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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 Feb 2022


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France Joins China to Build $1.7 Billion Global Infra Projects

  • France became the first country to join China to jointly build seven infrastructure projects worth over USD 1.7 billion in Africa, South East Asia and Eastern Europe, in a boost for Beijing in the face of its growing hostility with the US.
  • Following up on the virtual meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the two countries signed the Fourth Round China-France Third-Party Market Cooperation Pilot Project List.
  • The list includes seven projects in areas like infrastructure, environmental protection and new energy with a total value of over USD 1.7 billion.
  • France is the first country to establish the third-party market intergovernmental cooperation mechanism with China.
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Study on Greater Maldive Ridge (GMR)

  • Researchers traced the tectonic evolution of "Greater Maldive Ridge (GMR)" which is a geodynamic feature in western Indian Ocean.
  • The tectonic evolution can help in reconstruct the original Gondwanaland fracture.
  • This feature led to present-day configuration of continents, continental fragments, as well as formation of ocean basins in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Maldive Ridge is located in the western Indian Ocean, southwest of India. It is aseismic that is not associated with earthquake activities. The ridge largely remains uninvestigated. It is of most importance to gain knowledge on structure and geodynamics of such structures. It is a submarine ridge, extends from western shore of Hindustan Peninsula to Arabian-Indian Ridge. It is about 3000 km in length, 200-450 km in width and have the elevation of 2-5 km. Peaks of this ridge rise above the water, to form coral islands (atolls) namely, the Laccadive Islands, Chagos Archipelago and Maldive Islands.

Record-breaking Winds blast Europe in the Worst Storm in Decades

  • Record-breaking gusts of up to 122 mph (196 km/h) were recorded in England as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium and parts of the Netherlands and France faced their worst storm in over three decades.
  • Trees have collapsed, trucks and cars have toppled on their sides, and thousands of homes have been left without power as the storm Eunice pummeled coastal regions around the Atlantic Archipelago and Europe's western coasts with wind, snow and heavy rain.
  • The record squall, the fastest wind speed ever recorded in England, was reported at the Needles Lighthouse on England's Isle of Wight, beating the previous record of 118 mph (190 km/h) at Gwennap Head, Cornwall, in 1979.
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IDFC FIRST Bank Appoints Jaimini Bhagwati on Board as Additional Director

  • IDFC FIRST Bank's board approved the appointment of former economist and IFS officer Jaimini Bhagwati as an additional director on its board for three years.
  • Based on the recommendation of the nomination and remuneration committee, the board of directors of the bank has approved the appointment of Jaimini Bhagwati, as an additional director, in the category of non-executive non-independent director of the bank.
  • An expert in foreign policy, Bhagwati served as the High Commissioner to the UK and Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.

HDFC Bank Non-executive Director Srikanth Nadhamuni Resigns from Board

  • Srikanth Nadhamuni resigned as a director from the board of HDFC Bank.
  • Nadhamuni cited potential future transactions/arrangements which may materialise between the bank and a company in which he may be interested.

HCL Tech Extends Relationship with RACV Through Multi-year Contract

  • IT company HCL Technologies extended its relationship with The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) with a multi-year agreement to provide Integration-as-a-Service offering.
  • As a motoring club, RACV is a member-driven organisation that provides a range of products and services in motoring and mobility, home, leisure, financial services and general insurance.
  • HCL has helped ramp RACV's digital platform by enabling a backbone that promotes self-service, an increased digital footprint and a seamless experience for 2.1 million RACV members across Victoria.
  • The 'Integration-as-a-Service' platform bundles various accelerators around code automation and monitoring, which contributes toward a more stable IT environment and notably improves the performance and resilience of RACV's member-facing services.
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Amit Shah Launches 'Shastra App' and 'Smart Card Arms License' of Delhi Police

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah has launched the 'Smart Card Arms License' and 'Shastra App' of the Delhi Police, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Delhi Police. In order to provide techno-friendly digital services to the citizens of the national capital. According to Delhi Police, the smart card, with inherent security features, is easy to carry and handle. The card will be printed in-house after verification of data of the arms license holders.
  • About the Smart Card Arms License:
  • The Delhi Police Licensing Unit has introduced 'Smart Card Arms License', to replace the existing bulky arms license booklet. With this Delhi Police has become the first police force in the country to introduce such a smart card service.
  • The Smart Card Arms License is easy to carry with inherent security features. It will be printed in the house after verification of data of arms license holders.
  • The card is also integrated with the 'e-Beat book' of Delhi Police through the 'Shastra mobile app' for effective policing.
  • The Shastra app will help beat officers in identifying the credentials of arms license holders anytime during day-to-day random checking.
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India Becomes Second Team after Pakistan to Win 100 T20Is

  • Rohit Sharma-led India became the second team to win 100 T20Is.
  • India achieved the feat after defeating West Indies by 8 runs in the second T20I of the three-match series at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
  • Apart from India, Pakistan is the only team to have won more than 100 T20Is. Pakistan has so far won 118 T20Is. Rohit Sharma is yet to lose a single game after becoming India's full-time captain.
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Mamata Reposes Faith in Abhishek by Re-appointing Him as TMC General Secretary

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee re-appointed her nephew Abhishek Banerjee as TMC national general secretary as she constituted the new office bearers' team, packing it mainly with old-timers loyal to her.
  • Two other senior leaders, Subrata Bakshi and Chandrima Bhattacharya, have also been given the vice-president's post in the organisation.
  • Banerjee's trusted lieutenant and Housing Minister Firhad Hakim were given the charge of coordination between her and the national working committee, while state minister Aroop Biswas has been appointed as the national treasurer.
  • Rajya Sabha chief whip Sukhendu Shekhar Ray and Lok Sabha MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar are the new party spokespersons of Parliament's Upper and Lower Houses respectively.

