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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

16 Jun 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

China Warns NATO, Urges Dialogue

  • China warned the North Atlantic Treaty Organization it won't "sit back" in the face of any challenges, illustrating the potential for tensions to escalate while the U.S. tries to convince its allies to take a tougher approach to the Asian nation.
  • Beijing doesn't pose a "systemic challenge" to any countries, according to a statement on the website of its mission to the European Union that added NATO should not exaggerate China's military power.
  • The statement also urged NATO to push forward with dialogue and cooperation, and said the bloc should work to safeguard international and regional stability.
  • The comments from Beijing come after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that the alliance is "concerned by China's coercive policies, which stand in contrast to the fundamental values enshrined in the Washington Treaty" on which the bloc rests.

India 4th most Charitable Country

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has upended giving trends across the world as several western economies have slipped down the Index due to COVID lockdowns, as per the World Giving Index (WGI) 2021.
  • Released by the Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF), this year's survey highlights the impact of lockdowns on charitable giving, as the USA, Canada, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands -- all fell out of the highest rankings.
  • India is now in the top 20 most generous countries in the world, at 14. This is up from the 10-year global rank of 82. Only Australia and New Zealand, where the survey was undertaken in the weeks before the first wave of the pandemic took hold, maintained their top 10 rankings.
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ENVIRONMENT

Sustainable Development Report 2021

  • Sustainable Development Report was prepared and released by experts from UN Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN). The index compares how countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • This year, Finland was ranked highest in the index.
  • A Nordic country has ranked at the top of SDG Index for the first time.
  • Finland has topped even when COVID-19 has slowed down sustainable development process across the world.
  • As per Government, Finland has topped the index based on its achievements with respect to the goals related to poverty reduction, health, education, energy, water, peace, reduction of inequality and rule of law.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Coal India to Close Down 23 Unviable Mines

  • Coal India Limited has decided to close down 23 unviable mines, and it would help save the company around Rs. 500 crore considering all costs.
  • The world's largest miner has shut down 82 such mines in the last three-four years.
  • Those 23 mines, comprising open cast and underground ones, to be closed down were identified in the last fiscal.
  • Underground mines are a major focus for closures as they are not remunerative. Some 158 underground mines employ 43 per cent of the workforce, but contribute only 5 per cent of the total production.

Canara Bank to Buy 12% Stake in Bad Bank

  • Canara Bank said it will be the lead sponsor of National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd. (NARCL), or bad bank, with a 12% stake in the entity.
  • Bad bank refers to a financial institution that takes over bad assets of lenders and undertakes resolution.
  • The board of Canara Bank has given in-principle approval for taking stake in NARCL.
  • Following the board nod, the bank has sought the approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for participating in NARCL as a sponsor contributing 12% stake.

Ruchi Soya Buys Biscuits, Noodles Unit from Patanjali

  • Ruchi Soya Industries, a company now owned by Patanjali Ayurved, will use Rs. 2,663 crore from its share sale to repay part of its debt and utilise another tranche of Rs. 593 crore as working capital of the firm. 
  • Just before the follow-on public offer (FPO), the company has acquired biscuits and noodles units from entities owned by its promoters for around Rs. 65 crore.
  • The firm said 98.87 percent of its pre-issue paid-up capital is held by Patanjali Ayurved, Yogakshem Sansthan, Patanjali Parivahan, and Patanjali Gramudyog Nayas.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

China to Launch First Crewed Space Mission in Five Years

  • China will send three men into orbit in its first crewed mission in nearly five years, part of an ambitious plan to complete a space station by the end of next year.
  • China is expected to launch the crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12 on June 17 in Jiuquan in northwestern Gansu province.
  • The three astronauts are Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo.
  • Shenzhou-12, meaning "Divine Vessel", will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China's space station by the end of 2022. China began construction of the station in April with the launch of Tianhe, the first and largest of three modules.

Astronomers Discover Largest-known Spinning Structures in the Universe

  • According to a new study, tendrils of galaxies up to hundreds of millions of light-years long may be the largest spinning objects in the universe.
  • Celestial bodies often spin, from planets to stars to galaxies. However, giant clusters of galaxies often spin very slowly, if at all, and so many researchers thought that is where spinning might end on cosmic scales.
  • But in the new research, researchers found that cosmic filaments, or gigantic tubes made of galaxies, apparently spin. There are structures so vast that entire galaxies are just specks of dust. These huge filaments are much, much bigger than clusters.
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SPORTS

Ronaldo Becomes First Player to Feature in Five Euro Cup Finals

  • Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to feature in games at five Euro 2020 finals tournaments.
  • He achieved the feat after being named in Portugal's playing XI for the match against Hungary in Budapest.
  • Ronaldo has represented Portugal in five Euros and his first appearance came way back in 2004 when Portugal had hosted the tournament.

