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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Feb 2021


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India to Overtake European Union as World's Third Largest Energy Consumer by 2030

  • India will overtake the European Union as the world's third-largest energy consumer by 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said as it forecast India accounting for the biggest share of energy demand growth over the next two decades.
  • In its India Energy Outlook 2021, IEA saw primary energy consumption almost doubling to 1,123 million tonnes of oil equivalent as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expands to USD 8.6 trillion by 2040.
  • India at present is the fourth-largest global energy consumer behind China, the United States and the European Union.

El Salvador Opposition Proposes President's Removal

  • Opposition lawmakers in El Salvador proposed starting a process that could lead to the removal of President Nayib Bukele from office just two weeks before his party is widely expected to win a majority in legislative elections.
  • El Salvador's historical parties from the left and right appeared poised to unite against Bukele who ran an outsider's campaign that carried him to the presidency less than two years ago. He maintains broad popular support, but has battled against the opposition-controlled legislature at every turn.
  • The proposal has the support of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or FMLN, and the Christian Democrat Party. The proposal goes to the Legislative Assembly's political committee, which is controlled by those parties. Eventually, the proposal would need the support of at least two-thirds of the body's members and the unanimous support of a five-doctor panel appointed by the assembly.
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Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea Queue up to Participate in 4G Spectrum Auction

  • Putting speculations to rest, all three private telecom operators – Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Jio – submitted their applications for participation in the upcoming auction of airwaves by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). It is learnt that the three companies waited till the last day to submit their application. This development paves the way for an assured tripartite contest, in the auction, for buying the spectrum.
  • In the past, all the three telcos had expressed their reservation in purchasing the spectrum or participating in the auctions, over financial issues.
  • However, the reservation was more on the high price of 5G spectrum, which hasn't made the cut in the upcoming tender. According to Bharti Airtel Chief Executive Gopal Vittal, the 5G ecosystem is yet to develop here and the prices are very high and the company can't afford it.

Virescent Floats First Solar InvIT, Places 400 Mw Assets under Pvt Trust

  • KKR backed Virescent Infrastructure has floated the first infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) in the green power space. It will be a private Invit for which they have sought the approval for the Securities Exchange of India.
  • It is in the process of acquiring a portfolio of operational solar assets of close to 76 MWp at different locations including Patan (Gujarat), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Mohaba (Uttar Pradesh). The power purchase agreements (PPAs) for these assets are with state-owned counterparties. These assets would be vested in the InvIT.
  • The InvIT aims to achieve approximately 1.5 GW of assets in the next two to three years.

India and Afghanistan Ink Deal for New Dam

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan to end a spike in violence, as the two countries signed an agreement for building a dam to supply water to Kabul city.
  • The project is a sign of India's continuing commitment to Afghanistan against the backdrop of the troubled peace process with the Taliban and a sustained wave of violence targeting officials, civil society activists and journalists in cities across the war-torn country. The agreement was signed on a day when eight people were killed in four targeted attacks in Kabul.
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Indian Start-up Agnikul Successfully Test-fires Fully 3-D Printed Semi-cryo Rocket Engine

  •  Indian Space start-up Agnikul Cosmos announced the successful test-firing of their semi-cryogenic rocket engine, which has been fully manufactured, as a single piece, using 3-D printing technology. Agnikul's semi-cryogenic engine, called Agnilet, would be fulled by rocket-grade kerosene and uses liquid oxygen (stored at -183 degrees celsius) as an oxidizer.
  • Rocket engines are usually comprised of hundreds of parts that serve various purposes, but according to the company, Agnilet was designed to encapsulate all of these into just one piece of hardware. So, this automates the making of an entire engine.

UAE's Hope Probe Enters Mars Orbit in First Arab Mission

  • The United Arab Emirates' first mission to Mars reached the red planet and entered orbit after a seven-month, 494 million km journey, allowing it to start sending data about the Martian atmosphere and climate.
  • This makes the UAE the fifth space agency to reach the planet. The Mars programme is part of the UAE's efforts to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil. The UAE Space Agency even has a plan for a Mars settlement by 2117.
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Pant Wins Inaugural ICC Player of the Month January 2021

  • India's wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant became the first winner of the inaugural ICC Player of the Month award. The ICC announced the list of winners through their official Twitter handle.
  • These awards recognise the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket throughout the year.
  • Pant won the Player of the Month for January 2021 for his spectacular performances in the two Tests against Australia. He smashed 97 at Sydney and an unbeaten 89 at Brisbane that led India to a noteworthy series win.
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India and China Discuss UNSC Coordination

  • India and China held consultations on cooperation on issues relating to UN Security Council in an attempt to cool tensions and set the stage for substantial talks on a concrete disengagement schedule in the border areas of eastern Ladakh.
  • The Chinese delegation was led by Yang Tao from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indian team by Prakash Gupta, Joint Secretary in MEA. Both sides discussed a wide range of issues on the UNSC agenda. The Indian delegation briefed the Chinese side on India's priorities during its UNSC tenure. Both sides agreed to continue their engagement on key issues on the UNSC agenda, stated a MEA release. India will occupy a seat on UNSC for two years till the end of 2022 while China is one of the five permanent members.

