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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

15 Feb 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ukraine to Drop NATO Bid to Avoid War with Russia

  • Ukraine could drop its bid to join NATO to avoid war with Russia, the BBC quoted the country's ambassador to Britain as saying, in what would amount to a major concession to Moscow in response to the build-up of Russian troops on its borders. Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko said that Ukraine was willing to be flexible over its goal to join the Atlantic military alliance, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin has said would be a trigger for war.
  • Ukraine is not a NATO member but has a promise dating from 2008 that it will eventually be given the opportunity to join, a step that would bring the US-led alliance to Russia's border. Putin says Ukraine's growing ties with the alliance could make it a launch pad for NATO missiles targeted at Russia. He says Russia needs to lay down "red lines" to prevent that.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau Invokes Emergency Powers

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to try to quell the protests by truck drivers and others who have paralysed Ottawa and blocked border crossings in anger over the country's Covid restrictions.
  • Trudeau ruled out using the military and said that the emergency measures "will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address".
  • Members of the self-styled Freedom Convoy have also blockaded various US-Canadian border crossings, though the busiest and most important—the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit—was reopened over the weekend.
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ENVIRONMENT

Dabur Becomes First Indian Plastic Waste Neutral' FMCG Company in India

  • Dabur India Ltd, India's largest Ayurveda company became a complete plastic waste neutral firm in the country after collecting, processing and recycling around 27,000 metric tonnes of post-consumer plastic waste during FY21-22.
  • With this, Dabur became the first Indian consumer goods company to achieve the landmark of surpassing its plastic packaging usage with recycling.
  • Dabur's Plastic Waste Management initiative was rolled out in the year 2017-18 as part of the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rule and as has far collected over 54,000 MT of plastic waste (Recyclable and Non-Recyclable) directly from the end-users with the help of around local rag pickers in 150 cities across India.
  • Dabur also announced the launch of a new 'Save the Environment' campaign in Himachal Pradesh to create awareness within communities on managing plastic waste within their households.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

India among Top 5 Economies for Ease of Starting New Business

  • According to a report by a global consortium of over 500 researchers, India is among the top five easiest places to start a new business, putting the country on top amongst low-income economies on different entrepreneurial framework conditions.
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021/2022 report, unveiled at the Dubai Expo, gathered data via a survey of at least 2,000 respondents across each of 47 high, medium and low-income economies.

ABG Shipyard Bank Fraud

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation booked ABG Shipyard Ltd, in its biggest bank fraud case.
  • CBI also booked its then Chairman and Managing Director Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal along with others.
  • They were booked for cheating a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India of more than Rs. 22,842 crore.
  • They have been charged with alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust & abuse of official position and cheating, under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • The ABG Shipyard Ltd was sanctioned credit facilities from 28 banks and financial institutions. In this, SBI was having an exposure of Rs. 2468.51 crore. According to forensic audit, between 2012-17, accused colluded together and committed illegal activities like misappropriation, diversion of funds, and criminal breach of trust. Funds were used for other purposes than for which banks released. It is the biggest bank fraud case registered by CBI.
  • ABG is a Mumbai based shipbuilding company. It is a part of ABG Group of companies, but with diversified business interests. The company was established in 1985, with its headquartered in Mumbai. It has shipbuilding operations in Dahej and Surat in Gujarat. It operates a ship repair unit in Goa, after its acquisition of Western India Shipyard Limited in October 2010. ABG became one among the largest private ship building companies, with a capacity for manufacturing vessels up to 20 tonnes in weight.

Ilker Ayci, Former Chairman of Turkish Airlines is Air India CEO&MD

  • Tata Sons announced the appointment of Mehmet Ilker Ayci as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Air India.
  • Mehmet Ilker Ayci until recently was the Chairman of Turkish Airlines and was also on its Board of Directors prior to that.
  • The key appointment was finalised at the Air India board meeting on Monday, in which Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran was a special invitee. Ayci's appointment would be subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Ilker is an aviation industry leader who led Turkish Airlines to its current success during his tenure there.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India's Tech Spending to Grow 8.7% in 2022, Highest in Asia-Pacific

  • According to a new report, the tech spending in India is likely to grow 8.7 per cent in 2022, one of the highest growth rates in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Although the second wave of Covid-19 dampened the pace of India's recovery in early 2021, economic activity picked up in the second half of the year thanks to a sharp drop in case numbers and progress made on vaccination.

