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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

24 Jun 2021


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Warren Buffett Resigns as Trustee of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Warren Buffett resigned as a trustee at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the charity grapples with upheaval created by the divorce of its namesake founders.
  • Buffett has contributed more than $27 billion of his own money to the charity over the past 15 years. He's one of the Gates Foundation's three board members, alongside Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who announced last month they're splitting after 27 years of marriage. Buffett has no involvement in the endowment's investment decisions.

Sri Lanka's Former PM Wickremesinghe Returns to Parliament

  • Sri Lanka's former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as an MP for a record ninth consecutive time, creating history as the only politician in the country to have entered every Parliament since 1977.
  • The United National Party (UNP), which Wickremesinghe has been leading since 1994, suffered a major setback at the 2020 parliamentary polls when the party faced its worst election defeat in history.
  • Although Wickremesinghe was a defeated candidate in the August 2020 parliamentary election, his entry to Parliament was made possible by the solitary seat the UNP won – through the list of appointed members based on the cumulative votes polled nationally.
  • The 72-year-old four-time prime minister has now created history as the only parliamentarian to represent all parliaments since 1977.

Joe Biden Announces US Ambassador to Ireland Pick

  • Joe Biden has announced Claire Cronin as his nominee for the position of US ambassador to Ireland.
  • Ms. Cronin is a representative and majority leader in the state legislature of Massachusetts.
  • She is also a lawyer, and campaigned for President Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
  • As per Irish broadcaster RTÉ, she had been seen as the frontrunner for the position prior to the announcement.
  • The nomination will now be sent to the US Senate, with a confirmation hearing taking place and senators voting on her appointment.
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Glacier Melt in Himalayas to Increase Rapidly Till 2050

  • Snow and glaciers are melting rapidly in the Himalayan range due to climate change, altering water supplies in the rivers like Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra that flow through the Himalaya-Karakoram (HK) ranges.
  • According to a study, "Glacio-hydrology of the Himalaya-Karakoram," undertaken at the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, total river runoff, glacier melt, and seasonality of flow in these rivers are projected to increase until the 2050s, with some exceptions and thereafter is expected to decrease.
  • The HK region in South Asia, often called the water tower of Asia or the Third Pole is one of the most heavily glacierised mountain regions on Earth and understanding the response of HK rivers to climate change is crucial for almost a billion people who depend on these water resources.
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Govt. Notifies Accounting Standards for SMEs under Companies Act, 2013

  • The government has notified the accounting standards for small and medium companies that revise the turnover and borrowing limits as well as help in making disclosure requirements less onerous.
  • Besides, the definition of Small and Medium Sized Companies (SMCs) under the standards has been revised.
  • The Companies (Accounting Standards) Rules, 2021 have been notified by the corporate affairs ministry under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The latest notification mirrors the accounting standards that were in force under the Companies Act, 1956, which is no more there.
  • Under the revised SMC definition, the turnover limit has been increased from Rs. 50 crore to not exceeding Rs. 250 crore and with enhanced borrowing limits. This is in addition to the requirements that such entities should be unlisted companies, which are not banks, financial institutions or insurance companies.
  • The Companies Act 2013 is an Act of the Parliament of India on Indian company law which regulates incorporation of a company, responsibilities of a company, directors, dissolution of a company. The 2013 Act is divided into 29 chapters containing 470 sections as against 658 Sections in the Companies Act, 1956 and has 7 schedules. However, currently there are only 438 (470-39+7) sections remains in this Act. The Act has replaced The Companies Act, 1956 (in a partial manner) after receiving the assent of the President of India on 29 August 2013.The section 1 of the companies Act 2013 came into force on 30th August 2013 . 98 different sections of the companies Act came into force on 12th September 2013 with few changes like earlier private companies maximum number of members were 50 and now it will be 200.

Ex-Infosys CEO to Head Task Force to Help Govt.

  • Former Infosys CEO S. D. Shibu Lal was appointed chairperson of a three-member task force formed to help the government in bringing major bureaucratic reforms through its ambitious "Mission Karmayogi".
  • Besides Lal who is founder of ShikshaLokam and founder and ex-CEO of Infosys Limited, Govind Iyer, Consultant at global management consulting group Egon Zehnder, and Pankaj Bansal, Co-founder and Group CEO of HR tech company PeopleStrong, will be part of the task force.
  • Adil Zainulbhai, chairman designate, Capacity Building Commission, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) will be a special invitee to the discussions of the task force.