Chetan Ghate Succeeds Ajit Mishra as Director of Institute of Economic Growth

  • The Institute of Economic Growth appointed Chetan Ghate as the new director succeeding Ajit Mishra.
  • Ghate, who was a member of the Reserve Bank of India's first monetary policy committee between 2016-2020, is the winner of the 2014 Mahalanobis Memorial gold medal for the best research economist in the country under the age of 45.
  • He has a Ph.D in economics from Claremont Graduate University, California in 1999. His research areas include macroeconomics, monetary economics, economic growth and the Indian macro-economy.
  • Ghate has been a professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Delhi for over 18 years. He is also a member of the advisory committee of the national accounts system (ACNAS) in the ministry of statistics and programme implementation.
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Indian Navy Test Fires BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

  • Indian Navy's warship INS Visakhapatnam carried out the test-firing of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile off the western seaboard.
  • The warship reached Visakhapatnam to take part in President's Fleet Review on February 21, informed Defence sources.
  • INS Visakhapatnam is the latest warship of the Indian Navy inducted recently.
  • BrahMos is the main weapon system of the Indian Navy warships and has been deployed on almost all of its surface platforms.
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World Day of Social Justice

  • World Day of Social Justice is observed on February 20 every year. The main objective of celebrating World Day of Social Justice is to raise a voice against social injustice and to bring the various communities internationally together to eliminate poverty, gender, and physical discrimination, illiteracy, religious discrimination to make a socially integrated society.
  • On 26 November 2007, the General Assembly declared that starting from the sixty-third session of the General Assembly, February 20 will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.
  • The theme for World Day of Social Justice 2022 was "Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment".

European Union-African Union Summit

  • The Sixth European Union-African Union Summit was held from 17th to 18th February 2022. This summit took place in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The event was scheduled for October 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed. The summit was co-chaired by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Macky Sall, President of Senegal, who was also the Chairperson of the African Union at the time.
  • Representatives from the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU), as well as their member states, attended the event. Despite being Africa's leading trade partner, the European Union is not seen as a major partner by African countries. This is according to a study which was done by the European Commission, with the United States and China ranking higher.
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Karnataka Bank Bags Awards at Tech Conference

  • Karnataka Bank bagged three awards at the 17th Annual Banking Technology Conference and Awards: 2020-21 Next-Gen Banking, instituted by Indian Banks' Association (IBA). The bank won the awards under categories: Best Technology Bank of the Year; Best Fintech Adoption; and Best Use of AI/ML & Data Analytics — all runner-ups.
  • With this focus on technology and digital transformation, the bank endeavours to emerge as 'Digital Bank of Future' while retaining its core values and identity built on more than 98 years of purposeful banking history.
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Gujarat New Biotechnology Policy

  • Government of Gujarat unveiled new Biotechnology Policy that offers up to 25 per cent financial support on capital investments in the biotechnology sector.
  • Operative period of the new biotechnology policy is five years, from 2022 till 2027.
  • The policy seeks to create around 1.2 lakh new employment opportunities.
  • It will attract estimated investment of more than Rs. 20,000 crore in the sector.
  • It will promote partnerships between stakeholders including NGOs, scientific establishments and industries.
  • Apart from providing interest subsidy on term loan for such projects, policy also offers 100 per cent reimbursement on electricity duty for five years.
  • The new policy aims to make Gujarat a globally-recognized biotechnology hub.
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Biological E. COVID Shot Gets India Emergency Approval for 12-18 age Group

  • Indian vaccine maker Biological E. Ltd said that its COVID-19 vaccine received an emergency use approval in the country for use in children aged 12 to 18.
  • The company's shot, called Corbevax, is the third vaccine approved for use in children aged 12 and above in India, joining Zydus Cadila's DNA shot ZyCoV-D and homegrown player Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
  • The emergency use approval for restricted use in the 12-18 age group for Corbevax is based on interim results of an ongoing mid- to late-stage clinical study.

Vyapam Renamed as Karamchari Chayan Board

  • Madhya Pradesh state cabinet renamed Professional Examination Board (PEB) (Hindi acronym Vyapam) as Karamchari Chayan Board (Employees Selection Board) nine years after multilayered Vyapam Scam was busted by state Special Task Force of police.
  • Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that the cabinet renamed PEB and now it will be under General Administration Department (GAD).
  • PEB is the sole agency for conducting recruitment exams for the appointment of class 3 employees of all the government departments.
  • Vyapam earned a bad name in 2013 after multilayered scam came to light in which students cleared various entrance and recruitment exam by using unfair means.
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Book Titled "Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us" by Ro Khanna

  • A new book titled "Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us" authored by Ro Khanna was released. The book highlights the effects of changing lifestyle patterns of Americans due to technological progress. It also mentioned about the digital divide i.e., unequal access to technology and revenue, as it is one of the most pressing issues faced by the United States. Ro Khanna is an Indian-American who is a US Congressman representing the California district that includes the Silicon Valley region.
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Kerala's First Caravan Park to Come Up in Vagamon

  • Kerala's first Caravan park is all set to come up in Vagamon, a scenic hill station located in Idukki district.
  • The park, first of its kind in Kerala, as part of the state government's new Caravan Tourism policy, would be thrown open to travellers on February 25.
  • Caravan Tourism was introduced by the state Tourism department as a safe means for holidaying at a time when people are unable to step out or travel due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Under the initiative, there will be two types of caravans. In one model, two guests shall be accommodated, while the other is for a family of four. The tourism caravans would have all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay such as sofa-cum-bed, kitchenette with fridge and microwave oven, dining table, toilet cubicle, partition behind the driver, air-conditioner, internet connectivity, audio-video facilities, charging system and GPS.
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