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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

17 Jan 2022


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Ireland Marks 100 Years since British Handover of Power

  • A ceremony was held to mark 100 years since Dublin Castle, the then headquarters of the British in Ireland, was handed over to Irish authorities.
  • Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin attended.
  • In 1922, the handover took place a week after the Dáil (Irish parliament) voted to ratify the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
  • The treaty allowed for the creation of an independent Irish Free State within the British Empire and confirmed the partition of the island of Ireland.
  • President Higgins then unveiled a plaque marking the site where Dublin Castle was formally handed over by the representatives of the British government in 1922.
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Kumbhalgarh, Todgarh Sanctuaries Unsuitable for Viable Tiger Populations

  • A National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report ruled out the possibility of declaring Rajasthan's Kumbhalgarh and Todgarh wildlife sanctuaries as tiger reserves to decongest the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve saying their landscape is unsuitable to hold viable big cat population.
  • In the report, retired Indian Forest Service officers R.N. Mehrotra and N.K. Vasu, NTCA Tiger Cell scientist Kausik Banerjee, and additional inspector general, (NTCA) Hemant Kamdi pointed out that the length of the proposed tiger reserve is about 200-220 km. It added its width varies between 3 to 15 km (average width 6.5 km), which would make it difficult to confine tigers and other wildlife within the boundary of the proposed reserve.
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Oil India Exits US Shale Venture, Sells 20% Stake

  • State-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) exited from a US shale oil venture, selling its 20 per cent stake to its venture partner for USD 25 million -- the second exit of an Indian firm from the US shale business in two months.
  • Oil India (USA) Inc (wholly owned subsidiary of OIL), divested its entire stake in Niobrara shale asset, USA.
  • OIL and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) had together in October 2012 bought a 30 per cent stake in Houston-based Carrizo Oil & Gas's Niobrara shale asset in Colorado for USD 82.5 million.
  • While OIL had acquired 20 per cent, IOC bought 10 per cent in Carrizo's Niobrara basin acreage assets through their respective subsidiaries.

Marwadi Financial Services Ties up with NSDL Payments Bank

  • Marwadi Financial Services continues to expand its bouquet of partnerships to provide a faster & effective investment and trading experience to our customers. Their latest affiliation with NSDL Payments Bank will allow Marwadi Financial Services to offer its clients an integrated 3-in-1 savings account that combines the features of savings, Demat and trading accounts.
  • Using this account, investors would be able to seamlessly transfer funds in real-time and execute trades in almost no time. Users would also be able to avail margins without actually moving funds between their savings and trading accounts. The 3-in-1 account provides the additional advantage to users of availing savings interest on funds lying idle in their trading account. This strategic partnership would help Marwadi to boost customer experience while allowing NSDL Payments Bank to access Marwadi's clients and expand its customer base.
  • NSDL Payments Bank is a subsidiary of NSDL (National Security Depository Limited), the firs and the largest depository in India.
  • Marwadi Financial Services is a Rajkot, Gujarat based financial service group dealing in equities/commodities/currencies broking and portfolio management services.

DCB Bank Appoints Rupa Devi Singh as Chairman

  • Private sector lender DCB Bank appointed Rupa Devi Singh as its new part time chairman following the retirement of Nasser Munjee from that position. Her appointment is subject to approval from regulatory authorities like Reserve Bank of India and the shareholders of the Bank.
  • Singh's appointment will be effective from the date of receipt of the RBI approval. Munjee was the chairman of the bank since August 2005.
  • Rupa Devi Singh has been a non-executive independent director of the bank from January 22, 2015. She has over 35 years of experience in various sectors viz. commercial banking, project structuring, infrastructure, etc.
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Astronomers Discover Evidence of Super-Sized Moon Orbiting a Jupiter-Sized Planet

  • Astronomers reported a second, super-sized moon orbiting a Jupiter-sized planet beyond our solar system. If confirmed, the sighting could mean that exomoons are as common in the universe as exoplanets, and that big or small, such moons are a feature of planetary systems. But it could be a long wait. The first-ever sighting of an exomoon four years ago is still awaiting confirmation, and verification of this newest candidate could be as equally long and contentious.
  • Astronomers have found more than 10,000 exoplanet candidates so far, but exomoons are far more challenging.
  • The team spotted the giant exomoon candidate orbiting the planet Kepler 1708b, a world 5,500 light-years from Earth in the direction of the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. This new candidate is about a third smaller than the Neptune-sized moon that Kipping and his colleagues earlier found orbiting a similar Jupiter-sized planet, Kepler 1625b.

