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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

21 Jun 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ebrahim Raisi Wins Iran Presidency

  • Ebrahim Raisi Iran's hard-line judiciary chief won the country's presidential election in a landslide victory, propelling the supreme leader's protege into Tehran's highest civilian position in a vote that appeared to see the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic's history.
  • Former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati, a moderate viewed as a stand-in for outgoing President Hassan Rouhani in the election, came in third with 2.4 million votes. Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi was last with just under 1 million.

Swedish PM Set to Lose Confidence Vote

  • Stefan Lofven was set to become the first Swedish Prime Minister to lose a no-confidence vote, after failing in a last-ditch effort to secure majority support in parliament for proposed rent reforms.
  • The vote was called last week by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, after the Left Party, which Lofven relies on to pass legislation, withdrew its support over his plan to liberalise Sweden's rigid rent control system. Lofven's centrist Social Democrats have led a fragile minority government since poll in 2018, striking a deal on a broad reform programme with two centre-right parties. In one of many concessions to the Liberals and the Centre Party, he agreed to submit a proposal to parliament to abolish collective bargaining for rents for newly built apartments.
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ENVIRONMENT

'Doomsday Glacier' May be more Stable than Initially Feared

  • According to new findings led by the University of Michigan, the world's largest ice sheets may be in less danger of sudden collapse than previously predicted.
  • The study included simulating the demise of West Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, one of the world's largest and most unstable glaciers. Researchers modeled the collapse of various heights of ice cliffs—near-vertical formations that occur where glaciers and ice shelves meet the ocean. They found that instability doesn't always lead to rapid disintegration.
  • The new findings add nuance to a previous theory called marine ice cliff instability, which suggested that if the height of an ice cliff reaches a certain threshold, it can suddenly disintegrate under its own weight in a chain reaction of ice fractures. The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica—sometimes referred to as the "Doomsday Glacier"—is moving closer to this threshold and could contribute nearly 3 feet to sea level rise in the event of a complete collapse. At 74,000 square miles, it's roughly the size of Florida, and is particularly susceptible to climate and ocean changes.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

HDFC Bank to Buy Stake in HDFC ERGO

  • HDFC Bank's board has given its approval to buy more than 3.55 crore shares in group firm HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company for over Rs. 1,906 crore from the parent company Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC).
  • HDFC is the promoter and related party of the bank.
  • The purchase is to happen at a price determined on an independent evaluation report, subject to receipt of necessary approvals including regulatory approvals and approval from shareholders of the bank.

Max Life Ranks 18th amongst 'India's Best Companies to Work For'

  • Max Life Insurance Company Ltd. ("Max Life"/"Company"), has been ranked 18th amongst 'India's Best Companies to Work For' in 2021.
  • The Company has been bestowed upon this honour for the tenth time in the most comprehensive employee survey of workplace culture conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute.
  • Max Life has also been recognised amongst the top 30 'Best Workplaces in BFSI'; and retains its position amongst 'Top 50 Best Workplaces' for the fifth consecutive year of participation, as per the Great Place to Work Institute's ("GPTW") 2021 study. This year, the study covered more than 850 companies, out of which the Top 100 have been selected for the marquee recognition.

NTPC among Top 50 in 'Great Place to Work in India' List

  • NTPC has been recognised as a 'Great Place to Work' for the 15th year in a row by the Great Place to Work Institute.
  • NTPC is the only PSU to consistently feature in India's Top 50 Best Workplaces. This year NTPC ranked 38th, up from 47th position last year. It also won its first-ever recognition of India's Best Employers among Nation-Builders 2021.
  • The Great Place to Work (GPTW) Institute commended NTPC's employees for being the torchbearers of a high trust culture. The GPTW Institute highlighted NTPC's successful business and a great relationship with its employees and said that both consistency and compassion have led NTPC to feature in India's Top 50 Best Workplaces for the 15th year in a row.
  • Great Place to Work Certification is the most definitive 'Employer-of-Choice' recognition that organizations aspire to achieve. The Certification is recognized world over by employees and employers alike and is considered the 'Gold Standard' in identifying and recognizing Great Workplaces with High Trust and High Performance Cultures.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Senate Confirms Pam Melroy as NASA Deputy Administrator

  • The U.S. Senate confirmed former astronaut Pam Melroy as NASA deputy administrator, about six weeks after doing the same for space agency chief Bill Nelson.
  • Melroy's confirmation was never really in doubt. She received broad bipartisan support during her Senate confirmation hearing last month, and her resume is extremely strong.
  • Melroy served in the U.S. Air Force before joining NASA. She flew three space shuttle missions, piloting STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002 and commanding STS-120 in 2007. She is one of only two women, along with NASA astronaut Eileen Collins, to command a shuttle mission.
  • After retiring from NASA in 2009, she took several high-profile jobs in the aerospace and defense sectors. She worked at Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for example, and served as deputy director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
  • NASA was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
  • Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle.
  • The first administrator was Dr. T. Keith Glennan, appointed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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SPORTS

