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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

07 May 2021


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China Suspends Economic Dialogue with Australia

  • China "indefinitely" suspended all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, the latest setback for strained relations between the two countries.
  • "Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination," China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a short statement on the decision.
  • China's foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said the suspension was a "necessary and legitimate" response to Australia "abusing" the concept of national security to pressure cooperation with China.

Mohamed Nasheed: Maldives Ex-president Injured in Blast

  • The former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has been injured in a suspected bomb blast in the capital, Male.
  • Supporters from the governing Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said that the blast happened as he was about to get into a car outside his home on Thursday.
  • Initial reports suggested an explosive device had been fastened to a motorbike that was parked nearby.
  • Mr. Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives.
  • He won multi-party elections in 2008 but was ousted in a coup four years later.
  • Mr. Nasheed, 53, is currently serving as the speaker in parliament which is the Indian Ocean nation's second-most powerful position.

The World's Longest Pedestrian Bridge

  • The world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge named "Arouca" was opened in Portugal, according to a press release by UNESCO's Arouca World Geopark. The Arouca Bridge offers a half-kilometre (almost 1,700-foot) walk across its span, along a metal walkway suspended from cables. Some 175 meters (574 feet) below, the Paiva River flows through a waterfall.
  • The bridge hangs on steel cables strung between V-shaped concrete towers and connects the banks of the Paiva River. The record-breaking bridge took several years to build and was designed by Portuguese studio Itecons. It was constructed by Conduril and cost about $2.8 million (2.3 million euros).
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Delhi Falls to 32nd in Knight Frank's Global Prime Property Index

  • New Delhi's rank declined to 32nd among global cities in terms of prime residential properties.
  • Knight Frank, in its 'Prime Global Cities Index Q1 2021' report, also said that Bengaluru moved down four spots in the latest index at 40th rank in the first quarter of 2021. Against the 36th rank in Q4 2020, Bengaluru saw a decline of 2.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in prime residential prices, leading to the drop in its global position.
  • The Prime Global Cities Index is a valuation-based index tracking the movement in prime residential prices in local currency across over 45 cities worldwide using Knight Frank's global research network.

Mahindra Group to Open MADE, a Design Centre for Mobility Products in UK

  • The Mahindra Group, which has interest in fields as diverse as farm equipment, aerospace, finance, IT and real estate, among others, will be setting up Mahindra Advanced Design Europe (MADE) in the West Midlands, UK.
  • The company said that it seeks to further sharpen its distinctive product designs and differentiated technology offerings and improvise its safe, thrilling, yet efficient connected car experiences.
  • Mahindra Group will be the second firm from India to set foot in the UK for designing cars and SUVs. In 2005, Tata Motors set up the European Technical Centre in Coventry. It is the centre of excellence for automotive design and engineering.

CPP Investments Pays Rs. 1,005 cr for addl. Stake in IndInfravit Trust

  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), the largest Canadian pension fund manager, bought an additional 15.9 per cent of the total units in IndInfravit Trust for Rs. 1,005 crore. The units were bought in two separate deals.
  • CPP Investments has acquired seven per cent of the units from Sadbhav Infrastructure Project and will acquire an additional 8.9 per cent from L&T IDPL, which, upon completion, will increase CPP Investments' stake in IndInfravit from 27.9 per cent to 43.8 per cent.
  • IndInfravit is an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) sponsored by L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Limited. Launched in 2018, IndInfravit acquires and maintains stable brownfield road concessions in the country.
  • IndInfravit holds a portfolio of 13 operational road concessions across five states including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
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IBM Unveils World's First 2-Nanometer Chip Technology for Faster Computing

