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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

17 May 2022

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India, Nepal Sign and Exchange Six MoU and Agreements

  • India and Nepal signed and exchanged six Memorandum of Understandings and Agreements. They include an MoU between Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Lumbini Buddhist University on the establishment of Dr. Ambedkar Chair for Buddhist Studies and an MoU between Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Kathmandu University on the establishment of the ICCR Chair of Indian Studies.
  • A letter of Agreement between Kathmandu University and Indian Institute of Technology (IITM) was also signed for a joint degree program at Master's level.
  • An Agreement between SJVN Ltd and Nepal Electricity Authority for Development and implementation of Arun 4 Project was also signed. The MoUs and Agreements were signed after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba in Lumbini.

World's Longest Suspension Bridge Opens in Czech Republic

  • The world's largest suspension bridge in Czech Republic was opened for tourists and its pictures are going viral on social media. The bridge was under construction for nearly two years. It has been named 'Sky Bridge 721'. The walkway promises spectacular sights of the cloud-shrouded Jesenky mountains, as well as an exciting, but slightly terrifying experience.
  • The bridge connects two mountain ridges and hangs 95 metres (312 feet) above a valley and can be accessed by cable car. It is 721 metres, or 2,365 feet, long. Tourists will enter it at an elevation of 1,125 metres and exit it 10 metres higher.
  • The Czech Republic Sky Bridge is 154 metres longer than Nepal's Baglung Parbat Footbridge, which currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest suspension footbridge.
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ENVIRONMENT

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav Addresses BRICS High Level Meeting on Climate Change

  • Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav participated in the BRICS High Level Meeting held virtually. Speaking at the BRICS high-level meeting on Climate Change, the minister highlighted the relevance of the forum to jointly address climate change, to explore approaches to accelerate low-carbon and resilient transition, and to achieve sustainable recovery and development.
  • The BRICS High Level Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China and was attended by Environment Ministers of BRICS nations including Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.
  • BRICS Environment Ministers expressed commitment to strengthen collaboration on climate change, and broaden and deepen the contents of cooperation. Further, the countries agreed to carry out policy exchanges and cooperation in areas of environment and climate change.

52nd Tiger Reserve of India: Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan

  • The Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary in Rajasthan was notified as India's 52nd tiger reserve. This is Rajasthan's fourth tiger reserve after Ranthambore, Sariska and Mukundra. The 52nd Reserve of India will conserve biodiversity and bring in ecotourism and development to the area. The newly notified tiger reserve includes the tiger habitat between Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in the northeast and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve on the southern side and facilitates dispersal of tigers from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
  • The floristic diversity of this new tiger reserve makes it an important area for research and education. Historic and cultural sites like Bhimlat, Ramgarh palace would encourage eco tourism and provide employment opportunities to local communities.
  • Wild animals like Indian wolf, leopard, striped hyena, sloth bear, golden jackal, chinkara, nilgai and fox can be seen in the Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

SpiceJet, Axis Bank Launch Co-branded Credit Card

  • SpiceJet and Axis Bank partnered to launch the most rewarding co-branded credit card, powered by Visa that will offer a host of privileges and benefits to customers. The card comes in two variants – SpiceJet Axis Bank Voyage and Voyage Black, and is aimed at facilitating a superlative travel experience for flyers through SpiceClub, the first frequent flyer program by a low cost carrier in India.
  • Through this collaboration, the two brands hope to capitalize on the resurgent demand for travel following two years of stagnation caused by the pandemic. Further, with the shared goal of expanding their reach to Tier 2 & 3 cities and other synergies, the brands are committed to serving a much larger populace.

Dineout, a Restaurant Reservation Platform, Bought by Swiggy

  • Food-delivery app available online Swiggy bought restaurant technology and dining out platform Dineout from Times Internet in a formal deal. Dineout will continue to operate as an independent app following the acquisition.
  • The acquisition would allow Swiggy to investigate synergies and create new experiences in a high-use area, according to Sriharsha Majety, Swiggy's cofounder and CEO.
  • Swiggy is expected to expand Dineout's products, such as table bookings and events, while Dineout's restaurant partners will have access to Swiggy's enormous consumer base, expanding their reach.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ISRO Successfully Tests Human-rated HS200 Solid Rocket for Gaganyaan

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully completed the static test of the human-rated solid rocket booster (HS200) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota The test was for ISRO's Gaganyaan programme. The booster engine is part of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII (GSLV Mk III) rocket that will carry Indian astronauts to space. The GSLV MK III rocket is a three-staged vehicle. The first stage is powered by solid fuel, the second by liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic stage powered by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
  • India's first manned space flight mission - 'Gaganyaan' - is expected to launch in 2023.
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SPORTS

Thomas Cup Title: India Beats Indonesia 3-0

  • India's men's badminton team won the Thomas Cup title for the first time ever with a stunning 3-0 win over powerhouse Indonesia in the final. India took on 14-time winners Indonesia in the final of the Thomas Cup in Bangkok, Thailand and lifted the title defeating the defending champions by 3-0. India dished out a performance for the ages with World Championships medallist Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and the world number 8 doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy producing memorable performances.
  • India was off to a perfect start as Lakshya Sen defeated Anthony Ginting by 8-21, 21-17, 21-16 in a thrilling tie. India's doubles pair Satwik and Chirag defeated Ahsan-Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21, 21-19, the most sensational victory of their career, to give India a 2-0 lead. In the third game, Kidambi Srikanth defeated Jonatan Christie 21-15, 23-21 to make it 3-0. They have done it without losing a match in the final.

