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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

27 Mar 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Bill Passed Enabling Putin to Run for Two more Terms Starting 2024

  • Russia's Lower House of parliament the State Duma approved a bill, enabling incumbent President Vladimir Putin to run for two more terms starting 2024.
  • The draft law on elections, which was approved in the State Duma's third or final reading, was made in pursuance of constitutional amendments adopted in a nationwide referendum in July 2020.
  • One of the 206 constitutional amendments stipulates that the limit of two presidential terms applies to the incumbent head of state, but without taking into account his previous terms.
  • In light of the amendment, the bill grants Putin the possibility of starting his presidency from scratch in 2024 and holding the office for two more terms until 2036.

Turkey and Russia Agree to Prevent Ceasefire Violations in Syria's Idlib

  • Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu during which they discussed measures to prevent ceasefire violations in Syria's Idlib province.
  • Both the leaders agreed to take measures to maintain the ceasefire.
  • Noting that the discussion was "constructive", the Minister said "we aim permanently to hold the ceasefire in the region", reports Xinhua news agency.
  • On Monday, Turkey expressed concern to the Russian envoy in Ankara over recent attacks in Idlib.
  • Akar also informed that more than 200 terrorists had been eliminated in anti-terror operations mostly in northern Syria since March 1.
  • Ankara and Moscow agreed in 2018 to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Eritrea Agrees to Withdraw Troops from Ethiopia's Tigray Region

  • Eritrea will withdraw troops from Ethiopia almost five months after a conflict started in the Tigray region, Ethiopia's Prime Minister has said.
  • The soldiers are there to back Ethiopia's government as it fought a group that challenged the central government's rule.
  • Eritrea has not confirmed the troop withdrawal from some areas across the border in Ethiopia.
  • The presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia was especially controversial because the two countries had fought a bitter border war, which was only officially ended after Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in 2018 - a move which earned him the Nobel Peace prize the following year.
  • The conflict began in November after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) captured military bases in the northern Ethiopian region.
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ENVIRONMENT

IIT Delhi to Build Atmospheric Observatory

  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-Delhi) announced that it is setting up an atmospheric observatory to do research, track atmospheric problems like air pollution, and suggest solutions to mitigate pollution, erratic monsoon and extreme weather events associated with climate change.
  • The observatory will be established in its research campus in Sonepat at a cost of Rs. 125 crore. The IIT said that Sonipat, which is located "upwind" of Delhi NCR, is an ideal location for measurements not only of the transport of dust and air pollution, but also various meteorological, radiation and cloud observations as these are key to understanding daily variations in weather and long-term climate changes.
  • This first of its kind observatory in the heart of the Indo-Gangetic belt will enable researchers to make new discoveries and help find sustainable solutions to some of the country's pressing problems such as severe air pollution, erratic monsoon and extreme weather events associated with climate change.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Snapdeal Launches Fast Track Payment Option

  • E-commerce platform Snapdeal has launched a service that will enable sellers to receive payment within three days of delivery of a shipment.
  • 'Jaldi Payments' will slash payment receipt time by 76 per cent and help sellers use capital to expand their business, build inventory and manage other business needs.
  • A Snapdeal survey in February 2021 found sellers considered quick and flexible access to finance as an important lever of growth.
  • Jaldi Payments will allow sellers to opt for fast-track payments choosing to receive payments within 3-7 days of the delivery of their shipments.

IMF Approves $500 Million Disbursement to Pakistan

  • The International Monetary Fund approved a $500 million disbursement to Pakistan for budget support after the IMF Executive Board completed delayed reviews of Pakistan's $6 billion loan programme.
  • The IMF said that the latest payment brought total disbursements under the Extended Fund Facility to $2 billion since the programme was first approved in July 2019.
  • The disbursement was made after Pakistan cleared up an issue with data on government guarantees dating back to the 2016 fiscal year that had been reported inaccurately and put the government in non-compliance with the program.

State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Others Yet to Comply with Scrubbing Norms

  • The Telecom Regulatory Aut¬hority of India (TRAI), upon analysing the scrubbing data, has found that as many as 80 entities, including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Punjab National Bank, and Axis bank, were not complying with the regulator's mandate.
  • TRAI said lapses can be attributed to lack of "due care" and diligence by principal entities, telemarketers, and aggr¬egators. In a note on Friday, the telecom regulator said: "It has been informed that principal entities, including major banks like State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Punjab National Bank, and Axis Bank, are not transmitting mandatory parameters like content template IDs, PE IDs, etc, even in those cases where content templates have been registered, while sending such messages to the TSP (telecom service provider) for delivery."
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SPORTS