  • For decades, each generation of computer chips got faster and more power-efficient because their most basic building blocks, called transistors, got smaller.
  • The pace of those improvements has slowed, but International Business Machines Corp on Thursday said that silicon has at least one more generational advance in store.
  • IBM introduced what it says is the world's first 2-nanometer chipmaking technology. The technology could be as much as 45% faster than the mainstream 7-nanometer chips in many of today's laptops and phones and up to 75% more power efficient.
  • The technology likely will take several years to come to market. Once a major manufacturer of chips, IBM now outsources its high-volume chip production to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd but maintains a chip manufacturing research center in Albany, New York that produces test runs of chips and has joint technology development deals with Samsung and Intel Corp to use IBM's chipmaking technology.
  • The 2-nanometer chips will be smaller and faster than today's leading edge 5-nanonmeter chips, which are just now showing up in premium smartphones like Apple Inc's iPhone 12 models, and the 3-nanometer chips expected to come after 5-nanometer.
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Four English Counties Express Interest to Host the Remainder of IPL 2021

  • Four premier English counties, Middlesex, Surrey, Warwickshire and Lancashire, have expressed interest in hosting the remaining 31 games of the Indian Premier League, which was postponed after coronavirus breached the bio-bubble to infect four Indian cricketers.
  • With India anticipating a third wave of the pandemic later during the year, BCCI is exploring a window in September after the conclusion of India's England tour to complete the tournament.
  • India's tour of England ends on September 14.
  • According to ESPN Cricinfo, Lord's, Oval (both London), Edgbaston (Birmingham) and Emirates Old Trafford (Manchester) are understood to be part of the group who wrote to the ECB expressing their interest.
  • The plans would see the tournament completed in around two weeks in the second half of September," according to the report.
  • BCCI is ideally looking at a 20-day window with multiple double headers in order to complete the tournament.

Indian Archers to Miss World Cup Stage 2

  • India's Olympics-bound archers will not get to compete in the Stage 2 World Cup in Lausanne as their short-term visa application was rejected by the Switzerland embassy. India has been battling a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced many countries to ban travellers from India. The Indian archers will now directly compete in the Stage 3 World Cup in Paris, which will be the last Olympics qualification event for the Indian women's recurve team. The seven-day competition will begin on June 23. "Swiss embassy did not allow any short term visa and we had little time for the Stage 2 World Cup (May 17-23). Our focus is solely on the Paris World Cup now," Archery Association of secretary general Pramod Chandurkar said.

Fifth Edition of Abu Dhabi T10 League

  • The fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 league will be held here from November 19 to December 2.
  • The final will coincide with the UAE's 50th National Day.
  • The 2021 Abu Dhabi T10 will feature an increased number of 90-minute matches played over the planned 15 days, as opposed to 10 days in previous seasons.
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EC Panel Counsel in Supreme Court Resigns

  • Advocate Mohit D Ram, who has been panel counsel for the Election Commission in the Supreme Court since 2013, resigned due to incompatibility of his personal values with those of the poll panel.
  • As per Ram, his values are not in consonance with the current functioning of the ECI and hence, withdraw himself from the responsibilities of its panel counsel before the Supreme Court of India.

India and EU Likely to Resume Free Trade Talks

  • As per reports, India and the European Union (EU) are expected to announce the resumption of the stalled free trade talks during the India-EU leaders' meeting.
  • The two sides will resume the talks after eight years, and pick up from where they had left, one of two officials cited above told reporters during a virtual briefing from Brussels.
  • While the emphasis was on bilateral ties, there was also a subtle reference to a more robust cooperation between the two sides in view of the rise of an unpredictable China.

Rangasamy to be Sworn in as Puducherry CM

  • AINRC chief N Rangasamy will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Union Territory of Puducherry at a brief ceremony.
  • Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan would induct Rangasamy as Chief Minister at a brief session on the precincts of Rajnivas.
  • Official sources said that Rangasamy alone would be inducted as Chief Minister although he would be heading an NDA dispensation which has the BJP as the other constituent.
  • As per reports, the swearing in of other ministers, including those from BJP will take place in the next few days.
  • Usually, the strength of a ministry in Puducherry would be six, including the Chief Minister.
  • There is however a reported move to have one Deputy Chief Minister now although there is no precedent in this regard.
  • A Namassivayam, who joined the BJP in January after quitting the Congress is tipped for the post of Deputy Chief Minister.
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Air Marshal PM Ramachandran Passes Away

  • Former Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal PM Ramachandran, passed away following a brief illness.
  • He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force in 1955 and participated in the Liberation of Goa six years later where he destroyed a Portuguese patrol boat and was awarded the gallantry award Shaurya Chakra.
  • He held various command and staff appointments in his about four-decade old career and as Vice Chief, was "responsible for the operational deployment of India's short range ballistic missile, Prithvi.

