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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

21 Feb 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

President Vladimir Putin Observes Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces Exercises

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin observed the Russia's strategic nuclear forces  exercises  on screens with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko from a situation centre.
  • Meanwhile, White House said U.S President Joe Biden's national security team told him they still believe that Russia could launch an attack in Ukraine "at any time" and he planned to convene his top advisers today to discuss the crisis.
  • On the otherhannd, foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich nations said they had seen no evidence Russia is reducing its military activity in the area and remained "gravely concerned" about the situation.

Biden, Putin agree 'in principle' to Ukraine Summit on condition of no invasion

  • US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed "in principle" to a summit over Ukraine, as long as that country holds off on what U.S. officials believe is an imminent assault on Ukraine, the White House has confirmed.
  • In a statement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "We are always ready for diplomacy. We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war. And currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon."
  • The announcement was first made by the office of French President Emmanuel Macron, who assisted in brokering the potential talks between the two leaders. The Elysee Palace stated that Macron had pitched both leaders on a summit over "security and strategic stability in Europe."
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ENVIRONMENT

New report by UNEP Offers Solutions for Planetary Crisis like Wildfires

  • Deadly wildfires, noise pollution, and other looming environmental threats could cause widespread ecological damage, and need to be urgently addressed, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a new report.
  • "The Frontiers Report identifies and offers solutions to three environmental issues that merit attention and action from governments and the public at large," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

Army Tag for New Gecko from Meghalaya

  • A team of herpetologists have recorded a new species of bent-toed gecko from a wooded part of the Umroi Military Station in Meghalaya. Its scientific name is Crytodactylus exercitus and English name is Indian Army's bent-toed gecko. Exercitus in Latin means army.
  • "The name was given to honour the Army for its services to the country. The military station where the bent-toed gecko was discovered was also a factor behind its name," Jayaditya Purkayastha of green NGO Help Earth and one of the authors of a study on the gecko.
  • The finding of the study was published in the latest issue of the European Journal of Taxonomy. The paper recorded another new bent-toed gecko, the Cyrtodactylus siahaensis named after Mizoram's Siaha district where it was found. The other authors of the twin study are Sanath Chandra Bohra of Help Earth, Yashpal Singh Rathee of Umroi Military Station, Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga, Vabeiryureilai Mathipi, Lal Biakzuala and Lal Muansanga of Mizoram University's Department of Zoology and Beirathie Litho of a school in the Siaha district.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Luxury Cars up in Smoke after Ship Catches Fire

  • Thousands of Porsche and Volkswagen cars have been abandoned on a cargo ship after it caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean en route to the US.
  • The ship, named Felicity Ace, was travelling from Emden in Germany before it caught ablaze off the coast of Portugal's Azores islands.
  • German newspaper Handelsblatt reported the vessel was carrying 3,965 vehicles, which also included Audis, Lamborghinis and a small number of Bentleys.
  • The ship's crew have been rescued.
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SPORTS

Mumbai to host 2023 International Olympic Committee session

  • Mumbai has been officially elected as the host for the 2023 International Olympic Committee (IOC) session, which could possibly see the election for the host country for the 2030 Winter Olympics and sports programme for LA 2028 Olympic Games.
  • The session will be held in May or June next year.
  • An IOC session is the annual meeting of the members of the IOC, comprising 101 voting members and 45 honorary members.

Winter Olympics

  • The Beijing Winter Olympics came to a close in a touching ceremony.
  • Almost 3,000 athletes competed in 109 events across 15 disciplines during the past two weeks.
  • International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach called for political leaders "around the world" to be inspired by the athletes' "example of solidarity and peace".
  • "This unifying power of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us," he said.
    • Great Britain leave Beijing with two medals - gold in the women's curling and silver in the men's event.
    • Curling skip Bruce Mouat, who led the men's rink, was the flagbearer for Team GB at the closing ceremony.
    • The Olympic flame was extinguished, with the next Games taking place in Milan-Cortina in Italy in 2026.

