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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

09 May 2021


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UK's Labour Party Suffers Huge Losses in Local Polls

  • As counting of votes across Britain continued into this weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling Conservative Party was given plenty of reasons to celebrate while the local elections led to a string of crucial losses for the country's main opposition Labour Party.
  • The Conservatives won a parliamentary by-election in the north England constituency of Hartlepool, taking the seat from Labour for the first time since 1974 when the constituency was created, reports Xinhua news agency.
  • Adding pains to Keir Starmer's Labour Party, its losses in local elections continued to mount as vote results were announced one after another.

Libyan Militias Briefly Take over Tripoli Govt. Headquarters

  • In a show of force, armed militiamen briefly took over a hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli that serves as headquarters for the interim government.
  • This development came after the three-member presidential council earlier this week appointed a new chief of the intelligence agency, Libya's version of the CIA. The militias, which control Tripoli, were apparently unhappy with the choice of Hussein Khalifa as the new spy chief.
  • Presidential council spokeswoman Najwa Wheba said no one was hurt in the takeover of Hotel Corinthia, in the heart of Tripoli. The hotel was mostly empty, the Muslim weekend.
  • The takeover underscored the tough road ahead for the interim government, which has been tasked with steering Libya through general elections due at the end of the year. The government has struggled to unite the conflict-stricken nation ahead of the vote.
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Neanderthal Remains Unearthed in Italian Cave

  • Archaeologists in Italy have discovered the remains of nine Neanderthals who may have been hunted by hyenas, in a prehistoric cave south-east of Rome.
  • The fossilized bones, which include skull fragments and broken jawbones, were found in the Guattari Cave in the coastal town San Felice Circeo.
  • Neanderthals, a close ancient cousin of Homo sapiens, are believed to have died out about 40,000 years ago.
  • However, small traces of their DNA still exist in modern humans.
  • According to Italy's culture ministry, eight of the remains date from between 50,000 and 68,000 years ago, while the oldest could be 90,000 or 100,000 years old.
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India's Sovereign Rating to Remain at Current Level for Next 2 Years

  • S&P Global Ratings said that India's credit rating would be retained at the current level for the next two years, and the country will see a slightly faster pace of growth in the next couple of years that will support its sovereign rating.
  • S&P, which had in March seen the Indian economy growing by 11 per cent in the fiscal year to March 2022, saw GDP growth rate dropping to 9.8 per cent under the 'moderate' scenario, where infections peak in May, and falling to as low as 8.2 per cent in 'severe' scenario under which caseload would peak only in late June.

Non-residents to be Taxed in India if Transaction Value Exceeds Rs. 2 crore

  • Non-residents undertaking transactions with Indian parties will trigger taxability under the domestic law in India even if they do not have physical presence in the country and operate digitised businesses.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes has notified new rules for operation of business by non-residents under which any transaction over Rs. 2 crore (apex $27,100) in respect of any goods, services or property carried out by them with any person in India, including provision of download of data or software in India, will attract tax in India.
  • The provisions of Significant Economic Presence (SEP) that become the base for taxability of non-residents in India will also apply if the number of users with whom systematic and continuous business activities are solicited (or who are engaged in interactions) exceeds 3 lakh.
  • The provisions of SEP were introduced in the legislation in 2018 with intent to tax non-residents operating digitised businesses which function without a physical presence. It meant that SEP of a non-resident in India shall constitute a 'business connection' in India.

Kotak Mahindra Bank to Extend Online Payments to Farmers & Traders

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMBL) announced it has been selected as a digital payments partner by the National Agriculture Market (eNAM), a pan-India electronic trading portal for farm produce. KMBL will enable and facilitate online transactions for all stakeholders on the eNAM platform, including farmers, traders and farmer producer organisations (FPOs).
  • Under this initiative, Kotak will provide payment, clearing and settlement services on the eNAM platform to facilitate trade between a buyer and seller of agri produce. Kotak has integrated its payment system and portal directly with the payment interface of eNAM, to enable quick and safe transactions for agri participants who have joined the platform.
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Chinese Rocket Debris Set for Re-entry

  • Remnants of China's largest rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere late Saturday or early Sunday, European and U.S. tracking centres said.
  • China's foreign ministry said on Friday that most debris from the rocket will burn on re-entry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, after the U.S. military said that what it called an uncontrolled re-entry was being tracked by U.S. Space Command.
  • EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) said that its latest prediction for the timing of the re-entry of the Long March 5B rocket body was 190 minutes either side of 0211 GMT on Sunday.
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Bayern Munich Win Record-extending 9th Straight Bundesliga Title

  • Bayern Munich was crowned as the Bundesliga champions for the ongoing 2020-21 season.
  • As a result, Bayern Munich has won the title for the ninth successive season and with this, coach Hansi Flick will bow out with another title under his kitty.
  • Flick has already stepped down as the coach of Bayern Munich and he will be replaced by Julian Nagelsmann.
  • Bayern Munich currently has 71 points from 31 games and the side has suffered just four losses in the ongoing season.
  • Out of the 31 games played, Bayern has so far managed to win 22 and five matches ended as a draw.
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India Extends Support to Maldives Post Attack on Former President

  • India has been in touch with the Maldives authorities in the aftermath of the attack on the former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed.
  • Nasheed who is the current speaker of the Maldives Parliament was injured in a bomb blast.
  • As part of the engagement between Male and Delhi, help in the form of security resources continues from the Indian government.
  • India, a close ally of Maldives was the first country to react after the attack, with External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar expressing his concern.

India-EU Resume Trade Talks, Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation

  • India and the European Union (EU) announced their decision to resume negotiations for a balanced and comprehensive trade agreement after a gap of eight years.
  • During the first-ever India + 27 EU member states summit, an ambitious connectivity partnership was unveiled during the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of the member nations.
  • India and the EU also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on digital and emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, Quantum and High-Performance Computing including through the early operationalization of the Joint Task Force on AI and the Digital Investment Forum.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the EU to support a proposal by India and South Africa to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines so that there can be equitable vaccine access for the entire world, officials said.
  • However, there was no concrete decision on the matter from the EU side.

Sonowal Tenders Resignation

  • Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tendered his resignation to Governor Jagadish Mukhi prior to a meeting of the BJP legislature party which is expected to elect the next Chief Minister of the state.
  • As is the tradition, the Governor asked Sonowal to continue in office till the formation of the new government.
  • The party's central leadership had summoned Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, both contenders for the top post, to New Delhi for discussions on the formation of the next government in the state.
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Centre Approves Key Appointments in Department of Military Affairs

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by the Prime Minister, has cleared the appointment of senior military officers as additional secretary and joint secretaries in the department of military affairs (DMA) under the Defence Ministry.
  • In an order issued late, the ACC approved the appointment of Lieutenant General Anil Puri as additional secretary in the DMA. It also cleared Major General K Narayanan, Rear Admiral Kapil Mohan Dhir and Air Vice Marshal Hardeep Bains for the posts of joint secretary in the department.
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Former Union Minister Matang Sinh Passes Away

  • Former Union Minister Matang Sinh died because of COVID-19 related complications.
  • A former Rajya Sabha member from Assam, the 58-year-old politician was a close aide of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
  • He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1992 and served as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs from 1994 to 1998 in Rao's government.
  • He was expelled in 1998 on disciplinary grounds after he had made controversial comments against party president Sonia Gandhi.
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Mother's Day

  • Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May to honour mothers and the invaluable role they play in our lives.
  • The modern holiday began in the United States, at the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century, who organized the first Mother's Day service of worship and celebration at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, which serves as the International Mother's Day Shrine today.
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