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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

17 Jun 2021


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Leftist Castillo Wins Popular Vote in Presidential Race

  • Leftist candidate Pedro Castillo has won the most votes in Peru's close-run presidential run-off election.
  • With all ballots now counted, Mr. Castillo has just over 50% of the votes - 44,000 more than right-wing contender Keiko Fujimori.
  • But Mr. Castillo cannot be declared the winner until electoral authorities have finished processing a slew of legal challenges brought by Ms. Fujimori.
  • She has claimed electoral fraud, but has not provided any detailed evidence.
  • Electoral observers, including the Organisation of American States, have said they have found no irregularities. Castillo's Free Peru party has also rejected accusations of fraud.
  • More than 18.8 million Peruvians cast their votes in this year's race - a turnout of nearly 75%. Observers have said it could take weeks to deliberate over Ms. Fujimori's legal challenges and formally announce a winner.

Biden Names Lina Khan as Chairwoman of FTC

  • President Joe Biden named Lina Khan Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, an unexpected move that puts one of the most prominent advocates of aggressive antitrust enforcement against U.S. technology giants in charge of the agency.
  • News of Khan's appointment came hours after the Senate confirmed her for a seat on the FTC by a vote of 69-28. She will take over the agency from Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who has been a commissioner for three years and had been expected by some to be tapped by Biden to lead the agency permanently.

Biden and Putin Praise Geneva Summit Talks

  • The presidents of the US and Russia have praised their talks in Geneva but have made little concrete progress at the first such meeting since 2018.
  • Disagreements were stated, said US President Joe Biden, but not in a hyperbolic way, and he said Russia did not want a new Cold War.
  • The talks lasted around three hours, less time than was scheduled.
  • Mr. Biden said they did not need to spend more time talking and there was now a genuine prospect to improve relations with Russia.
  • The two sides agreed to begin a dialogue on nuclear arms control. They also said they would return ambassadors to each other's capitals - the envoys were mutually withdrawn for consultations in March, after the US accused Russia of meddling in the 2020 presidential election.
  • However, there was little sign of agreement on other issues, including cyber-security, Ukraine and the fate of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a penal colony.
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Govt. Okays Proposal to Roll out Project to Explore Deep Ocean for Resources

  • The Centre approved a proposal to roll out a "deep ocean mission" to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.
  • The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This will support the blue economy and take India into a new era.
  • The proposal for launching the "deep sea mission" came from the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Under the mission, a mineral study will be conducted 6,000 metres deep in the ocean. The mission will also study the changes, if any, noticed due to climate change.
  • A study will also be conducted on more deep sea biodiversity.
  • An advanced marine station will be set up for ocean biology under the mission. There will also be an offshore thermal energy centre, which will help new emerging sectors.
  • After the US, Russia, France, Japan and China, India will be the sixth country to have this kind of technology.

Egyptian Vulture Seen in UK for First Time in 150 Years

  • An Egyptian vulture has been seen in the UK for the first time in what is believed to be more than 150 years.
  • Described as a "once-in-a-century" sighting, it is thought it may have come to the Isles of Scilly from Northern France.
  • If the incredibly rare sighting is confirmed to be a wild bird, it would be the first since 1868, say experts.
  • There have been two official sightings recorded in the UK - one in Somerset in 1825 and another in Essex in 1868.
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NV Capital Launches First Credit-fund for Media

  • NV Capital launched its maiden media & entertainment credit fund, making it the country's first such fund focused on the sector, with the objective of investing in Content creators, OTT platforms, gaming and entertainment startups.
  • Founded by industry professionals and ex-bankers Nitin Menon and Vivek Menon, NV Capital recently received SEBI's nod as a Category-II alternative investment fund. NV Capital is looking to raise funds from domestic as well as offshore investors such as financial institutions, HNIs, family offices and banks.

Kirloskar Brothers Sets up New Manufacturing Division for Tech Products

  • Leading pump manufacturing company Kirloskar Brothers Limited (KBL) has set up a new manufacturing division in Maharashtra for high-end technology products, primarily used for nuclear applications.
  • Named as the Advanced Technology Product Division (ATPD), the new manufacturing division is based at the company's mother plant at Kirloskarvadi, in Maharashtra.
  • KBL is the first and leading manufacturer of primary and secondary sodium pumps for Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) in India. It is also among the only few providers of primary heat transfer pumps for the nuclear sector.

