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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

08 Mar 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Bangladesh Appoints Nation's First Transgender News Anchor

  • A private news channel has appointed Bangladesh's first transgender news presenter. Tashnuva Anan Shishir started presenting news for Boishakhi TV from the International Women's Day 2021.
  • The Boishakhi TV authorities said that the appointment of the transgender newscaster was done on the occasion of 50 years of liberation of Bangladesh as it was the most neglected population of the country.
  • The TV channel has appointed another transgender Nusrat Mau as one of the main characters for the regular drama section of the TV channel's entertainment wing.
  • Tashnuva Anan is a model and actor who began her career in theatre group Natua in 2007. She has been actively associated with theatre in Bangladesh with appearances in many popular productions.

Nepal's SC Quashes Unification of PM Oli

  • Nepal's Supreme Court quashed the unification of the erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (Unified MarxistLeninist) led by Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
  • The CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) merged in May 2018 to form a unified Nepal Communist Party following victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections.
  • An apex court bench of justices Kumar Regmi and Bam Kumar Shrestha issued the verdict giving authenticity of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to Rishiram Kattel, who had registered the party at the Election Commission (EC) in his name prior to the formation of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Oli and Prachanda, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.
  • Kattel had challenged the Election Commission's decision to register Nepal Communist Party (NCP) under Oli and Prachanda in May 2018.
  • The bench said that a new party cannot be registered with the Election Commission when it already has a party registered with a similar name.

India, Iran, Russia to be Part of New US Push to Find Settlement in Afghanistan

  • The US plans to convene a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of India, Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran to forge a common approach on ending the war in Afghanistan while simultaneously taking steps to speed up a settlement with the Taliban.
  • This was conveyed by US secretary of state Antony Blinken in a letter sent to President Ashraf Ghani. The letter marks the first time the new Biden administration has outlined its approach towards Afghanistan as it undertakes a review of the troubled peace process with the Taliban as well as plans to withdraw all American forces from the war-torn country by May 1.
  • As a first step, the US intends to ask the United Nations to convene Foreign Ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the United States to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.
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ENVIRONMENT

Delhi among Top 3 States with most Contaminated Sites in India

  • According to the Central Pollution Control Board data, the national capital stands third on the list of states and Union territories with most contaminated sites.
  • There are 112 sites in India contaminated by toxic and hazardous substances. Besides, there are 168 sites that may be contaminated but require investigation and confirmation.
  • Odisha tops the list with 23 contaminated sites, followed by Uttar Pradesh (21) and Delhi (11).
  • According to the Union Environment Ministry, 'Contaminated Sites' are delineated areas in which the "constituents and characteristics of the toxic and hazardous substances, caused by humans, exist at levels and in conditions which pose existing or imminent threats to human health and the environment.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

ArcelorMittal to Invest over Rs. 50,000 crore in Gujarat

  • The world's leading steel and mining company ArcelorMittal will invest more than Rs. 50,000 crore in Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, a day after its executive chairman Lakshmi Mittal called on him.
  • As per Vijay Rupani, all industrialists from India and abroad, including Lakshmi Mittal, are coming to Gujarat for making investment as they count Gujarat as the best (investment) destination.
  • During his trip to Gujarat, Mittal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the Combined Commanders' Conference in Kevadia in the state.

Fairfax to List Anchorage, its Vehicle for Airport and other Infra Funding

  • Indian born Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa-owned Fairfax India is planning to list Anchorage Infrastructure, its flagship investment vehicle for airports and other infrastructure investments in India. Meanwhile, Fairfax controlled Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) to invest around $2.2 billion to create infrastructure to handle around 90 million passengers by 2034.
  • As per Prem Watsa, chairman, Fairfax since its inception in June 2019, Anchorage has actively participated in bidding for Indian airports' and railway stations' privatisation processes.
  • He added, in March 2021, Fairfax India expects to close the transaction whereby it will transfer 43.6 per cent out of the 54% that it owns in BIAL to Anchorage and will sell 11.5 per cent of Anchorage for cash consideration of $130 million.
  • The transaction values 100 per cent of BIAL at $2.6 billion and will result in OMERS indirectly owning approximately five per cent of BIAL.