ISSF Junior World Cup: Esha Singh and Saurabh Chaudhary Win Gold in Mixed Team Pistol Event

  • Indian pistol pairs Esha Singh and Saurabh Chaudhary clinched the mixed team pistol gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany. Esha and Saurabh came through after topping a 38-field qualification round of 60 shots with scores of 578 and 575 respectively.
  • The team of Palak and Sarabjot Singh has settled for the silver medal in the same event. Ramita and Paarth Makhija also won silver in the 10m air rifle mixed team competition. In all, India has so far won 10 medals, including four gold.

Novak Defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to Win Italian Open

  • In Tennis, World No.1 Novak Djokovic capped a historic week at the Italian Open in Rome, where he overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas to capture a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 crown. The Serbian became the fifth man in the Open Era to earn 1,000 match wins when he defeated Casper Ruud in the semi-finals and he backed that up with a hard-fought display against Tsitsipas to win his first title of the season. The top seed, who will spend a record-extending 370th week at No 1 in the ATP Rankings, defeated Tsitsipas in consecutive years in Rome, having overcome the fourth seed in the quarter-finals in 2021.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

DoT Launches 'GatiShakti Sanchar' Portal for Centralised Right of Way

  • The Department of Telecommunications launched the GatiShakti Sanchar portal, which would streamline the application and approval procedure for right of way (RoW) across the country. According to Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the platform would help achieve the goal of Ease of doing business for telecoms infrastructure projects, which is in line with the vision of the Hon'ble Prime Minister.
  • The prompt disposal of RoW apps by various service and infrastructure providers would allow for faster infrastructure building, which will aid in the timely deployment of 5G networks. Applicants from various telecom service providers (TSPs) and infrastructure providers (IPs) would be able to apply to states and local governments for right of way licences to lay down optical fibre cable and erect mobile towers through a single platform.

Government Bans Wheat Export to Rein in Food Inflation

  • In a surprise move, the Union Government announced a ban on wheat exports with immediate effect. A notification termed the decision part of measures to control rising prices. Export shipments for which irrevocable letters of credit (LoCs) were issued on or before the date of the notification would be allowed. Wheat exports will be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the Centre to meet other countries' food security needs and based on the request of their governments.
  • In another decision, the government increased the limit of shrunken and shrivelled grain to 18 per cent from the prescribed 6 per cent for Central procurement during 2022-23.

Devasahayam Pillai Becomes 1st Indian Layman to be Declared Saint by Pope

  • Devasahayam Pillai, who embraced Christianity in the 18th century, became the first Indian layman to be declared a saint by Pope Francis during an impressive canonisation ceremony at the Vatican. Devasahayam was recommended for the process of Beatification by the Vatican in 2004, at the request of the Kottar diocese, Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.
  • A miracle attributed to Devasahayam was recognised by Pope Francis in 2014, clearing the path to his canonisation in 2022. It was the first canonisation ceremony at the Vatican in over two years. Pope Francis, who has been complaining of strained ligaments in his right knee for months, used a wheelchair to preside over the ceremony.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Surgeon Couple from Gujarat Becomes India's First Doctor Couple to Scale Mt. Everest

  • A surgeon couple from Gujarat scripted history by becoming the first Indian doctor couple to climb Mount Everest. Dr. Hemant Lalitchandra Leuva and his wife Dr. Surbhiben Hemant Leuva stood atop the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) summit, becoming the first Indian doctor couple to climb the world's highest peak.
  • Hemant is a professor of surgery at NHL Municipal Medical College and his wife works as chief medical officer with Gujarat Vidyapith. The couple, serving at different health facilities in Ahmedabad, made it to the top of Mt Everest with the message of saving the environment.

Veteran Architect JK Lall Dies

  • Veteran architect and INTACH Patna convener JK Lall, who was spearheading the legal fight to save the historic Patna Collectorate from demolition, died of a heart attack. He was 86.
  • Lall died on the day the Supreme Court gave its final word in the case related to the proposed demolition of the Dutch-era Patna Collectorate by the Bihar Government, bringing to an end a nearly three-year-old litigation. INTACH lost the legal battle.
  • The Bihar government in early 2016 had planned a new collectorate complex by dismantling the old structures, triggering protests from various quarters.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

World Telecommunication Day

  • World Telecommunication Day is observed every year on 17 May. It marks the founding of ITU when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris on 17 May, 1865. It is also known as World Telecommunication and International Society Day. Since 1969, it has been celebrated annually.
  • Every year, the day is celebrated under a particular theme, and the theme for 2022 was - Digital Technologies For Older Persons And Healthy Ageing. This year's theme emphasizes the use of information technologies and their importance to stay healthy, connected, and independent on a physical, emotional, and financial level.

