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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

15 Jun 2021


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Netanyahu Plots Comeback even Before New Government Sworn in

  • Benjamin Netanyahu, unseated after a bruising, two-year battle to hold on to his job, is already plotting a comeback.
  • The once-invincible Israeli leader was voted out of office after 12 uninterrupted years in power, replaced by a shaky governing alliance.
  • The new coalition will govern with the slimmest majorities -- commanding 61 of parliament's 120 seats -- and runs the gamut of Israeli politics: secular and religious factions, hawks and doves, free marketers and social democrats, and an Arab party for the first time in Israeli history.
  • Under a power-sharing agreement that allowed the new government to get off the ground, Bennett, a 49-year-old former Netanyahu ally, will serve until August 2023. He'll be replaced by centrist Yair Lapid, who was the main architect of this unlikely coalition and will lead the country through November 2025.

UK and Australia Agree Broad Terms of Trade Deal

  • The broad terms of a trade deal between the UK and Australia have been agreed.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian PM Scott Morrison agreed the deal at Downing Street.
  • This is the first trade deal to be negotiated from scratch since the UK left the EU.
  • It is seen as an important step towards the UK joining a wider Asia Pacific free-trade agreement.
  • The UK government has signed a long list of trade deals over the past year, but they have been rollovers of those the UK already had as part of the EU.
  • The new trade deal is expected to give UK and Australian food producers and other businesses easier access to each other's markets.

Ex-Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh Wins Presidential Election

  • Former Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh became the country's sixth democratically elected President, further consolidating the power of the ruling Mongolian People's Party(MPP).
  • Khurelsukh, who was forced to resign as Prime Minister after protests earlier this year, comfortably defeated Sodnomzundui Erdene of the opposition Democratic Party and Dangaasuren Enkhbat of the Right Person Electorate Coalition in a national vote.
  • Khurelsukh will replace incumbent Khaltmaa Battulga, who was denied an opportunity to seek re-election following controversial changes to Mongolia's constitution that restricted presidents to one term in office.
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Sterling and Wilson Solar Names Amit Jain as Global CEO

  • Sterling and Wilson Solar Limited (SWSL), part of the Shapoorji Pallonji group, announced the appointment of Amit Jain as global chief executive officer. He succeeded Bikesh Ogra.
  • Ogra would continue as a director on the company's board. Jain has been with Sterling and Wilson Solar Limited since January 2019 as the country head for the United States and Australia, which are now key markets for the company.
  • Jain would take over the global operations of the company and report to the board of directors. He would now be responsible for business development, market growth and the P&L for SWSL that has its operations across more than 25 countries.

JSW Cement Enters Construction Chemical Segment

  • Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Cement has entered the construction chemical sector with the launch of a unique green product range in the category.
  • The sector offers new opportunities for JSW Cement to combine innovation in concrete mix products with responsible construction, as the product range consumes less water during application.
  • Also, it replaces use of river sand during concreting with screen slag, thereby conserving natural resources and contributing to prevention of landslides, floods and air pollution.
  • This makes JSW Cement's construction chemical products, one of the most environment-friendly range currently available in the market.

PNB Housing Deal

  • The Carlyle Group along with other entities floated a "draft letter offer" with regard to an open offer for acquisition of over 7 crore equity shares representing 26 per cent stake in PNB Housing Finance.
  • This forms part of the proposed deal to invest Rs. 4,000 crore in the company through a preference issue.
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Europe Picks Categories for Three Flagship Space Missions

  • The European Space Agency (ESA) revealed the three broad science themes it wants to pursue for large-scale missions of €1 billion or more that would launch between 2035 and 2050. They include a close look at icy moons around Jupiter and Saturn, dissecting the atmospheres of nearby exoplanets, and new ways to study the formation of the universe's first stars, galaxies, and black holes.
  • ESA refreshes its slate of science missions roughly every decade or two. The current program, called Cosmic Vision, has three flagship missions that will launch before 2034: a spacecraft to study Jupiter's moons, an x-ray telescope, and a gravitational wave detector.
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WTC Final

  • According to the International Cricket Council, the winners of the much-awaited ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand will take home a purse of USD 1.6 million along with the ICC Test Championship Mace.
  • The losing team will get USD 800,000 for finishing second in the nine-team competition, which was played over a near two-year cycle.
  • The prize money for the team finishing third in the ICC World Test Championship Standings is USD 450,000. The team fourth on the table will be awarded USD 350,000, the one that finishes fifth gets USD 200,000 while the remaining four teams will get USD 100,000 each.
  • The Test Mace, previously given to teams topping the ICC Men's Test Team Rankings, will now be given to the WTC winners. In case the final ends in a draw or a tie, the finalists will split the prize money for the first and second places and share possession of the Mace during the time they remain champions.

