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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

04 Aug 2021


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Afghan Foreign Minister Speaks to EAM Jaishankar on Escalating Violence by Taliban

  • Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar spoke to his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar on August 3 to explore the possibility of convening an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to discuss ways to stop the Taliban's violence and human rights abuses in Afghanistan.
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Massive Melting Event Strikes Greenland

  • Greenland's enormous ice sheet has been struck by a massive melting event, with enough ice vanishing in a single day to cover the whole of Florida in two inches (5 centimeters) of water.
  • Since July, roughly 9.37 billion tonnes (8.5 billion metric tonnes) of ice has been lost per day from the surface of the enormous ice sheet, twice its normal average rate of loss during. The huge loss comes after temperatures in north Greenland soared to above 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), which is double the summer average.
  • High temperatures on July 28 caused the third-largest single-day loss of ice in Greenland since 1950; the second and first biggest single-day losses occurred in 2012 and 2019. Greenland's yearly ice loss began in 1990.
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ABL Indira JV Bags Project to Upgrade Police Infra in Maldives

  • ABL Indira Projects -- a joint venture between Ashoka Buildcon Ltd and city-based Indira Projects and Developments, signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract worth Rs. 350 crore with the Maldives Police Service.
  • The agreement was towards the design, construction of police stations, barracks and detention centre facilities.
  • The Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM) was funding 85 per cent of the total construction through buyers' credit facility.

VRK Gupta is New CFO of Bharat Petroleum

  • Privatisation-bound Bharat Petroleum Corporation appointed VRK Gupta as chief financial officer, following the superannuation of N. Vijayagopal, who was Director of Finance.
  • Vijayagopal retired on July 31 after an illustrious career of 34 years with the Maharatna company.
  • The designation of CFO is new to the sell-off bound state-owned company, as previously the head of the finance department has been designated as director, finance.
  • Gupta was handling various functions of finance for the past two decades and has rich experience in corporate accounts, risk management, budgeting, business plan, and treasury operations among others. His immediate past assignment was heading the corporate treasury.

Hindustan Paper Corp under Liquidation

  • Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPC) is under liquidation process on the directions of the National Company Law Tribunal and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
  • In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Heavy Industries Krishan Pal Gurjar said that Cachar Paper Mill, Panchgram and Nagaon Paper Mill, Jagiroad are mills of HPC in Assam and these mills are presently non-operational.
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Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo Set to Make Space History

  • Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo are set to make space history with two Venus flybys just 33 hours apart on August 9 and 10, 2021.
  • The two spacecraft need the gravitational swingby to help them lose a little orbital energy in order to reach their destinations towards the center of the Solar System. The double flyby also offers an unprecedented opportunity to study the Venus environment from different locations at same time and, moreover, in locations that are not typically visited by a dedicated planetary orbiter.
  • Solar Orbiter, a partnership between ESA and NASA, will fly by Venus on August 9 with a closest approach of 7995 km.
  • BepiColombo, a partnership between ESA and JAXA, will fly by Venus on August 10 at an altitude of just 550 km.
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US Clinches CONCACAF Gold Cup in Football

  • USA's men's national team stunned Mexico with a 1-0 victory in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup final in Las Vegas to clinch the title and pull off a big upset.
  • The game was won by a thrilling set-piece goal netted by defender Miles Robinson with three minutes remaining in extra time. Robinson beat Mexico's Edson Alvarez to a wonderful pass by Kellyn Acosta in the middle of the Mexican penalty area in the 117th minute to seal off the victory.
  • The United States earned their seventh Gold Cup championship, their first since 2017, tying Mexico for the most in the 15-year history of the competition. After winning the CONCACAF Nations League in June, this is the USA's second major final triumph over Mexico.

New World Record by Warholm in 400m Hurdles

  • Karsten Warholm of Norway has broken his own world record to win the 400-meter hurdles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • The two-time world champion ran 45.94 seconds to win a final where six of the first seven finishers set either national or area records.
  • It's the second time in just over a month that Warholm has lowered the record. He set the previous mark of 46.70 at Oslo on July 1.
  • Rai Benjamin of the United States took the silver in 46.17 and Alison dos Santos of Brazil took the bronze.

