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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

04 Mar 2021


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Egypt and Sudan Back DR Congo to Mediate Dam Dispute

  • Egypt and Sudan have backed the Democratic Republic of Congo to lead negotiations on their row with Ethiopia over the mega dam on the Nile River.
  • A joint statement by their foreign ministers affirmed their support for an enhanced structure of negotiation sponsored by the African Union (AU) that include the US, the European Union and the UN.
  • The ministers also noted that a unilateral filling of the dam for the second phase would be a direct threat to their countries' water security.
  • Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who met Sudan's Foreign Minister Mariam al-Sadiq, said that the dam was a vital issue for both countries.
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Australia Building World's First Platypus Sanctuary

  • Australian conservationists unveiled plans to build the world's first refuge for the platypus, to promote breeding and rehabilitation as the duck-billed mammal faces extinction due to climate change.
  • The Taronga Conservation Society of Australia and the New South Wales State government said that they would build the specialist facility, mostly ponds and burrows for the semi-aquatic creatures, at a zoo 391 km (243 miles) from Sydney, by 2022, which could house up to 65 platypuses.
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UPL and TeleSense Tie up for Tech Solutions

  • Agro-chemical firm UPL Ltd announced a strategic collaboration with US-based internet of things (IoT) innovator TeleSense to revolutionise post-harvest grain storage and transport. 
  • UPL said that it will help TeleSense strengthen its sales channel by introducing monitoring solutions for post-harvest commodity storage and transport to multiple stakeholders across the agriculture value chain.
  • California-based TeleSense uses scalable sensor technology on an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to monitor the temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels of stored grain.

Sri Lanka Reverses Offers Strategic Deep-Sea Port to India and Japan

  • Sri Lanka will offer a strategically located deep-sea port to India and Japan, as the island seeks to balance traditional ties against China's rising regional influence.
  • The government last month abruptly pulled out of an agreement with Delhi and Tokyo to jointly develop the partially built East Container Terminal, located next to a $500-million Chinese-run container jetty within the capital Colombo's sprawling port.
  • But Colombo reversed course, offering the West Container Terminal (WCT), which is yet to be built and located on the other side of the Chinese-run jetty known as the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT).

NCLT Upholds Doha Bank Plea

  • National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Mumbai has upheld the petition of Doha Bank resulting in 100 per cent recovery for the Financial Creditors of Reliance Infratel Ltd. (RITL), aggregating to Rs. 3,515 crore.
  • Doha Bank, one of the Financial Creditors of RITL had filed an application against Corporate Guarantee Holders of Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM) and Reliance Telecom Limited (RTL), seeking priority payment for the financial creditors of RITL, from the proceeds of the company's resolution plan.
  • Reliance Jio has acquired these assets through NCLT driven debt resolution process. NCLT, Mumbai had approved the Reliance Infrtatel resolution plan in December 2020 in favour of Reliance Projects & Property Management Services Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited. 
  • While approving the resolution plan, NCLT had directed that the distribution of proceeds to the Financial Creditors was subject to the disposal of Doha Bank application.
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Union Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot Launches 'Sugamya Bharat' App

    • Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot launched the 'Sugamya Bharat' App and a handbook titled 'Access - The Photo Digest' through a video conference in New Delhi.
    • The App and the handbook have been developed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
    • The App provides for five main features out of which four are directly related to enhancing accessibility.
    • They include registration of complaints of inaccessibility across the broad pillars of the built environment, transportation sector and Information and Communication Technology  ecosystem, positive feedback of examples and best practices worth emulating being shared by people as Jan-Bhagidaari.
    • They also include Departmental s and guidelines and circulars related to accessibility. The fifth feature is a special feature meant only for Divyangjan for COVID-19 related issues.