Govt. Proposes to Hike in LIC's Authorised Capital

  • The government has proposed to significantly increase the authorised capital of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to Rs. 25,000 crore to facilitate its listing slated for the next fiscal.
  • Currently, the paid-up capital of the life insurance company with over 29 crore policies is Rs. 100 crore. Starting with an initial capital of Rs. 5 crore in 1956, LIC has an asset base of Rs. 31,96,214.81 crore.
  • The authorised share capital of LIC shall be Rs. 25,000 crore divided into 2,500 crore shares of Rs. 10 each, as per the amendments proposed in the Life Insurance Corporation Act, 1956.
  • The amendments proposed as part of Finance Bill 2021 will lead to the setting up of a board with independent directors in line with listing obligations.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Nita Ambani Launches Social Media Platform Her Circle

  • Reliance Foundation chairperson Nita Mukesh Ambani launched a social media platform 'Her Circle' aimed at empowering women.
  • Her Circle is envisioned to be a one-stop destination to provide women-related content that is engaging and upliftment-oriented even as it connects women through a social platform.
  • With the Digital Revolution enabling round the clock global networking and collaboration, Her Circle welcomes ideas and initiatives of women from all cultures, communities and countries.
  • Her Circle subscribers will be able to watch videos, read articles with solution-oriented life strategies covering living, wellness, finance, work, personality development, community service, beauty, fashion, entertainment, creative self-expression and active participation in public life through women-led NGOs and other organisations.
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SPORTS

IPL 2021 to Begin on April 9

  • The 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) will start on April 9 and the final will be held on May 30, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said. Defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Chennai in the tournament opener.
  • The matches will be played in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
  • After nearly two years, the IPL extravaganza will return home with Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata hosting the marquee event.
  • The IPL 2021 final will be played on May 30 at Narendra Modi Stadium, popularly known as Motera Stadium, in Ahmedabad. Playoffs will also be played at Motera Stadium.

PV Sindhu Suffers Crushing Defeat in Swiss Open Final

  • World champion PV Sindhu finished a distant second in the Swiss Open final after being completely routed by Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin of Spain in a lop-sided women's singles title clash. The 25-year-old Indian, who had won the coveted World Championship gold medal here in 2019, couldn't match the speed and accuracy of top seed Marin during her 12-21, 5-21 defeat in the final that lasted only 35 minutes.
  • It was Sindhu's third successive loss to Marin, who had won both the Super 1000 events in Thailand in January before finishing runners-up at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.

India to Face New Zealand in World Test Championship Final at Lord's

  • Virat Kohli-led Team India booked a spot in the final of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) after they defeated England by an innings and 25 runs in the 4th Test at Motera in Ahmedabad. After taking a lead of 160 runs, India bowled out the Joe Root-led side for 135 to seal a thumping victory and sealed the series 3-1.
  • Now, India will face Kane Williamson's New Zealand in the WTC final which will take place at Lord's between June 18-June 22.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Shiv Sena Will Contest 20-25 Seats for Goa Assembly Election

  • Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut announced that his party will contest at least 20-25 seats for the Goa Legislative Assembly election next year.
  • "The party will contest in all the Assembly constituencies where it has its presence," Raut said and added that there is largescale unrest against the BJP-led government in Goa but the opposition parties have failed to encash on these sentiments.

Ten Outfits Extend Support to AIADMK

  • Ten smaller outfits, including the former Member of Parliament, A C Shanmugam-led Puthiya Needhi Katchi, extended their support to the AIADMK for the April 6 Tamil Nadu assembly elections.
  • The leaders of the parties called on the ruling party's top leaders O. Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami at the party headquarters here and extended their support.
  • Bharatiya Forward Block's Muruganji, Indiya Uzhavar Uzhaipalar party leader Vettavalam K Manigandan, Tamil Maanila Muslim League president S Sheikh Dawood, Inidya Desiya Kudiyarasu Katchi's founder chief C Ambedkar Priyan, Veera Mutharaiyar Munnetra Sangam's KK Selvakumar and Tamil Telugu Desiya Katchi's EVS Ramkumar Naidu were the others who pledged the backing of their respective outfits to the AIADMK.

