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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

29 Mar 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Attend 5th BIMSTEC Summit Virtually on March 30

  • The seven-country grouping's fifth summit meeting will be hosted by Sri Lanka, its current chair. The Covid-pandemic-related challenges and the uncertainties within the international system that all Bimstec members are facing impart greater urgency to the goal of taking Bimstec technical and economic cooperation to the next level. This is expected to be the main subject of deliberations by leaders at the summit.
  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organisation. Established in 1997, it comprises seven member states- India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif Tables No-trust Motion against PM Imran Khan in Pakistan Parliament

  • A no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was tabled in the National Assembly by Leader of the Opposition and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, setting in motion the process in the lower house to remove the embattled cricketer-turned-politician from office.
  • Khan came to power in 2018 with promises to create a 'Naya Pakistan' but miserably failed to address the basic problem of keeping the prices of commodities in control, giving air to the sails of opposition ships to make war on his government.
  • Prime Minister Khan needs 172 votes in the house of 342 to foil the bid. Since Khan's allies with 23 members are still not committed to support him and about two dozen lawmakers from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf have revolted, the situation was still fluid.

Nepalese PM Sher Bahadur Deuba to Visit India from April 1-3

  • Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will pay a three-day visit to India from April 1 with an aim to further strengthen bilateral ties. This will be Deuba's first bilateral visit abroad after becoming Prime Minister in July 2021. Deuba will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 2. Besides official engagements in Delhi, the Nepalese Prime Minister is also scheduled to visit Varanasi.
  • He visited India in each of his four earlier stints as the Prime Minister of Nepal. His last visit to India in his capacity as the Prime Minister was in 2017.
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ENVIRONMENT

City in UP is World's 2nd Noisiest City, Delhi too on UN List

  • Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad found a place on the world map but not for the right reasons. The United Nations Environment Programme's latest report - that reveals interesting insights on noise pollution globally - has put the city on the second spot in the list of noisiest cities in the world. On top of the list is Bangladesh's Dhaka, and Islamabad in Pakistan is at the third spot - all top three cities are from South Asia. Other Indian cities where ear-splitting noises have been recorded - are Delhi, Kolkata and Asansol in Bengal, and Jaipur.
  • According to the WHO guidelines, the report says, the permissible noise level limits are 55 dB (decibels) LAeq (equivalent continuous sound level is the sound level in decibels) for outdoor residential areas and 70 dB LAeq for commercial areas, and where there's traffic. Moradabad, one of India's biggest export hubs, recorded 114 dB noise level, second only to Bangladesh's Dhaka.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Indian American Raj Subramaniam to Head FedEx As Founder-CEO Steps Down

  • Indian American Raj Subramaniam was named the new Chief Executive Officer of FedEx, a US multinational courier delivery giant. In his new role, Smith said that he looks forward to focusing on Board governance as well as issues of global importance, including sustainability, innovation, and public policy. Smith had founded FedEx in 1971.
  • Headquartered out of Tennessee, FedEx has 600,000 employees globally.
  • Prior to his role as president and Chief Operating Officer of FedEx Corp., Mr. Subramaniam was president and CEO of FedEx Express, the world's largest express transportation company.

Indian Power Project Replaces Chinese venture in Sri Lanka's Northern Islands

  • India will set up hybrid power projects in three Islands off Jaffna, effectively replacing the Chinese venture cleared by Colombo in 2021. The MoU for the project was among those signed during a meeting between visiting External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar and his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris.
  • It is the third Indian energy project coming up in Sri Lanka's north and east, after the recent agreements for National Thermal Power Corporation's solar venture in the eastern Sampur town, and the Adani Group's renewable energy projects in Mannar and Pooneryn in the north.

Kalyan Jewellers Appoints Former CAG Vinod Rai as Chairman

  • Kalyan Jewellers India Ltd appointed former CAG Vinod Rai as its Chairman and independent non-executive director.
  • T. S. Kalyanaraman will continue as Managing Director on the company's board.
  • Vinod Rai was the former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the former chair of the United Nations Panel of External Auditors.
  • Rai has held various positions within the central as well as state governments, and has been instrumental in various reforms. He has also served as the Chairman of the Banks Board Bureau, a body set up by the government to reform public banking in the country.
  • Rai was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, in recognition of his services to the country.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Mahatma Gandhi's Granddaughter Launches a Website 'Modi Story'

  • The granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi Sumitra Gandhi Kulkarni inaugurated the Modi Story website which is a collection of stories from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's life. Modi story is a volunteer-driven initiative to bring together inspiring moments from Narendra Modi's life, as narrated by his co-travellers.
  • The people who are associated with him closely recollected their memories about the works of Mr Modi. Several prominent personalities, including Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, actor-cum-politician Manoj Tiwari, former Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and spiritual leader Swami Avdheshanand Giri, have contributed to the anecdotal compilation.

