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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

19 Apr 2021


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China's Population to Enter Negative Growth after 2025

  • The demographics of the world's most populous country is set to change as China will experience a negative growth after 2025, which will result in shortage of consumer demand, a well-known Chinese economist has cautioned.
  • China's population is set to peak in just four years' time and the milestone will be marked by a significant downturn in consumer demand, said Cai Fang, a member of the monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China, the central bank.
  • When the total population enters negative growth (after 2025), there will be a shortage of demand, Cai was quoted as saying by Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Sunday.
  • We need to pay attention to the impact of demographics on future consumption, he said.
  • Cai's comments came as China is due to release its latest census later this month.
  • According to a PBOC study released a few days ago, China should immediately liberalise its birth policies or face a scenario in which it has a lower share of workers and higher burden of elderly care than the United States by 2050.

UN Suspends Operations in Northern Nigeria

  • The UN has suspended humanitarian operations in Dikwa and Damasak towns in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno State, after recent attacks by the Boko Haram jihadist group.
  • "We have temporarily suspended operations in these areas in order to safely relocate humanitarian staff and are closely monitoring the situation," said Edward Kallon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria.
  • The UN intends to resume operations as soon as possible, so that civilians affected by the conflict are assisted.
  • Humanitarian aid facilities have in the past been targeted with the latest attack being on 10 April when three facilities were attacked and four people died.
  • The UN said that the attack would affect support to 8,800 internally displaced persons and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection.

Woman Who Could be Germany's Next Chancellor

  • For the first time in their party's four-decade history, the German Greens have announced a candidate to run as chancellor.
  • Equally historic is the central role the Greens will play in September's general election.
  • The Green Party announced that Annalena Baerbock would be its choice to take over from Angela Merkel after September's election. Ms. Baerbock is likely to be the only woman in the race.
  • Once seen as a chaotic bunch of bearded hippies in sandals, the Greens are now likely to enter the next government.
  • With the conservatives in chaos amid rows over their candidate, the Green Party could even end up the largest in the new coalition. That would mean Annalena Baerbock would be Germany's next chancellor.
  • She's already being compared to young female leaders in New Zealand or Finland.
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Godzilla Shark Discovered in New Mexico Gets Formal Name

  • The 300-million-year-old shark's teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species.
  • The ancient chompers looked less like the spear-like rows of teeth of related species. They were squatter and shorter, less than an inch long, around 2 centimeters.
  • "Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey," said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013.
  • Hodnett named the 6.7-foot (2 meter) monster Dracopristis hoffmanorum, or Hoffman's Dragon Shark, in honour of the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano Mountains where the fossils were found.
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ARK Buys another $64 mn in Coinbase Shares, Sells Tesla Shares

  • Cathie Wood's ARK funds bought more shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc while selling shares of electric carmaker Tesla.
  • It sold 134,541 shares of Tesla, valued at $99.5 million. Tesla is still by far the firm's biggest position by value on its major funds.
  • The funds added to were the flagship ARK Innovation fund, the Next Generation Internet ETF and the Fintech Innovation ETF.
  • ARK sold the Tesla shares from its flagship fund and its Next Generation Internet ETF.

Reliance Communication Headed for Liquidation

  • Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Communications (RCom), which is now bankrupt, will now undergo liquidation, unless the Supreme Court overturns the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order.
  • The order states that spectrum owned by the firm can be sold under the insolvency process after government dues are cleared.
  • A banking source said the committee of creditors (CoC) for RCom will file an appeal against the order. The NCLAT had passed the order in the 'Aircel versus the Department of Telecom-munications (DoT)' legal fracas.