Shiv Naresh to Replace Li Ning

  • Indian apparel company Shiv Naresh has been roped in to replace Li Ning for sporting kits for the Tokyo-bound Indian delegation. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) dropped Li Ning unceremoniously after facing uproar for continuing with the Chinese brand apparel despite announcing the intention to cut ties last year after the Galwan Valley clash.
  • Shiv Naresh, one of the regular suppliers of sports kits before IOA's Rs. 6 crore contract with the Chinese company, will supply new kits for the India squad without any branding. The Sports Ministry has given its consent to refund the amount. It is understood that the IOA had to hand Li Ning over Rs. 20 lakh to break the contract.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Andhra CM Unveils Annual Credit Plan Outlay

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy unveiled the state's annual credit plan outlay of Rs. 2.83 lakh crore during the 215th state level bankers' committee (SLBC) meeting.
  • Out of the total credit plan, 54 per cent will be channelled into the agriculture sector, with a target to disburse loans worth Rs. 1.48 lakh crore. The state plans to provide Rs. 2.13 lakh crore as loans to the primary sector.
  • Despite the imposition of curfew in view of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Andhra Pradesh crossed the stipulated target of loan disbursement and 105 per cent of the target was achieved in priority sectors, including 114 per cent in agriculture sector.

Jaishankar, Sitharaman to Headline UK's India Global Forum

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were confirmed as the headline speakers at a global event that will lay out India's vision for post-pandemic growth.
  • India Global Forum, organised from London as a hybrid event between June 29 and July 1, will bring together a range of worldwide experts.
  • From India, other senior ministers set to address a host of sessions includes Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Women & Textiles Minister Smriti Irani.

Chirag Paswan Removed as LJP's National President

  • Chirag Paswan was removed from the post of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) national president after an emergency meeting of LJP national working committee.
  • The decision was taken at a meeting of five LJP MPs at the residence of Pashupati Kumar Paras in Delhi.
  • Notably, within a year of the demise of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) founder Ram Vilas Paswan, son Chirag is facing opposition from within the party.
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DEFENCE

Mazagon Dock to Deliver INS Visakhapatnam by October

    • Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDSL) will deliver the first of the four stealth guided missile destroyers to the Indian Navy by October and a Scorpene-class submarine by the end of the fiscal year.
    • The state-run company under the defence ministry, which has an order book of nearly Rs. 50,000 crore, will hand over Visakhapatnam-class (Project 15B) destroyer INS Visakhapatnam to the navy in the next 3-4 months.
    • INS Visakhapatnam is the first of the four destroyers MDSL is building at its site in Mumbai, which is also one of the largest that the Indian Navy will possess.
    • While INS Visakhapatnam is currently undergoing sea trials, three other destroyers of the same class – INS Mormugao, INS Imphal, INS Porbandar – are under various stages of development at MDSL.

India Opens Vacancies for Nepali Women in Military Police

  • In a first, the Indian Army has opened vacancies for Nepali women in Military Police. The announcement comes at a time when there are calls to abrogate the recruitment of Nepali youths in the Indian Army. The Army says that it wants to continue the recruitment of Nepali youths, both male and female, in a bid to widen the scope for the youngsters.
  • The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has released the announcement calling for eligible Nepali females to submit their application through the online.
  • As per the criteria those who have passed class 10, aged between 16 and 21 years or those who were born between October 1, 2000, to between April 1, 2004, and height above than 152 cm can apply. 
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DAYS AND EVENTS

US Senate Votes to Make Juneteenth a Holiday

  • The US Senate has unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in the nation, a federal holiday.
  • The measure now heads to the Democratic-led House, where it is all but certain to pass.
  • Democratic and Republican senators hailed the rare bipartisan measure in the evenly split chamber.
  • Juneteenth marks the day on 19th June 1865 when enslaved black people in Texas learned they had been freed.
  • Charles Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate, said: "Making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a major step forward to recognise the wrongs of the past, but we must continue to work to ensure equal justice and fulfil the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution."

