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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

26 Feb 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ukraine Breaks Diplomatic Relations with Russia

  • Soon after Russia launched its military operations in the Donbas region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the decision of severing his country's diplomatic relations with Moscow.
  • Ukraine gained independence in 1991 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
  • Amid Russia's military operations, Ukraine introduced martial law and urged citizens to remain calm. Ukraine closed the airspace for civilian aircraft due to the high risk of aviation safety.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Vedanta Aluminium Launches Green Aluminium Brand 'Restora'

  • Vedanta Aluminium Business launched 'Restora', its low carbon, green aluminium brand.
  • The company unveiled two product lines -- Restora (low-carbon aluminium) and Restora Ultra (ultra-low carbon aluminium) --under the new brand.
  • It is the first major non-ferrous Indian metals producer to manufacture low carbon products (primary aluminium) for customers worldwide, exhibiting a strong step towards its commitment of achieving net zero carbon by 2050. Both products have been verified as low-carbon aluminium post assessment by an independent, global verification assurance firm.
  • Vedanta Aluminium has the capability to tailor-make Restora and Restora Ultra as billets, primary foundry alloy (PFA), wire rods, slabs, P1020 Ingots, and more, customised to the needs of the end-use industries.

RBI: Amendments in Payments Systems Rules

  • The Reserve Bank of India amended the Payments and Settlement Systems Regulations. This system allows the companies who are seeking to run payment businesses to apply for licenses from the regulator.
  • The application for licensing should include the technology platform which is to be used, the operator's process flow, interoperability with operators of the other payment systems, and security features.
  • As per the rules that have been set, the operators will be required to submit all documents and information which are desired by the RBI from time to time.
  • Three months after the closing of the account, annual accounts also have to be submitted by the system provider to the regulator along with a copy of the audited balance sheet.

NHPC Inks Pact with HDFC Bank to Monetise RoE of Chamera-I Power Plant

  • State-owned NHPC inked a pact with HDFC bank to securitise return on equity of its 540-MW Chamera-I Power Plant in Himachal Pradesh for 10 years.
  • In December 2021, NHPC's board had approved the proposal for monetisation by securitisation through bidding process of return on equity (RoE) of Chamera-1 Power Station (3 X 180 MW), Himachal Pradesh, and further to monetise RoE of one or more power stations for 5 or 10 or 15 years in one go or rollover.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Infosys Launches Metaverse Foundry

  • Bengaluru-based IT services major Infosys launched Metaverse Foundry that will help its clients with adaptation, creation and also help scale the new technology. The company has already developed 100 use cases and is actively working with clients on the same.
  • The move comes at a time when companies around the world are putting a huge focus on the metaverse. From Meta, formerly Facebook, and Microsoft, to IT services providers, the companies are investing significantly in the space.

Dawn Detects Organics and Salts in Giant Crater on Ceres

  • Using the Framing Camera (FC) and the Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (VIR) aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft, planetary researchers spotted bright brine residues and organics in the Urvara basin, one of the largest impact structures on the dwarf planet Ceres. The results strengthen the hypothesis that Ceres is and has been a geologically active world even in recent epochs, with salts and organic-rich material playing a major role in its evolution.
  • This dwarf planet is a survivor of the earliest period of Solar System formation and thus detailed knowledge about its interior provides fundamental insights into the formation and evolution of volatile-rich planetary embryos that originated within the protoplanetary disk.
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SPORTS

Ajit Agarkar Joins Delhi Capitals as Assistant Coach

  • Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals announced the appointment of former India pacer Ajit Agarkar as the team's new assistant coach.
  • The 44-year-old, with 288 ODI and 58 Test wickets to his name, has represented Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils in the IPL.
  • Agarkar joins the Delhi Capitals coaching staff of Ricky Ponting (Head Coach), Pravin Amre (Assistant Coach) and James Hopes (Bowling Coach).

