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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

02 Mar 2021


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Republican Leaders Call for US Boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

  • Accusing China of horrific human rights abuses, some top Republican leaders, including Indian American Nikki Haley, have demanded that the US boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and called on the International Olympic Committee to select a new site for the event.
  • The White House, however, said that no decision has been taken yet on the demands of the leaders.
  • It is no secret that China wants to use the Winter Olympics as part of its "massive communist propaganda campaign", Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, said as she launched a campaign to demand President Joe Biden announce a boycott of the games.

Former French President Sarkozy Convicted of Corruption

  • Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty by a Paris court of corruption after he offered to pull strings to help a magistrate land a prestigious job in return for a favour.
  • The 66-year-old was also sentenced to a 1-year prison term, though under the French system he's unlikely to serve it, even if he fails to overturn the verdict on appeal.
  • "Sarkozy used his status as former French President," said Presiding Judge Christine Mée as she read out the court's decision.
  • The judgment puts the former president on the back-foot just two weeks before he's due back in court on separate charges that he illegally exceeded campaign-spending limits ahead of his electoral defeat.

Trump Hints at 2024 Presidential Run

  • In his first public speech since leaving office, former US President Donald Trump has called for Republican Party unity while indicating that he might launch a third presidential bid in 2024 even as he slammed the Biden administration, claiming the country had gone from "America First" to "America Last" in just one month.
  • Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Committee in Orlando, Florida, the 74-year-old leader, who left the White House on January 20, stopped short of announcing to run for the president in 2024, although he gave enough indications that he is moving in that direction.
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Iceberg 20 Times the Size of Manhattan Breaks in Antarctica

  • Almost a decade after scientists at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) first detected the growth of vast cracks, a huge iceberg, more than 20 times the size of Manhattan, in Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf has now broken off.
  • The first indication that a calving event was imminent came in November 2020 when a new chasm, called North Rift, headed towards another large chasm near the Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue 35 km away.
  • During January, this rift pushed northeast cutting through the 150-metre-thick floating ice shelf.  
  • The iceberg was formed when the crack widened several hundred metres in a few hours, releasing it from the rest of the floating ice shelf.
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O2 Power to Buy Stake in Hero Future Energies' Rajasthan SPV

    • O2 Power, promoted by European alternative asset manager EQT and Temasek, is acquiring a 49% stake in Rahul Munjal-led Hero Future Energies Pvt. Ltd's special purpose vehicle (SPV)–Clean Solar Power Bhainsada–that is setting up a 250 megawatt (MW) solar capacity in Rajasthan.
    • The SPV won this project by quoting a tariff of Rs2.53 per unit and has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). An announcement is expected to be made shortly about this sale, that will help O2 Power reach a 1.23-gigawatt (GW) portfolio.
    • This sale is part of the transaction for which Hero Future Energies has mandated HSBC to sell 500 MW of pre-construction assets. With an installed capacity of 1.7 GW and an additional 1.5GW under construction, Hero Future Energies plans to build a 3.5GW operating portfolio by 2022.

BOC Aviation and IndiGo Sign Purchase-leaseback Pact

  • BOC Aviation Limited has signed purchase-and-leaseback agreements with InterGlobe Aviation Ltd (IndiGo) for eight new Airbus A320NEO aircraft.
  • The addition of these eight A320NEO aircraft demonstrates our confidence in the future growth of the aviation market in India.
  • The aircraft will be powered by CFM Leap engines and are scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2021.

BPCL to Sell Entire Stake in Numaligarh Refinery

  • State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp. will offload its holding in its unit Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. for Rs. 9,878 crore ($1.3 billion) as part of its own privatisation process.
  • The country's second-biggest state refiner will sell its 61.65% holding in Numaligarh Refinery to a consortium of Oil India Ltd. and Engineers India Ltd. and may also include the state government of Assam, according to an exchange filing. The final sale pact will be entered into after obtaining clearances from its shareholders.
  • Oil India currently holds 26% in Numaligarh Refinery Ltd., which operates a 3 million-tons-a-year oil refinery in Assam. The refinery is being expanded threefold to meet the region's growing fuel demand. Assam state government owns 12.35% in the company.
  • Privatisation process of BPCL moves ahead with BPCL Board deciding to exit from NRL at a consideration of Rs 9875.96 Cr for its 61.65% stake with transfer of control. OIL, EIL and Government of Assam will be picking up the stake.
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ISRO Flags off 2021 with 19 Satellites, e-Gita & PM Modi's Picture

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) made its first launch of 2021 in a big way. It successfully blasted into space the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C51, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, Sriharkota, carrying 19 payloads: Brazil's 637-kg Amazonia-1 (its primary passenger) plus 18 co-passenger satellites.
  • One of these satellites also carried an e-copy of the Bhagavad Gita, saved on an SD-card, as well as a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi engraved on its panel.
  • Launched at 10.24 am, this was the first commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), ISRO's commercial arm.
  • After a flight of about 17 minutes, the vehicle injected Amazonia-1 into its intended orbit, and in the succeeding 1 hour 38 minutes, all the 18 co-passenger satellites were successfully separated from the PSLV in a predetermined sequence.

