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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

24 Mar 2022


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Ukraine Retakes Key Kyiv Suburb from Russians

  • As per reports, Ukrainian forces retook a strategically important suburb of the capital, while Russia's attack on the embattled southern port of Mariupol raged unabated.
  • While Russian forces carried on with the siege of Mariupol after the southern port city's defenders refused demands to surrender, the Kremlin's ground offensive in other parts of the country advanced slowly or not at all, knocked back by lethal hit-and-run attacks by the Ukrainians.
  • Ukrainian troops forced Russian forces out of the Kyiv suburb of Makariv after a fierce battle.

Putin Adviser Chubais Quits Over Ukraine War, Leaves Russia

  • A prominent adviser to Vladimir Putin resigned from the government and reportedly left Russia in the highest-ranking defection yet over the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Anatoly Chubais, the Kremlin's special envoy for relations with international organisations for sustainable development, was confirmed to have left the government.
  • Chubais' resignation was motivated by his opposition to President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.
  • Chubais is not a particularly influential member of the government and has no say in security affairs, but his resignation will create headlines in a country where most Russians know his name.
  • Chubais is best known as the architect of Russia's controversial privatisation scheme in the 1990s, which helped create the country's market economy but also concentrated immense wealth in the hands of a group of wealthy oligarchs.
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Infosys Tops List of Firms with Strongest ESG Scores

  • Infosys topped the list of companies with the strongest ESG scores, according to a study conducted by corporate governance firm Stakeholders Empowerment Services (SES).
  • Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Tech Mahindra, HDFC and Adani Ports & SEZ are the other firms in the top-five, with ESG scores between 80 and 90 (A rating).
  • SES–in its first such study–has also ranked companies on the basis of individual metrics such as environment, social and governance.

Commerce Ministry to Extend Foreign Trade Policy

  • The commerce ministry will extend the existing foreign trade policy (FTP) for some more months beyond March 31.
  • In September 2021, the government extended the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 till March 31, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present policy came into force on April 1, 2015.
  • The policy provides guidelines related to imports and exports in India. The ministry announces the policy every five years.

SBI Group Gets RBI Nod to Increase Stake in ICICI Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved SBI Mutual Fund, along with other SBI Group companies, to hold a 9.99% stake in ICICI Bank, the country's second largest lender.
  • At the end of the December quarter, SBI Mutual Fund had 5.72% stake in ICICI Bank.
  • Last year the banking regulator accepted a set recommendation of an Internal Working Group (IWG) which was formed to review ownership guidelines and corporate structure for Indian private sector banks. Among others, RBI allowed financial institutions, supranational institutions, public sector undertakings to have 15% stake in private sector banks.
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There are 5,000 Worlds Outside Our Solar System, Some Like Earth

  • When humans began looking into the sky, the first thought that popped the scientific curiosity was 'are we alone in the universe?' In time, we discovered planets around the Sun, separated by billions of kilometers, forming our solar system. NASA went a step beyond that cosmic boundary and confirmed there are more than 5,000 worlds waiting to be explored in deep space.
  • With the discovery of 65 new planets, NASA confirmed the presence of over 5000 such planetary bodies around stars beyond our solar system, marking a new milestone in space exploration. The NASA exoplanet archive got 65 new candidates to be studied that could harbour compositions that might support the presence of water, microbes, gases on the surface or even life.
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Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas Betters Her Own Women's Triple Jump World Record

  • Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas bettered her own women's triple jump world record with a leap of 15.74 metres to win gold at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
  • The Olympic champion beat her previous outright best of 15.67 metres set at the Tokyo Games last year, as well as her indoor record of 15.43 metres, set in 2020.
  • Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk of Ukraine won silver with 14.74 metres. The bronze went to Jamaica's Kimberly Williams with 14.62 metres.

Ash Barty Retires from Tennis

  • Ash Barty surprisingly retired from tennis at age 25 while ranked No. 1 and less than two months after winning the Australian Open for her third Grand Slam singles title.
  • This is not the first time Barty walked away from tennis: She was the Wimbledon junior champion at age 15 in 2011, presaging a promising professional career, but left the tour entirely for nearly two years in 2014 because of burnout, overwhelmed by the pressure and travel required.
  • Barty went on to win major championships on three different surfaces — on clay at the 2019 French Open, on grass at Wimbledon last year and on the hard courts of Melbourne Park in January, becoming the first Australian player in 44 years to triumph at the nation's Grand Slam tournament.
  • She spent 121 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings, including the last 114 in a row.
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Migrants Ask Tripura to Recognise them as Bru Instead of Reang