PM Modi to Inaugurate Maitri Setu' Between India and Bangladesh

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 'Maitri Setu' between India and Bangladesh, a bridge built over the Feni River.
  • He will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of multiple infrastructure projects in Tripura during the event.
  • The bridge Maitri Setu' has been built over the Feni River which flows between the Indian boundary in Tripura and Bangladesh.
  • The name Maitri Setu' symbolizes growing bilateral relations and friendly ties between India and Bangladesh.
  • The 1.9 km long bridge joins Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
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DEFENCE

INS Karanj to be Commissioned

  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karanj, which will be commissioned on March 10, is the third of the six Kalvari-class diesel electric submarines to start functioning in the navy since 2017.
  • There will be 39 personnel onboard when the submarine works in shifts. They have been specially trained for a long period to serve on the submarine for months, which is quite a challenging task.
  • Before Karanj, INS Kalvari and INS Khanderi have been commissioned in the Indian Navy in 2017 and 2019, respectively. If everything goes as planned, the navy aims to commission remaining three submarines as scheduled. Karanj sailed for over 100 days as part of trials before being commissioned.

Indo-Uzbek Military Exercise Dustlik-II

  • The second edition of the joint India-Uzbekistan military exercise Dustlik-II will be held in India from March 10 to 19.
  • The 10-day joint field training exercise will see army personnel from India and Uzbekistan take part in drills for counter-terrorism operations.
  • According to the Indian Army, this engagement will enhance military cooperation between the two countries.
  • The first edition of the exercise, Dustlik-I was held in Uzbekistan, near Tashkent, from November 3-13, 2019.

Australia Ends Defence Cooperation with Myanmar

  • Australia has suspended its defence cooperation with Myanmar and is redirecting humanitarian aid because of the military takeover of the government and ongoing detention of an Australian citizen.
  • Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that Australian diplomats only had access to economic policy adviser Sean Turnell twice since he was detained in early February.
  • Australia announced that it had suspended a defense training program with Myanmar worth about 1.5 million Australian dollars ($1.2 million) over five years. The program had been restricted to non-combat areas such as English-language training.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Bhaskar Menon, Global Music Industry Giant Dies

  • Kerala-born Bhaskar Menon, a legendary figure in the global music industry, passed away at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 86.
  • Menon was the founding chairman and CEO of the renowned label EMI Music Worldwide.
  • After earning his master's degree from Christ Church, Oxford, Menon joined EMI as a management trainee in London in 1956. In 1964, he returned to India and became the chairman of Gramophone Company of India, which later became the Indian subsidiary of EMI, which made HMV records.
  • Menon was named the managing director of EMI International in 1969, at the age of 35. Two years later, he relocated to Los Angeles, United States, to take the helm of Capitol Records in which EMI held a majority interest. He stayed in the position till 1978.
  • Menon founded EMI Music Worldwide in 1978. After retiring from EMI and the music business in 1990, Menon founded the company International Media Investments in 1995, through which he made investments in major media and entertainment companies including Indian broadcaster NDTV.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

International Women's Day

  • International Women's Day is celebrated on 8th March around the world. It is a focal point in the movement for women's rights.
  • After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women's Day in New York City on February 28, 1909, German delegates Clara Zetkin, Käte Duncker, Paula Thiede and others proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference that "a special Women's Day" be organized annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted by the feminist movement in about 1967. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1977.
  • Commemoration of International Women's Day today ranges from being a public holiday in some countries to being largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.
  • The earliest Women's Day observance, called "National Woman's Day", was held on February 28, 1909, in New York City, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of activist Theresa Malkiel.
  • The theme for International Women's Day 2021 is 'Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world'.

