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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

16 Nov 2021


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Pakistan and Afghanistan to Resume 'Dosti' Transport Service

  • Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to resume the suspended "Dosti" bus service between the two countries in 2022 after more than five years, a move that would help mitigate the travel woes of people living across the border of the two countries. The decision to resume the bus service was taken during the recent visit by the Afghan delegation.
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Syria Reservoir Dries up for First Time

  • A key reservoir in north-western Syria is almost completely dry for the first time in its 27-year history. The emptying of the reservoir is attributed to low rainfall, structural damage and extraction by struggling farmers.
  • In 2021, Syria has been experiencing one of its driest and hottest years on record. This has caused drought and a series of wildfires.
  • Along with climate change, the region receiving historically low rainfall last winter has led to the reservoir drying out.
  • The reservoir formed by Al-Duwaysat Dam in Idlib province is a key irrigation source for thousands of farmers.

Maharashtra Signs MoU to Boost Adoption of Electric Vehicles

  • The Maharashtra government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian arm of the USA-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to support adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in Maharashtra.
  • RMI India, which is an independent non-profit working on clean energy transitions in the country, is expected to provide technical support for implementation of the state's newly launched EV Policy. The MoU was signed in Glasgow amid the ongoing COP26 summit.
  • It may be noted that Maharashtra's new draft Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy 2021 aims to bring at least 146,000 new battery-operated electric vehicles (BEVs) on state roads by 2025.
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HDFC Bank Launches the Second Edition of "Mooh Band Rakho"

  • HDFC Bank launched the second edition of its "Mooh Band Rakho" campaign in support of International Fraud Awareness Week 2021. Through this initiative the bank aims to increase awareness on all types of frauds and the importance of keeping your mouth shut to ensure their prevention. This year, HDFC Bank through its Mooh Band Rakho campaign is urging customers to take a pledge and not share confidential banking information with anyone. The bank has rolled out this campaign to commemorate the global movement to minimise the impact of fraud which is being held from November 15 – 21, 2021.

Govt. Inks USD 61 mn Loan Pact with ADB for Development Projects in Agartala

  • The government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a USD 61 million loan to improve liveability, harness technology and promote new developments to accommodate the expanding population in Agartala city while building the capacity of state agencies for improved service delivery.
  • The loan agreement for the Agartala City Urban Development Project was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the government and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission.
  • The project is aligned to the vision of the government Smart City Mission to upgrade urban infrastructure services and will improve liveability in Agartala with the provision of better road connectivity, flood resilient measures and making tourist places more attractive.

CCI Approves Blackstone Group Entity's Stake Buy in ASK Investment

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) gave its nod for the acquisition of over 71 per cent stake in ASK Investment Managers by a Blackstone Group entity.
  • The proposed combination envisages the acquisition of 71.25 per cent shareholding of ASK Investment Managers by BCP TopCo XII Pte Ltd.
  • The acquirer is an affiliate of funds advised or managed by the affiliates of The Blackstone Group Inc.
  • ASK Investment Managers is an asset and wealth management company.
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ICC T20 World Cup 2022

  • Seven host cities have been announced for the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia with the final line-up for the event now confirmed.
  • The event which is scheduled to take place between 16 October and 13 November 2022 will see a total of 45 matches hosted across Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 Final will be hosted under lights at the MCG on 13 November 2022. The semi-finals will be hosted at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval on 9 and 10 November, respectively.
  • Men's T20 World Cup 2021 champions Australia and runner-up New Zealand plus Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan and South Africa as the next highest ranked teams will gain direct entry into the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.
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UN Secretary General Guterres Appoints Shombi Sharp as UN Resident Coordinator in India

  • United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed Shombi Sharp of the United States as the UN Resident Coordinator in India.
  • Sharp has devoted more than 25 years of his career to promoting inclusive and sustainable development internationally, bringing experience he has acquired at the United Nations and externally to this new position.
  • Within the world organisation, he most recently served as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Armenia.
  • Sharp has held several leadership positions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Kaiser-i-Hind: Arunachal's State Butterfly

  • State Cabinet of Arunachal Pradesh, headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, approved "Kaiser-i-Hind" as state butterfly.
  • Kaiser-i-Hind' is a large and brightly coloured butterfly.
  • It is an elusive swallowtail butterfly, which carries 'India' in its name.
  • It is found in China and now it has been approved as the State butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Kaiser-i-Hind is scientifically known as Teinopalpus imperialis. In literal terms, it means Emperor of India.
  • It is found across six States along Eastern Himalayas at the elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in a well-wooded terrain. They also flutter in Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Myanmar, southern China and Vietnam.
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Belarus Eyes Iskander Missiles amid Border Crisis with Poland

  • Amid a rapidly escalating border row with Poland, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko renewed his request with Russian President Vladimir Putin to acquire Iskander missile systems for his country's armed forces.
  • The authoritarian leader's request comes as ties between Poland and Belarus have become increasingly strained over the past weeks.

