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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

30 Jul 2021


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US, Russia Hold Substantive and Professional Arms Talks

  • The US and Russia held substantive and professional talks on arms control and other strategic issues.
  • Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman led a delegation of US officials in a meeting with Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov, the first in a series of integrated Strategic Stability Dialogue talks arranged in June at President Joe Biden's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • These strategic talks come as Russia is amassing military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons, including an unmanned stealth torpedo powered by a nuclear reactor.
  • Biden administration has stressed that it still seeks to cooperate with Moscow in areas of mutual concern, including climate change. The meeting was the first in a series of planned engagements meant to improve communication and reduce the possibility of diplomatic missteps at a time of strained relations between the two countries.

China Sends New Ambassador to US

  • China's new ambassador Qin Gang to the United States outlined the challenges the two countries face in what has become an increasingly competitive and contentious relationship, while refraining from any criticism in short remarks after arriving to take up his new post.
  • Qin's arrival comes as relations with the US have plunged to their worst level in decades with no sign of bottoming out. The two sides remain sharply at odds over a host of issues, including trade, technology, cybersecurity, human rights and China's increasingly assertive foreign policy under President Xi Jinping.
  • The US currently has no ambassador in Beijing, although President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador to NATO and State Department spokesperson.

UN Extends CAR Arms Embargo

  • The UN Security Council extended the arms embargo against the Central African Republic for a year despite an appeal from China to lift it, saying the government hasn't met UN benchmarks including ensuring the protection and control of all weapons.
  • The council adopted the resolution, which also extends targeted sanctions on individuals and companies, by a vote of 14-0 with China abstaining.
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KVIC and BSF Launch Project Bold in Jaisalmer

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in collaboration with the Border Security Force (BSF) in a first of its kind project has launched Project Bold with the primary aim of developing green cover in the Indian deserts of Rajasthan.
  • KVIC along with the BSF planted 1000 bamboo saplings under Project Bold.
  • The saplings were planted in Tanot village in Jaisalmer.
  • Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena, the chairman of KVIC, launched this first of a kind plantation program in the presence of Shri Surendra Panwar, Special DG of the BSF.
  • Project BOLD, which stands for Bamboo Oasis on Lands in Drought, aims to provide livelihood, reducing desertification and providing multi-disciplinary rural industry support to the local population of the area.
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Three India-based Enterprises in UN Best Small Business Winners

  • Three enterprises based in India are among the winners of 'Best Small Businesses' global competition as announced by the United Nations. These businesses are providing diverse, inspiring and impactful solutions in improving access to sustainable and healthy food.
  • 50 medium and small sized enterprises globally have been announced as the winners of the Best Small Businesses of the Good Food for All competition.
  • This competition was organized in concomitance with the UN Food Systems Summit.
  • The winners from India are Oorja Development Solutions India, Edible Routes Private Limited and Taru Naturals.
  • The winners have been selected from around 2,000 applications from 135 countries across the world.
  • All of the 50 winners showcase diverse, impactful and inspiring solutions in improving access to sustainable and healthy food.
  • $1,00,000 in cash prizes will be shared by the winners.
  • Youths constitute of half of the winners and nearly half of the winners are women.
  • The winners are from 42 countries.

RBI Imposes Rs. 5-crore Penalty on Axis Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 5 crore on Axis Bank for contravention of certain provisions of directions issued by the RBI, encompassing those on cyber security framework.
  • The directions include 'Strengthening the Controls of Payment Ecosystem between Sponsor Banks and SCBs/UCBs as a Corporate Customer', 'Cyber Security Framework in Banks', 'RBI (Financial Services provided by Banks) Directions, 2016', 'Financial Inclusion- Access to Banking Services - Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account' and 'Frauds - Classification and Reporting'.
  • "This action is based on the deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.
  • The bank was founded on 3rd December 1993 as UTI Bank, opening its registered office in Ahmedabad in 1994.

Tata Power Tops Crisil ESG Scores for Power Companies in India

  • Tata Power has secured the highest score among its peers in the Indian power sector in rating agency CRISIL's recently launched environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores.
  • The company is committed to its vision to empower a billion lives through sustainable, affordable and innovative energy, and has fared well on all ESG parameters scoring an impressive 67 out of 100.
  • It has scored 61 in environment, and 60 and 77 on social and governance parameters, respectively.
  • This assessment was made voluntarily by CRISIL and is based on publicly available information.
  • The scores are based on CRISIL's proprietary framework and are assigned on a scale of 1-100, with 100 denoting best-in-class ESG performance. The current evaluation analyses three annual reporting cycles through fiscal 2020.
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Intel Launches 'AI For All' Initiative in Partnership with CBSE

  • Chipmaker Intel has collaborated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to launch the 'AI For All' initiative, aimed at creating a basic understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) for people in India.
  • Based on Intel's 'AI For Citizens' programme, 'AI For All' is a 4-hour, self-paced learning programme that demystifies AI in an inclusive manner.
  • The programme aims to introduce AI to one million citizens in its first year.
  • The programme further strengthens Intel's commitment to collaborating with the Government of India to reach the full potential of AI and further the vision of a digitally-empowered India.

