Corp has invested an additional $475 million in its plant in Vietnam to improve technologies and boost production of its 5G products and core processors, the U.S. chipmaker's local unit.
  • The move takes Intel's total investments in Vietnam to around $1.5 billion.
  • "Intel Products Vietnam is an important part in Intel's supply chain," general manager Kim Huat Ooi said, explaining the decision to invest more in facilities and human resources in Vietnam.

India Inks MoU with IEA for Global Energy Security, Sustainability

  • India inked a strategic partnership agreement with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability.
  • This partnership will lead to an extensive exchange of knowledge and would be a stepping stone towards India becoming a full member of IEA.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Power Secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
  • The IEA Secretariat will be responsible for implementation of the cooperative activities in India and for facilitating discussion between the IEA members and India to further develop the strategic partnership.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Students of College in Coimbatore Develop Satellite for ISRO

  • Students of Sri Shakti Institute of Engineering and Technology have designed and developed a satellite at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crore. It would be inaugurated by chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Dr. R Sivan on January 28.
  • The formation of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre in June last by Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspired 12 students of the institute to collaborate with ISRO and develop 'Sri Shakti Sat'. After installing Sri Shakti Sat Ground Station in collaboration with Serbia-based Community for Space Programme Development, the institute became a member of the Satellite Networked Open Ground Station (SATNOGS) project.  
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SPORTS

P. V. Sindhu Loses in World Tour Finals Opener

  • World champion shuttler P. V. Sindhu went down fighting against world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan in the opening Group 'B' women's singles match of the USD 1.5 million HSBC BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok. 
  • A week after a demoralising defeat at the Toyota Thailand Open quarter finals, Sindhu produced a much improved performance but still lost to Tzu Ying 21-19 12-21 17-21 in a 59-minute match. It was Sindhu's 16th defeat to Tzu Ying in 21 meetings.
  • Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who had won the prestigious title in 2018, will next play home favourites Ratchanok Intanon, who had handed her a humiliating defeat last week.

Abu Dhabi T10 Begins

  • Abu Dhabi T10 is the world's only ten-over cricket tournament officially sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
  • It is the first-ever internationally approved ten-over format competition. The second edition of Abu Dhabi T10 will be held from 28th January – 6th February 2021.
  • Matches have a 10-over-a-side format and duration of 45 minutes a side totalling 90 minutes of play. The tournament is played over ten days, with a round-robin followed by semi-finals and the final.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Karnataka Deputy CM Seeks UT Status for Mumbai

  • Karnataka deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi said Mumbai should be made part of the state and urged the Centre to declare it a Union Territory until then, as he hit back at Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for raking up the border issue with a similar demand.
  • From now on, he said the people would start demanding that Mumbai should be made part of Karnataka as they too had a share in it.

Govt. to Launch CES Survey with Revised Methodology

  • The government is planning to launch the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) with a revised methodology for FY22, after the previous survey in FY18 was discarded due to data quality issues.
  • The CES data is used to calculate poverty and inflation levels, as well as to track economic progress in rural and urban India.
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DEFENCE

India Starts Licensing Production of the Russian AK-203

  • India is about to launch licensed production of Russian Kalashnikov's AK-203 assault rifles. The manufacturing process will be conducted at a plant in Korva (Uttar Pradesh).
  • General Manoj Naravane, Chief of Staff of the Army of the Indian Armed Forces, stated that negotiations with the Kalashnikov Concern are close to a deal, and he's confident the agreement for the production of automatic weapons will be signed in the near future.
  • And according to the Russian side participating in the negotiations, the project for the licensed production of Russian AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles in India is indeed at the final stage of implementation.
  • According to the deal, India will produce as many as 671,427 AK-203 assault rifles.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Abhay Chautala Resigns from Haryana Assembly over Farm Laws

  • INLD's lone MLA in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Abhay Chautala, met Speaker Gian Chand Gupta and handed over his resignation in person. The Speaker has accepted Chautala's resignation. Abhay Chautala, who represents Ellanabad Assembly constituency, had earlier offered to resign as MLA over Union government's failure to repeal the three farm legislations.
  • Abhay is the first MLA in the 90-member House in Haryana who has resigned from the Assembly expressing solidarity with the farmers. However, there were a few Independent MLAs who had earlier withdrawn their support from the BJP in support of farmers. On December 1, independent MLA from Dadri assembly constituency, Sombir Sangwan had withdrawn support from BJP. He had also resigned from the post of Chairman, Haryana Livestock Development Board. Earlier, another Independent MLA Balraj Kundu too had withdrawn his support from BJP citing farm laws.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Rajendra Kumar Bhandari Wins Subhash Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021

  • The Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021 has been conferred upon Dr. Rajendra Kumar Bhandari in the Individual category and Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) in Institutional category.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 51 lakh and a certificate for an institution and Rs. 5 lakh and a certificate in case of an individual.
  • The Government of India announces the award every year on the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to recognise and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in India in the field of disaster management.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

India's Blue Economy Policy

  • India is working on a Blue Economy Policy that plans to boost island tourism, marine biotechnology, deep-sea mining and the ocean energy sector through innovative financing and business models, according to a draft of the policy released by the ministry of earth sciences for public feedback.
  • The highlights of the policy include an accounting framework to assess the growth of the blue economy; mapping of India's coastal zones for integrated coastal and marine spatial plans; and dealing with marine pollution, particularly by microplastics and plastics.
  • Promotion of aqua culture, seaweed and algae harvesting and sustainable marine capture; marine biotechnology for non-food sectors; a boost to the economy and employment through development of ports, fisheries, ship building and coastal and cruise tourism (including island tourism and development) are other aspects of the policy. 
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Kolkata's First Young Readers' Boat Library

  • The West Bengal Transport Corporation has launched the First Young Readers' Boat Library. The library has been launched in collaboration with a heritage book store.  It has been launched on a boat making it the first of its kind initiative.
  • The boat library was launched with the motive that one can read books while appreciating the beauty of Kolkata.
  • The boat library will cruise on the Hooghly River.
  • The library will provide the options for children to choose from a selection of 500 titles in English and Bengali.
  • It will also host activities like storytelling, poetry sessions, dramatised readings, poetry sessions, music and book launches.

Rajasthan Launches a New School of Public Health

  • Rajasthan has launched a new School of Public Health. The school was launched in order to make the policy intervention to build the public health capacity and skills. It will also help in bridging the gaps between education and practices in Rajasthan.
  • The school has been named after the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR).
  • D. Gupta has been appointed as the chairman of the school.
  • The school of Public Health has taken up a study on non-communicable diseases, climate change and antimicrobial resistance in the first instance of its project. The project was undertaken in order to identify priority areas in public healthcare. Study will be conducted if the data analytics and artificial intelligence are the segments for the public health sector or not.
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