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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

23 Jun 2021


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China to Hold Asia Pacific Ministers Meet

  • China has convened a key ministerial conference of Asia Pacific countries to discuss cooperation of its Belt Road Initiative (BRI), days after G7 countries headed by the US announced plans to 'Build Back Better World' (B3W) to counter Beijing's multi-billion-dollar infrastructure development initiative.
  • The Group of Seven (G7) comprising the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Japan at their London conference on June 12 agreed to launch B3W to counter China's growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that would rival the BRI project.
  • This is a high-level international conference on the Belt and Road Initiative with a wide range of participants, which reflects the high priority all parties attach to and support they lend to BRI.

UK Pushes on with Talks to Join Pacific Trade Partnership

  • The UK launched negotiations to join a trade partnership in and around the Pacific Ocean, as it explores new opportunities around the world following its departure from the European Union.
  • The British government said that the negotiating teams will be working over the coming months to join the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is home to around half a billion people.
  • As per the UK, joining the free trade area would deepen ties with fast-growing economies across Asia-Pacific and the Americas, including Mexico, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Big Blow to PM Oli as SC Quashes Appointment of 20 Cabinet Ministers

  • The Supreme Court has cited Article 77 (3) in its ruling to quash the appointments. It states if the Office of the Prime Minister falls vacant after the PM fails to win a vote of confidence or resigns, the same Council of Ministers shall continue to act until another Council of Ministers is constituted.
  • The House of Representatives was dissolved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari in May on the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli.
  • The political crisis deepened in Nepal after the Supreme Court quashed the appointment of 20 ministers by beleaguered Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli, invalidating his two Cabinet expansions since the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
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Odisha Only State to Have All Three Species of Crocodiles

  • Odisha has the singular distinction of being the only state in India to boast of three species of crocodiles. It has freshwater gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) at Satkosia in Mahanadi, mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) in Similipal and saltwater crocodiles in Bhitarkanika National Park.
  • And now it is time for the State to rejoice since after 1975, when gharials were introduced in rivers, Odisha sees the natural nesting of these reptiles. For the first time 28 hatchlings were spotted in May 2021 end in the Mahanadi, in the Baladamara area near Satkosia range.
  • Considering the significance of the event, officials have been monitoring them closely since, with round-the-clock surveillance with drones.
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Wipro Lighting, IoT Firm Enlighted Tie Up

  • Smart lighting solutions provider Wipro Lighting, a part of the over $1-billion Wipro Consumer Care Ltd, has partnered with IoT solutions company Enlighted to deliver smarter workplaces. The Bengaluru-headquartered company has earlier partnered with global majors such as Schréder and Cisco in the space.
  • Both the parties are integrating their solutions and technologies to create smarter buildings across multiple customer segments. Enlighted IoT sensors are being integrated with Wipro's future-ready luminaires, forming the backbone for Wipro's Smart Space Solutions.
  • Wipro Lighting is a pioneer in offering Smart & Connected solutions on the platform of Internet of Lighting (IoL) across various customer segments in India.

NCLT Clears Kalrock-Jalan Resolution Plan for Jet Airways with Riders

  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has cleared the Kalrock-Jalan plan to revive Jet Airways, while rejecting the consortium's demand for historicity of airport slots. The Naresh Goyal-founded airline was shut down in April 2019 under heavy debt.
  • The tribunal order comes exactly two years after the start of the insolvency proceedings. Jet is the first airline to see resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Even as the order paves the way for the grounded airline's revival, the resumption of operations hinges on negotiations between the consortium and the government on the issue of airport slots.
  • Jet Airways collapsed under a mountain of debt in April 2019. After two unsuccessful bidding rounds, the Kalrock-Jalan consortium was selected by a committee of creditors last October with over 99 per cent vote to restart the airline. Jalan is a Dubai-based NRI businessman and Kalrock Capital is a financial advisory and asset management company.

Malaysia Becomes India's Top Palm Oil Supplier

  • Malaysia has surpassed Indonesia to become the biggest crude palm oil (CPO) exporter to top consumer India in 2020/21, after Indonesia imposed heavy taxes on exports of the edible oil last year.
  • Malaysia's palm oil exports to India surged 238% to 2.42 million tonnes in the first seven months of 2020/21 marketing year started on Nov. 1, according to data compiled by The Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA), a trade body of Indian vegetable oil refiners and traders.
  • During the period, Indonesia's palm oil shipments to India fell 32% to 2 million tonnes.
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Network Platform, Software for 5G Wireless Networks by Intel

  • Reaffirming its position as the leading network silicon provider, Intel has unveiled Intel Network Platform along with new additions to its product portfolio for 5G and edge at the MWC 2021.
  • Intel Network Platform is a technology foundation that can reduce development complexity, accelerate time to market and help to ensure customers and partners can take advantage of the features in Intel hardware, from core to access to edge.