Rohit Sharma named India Test captain

  • Rohit Sharma has been named captain of the Indian men's Test cricket team following Virat Kohli's exit.
  • The 34-year-old has been a regular since he opened the batting for the Test side in October 2019.
  • Rohit had already replaced Kohli as captain of the white-ball sides and he will now lead the Test team in their two-match series against Sri Lanka.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Man they call terrorist has built 12,430 new classrooms, says Kejriwal

  • Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated over 12,000 "high-tech" classrooms spread across 240 government schools in the Capital.
  • More than 3.5 lakh students have switched to government schools from "elite" private institutions since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Delhi, he said.
  • Mr. Kejriwal said they have built over 20,000 new classrooms in Delhi in the last 7 years.  The Education Minister (Manish Sisodia) said, 3,70,000 students switched from elite private schools to Delhi's government schools.
  • According to Mr. Kejriwal, the process of creating 11,000 classrooms, which was started around 3 years ago, has resulted in 12,430 classrooms.  

President, Vice President and PM Modi greet people of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram on their statehood day

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has greeted the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram on their statehood day. In a tweet, Mr Kovind said, endowed with natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, both the states exemplify unity in diversity. He wished both the states to make rapid strides in development while living in harmony with nature.
  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has greeted the people of Arunachal Pradesh on their state formation day. In a tweet, Mr Naidu said, Arunachal Pradesh is known for its pristine natural beauty, diverse flora and fauna, rich cultural heritage and hospitable people. He conveyed best wishes for the all-round growth and prosperity of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Mr Naidu greeted people of Mizoram on their state formation day. He said, known for its exotic culture, varied biodiversity, emerald forests and sparkling waterfalls, Mizoram is truly a sight to behold. The Vice President hoped that the state and its people will scale newer heights of progress in the times to come.

60.7% turnout in Tamil Nadu Urban Civic Body Polls; Lowest in Chennai

  • Tamil Nadu registered a poll percentage of 60.70 per cent in the February 19, 2022 urban local bodies election that witnessed an interesting multi-cornered contest with the constituents of the opposition AIADMK alliance contesting on their respective party's own strengths, rather than remaining together, against the DMK combine. 
  • Among the 21 corporations, which went to polls, the Greater Chennai Corporation registered the lowest turnout of 43.59 per cent while Karur polled the maximum of 75.84 per cent, according to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC).
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DEFENCE

PM Modi Flags off 100 Kisan Drones

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that use of drones will prove to be a game changer in many sectors, and termed Kisan drone a new age revolution. The Prime Minister flagged off 100 kisan drones in different cities and towns.
  • Addressing the farmers virtually at Manesar, Mr. Modi said, this special drive is aimed at helping farmers by giving their produce easy access to the markets.
  • He said, this will also increase the income of farmers. He said, this is a new chapter in the direction of modern agricultural facilities of the 21st century.
  • He expressed confidence that this will not only open the sky to unlimited possibilities, but will also prove to be a milestone in the development of drone sector.

Ahmedabad 2008 blasts: India court sentences 38 to death

  • A court in India has sentenced 38 people to death for their role in a series of bomb blasts in 2008 in the western state of Gujarat.
  • Fifty-seven people were killed and hundreds injured in the bombings, which took place in Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat.
  • The court in Ahmedabad also sentenced 11 other convicts to life in prison until death.
  • The accused can challenge their sentences in a higher court.
  • On 26 July 2008, around 20 bombs exploded in the space of an hour across residential areas, market places, public transport and hospitals in Ahmedabad. Several unexploded bombs were also found.
  • The Indian Mujahideen - then an unknown Islamic militant group - had claimed responsibility for the attacks in an email sent to some media outlets.
  • The Indian government declared the group a terrorist organisation and banned it in 2010 after it was accused of an attack on a German bakery in Pune in which 17 people were killed and scores injured.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

'Vigyan Sarvatra Pujyate'

  • Government's various science and technology organisations are celebrating Science and Technology achievements over the past 75 years as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • A week-long commemoration titled Vigyan Sarvatra Pujyate is being held from 22nd to 28th February in 75 locations across the country.
  • A Science and Technology mega expo, and National Science Book Fair are being held in New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
  • The programme has been designed to inspire India's youth and help them navigate into building a progressive nation. 