Geo-imaging Satellite Scheduled for Launch in Q3 of 2021

  • As per Union Minister Jitendra Singh, geo-imaging satellite for earth observation EOS-03, which would enable near real-time monitoring of natural disasters like floods and cyclones, is scheduled for launch in the third quarter of 2021.
  • EOS-03 is capable of imaging the whole country four-five times daily, the Minister of State for the Department of Space said.
  • In addition to natural disasters, EOS-03 would also enable monitoring of water bodies, crops, vegetation condition, forest cover changes.
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Pakistan Climber Becomes World's Youngest Mountaineer to Scale K2

  • A 19-year old Pakistani climber became the youngest person in the world to reach the summit of K2, the second-highest peak in the world.
  • Mr. Shehroze Kashif from Lahore achieved the feat of scaling the 8,611-metre high peak with the aid of bottled oxygen.
  • Before Mr. Kashif, Mr. Sajid Sadpara, the son of the legendary climber Mr. Muhammad Ali Sadpara, was the youngest person to have climbed K2 at the age of 20.
  • Mr. Kashif also scaled the world's 12th-highest mountain, the 8,047-meter Broad Peak, at the age of 17. In May this year, he became the youngest Pakistani to scale Mount Everest.

Sunisa Lee Takes Gold in Women's Gymnastics Final

  • An American finished atop the podium in the women's Olympic gymnastics all-around.
  • Sunisa Lee became the fifth straight American woman to claim the Olympic title on Thursday, edging Rebeca Andrade of Brazil in an entertaining and hotly contested final while defending champion Simone Biles watched from the stands.
  • Lee's total of 57.433 points was just enough to top Andrade, who earned the first gymnastics all-around medal by a Latin American athlete but missed out on gold when she stepped out of bounds twice during her floor routine.
  • Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova earned bronze two days after leading ROC to gold in the team final.

Satish Kumar Sails into Olympic Boxing Quarter-finals

  • India's first super heavyweight (+91 kg) boxer to compete in the Olympics, Satish Kumar, eased into the quarter-finals of his debut Games, defeating Jamaica's Ricardo Brown in his opening bout.
  • Satish Kumar is a two-time Asian Championships bronze-winner, and has been a multiple-time national champion.
  • Next up for Satish is Uzebkistan's Bakhodir Jalolov, the reigning world and Asian champion.
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India, US to Virtually co-host Fourth Annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum in October

  • India and the US will virtually co-host the fourth annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) in October, the State Department has announced.
  • The IPBF, now in its fourth year, is the leading event to promote trade, investment and economic cooperation between the United States and its partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The two-day online event from October 28 will be co-hosted by the US and India in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC).

BJP Slams Left for Attending Chinese Embassy Event

  • The presence of Left leaders at an online event organised by the Chinese embassy to mark the centenary of the Communist Party of China has triggered a row with the BJP accusing Left parties of having a long tradition of opposing the national interest and harbouring extraterritorial loyalties.
  • The Left, however, defended the decision noting that the government itself is engaged with China on several issues and accused the BJP of raising it to divert attention from its government's failures.
  • The Chinese embassy said that it had organised an online seminar on July 27 to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
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Britain Inks $200 Million Contract with Team Tempest

  • The British Defence Ministry has signed a £250 million (U.S. $199 million) deal with Team Tempest, a group of companies working on the country's future combat jet, to provide digital and physical infrastructure to develop the aircraft.
  • The latest contract is part of the government's investment of more than £2 billion on the project, which will be spread out over the next four years.
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Former England Bowler Mike Hendrick Passes Away

  • Former England and Derbyshire bowler, Mike Hendrick has passed away. He played a major role in two of England's Ashes-series victories and took 87 wickets in 30 Tests for his country between 1974 and 1981. Hendrick, who took 770 wickets in 267 first-class matches and 35 wickets in 22 ODIs, was also the first professional coach of Ireland.
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System Administrator Appreciation Day

  • System Administrator Appreciation Day, also known as Sysadmin Day, SysAdminDay, is an annual event created by system administrator Ted Kekatos. The event exists to show appreciation for the work of sysadmins and other IT workers. It is celebrated on the last Friday in July.
  • The first System Administrator Appreciation Day was celebrated on July 28, 2000. Kekatos was inspired to create the special day by a Hewlett-Packard magazine advertisement in which a system administrator is presented with flowers and fruit-baskets by grateful co-workers as thanks for installing new printers. Kekatos had just installed several of the same model printers at his workplace.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

