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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

18 May 2021


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US Sanctions Myanmar Junta Leaders

  • The US placed more members of Myanmar's ruling military junta on a financial blacklist on Monday for the deadly attacks against civilians following the February coup in the southeast Asian nation. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed financial sanctions on 16 persons and the newly created State Administration Council.
  • The designation freezes any assets they have within a US jurisdiction and bars anyone within a US jurisdiction from conducting any financial transactions with them. Thirteen of them are senior members of Myanmar's military, which seized control of the country in February.

Russia Warns West against Arctic Encroachment

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western countries against staking claims in the Arctic ahead of this week's Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik.
  • The Arctic in recent years has become the site of geopolitical competition between the countries that form the Arctic Council (Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) as global warming makes the region more accessible.
  • A ministerial meeting of the eight-country council will take place later this week.
  • President Vladimir Putin in recent years has made Russia's Arctic region a strategic priority and ordered investment in military infrastructure and mineral extraction.

International Museum Day

  • International Museum Day (IMD) is an international day held annually on or around 18 May, coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The event highlights a specific theme which changes every year to reflect the basis of the international museum community's preoccupations.
  • Since 1977, every year, ICOM has organised International Museum Day. The day also represents a unique moment for the international museum community.
  • Each year, all museums in the world are invited to participate in IMD to promote the role of museums around in the world, creating unique, enjoyable and free activities around a theme discussed within the ICOM community for this special day. Since its creation in 1977, International Museum Day has gained increasing attention. In 2009, International Museum Day attracted the participation of 20,000 museums hosting events in more than 90 countries. In 2010, 98 countries participated in the celebration, with 100 in 2011, and 30,000 museums in 129 countries in 2012. In 2011, the official IMD poster was translated into 37 languages. Since 2012, this number jumped by one to 38.
  • The theme for International Museum Day is "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine".
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TVS NTORQ crosses 1 lakh sales mark in international markets

  • TVS Motor Company's scooter brand NTORQ 125 crossed one lakh sales milestone in the international markets. The company currently sells the scooter, which comes with various industry first technologies like bluetooth connectivity feature, in 19 countries across South Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and ASEAN.
  • "This achievement is a reinforcement of our commitment to grow the TVS NTORQ brand by setting benchmarks in innovation and creating aspiration for customers," TVS Motor Company Director and CEO KN Radhakrishnan said.

India Loses Iranian Gas Field Discovered by OVL

  • India lost the ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL)-discovered Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf after Iran awarded a contract for developing the giant gas field to a local company.
  • The National Iranian Oil Company has signed a contract worth $1.78 billion with Petropars Group for the development of Farzad B Gas Field in the Persian Gulf. The deal was signed in a ceremony held in the presence of Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh in Tehran. The field holds 23 trillion cubic feet of in-place gas reserves, of which about 60% is recoverable. It also holds gas condensates of about 5,000 barrels per billion cubic feet of gas.
  • The buyback contract signed envisages daily production of 28 million cubic meters of sour gas over five years.
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IIT-M, US Researchers Develop Algorithms

  • Researchers from IIT Madras and Rice University, USA, have developed algorithms for lensless, miniature cameras that have applications in Augmented/Virtual reality, security, smart wearables, robotics among others. Lensless cameras are touted to be the future of miniature imaging technology, as they offer imaging capabilities similar to conventional cameras, but at much lesser weight, cost and nearly flat cameras.
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TN Government Appoints Five New Collectors

  • The Tamil Nadu government posted new Collectors for Madurai, Salem, Cuddalore, Tiruchi and Dharmapuri districts. It also posted IAS officer Alby John Varghese as Deputy Commissioner (Health) of the Greater Chennai Corporation.
  • S. Aneesh Sekhar would be Madurai Collector and S. Karmegam the Collector of Salem. K. Balasubramaniam would be the Collector of Cuddalore, according to a G.O. issued by Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu. While S. Sivarasu would be Tiruchi Collector, S. Divyadharshini has been posted as Collector of Dharmapuri. As per another G.O., Alby John Varghese is the new Deputy Commissioner (Health), Greater Chennai Corporation, J. Meghanatha Reddy would be Deputy Commissioner (Works) and Raja Gopal Sunkara Regional Deputy Commissioner (South).
  • Vishu Mahajan has been appointed Deputy Commissioner (Revenue & Finance), a post so far held by Mr. Reddy.