In a first, Taiwan Researchers Become Part of Satellite Launch Mission by ISRO

  • In a first, India's space research organization or ISRO launched a satellite jointly developed by a team of international researchers including from Taiwan. INSPIRESat-1 satellite wasa developed by scientists from universities of the US, Taiwan, India, and Singapore.
  • The universities are--University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Taiwan's National Central University (NCU), and Singapore' Nanyang Technological University. INSPIRESat-1 stands for International Research and Teaching Satellite Project satellite one.
  • The satellite will provide information on Sun's corona and its impact on Earth's ionosphere.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Party Hopper MLA Balwinder Singh Laddi Back with BJP

  • Congress MLA Balwinder Singh Laddi from Sri Hargobindpur constituency of Gurdaspur district shifted loyalty to BJP and then again come back to Congress but only to go back to the saffron party within a period of less than two months.
  • In December 2021, the sitting MLA from Sri Hargobindpur Balwinder Singh Laddi along with the Fatehjang Singh Bajwa, sitting MLA of Congress from the Qadian assembly defected the party to join BJP.
  • Fatehjang Bajwa is the younger brother of Member Parliament Partap Singh Bajwa. Fatehjang Singh is now BJP's candidate from the Batala assembly constituency.

Goa Reports 79 per cent Voting in Assembly Polls

  • Goa registered a very high voter turnout of 78.94 per cent in polling for the 40 Assembly seats which passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported from any part of the state which witnessed a multi-cornered contest.
  • As per Chief Electoral Officer Kunal, the highest voting was registered in the Sankhalim constituency in North Goa at 89.61 per cent, while the lowest voter turnout was 70.20 per cent at Benaulim in South Goa.

Ashwani Kumar, Ex-minister, Quits Congress

  • Former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar quit the Congress, his party of more than four decades, calling it a decision that was "consistent with my dignity".
  • Ashwani Kumar was Law Minister in the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government between 2009 and 2014.
  • This is the latest exit from the Congress, weeks after the party lost RPN Singh, another former Union Minister and a big leader in Uttar Pradesh.
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DEFENCE

BHEL Bags Order to Supply Compact Heat Exchanger Sets for Tejas Aircraft

  • State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) bagged an order from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to supply compact heat exchanger sets for 83 LCA Tejas MK1A aircraft.
  • The order envisages manufacturing, assembly, testing and supply of compact heat exchangers to be fitted in the light combat aircraft, Tejas, being manufactured by HAL.
  • The BHEL's Heavy Plates and Vessels Plant (HPVP), Visakhapatnam is the sole supplier of heat exchangers for LCA Tejas to HAL since 1996.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Krishi Network App Names Pankaj Tripathi as its Brand Ambassador

  • Cultino Agrotech Pvt Ltd, which runs agritech app Krishi Network roped in film actor Pankaj Tripathi as a brand ambassador, with a view to reaching out to farmers to its app. Tripathi's background as a farmer resonates with the platform's aim to aid farmers to grow their profits by offering them solutions to critical decisions. The app is currently available in Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, and English, and is planned to be launched in other languages soon.
  • The startup plans to use the fresh funds to boost their artificial intelligence-based technology platform across India. Founded by IIT Kharagpur alumni Ashish Mishra and Siddhant Bhomia, Krishi Network leverages the growing rural internet penetration to create a platform that eases information accessibility for farmers and enables them to generate higher profits from their land.