Egypt Activates Rafale Contract

  • Egypt's contract with France for a further 30 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft came into force on 15 November.
  • The manufacturer announced that the contract signed on 4 May to bring Egypt's total Rafale fleet from 24 up to 54 aircraft has now been activated.
  • As announced earlier in the year, Egypt is to acquire the additional Rafales for EUR3.8 billion (USD4.6 billion) via a 10-year loan.
  • Egypt signed for its first 24 Rafales (16 Rafale B/DM two-seaters and eight Rafale C/EM single-seaters) in early 2015, with deliveries commencing later the same year and running through to late 2017. Neither the composition of this latest order nor its delivery timeline have yet been revealed.
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Eminent Writer Mannu Bhandari Passes Away

  • Noted writer Mannu Bhandari passed away. She was 90.
  • Bhandari was the wife of illustrious Hindi fiction writer Rajendra Yadav and was best known for her novels 'Aapki Banti' and 'Mahabhoj'. The well-received 1974 Hindi feature film 'Rajnigandha' was an adaptation from her novel 'Yahi Sach Hai'.
  • Born on April 3, 1931, in Madhya Pradesh's Bhanpura and primarily raised in Ajmer, Bhandari belonged to a renowned family. Her father produced one of the first English to Hindi and English to Marathi dictionaries.
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International Day for Tolerance

  • November 16 commemorates the International Day of Tolerance, every year. This is a UN declared day that aims at creating public awareness on the dangers of intolerance. What propelled the idea was the increasing need to ensure people are aware of the negativity that stems from intolerance. As a result, the UN General Assembly in order to promote tolerance as a staple of society amid general public and educational institutions came up with this.
  • In 1995, the UN had declared a Year for Tolerance. The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance was formulated the same year by UNESCO on November 16. The UN decided to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's 125th birth anniversary that year by kickstarting the commemoration of International Tolerance Day in 1995.

National Press Day

  • National Press Day is observed on November 16, every year to honour and acknowledge the establishment of the Press Council of India (PCI) in 1966.
  • This was the day on which the Press Council of India started functioning as a moral watchdog to ensure that the press maintains the high standards expected from this powerful medium.
  • In 1956, the First Press Commission planned to form a Press Council to protect freedom of the press in India. On 4 July 1966, the Press Council was established in India. It came into effect from November 16, 1966. Therefore, November 16 is celebrated as National Press Day every year.
  • It is the self-regulatory watchdog of the press, for the press and by the press that operates under the Press Council Act of 1978. The Council has a chairman – traditionally, a retired Supreme Court judge, and 28 additional members of which 20 are members of media, nominated by the newspapers, television channels and other media outlets operating in India. In the 28 member council, 5 are members of the Lower House (Lok Sabha) and Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian parliament and three represent culture literary and legal field as nominees of Sahitya Academy, University Grant Commission and Bar Council of India.

First Audit Diwas

  • Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, addressed the event of first Audit Diwas on November 16, 2021.
  • The event was held at CAG office premises.
  • On the occasion, PM also unveiled the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • First edition of the Audit Diwas was celebrated to mark the historic origins of the institution of CAG and the contribution made by it to the governance, transparency and accountability.
  • CAG is the Constitutional Authority in India. It was established in accordance with Article 148 of the Constitution of India. CAG is empowered to Audit all receipts and expenditure of the central as well as state governments. The CAG is the statutory auditor of Government-owned corporations. It conducts supplementary audit of government companies, where Government is having an equity share of 51 per cent.
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IIT Gandhinagar Research Scholars Win Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards 2021

  • In a twin achievement by the research scholars at IIT Gandhinagar, Harini Gunda, a PhD student of Chemical Engineering, has won SRISTI-GYTI Award 2021, and Dr. Chandan Kumar Jha, a PhD alumnus and now a postdoctoral fellow in Electrical Engineering, has won BIRAC SITARE-GYTI Appreciation Award 2021.
  • Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards celebrate the spirit of student innovation in all the fields of engineering, science, technology and design through extremely affordable/frugal solutions or the ones that push the technological edge for various areas of social and industrial applications.
  • The awards are announced every year under two categories, 1) SITAREGYTI given by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and 2) SRISTI-GYTI given by SRISTI.
  • Harini received this award for developing 'Novel Boron Nano-additives for Improving the Performance of Solid Propellants'.
  • Chandan received the award for developing 'An Intelligent Hand Rehabilitation and Assessment System for Stroke Patients'.

Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank Gets ASSOCHAM Award

  • The Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) was adjudged the best regional rural bank (RRB) under the 'Regional Rural Banks' category, in recognition of its initiatives in the sphere of digital financial services by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Mumbai.
  • Bank chairman P. Gopikrishna received the award from Reserve Bank of India Regional Director R. Gurumurthy.
  • Mr. Gopikrishna said that nearly 40 villages under KVGB's jurisdiction are converted to 100% digital villages because of the bank's efforts. Those villages have round-the-clock access to Internet banking, mobile banking, micro ATMs, AEPS (Aadhar Enabled Payment Systems), IMPS, and UPI.
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In a First, CLAT to be Conducted Twice in a Year

  • The Consortium of National Law University (CNLU) announced the dates to conduct the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2022-23. For the first time, CNLU will conduct the CLAT for the years 2022 and 2023 in the same year. This is the first time that CLAT will be conducted twice in the same year.
  • CLAT 2022 will be held on May 8 while CLAT-2023 will be held on December 18, 2022. The consortium has also reduced the counselling fees from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 30,000. For reserved category candidates, the counselling fees will be Rs. 20,000.
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Dr. Ajay Kumar Releases a Book 'FORCE IN STATECRAFT'

  • India's Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar released a book titled 'FORCE IN STATECRAFT' in New Delhi. The book is a compilation of essays on topics such as counter-insurgency operations, conflict in the Northeast, airpower, nuclear posture etc. contributed by all stalwarts of the Armed Forces, who have vast operational experience and understanding of several important cornerstones of forces and its application.
  • It has been compiled by Commandant of National Defence College (NDC) Air Marshal Diptendu Choudhury and President's Chair of Excellence at NDC Air Vice Marshal (Dr.) Arjun Subramaniam (Retd). The first of its kind book from NDC will help policymakers, legislators, diplomats, academics, leadership at all levels in the various national security verticals.
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