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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 May 2021


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China Probed 'Weaponising' Coronaviruses in 2015: Reports

  • Chinese military scientists allegedly investigated weaponising coronaviruses five years before the COVID-19 pandemic and may have predicted a World War III fought with biological weapons, according to media reports referring to documents obtained by the US State Department.
  • According to 'The Sun' newspaper in the UK, quoting reports first released by 'The Australian', the "bombshell" documents obtained by the US State Department reportedly show the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) commanders making the sinister prediction.
  • US officials allegedly obtained the papers which were written by military scientists and senior Chinese public health officials in 2015 as part of their own investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

PESCO: EU Approves US Participation for the First Time

  • The European Union approved the requests of Norway, Canada and United States to participate in Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) defence initiative. This is the first time; the European bloc has allowed a third state to participate in the PESCO project. The countries will now participate in the Military Mobility Project in Europe.
  • PESCO is a part of the European Union security and defence policy. It was introduced based on the Treaty of European Union introduced by Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.
  • The United States has raised concerns against PESCO several times. According to analysts, it is the sign that US fears loss of influence in Europe. The US sells 1 billion Euros of weapons to the European Union countries every year.

PM Modi Participates in Virtual India-EU Leaders' Meeting

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the India-EU Leaders' Meeting, held in a hybrid format. The India-European Union Leaders' Meeting is hosted by Portugal. Portugal currently holds the chair of the grouping. PM Modi attended the event at the invitation of the President of the European Council Mr Charles Michel.
  • The leaders of all the 27 EU Member States, as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission, participated in the meeting. This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format.
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Co-Win Introduces 4-digit Security Code Mandatory for Online Vaccine

  • Admitting data-entry error in marking many people who have booked vaccination slots as 'vaccinated', the Union health ministry on Friday said the Co-Win software through which registration and vaccination slot booking is taking place will have some additional security feature. Upon booking vaccination slots on website, people will receive a four-digit security code which will have to be produced at the vaccination centre.
  • The code will also be mentioned on the digital certificate, the ministry said.
  • The additional security feature has been introduced as many people received messages claiming that they have received one dose of the vaccine, while they did not actually turn up for the vaccination on the scheduled date. 

China's Biggest Rocket Long March 5B lands in Indian Ocean

  • Remnants of China's biggest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean, with the bulk of its components destroyed upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, according to Chinese state media, ending days of speculation over where the debris would hit.
  • Parts of the Long March 5B re-entered the atmosphere at 10:24 a.m. Beijing time (0224 GMT) and landed at a location with the coordinates of longitude 72.47 degrees east and latitude 2.65 degrees north.
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Aryna Sabalenka Wins her Maiden Madrid Open Women's Singles Title

  • In tennis, the world number seven, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia to win the 2021 Madrid Open women's singles title. This Sabalenka's 10th career WTA singles title, second WTA title of the season and first on clay court. Madrid Open is a professional WTA tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts. Sabalenka beat Australian player Barty with 6-0, 3-6, 6-4.
  • In the women's doubles final, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, from the Czech Republic, defeated Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Demi Schuurs of France 6-4, 6-3.

Naomi Osaka Wins Top Title at 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards

  • World number two tennis player Naomi Osaka of Japan has been named "Sportswoman of the Year" at the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards. This is Osaka's second Laureus Sports Awards. In 2019, she won the "Breakthrough of the Year" award.
  • In the men's category, World number two Rafael Nadal of Spain won the 2021 "Laureus Sportsman of the Year" title. This is the second title for Nadal, who also claimed the prestigious award in 2011.

Lewis Hamilton Clinches his Fifth Successive Spanish Grand Prix

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) won the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, held on 09 May 2021.
  • This win is the fifth successive Spanish Grand Prix title of Lewis Hamilton and the third win of this season. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing-Netherlands) came second followed by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) at third position.
  • The race was the fourth round of the 2021 Formula One World Championship.
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IAF operates Covid Air Support Management Cell

  • The Indian Air Force is operating a Covid Air Support Management Cell to efficiently coordinate for the distribution of all the relief aid coming from foreign countries. Defence Ministry said, the Air force is operating this Management Cell at Palam Air Base since 27th of last month. The cell is operational round the clock.
  • The Ministry said, One C-130 and two AN-32 transport aircraft are operating at Palam to air lift load on short notice across the country. The Ministry said, communication links with all important stakeholders like Union Health Ministry, Hindustan Latex Limited and the Indian Red Cross Society have been established for seamless flow of information and to reduce time delays.

Himanta Biswa Sarma takes oath as 15th Chief Minister of Assam

  • Himanta Biswa Sarma swearing-in Live: BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma has been sworn in as the 15th chief minister of Assam at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.
  • Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi administered oath of office and secrecy to Himanta Biswa Sarma.
  • The BJP leader was elected leader of both the BJP and NDA Legislature Party and then called on the Governor at Raj Bhawan and submitted a list of elected legislators owing allegiance to the NDA.
  • Notably, former CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP National General Secretary Arun Singh, National Vice-President and Party In-charge Assam, Baijayant Jay Panda, state party President Ranjeet Kumar Dass, AGP leaders Atul Bora and Keshab Mahanta and UPPL leader Pramode Boro accompanied Sarma to the Raj Bhawan.
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PM pays Tributes to Rabindranath Tagore, Maharana Pratap, Gopal Krishna Gokhale

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tributes to BishwaKavi Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of his birth anniversary today. Remembering Nobel laureate Tagore, Mr. Modi said that may the exemplary ideals of the renowned polymath keep giving everyone the strength and inspiration to build the India he dreamt of.
  • Rabindranath Tagore's birth anniversary is also called Pachishe Boishakh in Bengali. Poet, novelist, essayist, philosopher and musician, Tagore is one of those great masters of literature whose works hardly left any human emotion untouched.
  • Gurudev penned over 2000 songs, which are known as 'Rabindra Sangeet'. He became the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. The coveted honour was bestowed upon him after the publication of his acclaimed collection of poems, Geetanjali.
  • According to the Nobel committee, Tagore was recognised for the prestigious prize "because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West."
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Victory Day

  • The second world war was the deadliest conflict in human history, which saw 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the USSR and China. The Soviet Union alone lost up to 27 million people in the war, nearly 13% of the population at the time.
  • On May 9th Russia and a handful of former Soviet Union republics celebrate Victory Day, which marks the day after Nazi Germany surrendered and Soviet forces took control of Berlin, bringing the second world war (also referred to as 'The Great Patriotic War' in Russia) in Europe to an end.
  • Victory day is about remembering those who gave their lives to achieve the victory.
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Chinese Covid Vaccine Gets WHO Emergency Approval

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted emergency approval for a Covid vaccine made by Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm.
  • It is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get WHO backing.
  • The vaccine has already been given to millions of people in China and elsewhere.
  • The WHO had previously only approved the vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.
  • But individual health regulators in various countries - especially poorer ones in Africa, Latin America and Asia - have approved Chinese jabs for emergency use.
  • With little data released internationally early on, the effectiveness of the various Chinese vaccines has long been uncertain.
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