Heineken Buys Mallya's 15% Stake to Take Control of United Breweries

  • Heineken, the second largest beer company in the world, increased its stake in United Breweries (UBL) to 61.5 per cent on Wednesday. The Dutch parent of UBL, which had 45 per cent stake prior this transaction, bought the 14.99 per cent stake worth about Rs. 5,825 crore held by the Debt Recovery Tribunal.
  • Given that Heineken received an exemption from making an open offer, it could also acquire the balance 11 per cent UB group stake pledged with banks through the same route. If this goes through, Heineken's stake in UBL, which has a 50 per cent share in India's beer market, will cross the 72 per cent mark.
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Bengaluru Ranked as One of the Top 5 Technology Centers in Asia Pacific

  • Bengaluru has emerged as the top five technology centres in the APAC region while Hyderabad is ranked in the Top 10 list, a report by Colliers titled 'Growth Engines of Innovation: How Asia Pacific Technology Hubs are Reshaping Regional Real Estate'. The report ranks the most attractive technology submarkets within major APAC cities, which should serve as a navigation tool for technology groups, as they plan their expansion.
  • Beijing, Shanghai, Bengaluru, Shenzhen and Singapore currently rank as the top five technology centres in APAC; they offer a compelling balance of infrastructure and talent for occupiers and are well-positioned to deliver future growth and investment opportunities for owners. Other cities are developing strengths in specific areas of technology, e.g., Seoul and Hong Kong in fintech, while new centres such as Hyderabad and Sydney are emerging.

Vodafone Idea Partners with Cisco to Support 4G and 5G User Experience

  • Vodafone Idea (Vi) will collaborate with Cisco to improve its existing 4G network and, in the future, 5G use cases for offering better quality expe¬rience for its customers.
  • The company announced that it would work with Cisco to design and build a cost-efficient network architecture to drive greater speed to market as it taps opportunities in 4G, 5G, Cloud, and IoT.
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Manpreet Singh is Captain of Men's Hockey Team for Olympics

  • Midfielder Manpreet Singh was named captain of the 16-member Olympic-bound Indian men's hockey team, while experienced defenders, Birendra Lakra and Harmanpreet Singh, were named vice-captains.
  • This will be Manpreet's third Olympics.
  • Under Manpreet's captaincy, the Indian team won the Asia Cup in 2017, the Asian Champions Trophy in 2018 and the FIH Series Final in 2019.

New Zealand Wins Inaugural ICC World Test Championship

  • A tenacious New Zealand lifted the inaugural World Test Championship title with a comfortable eight-wicket win over India on the sixth and final day of the marquee final at The Hampshire Bowl, Suthampton.
  • It is first major ICC trophy for the Black Caps, who had ended runners-up at the 2019 ODI World Cup after losing the final to hosts England on boundary count. They had also lost the 2015 World Cup final to Australia.

India's Olympic Theme Song Launched

  • India's "Official Olympic Theme Song" was launched ahead of the Summer Games in July-August.
  • Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was the chief guest at the event.
  • The event was organised by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and attended by its president, Secretary-General, Deputy Chef De Mission, Sports Secretary and DG Sports Authority of India (SAI).
  • Mohit Chauhan has composed and sung the song titled "Lakshya Tera Samne Hai".
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Business Standard among the Top 10 Trusted Media Brands in India

  • According to a survey by The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Business Standard is one of the top 10 trusted media brands in India.
  • The survey also said amid the coronavirus pandemic, legacy print brands and government broadcasters, DD News (Doo¬rdarshan) and All India Radio, retained high levels of trust among consumers in India. Print brands, in general, are more trusted than television brands, it added. Reuters Institute said that the pandemic stoked hunger for trusted news, and a clear majority of people want media organisations to be impartial and objective. The Times of India topped the list, followed by DD News, AIR, BBC and The Indian Express. Others in the top 10 include The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, The Hindu and CNN.

Mukul Roy among Nominees for Bengal Assembly PAC Membership

  • Senior TMC leader Mukul Roy was among the 14 MLAs who filed nominations for memberships of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the West Bengal assembly amid speculations that he may be appointed its chairman.
  • Roy, officially a BJP MLA from Krishnanagar Uttar, switched over to the TMC last week but did not resign from the assembly or disqualified under the anti-defection law.
  • The BJP has also submitted a list of six names for PAC memberships.

