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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

18 Jan 2022


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Credit Suisse Chairman Horta-Osorio Resigns

  • Credit Suisse will stick to its strategic overhaul despite the abrupt departure of its mastermind Antonio Horta-Osorio following an internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of Covid-19 rules.
  • Horta-Osorio's exit comes less than a year after he was hired to help the bank deal with the implosion of collapsed investment firm Archegos and the insolvency of British supply chain finance company Greenshill Capital, even as it was still reeling from the 2020 exit of CEO Tidjane Thiam over a spying scandal.

World Employment and Social Outlook Report

  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its report titled "World Employment and Social Outlook". In the report, ILO projected global unemployment of 207 million in 2022.
  • Global unemployment will reach to 207 million in 2022. It is almost 21 million more than 2019.
  • Total hours worked in 2022 will be about 2% below than the pre-pandemic level.
  • There will be deficiency of 52 million full-time equivalent jobs in 2022.
  • ILO is a United Nations agency, that advances social and economic justice by setting international labour standards. It was established in October 1919, under the League of Nations. ILO is the first and oldest specialised agency of the UN. It has 187 member states. 186 are among 193 UN member states and the Cook Islands. Its headquartered is in Geneva, Switzerland as well as 40 field offices worldwide.
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India's First Weather Hazard Atlas

  • The Sunderbans in West Bengal, neighbouring districts of Odisha, and Ramanathapuram, Pudukkottai and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu are the most vulnerable to high storm surges of as much as 8.5 to 13.7 metres that are induced by cyclones, according to the Climate Hazards and Vulnerability Atlas of India released by the ministry of earth sciences.
  • Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh, and Kachchh and Bhavnagar in Gujarat, besides all coastal regions of the west coast are also vulnerable to storm surges, but to a lesser degree of 4 to 6 metres.
  • The atlas is expected to mitigate the effects of 13 most hazardous meteorological events – cold wave, heat wave, thunderstorms, flood, drought, fog, wind hazard, dust storm, snowfall, hail storm, lightning, extreme rainfall and cyclone – that can cause extensive damage. There are 640 climate vulnerability maps in the atlas.
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Exide Life Appoints Sanjay Vij as Executive Director

  • Exide Life Insurance announced the appointment of Sanjay Vij as the Executive Director and Principal Officer.
  • Earlier in January 2022, HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited announced the completion of the acquisition of Exide Life Insurance Company Limited, subsequent to receiving all relevant regulatory approvals.
  • Exide Industries now holds 4.1 per cent stake in HDFC Life. The process for merger of Exide Life into HDFC Life will be initiated shortly.

Tech Mahindra Taps into Insurance Biz with Acquisition of Com Tec Co IT

  • IT services major Tech Mahindra announced acquisition of Com Tec Co IT Ltd (CTC) for €310 million (Rs. 2,625 crore), including earnouts and synergy-linked payouts. This will be eight acquisition the company has made in FY22.
  • CTC is an IT solutions and service provider serving the insurance and financial services industries with development centres in Latvia and Belarus. For the CY2020, CTC had revenue of Euro 71.3 million (around Rs. 604 crore) and for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 the company had revenue of euro 58.8 million (around Rs. 498 crore).
  • The acquisition will enable Tech Mahindra to tap onto the potential in the insurance sector, expand its offerings to high-end digital engineering services for some of the largest insurance, re-insurance and financial services organisations globally and scale its nearshore delivery presence.

Tata Power Renewable Energy Commissions 100 MW Solar Projects in Uttar Pradesh

  • Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) commissioned two solar power projects of 50 MW each in Uttar Pradesh.
  • A subsidiary of Tata Power, TPREL commissioned the solar projects at Prayagraj and Banda.
  • The projects were completed by TPREL within the agreed timelines despite COVID challenges. The plants are expected to generate more than 221.26 million units annually.
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Goalkeeper Savita Punia is Captain of India Women's Hockey Team

  • Goalkeeper Savita Punia will lead India at the upcoming women's Asia Cup in Muscat as Hockey India named a strong 18-member squad for the event, including 16 players that featured at the Tokyo Olympics. Since regular skipper Rani Rampal is recovering from an injury in Bengaluru, Savita will lead the side in the tournament, which is scheduled to be held between January 21-28.
  • Indian women are the defending champions. Seven other teams competing at the Women's Hockey Asia Cup 2022 are China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Anand Chef de Mission for Commonwealth Games; Bajwa for Asian Games

  • The Indian Olympic Association appointed senior vice president of the Indian Olympic Association Rakesh Anand as the Chef de Mission of the country's contingent for the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held at Birmingham from July 28-August 8.
  • The IOA also announced the appointment of president of Wushu Association of India Bhupender Singh Bajwa as India's Chef de Mission for the Asian Games, scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10-25.
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Republic Day Flypast this Year Will be 'Grandest and Largest' with 75 Aircraft

  • The Republic Day parade on the Rajpath this year will see the grandest and largest flypast ever with a total of 75 aircraft to mark the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrations. The flypast will conclude with seven jaguar fighter aircraft flying in the 'Amrit' formation to commemorate the 75 years of Independence.
  • The flypast will include 'Tangail' formation which will have one Dakota and two Dornier flying in Vic formation. This is tribute to the Tangail air drop operations of the 1971 War. There will also be 'Meghna' formation of 1 Chinook and four Mi-17s.
  • The flypast will begin with 'Dhwaj' formation with four Mi-17 aircraft, followed by 'Rudra' and 'Rahat' formations with 4 and 5 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), respectively.

