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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

29 Jul 2021


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Iran Blames US for Pause in Nuclear Talks

  • Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday declared Tehran would not accept Washington's "stubborn" demands in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and said the United States had failed to guarantee that it would never abandon the pact again.
  • They once violated the nuclear deal at no cost by exiting it. Now, they explicitly say they cannot give guarantees that it would not happen again." Since April 9, Tehran and six world powers have been in talks to revive the nuclear pact ditched three years ago by then US President Donald Trump, who argued it favoured Iran. The sixth round of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington adjourned on June 20.
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Indore Only Indian City to Make it to International Clean Air Catalyst Programme

  • The Indore city of Madhya Pradesh, or the cleanest city of India, has become the only city from the country to be selected for International Clean Air Catalyst Programme. The project will be operated for a period of five years to purify the air in the city with the cooperation of Indore Municipal Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board. Under the project, USAID and partners will work with local communities to better understand local pollution sources and identify, test, accelerate, and scale solutions for cleaner, healthier air.
  • Clean Air Catalyst is a new flagship programme launched by The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and a global consortium of organisations, led by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to combat air pollution in low and middle-income countries by accelerating clean air solutions.
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Yes Bank, Indiabulls Housing Finance Enter Co-lending Setup for Home Loans

  • Yes Bank and Indiabulls Housing Finance have come forward for a strategic co-lending tie-up to source and service home loans.
  • Under this strategic co-lending agreement, they will offer home loans to homebuyers at competitive interest rates.
  • The partnership aims at synergising capabilities to provide an efficient and seamless experience to retail home loan customers.
  • The co-lending framework laid down by RBI provides a collaboration tool to benefit from the low-cost funding model of a bank and the cost-efficient sourcing and servicing capabilities of a non-bank.
  • The bank is looking forward to further building a profitable and quality home loan portfolio through this partnership.

Jill Kouri is New Chief Marketing Officer of HCL Technologies

  • HCL Technologies appointed Jill Kouri as its global Chief Marketing Officer.
  • In her new role, Kouri will lead the company's global marketing programmes to advance HCL's focus on helping companies reimagine their business for the digital age.
  • Kouri joins HCL Technologies most recently from JLL, where she was Chief Marketing Officer, Americas, for seven years. Prior to that, she spent 14 years in senior marketing leadership roles at Accenture.

HDFC Enhances Existing Limit to Borrow Via Medium-term Bonds up to $2.8 bn

  • The country's largest mortgage lender HDFC Ltd has enhanced its existing limit to raise capital through medium-term notes to up to USD 2.8 billion (about Rs. 20,875.65 crore).
  • Housing Development Finance Corporation updated its existing medium-term note (MTN) programme for an amount of up to USD 2.8 billion in order to enable the Corporation to issue rupee/foreign currency-denominated bonds in the international capital market.
  • The enhancement is subject to regulatory approvals.
  • "The update of the MTN programme is only an enabling step, and presently no instruments are being issued by the Corporation.
  • The MTN programme allows a company to issue bonds to meet its constant capital requirement for the medium term.
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India among Least Prepared for Automation in Asia Pacific

  • According to a recent research study conducted by Deloitte and commissioned by Autodesk Foundation, India ranks fifth highest in terms of the impact from automation and ninth in terms of level preparedness.
  • The country faces a greater likelihood of being impacted by automation due to larger employment shares in agriculture, manufacturing and construction -- all identified as high-risk industries by the report titled 'The Future of Work is Now: Is APAC Ready?'
  • It explores the state of automation and future of work across 12 Asia Pacific countries including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • The research finds India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are most at risk and least prepared for the coming wave of automation.

The First Look at Exomoons in the Making

  • New telescope images may provide the first view of moons forming outside the solar system.
  • The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile glimpsed a dusty disk of potentially moon-forming material around a baby exoplanet about 370 light-years from Earth. The Jupiter-like world is surrounded by enough material to make up to 2.5 Earth moons. Observations of this system could offer new insight into how planets and moons are born around young stars.
  • ALMA observed two planets, dubbed PDS 70b and 70c, circling the star PDS 70. Unlike most other known exoplanets, these two Jupiter-like worlds are still forming — gobbling up material from the disk of gas and dust swirling around their star. During this formation process, planets are expected to wrap themselves in their own debris disks, which control how planets pack on material and form moons.
  • Around PDS 70c, ALMA spotted a disk of dust about as wide as Earth's orbit around the sun. With previously reported exomoon sightings still controversial, the new observations offer some of the best evidence yet that planets orbiting other stars have moons.
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Argentina, France, Germany Eliminated from Tokyo Olympic Soccer

  • No third gold for Argentina. No return to the final for Germany. No defensive ability for France.
  • Some of soccer's biggest nations have fallen at the first stage in the Tokyo Olympics men's tournament, failing to advance from the group stage.
  • If only like Spain they weren't blocked by clubs from selecting the strongest players for this extra competition squeezed into the calendar.