Pandora Mission to Study Stars and Exoplanets Passes Crucial Step

  • The Pandora mission, co-led by a national laboratory and a NASA flight center, passed a crucial step on its path to study stars and planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets.
  • After a successful concept study report and system requirements review, NASA approved the mission to continue toward flight. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) are co-leading Pandora as part of NASA's new Astrophysics Pioneers program, with LLNL leading the project management and NASA GSFC leading the science.
  • The mission will study approximately 20 stars and exoplanets by analyzing starlight that passes through exoplanets' atmospheres, using a technique called transit spectroscopy.
  • Pandora will disentangle signals to understand which are from exoplanet atmospheres and which are from starspots, stellar phenomena that are similar to sunspots and can contaminate data. The celestial untangling will address and mitigate the impact of stellar inhomogeneities on exoplanet data obtained with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which was launched on Christmas Day.
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Kohli Quits as India's Test Captain after Seven Years

  • Virat Kohli stepped down as the Test captain of the Indian national cricket team after seven years. He first led the national side in Test cricket in 2014 against Australia. He guided the team to an unprecedented back-to-back Test series wins Down Under. Kohli also thanked former head coach Ravi Shastri and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his statement.
  • In 2021, India also finished as the runners-up in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. Kohli in 2021 stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain ahead of the South Africa tour. India also became a top-ranked Test side in the world.

Australia Beat England by 146 runs, Completes 4-0 Ashes Win

  • Australia completed a dominant 4-0 Ashes series victory over England by winning the fifth test by 146 runs with two days to spare.
  • England, set a target of 271 for victory, crashed to 124 all in the last session on the third day at Hobart, losing 10 wickets for 56 after Zak Crawley (36) and Rory Burns (26) combined in a 68-run opening stand.
  • Australia won the first three test matches before England escaped with a draw at Sydney, where the last pair of batters survived the final two overs under intense pressure in a result that eventually meant the tourists avoided a 5-0 sweep.

Lakshya Sen Wins his Maiden Super 500 Title

  • India's Lakshya Sen secured his maiden Super 500 title by winning the Yonex-Sunrise India Open with a stunning straight-game victory over reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the men's singles final. The 20-year-old Sen, who had claimed his maiden world championships medal with a bronze in Spain last month, produced a fine performance to outshine the fifth seeded shuttler 24-22 21-17 in the summit clash.
  • In the doubles final, top doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty scripted a stunning straight-game win over three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia to become the first men's team from the country to win the Yonex-Sunrise India Open.
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Former Kanpur Police Commissioner, Joins BJP

  • Aseem Arun, a former Kanpur police Commissioner, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • Union Minister Anurag Thakur welcomed Arun to the saffron party and said that the latter had seen how the Yogi Adityanath government crushed the mafia to restore law and order in the state.
  • Arun, a 1994 batch IPS officer, had resigned earlier this month to join politics and is likely to contest the Kannauj Assembly seat.

PM Modi Address World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a 'State of the World' special address at the World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda via video conference.
  • The virtual event will be held from January 17 to 21 and will also be addressed by several Heads of State including Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, European Commission President Ursua von der Leyen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others.

Mansukh Mandaviya Releases Commemorative Postal Stamp on COVID-19 Vaccine

  • As India completed one year of Covid-19 vaccination, claimed to be the world's largest and most successful vaccination drive, a total of 157 crore vaccine doses were given across the country.
  • As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) data, the global average of persons fully vaccinated per 100 population is 50.03, whereas that in some of the world's most populous countries such as India are (44.72%), US (61.07%), China (82.69%), Brazil (67.27%) and Russian Federation (43.57%).
  • Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, released a commemorative postal stamp on Covid-19 vaccine to mark the 1st anniversary of India's national Covid-19 vaccination programme. The commemorative stamp design features a healthcare worker inoculating a senior citizen with Covid-19 vaccine, along with an image of 'Covaxin' vial, India's indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine.
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Navies of India, Russia Conduct Passing Exercise in Arabian Sea