International Day of Family Remittances

  • The International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and is observed on 16th June.
  • The IDFR recognises more than 200 million migrant workers, women and men, who send money home to over 800 million family members.
  • This day further highlights the great resilience of migrant workers in the face of economic insecurities, natural and climate related disasters and a global pandemic.
  • The IDFR is now globally recognised and is a key initiative in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Objective 20), which urges the reduction of transfer costs and greater financial inclusion through remittances.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Kathryn Bryce, Mushfiqur Rahim Named ICC Players of the Month for May

  • Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and Scotland all-rounder Kathryn Bryce have been named the ICC Players of the Month for May 2021. Both cricketers have received the awards following exemplary performances for their teams.
  • The ICC Player of the Month is a monthly award presented since January 2021 by the International Cricket Council to recognise cricketers, male and female, that have best performed across all forms of international cricket.
  • An independent ICC Voting Academy comprising former players, broadcasters and journalists from around the world team up with fans to vote for the ICC Men's Player of the Month and ICC Women's Player of the Month.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

'Medicines from the Sky': Project

  • E-commerce major Flipkart has partnered with Telangana government to lead a consortium tasked with the development and execution of the drone deliveries of medical supplies to remote areas under the 'Medicines from the Sky' project.
  • As part of the consortium, Walmart-owned Flipkart will deploy drones and enable deliveries of vaccines and medical supplies.
  • These efforts will be complemented with technologies such as geo mapping, routing of shipments and track and trace of location etc, developed by Flipkart over the years in serving millions of customers across the country.
  • The 'Medicines from the Sky' is a project conceived by the World Economic Forum and Healthnet Global Limited that outlines the requirements for drone delivery and how to assess proposals.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

English Medium Made Compulsory in All Degree Colleges of Andhra Pradesh

  • The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to make English medium compulsory across all government, private aided and unaided degree colleges across the state from the academic year 2021-22. 
  • The Department of Higher Education of Andhra Pradesh strongly feels that the introduction of English medium education at the undergraduate (UG) level would enhance the career prospects of graduates.
  • According to the findings in India Skills Report of 2019, English figured among the top three skills, along with learning agility and adaptability, that employers look for in India.

CBSE Inks MoU with NCEAR for Skill Development in Schools

  • CBSE signed an MoU with the National Council of Applied Economic Research for a project on skill development in schools. NCEAR will undertake a research study in two phases to provide appropriate advice to implement skilling in schools in accordance with the National Education Policy 2020.
  • The MOU was signed in the presence of Anita Karwal, Secretary (School Education & Literacy), Praveen Kumar, Secretary (Skill Development and Entrepreneurship), and CBSE Chairman Manoj Ahuja.
  • This study will analyze inputs from CBSE, compare the existing teaching and learning patterns to identify the gaps and issues with the current programme being run in CBSE schools and will focus on learning outcomes, relevance of the skills and their impact on pathways to work and future education.
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Innovation Ambassador Programme to Train Teachers

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has collaborated with All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to launch the innovation ambassador programme.
  • Under this, teachers from CBSE-affiliated schools will be trained on five modules – design thinking and innovation, idea generation and ideal hand-holding, intellectual property rights (IPRs), product/prototype development, finance, sales and HR.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Oprah Winfrey's New Book Club Pick is Novel 'The Sweetness of Water'

  • Oprah Winfrey's next book club pick is a debut novel set in Georgia at the end of the Civil War: Nathan Harris' The Sweetness of Water.
  • Harris said that he wanted to show what it was like in the South after slaves were emancipated. The Sweetness of Water takes place in the imaginary town of Old Ox, Georgia, and tells of two brothers, recently freed, who find work on a neighbouring farm run by a man who believes his son has been killed in the war.
  • Winfrey launched her first book club in 1996, and has been in partnership with Apple since 2019. She started her current club by selecting another novel about slavery in the 19th century, Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Water Dancer, and in previous years has picked such debut works as Ayana Mathis' The Twelve Tribes of Hattie and Lalita Tademy's Cane River.

Suresh Raina Releases his Autobiography "Believe: What Life and Cricket Taught Me"

    • Chennai Super Kings superstar batsman Suresh Raina has launched his autobiography titled 'Believe- What Life Taught me'.
    • The book has been published by Penguin and co-authored by Bharat Sundaresan, world-renowned, award-winning cricket writer currently based in Adelaide, Australia.
    • The cricketer shared a glimpse of his cricket career which included success, failure, injuries, setbacks, and how he came out on top of it.
    • He revealed how the BCCI, senior players, and scholarship from Air India helped him grow as a cricketer during student life.
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