Novak Djokovic Wins French Open 2021

  • Novak Djokovic won his 19th Grand Slam title after coming back from 2 sets down against 5th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open 2021 men's singles final at Roland Garros in Paris. Djokovic clinched glory after downing the spirited Grand Slam final debutant 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
  • Novak Djokovic, who played 18 sets since his fourth-round match, became the first man in the Open Era to win all 4 Grand Slams at least twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver had achieved the feat before Djokovic, but they did it before the Open Era commenced in 1968
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AAP Will Contest all Seats in Gujarat in 2022 Polls

  • According to the party's national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will contest all seats in Gujarat in the 2022 state Assembly elections.
  • The AAP Supremo on a one-day visit to Ahmedabad kicked off the Mission 2022 campaign.
  • During his visit, Kejriwal inaugurated the party's Gujarat state office in Ahmedabad.
  • The Gujarat House has 182 seats.

Pashupati Kumar Paras is Lok Janshakti Party Leader in Lok Sabha

  • Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Pashupati Kumar Paras has been notified as the new parliamentary leader of the party in Lok Sabha. A day after five LJP MPs met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and handed over a letter to him regarding the removal of party chief Chirag Paswan from the position of Lok Sabha Parliamentary party leader.
  • As per Paras, this step has been taken to save the party.
  • Paras is currently representing the Hajipur Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

S. Jaishankar to Visit Italy for G20 FMs Meet

  • India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will be in Italy's Matera on 29th June for the G20 Foreign minister's (FM) meet. Italy is the host of the G20 grouping this year and will hold the leader's summit in Rome on October 30th and 31st. 
  • Last year, G20 under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia held its meetings, including the leaders meet virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The G20 FMs meet will see the participation of FM of other countries as well. China, Russia, the US, UK, France, and others are part of the grouping and naturally, this will provide an occasion for several bilateral meetings as well.
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NATO Countries Ready to Collectively Respond to Attacks in Space

  • NATO leaders will expand the use of their all for one, one for all, collective defense clause to include attacks in space.
  • Article 5 of NATO's founding treaty states that an attack on any one of the 30 allies will be considered an attack on them all.
  • So far, it's only applied to more traditional military attacks on land, sea, or in the air, and more recently in cyberspace.

China, India, Pakistan Expanding Nuclear Arsenal

  • The number of nuclear warheads which are ready and deployed to fire have increased globally, while closer to home, China is in the middle of a significant modernisation and expansion of its nuclear weapon inventory.
  • As per the reports, India and Pakistan also appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals.
  • Swedish think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its "Yearbook 2021", which assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security. In this report is an 80-page detailed reference on nuclear weapons.
  • The world has nine declared nuclear-armed states — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the North Korea — which together possess an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021. This marked a decrease from the 13,400 that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2020.

India Sets Eyes on Russian Sprut Light Tanks

  • India has set its eyes on procuring the Russian-made Sprut-SDM1 light tanks, to counter China in the mountainous terrain along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and will also take part in the trials of the system starting late summer.
  • This will be a first for Russia because no other country has witnessed trials of a product that is under development.
  • India is keen on the 18-tonne Sprut because it shares the gun of the T-90 tank and fires the same kind of ammunition. India is currently operating T-90 and T-72 tanks, which are also Russian-origin, besides Arjun.
  • This will mean logistics and maintenance systems of the Sprut tanks will not have to be drastically different for the Armoured Corps.
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Biotechnology Company MyLab Appoints Akshay Kumar as Brand Ambassador

  • Bollywood superstar, Akshay Kumar has been appointed as the new brand ambassador of biotechnology company Mylab Discovery Solutions. This announcement comes days after the Pune-based firm launched the country's first COVID-19 self-test kit "CoviSelf".
  • The partnership with Akshay is aimed at creating awareness for Mylab's products and kits such as CoviSelf.
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Global Wind Day

  • World Wind Day or Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that is held every year on June 15. It is celebrated to inform about wind energy, it's power and the possibilities it holds to change the world.
  • World Wind Day is organised by WindEurope and Global Wind Energy Council. It is believed that wind energy may be able to change the world. National wind energy associations and companies involved in wind energy production organise events in many countries around the world.
  • Global Wind Day began in Europe in 2007 and globally in 2009.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

  • World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is dedicated to highlighting the issue of elder abuse. This day came into existence in June 2006 when a request was established to declare June 15 a special day for elders. But it was the year 2011 when the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  • The day was established after the UNGA officially acknowledged it in its resolution 66/127 in December 2011.
  • This year's theme for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is 'Access to Justice'. It serves as a reminder of the importance to fully address the needs of older persons who may seek recourse.