BCCI to Bid for 2025 Champions Trophy, 2028 T20 WC, 2031 ODI World Cup

  • Confident that it can easily host big-ticket tournaments every two years, the BCCI decided to bid for three global events - including two World Cups in shorter formats - during the next eight-year tournament cycle that starts from 2024.
  • As per reports, BCCI will bid for one Champions Trophy, a T20 World Cup and a 50-over World Cup in the cycle of ICC events.

Women's Archery Team Fails to Get Tokyo Ticket

  • World Cup champion Indian women's recurve team failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after a tame loss to lower-ranked Colombia in the final qualifiers.
  • It was the last opportunity for India to upgrade their single women's quota place to a team invitation. Deepika Kumari will be the sole entry in the women's section at the Games. India has already secured the men's team quota from the World Championships in 2019.
  • India had to finish among the top-three in a field of 28 to make the cut but the trio of world No. 3 Deepika, Ankita Bhakat and 19-year-old Komalika Bari was blanked 6-0 by Colombia.

Tendulkar Pips Sangakkara as the Greatest Test Batsman of the 21st Century

  • Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who holds the record for most Test and ODI runs as well as most centuries across the two formats, pipped former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara as the greatest Test batsman of the 21st century in a poll.
  • Both Kumar Sangakkara and Sachin Tendulkar are icons of the game but the vote, the winner of the greatest Test batsman of the 21st century, is my fellow Mumbaikar Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar," Gavaskar said in a video uploaded by Star Sports, who organised the poll in which cricket commentators and fans voted.
  • Tendulkar's 15,921 runs and 51 centuries are the most in Test cricket history.
  • The man nearest to him in the run-getters' list is former Australia captain Ricky Ponting who is 2,543 runs behind.
  • In terms of centuries, he is six clear of Jacques Kallis who has 45 Test tons.
  • Sangakkara, who has scored 12,400 runs and 38 centuries in Tests, is sixth in the list of all-time run-getters and fourth in the list of centurions.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Tamil Nadu Ranks 2nd after AP in New Job Creation under IBPS Scheme

  • The India Business Process Outsourcing Promotion Scheme (IBPS) launched by the Centre has facilitated expansion of several IT and BPO companies in tier-II and III cities across the country and Tamil Nadu has become the second State in new job generation, the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) said.
  • Under the IBPS Scheme, Andhra Pradesh is the highest in employment generation by creating 12,234 new jobs followed by Tamil Nadu at 9,401, while remaining was spread across Punjab, Odisha, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Bihar.
  • STPI, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is the executing agency for India BPO Promotion Scheme.

A. K. Sharma is UP BJP's Vice President

  • The Uttar Pradesh unit of Bhartiya Janata Party appointed its state MLC A. K. Sharma, a former IAS officer, as its state vice president.
  • The announcement of the new appointment was made by the BJP state unit's president Swatantra Dev Singh.
  • Singh also announced the appointments of Archana Mishra from Lucknow and Amit Valmiki from Bulandshahr as secretaries of the state unit.
  • BJP MLC A. K. Sharma is also considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India to Hold 2-day BRICS Meet on Green Hydrogen Initiatives

  • India is set to host a two-day summit on Green Hydrogen initiatives involving the BRICS nations.
  • The event offers a platform to share their respective Green Hydrogen initiatives and views on how to take it to the next level in their own countries.
  • The online event will be held via a video conference and will conclude on June 23.
  • The event will be anchored by India's state-run power major NTPC.
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DEFENCE

Russia to Develop SU 57 Fifth-generation Fighter for Export

  • Russian authorities plan to develop the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet in a two-seat version, making it the first in the current era of modern fighter jets.
  • Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Yuri Borisov, revealed that the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Sukhoi Design Bureau are planning to develop the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter with two seats in an export configuration.
  • The Ministry of Defense and the Sukhoi Design Bureau have plans to develop a two-pilot aircraft which will increase export demand for this model. And that could create additional demand.
  • Separately, Russian state technology company Rostec called the Sukhoi Su-57 the world's first two-seat, fifth-generation fighter aircraft, which they are currently developing for an export version.