ICICI Bank Offers Digital Banking Solutions to Corporates

  • Private sector lender ICICI Bank has started providing digital banking solutions to corporates and their ecosystem comprising partners, dealers, promoters and employees through "ICICI Stack". These services will be backed by branches across the country. The lender has already opened 8 such branches.
  • This is an extension of similar services the lender started providing towards the close of 2020 to multinational companies setting up shop and doing business in India.
  • The bank aims to become the preferred banking partner for companies and their entire ecosystem. It will provide customised digital banking services to companies in over 15 leading industries-- such as financial services, IT/ITES, pharmaceuticals and steel, among others.
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Google Brings New Search Console 'Insights' Tool

  • Google is rolling out a new Search Console Insights tool that provides creators with an overview of how their content is performing.
  • The new feature makes it easier to understand how content resonates with readers. It is aimed at all levels of technical expertise with a user-friendly interface for understanding performance.
  • The tool features high-level charts and cards showing stats for "Your new content" and "Google Search".
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Vinesh Phogat Clinches Gold Medal in Poland Open

  • Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat won the gold medal in the 53 kg category at the Poland Open. It is her third title of the season. Earlier, She had won gold at the Matteo Pellicone event (March) and Asian Championship (April). She defeated Ukraine's Khrystyna Bereza in the final. Khrystyna Bereza won the silver medal at the Poland Open. Earlier, Indian wrestler Anshu Malik pulled out of the 57 kg competition due to fever.

Federer Fails to Make Halle Open Quarterfinals for 1st Time

  • Roger Federer failed to reach the Halle Open quarterfinals for the first time when Félix Auger-Aliassime rallied from a set down to stun the former champion 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the second round.
  • Auger-Aliassime is 19 years younger than the Swiss great, who has won the Halle tournament a record 10 times. Both share the same birthday – August 8.
  • Federer had been going for his 18th quarterfinal in as many appearances at the grass-court tournament, but was unable to deal with his young opponent's change of tactics in the second set.
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Drone Survey Mandatory for All National Highway Projects

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) mandated the use of drones for monthly video recording of all national highway projects during their different stages of development, construction, operation and maintenance.
  • NHAI has mandated that contractors and concessionaires will carry out the drone video recording in the presence of the Supervision Consultant, and upload comparative of the current and last month on NHAI's portal 'Data Lake', capturing all project-related developments in a month.
  • Supervision consultants will analyse these video recordings and provide their inputs/comments in the digital monthly progress reports covering various aspects of the project development.

R. Selvam is Speaker of Puducherry Assembly

  • BJP legislator R. Selvam was elected unopposed as Speaker of the Puducherry Assembly.
  • Pro tem speaker K. Lakshminarayanan announced the election of Selvam as Speaker of the House.
  • Selvam was elected to the House from Manavely constituency and he is among the first legislators.
  • Selvam is the 21st Speaker of territorial Assembly.

DMK Demands Separate Bypolls to Three RS Seats

  • DMK Parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu urged the Election Commission of India to conduct separate byelections to the three Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu without further delay.
  • The vacancies have been caused by the death of AIADMK member A. Mohammedjan and the election of two other members R. Vaithilingam and K.P. Munusamy to the State Assembly in the 2021 election.
  • The delay impedes Tamil Nadu from being adequately represented in the Rajya Sabha, and goes against the spirit of democracy and goals enshrined in the Constitution.
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Ordnance Factory Board Scrapped

  • In a major decision of the Union Cabinet, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), first set up by the British in 1775, now under the Ministry of Defence will cease to exist.
  • Seven separate companies are planned to be created, each doing a specific manufacturing role. The existing 41 factories under the OFB will be subsumed under one or the other of the seven new companies, all 100 per cent government owned public sector undertakings (PSU).
  • The seven new – yet to be named—PSU entities will cover a separate sector. One will be the 'Ammunition and Explosives group'. This will engage in production of ammunition of various calibre and explosives, not only for the Make in India initiative but also for exports.
  • The 'Vehicles group' would engage in production of defence mobility and combat vehicles such as Tanks, Trawls, BMP and Mine Protected Vehicles.
  • 'Weapons & Equipment group' would engage in production of small arms, medium and large calibre guns and other weapon systems. This was expected to increase the share in the domestic market through meeting domestic demand as well as product diversification.
  • The other four companies would be 'Troop Comfort Items group', 'Ancillary group', 'Opto-Electronics group' and 'Parachute group'.
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Jewellery Chain Ropes in Dutee Chand as Ambassador

