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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

13 May 2021


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Vladimir Putin Calls for De-escalation in Israel-Palestinian Clashes

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Israel and the Palestinians to halt fighting in a call with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that the world needs to give Israel a "strong" lesson.
  • The Israeli army has launched hundreds of air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Monday, where Hamas and other militants have responded by firing back volleys of rockets on Israeli cities.
  • Erdogan, a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, has stepped up diplomacy, speaking to a range of regional leaders and condemning Israel's "terror".

Biden Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order after Colonial Pipeline Attack

  • US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that advances federal cybersecurity capabilities and encourages improvements in digital security standards across the private sector which has been hit by a spate of high-profile cyber attacks.
  • The executive order establishes a series of initiatives designed to better equip federal agencies with cybersecurity tools. It follows a cyberattack against the Colonial Pipeline that caused some internal computer systems to be disabled with ransomware. This led Colonial to shut the pipeline, triggering fuel shortages and panic buying in the southeastern United States.
  • The pipeline cyberattack is the latest in a string of high profile cyber incidents against U.S. companies and government agencies over the last six months.
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US Environmental Agency Releases Climate Report Delayed by Trump

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said for the first time that climate change is being driven at least in part by humans.
  • The agency made the acknowledgement in a new report that had been delayed by the Trump White House since 2017.
  • The Climate Change Indicators report charts the extent to which glaciers are shrinking, sea levels are rising and flooding is increasing.
  • The impacts are being felt by Americans with increasing regularity, it says.
  • Under former President Donald Trump, the EPA's Climate Change Indicators website was not updated, as it had been under his predecessor, Barack Obama.
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CSC, HDFC Bank Launches Chatbot 'Eva'

  • HDFC Bank and Common Services Centres (CSCs) launched chatbot 'Eva' on CSCs Digital Seva Portal to support the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) in providing banking services for the last mile rural consumers. This initiative will bridge the gap between India and Bharat. Urban India has been quick to learn and adapt to the digital world. Rural India has faced challenges as it has lower Internet penetration.

Bajaj Finance Gets RBI Nod for Prepaid Payment Instruments

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), granted an authorization to Bajaj Finance for issuance and operation of semi-closed prepaid payment instruments with perpetual validity.
  • The NBFC's consolidated net profit jumped 42% to Rs. 1,346.64 crore on 5.2% decline in total income to Rs. 6,854.94 crore in Q4 FY21 over Q4 FY20.
  • Bajaj Finance is engaged in lending and allied activities. It focuses on consumer lending, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) lending, commercial lending, rural lending, fixed deposits and value-added services.

Adani Group Opens Regional Headquarters in Singapore

  • Adani Group has opened its regional headquarters office in Singapore with focus on the energy, infrastructure and technology portfolios. Adani Singapore (SG) Country Head Jeyakumar Janakaraj said that Singapore was an ideal choice for Adani's regional headquarters.
  • The Adani Group looks forward to developing partnerships with corporations in Singapore and the ASEAN region, especially those that will create new ventures in the rapidly growing Indian market.
  • The Adani Group is India's largest infrastructure conglomerate with businesses ranging from renewable power generation, power transmission and distribution, gas distribution, airport management, ports and terminals, agribusiness and food production and logistics to data centres.
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Astronomers Capture Stunning New Images of Jupiter

  • Three images of Jupiter from the 8-m Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North telescope at the Gemini Observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show the gas giant at three different types of light (infrared, visible, and ultraviolet) and reveal a multitude of atmospheric features such as the Great Red Spot, superstorms, and cyclones stretching across the planet's disk.
  • The new images of Jupiter highlight the key advantage of multiwavelength astronomy: viewing planets and other astronomical objects at different wavelengths of light allows scientists to glean otherwise unavailable insights.
  • Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a prominent feature of the visible and ultraviolet (UV) images, but it is almost invisible at infrared (IR) wavelengths. The planet's counter-rotating bands of clouds, on the contrary, are clearly visible in all three views.
  • Observing the Great Red Spot at multiple wavelengths yields other surprises — the dark region in the IR image is larger than the corresponding red oval in the visible image.
  • This discrepancy arises because different structures are revealed by different wavelengths; the IR observations show areas covered with thick clouds, while the visible and UV observations show the locations of chromophores — the particles that give the Great Red Spot its distinctive hue by absorbing blue and UV light.

