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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

17 May 2021


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Biden Calls Netanyahu, Says Israel has Right to Defend Itself

  • President Joe Biden held telephonic conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reaffirmed his strong support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups.
  • Biden noted in his conversation with Netanyahu that this current period of conflict has tragically claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children.
  • The President updated the Prime Minister on high-level US engagement with regional partners on this issue and discussed ongoing diplomatic efforts.

Biden Revokes Trump Order that Sought to Limit Social Media Firms' Protections

  • U.S. President Biden revoked an executive order by former President Donald Trump that had directed regulators to limit liability protections for social media companies.
  • The Center for Democracy and Technology, which had sued to block Trump's May 2020 order, praised Biden's reversal, arguing Trump's order "was an attempt to use threats of retaliation to coerce social media companies into allowing disinformation and hateful speech to go unchecked."
  • Trump unsuccessfully demanded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set new rules to limit protections for social media firms under the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It shields the companies from liability for content posted by their users and allows them to remove lawful but objectionable posts.

Myanmar UN Envoy Urges International Community to Cut Tatmadaw's Finance Flows

  • Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Kyaw Moe Tun has urged the international community to cut off financial flows to the country's military Tatmadaw.
  • He called for support for the national unity government, which was set up by those opposed to military rule. He also asked countries in the region to give refuge to people forced to leave their homes due to the military's actions, such as airstrikes.
  • Kyaw also talked about the reported move by some anti-coup protesters to take up arms to confront the military.
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Cranes Return to Ireland after 300 Years

  • The cranes that have been a part of Irish folklore (traditional stories and beliefs) were spotted in Ireland. The birds were spotted in the country during their breeding season after three hundred years.
  • The cranes were extinct in Ireland in 1700. This was mainly due to the destruction of their habitats.
  • They are the world tallest flying birds. They are four feet tall and their wingspan is of seven feet.
  • East Asia and South America have the highest crane diversity with eight different species. Australia, Europe and North America have two regularly occurring crane species.
  • With the conservation efforts of UK, the region of Gloucestershire, Suffolk, English Fens, Scotland and Wales now have two hundred cranes.
  • The cranes are dependent on wetlands and grasslands.
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Warburg Pincus Ends JV with Lemon Tree Hotels

  • Warburg Pincus has ended a two-year-old joint venture (JV) with Lemon Tree Hotels for student housing and co-living spaces.
  • As per reports, Warburg was not happy with the way the JV had progressed in the last two-three years.
  • Lemon Tree promoters bought back the stake from Warburg, adding that Rahul Pandit, chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD) of the company also quit.
  • Warburg was an early investor in Lemon Tree. In 2018, Warburg shed 12 per cent stake in Lemon Tree Hotels after 13 years during the company's initial public offering (IPO) and remaining 12.4 per cent a year later.
  • Recently, Warburg bought a 24.48 per cent stake from HDFC in Goldman Sachs-backed student housing company Good Host Spaces for Rs. 216 crore.

Route Mobile Appoints Owen as Chief Executive Officer

  • Route Mobile (UK) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Route Mobile Ltd, appointed John Owen as the chief executive officer (CEO) of its Europe and Americas operations.
  • The appointment, effective immediately, marks a new chapter in Route Mobile's exciting journey as the company embarks on an ambitious trajectory of growth for the next decade.
  • Owen brings over 30 years of international senior executive leadership experience. He most recently served as the group CEO at Mastek Ltd.
  • Prior to Mastek, Owen held senior executive roles in organisations like Serco, HP, Sycamore Networks and Nortel.