Shahnawaz Hussain Inducted into Nitish Cabinet

  • Union minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and BJP's national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain has finally been rehabilitated in active politics with a position in the Bihar government led by BJP's partner, JD-U's Nitish Kumar.
  • One of Saffron party's prominent Muslim faces -- apart from union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajya Sabha member Syed Zafar Islam, Hussain was the first to be administered the oath of office by Governor Phagu Chauhan at a ceremony held in the Raj Bhavan.
  • Out of electoral politics since 2014, Hussain was recently named by the BJP as its MLC candidate from Bihar, thus marking his return albeit at the state level.
  • The Cabinet strength of the Nitish Kumar Government is now 34.
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IndiGo Appoints Jiten Chopra as CFO

  • Low-cost airline IndiGo appointed Jiten Chopra as its chief financial officer (CFO), effective February 21, 2021, and will succeed Aditya Pande, who is leaving the company to pursue other interests.
  • Chopra will report to IndiGo's whole-time director and CEO Ronojoy Dutta. He joined the airline in February 2020 as head of governance, risk, and compliance.
  • Prior to joining IndiGo, he spent 25 years working at BSR & Co (KPMG) in audit and risk management, business development, operations, and transaction services.

US University Recognises Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as Global Citizenship Ambassador

  •  Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar has been recognised as a Global Citizenship Ambassador by a prominent American university in recognition of his pioneering work as peacemaker, humanitarian, spiritual teacher and global interfaith leader.
  • The Northeastern University Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service honoured him as its inaugural Global Citizenship Ambassador last week.
  • The university is a global leader in experiential education and research with campuses around the world and is home to students from over 100 countries. It is ranked among the top 50 in the US and has one of the three largest international student populations.

Bollywood Actor Rajiv Kapoor Passes Away

  • Bollywood actor and Raj Kapoor's son Rajiv Kapoor passed away. 
  • Rajiv Kapoor was a part of Bollywood's Kapoor clan. He was the brother of Randhir Kapoor, Rima Kapoor, Ritu Nanda, and late Rishi Kapoor.
  • Rajiv Kapoor made his acting debut in 1983 with Ek Jaan Hain Hum. He was seen as the leading actor in father Raj Kapoor's last directorial venture Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). His most notable being Aasmaan (1984), Lover Boy (1985), Zabardast (1985) and Hum To Chale Pardes (1988).
  • His last film appearance was in Zimmedaar (1990) after which he turned to producing and directing films.
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PM Modi to inaugurate World Sustainable Development Summit 2021

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the World Sustainable Development Summit 2021.
  • The theme of the Summit is 'Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all'.
  • The 20th edition of The Energy and Resources Institute's (TERI) flagship event, the World Sustainable Development Summit, will be held online from February 10 to February 12 and will bring together a wide number of governments, business leaders, academicians, climate scientists, youth, and the civil society in the fight against climate change.

World Pulses Day

  • World Pulses Day as the name suggests is a day dedicated to the importance of pulses. This day is observed on February 10 of every year. This year the theme of the day is "Nutritious Seeds for a Sustainable Future." It is a well-known fact that pulses have highly nutritious properties and are a very important part of a healthy diet for humans. However, a large number of people do not have access to this nutritious food item while some are unaware of its health benefits. In order to increase both awareness and access to pulses, the United Nations in 2018 decided to dedicate a day to pulses.
  • Apart from that, World Pulses Day also comes under the second goal of the United Nations i.e. "Zero Hunger." Moreover, the day also covers objectives mentioned in the United Nations Agenda 2030.
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MP Launches 'SAANS' Campaign to Reduce Infant Mortality

  • The health department in Madhya Pradesh launched the Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully ('SAANS') campaign. The main purpose of the campaign is to reduce the death rate due to pneumonia among infants. A strategy is being chalked out under the Social awareness campaign in which medical staff is being trained.
  • Training will be imparted at the community and primary health centres.
  • Around 4,000 Health and Wellness Centres have been set up in Madhya Pradesh for this purpose.
  • The State government has also developed training modules in partnership with PGIMER, Chandigarh, and UNICEF, which will be used to enhance the skills of health workers, including doctors and paramedical staff.
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Students Will Learn Self-reliance at School-level under NEP

  • The National Education Policy has the capacity to make students Atmanirbhar or self-reliant right from the school-level, said Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister of Education during his inaugural address at the India Education Summit (IES) 2021. The three-day virtual event that began sees participation from stakeholders from the government, school, university, policy, and e-learning platforms.
  • During his address, Pokhriyal said, "By connecting students with the internships, vocational training as a student reaches class 6, we will imbibe atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in a student. By the time these students will complete school education, they will be warriors who can take on any task," said Pokhriyal.
  • India will be the first country to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) at the school level. Usually, AI is being taught at IITs and specialised colleges but we would start by giving the education right from school level, he added.
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President Inaugurates Gen. Thimayya Memorial Museum

  • President Ram Nath Kovind, who inaugurated Gen. Thimayya Memorial Museum at Madikeri in Kodagu district, Karnataka said that it commemorates the services and valour of one of the greatest soldiers of India.
  • General K.S. Thimayya served as the Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961 and his ancestral house 'Sunny Side' has been renovated and converted into a museum. The museum showcases memorabilia, including weapons and military uniforms, and houses a battle tank at the entrance in addition to a fighter jet, MiG 21, both of which were used in the 1971 war.
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