Govt. Lays Out Procedure to Rehabilitate Children who Lost Parents to COVID

  • The government has laid out a procedure for rehabilitation of children who lost their parents to COVID-19.
  • The public notice by the Women and Child Development Ministry comes amid reports that several messages offering children, who have lost their parents to COVID, for adoption are circulating on social media.
  • Advising the public to refrain from engaging or encouraging such action, which is in contravention to legal provisions, the WCD Ministry has laid out a lawful procedure of rehabilitation of children who lost their parents to COVID-19.
  • The CWC shall ascertain the immediate need of the child and pass appropriate orders for rehabilitation of the child, either to restore the child to caregivers or place her/him in institutional or non-institutional care, on case to case basis," the WCD Ministry said in a public notice.
  • The ministry further said that effort will be made to sustain the children in their family and community environment as far as possible while ensuring their safety in their surroundings and safeguarding their interest, as prescribed under the Juvenile Justice Act.
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Replacing Rafales, France, Germany and Spain Strike Deal over Joint Fighter Jet

  • France, Germany and Spain have brokered a deal over the next steps of the development of a joint fighter jet, Europe's largest defence project at an estimated cost of more than 100 billion euros ($121.38 billion).
  • France's Dassault Aviation, Airbus and Indra - the latter two representing Germany and Spain respectively - are involved in the scheme to start replacing French Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighters from 2040.
  • The next development phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is expected to cost 3.5 billion euros ($4.25 billion), to be shared equally by the three countries.
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Eminent Tamil Writer Ki Rajanarayanan Passes Away

  • Ki. Rajanarayanan the grand old man of modern Tamil literature and winner of Sahitya Akademi award, died in Puducherry. He was 98.
  • Born in Idaiseval near Kovilpatti, Rajanarayanan popularly known as Ki.Ra, moved to Puducherry in 1989 after his appointment as the professor of folklore of the Tamil Department of Pondicherry University.
  • A pioneer in writing stories in dialects, Ki. Rajanarayanan also authored a dictionary of dialect — Karisal Kaatu Sollagarathi — which paved way for similar dictionaries from other regions of the state.
  • He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1991 for his novel 'Gopallapurathu Makkal' depicting the Telugu people who had migrated to southern parts of Tamil Nadu. It was followed by another novel 'Andaman Naicker.'

Poondi K. Thulasiah Vandayar Passes Away

  • Veteran Congressman and educationalist Poondi K. Thulasiah Vandayar passed away at the age of 92 due to age-related health problems.
  • A scion of the Vandayar family of Poondi, near Thanjavur, which founded the A. Veeriya Vandayar Memorial Sri Pushpam College to educate the rural masses in 1956, he shouldered the responsibility of running the institution till his death.
  • He had served as the president of Thanjavur District Congress Committee in the 1970s and was a Member of Parliament representing Thanjavur constituency from 1991 to 1996.
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World AIDS Vaccine Day

  • World AIDS vaccine day is observed each year on May 18 across the globe. The day is commemorated to recognize the efforts of thousands of scientists and health professionals who are tirelessly working to find a vaccine against the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The day is also addressed as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, which is aimed at increasing awareness regarding the need for HIV vaccines to prevent the spread of HIV infection and AIDS.
  • World AIDS Vaccine Day is a day to honour those healthcare workers, scientists, and volunteers who have contributed their lives in order to obtain an effective and safe AIDS vaccine. The day was celebrated in May 1998 for the first time after President Bill Clinton gave a speech at Morgan State University in 1997 where he stated that a vaccine was the only way to limit the spread and eventually wipe out HIV.
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Kobe Bryant Inducted Posthumously Into Basketball Hall of Fame

  • Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant was inducted posthumously into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday part of a star-studded group that also included Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Bryant was inducted as part of the Class of 2020, almost 16 months after he and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash along with seven others in southern California. Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, took the podium.
  • Bryant and the others were voted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class, but the formal induction ceremony was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant retired in 2016; he was the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008 and a five-time NBA champion.

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank Receives 'International Invincible Gold Medal'

  • The "International Invincible Gold Medal" of this year has been conferred on Union Education Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
  • Dr. Tony Nader, president of Maharshi Organisation worldwide, said that Nishank has been recognised for his extraordinary commitment and outstanding service to humanity through his writings, social and illustrious public life. The decision was made after due deliberations by a high-powered committee duly constituted under the leadership of Dr. Tony Nader who is the global head of the organisation.
  • The honour was announced at a two-day virtual session which was attended by representatives from over 110 countries. The award will be formally presented to the union minister on Guru Purnima this year (2021).
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Tripura Launches 24x7 Dedicated Educational Channel

  • Fourteen months into the pandemic, Tripura launched 'Vande Tripura', a 24×7 dedicated educational channel to offer lessons on the school syllabus and cover the educational loss incurred in the last 14 months of the pandemic, as schools, colleges and other educational institutions are shut down to break the chain of transmission.
  • Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said that the channel was conceived as the first-ever initiative of its type to enable students in getting their lessons despite the shutdown in educational institutions.
  • Launched, Vande Tripura has started with recorded lessons. It would shift to live classes, discussions on different academic topics, educational news and different information relating to the education department and directorate from June 1.

