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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

09 Mar 2022


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Russia, Ukraine Agree to Safe Corridor for Evacuation of Civilians amid War

  • Buses packed with people fleeing the Russian invasion in Ukraine began a procession along a snowy road out of one city, as a new effort to evacuate civilians along safe corridors finally got underway.
  • The route out of the eastern city of Sumy was one of five promised by the Russians to offer civilians a way to escape the Russian onslaught.
  • The Ukrainian city of Sumy was given a green corridor, the first stage of evacuation began. Sumy is just 50 kilometers from the Russian border.

Pak. Opposition Brings No-trust Motion to Seek PM's Ouster

  • Opposition parties of Pakistan moved a no-confidence motion seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing him of mismanaging the economy and poor governance in the toughest challenge he has faced since taking power in 2018.
  • The move comes after the opposition, led by the Pakistan People's Party, rallied thousands of supporters to demonstrate against Khan, raising the prospect of political turmoil in the nation.

Freedom of the World 2022 Report: India Ranks 'Partly Free'

  • For the second consecutive year, India was termed as 'partly free' country in terms of democracy and free society, according to the annual report titled "Freedom in the World 2022 – The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule" by Freedom House, a US-based NGO that 'assesses political rights and civil liberties. India scored 66 out of 100 in 2022. The country had scored 67 in 2021. India was a free country till 2020 when its score was 71.
  • Sixty-nine countries are currently not free worldwide. This makes the situation worse than in 1973 when only 63 countries were not free.
  • At the same time, there is an increase in free countries from 82 to 85, compared to 2021. In this category, Finland, Sweden and Norway have achieved a perfect 100, besides New Zealand, Canada, Uruguay, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark.
  • The report used 25 indicators, grouped into the categories of political rights and civil liberties to determine whether the country or territory has an overall status of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free. The report is published every year since 1973 to assess the political rights and civil liberties of a country through a series of surveys and analyses.
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Amazon Rainforest Reaching Tipping Point

  • The Amazon rainforest is moving towards a tipping point where trees may die off en masse, say researchers.
  • A study suggests the world's largest rainforest is losing its ability to bounce back from damage caused by droughts, fires and deforestation.
  • Large swathes could become sparsely forested savannah, which is much less efficient than tropical forest at sucking carbon dioxide from the air.
  • The giant forest traps carbon that would otherwise add to global warming.
  • But previous studies have shown that parts of the Amazon are now emitting more carbon dioxide than can be absorbed.
  • The trees are losing health and could be approaching a tipping point - basically, a mass loss of trees.
  • The findings based on three decades of satellite data, show alarming trends in the health of the Amazon rainforest.

Plastics Innovation Hub Indonesia

  • A partnership was established by Australia and Indonesia with the aim of tackling plastic pollution in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency launched the Plastics Innovation Hub Indonesia project.
  • According to the estimates of CSIRO, there are five billion to ten billion individual pieces of plastic in the Indo-Pacific region's coastlines.
  • This project is a part of CSIRO's Ending Plastic Waste Mission under which it aims to reduce plastic waste that is entering the environment by 80 percent by 2030.
  • This partnership will bring together investors, researchers, and major stakeholders, including public and private sector businesses, to develop various solutions to tackle plastic waste in Indonesia's waterways and oceans. The Hub expands on CSIRO's existing partnership with the Udayana University and Indonesian government to analyze, measure, and chart plastic pollution in Java, Bali, and other regions.
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Airtel, Axis Bank Partner for Financial Services; Launch Co-branded Credit Card

  • Bharti Airtel and Axis Bank announced the launch of Airtel Axis Bank Credit Card as part of a "strategic partnership to strengthen the growth of India's digital ecosystem through a range of financial solutions".
  • In a bid to accelerate adoption of digital payments in the country, over the coming months, Airtel and Axis Bank will bring to market a range of innovative financial offerings and digital services exclusively for Airtel's 340 million plus customers.
  • These will include a co-branded credit card with industry leading benefits, pre-approved instant loans, 'Buy Now Pay Later' offerings and many more.

Eveready Names Suvamoy Saha as MD

  • Close on the heels of the resignation of Amritanshu Khaitan as managing director of the country's largest dry cell battery maker, Eveready Industries India appointed Suvamoy Saha as the managing director of the company for three years.
  • On March 3, Khaitan family members – Aditya Khaitan and Amritanshu Khaitan – resigned from the board as non-executive director and chairman and as managing director of the company, respectively.
  • Saha has been with Eveready for long. Before his appointment as joint managing director in August, he was a whole-time director of Eveready from March 2005 to July 2019.

