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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

26 Feb 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

Start Test

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Appeals for Rejection of UN Rights Body Resolution

  • A top Sri Lankan minister has made a fervent appeal to the member states of the UNHRC to reject the impending resolution on the island nation's human rights accountability and reconciliation, terming it a "pure political move" against the country.
  • Addressing a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session virtually, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena urged that the resolution be rejected by the council and brought to a closure.
  • The minister described the impending resolution as unsubstantiated and a pure political move against Sri Lanka.
  • Gunawardena's remarks followed the country's rejection of the UN rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet's report which had called for drastic measures such as targeted sanctions and international criminal court procedure against those allegedly responsible for rights violations during the last phase of the armed conflict with the LTTE in 2009.

Oli Refuses to Quit as PM, Prachanda Seeks Consensus Candidate

  • Nepal Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli has signalled that he has no intention of resigning his post, a day after the country's Supreme Court reversed his decision to dissolve Parliament.
  • Instead, Oli mocked his opponents, Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Madhav Kumar Nepal who jointly head a rival faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, for distributing sweets after the court verdict.
  • His rivals have, however, already begun exploring the formation of an alternative government, assuming that Oli's exit is unavoidable.
  • Prachanda and Madhav Nepal had a meeting with Sher Bahadur Deuba, chairman of the Nepali Congress party and leader of the Opposition, with a proposal to form the government jointly.

Australia Passes Landmark Law Requiring Tech Firms to Pay for News

  • Australia's parliament passed landmark legislation requiring global digital giants to pay for local news content, in a move closely watched around the world.
  • The law passed easily after a last-gasp deal that watered-down binding rules Facebook and Google had fiercely opposed in return for the tech giants agreeing to pay local media companies.
  • The new law paves the way for Google and Facebook to invest tens of millions of dollars in local content deals, and could prove a model for resolving the firms' tussles with regulators worldwide.
  • Google will now pay for news content that appears on its "Showcase" product and Facebook is expected to pay providers who appear on its "News" product, which is to be rolled out in Australia later this year.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Post-Retirement Fund Guarantee Plan By Bajaj Allianz Life

  • Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance launched an insurance plan offering a guaranteed regular deferred annuity during post-retirement life.
  • There is a funding gap in the post-retirement life and lots of people will not be earning but would need funds, so this is a grave issue that needs to be addressed, said Bajaj Allianz Life MD and CEO Tarun Chugh while announcing the launch of 'Bajaj Allianz Life Guaranteed Pension Goal' plan.
  • The plan is designed to fill the gap of the pension needs of various categories of people, which has nine different variants in the offing.
  • Bajaj Allianz Life claimed it is the only life insurance plan that offers a regular premium deferred annuity option so that the policyholders have a guarantee of their pension, having paid regularly over a period of time, when they are not active in work life.

Finance Ministry Allows Private Sector Banks for Government Related Transactions

  • All private sector banks will be allowed to conduct government related banking transactions such as tax and pension payments.
  • Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that private banks can now be equal partners in development of the Indian economy, furthering government social sector initiatives, and enhancing customer convenience.
  • The Finance Ministry said that the government has conveyed its decision to the Reserve Bank of India or RBI. At present besides state run lenders only a few selected private sector banks are allowed to conduct government related banking transactions.
  • With the lifting of the embargo there is now no bar on RBI for authorisation of private sector banks for government business including government agency buisness.
  • Government related banking transactions include taxes and other revenue payment facilities, pension payments and small savings schemes. 

Fino Payments Bank Elevated to the Status of Scheduled Commercial Bank

  • Fino Payments Bank is now a scheduled commercial bank and will explore new growth opportunities.
  • The Reserve Bank of India announced through a notification that Fino Payments Bank has been included in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • The scheduled commercial bank status allows Fino Payments Bank to enhance its banking position in the treasury and participation in LAF (Liquidity Facility) window, as per the RBI. It also helps the bank strengthen its business proposition on liabilities generation.
  • As a scheduled commercial bank, Fino Payments Bank will be better positioned to explore and manage government businesses. 
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SPORTS

Ashwin Becomes 4th Highest Wicket-taker for India with 599 Wickets

  • Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin went past Zaheer Khan's tally of 597 international wickets to climb to the fourth spot on the list of Indian bowlers with the most wickets in international cricket.
  • Ashwin dismissed Ollie Pope in the 28th over to overtake Zaheer's tally at the Narendra Modi Stadium. Ashwin now has 599 wickets across formats and is only behind former skipper Anil Kumble (953), spinner Harbhajan Singh (707), and Kapil Dev (687). The off-spinner is also on the brink of becoming the fourth Indian bowler to take 400 Test wickets.
  • Ashwin is just three wickets away from the glorious milestone in the longest format of the game. In the ongoing pink-ball Test, Ashwin along with Axar Patel spun a web as India bundled out England for a paltry 112 in the first innings.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Union Cabinet Approves President's Rule in Puducherry

  • The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to impose President's Rule in Puducherry, after the Congress-led government in the union territory lost a vote of confidence motion in Puducherry Assembly.
  • Announcing the Cabinet's decision, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the decision was taken as no party had claimed to form a government following the resignation of Chief Minister V. Narayansamy.