Pooja Rani Storms into Quarter-finals of Olympics

  • Boxer Pooja Rani (75 kg) stormed into the quarter-finals of the women's middleweight (69-75 kg) category in the Tokyo Olympics after defeating Ichrak Chaib of Algeria in the Round of 16 at the Kokugikan Arena.
  • Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) had stormed into the quarter-finals of the women's welterweight (69-75 kg) category in the Tokyo Olympics after defeating Nadine Apetz of Germany in the Round of 16 at the Kokugikan Arena.
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BJP Seeks Shashi Tharoor's Removal as House Panel Head

  • The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved a privilege motion seeking Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor's removal as the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology. It came hours before the committee was scheduled to meet to discuss the alleged Pegasus snooping.
  • The snooping row erupted before the beginning of Parliament's ongoing monsoon session after an international investigative consortium reported that many Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen, and journalists were potentially targeted by the Israeli company NSO Group's phone hacking software Pegasus. A forensic analysis of 10 of the targets proved they had been hacked or that there had been attempts to do so.

Puri India's First City to Provide Quality Drinking Tap Water

  • Puri has become the first city in India where people can avail high-quality drinking water directly from the tap on a 24-hour basis. It has enabled the people of Puri to collect quality drinking water directly from the tap. Henceforth, people need not have to store or filter drinking water.
  • The project would benefit 2.5 lakh citizens of Puri and 2 crore tourists who visit the tourist place every year. They need not have to move around with water bottles. Puri would no more be burdened with 400 metric tonnes of plastic waste. Water fountains have been developed at 400 locations in Puri.
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IAF Formally Inducts Rafale into 101 Squadron of Eastern Air Command

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the Rafale aircraft into its 101 Squadron of the Eastern Air Command in the presence of Air Chief Marshal R. K. S Bhadauria at the Hasimara Air Force Station in West Bengal.
  • The 101 Squadron is the second IAF squadron to be equipped with the Rafale fighter jets. In September last year, the Rafale aircraft were inducted into the 17 "Golden Arrows" Squadron.
  • The induction event included a fly-past heralding the arrival of the Rafale aircraft at Hasimara, followed by a traditional water-cannon salute,
  • India has so far received 26 of the 36 Rafale aircraft from French firm Dassault Aviation.

F-35B Jets Take Off at Sea for Australian Exercise Talisman Sabre

  • U.S. Marine Corps F-35B jets are carrying out high-end integrated air warfare training with Australian counterparts in the skies above the country and the Coral Sea, as both nations hold a massive multi domain exercise.
  • The F-35Bs have not previously participated in the exercise Talisman Sabre, which is held once every two years. This year's exercise saw Canada, Japan and South Korea each send a ship to participate, while Japan and the United Kingdom each sent a small contingent of ground troops, joining forces from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
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Badminton Legend Nandu Natekar Passes Away

  • Nandu Natekar, one of the legends of Indian badminton, passed away at the age of 88. He won over 100 national and international titles in his career.
  • Natekar, a tennis and cricket player before he excelled in badminton, dominated the world stage from 1950 to 1970. The Pune resident became the first Indian player to win an international event when he won the Sellanger International in Malaysia in 1956. The former World No. 3 made it to the quarter-finals of the prestigious All England Championships in 1954. He won the Men's Doubles National Championship a total of six times, the Men's Singles National Championship a total of six times, and the Mixed Doubles National Championship a total of five times.He won 12 out of 16 singles matches and eight out of 16 doubles matches as part of the Indian team at the Thomas Cup between 1951 and 1963. He also had the distinction of leading the country in the tournament in 1959, 1961 and 1963. He represented India at the 1965 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.
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International Tiger Day

  • International Tiger Day also known as World Tiger Day is observed every year on 29 July. The day is observed to spread awareness about dangers faced by tigers.
  • World Tiger Day was first observed in the year 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia. A total of thirteen tiger range countries came together and decided a global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022.
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Anand Radhakrishnan Wins Oscars of the Comic World

  • Anand Radhakrishnan, the Mumbai-based visual artist and illustrator won the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award — touted as the Oscars of the comic world.
  • The Eisner Awards are given out annually, and Radhakrishnan won the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) award for his work in UK-based author Ram V's graphic novel called 'Blue In Green', published in October 2020.
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Govt. Clears Amendments to LLP Act