IIT-Mandi, Researchers Find Method to Convert Plastic into Hydrogen, Useful Chemicals

  • The researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, produced new photocatalyst that converts plastic to hydrogen and other useful products. The researchers developed a method that can transform plastic into hydrogen when exposed to light. The researchers said that the generation of hydrogen from plastics is particularly useful because the gas is considered the most practical non-polluting fuel of the future.
  • Plastics, most of which are derived from petroleum, are not bio-degradable, which cannot be easily broken down into harmless products.

ESA-NASA's Solar Probe Snaps Closest-ever Photo of Sun

  • European Space Agency's (ESA) and NASA's Solar Orbiter snapped images of the Sun in unprecedented detail.
  • One of the images, taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) shows the Sun's full disc and outer atmosphere, the corona in the highest resolution image ever taken. Another image, taken by the Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment (SPICE) instrument, represents the first image of a full Sun—the first-of-its kind in 50 years. It was taken at the Lyman-beta wavelength of ultraviolet light that is emitted by hydrogen gas.
  • The high-resolution telescope of EUI takes pictures at such high spatial resolution that, at that close distance, a mosaic of 25 individual images is needed to cover the entire Sun. Taken one after the other, the full image was captured over a period of more than four hours because each tile takes about 10 minutes, including the time for the spacecraft to point from one segment to the next.
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SPORTS

Max Verstappen Wins 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) won the Formula One 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Saudi Arabia. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari- Monaco) came second and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari – Spain) came third. It was the second edition of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the second round of the 2022 Formula One World Championship. Lewis Hamilton managed to get a point on the board after coming 10th.

SAFF U-18 Women's Championship Title 2022 Won by Indian Women's Team

  • Despite losing 0-1 to Bangladesh, India emerged champions of the 2022 SAFF U-18 Women's Championships because of a better goal difference. India enjoyed a better goal difference of +11 in comparison to +3 of Bangladesh.
  • The valuable player of the tournament and the highest goal scorer was Lynda Kom who scored five goals in total.

Canada Qualify for FIFA World Cup Finals for First Time in 36 Years

  • Canada men's football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals for only the second time ever with a 4-0 rout of Jamaica. The nation's only previous appearance in the tournament was 1986 in Mexico.
  • Canada became the 20th team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup which will feature 32 nations vying for the ultimate prize in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.
  • The remaining 12 teams will be decided in the coming days before the draw on April 1 to determine the eight groups.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Centre Drops Par-Tapi-Narmada Project in Gujarat after Protests from Tribals

  • After strong protests from tribals in south Gujarat, the Centre applied the brakes on the Par-Tapi-Narmada river-link project that was proposed in the Union budget. Earlier, more than 5,000 tribals had gathered in State capital Gandhinagar to oppose the proposed Par-Tapi-Narmada river link project, which the local communities fear will displace residents in south Gujarat.
  • Proposed by the Centre, the project is meant to transfer water from the water-surplus regions of Western Ghats to the water-deficit regions of Saurashtra and Kutch through the Sardar Sarovar Project. The controversial project seeks to link three rivers — Par, which originates from Nashik in Maharashtra and flows through Valsad in Gujarat, Tapi from Saputara that flows through Maharashtra and Surat in Gujarat, and Narmada originating in Madhya Pradesh and flowing through Maharashtra and Bharuch and Narmada and Vadodara districts in Gujarat.

Zoji La Tunnel to Open for Army by September '24

  • Authorities are on an overdrive to build a strategic Zoji La tunnel in Kashmir to reduce travel time to Ladakh, where China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) is aggressively pushing its territorial claims along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • The need for Zoji La tunnel was first felt during the 1999 Kargil war, and the recent incursions by China made it an urgent necessity
  • The tunnel will provide logistics flexibility and operational mobility to the Army. It could be one of the very few development projects in India to be completed ahead of its deadline fixed for November 2026. Officials say the tunnel will be opened for movement of the armed forces in September 2024 in case of any emergency.
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DEFENCE

India Successfully Test-fires Two MRSAMs off Odisha Coast

  • India successfully test-fired two Indian Army-version Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MRSAMs) from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha. The flight tests were carried out as part of live-firing trials against high-speed aerial targets. The first missile hit a medium-altitude long-range target and the second a low-altitude short-range one.
  • This MRSAM version is a Surface-to-Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for use by the Indian Army. The MRSAM Army weapon system comprises multi-function radar, mobile launcher system and other vehicles.
  • The flight tests were carried out with the weapon system in deliverable configuration. The performance of the weapon system was validated through the flight data captured by range instruments like radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry deployed by ITR, Chandipur.