Airtel and Tata Group Team Up for 'Made in India' 5G Network Solutions

  • Bharti Airtel and Tata Group announced a strategic partnership for implementing 5G network solutions for India.
  • The announcement underscores a push for indigenous 5G solutions in India, as the world's second-largest telecom market gears up for fifth-generation mobile networks that would enable connecting virtually everything together including machines, objects, and devices at ultra-high speeds.
  • Notably, the partnership with Tata Group allows telecom operator Airtel to take head-on, rival Jio's pitch on homegrown 5G solutions. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is accelerating the rollout of digital platforms and indigenously-developed next-generation 5G stack.

Signs of Geological Activity Found on Venus

  • Scientists have found evidence that parts of Venus's surface move around like pieces of continent on Earth.
  • And while this activity is probably not driven by plate tectonics, as on Earth, it could be a "cousin" of that process.
  • The findings fit an emerging picture of a planet very much alive, in contrast to the traditional view of Venus.
  • Europe is launching a spacecraft, EnVision, to radar-map and gather spectroscopic measurements of the planet's surface and atmosphere.
  • And Nasa is sending two craft, Veritas and DaVinci+, to Venus, towards the end of this decade.
  • A team of researchers detected signs blocks of rocky crust in Venus's lowlands region had rotated and moved laterally relative to one another.
  • The researchers used data gathered by NASA's Magellan spacecraft, launched in 1989 and active until 1994, to map the surface structures, which they have named "campi", from the Latin for "field", "campus".
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Noida Shooting Range to be Named after Chandro Tomar

  • The Uttar Pradesh Government announced that the shooting rage in Noida will be named after Chandro Tomar, popularly known as 'Shooter Dadi'.
  • Chandro Tomar passed away on April 30 in Meerut.
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EAM Jaishankar Addressed UNSC Debate on Afghanistan

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar addressed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) debate on Afghanistan.
  • Earlier, India had noted the United States' decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and had expressed concerns over the probable increase in the violence and targeted killings in the war-torn country.

Assam Govt. Signs MoU with Survey of India

  • The Assam government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Survey of India for implementing the Svamitva scheme in the state, which aims to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural areas.
  • The MoU was signed between Assam, Director of Land Records and Surveys, Shantanu P Gotmare and Director Assam and Nagaland, Survey of India.
  • The Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj, and Assam Government's Department of Revenue and Disaster Management will implement the scheme with the support of the Panchayat and Rural Development.
  • Survey of India, as the technology partner, will take steps for survey of inhabited rural land by drone as well as establishment of ground based control stations to enable a detailed spatial database of properties in rural areas.
  • The Svamitva scheme was launched on a pilot basis on April 24, 2020, on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, and was rolled out across India on April 24 this year.

Gupkar Alliance to Attend Centre's All-party Meeting

  • The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) will attend the all-party convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The announcement came after PAGD leaders met at Abdullah's residence to discuss the Centre's invitation.
  • The leaders of the constituent parties, including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and CPI(M) leader M. Y. Tarigami who is also the National Conference president.
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BSF Holds Border Coordination Conference with Bangladesh

  • The border security forces of India and Bangladesh participated in a three-day Border Co-ordination Conference.
  • India's Border Security Force (BSF) and Bangladesh's Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) held the meet through a video conference.

IAF and Navy Conducts Exercise with US Carrier Group

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy are participating in an exercise with a US carrier strike group (CSG) in the Indian Ocean for two days.
  • As part of the exercise, Sukhois, Jaguars, IAF refuelling aircraft and warships and maritime patrol aircraft of the Navy are participating in the exercise.
  • The Navy's INS Kochi and Teg, along with P8I and MiG-29K aircraft are participating in a 'Passage Exercise' with US Navy CSG Ronald Reagan during its transit through Indian Ocean Region.
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Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari Appointed Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad HC

  • Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari has been appointed as the acting Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
  • The appointment of Justice Bhandari, the senior-most judge of the Allahabad High Court, was necessitated in view of the fact that current Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav was due to retire on June 25.
  • Bhandar served as the Standing Counsel for Railways, Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation, Nuclear Power Corporation, State Election Commission, Rajasthan University, all the Government Electricity Companies of Rajasthan, Jaipur Development Authority, Jaipur Municipal Corporation, Rajasthan Housing Board, Ganga Nagar Sugar Mills Ltd. and Rajasthan Agricultural University.