Toyota Partners Sasol to Pioneer Hydrogen-powered Mobility

  • Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota has partnered with South African fuel giant Sasol to develop a green hydrogen-powered mobility ecosystem.
  • The two companies announced the plan at an event this week organised by EE Business Intelligence and the British High Commission to South Africa, titled '2nd Renewable Hydrogen and Green Powerfuels Webinar for South Africa'.
  • The parties intend to develop a mobility corridor and expand the demonstration to a pilot project using one of South Africa's main freight corridors, the N3 route, where most of the country's imports arrive in containers, to the economic hub of Johannesburg.
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NASA Scientists May Detect Extra-terrestrial Life Soon with New Telescope

  • The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), to be launched this October, could feasibly detect ammonia around six gas dwarf planets after just a few orbits, thus detecting a potential signature of life on other planets in as little as 60 hours.
  • Gas dwarf planets have the potential to foster life.
  • Since none of these super-Earths or mini-Neptunes exist within our solar system, scientists struggle to determine whether their atmospheres contain ammonia and other potential signs of living things.
  • The telescope is the world`s largest, most powerful, and complex space science telescope ever built.
  • It is designed to help in solving the mysteries of our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mystifying structures and origins of our universe.
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Tsitsipas Wins Monte Carlo Crown

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas won the Monte Carlo Masters without dropping a set, beating Andrey Rublev for his first title this year and sixth overall.
  • Fourth-seeded Tsitsipas was in dominant form as he edged 4-3 ahead of the sixth-seeded Russian in their career meetings, having also beaten him on clay last year in the French Open quarterfinals. The 22-year-old Greek won his last title in February last year.

Asian Championship: Deepak Punia Settles for Silver

  • Deepak Punia's defence fell apart in front of his idol and Iranian legend Hassan Yazdanicharati as the Olympic-bound Indian settled for a silver medal while Sanjeet claimed a bronze on the concluding day of the Asian Championship.
  • Deepak lost his 86kg final inside the first period by technical superiority as the Iranian's relentless attacks had the clueless Indian gasping.
  • It was the second time that Deepak was up against 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion but challenged him for the first time as he had withdrawn from the 2019 World Championship final against the Iranian due to a leg injury.

Star India Retains Pro Kabbadi League's Media Rights

  • Star India has retained media rights to broadcast Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) for five more years by bidding to pay over Rs. 180 crore annually for the property, sources said on April 17.
  • The network will be responsible for producing world-class feed and deploy its marketing commitment for the league, the statement said. Star had been broadcasting the league for the first seven years of the tournament credited with reviving interest in the traditional sport of Kabaddi and this was the first time Mashal Sports, its organiser, had organised a bidding process to sell rights for next five seasons.
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Mamata Banerjee Will Not Campaign in Kolkata Anymore

  • All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O'Brien announced that West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee will not campaign in Kolkata anymore.
  • The TMC leader has taken this decision in the view of rising COVID-19 infections in the state. The TMC leaders also added that the West Bengal CM will only hold one 'symbolic' meeting on the last day of campaigning in the city, which is April 26.
  • As per reports, Mamata Banerjee's rallies in other parts of the states will not be longer than 30 minutes.
  • This announcement from the TMC was made hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's statement that he had suspended all his scheduled poll rallies in West Bengal on account of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

India and Pakistan Foreign Ministers in UAE on Separate Bilateral Visits

  • Days after a top diplomat from the United Arab Emirates confirmed that the country was playing a role in bringing Delhi and Islamabad to the talks table, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi are visiting the UAE for what is being described as separate bilateral visits.
  • Sources in New Delhi and Islamabad, however, said that there are no bilateral meetings scheduled so far between the two.
  • This is the second time they will be in the same country for a visit in less than three weeks – both were in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe for the Heart of Asia meeting on March 30.

Indian States Highly Vulnerable to Climate Change: Report

  • According to a national climate vulnerability assessment report, Eight Indian states -- Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal -- are highly vulnerable to climate change.
  • Among all states, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand have over 60 per cent districts in the category of highly vulnerable districts.
  • The report, titled 'Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework', which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India with respect to current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability, was released by Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary Ashutosh Sharma.
  • Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim and Punjab have been categorised as lower-middle vulnerable states. Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra have been categorised as states with low vulnerability.
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The 8th Indo-Kyrgyz Special Forces Exercise 'Khanjar' Flags off

