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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 Feb 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

France Approves the Ant-Radicalism Bill

  • The lower house of the French parliament approved the Ant-Radicalism Bill in a bid to fight the Islamic radicalism.
  • The bill seeks to strengthen the government oversight of mosques and religious schools.
  • It will also take strong actions against the polygamy and forced marriage.
  • The bill provides for measures with the aim of rooting out the Islamic radicalism.
  • It is a part of the broader French efforts that it initiated with the aim of fighting extremism.
  • It will also promote respect for French values.
  • The bill was passed in the backdrop of fighting extremism in the country. This fight against extremism gained momentum after a teacher was beheaded in October 2020.

China Overtakes US as EU's Biggest Trading Partner

  • China is now the EU's biggest trading partner, overtaking the US in 2020.
  • China bucked a wider trend, as trade with most of Europe's major partners dipped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Trade between China and the EU was worth $709bn (€586bn, £511bn) last year, compared with $671bn worth of imports and exports from the US.
  • Although China's economy cratered in the first quarter due to the pandemic, its economic recovery later in the year fuelled demand for EU goods.
  • China was the only major global economy to see growth in 2020, stoking demand for European cars and luxury goods.
  • Meanwhile, China's exports to Europe benefited from strong demand for medical equipment and electronics.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

ISRO on a Mission to Give Leg-up to Space Start-ups

  • ISRO has embarked on a mission to take startups in the space sector to a higher orbit with a string of initiatives to help them realize their business potential. It is keen on formulating an exclusive space startup programme -- "Space Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (SEED)".
  • SEED is conceived as a competitive early stage encouragement programme to startups and MSMEs (Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises) keen on developing products/services in focus areas of interest to ISRO with the space agency helping them to use its facilities.

Cairn Oil & Gas Seeks Bids for Sale of Natural Gas from Rajasthan Block

  • Mining magnate Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Ltd invited bids for the sale of natural gas from its prolific Rajasthan block at rates equivalent to the price of imported LNG from the spot market or Brent oil price.
  • Cairn Oil & Gas, Vedanta's oil and gas arm, produces about 3.5 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from its largely oil-bearing block in Rajasthan.
  • The output is being ramped-up to more than 5 mmscmd.
  • The company invites Expression of Interest (EoI) from interested parties with proven capabilities and demonstrated presence in the natural gas business to participate in the national competitive e-auction process for the purchase of natural gas produced from our flagship block in Barmer, Rajasthan

Maharashtra Govt. Signs MoU with Flipkart to Promote Wooden Toys

  • In order to promote wooden toys, local artefacts, handicrafts Maharashtra Small Industries Development Corporation and Maharashtra State Khadi & Village Industries Board have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Flipkart.
  • State Minister for industries Subhash Desai said that this MoU will enable artisans, weavers, craftsmen & MSMEs from Maharashtra to showcase their products to millions of customers in India. Flipkart will provide free training for packaging and branding to all these manufacturers. Also, product photography will also be done by the company. 
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SPORTS

Faf du Plessis Retires from Test Cricket

  • Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from tests to make T20 International cricket his priority with successive World Cups in the next two years.
  • Middle-order batsman Du Plessis, 36, was the most senior member of the South Africa Test squad that lost the recent series 2-0 in Pakistan.
  • Du Plessis made his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide in 2012. He captained the side in 36 Tests but gave up the armband in February 2020 after a string of poor results.

IPL Franchise Kings XI Punjab is Now Punjab Kings

  • IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab was renamed as Punjab Kings and a new logo was unveiled during the 2021 IPL auction in Chennai.
  • The franchise, jointly owned by Mohit Burman, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karan Paul, is yet to win an IPL title since the event's inaugural edition in 2008.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

India Pitches for Connectivity from Arabian Sea to South China Sea

  • External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar pitched for connectivity from "The Arabian Sea to the South China Sea" even as India and Japan work together in tandem. Speaking at an event in Guwahati, Assam the EAM said, the "approach to create connectivity to and within Assam, beyond to the North-East, then to neighbouring Myanmar and Bangladesh, but eventually push all the way by road, by sea, by air to Vietnam, to Japan."
  • India is working on a number of connectivity projects to connect northeast with East Asia--India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, with an aim to expand it to Vietnam via Laos. The Kaladan Multimodal transport link will provide North East access via Sittwe Project and the Paletwa Inland Water Terminal. Work is on BIMSTEC masterplan on transport connectivity via 264 projects.

