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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 Jan 2022


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France's Emmanuel Macron Calls for EU Plan to Ease Russia Tensions

  • French President Emmanuel Macron called on the European Union to quickly draw up a new security plan containing proposals to help ease tensions with Russia, as concern mounts that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning an invasion of Ukraine.
  • Macron's remarks to EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, France, came the day after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military organisation was in the process of finalizing its own security proposals. Stoltenberg hopes to set up a series of meetings with Russia in the near future.

Afghan Acting PM Calls for Official Recognition of Taliban Administration

  • Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister, Mullah Hasan Akhund, called for international governments to officially recognise the country's Taliban administration, saying at a news conference in Kabul that all conditions had been met.
  • Foreign powers have been reluctant to recognise the Taliban administration which took over Afghanistan in August while Western nations led by the United States have frozen billions of dollars worth of Afghan banking assets and cut off development funding that once formed the backbone of Afghanistan's economy.
  • Akhund and other Taliban administration officials made an appeal at the conference, also attended by United Nations officials, for a loosening of restrictions on money into the country, blaming its growing economic crisis on the freezing of funds.
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Hero Electric, Mahindra Group Team up to Manufacture Electric Vehicles

  • Hero Electric, India's largest electric two-wheeler maker, struck five-year strategic partnership with Mahindra Group, marking the first such deal between an electric vehicle (EV) maker and a traditional internal combustion engine company.
  • The move comes at a time when EV sales in India have touched a record high.
  • The partnership will help Hero Electric, which has a close to 36 per cent share in the EV two-wheeler market, to more than double capacity to 1 million units by 2022 and will result in extra revenue for M&M at a time when auto sales have slowed.

NSE World's Largest Derivatives Exchange for Third Straight Year

  • According to the Futures Industry Association (FIA), the National Stock Exchange of India emerged as the world's largest derivatives exchange for the third consecutive year in 2021 in terms of the number of contracts traded.
  • In addition, the exchange was ranked fourth by the number of trades in cash equities, as per the statistics maintained by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) for 2021.

Santhosh Viswanathan Appointed as Managing Director - SMG of Intel India

  • Intel Corporation announced the appointment of Santhosh Viswanathan as Managing Director-Sales, Marketing and Communications Group (SMG) for Intel India.
  • Viswanathan is Vice President in Intel's Sales, Marketing and Communications Group. He will be responsible for Intel's overall business in India, including driving new revenue opportunities, engaging with the local ecosystem, and strengthening existing customer and partner relationships.
  • In his prior role, Viswanathan was managing director for Southeast Asia, and Australia/New Zealand in the Asia Pacific and Japan region. In one of his other previous Intel roles, he was the Global Director of Operations for the Regional Sales Group, managing sales operations, strategy & planning for the global sales force.
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Mandhana Named in ICC T20I Women's Team of the Year

  • Star India opener Smriti Mandhana was named in the ICC T20 women's Team of the Year for her superlative show in the format in 2021 but no Indian made the men's side.
  • The stylish southpaw, who is the Indian team's vice-captain in the format, was the country's highest scorer in the format in 2021 with 255 runs at an average of 31.87.
  • She scored two fifties in the nine matches she played and got her team off to rapid starts regularly, as evident up by her strike-rate of 131.44.
  • While Mandhana was the only Indian, several members of the English side featured in the team with Nat Scriver being named captain.

Russia's Aslan Karatsev Wins Sydney Tennis Classic

  • In tennis, Aslan Karatsev defeated Andy Murray by 6-3, 6-3, to win men's single title at the Sydney Tennis Classic final, to claim his third ATP Tour title. The women's single title was claimed by Spanish world number nine Paula Badosa, who defeated Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 4-6 7-6(4), to capture her third career title.
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Meghalaya Extends Upper Age Limit for Job Aspirants by 5 Years

  • The Meghalaya government extended the upper age limit of government job aspirants from 27 years to 32 years for non-tribals and the upper age limit for the job seekers belonging to the tribals would be 37 years.
  • The Chief Minister after the cabinet meeting, chaired by him, told the media that the latest relaxation, however, would not be applicable for jobs in certain departments including police, civil defence and home guards.

