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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

26 Jul 2021


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China Imposes Sanctions on US Officials under Anti-foreign Law

  • China imposed sanctions on seven US individuals and entity, under Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, in response to the US penalties imposed on the Hong Kong officials over crackdown of democracy in the semi-autonomous region.
  • This action comes in response to the US' recent warning to companies about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong. Last week, the United States had imposed Hong Kong-related sanctions on seven individuals and warned companies of the risks of doing business in the territory.
  • The list of seven US individuals and entity include former US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Louis Ross; Chairman of US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) Carolyn Bartholomew; former Staff Director of Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Jonathan Stivers; DoYun Kim at National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; senior program manager of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Adam Joseph King; China Director at Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson, and Hong Kong Democratic Council.

Tunisian President Kais Saied Sacks Prime Minister

  • Tunisia's President dismissed the Prime Minister and freezed parliament in a major escalation of political feuding in the democratic country following protests in several cities.
  • President Kais Saied would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new Prime Minister, prompting the biggest challenge yet to a 2014 Constitution that split powers between President, Prime Minister and Parliament.
  • Mr. Saied and the parliament were both elected in separate popular votes in 2019, while Mechichi took office last summer, replacing another short-lived government.
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India Urges G20 Nations to Reduce High Emissions

  • India has urged the group of 20 nations with per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions above the world average to take immediate steps to reduce their emissions so that the world stays on the right track to leave a better planet for future generations.
  • Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy R. K. Singh led a delegation from India at the G20 Energy and Climate Joint Ministerial Meeting that was held virtually and was attended by energy and environment ministers from G20 nations.
  • R. K. Singh apprised the delegates from the G20 countries in the meeting about the significant progress made by India in meeting its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets while staying committed to meeting its climate goals under the Paris Agreement.
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Avigna to Invest in Tamil Nadu

  • Avigna Industrial & Logistics Park will invest Rs. 837 crore in Tamil Nadu to develop industrial parks.
  • The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government for an investment of Rs. 837 crore in the state.
  • The agreement has been signed between Managing Director Rajasekaran S. and Executive Director Abhijit Verma from Avigna Group and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.
  • Avigna will utilise the proposed investment to develop modern industrial development parks in various parts of Tamil Nadu in the coming years.

RBI Increases Loan Limit of Bank Directors

  • The Reserve Bank of India increased the limit of personal loans given to any director of a bank to Rs. 5 crore, from Rs. 25 lakh earlier.
  • The central bank amended the master circular for this, and said unless sanctioned by the board of directors or the management committee, banks should not grant loans and advances aggregating Rs. 5 crore and above to any relative other than spouse and dependent children of their own Chairmen/Managing Directors or other Directors.
  • This also extends to firms in which any relative other than spouse or dependent children is interested as a partner or guarantor.

YES Bank Inks Pact with RuPay

  • YES Bank may have to forgo issuance of 100,000 new credit cards in three months. The private lender, which has exclusive tie-up with Mastercard, says the curb will not impact profitability.
  • The bank has tied up with National Payments Corporation of India for issuing RuPay cards and will ink a similar deal with VISA.
  • Earlier this month, the RBI barred Mastercard from issuing new cards for failing to comply with rules to store data related to payment systems only in India.
  • The recent regulatory restrictions would not have any impact on the bank's existing customers.
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China Gearing Up to Activate the World's first 'Clean' Commercial Nuclear Reactor

  • Chinese government scientists have unveiled plans for a first-of-its-kind, experimental nuclear reactor that does not need water for cooling.
  • The molten-salt nuclear reactor, which runs on liquid thorium rather than uranium, is expected to be safer than traditional reactors because the molten salt cools and solidifies quickly when exposed to the air, insulating the thorium, so that any potential leak would spill much less radiation into the surrounding environment compared with leaks from traditional reactors.
  • The prototype reactor is expected to be completed next month, with the first tests beginning as early as September. This will pave the way for the building of the first commercial reactor, slated for construction by 2030.

World's First 3D-printed Steel Bridge Opens in Amsterdam

  • World's first 3D-printed steel bridge was opened to the public in Amsterdam earlier this month. It was developed by MX3D, a Dutch robotics company, in collaboration with a consortium of experts, and represents a major milestone for 3D-printing technology. After four years in development, the bridge was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. It was installed over one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam's city centre – the Oudezijds Achterburgwal.
  • The 12-metre-long steel structure will be a 'living laboratory' that would capture and transmit data on its health in real-time to show how it changes over its lifespan. The smart sensor network was designed and installed by a team from The Alan Turing Institute.
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Chanu Opens India's Medal Tally

  • Mirabai Chanu won India's first medal in the Tokyo Olympics 2021, claiming silver in the women's 49 kg weightlifting. Mirabai had a total lift of 202 kg – 87 kg in snatch and 115 kg in clean and jerk as she finished second behind China's Hou Zihui 210 kg (94 & 116) who set an Olympic record in snatch.