China Launches more Classified Yaogan Satellites into Orbit

  • China conducted two launches of classified Yaogan satellites in the last week while much of the world waited to see where and when the Long March 5B would fall.
  • A Long March 2C rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China, sending the eighth trio of Yaogan-30 satellites into a 370-mile-altitude (600 kilometers) orbit.
  • The Yaogan-30 (08) triplets join seven previous groups in orbit which have been launched since 2017.
  • The satellites will be used for electromagnetic environment surveys and other related technology tests.
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Saina, Srikanth Chances of Qualifying End with Singapore Open Cancelled

  • The dream of Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics ended with the cancellation of the $320,000 Singapore Open badminton tournament.
  • The June 1-6 event was the final qualification event for Tokyo and its cancellation ended the hopes of those players who had hoped to squeeze through from the Super 500 tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo Becomes First Player to Score 100 Club Goals in Three Different Countries

  • Cristiano Ronaldo's 100th goal for Juventus in all competitions kept his side's hopes alive of a top-four Serie A finish after a 3-1 win at an impressive Sassuolo. The result was not easy to come by for Juventus, with returning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saving an early penalty, but goals from Adrien Rabiot, Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala meant they stayed fifth, two points off the Champions League qualification places.
  • Meanwhile, the Portuguese footballer also became the first player in history to score 100-plus club goals in three countries. Ronaldo also has netted 103 times for Portugal.
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Stalin Appoints New Officers to Key Administrative Positions

  • M K Stalin has appointed officers with a good track record to key administrative positions after he took oath as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. Anti-corruption activists and political analysts are of the opinion that, both new DMK loyalists and experienced officers from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime have been retained to ensure a good set of hands are at the helm during a pandemic.
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Eminent Assamese Writer Homen Borgohain Passes Away

  • Eminent writer, veteran journalist, Sahitya Akademi award winner, and former president of Asom Sahitya Sabha, Homen Borgohain passed away. He was 88.
  • Homen Borgohain was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in the Assamese language for his novel Pita Putra in 1978, but he returned his Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 in protest against the lack of tolerance being created in the Indian society.
  • His other notable literary works are Saudor Puteke Nao Meli Jay, Halodhiya Soraye Baudhan Khai, Astarag, Timir Tirtha, Matshyagandha, Subala, Nisongota, Aatmanuxandhan, Gadyar Sadhana, Progyar Sadhana, etc.
  • Borgohain edited several Assamese dailies and weekly newspapers including Nilachal, Nagorik, Amar Asom, Asom Bani, Xutradhar, Xatxori, Niyamiya Barta. The prominent journalist, novelist's death has been widely mourned across the state.

Manisha Kapoor Joins Executive Committee of ICAS

  • Advertising industry watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) announced that its general secretary Manisha Kapoor has been appointed to the executive committee of the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation (ICAS).
  • She will be one of the four global vice-presidents on the executive committee. Set up by the European Advertising Standards Alliance in 2008, ICAS is a global platform of self-regulatory organizations (SROs).
  • Until April, ASCI served on the executive committee as a member for a two-year term. Now, Kapoor will play a leadership role on the committee till 2023.
  • In her role as part of the ICAS leadership team, she will promote advertising self-regulation as an optimal mechanism for consumer protection, strengthen ICAS as a global alliance and facilitate knowledge sharing among SROs to establish best practices and monitor global trends in the advertising ecosystem that impact self-regulation.