JK Light Infantry Receives 'Victory Flame' in Commemoration of 1971 India-Pakistan War

  • As part of celebrations of 50 years of India's triumph over Pakistan in 1971 war, soldiers and war veterans at Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) Regimental Centre in Srinagar received the Victory Flame.
  • In commemoration of the event, Army Bands put up a spectacular performance of martial music, which was followed by a guard of honour to the Victory Flame, felicitation of veterans and Veer Naris. A wreath laying ceremony was also held for tribute to the martyrs of JKLI regiment.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra Passes Away

  • Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra died. He was 59.
  • A Gujarat cadre 1986-batch IAS officer, he was appointed to the DPIIT in August 2019.
  • Prior to joining DPIIT, Dr Mohapatra had served as the chairman of the Airport Authority of India (AAI). He had earlier been deputed as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

International Day of Yoga

  • The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on 21 June since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in his UN address in 2014, had suggested the date of 21st June, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares a special significance in many parts of the world.
  • On 11 December 2014, India's Permanent Representative Asoke Mukherji introduced the draft resolution in the United Nations General Assembly. The draft text received broad support from 177 Member States who sponsored the text, which was adopted without a vote.

World Hydrography Day

  • Observed annually on 21st June, the World Hydrography Day highlights the importance of hydrography and its relevance. This important day was approved and implemented by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) as an annual celebration. This year (2021), the IHO is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of its formation.
  • This day was observed and recognised because of the initiative of Monaco-based International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) that was founded in 1921. This organisation serves the purpose of facilitating talks between governments on issues related to navigation, technical standards and protection of marine life.
  • Every year the World Hydrography Day is observed under a certain theme, which is determined by the member states of IHO.
  • The theme for 2021 is "100 years of international cooperation in hydrography".
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

LTI Awarded Snowflake Global Innovation Partner of the Year

  • Larsen & Toubro Infotech, a global technology consulting and digital solutions company has been recognised as the Global Innovation Partner of the Year by Snowflake, the Data Cloud Company. LTI received this prestigious recognition during Snowflake Virtual Partner Summit.
  • The award represents a key milestone for the strategic partnership between LTI and Snowflake and will strengthen collaboration between the companies to empower enterprises with innovative solutions and services.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Assam to Implement Two-child Policy

  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the state government will gradually implement a two-child policy for availing benefits under specific schemes.
  • Sarma stated that the proposed population control policy will, however, not be applicable in all the schemes in Assam immediately as many of the benefits are offered by the central government.
  • He said, "There are some schemes for which we cannot impose the two-child policy, like availing free admission in schools and colleges, or houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana."
  • He added, "But, in case of some schemes, say if a housing scheme is launched by the state government, the two-child norm can be introduced. Slowly in later stages, the population norm will come in every state government scheme."
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Jamia Hamdard Organises Webinar on 'Effective Communication Skills'

  • Hamdard Institute of Legal Studies and Research (HILSR), Jamia Hamdard hosted a National Webinar on the topic 'Effective Communication Skills: Bridging the Gap' via Google Meet and YouTube Live.
  • The webinar was organised by Dr Mehar Fatima wherein the keynote speaker for the webinar was Prof. (Dr.) Shrimathy Venkatalakshmi (HOD, Dept. Of English, Anna University, Chennai).
  • The webinar was divided into 3 sessions: Inaugural, Session 1, Session 2 followed by audience interaction, e felicitation, and vote of thanks. The national Webinar was attended not only by students and scholars from India but also internationally, with over 150+ registrations. It was flooded with positive feedback, and therefore it was the culmination of valuable teachings and an unforgettable learning experience for the participants.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Tahira Kashyap Khurrana Announces New Book 'The 7 Sins of Being A Mother'

  • Filmmaker-writer Tahira Kashyap Khurrana announced her upcoming book about motherhood, titled 'The 7 Sins of Being A Mother'.
  • This is her fifth book and the second she wrote amid the pandemic.
  • Last year, the filmmaker had released '12 Commandments of Being A Woman', which she finished writing during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
  • The writer has also penned books like Cracking The Code: My Journey in Bollywood and Souled Out.
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ART AND CULTURE

Art Becomes Form of Protest against Olympics

  • Miwako Sakauchi stands in her studio and brushes spinning swirls on torn cardboard and drawing paper, using the five colors designated as symbols of the modern Olympiad.
  • Titled 'Vortex', her paintings show the "anger, fear, sense of contradiction and state violence" over the residents evicted and the trees felled so enormous Olympic stadiums could be built.
  • One little-recognised outlet where people have expressed their frustration and fear over the Olympics has been art.
  • T-shirts, drawings and other artwork have become a form of protest over the decision to hold the Games against medical advice and the public's opposition. Officials have responded in some cases by demanding the sometimes satiric art and merchandise be removed, and the artists say their freedoms are being curtailed.
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