IPL 2022 Set to be Held in Four Venues in Mumbai and Pune

  • As per reports, the matches of the upcoming Indian Premier League will be held in four venues across two cities -- Mumbai and Pune.
  • While 55 matches will be held in Mumbai across three venues -- Wankhede Stadium, DY Patil and Brabourne Stadium, Pune's MCA International Stadium will play host to 15 games.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Sustainable Cities India Program

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to design 'Sustainable Cities India' program.
  • This partnership between WEF and NIUA is significant in the light of India's commitment of achieving net zero carbon emission by 2070, made at COP26 summit in Glasgow.
  • WEF and NIUA will adapt WEF's 'City Sprint' process as well as 'Toolbox of Solutions' for decarbonisation of five to seven Indian cities in two years.
  • City Sprint Process is a series of multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder workshops that involved government, business, and civil society leaders to enable decarbonisation, specifically through clean electrification and circularity. It will help to jumpstart and accelerate net zero action and planning. The workshop series will shortlist relevant policies and business models, which will help in reducing emissions and maximizing System Value, like improved air quality or job creation.
  • The City Sprint Process uses "Toolbox of Solutions", which is a digital platform comprising of more than 200 examples of clean electrification, efficiency & smart infrastructure best practices and case studies across energy systems, buildings, and mobility from 110 cities of the world.

Lavender is Brand Product of J&K's Doda District

  • The Union Minister of Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh, chaired the District Development Coordination & Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meetings of several districts in Jammu & Kashmir recently. A key decision taken during the meeting was that Lavender was designate as a Doda brand product, to promote lavender under the 'One District, One Product' initiative of the Modi Government.
  • Doda district in J&K is the birthplace of India's Purple Revolution or the cultivation of Lavender. Though, Lavender cultivation is practised in almost all the 20 districts of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Purple Revolution (Lavender cultivation) was launched under the Aroma Mission of the Union Ministry of Science & Technology. The Aroma mission was implemented by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) through its Jammu-based laboratory, the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM).

Nepal, India Agree to Build New Projects by Investing in Energy Sector

  • Nepal and India agreed to build new projects by injecting joint investment in the hydropower sector.
  • As per the agreement reached at Nepal-India Energy Joint Meeting, a joint technical team will be formed to carry out the study as per the proposal made by India.
  • In the meeting held in Kathmandu the two countries agreed to build more transmission lines, complete the transmission lines that are under construction and proposed new cross -country transmission lines, completion of Arun 3 hydropower project and energy export and import.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Meri Policy Mere Hath Doorstep Campaign

  • With the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) entering the seventh year of implementation in the upcoming Kharif season, the government announced a new doorstep crop insurance distribution policy known as 'Meri Policy Mere Hath'.
  • The 'Meri Policy Mere Hath' doorstep campaign will be launch to ensure that all farmers are well informed about their land records, policies, and the PMFBY's claim and grievance redressal process.
  • In the upcoming Kharif season which will be beginning in June, the doorstep campaign will be launched in all implementing states.
  • In the month of February 2016, PMFBY was launched with the aim of providing financial assistance to all the farmers who have suffered crop damage or loss from natural disasters. As of February 4, 2022, over 36 million farmer applications have been insured under this scheme with over Rs. 1,07,059 crores in claims paid.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

IIM-Raipur, NSE Academy to Offer Joint Certificate Programmes in Finance

  • The NSE Academy Limited (NAL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has signed MoU with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Raipur to collaborate in the area of the joint certification programs in finance and related financial technologies.
  • Under this new collaboration, both the universities will introduce and offer several long term and short term programmes for working professionals and organisations who aim to build leadership capabilities. These programmes will mainly be in the area of finance and financial technologies.
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ART AND CULTURE

Shrine Found in Jordanian Desert is 9,000 Years Old

  • Archaeologists uncovered a 9,000-year-old shrine in Jordan's eastern desert that was likely used in the practice of religious hunting rituals.
  • The site lies in the Khashabiyeh Mountains, located in the eastern Al-Jafr Basin.
  • A team of Jordanian and French archaeologists excavated the site in 2021 and found a variety of artifacts and geologic treasures, including 150 marine fossils, animal figurines, well-made flint tools, an altar and hearth, and two large stones with carved, human facial features. The team also discovered an architectural model of a "desert kite," a type of mass trap used to capture wild gazelles and deer.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

'The Great Tech Game' by Anirudh Suri

  • Indian author, Anirudh Suri came out with his new book titled "The Great Tech Game: Shaping Geopolitics and the Destinies of Nations.' It was published by HarperCollins India. In this book, the author lays out a roadmap for how any country must develop its own strategic plan to succeed in this technology-dominant era.
  • In this book, the author provides a coherent framework outlining the key drivers that will determine the ability of a nation to succeed in this technology-dominant era. He lays out a roadmap for how any country must develop its own strategic plan for success. Leaders must develop a new set of capabilities to understand and take advantage of these trends and create enabling environments for their nations to not be left behind. A particularly challenging aspect will be the ability of countries to define and manage the roles of state and non-state actors in a global race for technological leadership and success.
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