Indigenously Developed "Spectrograph" Commissioned in Nainital

  • Indian Scientists at Aryabhatta Research Institute of observational sciences (ARIES), Nainital, have indigenously designed and developed a low-cost optical Spectrograph named as Aries-Devasthal Faint Object Spectrograph & Camera (ADFOSC). It has been commissioned on the 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand.
  • The ADFOSC spectroscope is the largest of its kind among the existing astronomical spectrographs in India.
  • The ADFOSC spectrograph can locate sources of faint light from distant quasars and galaxies in a very young universe, regions around supermassive black-holes around the galaxies, and cosmic explosions.
  • So far, spectroscopes were imported from abroad at high costs. The 'Made in India' optical spectrograph is about 2.5 times less costly compared to the imported ones and can locate sources of light with a photon-rate as low as about 1 photon per second.
  • The ARIES is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. It is the largest reflecting telescope in India, as well as in Asia.
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Manish Kaushik Enters Quarters of Spanish Boxing Tournament

  • Olympic-bound Indian boxer Manish Kaushik (63 kg) advanced to the quarter-finals of the Boxam International Tournament with a facile opening round win in Castellano, Spain.
  • The world championship bronze-medallist defeated Spaniard Ammari Raddouane 5-0 to make the last eight, where he will be up against Kazakhstan's Sufiullin Zakir, a two-time Asian silver-winner.
  • Kaushik, also a Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, is returning to the ring a year after qualifying for the Olympics in the Asian Qualifiers in Jordan.
  • A 14-member Indian contingent (eight men and six women), including nine Olympic qualified and other top boxers, is taking part at the 35th edition of the tournament. All 14 of these boxers have made the quarter-finals already.

Kieron Pollard Hits 6 Sixes in an Over

  • West Indies cricketer Kieron Pollard has become the third batsman in international cricket to hit 6 sixes in an over. Pollard achieved the feat when he hit Sri Lanka's Akila Dananjaya out of the park 6 times in the 6th over of West Indies' successful chase in the first T20I at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
  • KIeron Pollard joins World Cup-winning former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh as the only other batsman to hit 6 sixes in an over in T20I cricket. At the international level, it was former South Africa opener Herschelle Gibbs who achieved the feat first -- in the World Cup 2007 match against the Netherlands.
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Gujarat Local Body Polls: BJP Records Massive Victory

  • The ruling BJP recorded a massive victory in the local body polls in Gujarat by winning a clear majority in all 31 district panchayats as well as in 196 out of 231 taluka panchayats and 74 out of 81 municipalities.
  • The Congress, the main opposition party in the state, won a clear majority in only one municipality and 18 taluka panchayats, while AIMIM and AAP also made their presence felt.
  • In six municipalities and 15 taluka panchayats, no party has got a clear majority.

Trinamool Congress MLA Jitendra Tiwari Joins BJP

    • In yet another setback to the Trinamool Congress party in West Bengal, party MLA Jitendra Tiwari joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
    • He joined BJP in the presence of party state chief Dilip Ghosh at a programme in Sreerampur in Hooghly district.
    • Tiwari is a two-time MLA from Pandabeswar in Paschim Barddhaman district and former mayor of Asansol.
    • Tiwari had resigned from the post of the chairman of the Board of Administrators of Asansol Municipal Corporation in December last year.

Karnataka Minister Jarkiholi Resigns

  • Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi sent his resignation letter to Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa following allegations of sexual harassment against him.
  • The development comes a day after purported video clips showing Jarkiholi getting intimate with an unidentified woman, were widely aired by Kannada news channels.
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South Korea's Next Generation Jet KF-X Set to Roll Out

  • South Korea is set to roll out the first prototype of its indigenously developed next-generation fighter jet, widely known as the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) aircraft.
  • A total of six prototypes are in the final stages of assembly at the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) headquarters in Sacheon, Gyeongsang Province. Test flights will be carried out next year, following ground testing after the April roll-out.
  • The KF-X project is an evolutionary development project which is divided into two phases. The first phase, or the Block I stage, is about developing the basic system of the fighter jet from 2016 to 2026. The second phase, or the Block II stage which would be carried out from 2026 to 2028, is about adding more weapon systems.

12 New SSB Battalions Soon to Strengthen India's Borders with Bhutan, Nepal

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has given its in-principle approval for 12 Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) units, comprising over 13,000 personnel in all, to tighten security at India's borders with Bhutan and Nepal.
  • SSB Director General (DG) Kumar Rajesh Chandra said that over 1,000 personnel in each battalion will be inducted in a phased manner, with a target of raising four battalions each year.
  • The SSB has 90,000 personnel to guard the open Indian fronts with Nepal (1,751 km) and Bhutan (699 km). The additional strength will aid in the "fortification" of defences along these fronts including the tri-junction in Sikkim that adjoins Bhutan and Tibet.
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Rajesh Vaishnaw India's next Ambassador to Morocco

  • Diplomat Rajesh Vaishnaw has been appointed India's next Ambassador to Morocco.
  • Vaishnaw, a 1996-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently the High Commissioner of India to Malta.
  • He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • The appointment comes at a time when India-Morocco ties are witnessing an upswing.