Sports Ministry Extends Khelo Indian Scheme Extended

  • Sports Ministry has decided to extend "Khelo India Programme" from 2021-22 to 2025-26. Ministry has also furnished Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) memorandum to Ministry of Finance to extend the annual event.
  • As per the memorandum to Finance Ministry, an amount of Rs. 8,750 crore has been estimated as a financial implication of new Khelo India Scheme. This programme is being extended after considering how this initiative has played a significant role in building a sporting culture across the country.
  • Khelo India initiative was launched by Indian Government with the aim of building a sporting culture across the country. This initiative plays a significant role in grassroots development of several sports over the years. It organises structured sports competition with the aim of encouraging mass participation from youth. Apart from that, it also focuses on building athletes who can win medal for India at Olympics. The event is organised annually in January month usually.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

US, India Agree to Revive High-level Trade Talks

  • India and the US resolved to bolster a neglected leg of their bilateral cooperation by agreeing to hold a meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF), which will be chaired by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and newly confirmed US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
  • The Indian readout of the meeting described the meeting as "productive" and the US readout underlined the importance of cooperation on a broad set of issues, including digital trade, intellectual property, agriculture, labor, and climate and the environment. It said both sides resolved to resolve the pending legacy issues through mutual dialogue and discussion.
  • They also agreed to work constructively to resolve key outstanding bilateral trade issues and to take a comprehensive look at ways to expand the trade relationship.

Rajnath Singh Inaugurates Indo-Korean Friendship Park

  • An Indo-Korean friendship park was jointly inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of National Defence of South Korea Suh Wook at Delhi Cantonment.
  • The park has been built to commemorate the contribution of Indian peacekeeping force during the Korean war of 1950-53.
  • Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General M M Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria were present on the occasion.
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DEFENCE

Pakistan Test-fires Nuclear-capable Shaheen-1A

  • Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 900 kilometres.
  • The test of Shaheen-1A surface to surface ballistic missile was aimed at re-validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system including advanced navigation system, the media wing of the Pakistani army.
  • The launch was witnessed by senior officials from Strategic Plans Division, strategic forces, scientists and engineers of strategic organisations.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

'Gentleman Judge' Nijjar Passes Away

  • A gentleman never judges is one idiom that didn't fit Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar at all. For, he was a gentleman and a Judge too. The former SC Judge, who passed away at PGIMER here this morning following cardiac arrest at the age of 71, would always be remembered not just for his judgments, but also his etiquettes—both inside and outside the courtroom.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

World Theatre Day

  • World Theatre Day is an international observance celebrated on 27th March.
  • World Theatre Day was initiated in 1962 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). It is celebrated annually on 27 March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion.
  • World Theatre Day has been celebrated in many and varied ways by ITI Centers - of which there are now more than 90 throughout the world. Moreover, theatres, theatre professionals, theatre lovers, theatre universities, academies, and schools celebrate it as well.
  • The author of the Message of the World Theatre Day 2021 is Helen Mirren. She is one of the best-known and most respected actresses with an international career that spans stage, screen, and television and has won many awards for her powerful and versatile performances, including the Academy Award in 2007 for her performance in The Queen.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Asha Bhosle to Receive Maharashtra Govt's Highest Honour

  • The Maharashtra government said that legendary singer Asha Bhosle has been selected for Maharashtra Bhushan award, the state government's highest honour.
  • A committee chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to nominate Bhosle for the award for the year 2020.
  • The award, instituted in 1996 by Maharashtra government to recognise distinguished work and achievements of eminent persons from the state, representing different walks of life, carries a cash prize and a citation.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Ministry of Skill Invites Applications for Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship

  • Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, in association with 9 IIMS has invited applications for "Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship" till March 27, 2021.
  • The programme has invited application in collaboration with IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM-Jammu, IIM Udaipur, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Nagpur, IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Lucknow and IIM Ranchi. It comprises of classroom sessions at IIMs and unique opportunity in order to promote skill planning and development across district economies. It provides a unique opportunity for young and dynamic individuals in order to combine classroom sessions at IIM with engagement in district economies in a bid to promote skill development and skill planning.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship 2021-2023 was launched by the 'Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship'. It is a two-year fellowship programme, launched to boost skill development at district level. It has been designed under 'Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP)'. It seeks to address challenge of non-availability of personnel for implementation of several programmes at national, state and district levels. It comprises of an in-built component of on-ground practical experiences with district administration. This scheme was launched in 75 districts across Gujarat, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Now, the programme has been rolled out across 660 districts in India.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Maggie O'Farrell's 'Hamnet' Bags Critics Award for Fiction

  • Maggie O'Farrell's "Hamnet," an imagined take on the death of Shakespeare's son from the bubonic plague, has won the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction.
  • "Hamnet," an unfortunately well timed story for the current pandemic, explores the impact of the boy's illness and death on his family. He was Shakespeare's only son, and scholars have long speculated about his influence — if any — on "Hamlet," which Shakespeare worked on in the years following Hamnet's death.
  • Tom Zoellner's "Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire" won for nonfiction, and Amy Stanley's "Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World" was the winner in biography.
  • The autobiography award went to Cathy Park Hong for "Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning."
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