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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

05 Apr 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Viktor Orban Wins Fourth Term as Prime Minister of Hungary

  • Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban won a fourth successive term in office by a landslide victory in the country's general elections for 2022. His right-wing Fidesz party secured 53.1% of the total 98% of the count complete. The 58-year-old is already the longest-serving head of government in the EU, since assuming the role of Prime Minister in May 2010.
  • The 58-year-old, already the longest-serving head of government in the EU, was challenged by six united opposition parties seeking to roll back the "illiberal" revolution Orban's Fidesz party has pursued during 12 consecutive years in office.

UN Human Rights Council Names Tuvalu Negotiator Dr. Ian Fry as Climate Expert

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Dr. Ian Fry as the world's first independent expert for human rights and climate change.
  • He has negotiated on behalf of least developed countries including at the 2015 Paris climate conference where he helped ensure that human rights were part of the final package.The position of Special Rapporteur for human rights and climate change was created by UNHRC in October 2021. The new independent expert will have the mandate to "study and identify how the adverse effects of climate change, including sudden and slow-onset disasters, affect the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and make recommendations on how to address and prevent these adverse effects".
  • The headquarters of the Council are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Russia Prepares Bill Seeking Jail Terms for Adhering to Sanctions

  • Russian lawmakers submitted a draft bill to the Lower House of parliament, or the Duma, that envisages a prison term of up to 10 years and fines for adhering to Western sanctions in Russia.
  • The bill, if passed, would mark further tightening of Russian laws after Moscow launched what it calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24, prompting an unprecedented wave of Western economic sanctions in response.
  • The new bill, which needs to be approved by the parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law, aims to prevent a deterioration of Russia's economic situation.
  • A number of Russian companies, including firms partially owned by the state, are refusing to work with sanctioned banks and companies because they fear they could land on the sanctions list as well.
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ENVIRONMENT

99% World's Population Breathes Poor-quality Air: World Health Organisation

  • As per the UN health agency, nearly everybody in the world breathes air that doesn't meet its standards for air quality, calling for more action to reduce fossil-fuel use, which generates pollutants that cause respiratory and blood-flow problems and lead to millions of preventable deaths each year.
  • The World Health Organisation, about six months after tightening its guidelines on air quality, issued an update to its database on air quality that draws on information from a growing number of cities, towns, and villages across the globe now totaling over 6,000 municipalities.
  • WHO said that 99 per cent of the global population breathes air that exceeds its air-quality limits and is often rife with particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, enter the veins and arteries, and cause disease. Air quality is poorest in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia regions, followed by Africa.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Elon Musk Takes 9.2% Stake in Twitter

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk took 9.2% stake in Twitter, purchasing approximately 73.5 million shares. Mr Musk's stake in Twitter is considered a passive investment, which means Mr. Musk is a long-term investor that's looking to minimize his buying and selling of the shares. Mr. Musk's revelation about his stake in Twitter shares came two days after Tesla Inc. posted first-quarter delivery numbers. While the company delivered 310,000 vehicles in the period, the figure was slightly below expectations.

Former Aviation Joint Secretary is Principal Advisor to IndiGo's MD

  • R. K. Singh, former Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, was appointed as Principal Advisor to IndiGo's Managing Director Rahul Bhatia.
  • RK, with over 36 years of experience working in different capacities in the Indian Government as an IAS officer (1985 - 2009) and later as an aviation law specialist (2009 onwards), brings rich administrative, management and aviation experience with him.
  • In the past, RK has served as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and has served on the Boards of Air India, Indian Airlines, Alliance Air, Air India Charters Limited (Air India Express) and has been the CMD of Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited.

Merger of HDFC Limited and HDFC Bank

  • HDFC's board of directors approved the merger of HDFC Bank, India's largest private sector bank with HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation), India's largest housing finance firm.
  • The deal will be building the housing loan portfolio of the bank and will also be enhancing its existing customer base.
  • Under the agreement that has been proposed, public shareholders will be 100 percent owning HDFC Bank, and HDFC Limited's existing shareholders will own 41 percent stake in HDFC Bank.
  • The proposed agreement will be creating a large net worth as well as a balance sheet that would allow a greater credit flow into the economy. Also, underwriting of larger ticket loans such as infrastructure loans will be enabled due to this agreement.
  • This will be a two-part merger. In the first step, HDFC Holdings Limited and HDFC Investments Limited will be merging with HDFC Limited. In the next step, HDFC Limited will be amalgamated with HDFC Bank. After merging, the total assets of HDFC Bank and HDFC Ltd will be more than Rs. 25 lakh crore. The turnover of HDFC is Rs. 35,681.74 crore while for HDFC Bank it is Rs. 1.16 lakh crore.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 Mission