UN Congress on Crime Prevention Begins in Japan's Kyoto

  • The 14th UN Convention on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was held in the Japanese city Kyoto.
  • This year's event was held in a hybrid format. Key issues related to criminal justice, strategies of crime prevention and international cooperation in promoting the rule of law and preventing all forms of crime were discussed.
  • This is the first time that Japan hosted the congress since 1970.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

PM Narendra Modi Dedicates 7500th Janaushadhi Kendra to Nation

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the 7,500th Janaushadhi Kendra at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong.
  • The Prime Minister also addressed Janaushadhi Diwas celebrations and interacted with beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana and also gave awards to stakeholders by recognising their excellent work.

India's First Forest Healing Centre in Uttrakand's Ranikhet

  • The country's first forest healing centre based on the concept of making people healthy by bringing them into direct contact with nature was opened to the public at Ranikhet in Kalika Uttarakhand.
  • Signboards on either side of its slopey entrance advise visitors to hug trees, walk barefoot on the grass, lie on their back and gaze at the swaying trees or the ever changing sky above to soothe their senses.
  • Drawing inspiration from the Japanese technique of forest bathing (shinrin - yoku), the healing centre has been developed by the research wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department after a detailed study of the revitalising impact of forests on human health.
  • Spread over an area of around 13 acres, the centre was inaugurated by noted environmentalist from Ranikhet Joginder Bisht.

IIT Madras Launches 'Women Leading IITM' Programme

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras launched the 'Women Leading IITM' (WLI) programme to boost women leadership in science and technology. The Institute has already made considerable progress on improving the number of women students, faculty, staff and creating opportunities for success. This program will help to build on the progress achieved so far and accelerate further progress.
  • The programme will make grants each year to accelerate women technologists' careers as well as provide a supportive environment for women to thrive at IIT Madras. The inaugural grants are set to be issued on 8th March 2021 to mark the International Women's Day celebrations at IIT Madras.
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ART AND CULTURE

Conservation Works of Singorgarh Fort Begin

  • The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, laid down the foundation stone for conservation works of Singorgarh Fort at the Singrampur village of Damoh district in Madhya Pradesh.
  • On the occasion, the President also inaugurated the Jabalpur Circle of Archaeological Survey of India. He also addressed the State Level Tribal Conference at Singrampur village in Damoh which was organized by Union Ministry of Culture and the Tribal Affairs Department of Madhya Pradesh. On the occasion, Kovind also paid his floral tributes at the statue of Rani Durgavati in Singrampur village. He also launched the booklet of Tribal Department and a portal for virtual classes for the tribal artists. On this occasion, President also awarded the talented tribal students with the Shankar Shah and Rani Durgavati awards.
  • This fort is situated in Damoh district in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is a hill-fort of Garha Kingdom. The fort is spread over the hills of a forested area. It is located at a distance of 45 km from Jabalpur city. It was a magnificent fort. Rajgond rulers of central India were the residence of this fort. The fort is currently in a ruined condition for which conservation work is launched. The fort also comprises of a pond at the hilltop that provided water. Under the rule of Rani Durgavati in the year 1564, the fort was attacked by the last war of the Garha Kingdom dynasty.

PM Modi to Release 11 Volumes of Manuscript with Scholars' Commentaries on shlokas of Bhagavadgita

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release 11 volumes of manuscript with commentaries by 21 scholars on shlokas of Srimad Bhagavadgita at his residence. Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Karan Singh, a veteran Congress leader who is also a scholar of Hindu theology, will also be present on the occasion.
  • Rare multiple Sanskrit commentaries in original calligraphy will be part of the Bhagavadgita's release.
  • The manuscript, published by Dharmarth Trust, is written with extraordinary variety and nuance of Indian calligraphy ranging from Shankar Bhashya to Bhasanuvada. Singh is the chairman trustee of Dharmarth Trust, Jammu and Kashmir.
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