Former Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat HC Vijay Manohar Sahai Passes Away

  • Former acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court, Justice Vijay Manohar Sahai, died. He was 68.
  • Justice Sahai, who was a Judge in the Allahabad High Court, graduated in Law from the University of Allahabad in 1975 and got enrolled as an advocate in January 1976.
  • Justice Sahai, who was appointed Standing Counsel for the New India Assurance Co., Union Bank of India, and Allahabad Bank, was elevated as permanent Judge on February 5, 1999 and was later on transferred to Gujarat High Court.
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IREDA Wins "Green Urja Award"

  • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA) was conferred with the "Green Urja Award" for being the Leading Public Institution in the Financing Institution for Renewable Energy this year by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). IREDA got the award for the pivotal and developmental role it plays in Green Energy Financing.
  • The award was received by Shri Pradip Kumar Das, Chairman & Managing Director (CMD), IREDA from Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance in presence of Shri Anil Razdan, Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Energy in a virtual ceremony.
  • Despite the pandemic time, IREDA ended the year 2020-21 on a strong note and disbursed the second-highest (from the date of inception) amount of loan amounting to Rs. 8827 crore, which indicates that IREDA has the ability to translate this problem into an opportunity.
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Govt. Approves Scheme for Promoting ACC Battery Manufacturing

  • The government approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing advanced chemistry cell (ACC) battery at an estimated outlay of Rs. 18,100 crore.
  • With the objective to promote the Make in India initiative, the National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage is expected to attract foreign and domestic investment of Rs. 45,000 crore, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
  • The proposal aims to achieve manufacturing of 50 gigawatts of battery storage, these incentives will be available to those companies having higher production and sales capability.
  • The policy aims to make manufacturers globally competitive, boost exports, achieve economies of scale and produce cutting edge products.
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Tripura: Nine More Schools Affiliated To CBSE

  • State Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath said that nine more schools in Tripura have been affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
  • Sabual English Medium HS School, Damcherra English Medium Model School, Kumarghat English Medium High School, Ambassa English Medium Model School, Ananda Roaja Memorial English Medium High School Karbook English Medium Model School, Melaghar English Medium HS School, Kshudiram Basu English Medium School, and Bhagat Singh Hindi (English Medium) School in Tripura have been affiliated to the central education board.
  • Previously, 20 schools of the state were affiliated to the CBSE.

BHU Announces Part-Time Course in Fundamentals of Social Design

  • Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Uttar Pradesh, has announced a three-month part-time certificate course – Fundamentals of Social Design: Social Design in India and USA – Under the SPARC (Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration) project of the Education Ministry.
  • The course aims to prepare creative change makers with the tools and methods to advance equity and social justice and become pioneers and leaders in the practice.
  • Students, designers, professionals, academicians from different disciplines and knowledge bases can register for the course.
  • Those who maintain 70 per cent attendance throughout the course will receive e certificate from Banaras Hindu University, Maryland Institute College of Arts, and Michigan State University.

CBSE Launches 'Dost for Life' Mobile App for Students and Parents

  • Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE has launched a new mobile app for students and parents. The new app 'Dost for Life' is an exclusive psychological counselling app for students and parents of CBSE-affiliated schools. The app has been designed for students of classes 9 to 12 and parents and can be used for counselling sessions.
  • The new App will simultaneously cater to students and parents from CBSE-affiliated schools in different geographies across the world. The Board will conduct live counselling sessions free of cost thrice a week on Monday, Friday, and Wednesday by trained counselors/Principals. Students and parents of CBSE affiliated schools can choose any of the two-time slots: 9.30 am to 1.30 pm or 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm and connect through a Chatbox as per their convenience.
  • The app will also provide students information on suggestive course guides after 10+2, tips on mental health and well-being, a corona guide, and also rap songs.
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Forty Tombs with Humans Buried in Pots Discovered

  • An ancient necropolis with 40 tombs, including cylindrical jars filled with human remains, has been discovered on the French island of Corsica.
  • The people buried in the cemetery range from infants to adults, the archaeologists said. Located in the town of Île-Rousse on the island's northern coast, the cemetery seems to have been used between the third and fifth centuries A.D., a time in which the Roman Empire was gradually declining. Many of the people were found buried inside amphoras, large vessels that would normally be used to carry goods such as olive oil, wine or pickles. The design of the amphoras indicates that they are from North Africa, with some possibly being manufactured in Carthage.
  • Archaeologists also found that some of the burials were covered with terra-cotta tiles that the Romans called "tegulae" and "imbrices." The Romans often used such tiles to cover the roofs of buildings and, at times, to cover burials.
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