President Kovind Presents President's Colour to INS Valsura

  • President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the prestigious President's Colour to Indian Naval Ship (INS) Valsura. The President's Colour is bestowed on a military unit in recognition of exceptional service rendered to the nation, both in peace and in war.
  • Established in 1942, INS Valsura is a premier training establishment of the Indian Navy. It is entrusted with the responsibility of imparting training to officers and sailors of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and friendly foreign countries in electrical, electronics, weapon systems and information technology.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

NMCG Organizes 'Yamunotsav' At ITO Yamuna Ghat

  • As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) organized Yamunotsav in association with a group of NGOs at ASITA East River Front, ITO Bridge, to celebrate the glory of Yamuna with a "pledge to keep it clean. More than 1000 people gathered at the Yamuna ghat in the morning to celebrate Yamunotsav, which witnessed live paintings, street plays, classical performance, spiritual performance, music and dance events etc.
  • The festivity was in the air at the Yamuna ghat where people from all age groups revered River Yamuna and took part in creating a momentum to clean the river. One of the most inspiring corners at the event was a board with pictures and paintings made by under privileged children. To spread the message of 'no-plastic', kullads (earthen glasses) were kept on the water stations to drink water.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Mirabai Chanu Wins 'BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year' Award

  • Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year award. Chanu created history in 2021 when she became the first Indian weightlifter to clinch a silver medal at the Summer Olympics.
  • Young India opener Shafali Verma was awarded the The 'BBC Emerging Player' award. The first Indian woman to have won a medal at the Olympics in 2000, former weightlifter Karnam Malleswari was presented the 'BBC Lifetime Achievement' award. Olympians and the Paralympians from the Tokyo Games were also honoured in this edition of BBC ISWOTY.

Neeraj Chopra, Pramod Bhagat Receive Padma Shri

  • Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra received the Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award. The 24-year-old javelin thrower received the prestigious award from President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan during a ceremony. Paralympic gold medallist in badminton Pramod Bhagat was also conferred with the honour alongside Chopra.
  • Chopra made history at the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in a track and field event in the Games' history. He also became only the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold after shooter Abhinav Bindra.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands MP Wins Sansad Ratna Award

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands MP Kuldeep Rai Sharma was awarded the Sansad Ratna Award 2022. The award is recognition of his hard work in his constituency. He has also worked towards the rights of children in the area. The award was given by Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sushil Chandra, in the presence of Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

New Bill to Collect Prisoners' Physical, Biological Samples

  • Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni introduced the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill in the Lok Sabha amid vehement protests from Opposition leaders who called it "illegal" and "unconstitutional" and also forced a vote on its introduction.
  • The Bill aims at authorising the police to take measurements of convicts and other persons for the purposes of identifications and investigations in criminal matters to preserve records. Broadly, it aims at providing legal sanction to the police to take physical and biological samples of convicts as well as persons accused of crimes.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Common University Entrance Test officially Accepted by Jamia Millia Islamia

  • CUET in Jamia Millia Islamia: Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) will adopt the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for admitting students to undergraduate programmes for the 2022-23 academic session. It was decided in a meeting attended by the top officials of the university that admissions for selected undergraduate courses will be done through CUET. The university has communicated to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and National Testing Agency (NTA) about the same.

India, Maldives Sign Peering Agreement for Cooperation in Field of Education

  • The External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid acknowledged strides made in fields of capacity building and training as the two countries inked an agreement paving the way for connectivity between India's National Knowledge Network and the Maldives' Higher Education Network.
  • National Knowledge Network is a multi-gigabit national research and education network, whose purpose is to provide a unified high speed network backbone for educational and research institutions in India. The network is managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
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ART AND CULTURE

Meghalaya Root Bridges in UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites

  • Living Root Bridges, found in over 70 villages in Meghalaya highlighting the socio-cultural, social and botanical links among people and nature, were included in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of the UNESCO.
  • Villagers grow the living root-bridges by training the 'ficus elastica' tree on both sides of water bodies over a period of about 10 to 15 years where the roots form the bridge. Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India Prof K Vijay Raghavan said that the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya which highlight the socio-cultural, social and botanical links among people and nature are well deserving of the tag of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

'Ishan Manthan' Festival Organised in New Delhi

  • Three-day North-East festival called 'Ishan Manthan' was organized at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. The three-day Ishan Manthan programme celebrated the rich ethnicity and colours of North East India, from March 25 to 27, 2022. The event gave an opportunity to know about the culture, art, music, folk dances, handicrafts and traditional cuisines of Northeast India.
  • Ishan Manthan is an attempt to celebrate the plural expressions of northeast India. It can be understood as "North East Brainstorming". The inaugural session also witnessed the release of two books titled 'Lok Beyond Folk', a book on the Lok Culture which was edited by Shri J Nandalumar and 'Jewels of North East India'.
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