Mary Kom Enters Olympic Pre-quarters

  • Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51 kg) powered into the Olympics' pre-quarterfinals after a tactical victory over Dominican Republic's Miguelina Hernandez Garcia but Manish Kaushik's (63 kg) Games debut ended in disappointment following a hard-fought opening-round loss.

History-maker Bhavani Devi Crashes Out

  • India's lone representative at fencing CA Bhavani Devi lost the round of 32 match against France's Manon Brunet in women's individual sabre at Makuhari Messe B Hall Yellow Piste. Manon Brunet dominated Bhavani over the two halves as she defeated the Indian by 15-7 and marched into the round of 16.
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FS Shringla Meets British Counterpart

  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has met his British counterpart Lord Tariq Ahmad and held a comprehensive review of the UK-India cooperation in multilateral fora and on global issues and the implementation of Roadmap 2030, a 10-year plan that was unveiled in May for bilateral partnership on the road to a free trade agreement (FTA).
  • He held meetings with his counterpart Ahmad, Minister of South Asia in the Foreign Office, and Philip Barton, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
  • The Roadmap 2030 was adopted at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson to elevate bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and guide cooperation over the next decade in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security and climate change, among others.

TMC Nominates Ex-Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar for RS by-Election

  • The Trinamool Congress nominated former bureaucrat Jawhar Sircar as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha by-election in the state.
  • The Election Commission had on July 16 said that bypoll to the Rajya Sabha seat from West Bengal vacated by Dinesh Trivedi earlier this year will be held on August 9.
  • Sircar spent nearly 42 years in public service and was also the former CEO of Prasar Bharati.
  • The bypoll to the Rajya Sabha seat from the state will be held if the opposition BJP fields its candidate for the same, otherwise, the TMC candidate will be declared elected unopposed.

Pramod Sawant to be BJP's Chief Minister Face for 2022 Goa Polls

  • Ahead of 2022 Assembly Elections in Goa, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Jagat Prakash Nadda said that the party is going forward with Pramod Sawant as its chief ministerial face and added there is no need to think about any other name.
  • BJP national president was on a two-day visit to Goa which commenced on Saturday, ahead of the 2022 Assembly Elections in the state.
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US Army Chooses Competitors to Design Infantry Fighting Vehicle Replacement

  • The U.S. Army has chosen five teams to compete to design the replacement for its Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
  • Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and American Rheinmetall Vehicles will all conjure up rough digital concept designs for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.
  • The total award value for all five contracts is approximately $299.4 million.
  • Oshkosh will work with leading South Korean defense company Hanwha as a partner, according to previous coverage, and the Rheinmetall team also includes Raytheon Technologies, Textron and L3Harris Technologies.
  • Miami-based Point Blank is the only nontraditional company or small business to win a contract. Mettle Ops, a small family-owned, Michigan-based company, had also submitted a bid to design an OMFV concept, and Roush Defense is also believed to have bid.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Flags in ARMEX-21 in Delhi

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged-in the Indian Army Skiing Expedition, ARMEX-21, in New Delhi. The ARMEX-21 was conducted in the mountain ranges of the Himalayan region to promote the adventure activity in the country and the Indian Army. The expedition was flagged off at Karakoram Pass in Ladakh on 10th March and culminated at Malari in Uttarakhand in July.
  • Rajnath Singh congratulated the team on the successful completion of the challenging expedition and lauded them for their courage and resilience.
  • Terming the expedition as extraordinary, he said that not only did the team complete a thrilling journey, but also conducted an operational recce of the region. The Defence Minister commended the courage, dedication and spirit of the Armed Forces and expressed satisfaction that the safety and security of the country is in safe hands. He exuded confidence that the success of ARMEX-21 will inspire a new generation of adventurers across the nation.
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Jackie Mason, Rabbi Turned Comedian, Dies

  • Jackie Mason, the US comedian and actor, has died at the age of 93.
  • The stand-up was ordained as a rabbi before turning to show-business in the 1950s. He was well known for his social commentary, talk show appearances and one-man shows on Broadway.
  • Mason won numerous awards in his career, including a Tony Award and an Emmy for voicing Krusty the Clown's father on The Simpsons.
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Kargil Vijay Diwas

