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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 Jun 2021


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Boris Johnson's Party Loses Blue Wall Seat

  • In a surprising result, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party was defeated in a special election for a seat that it has held for decades.
  • The Liberal Democrats, which was in a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015 before seeing its electoral fortunes wane dramatically, won the election in Chesham and Amersham, 57 km northwest of London.
  • Sarah Green, the Liberal Democrat candidate, picked up around 57 per cent of the vote and won a seat the Conservatives have held since it was created in 1974.
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India-Bhutan Ink MoU to Cooperate in Areas of Environment

  • India and Bhutan have signed a MoU to develop cooperation between two countries in the area of environment.
  • MoU was signed virtually by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.
  • It will open new vistas of bilateral cooperation in the area of climate change, waste management etc.
  • MoU will act as a platform to enhance Indian and Bhutanese partnership & support and exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air Pollution, Chemical Management, Waste Management, Climate Change, etc.
  • It also provides the possibility to have joint projects in areas of mutual interest.
  • It seeks to strengthen technological, scientific & management capabilities and expand areas of cooperation in the area of environment so as to promote a mutually beneficial partnership.
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PhonePe Launches Auto Top-up Feature for its Wallet

  • Walmart backed PhonePe launched an auto top-up feature for its payment wallet, using UPI e-mandate. This feature will allow customers of PhonePe to set up a UPI e-mandate once, post which the company will automatically top up their wallet balance when it falls below the minimum below.
  • PhonePe customers can now make multiple payments using their wallet, without having to top up their wallet balance manually each time. Once the UPI e-mandate has been set up, users don't need to enter any PIN or wait for an OTP each time they want to load their wallets or make a payment.

S&P Revises ICICI Bank Credit Rating Outlook

  • S&P Global Ratings revised the rating outlook on ICICI Bank Ltd to stable from negative on grounds that the lender will benefit from the sale of stake in subsidiaries.
  • The rating agency affirmed its 'BBB-' long-term and 'A-3' short-term issuer credit ratings on ICICI Bank.
  • "We revised the rating outlook to reflect our view that ICICI Bank will maintain its strong capital position over the next 24 months. The bank will benefit from the sale of a stake in subsidiaries and gradual normalization of earnings, which should reduce risks associated with its capital position," it said.
  • In a statement, S&P forecast that ICICI Bank will maintain a risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio of more than 10 per cent over the next 24 months.

IDBI Bank Invites Bids to Divest Stake in Asset Reconstruction Company

  • IDBI Bank plans to divest its stake in Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (Arcil) and has invited bids from interested parties.
  • IDBI Bank intends to sell 6,23,23,800 equity shares, constituting approximately 19.18 per cent of the total equity share capital of Asset Reconstruction Company (India) Ltd held by IDBI Bank.
  • Arcil was incorporated in 2002 and is owned by banks like SBI, IDBI, ICICI, PNB and strategic foreign investors such as Avenue India Resurgence Pte Ltd.
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Naomi Osaka Withdraws from Wimbledon

  • Women's world No. 2 Naomi Osaka has pulled out of this year's Wimbledon and has shifted her focus on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
  • The Japanese tennis star in May had withdrawn from the French Open citing mental health and revealing that she suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.
  • Prior to her withdrawal, Osaka was fined 15,000 dollars for skipping the press conference following her win in the first round in the French Open.
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India Abstains from Voting on UN's Myanmar Resolution, Supports ASEAN Initiative

  • India abstained from voting on the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA's) resolution for an arms embargo against Myanmar, saying its views were not reflected in the draft resolution before the Assembly passed it. The UN's resolution demonstrated widespread global opposition to the Myanmar military and demanded that the country's democratic transition be restored.