Vijay Goel Takes over as CMD of THDCIL

  • THDC India Ltd has announced that Vijay Goel assumed as chairman and managing director. His appointment will come into effect from May 1, 2021. He joined the company in 1990 as a senior personnel officer (SPO) from NHPC Ltd. He has more than 35 years of varied experience in the field of human resource management.
  • During his tenure as general manager, he was also in charge of corporate communications, law and arbitration functions. His key areas of interventions are policy formation, manpower planning, establishment and estate functions, employee relations, compliance of labour laws and overall formulation and implementation of policies. He played a vital role in putting in place initial HR systems immediately after the establishment of the THDCIL.
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Singer Pink Bags Icon Award at Billboard Music Awards

  • Singer Pink will be honoured with the Icon Award at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs). The award aims to recognize artists who have achieved success on the Billboard charts and left an indelible impact on music. Pink joins previous honourees that include Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and Garth Brooks.
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Odisha Announces Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana

  • Odisha government has announced Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana for journalists. Odisha has declared the journalists as frontline Covid warriors. It will benet more than 6500 journalists of the state.
  • Under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana, a health insurance cover of Rs. 2 lakh will be provided to each Journalist. Under the scheme, financial assistance of Rs. 15 lakh will be provided to the families of journalists who died from COVID-19 while performing duty.
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IIT Roorkee Ties up with Edtech Company to Offer High-quality Tech Programmes

  • E&ICT Academy, IIT Roorkee signed an MoU with Great Learning, an edtech company in India, for launching the online certification programmes in Software Development, Cloud Computing, and Data Science.
  • The programmes, offered under the aegis of IIT Roorkee, are of two types -- advanced certificate programme in Full Stack Software Development spanning 10 months with specialization in either Cloud Computing or Python for Data Science, and shorter duration certificate programmes in Front End Software Development, Back End Software Development, Cloud Computing and Python for Data Science.
  • E&ICT Academy IIT Roorkee programmes aim to bridge the talent gap in these areas and prepare professionals for these job opportunities.

Nation's First Drive in Vaccination Center in Mumbai

  • The Nation's first 'Drive in Vaccination Center' was inaugurated by MP Rahul Shewale in Mumbai. This center has been set up in the parking lot of Kohinoor Square Tower at Dadar. This first of its kind 'Drive-in Vaccination Center' facility has been made available to the citizens at a time when people with disabilities are facing difficulties in getting to the vaccination center.
  • The center also provides transportation facilities to the citizens who do not have their own vehicles. The vaccination has been started and the facility is available for all sections of society. MP Rahul Shewale informed that this facility will be provided in other multi-parking lots in the city, after assessing the success of this first project.
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IOC, ONGC, GAIL, other Oil PSUs Commit Rs. 100 crore for Redevelopment of Badrinath Dham Shrine

  • India's top oil PSUs - IOC, ONGC, GAIL, BPCL and HPCL - committed Rs. 100 crore for the redevelopment of Badrinath Dham, one of the holiest shrines of Hindus, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
  • "It is a matter of great pride for our oil PSUs to be associated with the redevelopment of one of the holiest shrines of Sanatan Dharma. We are committed to the development of Badrinath Dham in alignment with PM @narendramodi's vision of retaining the pilgrimages spiritual legacy," Pradhan tweeted.
  • Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), GAIL (India) Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) "have committed Rs. 100 crore towards the Badrinath development master plan and will be undertaking several works for the beautification of the temple & its surroundings, including pilgrim and environment-friendly amenities, water supply, sewage management, among others," he said.
  • This is perhaps the first time top PSUs under one administrative ministry have committed funds for developing a religious shrine.
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