Legendary Carnatic Musician Parassala B. Ponnammal Passes Away

  • Legendary Carnatic musician and Padmashree awardee, Parassala B. Ponnammal, who enthralled classical music lovers for the last eight decades through her incredible concerts, passed away at the age of 96.
  • A doyen of Carnatic music, Ponnammal was a musician who had broken gender stereotypes in classical music and became the first woman student to enroll in the historic Swathi Thirunal College of Music here during the 1940s.
  • Ponnammal also scripted history by becoming the first woman faculty of the Swathi Thirunal College and the first-ever woman principal of the famous RLV College of Music and Fine Arts, Tripunithura.
  • Besides the Padma Shri in 2017, Ponnammal was also a recipient of several notable honours including the Lifetime Achievement Award instituted by Chennai Fine Arts, Sangeetha Prabhakara Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram, Sree Guruvayurappan Chembai Puraskaram and so on.

Upasana Kamineni Named 'Ambassador of Forest Frontline Heroes'

  • WWF India has inducted Upasana Kamineni, Director, Apollo Hospitals, as "Ambassador of Forest Frontline Heroes" with the aim to appreciate the efforts of frontline workers in hospitals and in the wildlife protection space. The focus of this will be on several states across the country covering most eco-regions.
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International Olympic Day

  • June 23 marks International Olympic Day.
  • International Olympic Day is organised by National Olympic Committees (NOCs) on 23rd June to celebrate the foundation of International Olympic Committee (IOC), established on 23rd June, 1894 in Sorbonne, Paris.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was found in 1894 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896.

United Nations Public Service Day

  • The United Nations Public Service Day is celebrated every year on 23rd June with the aim to appreciate the value of public service to the common people. It highlights the contribution and role of public service in the development process all over the world.
  • The UN Public Service Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly's resolution A/RES/57/277 of 2003.
  • This year (2021), the United Nations Public Service Day was celebrated under the theme "Innovating the Future Public Service: New Government Models for a New Era to Reach the SDGs".

International Widows Day

  • International Widows Day is observed on June 23 every year to draw attention towards the voices of widows and highlight their problems. It is a United Nations (UN) ratified day of action to address the poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in several countries of the world.
  • The day was established by The Loomba Foundation to raise awareness about the matter of widowhood.
  • June 23 was chosen to mark International Widows day as it was on this day in 1954 that Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, mother of Lord Loomba, became a widow.
  • The first International Widows Day took place in 2005 and was launched by Lord Loomba and Cherie Blair, the foundation's president.
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Odisha Launches Ashirbad Scheme

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched a new scheme -- Ashirbad -- under which those children who lost their parents to Covid-19 in the state will be provided financial assistance on a monthly basis.
  • Children who lost both their parents or the main earning member of the family on or after April 1, 2020, will be eligible to be covered under the scheme.
  • As per the announcement, Rs. 2,500 per month will be provided to the children who have lost both parents to Covid-19 and Rs. 1500 per month to those who have lost a single parent to the virus on or after April 1, 2020.
  • The amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of the guardians/caretakers of such children till they attain the age of 18. The assistance will not be provided in case the child has been adopted.
  • The beneficiaries will be included under the state government's Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana for availing free medical services and central/state food security scheme.
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SC Approves CBSE, ICSE's Evaluation Criteria for Class 12

  • The Supreme Court dismissed the petitions challenging the CBSE and the CICSE's decision to cancel Class 12 board examinations and also approved the assessment schemes proposed by the boards to evaluate students.
  • The top court dismissed all challenges to the assessment policies framed by the CBSE and the ICSE to evaluate class 12 students after the cancellation of exams due to coronavirus.
  • The top court upheld the submissions of the Attorney General, representing the Centre, that the schemes have been formulated by expert body. The bench said that all aspects were taken into account and decision regarding formulation of scheme was taken with holistic approach, to ensure that no candidate is prejudiced.
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