World Day of Social Justice

  • World Day of Social Justice is observed on February 20 each year, as declared by the United Nations. The UN reviewed the Declaration of Copenhagen and Programme of Action for Social Development on November 26, 2007, and later declared that right from the 63rd session of the General Assembly, February 20 will be observed as the World Day of Social Justice.
  • The theme for World Justice Day 2022 is 'Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment'. Around 60 per cent of the world's employed population, which include men, women and youth earn their livelihoods in the informal economy. These people often lack social protection and employee-related benefits.

International Mother Language Day

  • February 21 is celebrated as International Mother Language Day.
  • The day is dedicated to promote awareness of linguistic diversity and cultural unity. It also promotes multilingualism. The United Nations recognised this day in 2002, three years after it was first announced on 17 November 1999 by UNESCO.
  • It was the initiative of Bangladesh with the broader idea of preserving and protecting all the languages used by the people. It is said that out of 7000 languages spoken in the world, 2000 are spoken in India itself.
  • "Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities," is the theme of the International Mother Language Day 2022. 
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Coal Minister compliments CIL for getting Most Dependable Public Sector in India award

  • Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi has complimented Coal India Ltd under the Ministry of Coal for getting the Most Dependable Public Sector in India award.
  • Mr Joshi said, the award will provide further fillip to the efforts of CIL to become the global leader in the energy sector. Minister of State for Coal, Raosaheb Patil Danve also complimented CIL for bagging the coveted award.
  • The Award was conferred on CIL by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Kolkata in Energy Meet and Excellence Awards function.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Centre's Doorstep Distribution Drive for Crop Insurance to Start

  • As the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) enters the seventh year of implementation with the upcoming Kharif season, the government said it will launch a doorstep distribution drive to deliver crop insurance policies to farmers.
  • The doorstep campaign 'Meri Policy Mere Hath' aims to ensure all farmers are well aware and equipped with all information on their policies, land records, the process of claim and grievance redressal under the PMFBY, the Agriculture Ministry said.
  • The doorstep campaign will be launched in all implementing states in the upcoming Kharif season beginning June, the ministry said in a statement.

PM Modi Inaugurates Gobar-Dhan Bio-CNG Plant in Indore

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Bio CNG Plants will help in making cities clean and pollution-free and the Government is building similar Plants in the next two years in 75 big municipal corporations.
  • The Prime Minister said this after inaugurating Gobar-Dhan (Bio-CNG) Plant in Indore, Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing. He said lakhs of tonnes of garbage has occupied thousands of acres of land. It causes air and water pollution. He added in the second phase of the Swachh Bharat mission work is being done to deal with this problem.
  • Mr. Modi said that as soon as the name of Indore comes, the name of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar comes first. 
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Six African countries to Receive Revolutionary mRNA Technology to Set up Vaccine Production Centres: WHO

  • The World Health Organization has announced that six African countries will be given the revolutionary mRNA technology to set up their own vaccine production centres helping the continent acquire self-reliance against the Covid pandemic.
  • Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia will get the technology used in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs developed in Europe.
  • The Senegalese president said the aim was to have 60% of vaccines administered in Africa produced in Africa as well.
  • In the future, the new African vaccine hub might also produce jabs for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. A ceremony marking the mRNA technology transfer will be held later in Brussels at a summit between the European Union and the African Union.
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ART AND CULTURE

Taj Mahotsav

  • The Taj Mahotsav 2022 is a 10-day cultural festival held in Agra every year.
  • It is the most well-known art, craft, culture, and gourmet festival, held at the crossroads of winter and spring.
  • The Taj Mahotsav will take place from March 20 to March 29 this year. It has been rescheduled from its planned dates (February 18 February 27). 'Aazadi ke Amrit Mahotsav sang, Taj ke rang' is the theme of this year's 10-day celebration.
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