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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

28 Feb 2021


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Yellen Supports New Allocation of IMF's SDR Currency

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen threw her support behind a new allocation of the IMF's own currency, or Special Drawing Rights (SDR), but said that broad parameters were needed to boost transparency on how the reserves are used and traded.
  • Reversing the opposition of the Trump administration, Yellen told G20 finance officials in a letter that a new SDR allocation could boost liquidity for poor countries, which have been particularly hard hit by the global coronavirus pandemic.
  • The U.S. Treasury chief gave no specific size for possible allocation of SDRs, which can be converted to hard currency by IMF members. Italy, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year, and other members of the group of rich and emerging economies have backed a $500 billion allocation, but the United States had been guarded about its view until now.

President Xi Jinping Declares Complete Victory in Eradicating Poverty in China

  • President Xi Jinping declared that China has scored a complete victory in its fight against poverty by lifting over 770 million people out of it in the last four decades, calling it another miracle created by the country that will go down in history.
  • China has a population of around 1.4 billion. With this, China has achieved the U.N. goal of poverty eradication 10 years ahead of the 2030 deadline.

Australia First in Asia-Pacific Region to Lift Ban on Boeing 737 MAX

  • Australia's aviation regulator said on Friday it would lift a near two-year ban on flights to and from the country that use the Boeing Co 737 MAX aircraft, making it the first nation in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.
  • The regulator has accepted the comprehensive return-to-service requirements set by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as state of design for the 737 MAX.
  • No Australian airlines operate the 737 MAX, but Fiji Airways and Singapore Airlines Ltd operated them on flights with Australia before the craft were grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes.
  • Fiji Airways and Singapore Airlines, which will also need to receive approvals to fly from their national aviation regulators, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Tube Investments Ropes in Korean Firm for 3-wheeler EV Technology

  • Murugappa Group's Tube Investments India (TII) partnered with a Korean firm to design an electric three- wheeler. The Rs. 38,000 crore Murugappa Group intends to enter complete automobile manufacturing through its group company TII, which is planning to make and sell electric three-wheelers.
  • During an analyst call, Vellayan Subbiah, managing director, TII said that the company will start manufacturing and selling electric three wheelers by December to January time-frame.
  • The technology for the EV three-wheeler, for which a prototype has already been developed, would be a combination of in-house as well as design support from a Korean company.

DHFL Gets No Objection from RBI

  • DHFL said that it has received no objection from the Reserve Bank and has filed application with NCLT for submission of the resolution plan of Piramal Capital & Housing Finance.
  • Earlier this week, DHFL had announced Piramal group's resolution plan getting approval from the RBI.
  • Pursuant to the receipt of no objection from Reserve Bank of India as per Insolvency and Bankruptcy Rules, 2019, the administrator of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) has filed an application for submission of resolution plan of Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Limited (PCHFL) with the adjudicating authority NCLT, Mumbai Bench.
  • The resolution plan has been approved by the Committee of Creditors (CoC).

IRDAI Sets up Panel to Relook Guidelines on Information, Cybersecurity

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has formed a working group committee to relook its information and security guidelines amid the exponential increase in cyber attacks across the globe in the wake of covid-19.
  • The economic situation owing to Covid-19 pandemic has seen an exponential increase in cyber-attacks across the globe and in particular, the financial sector. This situation has necessitated Regulators to re-look into their Cyber Security Guidelines applicable to all regulated entities to protect the financial systems.
  • Earlier, in April 2017, the regulator had issued guidelines on cybersecurity as a part of its governance mechanism. The mandate also included the Information Security Committee (ISC), Board-approved Information & Cyber Security Policy, Appointment of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Cyber Crisis management plan (CCMP).
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Hima Das wins 200m Gold in Her First Race after More than a Year

    • Star Indian sprinter Hima Das ran her first competitive race in more than a year and won a gold in the women's 200 m in the Indian Grand Prix II at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports campus in Patiala. The 21-year-old Hima, the 2018 world junior champion in 400 m, won the race in 23.31 seconds.
    • Hima, who is yet to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, had run her last competitive race in August 2019.
    • Sprinter Dutee Chand blazed the track to win the women's 100 m in 11.44 seconds, an improvement on the 11.51 seconds she had clocked last week in the first GP. She is hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games by meeting the 11.15 seconds standard.
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President's Rule Imposed in Puducherry

  • President's Rule was imposed in Puducherry following a recommendation by the Union Cabinet after a Congress-led government lost power in the Union Territory in a vote of confidence.
  • The notification, signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, said that the decision was taken after the President received a report from the administrator of the Union Territory of Puducherry earlier this week.
  • It said after considering the report and other information received by him, the president was satisfied that a situation had arisen in which the administration of the Union Territory of Puducherry could not carry on in accordance with the provisions of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 (20 of 1963).