  • The migrants from Mizoram, who were permanently resettled in Tripura following an agreement in 2020, asked the state government to recognise them as Bru instead of Reang in the electoral rolls and other documents.
  • In a letter to chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum secretary Bruno Msha requested him not to mandate the title "Reang or Riang" in their names also in permanent resident certificates. Msha said that they are from the Bru community of the Reang Scheduled Tribe (ST). He added they do not want to be referred to as Reang except in ST certificates.
  • Over 32,000 Bru migrants came to Tripura. An agreement in 2020 between the Centre, governments of Tripura, Mizoram, and the Bru migrants allowed them to resettle in Tripura permanently.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann Launches Anti-corruption Helpline Number

  • Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann launched an anti-corruption helpline that would allow people to upload videos of officials asking for a bribe or indulging in other malpractices.
  • Punjab's Vigilance Bureau will examine the complaints received, in recorded video or audio formats, on the anti-corruption helpline and take action.
  • Mann launched the number -- 9501200200 -- on the martyrdom day of legendary freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, and called it "an anti-corruption action line".
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India successfully Test Fires Surface to Surface BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

  • India successfully test fired the surface to surface BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in the UT of Andaman and Nicobar. The extended range missile hit its target with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Earlier, in the first week of March the Indian Navy also successfully test-fired a long-range version of the BrahMos cruise missile.
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Former Chief Justice of India R. C. Lahoti Passes Away

  • Former Chief Justice of India Ramesh Chandra Lahoti died. He was 81 years old.
  • Justice Lahoti was appointed as the 35th Chief Justice of India on June 1, 2004. He retired on November 1, 2005.
  • Hhe joined the Bar in Guna district in 1960 and enrolled as an advocate in 1962.
  • He was recruited directly to the bench in April 1977, from the Bar to the State Higher Judicial Service and was appointed as a district and sessions judge.
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World Tuberculosis (TB) Day

  • World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on March 24 to spread awareness about the disastrous health, social, and economic consequences of TB and to take efforts to end the TB epidemic globally.
  • World TB Day is one of eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Chagas Disease Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day, World Patient Safety Day and World AIDS Day.
  • In 1982, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Robert Koch's presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that March 24 be proclaimed an official World TB Day.
  • Each year World TB Day has a theme and the theme of World TB Day 2022 was "Invest to End TB. Save Lives." The theme emphasises the critical need to invest resources to accelerate the fight against tuberculosis and meet the commitments made by leaders around the world to end tuberculosis.
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Suresh Raina Felicitated with 'Sports Icon' Award by Maldives Government

  • Former India cricketer Suresh Raina was felicitated with the prestigious 'Sports Icon' award at the Maldives Sports Awards 2022 by the Maldives government. He was nominated alongside 16 international sportspersons, including former Real Madrid player Roberto Carlos, Jamaican Sprinter Asafa Powell, former Sri Lankan captain and cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya and Dutch football legend Edgar Davids.
  • Raina was presented with the award for his various achievements throughout his career.
  • The event was chaired by the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Sports Ministers, world-renowned athletes and Maldivian athletes.
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Haryana Assembly Passes Anti-conversion Bill

  • The Haryana Assembly passed a Bill against religious conversion through force, undue influence or allurement. The Bill, which was introduced on March 4, was passed amid huge protests by the opposition in the assembly. Similar Bills in the recent past were passed in the BJP-ruled state, including Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
  • According to the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022, if conversion is done by allurement, use of force, fraudulent means or coercion, then there is a provision for imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
  • As per the Bill, whoever converts or attempts to convert a minor, a woman or a person belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than four years, which may extend to 10 years and liable to fine not less than Rs. 3 lakh.

Reunification of MCD: Cabinet Approves Bill for Merging of Civic Bodies in Delhi

  • In March 2022, the Union Cabinet gave its nod to The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, which aims to merge the Capital's three municipal corporations — South, North and East — ten years after the trifurcation of the civic body. The MCD was trifurcated in 2012 when the Congress government of Sheila Dikshit controlled Delhi. It was done to decentralise governance. But the North and East civic bodies came under financial strain and there was unequal division of resources between these and the cash-rich South MCD.
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British Council Announces PG Scholarships for Indian Students and English Teachers

  • The British Council announced a new set of postgraduate (PG) scholarships for Indians across various fields of study for the academic year 2022-23. The council, in collaboration with the UK government's GREAT Britain Campaign and in partnership with UK universities, announced 20 GREAT scholarships for students from India, across 16 UK universities, in a variety of subjects like business, finance, humanities, psychology entrepreneurship, design, marketing, HR and music.
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PM Modi Inaugurate Gallery on Contribution of Revolutionaries in India

  • On the occasion of Shaheed Diwas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Biplobi Bharat Gallery, which displays the contribution of the revolutionaries in the freedom struggle, in Kolkata.
  • The purpose of this new gallery is to provide a holistic view of the events that led up to India's independence in 1947 and highlight the important role played by the revolutionaries.
  • Shaheed Diwas is observed to pay tribute to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. The three young freedom fighters were hanged at the Lahore Central Jail in Lahore on March 23, 1931.
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