Flipkart Hires Bain & Co Partner Dinkar Ayilavarapu as VP-corp Strategy

  • Flipkart has appointed Dinkar Ayilavarapu, a partner at consulting firm Bain & Company, as vice president for corporate strategy at the e-commerce firm. In this role, Ayilavarapu will report to Flipkart Group chief executive officer Kalyan Krishnamurthy. The development comes at a time when the company is aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) by next year.
  • Ayilavarapu will lead the corporate strategy team working closely with our business leaders to further strengthen our vision and OKR (objectives and key results) planning.
  • Ayilavarapu comes with 18 years of rich experience. Prior to joining Flipkart, he was a partner at Bain & Company. He spent 14 years at Bain, in their India, New York and South Africa offices and was a part of their technology, media, telecom and M&A practices.
  • He was a key member of Bain's Results Delivery and Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practices in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Barcelona Wins Women's Champions League

  • Barcelona's slow start two years ago doomed its European dream so this time it came out firing against Chelsea, scoring after just 32 seconds en route to a 4-0 victory and its first Women's Champions League title.
  • Barça is the first team from Spain to win Europe's top club competition, which had been dominated by seven-time champions Lyon.
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Vacancies in Rajya Sabha Following Assembly Elections

  • Four vacancies have come up in Rajya Sabha after the latest round of assembly elections as the members of Parliament occupying these seats got elected in their state assemblies. Some of the members will also serve as ministers in their respective states.
  • Trinamool Congress MP Dr. Manas Bhuyan, who got elected to Rajya Sabha on 2017, had contested assembly polls and is now the Water Resources Investigation and Development minister of the state.
  • R. Vaithilingam of AIADMK, who was set to retire in 2022 in the Upper House, resigned from Parliament after he won from Orathanadu constituency.
  • His party colleague, KP Munusamy, also resigned from Parliament to become a member of the Tamil Nadu assembly.
  • Nominated MP Swapan Dasgupta had resigned from the House before contesting Bengal election from the Tarakeshwar seat.

India Calls for Immediate De-escalation at UNSC

  • India has strongly condemned all acts of violence and provocation in the Gaza conflict and called for immediate de-escalation while urging Israel and Palestinian authorities to immediately resume dialogue to find a lasting solution.
  • TS Tirumurti, India's ambassador to the UN, outlined the country's position during an open debate at the UN Security Council, saying both sides should show extreme restraint and desist from actions that exacerbate tensions.
  • India has found itself treading a cautious line as the conflict escalated in recent days, given its strong relations with both Israel and Arab states as well as its traditional support for a two-state solution, which was reiterated by Tirumurti.
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Famous Mathematician MS Narasimhan Passes Away

  • Distinguished mathematician Prof. M S Narasimhan FRS passed away.
  • Famous for Narasimhan-Seshadri theorem, he made pioneering contributions to differential & algebraic geometry.
  • He played key role in development of Mathematics in India.
  • He was the only Indian to be awarded with King Faisal International Prize for Science & First Chair of National Board for Higher Mathematics.
  • Prof. M S Narasimhan contributions are in the areas of Algebraic Geometry, Differential Geometry, Representation Theory of Lie groups and Partial Differential Equations.
  • Several distinguished Indian mathematicians were his former research students.
  • Prof. M S Narasimhan has played a key role in the development of Mathematics in India and in developing countries by influencing several mathematicians and by creating structures for promoting research in Mathematics.
  • He was the founding-Chairman of the National Board of Higher Mathematics of the Government of India.
  • He is a recipient of Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal of INSA (1988).
  • Among the other distinctions and awards he received are: King Faisal International Prize for Science (2006), TWAS Award for Mathematics (1987), CV Raman Birth Centenary Award of Indian Science Congress Association (1994), SS Bhatnagar Prize and Honorary Fellowship of TIFR.
  • He was awarded Padma Bhushan by the President of India and "Chevalier de l'ordre du Merite" by the President of France.
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World Telecommunication Day

  • World Telecommunication Day (WTD) is celebrated every year on May 17 to highlight the role of Information and Communication Technology in today's world. The day is also celebrated to mark the anniversary of the founding of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865, the occasion on which the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris, France. On this day, a topical theme is chosen and events celebrating that theme take place around the world.
  • The theme for this year is 'Accelerating digital transformation in challenging times' focusing on the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for continued functioning of societies during COVID-19 pandemic and bringing to the fore the startling digital inequalities between and within countries.
  • The event was first started in 1969.