PM Modi to Host First India-Central Asia Summit Virtually

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format on January 27.
  • The summit will be held with the participation of the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders.
  • The first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India's growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India's extended neighbourhood.

Sena, NCP Finalise Pre-poll Tie-up

  • The Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar-led NCP decided to forge a pre-poll alliance for the next month's Assembly elections in Goa, saying that the Congress didn't respond to their proposal for a joint contest.
  • As per reports, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Sena will field candidates on at least 10-12 seats each.
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Exercise Milan 2022: India to Host 46 Nations Mega Naval Wargames

  • India has invited a total of 46 friendly foreign countries to participate in the multinational naval exercise Milan in Visakhapatnam, scheduled from February 25, 2022. The theme of this 11th edition of exercise Milan is 'camaraderie, cohesion and collaboration'. This exercise was initiated in 1995 and held biennially and conducted with friendly navies.
  • The professional competitions and conferences planned during this phase shall build the operational tempo for the Sea Phase planned from March 1-4. This Phase would be utilised to consolidate upon the lessons learnt during harbour interactions and to build upon the experience of operating together at sea.
  • The countries that have been extended invitations for participation include Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, Iran, France, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, among others.
  • As per an official, India has increased its naval engagements with friendly nations at bilateral, trilateral and multilateral levels since 2018.

India Undertakes Maritime Partnership Exercise with Japan

  • Indian Naval Ships Shivalik & Kadmatt undertook Maritime Partnership Exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Ships Uraga and Hirado in the Bay of Bengal in January.
  • The exercise included a wide range of flying operations, replenishment approaches and tactical manoeuvres.
  • The precision, coordination and high level of interoperability reflected not only the high standards of professionalism and preparedness the two navies maintain to counter threats at sea, but also the high level of trust and understanding that they have built over the years.
  • The complex maritime exercises would enable the two navies to further strengthen their already wide-ranging strategic partnership and, when required, to jointly safeguard their maritime interests and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
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Internet Panel on Languages Ropes in Vijay Shekhar Sharma as Ambassador

  • Global internet body ICANN-supported Universal Acceptance Steering Group roped in Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma as UA Ambassador.
  • Universal Acceptance Steering Group works on developing and recommending standards for languages script that are not currently used to access the internet.
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Pfizer Chief Albert Bourla Wins $1 mn Genesis Prize for Vaccine Development

  • Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive of global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., was awarded the prestigious Genesis Prize for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The $1 million award is granted each year to a person for their professional achievements, contributions to humanity and commitment to Jewish values. As per the Genesis Prize Foundation, Bourla had received the largest number of votes in an online campaign in which some 200,000 people in 71 countries participated.
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BHU Introduces India's First-ever Programme in Hindu Studies

  • The prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi has started a new postgraduate course - masters in Hindu Studies. The introduction of this new course makes BHU, the first university in India to offer a course in this discipline.
  • According to a BHU spokesperson, the postgraduate course is the first-of-its-kind to be offered by a university in the country.
  • Masters in Hindu studies is an interdisciplinary programme, which is designed in line with the National Education Policy, 2020.
  • The programme will be offered by the Bharat Adhyayan Kendra, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Department of Sanskrit and Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, under the faculty of Arts.
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Dubai Opens Its Infinity Bridge for Traffic for the First Time

  • Iconic 'Infinity Bridge' in Dubai, United Arab Emirates was opened to traffic for the first time in January 2022. Its design resembles a mathematical sign for infinity (∞). It represents the limitless, infinite goals of Dubai. It consists of six lanes in each direction and a combined 3-metre track for pedestrians and cyclists. It is 300 meters long and 22 meters wide.
  • The bridge consists of six lanes and improves the link between Deira and Bur Dubai. It features a combined 3-metre track for pedestrians and cyclists. First announced in 2018, the Infinity Bridge is part of an Al Shindagha Corridor Project. Consisting of six lanes in each direction, the bridge has an arch-shaped like the infinity symbol – which symbolises Dubai's unlimited ambitions.
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