Interest Subsidy Scheme for Exporters Extended till March 2024

  • The Reserve Bank extended the interest equalisation scheme for pre and post shipment rupee credit for MSME exporters till March 2024 with the objective of boosting outbound shipments.
  • Exporters get subsidy under the 'Interest Equalisation Scheme for pre and post-shipment Rupee Export Credit'.
  • In April last year, the scheme was first extended till June end and later till September 2021.
  • The interest equalisation rates under the scheme have been revised to 2 per cent and 3 per cent for specified categories of MSME manufacturer exporters.
  • The scheme will not apply to telecom instruments and entities availing benefits under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme of the government.
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Engineers Begin Assembly of NASA's Europa Clipper

  • NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft will conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter's moon Europa to see whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life, honing our insights into astrobiology.
  • Europa Clipper would orbit Jupiter about every two weeks, providing many opportunities for close flybys of Europa.
  • In total, the solar-powered orbiter would perform 45 flybys at altitudes ranging from 25 to 2,700 km (16 to 1,700 miles), imaging the moon's icy surface at high resolution and investigating its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.
  • When it's fully assembled, Europa Clipper will be as large as an SUV with solar arrays long enough to span a basketball court.

Astronomers Detect Largest Organic Molecule ever Found in a Stellar 'Dust Trap'

  • Astronomers detected the largest organic molecule ever seen in a cloud of planet-forming dust, potentially offering new insights into the way that the building blocks of life end up on planets.
  • Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile, researchers studied the light emitted by different molecules in the lopsided ring of dust and ice surrounding the young star IRS 48, located about 444 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus.
  • Within the dusty ring, the researchers saw clear traces of an organic compound called dimethyl ether — a large molecule that's commonly detected in stellar nurseries (cold, dusty regions of space where new stars form) and is a precursor to crucial building blocks of life, such as amino acids and sugars.
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South Africa's Mokoka Breaks World Record in First 50 km Race

  • South Africa's Stephen Mokoka, who had never run a 50 km race before, broke the world record on home soil in Gqeberha.
  • Mokoka crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds, beating the record set by Ethiopian Ketema Bekele Negasa (2:42:07) last year.
  • Ethiopia's Amelework Fikadu Bosho dominated the women's race to finish in a time of 3:04:58, nearly four minutes ahead of the rest but 34 seconds short of the world record.

Lance Klusener Rejoins Zimbabwe Cricket Team as Batting Coach

  • Months after he quit his job as Afghanistan's head coach, former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener rejoined the Zimbabwe senior men's national team as their batting coach. The 50-year-old Klusener's appointment was confirmed by the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) Board.
  • Klusener will take over from former Zimbabwe cricketer Stuart Matsikenyeri, who will now move to the position of assistant coach, while India's Lalchand Rajput remains in charge as head coach of the national side. Klusener previously served as Zimbabwe's batting coach between 2016 and 2018. Klusener had quit his job as Afghanistan head coach in November last year, announcing that he won't be seeking an extension after 2021.

Priyanka Nutakki Becomes the 23rd Woman Grandmaster of India

  • Priyanka Nutakki secured her final WGM-norm at MPL's forty-seventh National Women Chess Championship. She became India's twenty-third Woman Grandmaster. She is from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Priyanka Nutakki scored her first WGM-norm in January 2019 and crossed the 2300 rating criteria in the next two months. However, much like a lot of players, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed her title hopes.
  • Priyanka braved the odds, resumed playing over-the-board tournaments in October 2021 at ChessMood Open. In her third over-the-board tournament of the year, she scored her second WGM and maiden IM-norm at the 7th Sunway Sitges Open 2021.
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Iran Puts New Military Satellite in Orbit

  • Iran successfully placed a military satellite in orbit, as talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers reached a critical stage.
  • Iran's second military satellite -- named Nour-2 -- was launched into space by the Qassed rocket of the aerospace wing of the Revolutionary Guards and successfully placed in orbit 500 kilometres (310 miles) above the Earth.
  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps described the Nour-2 as a "reconnaissance satellite".
  • This satellite would orbit the Earth every 90 minutes, and its mission will last at least three years.
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No Smoking Day