Political Parties in Kashmir Welcome PM's Initiative of Calling All-Party Meet

  • The political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed the Prime Minister's Initiative of calling an All-Party meet. The meeting is to be held on the 24th of June 2021. All the regional and national parties of Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed this step and said that dialogue is the only way forward.
  • This is the first time New Delhi has initiated a political process in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of article 370. The UT has been under President's rule since.
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Veteran Malayalam Poet-lyricist S Ramesan Nair Passes Away

  • S. Ramesan Nair, a prolific poet-lyricist who wrote songs for over 150 Malayalam films and dozens of devotional albums, passed away at a private hospital in Kochi at the age of 73.
  • Nair was a mainstay of Malayalam songwriting, especially in the 80s and 90s when he delivered hit numbers for composers like MG Radhakrishnan, Johnson, Ouseppachan, Berny Ignatius, Raveendran and Shyam. He made his way into Malayalam cinema in the year 1985 by writing songs for the film 'Pathaamudayam'.
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Father's Day

  • Father's Day is a holiday of honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic countries of Europe, it has been celebrated on 19 March as Saint Joseph's Day since the Middle Ages. In the United States, Father's Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd, and celebrated on the third Sunday of June.
  • Father's Day is a recognised Public holiday in Lithuania and some parts of Spain, and was regarded as such in Italy until 1977. It is a national holiday in Estonia, Samoa, and equivalently in South Korea, where it is celebrated as Parents Day. The holiday complements similar celebrations honouring family members, such as Mother's Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents' Day.
  • In India Father's Day is observed on the third Sunday of June (This year June 20). The event is not a public holiday. The day is usually celebrated only in bigger cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Kanpur, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune and others. It is a huge holiday in the North Eastern state of Nagaland where prayers are held in church on Sunday Services.

World Refugee Day

  • World Refugee Day is an international day organised every year on 20 June by the United Nations. It is designed to celebrate and honour refugees from around the world. The day was first established on 20 June 2001, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
  • The event aims to recognise the strength of the refugees who have fled the conflict and persecution of their country in hope of finding sanctuary and living a better life. World Refugee day builds the concept of understanding for their plight which shows one's resilience and courage in the rebuilding of their future.
  • The day is an opportunity for everyone to experience, understand and celebrate the rich diversity of the communities of refugees.
  • The theme for World Refugee Day 2021 is 'Together we can achieve anything'.
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IIM-Ahmedabad Launches New Centre for Leadership and Organisational Development

  • The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) announces launch the Ashank Desai Centre for Leadership and Organisational Development (ADCLOD). The centre has a group of 12 faculty members from varied disciplines such as communication, education, economics, human resource management, law, organisational behaviour, and strategy who are working on leadership and organisational development issues.
  • The centre plans to organise various events such as workshops, speaker series, panel discussions and annual leadership summit. It will also offer training, research, and consulting services to leaders at various levels in Indian and multinational organisations.
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Germans Returns Pre-Columbian Artifacts to Mexico

  • Mexico revealed that it had received 34 pre-Columbian artifacts that were owned by two German citizens. The two citizens, who were not identified but who live in western Germany, contacted the Mexican Embassy in Germany about returning the objects that had been owned by their families. The objects were handed over to the embassy.
  • The objects returned come from a vast spread of ancient cultures that once inhabited the lands of present-day Mexico, including ones based along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Central Highlands, Colima and southern Nayarit, and Mayan lands. Among the objects that were returned are bowls, vases, stamps, and various anthropomorphic sculptures. Those sculptures include a mask in metamorphic rock that most likely comes from the Olmec culture and dates to Mesoamerica's Preclassic Period (1200–600 B.C.E.) and two heads done in the Totonac style, dating to the Classic period (250–900 C.E.).

A Mesopotamian War Memorial Found in Syria

  • In northern Syria, researchers have discovered a burial mound that may be the world's oldest war memorial, according to a new study. Known as the White Monument, or Tell Banat North, the 72-foot high mound dates to the third millennium B.C.E. and derives its name from the material that was used to build it: gypsum, which glistens in sunlight.
  • The White Monument was long thought to contain the bodies of dead enemies—a practice well documented in ancient Mesopotamia. The idea was to bury enemy corpses in a large mound after battle so that "their corpses reach the base of heaven" as a symbol of both punishment and victory, according to the study, which was led by Anne Porter, a professor at the University of Toronto.
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