  • World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is marked every year on July 30 to create awareness around people who are being trafficked and are taken away against their will. It helps to educate others that trafficking in persons is a crime exploiting even women and children for tragic jobs like forced labour and sex. This day gives an opportunity to understand the harms of human trafficking and its impact on the life of the people.
  • This day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a means to combat the issues that are caused due to human trafficking. The day was declared with the aim of raising awareness around the victims of human trafficking. It also helps raise funds for those victims.
  • The theme for this year for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is 'Victims' voices lead the way.'
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Lok Sabha Passes AERA Amendment Bill

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) Amendment Bill paving the way for privatisation of a small loss making airport by clubbing it with a larger airport.
  • .The amendment bill was introduced by Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and passed amid din in the lower house. It proposes to modify the definition of a major airport under the AERA Act 2008 and will have to be passed by the Rajya Sabha for the amendment to come into effect.
  • .The move to club smaller loss-making Airport Authority of India (AAI)-run airports with larger ones is being undertaken following criticism of the existing policy. It was felt privatising larger airports would leave AAI saddled with only small loss-making airports.
  • The government has already decided to privatise AAI airports at Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Raipur and Tiruchirapalli, but is yet to finalise smaller airports that can be paired with them for disinvestment.
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Malaysia Registers World's First Affordable New Drug for Hepatitis C

  • World's first affordable as well as effective new drug for hepatitis C has been registered by Malaysia. This new drug offers hope for accessible treatment to the millions of people around the world who are suffering from this disease.
  • The drug which has been named ravidasvir has been approved for use along with an existing drug named sofosbuvir.
  • This approval came five years after the Malaysian government had partnered with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to develop the drug.
  • According to the World Health Organization, around 71 million people globally are thought to be living with Hepatitis C which is a blood-borne virus that is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and can lead to cirrhosis.
  • Hepatitis C has no vaccine.

Maruti Suzuki, Savitribai Phule Pune University Tie-up to Train Youth

  • Maruti Suzuki India Limited has announced a partnership with Maharashtra's Savitribai Phule Pune University to train youth in automobile retail. The aim is to offer a customised three years "Bachelor of Vocational Studies in Retail Management" course to students. The three-year curriculum will comprise one-year classroom training followed by two-year on-the-job training at Maruti Suzuki authorised dealerships.
  • The course is based on the concept of 'Earn while you Learn' where students will receive a stipend during their on-the-job training. The course will allow the students to build a promising career in automobile sales in India.

IIT Hyderabad Develops Covid RNA Test Kit 'COVIHOME'

  • India's first Rapid electronic Covid-19 RNA Test kit that allows self-testing at home called 'COVIHOME' has been developed by a research group at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. The kit has been validated by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and can be used to check for Covid-19 trace at the comfort of home.
  • This test kit can produce results within 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
  • The major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource, and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA, so it has the potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision.
  • The validation report confirmed the kit's efficiency at 94.2 per cent, Sensitivity 91.3 per cent and Specificity 98.2 per cent.
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Chief Minister Jagan Releases Book on Tigers

  • Chief Minister Y. S, Jagan Mohan Reddy released a coffee table book on tiger population in the State. He also released a poster on conservation of tigers, coinciding with International Tigers Day. The book contains the photographs of 63 tigers that were found in the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in the State.
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Marble Arch Mound, London's Latest Tourist Attraction

  • London's latest tourist attraction aimed for the heights. It has fallen a bit flat. The Marble Arch Mound, an artificial hill beside one of the city's busiest intersections, opened this week and is already offering refunds to disappointed visitors and admitting "teething problems."
  • Designed by Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, the mound is a 25-meter (80-foot) hill made from turf-covered scaffolding that claims to offer panoramic views of Hyde Park, Oxford Street and the surrounding area.
  • The hill's website describes it as "a new and meaningful experience that captures the imagination of residents, businesses and visitors," and local officials hope it will help draw people back to the commercial heart of London after more than a year of pandemic-related restrictions.
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National Gallery of Australia to Return 13 Stolen Objects to India

  • The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra announced that it has deaccessioned 16 Asian objects acquired from the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor and his Manhattan gallery, Art of the Past.
  • The NGA's director Nick Mitzevich said that 13 of the works from Kapoor would be returned to their home country of India. He added that another three sculptures sourced by the museum from Art of the Past have also been removed from the collection. These three objects will also be repatriated after further research has identified their place of origin. Another work, which the NGA acquired from art dealer William Wolff, will also be returned to India. The 14 works comprise six bronze or stone sculptures, a brass processional standard, a painted scroll and six photographs.
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