Jamia Millia Islamia Releases E-prospectus for academic session 2021-22

  • The Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) launched e-prospectus for the academic session 2021-22. The prospectus containing information about admission to various undergraduate, postgraduate, BTech, BArch, diploma, advanced diploma, postgraduate diploma courses has been uploaded on the university's website and portal of the controller of examinations at
  • The online application form must be submitted by June 30, 2021. The correction window will be available from July 1-5, 2021.
  • The entrance test for 134 courses will begin on July 26 and conclude on August 28, 2021, and the last date for submitting the qualifying exam result is September 30, 2021.
  • The university will offer the fllowing 8 new courses from the coming academic session:
  • Master of Design in the Faculty of Architecture, BA (Hons.) French and Francophone Studies in Centre of Spanish and Latin American Studies, BA (Hons.) Spanish and Latin American Studies in Centre of Spanish and Latin American Studies, MSc Environmental Science & Management, MA Mass Media (Hindi) in the Department of Hindi, PG Diploma in Translation Studies in the Department of English, PG Diploma in English-Hindi Translation in the Department of Hindi and MBA (Healthcare & Hospital Management).
  • The university is also starting four new departments from the coming session – (1) Department of Design and Innovation (2) Department of Hospital Management and Hospice Studies (3) Department of Foreign Languages and (4) Department of Environmental Sciences.

Haryana Declares Black Fungus a Notified Disease

  • Black Fungus has been categorised as a notified disease in Haryana, making it imperative that government authorities be informed about each case. This will allow in the tracking and management of an outbreak. The COVID-19 pandemic in India has catalysed the spread of black fungus or mucormycosis, which can disfigure people even when it is not fatal. Declaring a disease notifiable helps collate information and lets authorities monitor the disease and set off early warnings.
  • "Black fungus" mainly affects people on medication for other health problems that reduce their ability to fight environmental pathogens, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research. The COVID-19 pandemic in India has catalysed the fungal infection into a dangerous disease disfiguring scores and even killing some.
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Galapagos Islands: Erosion Fells Darwin's Arch

  • A famous rock formation off the Galapagos Islands known as Darwin's Arch has collapsed.
  • The Ecuadoran Ministry of Environment said that it was due to natural erosion.
  • The collapse of Darwin's Arch, the attractive natural bridge was less than a kilometre from the main area of Darwin Island.
  • The formation, named after the English biologist Charles Darwin, is considered a top diving location.
  • The Galapagos Islands, 563 miles (906km) west of continental Ecuador, are a Unesco World Heritage site renowned worldwide for their unique array of plants and wildlife.
  • The archipelago is made up of 234 islands, inlets and rocks. Four of them are home to some 30,000 people.

Rare Silver Coin Portraying King Charles I Discovered in Maryland

  • An almost 400-year-old silver coin found in a field in Maryland suggests that the remains of a nearby fort are all that's left of one of the earliest English colonial settlements in the Americas, archaeologists said.
  • The coin is a silver shilling — worth the equivalent of maybe $8 in the 17th century — that portrays a likeness of the English king Charles I. Research shows it must have been minted in London in about 1633 — more than a decade before Charles was executed by his Parliamentarian enemies in 1649, during the English Civil War.
  • The coin indicates the underground remains of the structure where it was found are from the very first colonial fort built in 1634.
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A book "Sikkim: A History of Intrigue and Alliance"

  • The book "Sikkim: A History of Intrigue and Alliance", published by HarperCollins India, released on May 16, which is celebrated as Sikkim Day. Former diplomat Preet Mohan Singh Malik combines insights into the unique history of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim with the intriguing story of how it became India's 22nd state in his new book. The objective of the book is to clarify and establish the primacy of strategic issues that lay behind India's decision to accept the demand that Sikkim is merged with India.
  • Sikkim remains significant from a strategic point of view, given its proximity to Tibet and the crucial Siliguri Corridor that connects India's northeastern states with the rest of the country. Sikkim also remains an enigma for most, with many misconceptions about its history and its merger with India in 1975.
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