Kerala CM Launches Fibre Optic Network for Free Internet Access to 20 lakh Families

  • To bridge the digital divide by providing high-speed, affordable internet connectivity to every household, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the KFON (Kerala Fibre Optic Network) in the state.
  • Speaking at the launch event, the Chief Minister said that KFON will revolutionize the digital space.
  • With KFON, free internet connectivity will be provided to 20 lakh BPL families. It will also cover villages in all 14 districts. Earlier only 10 per cent of government offices had high-speed Internet, with the launch of KFON, 30,000 government institutions will have high brand width connectivity.
  • KFON is a joint venture of Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited and Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). A consortium led by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) was selected to implement the project in March 2019.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Congress Loyalist Satish Sharma Passes Away

  • Former Lok Sabha MP from Amethi and Rae Bareli and a long time Gandhi family loyalist Captain Satish Sharma passed away in Goa. He was 73.
  • Sharma, who owed his rise in politics to proximity with late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was thrice elected to Lok Sabha. He also served three terms in Rajya Sabha.
  • Sharma was dropped from Rajya Sabha in 2016 after his term ended.
  • He represented Amethi after Rajiv Gandhi's death in 1991.
  • After 1998, Satish Sharma was shifted to Rae Bareli where he remained MP till 2004 before vacating the seat for Sonia Gandhi.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

Taj Mahotsav Agra

  • Taj Mahotsav is being celebrated successfully since 1992 in Agra in the month of February for ten days, from 18th February to 27th February.
  • Organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of India, Taj Mahotsav is mainly dedicated to the promotion of country's rich art and craft, culture, cuisine, dance and music.
  • In fact, it serves as an acknowledgment to the craftsmen as well as the exponents of art, music and cuisine from all over the country.

World Day of Social Justice

  • World Day of Social Justice (Social Justice Equality Day) is an international day recognizing the need to promote social justice, which includes efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender equality, unemployment, human rights, and social protections.
  • Many organizations, including the UN, American Library Association (ALA), and the International Labour Organization, make statements on the importance of social justice for people.
  • Many organizations also present plans for greater social justice by tackling poverty, social and economic exclusion and unemployment. The United Nations General Assembly has decided to observe 20 February annually, approved on 26 November 2007 and starting in 2009, as the World Day of Social Justice.

International Mother Language Day

  • International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.
  • First announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly with the adoption of UN resolution 56/262 in 2002.
  • Mother Language Day is part of a broader initiative "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world" as adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 May 2007 in UN resolution 61/266, which also established 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Delhi Police Receives Best Marching Contingent Trophy-2021

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh presented the trophies of best marching contingents of the Republic Day Parade 2021 in New Delhi on February 15, 2021. Jat Regimental Centre bagged the trophy of best marching contingent among the Tri-Services while Delhi Police was adjudged as the best marching contingent among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and other auxiliary services.
  • Brigadier Adarsh K Butail and Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Virendra received the trophy on behalf of the Jat Regimental Centre and Special Commissioner of Police Robin Hibu and Assistant Commissioner of Police Vivek Bhagat, Commander received the trophy on behalf of Delhi Police. The two contingents were adjudged on the basis of assessment by two panels of judges.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Cabinet Approves PLI Scheme for Telecom Sector

  • The Union Cabinet approved a Rs. 12,195-crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for domestic manufacturing of telecom and networking products such as switches, routers, radio access network, wireless equipment and other internet of things (IoT) access devices.
  • The core component of this scheme is to offset the huge import of telecom equipment worth more than Rs. 50,000 crore and reinforce it with 'Made in India' products, both for domestic markets and exports. Currently, India imports over 80 per cent of its telecom and wireless networking equipment.
  • With the inclusion of telecom equipment manufacturing under the ambit of PLI schemes, the total number of sectors under such programmes stands at 13. All the sectors included under the various PLI schemes are mostly labour-intensive and aim to attract global manufacturing giants into the Indian manufacturing space. 
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

ICAI Seeks Name Change to Institute of Cost and Managament Accountants of India

  • The Institute of Cost Accountants of India has appealed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to rename the institute to The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India.
  • "All over the world, our profession is known as Cost and Management Accountants, therefore the request. With the passage of time, we have proved that we have expertise in Cost and Management Accountancy, GST, taxation matters and many of our members hold senior positions in the industry," Biswarup Basu, President-ICAI, said.
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