  • India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26 every year to mark the anniversary of the Indian Army's victory against Pakistan on this day in 1999, after more than 60 days of armed conflict on the highlands of Kargil in Ladakh. In what was perhaps the most recent example of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, the Indian Army ousted the neighbouring nation's military forces and took back control of the high outposts in the region.
  • Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed in honour of Kargil's war heroes, the lives that were lost as a result of the war; soldiers who died in the line of duty serving their motherland. On this day every year, the Prime Minister pays his tributes to the armed forces at the 'eternal flame', Amar Jawan Jyoti, at India Gate in Delhi. Celebrations are also conducted in the Kargil sector and elsewhere across the country to commemorate the contributions of the Indian Army.
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Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar Receives Alexander Dalrymple Award

  • India's chief hydrographer Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar was conferred with the prestigious Alexander Dalrymple award by the British government in recognition of his works in areas of hydrography and nautical cartography.
  • Vice Admiral Badhwar received the award from British High Commissioner Alex Ellis.
  • Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar was conferred with the award in 2019 but the award ceremony was delayed due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. The Alexander Dalrymple award has been named after the first hydrographer of the Admiralty and was instituted in 2006.
  • Vinay Badhwar has been honoured with the award in recognition of his unparalleled dedication, professionalism and leadership in the disciplines of hydrography and nautical cartography.
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Amit Shah Launches Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign

  • The Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched the Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign at Sohra (Cherrapunji) and also inaugurated the Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme.
  • The Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme was conceptualised by the Government of Meghalaya and funded by the Ministry of DoNER under NESIDS in the year 2019 an amount of Rs. 24.08 crore.
  • The project will provide water supply to Sohra Town and 12 habitations viz. Sderkariah, Khlieh Shnong, Maraikaphon, Pdengshnong, Nongrim, Pomsohmen, Nongsawlia, Mawkisyiem, Saitsohpen, Mawpunkyrtiang, Pynshadkhurai & Kutmadan by tapping the stream source of Wah Lyngksiar and Law Sanlait Spring Sources.
  • The project is designed to cover an ultimate population of 22,943 persons.
  • Giving the slogan "Evergreen Northeast", the Union Home Minister underlines the importance of afforestation and tree plantation.
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Tata Steel Foundation Inks Pact with NGOs to Boost Education

  • Tata Steel Foundation has inked pacts with non-profit bodies - KMCO and CIF in a bid to boost education among underprivileged children and youth in Jamshedpur.
  • All three organisations have been engaged in running high impact projects in the education and technical training sectors.
  • Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with Kudy Mahanty Chirens' Opportunities (KMCO) Trust and Cummins India Foundation (CIF) in an attempt to garner opportunities in the education sector.

IIT-K Launches Innovation Hub to Find Solutions for Anti-drone Technologies

  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) launched technology innovation hub to find cyber security solutions for intrusion detection system, anti-drones technologies, cyber physical system and block-chain.
  • After a rigorous application process, 25 research and development principal investigators and 13 start-ups were selected.
  • Cutting-edge technology in cyber security is in increasing need to protect the digital assets of the common public as well as the industry and government.
  • C3i hub of IIT Kanpur will focus on safeguarding the cyberspace which will also include critical infrastructure.
  • Make-in India cyber security solutions are being promoted by the government to counter the rising threats from India's neighbouring countries, like China.
  • The government is also trying to promote make in India equipment for all the critical sectors of the nations like railways, banking, power and telecom.
  • C3iHub of IIT-Kanpur is committed towards fostering a vibrant ecosystem of cyber security start-ups which would be focusing on the creation of world class innovations.
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D. Veerendra Heggade Releases Books on Jainism

  • Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D. Veerendra Heggade released two books on Jainism in Dharwad.
  • D. Veerendra Heggade released 'Jaina Dharmada Vaishistya' and 'Jaina Prabandha Punja', both by writer and critic Nemichandra Dibbad.
  • The books have been published by Digambar Jaina Syadvada Granthamale. Secretary of SDM Education Society Jeevandhar Kumar, book publisher Mahadev M. Kurkuri and Public Relations Officer of SDM Dental College Nagkumar Jain were present.
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Telangana's Ramappa Temple Conferred UNESCO Heritage Tag

  • The Ramappa temple at Palampet in Telangana's Warangal has been conferred the tag of UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Ramappa temple, a 13th century engineering marvel named after its architect, Ramappa, was proposed by the government as its only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for the year 2019.
  • The iconic Ramappa Temple showcases outstanding craftsmanship of great Kakatiya dynasty.

Madrid's Retiro Park on World Heritage List

  • Madrid's tree-lined Paseo del Prado boulevard and the adjoining Retiro Park have been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, holding an online meeting from Fuzhou, China, backed the candidacy that highlighted the green area's introduction of nature into Spain's capital. The influence the properties have had on the design of other cities in Latin America was also applauded by committee members.
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