World Hypertension Day

  • This day is celebrated by World Hypertension League (WHL) on 17 May annually. The first World Hypertension Day was observed on May 14, 2005, by the World Hypertension League, an umbrella organization of 85 national hypertension societies, with an aim to increase awareness about the condition. The following year the day was observed on May 17 and has been an annual practice since then. World Hypertension League aims not only to raise awareness about hypertension but also of its factors and prevention methods since it affects more than a billion people.
  • The theme for World Hypertension Day 2022 was 'Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control it, Live Longer. The theme focuses to combat low awareness rates worldwide, especially in low to middle-income areas with accurate blood pressure measurement methods.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Frank Wilczek Receives the 2022 Templeton Prize

  • Frank Wilczek, the Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and author renowned for his boundary-pushing investigations into the fundamental laws of nature, was honoured with this year's prestigious Templeton Prize awarded to individuals whose life's work embodies a fusion of science and spirituality.
  • American Theoretical physicist and author, Dr. Frank Wilczek, who won the Nobel Prize (in Physics) in 2004, was awarded the Templeton Prize 2022, the world's largest individual lifetime achievement award, valued at over USD 1.3 million. He became the 6th Nobel laureate to receive the Templeton Prize since its inception in 1972. As a 2022 Templeton Prize laureate he will participate in several virtual and in­person events, including a 2022 Templeton Prize event.

Kenyan Nurse Anna Qabale Duba Crowned World's Best Nurse

  • Anna Qabale Duba, a Kenyan nurse stationed at the Marsabit County Referral Hospital, won the inaugural Aster Guardian Global Nursing Award for endorsing education and campaigning against outdated cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in her community. Duba, who took home USD 250,000 (approx. Ksh.29 million) in prize money, was feted by Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum at an award ceremony held in Dubai, which commemorated the International Nurses Day.
  • While receiving the award, Duba, the only female graduate in her village, revealed that she, through her Qabale Duba Foundation, had built a school in Marsabit which offers classes to young pupils and adults looking to get a decent education during the day and evening, respectively.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Nidhi Chibber Appointed CBSE Chairperson

  • Senior IAS officer Nidhi Chibber was appointed as the chairperson of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in a top-level bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the Centre. Chibber, a 1994 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of Chhattisgarh cadre, is currently Additional Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries. She was appointed as chairperson, CBSE in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary to the government of India.
  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is a national level board of education in India for public and private schools, controlled and managed by the Government of India. Established in 1929 by a resolution of the government, the Board was indeed a bold experiment toward inter-state integration and cooperation in the sphere of secondary education. There are approximately 26,054 schools in India and 240 schools in 28 foreign countries affiliated to the CBSE.
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LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Over 56 lakh Cases Settled in National Lok Adalat Organised in 24 States, UTs: NALSA

  • Over 56 lakh cases were settled in the second National 'Lok Adalat' organised in 24 states and union territories on Saturday with a total settlement amount of Rs. 2,648 crore. The 'Lok Adalat' was held in both physical and virtual or hybrid mode under the aegis of NALSA. 'Lok Adalat' is an alternative dispute redressal mechanism and it is a forum where disputes or cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled or compromised amicably.
  • Settlement through Lok Adalat not only offers a way for the parties to settle their disputes according to their choice, which is speedy and cost effective, but also blocks the pre-litigation matters from maturing into litigation.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir, more than 1.24 lakh cases were settled and an amount of over Rs. 200 crore was awarded as compensation/settlement amount.

SC Tells Centre, J&K, EC to Respond to Plea Challenging Delimitation

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre, J&K Administration and the Election Commission to respond to a petition challenging the decision to appoint a Delimitation Commission headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai (Retd) to redraw the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in the newly created Union Territory.
  • A Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked them to file their responses to the petition filed by Srinagar residents Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Mohammad Ayub Mattoo in six weeks.
  • The petitioners questioned the increase in the number of seats from 83 to 90 (excluding 24 seats in PoK) in the Union Territory of J&K, saying it went against Articles 81, 82, 170, 330 and 332 of the Constitution and statutory provisions, particularly Section 63 of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019. They urged the top court to declare unconstitutional the March 2020 notification constituting the Delimitation Commission under Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002, for being without power, jurisdiction and authority.

Govt. Clears Appointments of Nine Advocates as Judges of Delhi High Court

  • The government cleared the names of nine advocates as judges of the Delhi High Court. The advocates appointed as judges of the Delhi High Court were: Tara Vitasta ,Ganju, Mini Pushkarna, Vikas Mahajan, Tushar Rao Gedela, Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, Sachin Datta, Amit Mahajan, Gaurang Kanth, and Saurabh Banerjee.
  • The Delhi High Court which has a sanctioned strength of 60 judges is currently functioning with just 35 judges.
  • The Supreme Court Collegium led by CJI NV Ramana had recommended their names for appointment. Besides CJI Ramana, Justice UU Lalit and Justice AM Khanwilkar are part of the three-member Collegium which takes decisions on appointment of high court judges.
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