Punjab Assembly Polls Postponed to February 20

  • The Election Commission has postponed the Punjab Assembly polls to February 20 in view of the Ravi Das Jayanti celebrations.
  • According to the new schedule, the date of notification will be January 25. The last date for filing the nominations is February 1. The date of scrutiny is February 2 and the last date of withdrawal is February 4. The counting of votes remains unchanged- March 10.
  • The Commission said the postponement had been done as it had received several representations from the state government, political parties and other organisations drawing its attention to the expected movement of a large number of people from Punjab to Varanasi for participation in Guru Ravidas Jayanti celebrations.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Announces 'Open Data Week'

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the initiation of the Open Data Week to encourage the adoption of open data and promote innovation across India's urban ecosystem.
  • According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, leading up to the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav - Smart Cities: Smart Urbanization' conference scheduled to be held in Surat, during February 2022, the Open Data Week is part of a series of pre-event initiatives being undertaken by MoHUA to promote awareness and use of open data.
  • It will be conducted during the third week of January, i.e., from 17th January 2022 to 21st January 2022.
  • The event aims to show the benefits of open data such as increased efficiency, transparency, a spur in innovation, and economic growth. It is divided into two segments - first, uploading of datasets, visualizations, APIs and data blogs on the Smart Cities Open Data Portal from 17th January 2022 to 20th January 2022 and the second celebration of a Data Day by all smart cities on 21st January 2022.
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South Korea Signs Deal to Sell M-SAM Surface-to-air Missiles to UAE

  • South Korea signed a preliminary deal with the UAE to sell Seoul's mid-range surface-to-air missiles to the Gulf nation, in the latest sign of deepening defence cooperation between the two nations.
  • The deal was signed after Moon held talks with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai.
  • In November 2021, the UAE's defence ministry announced that it plans to acquire the missiles.
  • The M-SAM system, called Cheongung II, is a core element of South Korea's multi-layered anti-missile program. Cheongung, means heaven's bow in Korean.
  • Employing "hit-to-kill" technology, the missile is designed to intercept hostile missiles coming in at altitudes below 40 km.
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Noted Environmentalist M. K. Prasad Passes Away Campaigner, Dies

  • Noted environmentalist Prof M. K. Prasad, a prominent figure in the historic grassroot level movement to save the evergreen tropical rain forests in Kerala's Silent Valley from destruction, passed away at the age of 89.
  • Prasad was a guiding force behind the national movement against the state government's move to set up a hydro-power project in Silent Valley in Palakkad district in the 1970s.
  • The struggle was called off in the early 80s after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assured that Silent Valley forests will be protected.
  • Prasad, who held various academic positions in Kerala, including the post of Pro Vice Chancellor of Calicut University and Principal of Maharaja's College, Ernakulam, has also authored numerous books in Malayalam on environmental issues and popular science.

Shaylyn Ford is Mrs. World 2022

  • Shaylyn Ford was crowned as the winner of Mrs. World 2022. She was crowned by the outgoing queen Kate Schneider from Ireland. Mrs. Jordan Jaclyn Stapp & Mrs. UAE Debanjali Kamstra were the runner up. Shaylyn Ford represented America in the pageant and battled out 57 other contestants from across the globe to claim the title. This is the 8th time an American representative won the title of Mrs. World.
  • Shaylyn Ford hails from Granville, Ohio, USA. She won the annual Mrs. American pageant in November 2021. She is a professional makeup artist, who has worked in every setting, from movie sets to make-a-wish projects. She has been married to her pastor husband for the past seven years and has three children. She also serves as a charitable director and does a lot of volunteer work to bring services to special needs families.
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Robert Lewandowski Wins FIFA Best Men's Player, Erik Lamela Gets Puskas Award

  • Bayern Munich's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski won the FIFA Best Men's Player award for 2021 with Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas winning the FIFA Best Women's Player prize.
  • The prolific Lewandowski won the award for the second straight year after a season in which he beat Gerd Mueller's 49-year old record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign.
  • Putellas was at the heart of the Barcelona women's team, which won the Spanish league and the UEFA Champions League.
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CBSE to Organise Science Challenge for Students of Classes 8 to 10

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced a Science challenge for the students of classes 8 to 10. The board is conducting this challenge "as an initiative to generate curiosity, enquiry and higher order thinking amongst the learners" in an age where science and technology are vital factors to understand the world.
  • The 'CBSE Science Challenge' will be available on the DIKSHA platform from January 17 to February 28, 2022. The challenge will be available in both Hindi and English and can be taken up by students across boards, with no participation fee.

Kumbalangi in Kerala First Sanitary Napkin Free Village in India

  • Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan declared a small village, Kumbalangi, in Ernakulam district, Kerala as the first napkin-free village in the country.
  • More than 5,000 menstrual cups were distributed among girls and women and they have been given training by volunteers for three months about their use and advantages.
  • Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden initiated the "Avalkayi" campaign under the Pradan Mantri Sansad Adarsh Gram Yogana.
  • The project was implemented as part of 'Avalkayi' (for her) scheme implemented in the Ernakulam parliamentary constituency. The other partners in the scheme are HLL Management Academy through their 'Thingal' scheme and Indian Oil Corporation.
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Vast 4,500-year-old Network of 'Funerary Avenues' Discovered in Saudi Arabia

  • Archaeologists in northwest Saudi Arabia discovered 4,500-year-old funerary avenues, the longest running for 105 miles (170 km), alongside thousands of pendant-shaped stone tombs.
  • They are called funerary avenues because tombs are located beside them. While funeral processions could have taken place on them this is uncertain. They would have linked oases together and formed an ancient highway network of sorts.

Sumit Bhale Wins Gold Medal at the International Folk Art Festival

  • Lavni artist from Maharashtra, Sumit Bhale of Fulbari taluka won a gold medal at the International Folk Art Festival in Dubai. With his splendid performance, Maharashtra's splendour was widely appreciated at the international platform. Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra and is a combination of traditional song and dance, which is particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument.
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