  • Jewellery retail chain Senco Gold & Diamonds has signed the current national champion in the women's 100 metre event, Dutee Chand, as its new brand ambassador.
  • The national champion will promote Senco Gold & Diamonds' new light-weight jewellery range 'Everlite'. The 85-year-old brand, one of India's largest jewellery retail chains, is celebrating Pride Month.
  • The brand has unveiled a new range of Everlite jewellery named the 'Love is Love Collection' that offers a range of rings, ear-studs, chains and pendants in gold and diamond for daily wear as well as for occasions. Headquartered in Kolkata, Senco Gold & Diamonds has more than 100 stores across India and is the largest jewellery retail chain from Eastern India.
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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

  • The United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the presence of desertification and drought, highlighting methods of preventing desertification and recovering from drought. Each year's global celebration has a unique, novel emphasis that had not been developed previously.
  • This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/49/115 on January 30, 1995, after the day when United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is drafted.
  • Each year World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought has a theme, the theme for 2021 is 'Restoration, land and recovery. We build back better with healthy land'.
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Student Film of AJKMCRC Jamia Millia Islamia Wins LIAFF

  • An AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (AJKMCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) student film Dhaai Peher (Two and a Half Moments) directed by M.A. Mass Communication students Amal Devasiya, Danish Qazi, Jamshad Ali, Kashif Shakeel and Pankaj Rawat won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the L'Age d'Or International Arthouse Film Festival (LIAFF) in the student category.
  • The film is about a set of events that unravel in the Punjab of the 1990s. The film was made during the Covid-19 pandemic at a time when access to outdoor locations was limited and Punjab had to be created in and around Delhi.
  • The purpose of LIAFF is to develop a film culture that inspires and brings together cross-cultural innovations that enrich people's lives with entertainment and services that inform, educate and entertain.
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IIT Bombay Hosts Conference of BRICS Network Universities 2021

  • The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) is hosting a three day virtual "Conference of BRICS Network Universities". This conference is being held as a part of India's Chairmanship of the 13th BRICS Summit in 2021. The basic objective of BRICS Network University is enhancing educational cooperation in general, and especially in the realm of research and innovation. The theme of the Conference of BRICS Network Universities is "Electric Mobility".
  • The event will see 18 experts from Brazil, Russia, India, China and S. Africa deliver keynotes on various aspects of electric mobility like traffic management, hydrogen technology, hybrid vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and linkage between e-mobility and livelihoods.
  • Around 100 students, researchers and faculty from the BRICS Network Universities of the five-member countries will participate in the conference.
  • The BRICS Network University is a union of higher education institutions of the five BRICS member countries. IIT Bombay is the lead institution of India for the BRICS Network University.
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Museum Dedicated to India's Maritime History to Come up in Gujarat

  • A museum dedicated to the country's 5,000-year maritime history will be set up in Gujarat's Lothal by the Culture Ministry in collaboration with the shipping and port ministry.
  • The two ministries signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Development of National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) at Lothal, Gujarat.
  • NMHC would be developed as an international tourist destination where the maritime heritage of India -- from ancient to modern times -- would be showcased and an edutainment approach using the latest technology would be adopted to spread awareness about the country's maritime heritage.
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Thomas Cook, SOTC Launch 'Travel First, Pay Later' Scheme

  • Thomas Cook India and SOTC are offering customers an option to pay after returning from their holidays and have introduced new safety protocols to attract customers.
  • The schemes address issues related to health and hygiene during travel and also of financial risk of booking trips during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Customer travel expenses will be funded by a financial institution under the 'Holiday First Pay When You Return' scheme. Thomas Cook and SOTC have tied up with an institution which will carry out quick due diligence and assess credit worthiness of a potential customer. There will be no additional charges payable to the institution apart from the tour cost.
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