  • No Smoking Day is observed on the second Wednesday of March.
  • The United Kingdom witnessed that the people in the country are getting addicted to smoking. In 1984, the day was observed for the first time. Earlier, it was celebrated on the first Wednesday of March as it began on Ash Wednesday. However, with time, it shifted to the second Wednesday. Now, it is celebrated as an annual event all over the United Kingdom and in other countries too.
  • The day was started with the objective of helping addictive smokers to quit smoking forever. This is a health awareness day that takes place every year with a different theme. Few of the successful themes have been 'Break Free' and 'Time to Quit?' In March 2022, the theme was 'quitting smoking doesn't have to be stressful.' The focus of this year was on calming down people who want to quit smoking and letting them know that the process need not be stressful.
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MacGregor Medal for 4 from Armed Forces

  • Four from the armed forces were awarded the prestigious United Services Institution (USI) MacGregor Memorial Medal for extreme adventure activities that would help in military operations.
  • Two are from the Army and one each from Navy and Indian Air Force were awarded. Army Chief Gen MM Naravane gave away the awards at a ceremony at the USI, India's oldest tri-service think tank established in 1870.
  • The four who were awarded the prestigious United Services Institution (USI) MacGregor Memorial Medal are: Maj Ajay Kumar Singh from Para Special Forces, Naib Subedar Sanjeev Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Chief EA (P), of the Indian Navy and Anshu Kumar Tiwari of the IAF.
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Sikkim to Implement Aama Yojana and Bahini Scheme

  • The Sikkim government will give Rs. 20,000 each to all non-working mothers and free sanitary napkins to all girl students of class 9 and above in the state, Chief Minister P. S. Tamang said. Addressing a function at Melli, the CM announced that the state government will implement the 'Aama Yojna' for non-working mothers and Bahini scheme for girl students.
  • Under the 'Aama Yojna' scheme all non-working mothers in the state will receive Rs. 20,000 each annually in their bank accounts, Tamang said, adding that only those whose names are in the electoral roll of the state will get the money.
  • He said the scheme will be implemented from this year.

Ministry of Labour Launches 'Donate-a-Pension' Initiative

  • Union Labour and Employment Minister, Bhupender Yadav launched the 'Donate-a-Pension' campaign under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) scheme. Under the new initiative, citizens can contribute to the pension fund of their immediate support staff such as domestic workers, drivers, helpers etc, by donating the premium amount.
  • The 'Donate-a-Pension' program is part of various initiatives launched in the 'Iconic Week' celebrations by the Labour Ministry from March 7 to 13, 2022. It is an initiative under (PM-SYM) pension scheme where citizens can donate the premium contribution of their immediate support staff such as domestic workers, drivers, helpers etc.
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India's First 100% Women-owned Industrial Park Begins Operations in Hyderabad

  • India's first 100 per cent women-owned industrial park began operations in Hyderabad, Telangana. Promoted by the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) in partnership with the State government, the park has 25 units, representing 16 diverse green category industries, all owned and operated by women.
  • The FLO industrial park, the first-of-its-kind park in the country, was established over 50 acres in Sultanpur near Patancheru with an investment of Rs. 250 crore. The park has already garnered tremendous interest from women entrepreneurs to run and operate their businesses.
  • The park has also created amenities to offer a homely environment for women by keeping in mind the necessities of working women entrepreneurs, including designing creches and playschools. The FLO also plans to set up similar multi-industry women industrial parks in various States and a centre of excellence for skill development in Phase II.
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The Queen Of Indian Pop: The Authorised Biography Of Usha Uthup

  • The biography of pop icon Usha Uthup titled "The Queen of Indian Pop: The Authorised Biography of Usha Uthup" was released. The book was originally written in Hindi titled "Ullas Ki Naav" by author Vikas Kumar Jha. "The Queen of Indian Pop: The Authorised Biography of Usha Uthup" is the English translation of the book, translated by the writer's daughter Srishti Jha. The book was published by Penguin Random House India (PRHI).
  • The 74-year-old pop icon, who completed 50 years as a professional singer in 2020, is widely known for evergreen hits such as "Hari Om Hari", "Rambha Ho" and "Jeete Hain Shaan Se". She has sung in several Indian and foreign languages including Bengali, Hindi, English, German, Italian and Sinhalese.
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