17 NGOs Get FCRA Licence

  • The Home Ministry has granted FCRA licences to 17 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Dr. Aabaji Thatte Seva Aur Anusandhan Sanstha (ATSAS) and Grameen Foundation for Social Impact (GFSI). Last year, the Foreigners Contribution Registration Act (FCRA), 2010 was amended to tighten the limit of "administrative expenses" and exclude public servants from the list of entities eligible to receive funds from abroad.
  • FCRA licenses are mandatory for NGOs who want to receive foreign funding. In 2020, the ministry licensed 165 organisations and in 2019 683 NGOs.
  • According to FCRA, foreign funding can be obtained for cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programs after seeking government approval or FCRA registration.
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National Science Day

  • National Science Day is celebrated on February 28 to commemorate the discovery of Raman Effect by Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. He received the Nobel Prize for this discovery in the year 1930. The day is celebrated to mark the importance of contributions made by scientists towards the development of our nation and the world as a whole. It is used to create awareness about the role of science in society. 
  • The theme for National Science Day 2021 is 'Future of STI: Impact on Education Skills and Work'.
  • In 1986, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) asked the Government of India to designate February 28 as National Science Day. The event is now celebrated all over India in schools, colleges, universities and other academic, scientific, technical, medical and research institutions. On the occasion of the first NSD (National Science Day) (28 February 1987) NCSTC announced the institution of the National Science Popularisation awards for recognising outstanding efforts in the area of science and communication.

India Begins BRICS Chairship

    • India has started its BRICS Chairship with the inaugural three-day-long Sherpas' meeting in February 2021.
    • The spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Anurag Srivastava stated that the Secretary (CPV & OIA) chaired the meeting and highlighted the themes, priorities, and calendar for the BRICS 2021.
    • Earlier, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had launched India's BRICS 2021 website at Secretariat of BRICS at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan.
    • President of China, Xi Jinping, might also visit India later for the BRICS summit.
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Punjab Cabinet Approves Mission 'Lal Lakir' in All Villages

  • The Punjab Cabinet has approved the implementation of the mission 'Lal Lakir' aimed at facilitating villagers to monetise property rights and availing benefits provided by government departments, institutions and banks in all villages across the state. As no record of rights is available for such properties within the 'Lal Lakir', the same cannot currently be monetised as per the real value of the property and no mortgages can be created on such properties.
  • The right of record of properties within 'Lal Lakir' in the villages of the state will be prepared with the cooperation of the government of India under the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme.
  • This will enable mapping the land, households, habitation and all other areas falling within 'Lal Lakir'. It will go a long way in improving the living standard of villagers and boosting their self-esteem.
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Jamia MilliIslamia Students Selected among Top 10 UN Global Impact (PRME) Supported Competition

  • A project entitled 'Sustainable disinfection chamber for rural areas', conceived and designed by Abdul Haq Siddiqui, a student of M.Tech. (Energy Sciences) 1st Semester, Department of Applied Sciences & Humanities, Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and three other students of Al-Falah University(AFU), Faridabad have been selected among top 10 projects in a competition- IILM Sustainability Carnival PRME 2021, a United Nations supported initiative held at IILM college of Engineering and Technology, U.P.
  • The project was based on integrating the design of a disinfection chamber, HVAC system and Internet of Things (IoT) together. The current system detects the presence of a human, body temperature of the incoming person, incoming/outgoing pattern, chamber ambient conditions, customer gender and height. 
  • A total of 200 colleges across the nation participated in the IILM sustainability Carnival PRME 2021. Best 60 projects were shortlisted in the first stage and finally best 10 in the last stage.

State of School Feeding Worldwide Report

  • The United Nations World Food Programmes (WFP) has released its report titled "The State of School Feeding Worldwide".
  • As per the report, the COVID-19 pandemic risks have reversed the efforts that were made worldwide in a decade to provide nutritious food to the most vulnerable children across the globe.
  • The report highlights that, one in two school children that would count as around 388 million children worldwide received the school meals when the pandemic was at its peak. This accounts for the highest number in history.
  • When the pandemic was at its peak around April 2020, 199 countries had closed their schools. Because of which, 370 million children were suddenly deprived of the nutritious meal of the day.
  • The report highlighted that, the lockdown threw spotlight on the critical role that school plays in feeding vulnerable children and protecting their futures.
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Kabir Bedi's Memoir 'Stories I Must Tell'

  • Veteran actor Kabir Bedi will tell the story of his life "with raw emotional honesty" in his memoir which will be published this April. 'Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Journey of an Actor' will take readers through the highs and lows of Bedi's professional and personal life.
  • Bedi has poured his heart into this book about his turbulent professional and emotional life and has told it with raw emotional honesty.
  • According to Karthika V. K, publisher at Westland Publications, this is an unusually candid and heart-warming life story with unexpected tragic turns. I think it will surprise even those who know Kabir well. 
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Swachh Iconic Places: 12 Sites to be Transformed into 'Swachh Tourist Destinations'

  • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) under the Jal Shakti Ministry has selected 12 iconic sites that will be transformed into 'Swachh Tourist Destinations' under Phase IV of Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G).
  • The announcement takes forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for transforming iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.
  • The initiative aims to enhance the experience of both domestic and foreign visitors to the iconic sites by improving the sanitation and cleanliness standards at and around the sites.
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