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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

13 Apr 2021


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Leader of Merkel's Party Moves Forward in Bid for Chancellor

  • The head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, Armin Laschet, rallied his party's leadership behind his bid to become the center-right candidate for Germany's next leader, gaining an advantage over a rival who has also declared his ambition.
  • The Union bloc aims to decide quickly after months of shadow-boxing between Laschet, the head of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, and Markus Soeder, who leads its smaller Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union.
  • Laschet and Soeder the governors of Germany's two most populous states, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria respectively both officially declared on Sunday that they're prepared to run for chancellor in the September 26 parliamentary election, but insisted that they will find a harmonious solution.

DR Congo President Takes Full Control in New Cabinet

  • Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister announced a new cabinet in a move that consolidates President Felix Tshisekedi control in government.
  • The new government of the Sacred Union coalition has 57 members including 14 women, with only 10 from the previous cabinet being reappointed.
  • The Sacred Union is President Tshisekedi's new coalition announced on 6 December after breaking his collaboration with former President Joseph Kabila.
  • Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde named economist Nicolas Kazadi as Finance Minister, former civil society activist Antoinette N'Samba Kalambayi as Mining Minister and retired General Daniel Aselo Okito as Interior Ministera.

Fukushima: Japan Approves Releasing Wastewater into Ocean

  • Japan has approved a plan to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
  • The water will be treated and diluted so radiation levels are below those set for drinking water.
  • But the local fishing industry has strongly opposed the move, as have China and South Korea.
  • Tokyo says work to release water used to cool nuclear fuel will begin in about two years.
  • The final approval comes after years of debate and is expected to take decades to complete.
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Five New Animal Species Discovered in Tibet

  • Five new animal species have been discovered in Tibet, including three kinds of frogs, one old-world monkey and a bushmaster snake, challenging the long-held view that the Himalayan mountains are a desolate and lifeless region.
  • The discovery of the five new species was the result of an eight-year investigation of the terrestrial wildlife in the Tibet Autonomous region carried out by the regional forestry bureau.
  • Covering an area of 6,346 sq km, this was a second such investigation carried out by the bureau.
  • The investigation also discovered 20 species that were not previously known to habitat in Tibet.
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SEBI Fines Yes Bank in AT-1 Bonds Case

  • Markets regulator SEBI imposed a penalty of Rs. 25 crore on Yes Bank in the matter of misselling the lender's AT-1 bonds few years ago.
  • Besides, the watchdog has imposed a fine of Rs. 1 crore on Vivek Kanwar, who was the Managing Director of Yes Bank, Rs. 50 lakh each on Ashish Nasa and Jasjit Singh Banga, who were part of the bank's private wealth management team at the time of violation.
  • As per SEBI order, they need to pay the penalty within 45 days.
  • Yes Bank and certain officialsdevised the "devious scheme to dump the AT-1 (Additional Tier-1) bonds on their hapless customers", the regulator noted.

India's First Floating LNG Storage and Regasification Unit

  • India's first Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) arrived at H-Energy's Jaigarh Terminal in Maharashtra, which sailed from Keppel Shipyard, Singapore.
  • This will also be the first year-round Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Maharashtra, the statement added. The LNG terminal is located at JSW Jaigarh Port in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, on the west coast of India. The port is the first deep water, 24x7 operational private port in Maharashtra.
  • The 2017-built Höegh Giant has storage capacity of 170,000 cubic metres and installed regasification capacity of 750 million cubic feet per day (equivalent to about six million tonnes a year). H-Energy has chartered the FSRU for a 10 year period.
  • Höegh Giant will deliver regasified LNG to the 56-km long Jaigarh-Dabhol natural gas pipeline, connecting the LNG terminal to the national gas grid. The facility will also deliver LNG through truck loading facilities for onshore distribution, the facility is also capable to reload LNG onto small-scale LNG vessels for bunkering service.

OneWeb to Provide Satellite Internet in Kazakhstan

  • Bharti Group-backed internet provider OneWeb signed a formal agreement with the Kazakhstan government and local firms to provide satellite internet services in the country.
  • The formal agreement covers several areas of cooperation that include the use of OneWeb's low latency, high throughput satellite connectivity platform to provide broadband to remote and hard-to-reach rural communities, building a ground station to provide connectivity to Central Asian countries and localisation of the supply chain for the firm's low-Earth orbit satellites.
  • OneWeb has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with subsidiaries of the Kazakhstan government's Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry: national satellite operator Republican Centre of Space Communications JSC, National Company Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary and Ghalam LLP, a spacecraft component supplier.
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Every Year 5,200 Tonnes of Extraterrestrial Dust Fall on Earth

  • Every year, 5,200 tonnes of extraterrestrial dust fall on Earth.
  • This gentle rain of bits of comets and asteroids far outweighs larger meteorites that hit the planet. Only about 10 tonnes of larger space rocks land on Earth annually.
  • Despite the large quantities, it's hard to detect space dust or track its annual accumulation in most places due to precipitation that washes dust away. And in most places, dust originating on Earth swamps dust from space.
  • But in Adélie Land, Antarctica, near the French-Italian Concordia research station, snowfall is very predictable and there is very little terrestrial dust. Over 20 years, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) physicist Jean Duprat and his colleagues have made six expeditions to the area to collect particles. The layers of space dust are well enough preserved in the region for researchers to estimate how much fell year after year.
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Barcelona World's most Valuable Club