Hubble Snaps Breathtaking New Image of NGC 2336

  • NGC 2336 is a barred spiral galaxy located in the northern constellation of Camelopardalis.
  • Otherwise, known as LEDA 21033 and UGC 3809, it lies at a distance of 109 million light-years.
  • NGC 2336 is a member of a small galaxy group known as the NGC 2336 group.
  • It also forms a non-interacting pair with the spiral galaxy IC 467.
  • NGC 2336 was discovered in 1876 by the German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel, using a 28-cm telescope.
  • In 1987, NGC 2336 experienced a Type-Ia supernova, the only observed supernova in the galaxy since its discovery 111 years earlier.
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Djokovic Equals Federer's Record of most Weeks as No. 1

  • Novak Djokovic equalled Roger Federer's all-time record for most weeks as ATP world No. 1, holding the top spot for the 310th week.
  • Djokovic's ninth Australian Open title last month guaranteed that he would surpass Federer's record on March 8.
  • Having reached another milestone in his illustrious career, Djokovic said that he would look to adjust his calendar and make overhauling Federer and Rafael Nadal's joint-record of 20 Grand Slam titles his top priority.
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FM Nirmala Sitharaman Virtually Attends G20 Central Bank Governors' Meet

  • Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman participated virtually in the First G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Italian Presidency to discuss policy actions for transformative and equitable recovery.
  • The other issues on the agenda included global economic outlook, financial sector issues, financial inclusion and sustainable finance.
  • Sitharaman spoke about India's policy response to the pandemic. She said that India's domestic policies have been based broadly on supporting citizens through measures such as credit guarantees, direct transfers, food guarantees, economic stimulus packages and accelerating structural reform.
  • During this meeting, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors also discussed the implications of climate change on global growth and financial stability.

Trinamool Congress Forms 12-member Committee for West Bengal Polls

  • The Trinamool Congress announced a 12-member election committee that will look into the selection of candidates and plan a campaign for the upcoming assembly polls.
  • The panel will be headed by West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, party's secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said after its core committee meeting.
  • Subrata Bakshi, Abhishek Banerjee, Sudip Banerjee, Derek O Brien, Sougata Roy and C M Jatua are members of the election panel.
  • Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Partha Chatterjee Chandrima Bhattacharya and Aroop Biswas are also part of the team.
  • As per reports, the TMC leaders had extensively discussed the issues related to the selection of candidates and planned for the campaign.

Bengali Actor Srabanti Chatterjee Joins BJP

  • In the latest defection to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bengali actor Srabanti Chatterjee joined the party ahead of West Bengal Assembly elections. The actor joined the party in the presence of state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh and party's election in-charge in the state, Kailash Vijayvargiya.
  • Elections to the 294 assembly seats in the state, where the ruling Trinamool Congress is looking to retain power amid a strong challenge from the BJP, will go to the polls in eight phases. Voting will be held on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29 and the votes will be counted on May 2. 
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IAF Gifts 1971 War Helicopter to Bangladesh, Gets F-86 Fighter as Return Gift

  • Commemorating 50 years of defeating Pakistan in the 1971 war, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief RKS Bhadauria gifted a legacy Alouette III helicopter to Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) and got a legacy F-86 Sabre aircraft as a return gift from Dhaka.
  • The exchange of aircraft took place in Dhaka during the four-day trip of Bhadauria to Bangladesh where he visited different airbases and interacted with the top military leadership of that country.
  • India and Bangladesh are celebrating 50 years of the liberation war in which the Pakistan Army was thrown out of Bangladesh and 90,000 of their troops were made to surrender. A number of events are being organised by both countries to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the decisive war.