UAE's First Ambassador to Israel

  • Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Khaja was sworn in as the new UAE ambassador to Israel.
  • Al-Khaja took the oath in front of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
  • The ceremony comes after the cabinet approved the setting up of an embassy in Tel Aviv last month.
  • The UAE and Israel signed a US-brokered deal on Sept. 15, known as the Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time.
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National Safety Day

  • National Safety Day is observed on March 4 every year to commemorate the foundation of the National Safety Council, which aims to raise awareness about safety measures that need to be undertaken to prevent accidents and mishaps.
  • The objective of the day is to renew the commitment of employees and the public to work safely and ensure the integration of a safe and sound work culture and lifestyle.
  • National Safety Day was observed for the first time in 1972, on the foundation day of the National Safety Council.
  • National Safety Council is a non-profit, self-financing and tripartite apex body at the national level.

India Commemorates 'Chabahar Day'

  • India commemorated 'Chabahar Day' on 4th March on the sidelines of the Maritime India Summit 2021 being held.
  • Ministers from Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan participated in the virtual event.
  • The location of the Chabahar Port has strategic advantage and high potential to provide connectivity among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, and boost trade. 
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Mumbai's CSMT Becomes First Railway Station to Get IGBC Gold Certification

  • Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) has become the first railway station in Maharashtra to be awarded the gold certification as per the Confederation of Indian Industry's Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) ratings.
  • With this, CSMT has become the first railway station across Maharashtra and the western division to receive Green Railway Station Certication.
  • The Environment Directorate of Indian Railways with the support of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has developed the Green Railway Stations rating system.
  • Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted,"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Maharashtra is awarded Gold Certification by Indian Green Building Council."
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Haryana Governor Approves Bill Allowing 75% Reservation in Private Jobs

  • Haryana Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya has given assent to the Bill providing 75 per cent reservation in the private sector to job seekers from the state.
  • The Haryana Assembly had late last year passed the Bill, a key poll promise made by the ruling alliance partner Jannayak Janta Party.
  • The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020 provides quota for local people in private sector jobs that offer a salary of less than Rs. 50,000 a month.
  • The quota will initially apply for 10 years, according to the Bill.

Gujarat Assembly Passes 3 Bills

  • The Gujarat Assembly unanimously passed three Bills amending the Gujarat Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2013, the Gujarat Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2005 and the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University Act, 2007.
  • The Gujarat Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act has been amended to facilitate appointments of qualified engineering and fire safety graduates as Fire Safety Officers in the state for effective compliance of the fire safety norms in different kinds of buildings in the state. In January, the Gujarat government had promulgated an ordinance to bring in the amended provisions into force. With passage of the Bill, the ordinance stands repealed.
  • The House also passed a Bill to amend The Gujarat Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2005 to allow state government to raise additional resources. The Bill states, "The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the resources of the States and the Centre. In view of this, to raise additional resources, the Central Government has allowed an additional borrowing limit of 2 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to the State Governments for the financial year 2020-21."
  • The third Bill amends Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University Act while renaming the university from Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University to Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU).

Uttarakhand CM Launches "Gharoki Pechan, Chelik Naam" Scheme

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat launched "Gharoki Paachan, Chelik Naam" (daughter's name is a home's identity) programme and development schemes worth Rs. 42 crore in Nainital. Initially, the scheme has been launched in Nainital and later is set to be extended to the entire Uttarakhand.
  • The government is working towards women empowerment and 32,000 women groups of the state are being linked with self-employment to make them self-reliant. The state government is also set to implement many public welfare schemes for the benefit of the youth.
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Indian Women Rank ahead of Global Peers in Leadership Roles

  • India ranks third in the world for women working in senior management positions, according to the Women in Business 2021 report by global accounting firm Grant Thornton.
  • The percentage of women in senior management for India stood at 39%, against the global average of 31%, which signals the changing outlook of Indian businesses towards working women.
  • The percentage of women leaders across key C-Suite positions in the country also emerged higher than the global average in the report.
  • Globally, businesses with at least one woman in the senior management role increased to 90%. In India, this stands at 98%. As much as 47% of mid-market businesses in India now have women chief executive officers (CEOs) compared with 26% globally.
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