NATO Summit Held in Brussels

  • NATO has kept its citizens safe for over 70 years and will continue to adapt in this decade and beyond. At the NATO Summit in Brussels in June 2021, NATO Leaders took decisions on a wide range of topics to address the security challenges of today and tomorrow.
  • A NATO summit is a summit meeting that is regarded as a periodic opportunity for heads of state and heads of government of NATO member countries to evaluate and provide strategic direction for Alliance activities. 
  • NATO summits are not regular meetings like the more frequent NATO ministerial meetings, but rather are important junctures in the alliance's decision-making process on the highest level. Summits are often used to introduce new policy, invite new members into the alliance, launch major new initiatives, and build partnerships with non-NATO countries.
  • From the founding of NATO in 1949, there have been a total of thirty NATO summits; the last of which was the UK summit in Watford held in December 2019. Only the traditional summits have received an official number, thereby excluding the exceptional summit of 2001 in NATO headquarters.
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IIT Roorkee Wins NSG Award

  • A professor from IIT Roorkee, Prof. Shailesh Ganpule, has received the 'NSG Counter-IED & Counter-Terrorism Innovator Award 2021' for his design of a blast-resistant helmet. The award was conferred to the professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIED) in a ceremony held at NSG Campus, Manesar, Haryana.
  • Blast-induced traumatic brain injury has been identified as a signature wound in recent asymmetric conflicts. Military helmets are classically designed for protection against ballistic impact, with little to no attention for protection against blast.
  • The 'Blast-Resistant Helmet' designed by Prof. Shailesh Ganpule is an advanced version of conventional helmets to protect military personnel from IED-induced blast waves with a technology readiness of 4.
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Amazon India Announces Machine Learning Programme

  • Amazon India announced the launch of an integrated learning programme for students to learn applied Machine Learning (ML) skills, making them industry ready for careers in the new technology.
  • The programme, ML Summer School, has been introduced to help train students in ML and address the growing demand for talent with this skill set across various industries.
  • The curriculum of ML Summer School will cover the fundamental concepts in ML while linking them to practical industry applications through an immersive 3-day course.
  • Students will get to learn first-hand on how advanced ML techniques such as Deep Learning and Probabilistic Graphical Models can be leveraged to solve specific business problems in the e-commerce domain such as demand forecasting, catalogue quality, product recommendations, search ranking and online advertising.

IIT Ropar Develops Nation's First Power-free CPAP Device 'Jivan Vayu'

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device 'Jivan Vayu' which can be used as a substitute of CPAP machine. This is the nation's first such device which functions even without electricity and is adapted to both kinds of oxygen generation units like O2 cylinders and oxygen pipelines in hospitals. These provisions are not available in otherwise existing CPAP machines.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a treatment method for patients having breathing problems during sleep called sleep apnea. The machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open for easy breathing. It is also used to treat infants whose lungs have not fully developed. The machine blows air into the baby's nose to help inflate his or her lungs. The treatment is all the more necessary during early stages of the Covid-19 infection. It reduces lung damage and allow patients to recover from the inflammatory effects.

Weyan Village in Bandipora, India's First to Inoculate all Adults

  • Weyan, a village in district Bandipora (J&K) has become the first village in the country, where the entire population above 18 years has been vaccinated. The vaccination in Weyan village was covered under the J&K model, a 10-point strategy to inoculate everyone who is eligible for the shots at a faster pace.
  • The Union territory also achieved 70 per cent vaccination for those in the 45+ age group despite the initial vaccine hesitancy, almost double the national average. The village is located only 28 kilometres away from Bandipora district headquarters, but a distance of 18 kilometres has to be covered by foot as there is no motorable road.
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'Home in the World' Book: by Amartya Sen's Memoir

  • One of the world's leading public intellectuals of our time, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has penned his memoir 'Home in the World'.
  • The book will be published in July by Penguin Random House. In this book, Sen shares how it was Rabindranath Tagore who gave him his name Amartya.
  • He also reminisces the conversations at Calcutta's famous Coffee House and at Cambridge, and Marx's, Keynes' and Arrow's ideas all of which shaped his views.
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