Maj Gen JS Sandhu Takes over as NCC Additional Director General

  • Major General JS Sandhu took over as the 8th Additional Director General (ADG) of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate.
  • In his 36 years of service, Major General Sandhu has undertaken prestigious staff and command assignments, including tenures in active operational areas, and holds multiple military academic qualifications. This includes command of a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, an Infantry Brigade in Jammu and Kashmir and an Infantry Division along the western borders.
  • He has been awarded with the Ati Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service. 
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AU Small Finance Bank Names Sharad Goklani as President and CTO

  • AU Small Finance Bank has named Sharad Goklani as its new President and CTO. He was earlier associated with Equitas Small Finance Bank as its EVP and Chief Technology Officer.  As a part of his new appointment, Goklani will be based in Jaipur Rajasthan. Prior to Equitas, he was associated with Bharti Airtel and Bharti Telesoft. He holds a Master degree in computer application from Jaipur University.
  • AU was started 25 years ago by Sanjay Agarwal, a merit holder Chartered Accountant and a first-generation entrepreneur.
  • As per the official website, it was founded in Jaipur in 1996 as Au Financiers, a non-deposit taking Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), it effectively worked on funding economic growth, especially for the under-served and un-served low & middle-class individuals.

Matam Venkata Rao New Managing Director & CEO of Central Bank

  • The Centre has appointed Matam Venkata Rao as Managing Director & CEO of Central Bank of India for a period of three years.
  • Prior to this he was an Executive Director of Canara Bank.
  • Rao replaced incumbent Central Bank of India MD & CEO Pallav Mahapatra, who superannuated on February 28.
  • With this appointment, Canara Bank will only have two executive directors, although the bank can have as many as four such directors. 

Manpreet Vohra India's Next High Commissioner to Australia

  • Senior diplomat Manpreet Vohra has been appointed as India's next High Commissioner to Australia.
  • Mr. Vohra, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, is presently Ambassador of India to Mexico. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • Mr. Vohra's appointment comes at a time India-Australia ties are at an upswing and the two countries are stepping up cooperation particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Harsh Vardhan Inaugurates Global-Bio India 2021

  • The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Science & Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated the second edition of Global-Bio India-2021 on March 1, 2021. This is a three-day event was organised from March 1 to March 3, 2021 under the Theme– 'Transforming Lives' along with the tag line 'Biosciences to Bio-economy'.
  • The Global-Bio India event marked the participation of more than 5000 delegates, 1000 start-ups and 200 exhibitors. It was also to be participated by the academia, researchers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, policy leaders, investors, enablers, regulators, medium & large-scale industry and other organizations to facilitate acceleration of innovation ecosystem in India. It organised 24 knowledge sessions to emphasize the role of multiple allied sectors for the growth of Biotechnology in India.
  • The Global-Bio India event was organised with the aim of providing India the recognition of an emerging Innovation Hub and the bio-manufacturing hub globally. It facilitated Biotech innovation ecosystem, Make in India and India's investments for the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative and global networking & collaborations.

World Hearing Day

  • World Hearing Day is a campaign held each year by Office of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Activities take place across the globe and an event is hosted at the World Health Organisation on March 3. The campaign's objectives are to share information and promote actions towards the prevention of hearing loss and improved hearing care.
  • The first event was held in 2007. Before 2016 it was known as International Ear Care Day. Each year, the WHO selects a theme, develops educational materials, and makes these freely available in several languages. It also coordinates and reports on events around the globe.
  • The theme of the campaign for 2021 is Hearing Care for All. 
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Golden Globes 2021

  • The 78th Golden Globe Awards kickstarted after being delayed for close to two months for the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Golden Globe this year is being held virtually. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have returned as the hosts of the Golden Globe Awards for the fourth time. While Tina is hosting the event from New York City, Amy is joining us from The Beverly Hilton in California. Mank, which is based on the life of screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, has bagged the most number of nominations. The Crown, which had garnered the highest nominations for any television series this year, won in four categories.
  • Chadwick Boseman was posthumously honoured with the Best Actor Golden Globe Award for his performance in the film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The actor died at the age of 42. He was battling colon cancer.
  • Among notable achievements of the night, Chloe Zhao, the director behind "Nomadland," became the first woman to win the best director award since 1984 when Barbara Streisand secured an award for "Yentl."
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E-Daakhil Portal for Consumer Grievance Redressal Operational in 15 States, UTs

  • As per the government, the 'E-Daakhil' portal for consumer grievance redressal is now operational in 15 states and Union Territories (UTs). The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which came into force from July 20, 2020, has a provision for e-filing of consumer complaints in the consumer commissions and online payment of the fees for filing a complaint, according to an official statement.
  • A web application for e-filing of consumer complaints named '' has been developed by NIC for the purpose.
  • The government said the portal is now operational in 15 states and UTs. "The Department of Consumer Affairs is now proactively following up with the states to launch e-filing portal at their ends."
  • E-filing was launched by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on September 7, 2020.
  • Delhi was the first state to implement it on September 8, 2020.
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Delhi University, Singapore Fine Arts Society Sign MoU on Academic Collaboration in Indian Music