  • The navies of India and Russia conducted a passing exercise in the Arabian Sea.
  • Indian Navy's indigenously designed and built guided missile destroyer INS Kochi exercised with Russian Federation Navy's destroyer Admiral Tributs.
  • The exercise showcased cohesiveness and interoperability between the two navies and included tactical manoeuvres, cross-deck helicopter operations and seamanship activities.
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Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta: Ousted Mali President Dies

  • The ousted President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, died aged 76.
  • Keïta led Mali for seven years until 2020, when he was ousted in a coup after huge anti-government protests over his handling of jihadist unrest.
  • An economic crisis and disputed elections also fuelled the demonstrations against his rule.
  • Weeks after he was ousted he suffered a minor stroke and was flown to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment.
  • Mali's new military rulers staged a second coup in May of last year, announcing a further three-year delay to elections that were meant to happen this February.
  • This last action made them the target of sanctions this week by the EU as well as its neighbours in the West African regional bloc Ecowas.

Kathak Maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj Dies

  • Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj passed away at the age of 83.
  • Pandit Birju Maharaj was a direct descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers that includes his two uncles - Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj. He started receiving training in the dance form from his young days by his father and uncles. Pandit Birju Maharaj's first major solo performance was at Manmath Nath Ghosh celebrations in Bengal and since then there has been no looking back.
  • The Kathak maestro was conferred with numerous prestigious awards including India's second-highest civilian award – Padma Vibhushan. Other awards bestowed on him are Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Kalidas Samman, Nritya Choodamani, Andhra Ratna, Nritya Vilas, Adharshila Shikhar Samman, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Shiromani Samman, Rajiv Gandhi Peace Award.
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NIRAMAI & InnAccel Receive Global Women's Health Tech Awards

  • DBT-BIRAC supported start-ups, NIRAMAI Health Analytix Pvt Ltd, and InnAccel Technologies Pvt Ltd received World Bank Group and Consumer Technology Association's Global Women's Health Tech Awards. The award recognizes innovative start-ups that leverage tech to improve women's health and safety. NIRAMAI Health Analytix was selected for early-stage breast cancer medical device. InnAccel was selected for Fetal Lite, AI-powered fetal heart rate (FHR) monitor.
  • The award recognises innovative startups that use technology to improve women's health and safety in emerging markets. Launched in August 2021, the Awards attracted over 70 companies from 35 countries, which submitted their innovative products and services under three categories: reproductive health and pregnancy, general women's and adolescent health, and women safety and security.

National Award for E-Governance

  • National Award for e-Governance 2020-21 (Silver) was conferred to Mon District Administration of Nagaland.
  • Award was presented at 24th National Conference on e-Governance at Hyderabad.
  • Award was handed over to Deputy Commissioner of Mon district, Thavasselan K, by union Minister of State (MoS) Dr. Jitendra Singh.
  • The National Award for e-Governance was presented under the category 6 of "Use of ICT in the Management of Covid-19" to Mon district. It was aimed at recognizing the initiatives undertaken by district administration.
  • Project titled "Technology in Aid to Administration" was initiated in Mon district, for mitigating the hardships caused to public while enforcing Covid-19 Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) to restrict the spread of infections. This project is helping in reducing hardship of people, keeping people safe from Covid and increasing effectiveness of administration.
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The Citizen Constitution Literacy Campaign

  • The Citizen Constitution Literacy Campaign campaign was launched in Kollam district of Kerala. The campaign is first of its kind. The campaign would educate the residents of the district about the basics of constitution. The campaign aims to make Kollam district a constitutionally literate district.
  • The campaign aims to educate seven lakh Kollam residents. It is organized by the Kerala Institute of Local Administration and District Planning Committee. The campaign would brief the preamble of the Indian Constitution, fundamental rights, history of Indian constitution and legal remedies. All the citizens above the age of ten are to be briefed about the constitution. This includes socio – cultural organizations, private establishments, government institutions, educational institutions.

IIT-Kanpur Launches Departments of Design, Space Science and Astronomy

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur approved setting up two new departments in the fields of Design, Space Science and Astronomy, making the total tally to 20 academic departments.
  • The institute's design programme that has been in existence since 2002 will be transformed into the Department of Design. The institute is also planning to launch a Bachelor of Design programme starting as early as 2023.
  • The Design Department will be headed by Professor Nachiketa Tiwari, the current Head of the Design Programme.
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