Former India Player Ashoke Dinda Joins BJP

  • Former India player Ashoke Dinda joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, hours after another cricketer Manoj Tiwary was included in the Trinamool Congress.
  • Ashoke Dinda began his political journey in the presence of Union Minister Babul Supriyo and West Bengal BJP vice-president Arjun Singh.
  • Ashoke Dinda and Manoj Tiwary's political innings begin months ahead of the West Bengal assembly election, which is likely to take place in April or May.
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DEFENCE

ARHMD System for Indian Army

  • The Indian Army is in the process of acquiring niche technology by procuring quantity 556 Augmented Reality Head Mounted Display (ARHMD) System. The army will procure it under Make-II Category.
  • The ARHMD System is seen as a capability enhancement for the Land Based Air Defence Weapon Systems.
  • The land-based air defence weapon systems include ZU 23 mm 2B AD Gun System and the IGLA shoulder fired Infra-Red Homing Air Defence Missile System. These systems will provide the operator with radar and Thermal Imaging (TI) sight outputs.
  • The proposed system seeks to enhance engagement capability during night.
  • It will also enhance the conditions of inclement weather.
  • The system will also be enhancing the day-time engagements through the increased reaction times, integration of output of TI sight and data computation for decision support.
  • Projects under Make-II category involve the prototype development of equipment, system or platform. It also involves the upgradation of the equipment or system. For the development of the prototype, no Government funding is provided.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Osamu Suzuki to Retire, Become Senior Adviser

  • Suzuki Motor Corp said that its 91-year old chairman, Osamu Suzuki, is retiring in June.
  • Suzuki who served as the Japanese carmaker's chief executive for 22 years and then as chairman for another two decades will step down from his current role following a shareholders' meeting in June.
  • The chairman will be appointed as senior adviser upon retirement.
  • With almost half a century at the helm, Suzuki is widely credited with turning the carmaker into what it is today.

Vijay Sampla Assumes Charge of Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes

  • Former Union Minister Vijay Sampla, who assumed the charge of Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, said, that he would be adopting a three-tier priority to resolve all the issues being faced by the Dalit community.
  • Sampla served as Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment from 2014 to 2019. He is counted amongst the prominent Dalit faces of the BJP in Punjab.
  • Sampla joined BJP in 1998.
  • After winning the Lok Sabha election from Hoshiarpur, he served as THE Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment from 2014 to 2019.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

U.S. Anti-corruption Award for RTI Activist

  • Anjali Bharadwaj, an Indian social activist working on issues of transparency and accountability, is one of the 12 "courageous" individuals named by the Biden administration for the newly-instituted International Anti-Corruption Champions Award.
  • Bharadwaj has served as an active member of the Right to Information Movement in India for over two decades.
  • Anjali Bharadwaj is the founder of Satark Nagrik Sangathan, a citizens' group with a mandate to promote transparency in government.
  • She is also a convener of the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Cabinet Approves PLI Scheme for Pharmaceuticals, IT Hardware

  • The Union Cabinet approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the pharmaceuticals and IT hardware sectors, entailing an outlay of Rs. 15,000 crore and Rs. 7,350 crore, respectively.
  • The PLI scheme for pharmaceuticals, whose duration is for nine years from 2020-21 till 2028-29, will benefit domestic manufacturers, help create employment and is expected to contribute to the availability of a wider range of affordable medicines for consumers.
  • The scheme also aims to create global champions from India that have the potential to grow in size and scale using cutting edge technology and thereby penetrate global value chains.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

India Tourism Mart 2021

  • Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), the coverage federation of all the nationwide associations representing the entire tourism, journey and hospitality trade of India and trigger associate AIRDA in affiliation with ministry of tourism and KPMG as its information associate, kick-started its annual India Tourism Mart (ITM) with a bodily inauguration.
  • India Tourism Mart – ITM, which is a purchaser vendor meet happened in a digital format in February 2021. In his inaugural tackle, Subhash Goyal, chairman – ITM 2021 and honorary secretary, FAITH emphasised how the 12 months passed by was the darkest within the historical past of mankind and tourism was the worst hit the place the journey fraternity was actually left hanging from a thread.
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