Sandeep Bakhshi is Business Standard Banker of the Year

  • Sandeep Bakhshi, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank, is the Business Standard Banker of the Year 2020-21 for turning around the private sector lender and changing the perception about it during his tenure of the past three and a half years.
  • Bakhshi took charge in October 2018 amid a controversy around his predecessor, who had to step down over corporate governance issues. Since then, he has not just unhinged the bank from the controversy but also delivered growth on almost all parameters.
  • The unanimous decision was taken by a high-profile jury of five, chaired by former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor S. S. Mundra. Other members were Keki Mistry, vice-chairman and CEO of Housing Development Finance Corporation; Anil Singhvi, chairman of Ican Investment Advisors; P S Jayakumar, former MD and CEO of Bank of Baroda who is also non-executive chairman of VBHC Value Homes and Northern ARC Capital; and A Balasubramanian, MD and CEO of Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Jamia Millia Islamia AJK-MCRC Collaborates with German Deutsch-Indische Zusammenarbeit

  • Under its newly designed CBCS Course: Communication Strategies for Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation, AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) is taking the help of national & international experts to train its students on the significance of media interventions in creating awareness on Human-Wildlife conflict.'
  • Surendra Varma and Sanjay Ajnekar of Asia Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) will train students in using tools for awareness and community engagement on HWC mitigation.
  • The course is being conducted with the help of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Dr Mala Narang Reddy, a noted social anthropologist, will be teaching students through a workshop on Feb 19, 2022, how they may address people's perceptions and social dimensions of Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) and also facilitate gender-sensitive HWC conflict mitigation.

IIT Madras Prof's Digital Book Published by UK's Institute of Physics

  • IIT Madras faculty Prof. K. Ramesh achieved a milestone as his digital book was published in the UK's Institute of Physics. Titled 'Developments in Photoelasticity A Renaissance,' the book is based on decades of active research by Prof. K. Ramesh and his students at IIT Madras.
  • This digital book brings out in one volume, the use of Photoelasticity to understand complex problems such as understanding biological systems through their locomotion, which can help develop flexible robots for disaster management, improve agricultural production by understanding the stresses developed in plant roots, and the role of needle shape in epidural injections, among other applications.

Financial Times MBA Rankings 2022

  • The Indian School of Business (ISB Hyderabad) emerged as the top B-school in India, according to the Financial Times World MBA Ranking 2022. ISB Hyderabad was ranked 32, while the three IIMs featured in the top 70 best MBA colleges in the world.
  • IIM Bangalore secured 53rd position, while IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Calcutta were ranked 62 and 68 respectively. As per Financial Times World MBA rankings 2022, Wharton and Columbia came first and second, respectively, ahead of Harvard, Northwestern: Kellogg, Stanford, Chicago: Booth, Yale, MIT, NYU: Stern and Berkeley: Haas — which were all among 16 schools in the top tier of the 100 ranked institutions.
  • The ranking is based on surveys of the business schools and their alumni. The programmes are assessed according to the career progression of alumni, the school's idea generation and the diversity of students and faculty. This ranking features the world's best 100 full-time global B-schools.
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ART AND CULTURE

Ladakh to Get Snow Sculpture to Attract Tourists in Winters

  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh informed Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur that a snow sculpture would be introduced in Ladakh in the winter season as a tourist attraction, which will also create job opportunities for the locals.
  • Ladakh will start the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in the coming years.
  • The concluding ceremony of the First Ladakh Ice and Snow-Sculpture Workshop 2022 was held on February 11. It was organized by Kangding Snow and Ice Sculpture Association in association with Ladakh Police at Sangtakchan near Tsogsti on the way to Chilling.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A Book 'How to Prevent the Next Pandemic' by Bill Gates

  • A book titled 'How to Prevent the Next Pandemic' authored by Bill Gates will be published this year in May 2022. In the book Bill Gates has written about specific steps that can only stop future pandemics but, in the process, provide better health care for everyone around the world.
  • His last book, "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need", was released in February 2021. The book is to be published by Penguin Random House internationally and Knopf in the US.
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Yatra.com Partners Cleartrip to Offer Wider Hotel Inventory to Customers

  • Online travel company Yatra Online announced its partnership with Cleartrip, owned by the Flipkart Group, to offer a wider hotel inventory to its customers.
  • This strategic association between Yatra and Cleartrip, both leading brands in the online travel space in India, aims to provide a boost to the entire hospitality and travel ecosystem and uplift the sentiments of both customers as well as suppliers for hospitality as the industry emerge out of the pandemic.
  • Under this agreement, Cleartrip customers will now have access to Yatra.com's inventory of 94,000 hotels and homestays in over 1,400 cities and towns.
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