FIFA Bans its Former Stand-in President Issa Hayatou for 1 Year

  • FIFA banned its former interim president Issa Hayatou for alleged wrongdoing in a commercial deal for African soccer.
  • "Hayatou, who was Confederation of African Football president for 29 years until 2017, was banned for one year for a breach of "duty of loyalty" rules, said FIFA.
  • Hayatou was a long-time FIFA vice president and its stand-in president for several months between Sepp Blatter's suspension from office in October 2015 and the election of Gianni Infantino four months later.
  • The 74-year-old Cameroonian lost the CAF presidency in 2017 in an election against Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar, whose campaign had been supported by Infantino.
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Kejriwal Launches 'Delhi@2047'

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched 'Delhi@2047', an initiative that seeks partnership with corporate houses and philanthropic bodies to help realise Delhi government's long-term goals across sectors.
  • While launching the vision card for Delhi for the next 25 years, Kejriwal said the initiative is to prepare a roadmap for the development of the city in all sectors, including health and education.
  • He asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party government has presented a small portion of vision for Delhi till 2047 during the last annual budget, setting a target to increase Delhi's per capita income at par with Singapore by 2047.

Governors Can Pardon Prisoners, Including Death Row Ones

  • The Supreme Court held that the Governor of a state can pardon prisoners, including death row ones, even before they have served a minimum 14 years of prison sentence.
  • In fact, the Governor's power to pardon overrides a provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure — Section 433A —which mandates that a prisoner's sentence can be remitted only after 14 years of jail, a Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and A.S. Bopanna observed in a judgment.
  • "Section 433-A of the Code cannot and does not in any way affect the constitutional power conferred on the President/Governor to grant pardon under Articles 72 or 161 of the Constitution. If the prisoner has not undergone 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has a power to grant pardon.
  • In fact, the court noted that the sovereign power of a Governor to pardon a prisoner under Article 161 is actually exercised by the State government and not the Governor on his own.
  • The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161.
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Egypt Receives Fourth German S-44 Submarine

  • Egypt received the fourth German-made S-44 submarine at its Alexandria naval base. The model 209/1400 mod 4 submarine was shipped from the German port city of Kiel.
  • This latest addition to Egyptian naval forces represents a huge reinforcement for the capabilities of the Egyptian army, which will contribute to the protection of the country's economic resources in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, as well as the Suez Canal.
  • The four diesel-electric submarines received between December 2016 and August 2021 are the result of a 2011 contract between the Egyptian Navy and German company ThyssenKrupp for two subs, and an additional two added in 2015.

Australian Navy to Join Indian Fleet in New War Games

  • Indian warships will exercise with the Australian navy as part of a two-month deployment to the South China Sea and western Pacific, in the latest effort by nations to strengthen maritime co-operation in the face of an increasingly assertive China.
  • Australian and Indian warships will also join Japanese and American vessels for exercises off the coast of Guam, the second time the four nations have participated in India's flagship Malabar naval exercises since the revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
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Bvlgari Appoints Priyanka Chopra as its Global Brand Ambassador

  • Italian luxury brand Bvlgari appointed actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas as global brand ambassador.
  • In her new role, Chopra Jonas will support the Roman high jewellery house in amplifying the brand around the world, with a particular focus on themes of women empowerment, diversity and inclusion. Bvlgari is known for its gemstone jewellery, watches, fragrances, accessories and leather goods.

Kathakali Exponent Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboothiri Passes Away

  • Well-known Kathakali exponent Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri passed away at the age of 81.
  • Known for the portrayal of the negative 'chuvanna thadi' (red beard) characters in the classical dance drama, he also excelled in enacting the roles of "vattamudi" and "penkari."
  • Besides the characters of negative shades like 'Kali', 'Dushasanan' and 'Bakan', he was famous for the pious roles like 'Kuchelan' too.
  • A scholar in Sanskrit and Hindu Puranas, Namboothiri was a recipient of several honours including Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Kerala Santeetha Nataka Akademi Award, Kerala State Kathakali Prize and many more.
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U.S. Coast Guard Day

  • The U. S. Coast Guard Day is held every August 4 to honour the establishment of the U.S. Coast Guard and the courageous work of the service members of the Coast Guard.
  • The United States Coast Guard was established on 4th August, 1790 by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and later on known as the Revenue Marine.
  • The Coast Guard that we see today went with several changes. The Congress Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson and converted into law. According to this law, the Revenue Marine was combined with another agency known as the United States Life-Saving Service with the intent of having a single entity responsible for maritime law enforcement and life-saving.
  • After merger and consolidation, it grew larger. The merger took place in 1915 and changed the name to the United States Coast Guard.