  • Continuing efforts to foster ease of doing business as well as encourage startups ecosystem, the government approved amendments to the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Act, including decriminalising 12 offences under the law.
  • Besides, a new definition for small LLPs will be introduced under the amended Act, which is being implemented by the corporate affairs ministry.
  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the amendments to the LLP Act. This will be the first time that changes are being made to the Act since it came into effect in 2009.
  • Currently, there are 24 penal provisions and 21 are compoundable offences, while 3 are non-compoundable ones.
  • With the proposed amendments, the total number of penal provisions under the LLP Act will be reduced to 22, compoundable offences will be 7, non-compoundable offences will be 3 and the number of defaults to be dealt under the In-House Adjudication Mechanism (IAM) will be only 12.

MP Government Made Devaranya Scheme to Promote Ayurveda

  • In order to promote AYUSH in Madhya Pradesh and to link it with employment, the government has made the Devaranya Scheme. The scheme has been made to provide employment to the people living in the tribal areas of the state. A complete value chain for the production of AYUSH medicines will be developed in the state through Devarnya Yojana. Self-help groups will also play an important role in this work.
  • In this, Agriculture Producer Organization, AYUSH Department, Forest Department, Rural Development Department, Horticulture Department, Tourism Department, Agriculture Department, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Department, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion Department and Tribal Affairs Department will work together in mission mode. For this, medicinal plants should be cultivated in the beautiful plains of the villages. AYUSH and tourism will be brought together.
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Mumbai, Bengaluru Lose Top-100 Spots in QS Best Student Cities Ranking

  • Mumbai and Bengaluru are out of the global top-100 list and are currently ranking at 106 and 110, respectively in the latest edition of the QS Best Student Cities Ranking.
  • While Mumbai lost 29 places, Bengaluru fell by 21 places in the ninth edition of the rankings brought out by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds.
  • However, among the different metrics as part of the methodology, Mumbai gained 27 places in the 'Affordability' indicator to rank at 21st globally. On the other hand, despite losing three places in the same indicator, Bengaluru was placed seventh globally in the affordability metric.
  • QS rank cities with a population of at least 250,000 and with at least two universities placing in the QS World University Rankings.

IIT Kanpur to Set Up Centre for Energy Policy and Climate Solutions

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) has established the 'Chandrakanta Kesavan centre for energy policy and climate solutions' to assist policy makers with practical solutions to the problems of climate change. The aim of the centre will be to spearhead the development of technology and policy solutions to help India and the world combat climate change.
  • An agreement to establish this centre was signed earlier this month (July) between IIT Kanpur and Sudhakar Kesavan, an alumnus of the class of 1976 from IIT Kanpur. The centre is named in the memory of his mother Dr. Chandrakanta Kesavan who was a role model for Indian women in science.
  • The centre will be an autonomous organisation within IIT Kanpur. It will be anchored in, and work closely with, the department of sustainable energy engineering. The centre will focus on policy, communications, education and outreach efforts aimed at implementing technology and science-based solutions in the country at large, outside the academic world. The center will become a platform to bring eminent academics, technologists, researchers and policy makers from across the world together to discuss and address these issues.
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US Authorities Seize Ancient Gilgamesh Tablet

  • A rare and ancient tablet showing part of the epic of Gilgamesh, which had been acquired by Christian arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby for display in its museum of biblical artefacts, has been seized by the US government.
  • The Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that the 3,600-year-old "Gilgamesh Dream Tablet", which originated in a region that is now part of Iraq, was acquired in 2003 by an American antiquities dealer from the family member of a London coin dealer. Once it had arrived in the US, and been cleaned, experts realised that it showed a portion of the Gilgamesh epic, one of the world's oldest works of literature, in the Akkadian language.
  • Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jacquelyn M Kasulis, described the legal development as an important milestone on the path to returning this rare and ancient masterpiece of world literature to its country of origin.

Brazil Landscape Garden Sitio Burle Marx Receives UNESCO World Heritage Status

  • Globally renowned for its natural beauty, Rio de Janeiro received a new international distinction as UNESCO added landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx's former home to its list of World Heritage sites.
  • The Sitio Burle Marx in western Rio features more than 3,500 species of plants native to Rio and is considered a laboratory for botanical and landscape experimentation.
  • The recognition was granted during a meeting of UNESCO's Heritage Committee in China. The site was designated a Cultural Landscape, a category that celebrates places allowing interaction between the environment and people.
  • The garden features the key characteristics that came to define Burle Marx's landscape gardens and influenced the development of modern gardens internationally.
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