World Hypertension Day

  • World Hypertension Day is a day designated and initiated by The World Hypertension League (WHL), which is itself an umbrella to organizations of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues. The day was initiated to increase the awareness of hypertension. This was especially important because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients. The WHL launched its first WHD on May 14, 2005. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD.
  • While the theme for World Hypertension Day for a period of five years, from 2013 to 2018, has been 'Know Your Numbers' that aimed at increasing high blood pressure awareness in all populations around the world, the theme in 2021 is 'Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer!' to raise awareness especially in low to middle income areas and promote the accurate blood pressure measurement methods.

6th UN Global Road Safety Week: 17-23 May 2021

  • The 6th UN Global Traffic Safety Week, which this year is celebrated between 17 and 23 May, call for 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide. UN Global Road Safety Week (UNGRSW) is a biennial global road safety campaign hosted by WHO.
  • Each UNGRSW has an advocacy theme. The theme for the 6th UNGRSW is Streets for Life, under the tagline #Love30. It brings together individuals, governments, NGOs, corporations, and other organizations from around the world to raise awareness of road safety and make changes that will reduce the number of road deaths.
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Andrea Meza of Mexico Crowned 69th Miss Universe

  • Andrea Meza from Mexico was crowned as the 69th Miss Universe. The pageant was held on May 16, in the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel or famously known as the Guitar hotel in Florida. Meza was preceded by Miss Universe Zozobini Tunzi of South Africa.
  • Andrea had to compete with 73 other gorgeous women from all over the world for the coveted title out of which Miss India Adeline Castelino was also being considered as a strong contender. Castelino made it to the top five along with Miss Brazil, Miss Peru and Miss Dominican Republic. Andrea made history with her win as she became the third Mexican woman to be crowned as Miss Universe.

Marina Abramovic Wins Spanish Arts Prize

  • A Spanish foundation awarded Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic one of the European nation's most prestigious awards for the fine arts.
  • The jury that decides the Princess of Asturias Awards said that the work of the 74-year-old Abramovic revealed "a sensorial and spiritual component hitherto unknown."
  • The 50,000-euro ($56,700) award is one of eight prizes, ranging from the arts, social sciences and sports, handed out annually by a foundation named for Spanish Crown Princess Leonor.
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No Summer Vacations for Students in Uttar Pradesh

  • The Uttar Pradesh government has issued an order for all schools and colleges in the state to commence online classes for students from May 20 onwards.
  • In the order, the Uttar Pradesh government has directed all educational institutions to start online classes from May 20 so that the students in the state do not miss out on their set curriculum amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, online classes will not resume for students of primary classes.
  • Earlier, the state government had issued an order on May 10 suspending online classes for all educational institutions amid surge in COVID-19 infections.
  • Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said that the academic work in schools was earlier stopped from April to May 20, which will be considered as summer vacation and online classes will be conducted in schools from May 20.

MJPRU Admission 2021 to be Given Considering JEE Main 2021, UPCET 2021 Marks

  • Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University, Bareilly, has decided to give admissions to students on the basis of Joint Entrance Examination, JEE Main 2021 and the Uttar Pradesh Combined Entrance Test, UPCET 2021 scores.
  • The institute will use UPCET 2021 for admitting students to the first year of Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm), Bachelor of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (BHMCT), Master of Computer Applications (MCA), Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses.
  • Admission to the second year (lateral entry) of Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm), and Bachelor of Technology (BTech) will be given based on UPCET 2021 results.
  • JEE Main 2021 scores will be used for BTech admission.
  • Apart from MJPRU, APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, AKTU, Lucknow, Madan Mohan Malviya University of Technology (MMMUT), Gorakhpur, and Harcourt Butler Technical University (HBTU), Kanpur, will also use UPCET for admission to different programmes.
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London Launches New £7m Campaign to Revive Hospitality

  • Newly re-elected London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans for the biggest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen.
  • The plans are designed to help the economy get back on its feet as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
  • Khan confirmed an immediate priority will be the new 'Let's Do London' campaign, which is being created in partnership with the city's hospitality, culture and retail industries.
  • The flagship campaign to encourage Londoners and visitors back into central London will include a programme of one-off special events created in partnership with London's best-known cultural institutions and tourism attractions.
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