Ajit Doval Meets Russian NSA Nikolai Patrushev

  • National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Dushanbe ahead of a meeting of national security chiefs of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation that will also feature their counterparts from China and Pakistan.
  • The two sides exchanged opinions on the situation in Afghanistan and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Patrushev and Doval discussed in detail further plans of the Russia-India interaction in the security sphere, cooperation among the security and law-enforcement agencies.
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Jamsetji Tata Tops Global List of Top 10 Philanthropists

  • Jamsetji Tata, founder of the Tata Group, has topped the EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century. The report pegs the current value of his donation, mainly to education and healthcare, at $102.4 billion with the start of his key endowments way back in 1892.
  • Tata is the only Indian in the top 10 list. The other Indian among the top 50 is Azim Premji, former chairman of Wipro, who is ranked 12th. Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates, Henry Wellcome, Howard Hughes and Warren Buffett are among the top 5. Mackenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos, donated $8.5 billion directly to charities, most ever in a single year by a living donor.
  • The ranking is based on Total Philanthropic Value, calculated as the value of the assets adjusted for inflation, together with the sum of gifts or distributions to date. The data was derived from publicly available sources and in certain cases directly as shared by the foundations.

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino Passes Away

  • Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino, the son of two of the Southeast Asian country's democracy icons, died in Manila.
  • While in power from 2010 to 2016, he famously took China to court over a long-running dispute involving the South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea.
  • Aquino had been largely silent and out of the public eye after his presidency ended.
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Cochin International Airport Ltd Wins Global Award for Service Quality

  • The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has won a global award for service quality. Airport Council International (ACI) Director-General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said that CIAL has consistently delivered excellence in customer service by winning multiple ASQ awards over five years during the past 10 years.
  • The ACI, a global body of airport operators, established the Roll of Excellence recognition to those airports, which in the opinion of the passengers have consistently delivered excellent service.
  • The award would be presented during the ACI customer Experience Global summit slated to be held on September 9, 2021, in Montreal, Canada.
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Minority Affairs Minister launched "JaanHaiToJahaanHai" Awareness Campaign

  • The Minority Affairs Minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched a nationwide "JaanHaiToJahaanHai" awareness campaign on Corona vaccination for rural and remote areas. The aim of this campaign is to aware people of the Corona vaccination and to crush rumours and apprehensions related to Corona vaccination. It has been launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in association with various socio-educational organizations, NGOs, and Women Self Help Groups.
  • Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi urged members of Central Waqf Council, Maulana Azad Education Foundation, and other social and educational institutions to take part in this awareness campaign. India is running the world's largest Corona vaccination drive.
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IBM, IISc Launch Innovation Lab

  • IBM and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a premier academic research institution in India, launched the IBM-IISc Hybrid Cloud lab to advance research in hybrid cloud technologies and drive breakthrough innovations in this area.
  • Students and faculty across departments of the institute, which is located at the IISc campus in Bengaluru, will work alongside IBM Research scientists to conduct cutting-edge research that can help organisations leverage the true power of hybrid cloud by enabling faster, seamless, and more secure adoption of hybrid cloud & Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • The IBM-IISc Hybrid Cloud lab will bring together a talented community of scientists, faculty and students, who are passionate about solving some of the toughest research challenges that enterprises face today, in scaling the adoption of cloud computing across industries.

IIM Bangalore Only Indian B-school in Top-100 QS Executive MBA Rankings

  • The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore continued to be the only Indian business school (B-school) in the top global 100 list in the latest 2021 edition of Executive MBA Rankings by global higher education consultancy QS Quacquarelli Symonds.
  • IIM Bangalore's PGPM ranked at 39, down from 36th position last year, followed by Indian School of Business (ISB)'s Post Graduate Programme in Management for Senior Executives (PGP MAX) in the 101-110 rank band and IIM Kozhikode's MBA Programme for Working Executives in the 151-plus band.
  • All three Indian B-schools fell from their previous year rankings. In the previous 2020 QS Executive MBA Rankings, ISB's PGP-MAX was ranked at 81 while IIM Kozhikode's programme was ranked in the 101+ band.
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Arvind Gaur Releases Book 'Habba Khatoon' Written by Kajal Suri

  • Theatre personality Arvind Gaur released the book 'Habba Khatoon' written by Kajal Suri. The book 'Habba Khatoon' was Published by Sanjana Prakashan. Habba Khatoon, also known by the honorary title 'The Nightingale of Kashmir', was a Kashmiri poetess and ascetic. She was the wife of Yousuf Shah Chak, the last Emperor of Kashmir.
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