  • The 8th Indo-Kyrgyz Joint Special Forces Exercise "Khanjar" was inaugurated at the Special Forces Brigade of National Guards of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek, the capital of the host Kyrgyzstan. Initiated first in 2011, the two-week-long special operations exercise focusses on high-altitude warfare, mountain warfare and counter-extremism exercises.
  • The Indian contingent for the exercise and felicitated their role as a bridge in promoting the shared mountain and nomadic heritage of both nations. A ceremonial parade graced the occasion along with a display of equipment's and weapons and a visit to the training arena and barracks.
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Former Assam CM Bhumidhar Barman Passes Away

  • Former Assam Chief Minister and seven-time MLA, Dr. Bhumidhar Barman, passed away in Guwahati. He was 90.
  • The government of Assam has declared a three-day state mourning.
  • Dr. Barman held the post of Chief Minister between April 1996 and May 1996 following the death of former CM Hiteshwar Saikia, and later in 2010, when former CM late Tarun Gogoi was on leave on medical grounds. Dr Barman, a graduate of the Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, has represented the Lower Assam constituencies of Nalbari West, Dharmapur and Barkhetry.
  • While his tenure as Chief Minister both times was brief, he served as a Cabinet Minister, holding important portfolios such as Health, Education and Revenue in the Hiteswar Saikia and Tarun Gogoi governments.
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World Liver Day

  • World liver day is observed on every 19 April, to spread awareness about liver related disease. The liver is the second largest and the most complex organ in the body, with the exception of the brain. It is a key player in your body's digestive system. Everything you eat or drink, including medicine, passes through the liver. You cannot survive without liver. It is an organ which can be easily damaged if you don't take good care of it.
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IIM Bangalore's 46th Convocation

  • IIM Bangalore hosted its 46th Convocation. The entire event was held, in the virtual mode, in the presence of the Chairperson of the IIMB Board of Directors Dr. Devi Shetty, IIMB Director Professor Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Dean Programmes Professor Abhoy Ojha, Dean Faculty Professor Chetan Subramanian, Dean Administration Professor Rajendra K Bandi, Dean Alumni Relations and Development Professor K. Kumar, Chairpersons of all the programmes and faculty members. The event included the award of gold medals.
  • The awards include gold medals for Best All Round Performance, Best Academic Performance, First Rank and Second Rank.
  • A total of 624 students from various programmes graduated. The programme-wise details are as follows. Doctoral Programme (PhD): 22 students, Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP): 435, Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP): 72, Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management (PGPEM): 71, and Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy & Management (PGPPM): 24.

Gender Sensitisation Project in Punjab Govt. Schools

  • The Punjab school education department has decided to start a 'gender sensitisation project' in government schools across the state.
  • A spokesperson of the department said that under the leadership of Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, they have been making continuous efforts to raise the standard of students.
  • As part of these efforts, the 'gender sensitisation project' is being launched during the 2021-22 academic session for students of classes VI to VIII. This project will be implemented in all government schools.
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Suresh Raina's Memoir 'Believe' to Release in 2021

  • A book titled 'Believe – What Life and Cricket Taught Me', the much-awaited Suresh Raina autobiography is set to hit the bookstands in May 2021. The book is Co-authored by Raina and sports author Bharat Sundaresan.
  • It will be published by the prestigious publishing house, Penguin India.
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ASI to Take up Conservation work in Taj Mahal, Agra Fort

  • With monuments run by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) closed due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the central government organisation will use the time to carry out conservation work at Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri premises in Agra.
  • The aim behind carrying out such work was to make the monuments more beautiful for the tourists when once they reopen.
  • Accorfing to superintending archaeologist, ASI, Agra Circle, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, the old stones of pietra dura art at the royal gate will be changed and the royal gate itself will be given a new look.
  • As per reports, renovation of the fortification of walls of Agra Fort is also in the list along with other renovation work of Amar Singh Gate, Diwan-e-Aam, Musamman Burj, etc.
  • In Fatehpur Sikri, the ASI will carry out conservation of Todarmal Baradari, Hamam and Samosa Mahal inside the Mughal-era premises.
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