  • The Delhi University's Faculty of Music and Fine Arts and the Singapore Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for "cultural, academic and research collaboration agreement in Indian music". The MoU was signed at a two-day international webinar, "Traditional Music in Different Cultures: Opportunities and Challenges in the Changing Global Scenario", hosted by the Delhi University's Department of Music.
  • The MoU will expand the cultural and institutional footprint of both the prestigious musical institutions with a rich historical background – SIFAS commencing its glorious music journey in 1949, and the Department of Music taking its first step towards musical excellence in 1960.
  • The MoU would also enable the faculty to spread its footprint in South East Asia in collaboration with SIFAS and give the much-needed boost to Indian music and fine arts.

Changes in Flipkart's Leadership Team

  • Flipkart has made key changes to its leadership team as the Walmart-owned e-commerce giant readies for a proposed initial public offering (IPO) by next year. As the firm focuses on building and growing its business further, it has made a few leadership role changes in Flipkart Supply Chain, CDO (category design operations) and M3 (marketing, merchandising and monetization), and Fintech and Payment Group organisations.
  • Amitesh Jha will be taking up a new role in the CDO and M3 organisation. He has been leading the Ekart-Myntra Supply Chain, Jeeves - F1, CX and Marketplace for the last 3.5 years. Over this time, he has been instrumental in building high performing supply chain, CX and marketplace teams that are strongly committed to customers, sellers and our people.
  • Ranjith Boyanapalli, senior vice president for fintech and payments group will take on the additional charters of CX, marketplace and the central liquidation team (CLT). Samdani Basha, vice president for CX and Jagjeet Harode, SD - marketplace, with the added mandate of CLT, will now report to Boyanapalli, effective March 1, 2021.
  • Hemant Badri is joining Flipkart as senior vice president, supply chain, effective March 1, 2021. In this role, Badri will be responsible for the Ekart-Myntra Supply Chain and Jeeves - F1 priorities at Flipkart. All the asset leaders currently reporting to Jha will now report to Badri.

IIT Madras Entrepreneurship Cell to host 'E-Summit'

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras' Entrepreneurship Cell will be hosting its annual 'Entrepreneurship Summit,' aimed at driving innovation through engineering challenges, from March 5-14, 2021. This edition of the annual event will be held entirely online and will feature four conclaves - Youth Conclave, Innovators' Conclave, Start-up Conclave and Growth Conclave.
  • More than 300 startups have registered for the Start-up Conclave while around 2,000 registrations have been recorded for the Innovators' Conclave. In addition, around 800 people have registered for the Growth Conclave, with the Youth Conclave set to attract more than 1000 attendees.
  • The theme for E-Summit 2021 is 'Sustain to Attain', highlighting the importance of persevering through difficult times. The E-Summit also features a Social Campaign called 'Pankh,' which is focused on enabling the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises through sustainable business models. 
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Book "Advantage India: The Story of Indian Tennis" by Anindya Dutta

  • Anindya Dutta, a banker turned author, penned a new book titled "Advantage India: The Story of Indian Tennis", a chronicle of Indian Tennis. Advantage India is a well-researched account of the journey of Indian tennis, with a special section on the doubles game and on women's tennis in India. The book is published by Westland publications.
  • The book provides an extensive history of Indian tennis on both men's and women's side.
  • The book is the result of the detailed research of Anindya Dutta on the data from the archives of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and British newspapers from the past 200 years.
  • The book features pre-independence players like Mohammed Sleem, the Fyzee brothers, S.M. Jacob and Ghaus Mohammed and tennis icons like Dilip Bose, Sumant Misra, Naresh Kumar and Ramanathan Krishnan.
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IATA to Launch Travel Pass

  • To provide easier air travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, global airlines' body IATA plans to launch its travel pass by the end of March and is also in talks with Indian authorities and carriers for using the pass in India.
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has around 290 airlines as members, including Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet.
  • The IATA Travel Pass will be a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.
  • IATA Regional Director for Airports and External Relations (Asia Pacific) Vinoop Goel said that the pass will move existing paper processes to a digital platform and joins it with up-to-date information on entry requirements. This will also make the process more convenient and help avoid fraudulent documentation.
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