  • According to a list published by business magazine Forbes, Barcelona leapfrogged Spanish rivals Real Madrid to become the world's most valuable soccer club with a valuation of $4.76 billion.
  • Real Madrid, who topped the list five times in the past, edged Barcelona 2-1 in 'El Clasico' but find themselves second best off the pitch with a valuation of $4.75 billion.
  • Forbes said that the average worth of the top 20 clubs has increased by 30% from two years ago to $2.28 billion despite the Covid-19 pandemic impacting matchday revenue, which fell to $441 million last season — down 9.6% from 2017-18. European champions Bayern Munich ($4.215 billion) are third on the list while the Premier League's 'Big Six' — Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham — are in the top 10.
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Narendra Modi Inaugurates 6th Edition of Raisina Dialogue

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 6th edition of the Raisina Dialogue. President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen also joined the Inaugural Session as chief guests.
  • The dialogue will be held virtually from April 13 to 16, 2021.
  • The Raisina Dialogue is India's flagship conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, held annually since 2016. It is jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation.
  • The 2021 edition will have 50 sessions with the participation of 150 speakers from 50 countries and multilateral organisations. More than 2000 attendees have pre-registered from over 80 countries and a large number of participants are likely to join the Dialogue through various social media platforms.

Judge Who Gave Babri Case Verdict Appointed 'Up-lokayukta'

  • Retired judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, who gave the verdict in the high-profile Babri mosque demolition case last year, took oath as an 'up-lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Yadav was appointed as third 'up-lokayukta' by the Governor. Yadav was administered oath by Lokayukta Sanjay Mishra in the presence of other senior officers.
  • The anti-corruption watchdog comprises the Lokayukta and three 'up-lokayuktas'.
  • The other two up-lokayuktas are Shambu Singh Yadav, who was appointed on August 4, 2016, and Dinesh Kumar Singh, who was appointed on June 6, 2020.
  • The tenure of an 'up-lokayukta' is eight years.

Madras HC Appoints New Registrar General

  • The Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee appointed P. Dhanabal as the new Registrar General of the court. The latter, now functioning on deputation in the Puducherry Judicial Service as Chief Judge, has been repatriated to the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service and posted on other duty as the Registrar General of the High Court in the place of C. Kumarappan, who has been transferred to the Principal Labour Court in Chennai as its presiding officer.
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Philippines and US to Hold 2-week "Balikatan" Military Exercise

  • Philippines and U.S. soldiers started two weeks of military exercises against a backdrop of rising tensions in the South China Sea, though the drills were reduced in scale due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The countries are proceeding with the exercises, which were postponed last year due to the pandemic, after Manila recently accused China of territorial incursions by hundreds of its vessels manned by militias in the South China Sea.
  • Philippine military officials said that the "Balikatan" (shoulder-to-shoulder) war games that end on April 23 will involve drills in tabletop and simulation form rather than field training.
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Sushil Chandra New Chief Election Commissioner

  • Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra was appointed as Chief Election Commissioner.
  • Chandra was appointed as an Election Commissioner on February 14, 2019, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
  • Under him, the Election Commission would hold assembly polls in Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The term of the assemblies of Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Punjab ends on various dates in March next year.
  • The term of the Uttar Pradesh assembly ends on May 14 next year.
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Jallianwala Bagh Massacre 102nd Anniversary

  • April 13 marks the day of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, and this year it is the 102nd anniversary of the celebrations of Baisakhi festival which took a grim turn back in 1919.
  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is one of the most heart-wrenching historic events for India, in which British officers opened fire on thousands of people who had gathered to celebrate the occasion of Baisakhi.
  • The incident has been given a very prominent position in the history of India, it is seen to be the major turning point in the national freedom movement of India.
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Yusuffali MA Gets Top Civilian Award in UAE

  • Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan honoured Indian-origin businessman Yusuffali MA and 11 other individuals with Abu Dhabi's top civilian award for their noble and charitable contributions to the community. The prestigious award was given to Mr. Yusuffali for his outstanding contribution to Abu Dhabi's business, industry and support to various philanthropic initiatives.
  • Mr. Yusuffali, the Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group which operates hypermarkets and retail companies in many countries, was honoured on Friday by the Crown Prince.
  • The individuals were honoured for a wide range of contributions, including efforts in the healthcare field, community service and volunteering, humanitarian work, as well as culture, heritage and environmental preservation. The awards were given at the 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi Awards.

Guneet Monga Conferred with Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters Honour

  • Filmmaker Guneet Monga, was conferred with Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans I'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) — the second highest civilian French honour. Guneet was felicitated at a ceremony in New Delhi by the Ambassador of France in India, on behalf of the French authorities. As a producer, Guneet has several critically acclaimed films to her credit. The list includes Masaan, Lunchbox, Haraamkhor, Peddlers; Oscar-winning short film documentary — Period, End of Sentence, among others.
  • Earlier, Indian celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Anurag Kashyap, Kalki Koechlin, among others, have been felicitated with the honour.
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IDP Virtual Education Fair 2021

  • Over 150 world-class institutions from Australia, the UK, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Ireland will come together at IDP's Virtual Education Fair to interact with Indian students and help them with their overseas education plan.
  • IDP has undertaken steps towards organising a virtual education fair yet again to ease the decision-making process of students looking to study abroad. Participating students can connect with their preferred institutions over a 1-on-1 video call from the comfort of their home.
  • The world's leading student placement service provider and co-owner of IELTS will be hosting the virtual education fair in India that can be accessed by students and institutions from the comfort of their home and locality. Spread over 8 weeks, this education fair will begin in April and will continue till 29th May.
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