Act East: India, ASEAN FMs Meet

  • External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar will take part in the India-ASEAN Foreign Ministers meet virtually.
  • Brunei will be the host of the meeting. The meeting will see the focus on COVID-19 cooperation and connectivity as the top priority. The meet is part of the annual mechanism and the group has a similar mechanism with the US, Australia, Russia, Canada and New Zealand.
  • A number of engagements take place between ASEAN and India annually including at the leaders level. Earlier this year the 23rd ASEAN-India senior officials meeting had taken place and was co-chaired by Secretary (East) of the external affairs ministry Riva Ganguly Das and the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and SOM Leader of Thailand Thani Thongphakdi.
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DBS Clinches Global Accolade for Innovation in Digital Banking

  • DBS has been honoured as the global winner for Most Innovative in Digital Banking by Financial Times publication, The Banker, in its 2021 Innovation in Digital Banking Awards. The bank was also recognised as the Asia-Pacific winner and won in the Cyber Security category for its Secure Access and Remote Working Solution.
  • The Banker's Innovation in Digital Banking Awards recognises the most innovative banks across the world for their digital banking initiatives, strategy, and overall commitment to digital transformation. These awards, now in their second year, are the evolution of The Banker's Technology Projects of the Year Awards. DBS is named Asia's Best Bank & Asia's Best Digital Bank in the Euromoney Regional Awards.
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Lok Sabha Passes Essential Defence Services Bill

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, that allows the government to prohibit strikes, mass casual leave and lockouts in essential defence services establishments.
  • All offences punishable under the Bill will be cognisable and non-bailable. Persons commencing or participating in illegal strikes will be punished with up to one-year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both.
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Khallikote Autonomous College Gets Unitary University Status

  • The Khallikote Autonomous College, one of the oldest colleges in Odisha, was given the status of a unitary university.
  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced in May 2021 that unitary university status would be granted to the 165-year-old college, located in Berhampur town in Ganjam district.
  • The institution was started as a school in 1856 in Berhampur and became an intermediate college in 1878. The autonomy was conferred to it in 1990.
  • A unitary university is a varsity that acts as a single unit without any affiliated college under it.
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New Book Offers Insights into 2019 Balakot Air Strikes

  • A new book revisits the chain of real-life events surrounding February 2019 Pulwama suicide bombing attack, and India's strong hit-back in the form of Balakot airstrikes twelve days later. "Balakot Air Strike: How India Avenged Pulwama", published by Garuda Prakashan, is written by Navy veteran Manan Bhatt.
  • The book, in its detailed account of the two epochal events, claims to capture everything from moments before the ill-fated CRPF bus was hit, to the cockpits from where precision bombs were triggered and what transpired in those 12 momentous, expectation-filled days.
  • The book takes through the life and perils of CRPF Jawans posted in the Valley from the eyes of a survivor of Pulwama terror attack, CRPF Head Constable Iqbal Singh and five of the slain Jawans. It tells us the story of a New India that is ready to fight back and not ready to get bogged down in front of terrorism.
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Silver Coin Found at Keeladi Reveals Economic Activities of Settlement

  • A punch-marked silver coin that was dug out during the seventh phase of excavation at Keeladi has sent a wave of excitement among archaeologists, as they are further able to collate and establish trading activity of the civilisation believed to have flourished on the banks of Vaigai River more than 2,500 years ago.
  • The finding of a single punched-mark silver coin so far is stated to be unique. However, a similar semi-circular silver coin was excavated earlier, during the fourth phase of excavation at Keeladi. The two coins suggest commercial activities belonging to the middle of the 4th century BCE.
  • The designs on the coin, according to Mr. Sivanandam, who is also the Deputy Director, Department of Archaeology, are of the sun, moon, a bull, taurine, and another animal that resembles a dog on one side and a semi-circle with two small geometric L-shaped marks on the obverse.
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