  • SpaceX and NASA are gearing up to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Commercial Crew Program of NASA. This will be the fourth crew rotation mission and will be carrying an international crew consisting of four astronauts on a science expedition to the ISS.
  • This mission would be launched on 20th April from NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.
  • The Kennedy Space Center is located in Florida.
  • The crew that would be sent aboard the ISS would be spending several months conducting various maintenance and science aboard the orbiting space station.
  • The astronauts would be returning to Earth in the fall of 2022.
  • The crew would be riding on a new Crew Dragon spacecraft and would be launched on a Falcon 9 booster.
  • As a tradition of naming a new capsule by the first riding astronauts, the crew chose the name "Freedom" to celebrate the fundamental human right.
  • The crew consists of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, along with Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. The commander of the Crew-4 mission and the Crew Dragon spacecraft is Lindgren.
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SPORTS

Iga Swiatek Crushes Naomi Osaka to Win Miami Open

  • Iga Swiatek thrashed Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0 in the Miami Open final to win her third straight WTA 1000 title. Iga Swiatek's dream season continued as she scooped her third successive WTA 1000 title to beat Naomi Osaka in the Miami Open final. The Polish 20-year-old became only the fourth - and youngest - player to win the "Sunshine Double" of Indian Wells and Miami in the same year following Steffi Graf, Kim Cljisters and Victoria Azarenka with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Osaka.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

CIC Uday Mahurkar's Office Disposed of Record 5,056 RTI in 2021-2022

  • Citing a ruling on ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, Central Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar said he "passed landmark judgements without fear or favour. Central Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar said his court disposed of 5,056 RTI, or right to information, appeals in 2021-22, the highest in any year by a commissioner in 16 years of CIC's history. In a series of tweets, Mahurkar said his office took "creative steps like coordinating with Public Information officers of Union Ministries under my charge." The commissioner added that he even called "group meetings to know their problems while strictly directing them to ensure" the RTI Act's objectives of transparency and accountability.
  • The Central Information Commission was constituted under the Right to Information Act, 2005, with jurisdiction extending to all Central Public Authorities.

CM Jagan Mohan Reddy Launches 13 new Districts in Andhra Pradesh

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy formally launched 13 new districts in the state taking the total number to 26. Reddy extended his heartiest wishes and congratulations to the people, officials and employees for the formation of the new districts and asked the officials to ensure that people are benefited by the schemes announced by government. Each district will now have six to eight assembly segments except in one tribal district.
  • Reddy, during the poll campaign for the 2019 Assembly elections, promised that his party, if voted to power, would make every Lok Sabha constituency as a district.

Vinay Mohan Kwatra is India's New Foreign Secretary

  • India's envoy to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra was appointed as the new Foreign Secretary, succeeding Harsh Vardhan Shringla who will retire at the end of this month.
  • Before his diplomatic posting to Nepal in 2020, he served as the Ambassador of India to France from August 2017 to February 2020.
  • A career diplomat with over 32 years of experience, Kwatra has also held the position of a Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for two years between October 2015 to August 2017.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

National Maritime Day 2022

  • National Maritime Day in India is observed on April 5 every year. This year (2022) was the 59th edition of the National Maritime Day.
  • National Maritime Day was first celebrated on April 5, 1964. The saga of Indian shipping first started on April 5, 1919, when the SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd travelled from Mumbai to the United Kingdom (London). On this day an award called "Varuna" is conferred to those who made an outstanding contribution to the Indian maritime sector.
  • The theme of the National Maritime Day 2022 was "Sustainable Shipping beyond Covid-19''.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Bengaluru-based Ricky Kej Wins His Second Grammy Award

  • At the 64th Annual Grammy Awards held in Las Vegas, Bengaluru-based Ricky Kej earned his second coveted gramophone trophy in the best new album category for 'Divine Tides', his collaboration with The Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Kej won his first Grammy in 2015 for the best new age album category for 'Winds of Samsara'.
  • The North Carolina-born musician greeted the audiences with a 'Namaste' when he took the stage with Copeland to receive the prestigious award.

