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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

17 Sep 2021


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Bahamas PM Concedes Defeat in Polls

  • Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis conceded defeat in the general elections on the Atlantic island chain reeling from a surge in COVID-19 cases and slump in the tourism-dependent economy due to the pandemic.
  • Mr. Minnis called his challenger Philip Davis to congratulate him and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) on winning the poll.
  • Mr. Minnis had been hoping to become the first Prime Minister in 24 years to win a second five-year term.
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Kew Gardens Breaks Record for Largest Plant Collection

  • Kew Gardens has set a new record for the largest living plant collection at a single site, according to Guinness World Records (GWR).
  • Established in 1759, the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew had 16,900 unique plant species as of May 2019.
  • This makes it the most diverse collection of living flora at a single-site botanic garden.
  • The UNESCO World Heritage site contains many record-breaking plants including the Titan Arum, officially the world's tallest and smelliest plant.
  • In 2020, a specimen at the nursery at Kew earned the award for the Longest Nepenthes plant trap measuring 16.9 in (43cm) from the base to the lid.
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Japan's Rakuten Forays into India's B2B tech Segment

  • Rakuten India, the Bengaluru-based technology hub for Japan's Rakuten Group, is foraying for the first time in India with its products in B2B technology, and has launched its new 'Code to Customer' Observability platform - Rakuten SixthSense.
  • Developed in India, Rakuten SixthSense, will provide businesses end-to-end visibility of the entire IT environment, from development to business operations.
  • Rakuten India, is the largest among Rakuten's 9 technology hubs outside Japan, has been an important tech hub for developing solutions for Rakuten's global ecosystem of more than 70 diverse businesses since 2014.
  • Rakuten SixthSense enables organisations to have a complete view of its data across the IT systems, applications, and business impact and allows for continual improvements based on the operational findings. As a SaaS platform, it delivers speed to customers while its pay-as-you-grow model offers customers a balance of value and investment.

Power Finance Corp Issues Maiden Euro Green Bond

  • Leading power sector lender, Power Finance Corporation (PFC) issued its maiden Euro Green Bond of £300 million. The 7-year instrument has been priced at 1.841 per cent.
  • According to PFC, this is the lowest yield locked in by an Indian Issuer in the Euro markets.
  • It is not only the first Euro bond issuance by PFC, but also the first-ever Euro denominated Green bond issuance from India. Moreover, it is the first ever Euro issuance by an Indian NBFC and the first Euro bond issuance from India since 2017.
  • With the issuance, PFC has also forayed in the European market for its international fund raising.
  • The company also said that the issuance saw participation from institutional investors across Asia and Europe from across 82 accounts and was oversubscribed 2.65 times.

Escorts Signs MoU with IndusInd Bank

  • To make its range of tractors and farm equipment more accessible, Escorts Ltd has partnered with IndusInd Bank to provide financial solutions to farmers.
  • Escorts and IndusInd Bank will work together closely in understanding the financial needs of its customers and will jointly come up with various financial programs to enable customers invest in modern farm machinery to enhance their farm productivity and income.
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Infosys Launches Digital Commerce Platform Equinox

  • Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, launched Equinox platform to help enterprises securely deliver hyper-segmented, personalised omnichannel commerce experiences for B2B and B2C buyers. The platform's future-ready architecture offers unprecedented flexibility for enterprises to pick and choose out-of-the-box micro services and pre-built experiences to build curated digital journeys that enhance their digital commerce or launch it grounds-up in a matter of weeks.
  • The Equinox platform helps businesses transform their digital commerce across marketing, merchandising, e-commerce, store operations, supply chain and customer service through its four offerings: Infosys Equinox Microservices, Infosys Equinox Commerce, Infosys Equinox Experiences, and Infosys Equinox Marketing. Infosys Equinox also brings together best-of-breed service, product, platform and industry capabilities from Infosys, and its partners, in an integrated ecosystem.

Early Mars Experienced Volcanic Supereruptions

  • Using high-resolution images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, planetary scientists have discovered 4-billion-year-old layered deposits containing minerals consistent with altered volcanic ash throughout a region of northern Mars called Arabia Terra. They estimate that the volcanic ash observed in this region is the result of between 1,000 and 2,000 individual explosive eruptions over 500 million years.
  • Several large and deep craters in western Arabia Terra, Mars are thought to be explosive calderas, a type of volcano capable of producing supereruptions,
  • If these craters are calderas, vast layers of volcanic ash should be common in Arabia Terra.
  • While layered deposits have been observed previously in Arabia, until now, no deposits have been associated with the suggested calderas.

Astronauts Return to Earth after China's Longest Space Mission

  • Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after completing the country's longest crewed space mission.
  • They spent 90 days at the Tianhe module on China's space station, some 380 km (240 miles) above Earth.
  • The three men had boarded the Shenzhou-12 crewed spacecraft and undocked from the space station.
  • The successful mission is another demonstration of China's growing confidence and capability in the space domain.
  • Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Honbo touched down in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia.
  • They had left for space on 17 June, and had lifted off from the same desert.
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Virat Kohli to Step Down as India's T20I Captain

  • Virat Kohli will step down as India's captain for T20 International after the ICC T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in October-Novemeber this year.
  • For some time, there has been speculation about Kohli's future as white-ball captain especially in the backdrop of Rohit Sharma's brilliant track record of winning five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians.
  • Rohit is Kohli's deputy in the white-ball formats and is most likely to take up the leadership role when India clashes with New Zealand in a home series in November that will feature three T20 Internationals along with two Test matches.
  • Kohli took over India's limited-overs captaincy in 2017, succeeding Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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CM Bhupendra Patel Keeps Home; Kanubhai Patel New Finance Minister

  • Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel allocated portfolios to 24 newly-inducted ministers, keeping a host of departments including Home with himself and without appointing any deputy. Kanubhai Desai was allocated Finance and Energy and Petrochemicals portfolios.
  • Besides the Home Ministry, CM Patel will hold the charge of General Administration Department, Information and Broadcast, Industries, Mines and Minerals, Capital Projects, Urban Development, Urban Housing and Narmada and Ports. The allocation was announced in the first cabinet meeting held in Gandhinagar after the ministers were sworn in.
  • Rajendra Trivedi, who was Assembly Speaker during the previous Vijay Rupani government, was allocated Revenue, Law and Justice, and Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs departments as a cabinet-rank minister.

Centre Agrees to Reinstate Justice A.I.S Cheema as Acting Chairperson of NCLAT

  • After a brief impasse with the Supreme Court, the Centre agreed, as a one-off measure, to reinstate Justice A.I.S Cheema as Acting Chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) till the date of his retirement on September 20 so that he can pronounce judgments pending with him.
  • The government blinked after the to and fro between the Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and the government, represented by Attorney-General K. K. Venugopal, reached such a pass that the court threatened to suo motu stay the Tribunal Reforms Act of 2021.
  • The government made it clear that Justice Cheema's reinstatement was after considering the "peculiar circumstances" of his case and should not be treated as a precedent.

NITI Aayog Launches Report on 'Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India'

  • NITI Aayog has launched a report titled 'Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India' which presents measures to ramp up urban planning capacity in India. The report was released jointly by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant and Special Secretary Dr. K. Rajeswara Rao.
  • The report has made several recommendations that can unblock bottlenecks in the value chain of urban planning capacity in India. Some of them include programmatic Intervention for the Planning of Health, Re-engineering of Urban Governance, Revision of Town and Country Planning Acts.
  • The report suggests that every city must aspire to become a 'Healthy City for All' by 2030.
  • The report has also recommended a Central Sector Scheme named '500 Healthy Cities Programme', for a period of 5 years. Under this priority cities and towns would be selected jointly by the states and local bodies.
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Navy Gives on Lease Passenger Variant Dornier Aircraft to Mauritius

  • The Navy has handed over a Passenger Variant Dornier (PVD) aircraft on lease to the Maritime Air Squadron of the National Coast Guard, Mauritius.
  • The aircraft was presented to the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) at an official ceremony.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the High Commissioner of India to Maldives Nandini K. Singla observed that MSN 4059 had been leased to the MPF by the Indian Navy on gratis basis to support the current increased load of air operations.

Defence Ministry Constitutes High Level Expert Committee to Review NCC

  • The Ministry of Defence has constituted a High-Level Expert Committee, for a comprehensive review of the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Former Member of Parliament (MP) Baijayant Panda is the Chairperson of the Committee. The 15-member committee also includes cricketer MS Dhoni and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra as members.
  • Terms of Reference of the Committee:
  • Suggest measures to empower NCC cadets to contribute more effectively towards nation building
  • Propose ways for gainful engagement of NCC Alumni for the betterment of the organisation
  • Recommend best practices of similar international youth organisations for inclusion in the NCC curriculum.
  • The NCC is the largest uniformed organisation that aims at developing character, discipline, a secular outlook and ideals of selfless service amongst young citizens. It also aims to create a pool of organised, trained and motivated youth with leadership qualities in all walks of life.
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Computing Pioneer Clive Sinclair Dies

  • Clive Sinclair, the British inventor who pioneered the pocket calculator and affordable home computers died at the age of 81.
  • He passed away at his home in London after fighting cancer for more than a decade.
  • Clive Sinclair's groundbreaking products included the first portable electronic calculator in 1972.
  • The Sinclair ZX80, launched in 1980 and sold for less than £100 at the time, brought home computing to the masses in Britain and beyond.
  • Other early home computers such as the Apple II cost far more, and Sinclair's company was the first in the world to sell more than a million machines.
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World Patient Safety Day

  • World Patient Safety Day (WPSD), observed annually on September 17, aims to raise global awareness about patient safety and call for solidarity and united action by all countries and international partners to reduce patient harm. Patient safety focuses on preventing and reducing risks, errors and harm that happen to patients during the provision of health care.
  • World Patient Safety Day is one of 11 official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Each year World Patient Safety Day has a theme and the theme for World Patient Safety Day 2021 is 'Safe and Respectful Maternal and Newborn Care'.
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Yogi Announces Launch of UP Matra Bhumi Yojana

  • Chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced the launch of 'Uttar Pradesh Matra Bhumi Yojana' that seeks to make the common man a direct participant in the development work of the state and strengthen the participatory rural economy and infrastructure.
  • Under this, every person will get a chance to directly participate in various works of infrastructure development in villages. The government will bear 50 per cent of the total cost of the project, while the remaining 50 % will be contributed by the interested people. In return the project can be named after the relatives of the collaborators as per their wish.
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India has Second-highest Women Learners for Online Courses in World

  • Women in India are learning online at higher rates compared to pre-pandemic, representing 44 per cent of new learners in 2021, up from 37 per cent in 2019. The Women and Skills Report by Coursera compares pre-pandemic enrolment and performance data with trends observed on the platform since the onset of the pandemic through June 2021.
  • With 4.8 million registered women learners, India ranks second worldwide for the highest number of registered women learners on Coursera.
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