Ramdarash Mishra Selected for Saraswati Samman 2021

  • Noted poet and litterateur Prof. Ramdarash Mishra will be awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman, 2021, for his collection of poems 'Mein to Yahan Hun', the KK Birla Foundation announced.
  • Instituted in 1991, Saraswati Samman is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the country. It is given every year to an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language by an Indian citizen and published within the last 10 years. It carries a citation, a plaque, and a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakhs. The recipient is chosen by a selection committee, whose current head is Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap, former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
  • Mishra has excelled in different branches of Hindi literature. In a career spanning decades, the 98-year-old has to his credit 32 collections of poems, 15 novels, 30 short-story collections, 15 books of literary criticism, four collections of essays, travelogues, and several memoirs. He has also served as an important member of different Hindi consultative committees in various ministries and retired as a professor from the Hindi department of the University of Delhi.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Lok Sabha Passes Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022, by voice vote. It seeks to repeal The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, and allow the collection, storage and analysis of physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scan of the convicted, arrested and detained persons.
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah said its sole objective was to improve the conviction rate in the country, protect the human rights of crores of law-abiding citizens and send a strong message in the society.
  • Mr. Shah said the Bill sought to equip the police with the necessary resources for securing convictions in the court. He said that through the proposed law he was implementing the "T" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for "SMART [Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Techno savvy and Trained]" policing in 2014.

International Air Connectivity Scheme

  • The International Air Connectivity Scheme (IACS) was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation with the objective of enhancing air connectivity from India's certain states with some selected international destinations so as to promote socio-economic growth.
  • This newly launched scheme was supported by the State Governments.
  • The State Governments of Manipur, Assam, and Tripura have already identified routes to connect Imphal, Guwahati, and Agartala with international destinations like Dhaka, Bangkok, Yangon, Kathmandu, Mandalay, Hanoi, Chittagong, and Kunming.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

ICAI Signs MoU with J&K Govt. to Promote Commerce Stream of Education

  • To promote commerce education among students of the Union Territory, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Directorate of School Education, Kashmir, DSEK.
  • The MoU was signed for a period of five years during the outreach meeting held with principals of Kashmir valley.
  • The MoU was signed to promote commerce education amongst government and government-aided Secondary and Higher / Senior Secondary school students.
  • Further, ICAI has also announced a 75 per cent course fee waiver for all levels of CA course for students from the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and North-Eastern States.

Meghalaya and NLSIU to Jointly Offer Research Fellowship for Law Students

  • The Meghalaya government signed an agreement with Bengaluru-based National Law School of India University (NLSIU) for setting up a fellowship.
  • The P.A. Sangma Fellowship for Legal and Policy Research will allow students of NLSIU for undertaking research activities in Meghalaya.
  • P.A. Sangma was the former chief minister of Meghalaya and speaker of Lok Sabha.
  • NLSIU vice-chancellor Sudhir Krishnaswamy highlighted the need for providing greater exposure to students, which will allow them to gain a practical experience for the future.
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ART AND CULTURE

Rajasthan: Gangaur Festival

  • The Gangaur festival was celebrated in Rajasthan and some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and West Bengal. It is one of Rajasthan's most important festivals and is observed with great fervour across the state.
  • The women worship Gauri, the wife of Lord Shiva during the period of this festival which is from March 18 to April 4.
  • This festival celebrates the harvest, spring, childbearing, and marital fidelity.
  • On the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi, this festival begins and continues for a period of 16 days. For a girl who is newly wedded, it is mandatory to observe this festival. Also, unmarried girls fast during this festival for 16 days and eat only one meal every day. The festival ends on the third day of Shukla paksha of the Chaitra Month. Throughout this period Gangaur Melas are held.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Book "Crunch Time: Narendra Modi's National Security Crises" by Sreeram Chaulia

  • Dr. Sreeram Chaulia authored a new book titled "Crunch Time: Narendra Modi's National Security Crises". The book was released by Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs at the India International Centre in New Delhi, Delhi. The book highlights the much needed public faith in the state to protect the country from security threats posed by India's external adversaries. The book analyses PM Modi's series of decision-making moves during the crises with China and Pakistan.
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