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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 May 2022


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China to Hosts BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting through Video Conference

  • China hosted the meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs through video conference. The meeting was hosted by China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and attended by India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, Brazil's Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto Franco França and Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov.
  • The meeting prepared the ground for the 14th BRICS summit. India has handed over the BRICS Chairmanship to China from January 2022. The theme for BRICS 2022 is 'Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership Usher in a New Era for Global Development'. A total of 25 events have been planned. India will host five events this year as part of BRICS Science Technology Innovation Steering Committee.
  • BRICS is a significant alliance that brings together the world's largest growing economies, accounting for 41% of the global population, 24% of global GDP, and over 16 % of global trade. Over the years, the BRICS countries have been the key engines of global economic growth.

Senate Confirms Bridget Brink as New US Ambassador to Ukraine

  • The Senate confirmed Bridget Brink as the US ambassador to Ukraine, filling the post as officials plan to return American diplomats to Kyiv during the nation's continuing battle against the Russian invasion. The veteran foreign service officer, who has spent most of her career in the shadow of the former Soviet Union, was nominated to the position by President Joe Biden. She was confirmed unanimously by the Senate without a formal roll call vote.
  • The ambassador's post has been vacant since former president Donald Trump abruptly forced out ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in 2019. She later became a key figure in the first impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Sri Lankan: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Declares Country Bankrupt amid Fuel Crisis and Food Shortages

  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared the country bankrupt as it faces a fuel crisis and food shortages.
  • Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's central bank has secured foreign exchange to pay for fuel and cooking gas shipments that will ease crippling shortages.
  • Most of Sri Lanka's petrol stations have run dry as the island nation battles its most devastating economic crisis since independence in 1948. At some pumps in the commercial capital, Colombo, dozens of people stood in lines holding plastic cans, as troops in combat gear and armed with assault rifles patrolled the streets.
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India Overtakes Germany to Become 4th Largest Vehicle Market

  • According to the report released by Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), India surpassed Germany to become 4th largest vehicle market in the world. The 1st was occupied by China, followed by the US and Japan. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, India sold 3,759,398 vehicles in 2021 as compared to 2,973,319 vehicles in Germany. This is almost 26 per cent of growth and the only country to register double-digit growth among the top 5 countries.
  • India is expected to become the third-largest Vehicle market by 2025, However, it requires India to surpass Japan which sold 4,448,340 units in 2021. The personal mobility space is around 33 vehicles per 1,000 which is one of the lowest compared to the developed market.

World Bank Sanctions USD 350 Billion to Gujarat' SRESTHA-G Project

  • The World Bank approved 350 million dollars aid for the Systems Reform Endeavors for Transformed Health Achievement in Gujarat -SRESTHA-G project.
  • The SRESTHA-G project will be a 500 million dollars project with 350 million dollars support coming from the World Bank. The project will include transforming key health delivery systems in the state.The programme will focus on four key result areas to improve quality, equity, and comprehensiveness of primary healthcare, services for adolescent girls and the capacity of disease surveillance systems.

KLM Veteran Pieter Elbers is IndiGo CEO

  • The country's largest domestic budget carrier IndiGo announced the appointment of Pieter Elbers as its CEO, replacing incumbent Ronojoy Dutta. The 71 year-old Dutta, who came to helm the airline in January 2019, decided to retire on September 30, 2021. Elbers' appointment, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will be effective from on or before October 1.
  • Since 2014, Elbers (52) served as the president and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Air France-KLM Group.
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Odisha Wins Hockey India Senior Women's National Championship

  • Odisha was crowned as the champions of the 12th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2022 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh with a thrilling 2-0 victory over Karnataka in the final of the competition.
  • The final match was a closely contested affair between Karnataka and Odisha. Both the teams started well, as they created several goal-scoring opportunities. However solid defensive performances from both the sides ensured that the match went into the half time with the scoreline reading 0-0. Punam Barla in the 34th minute opened the scoring in the match in the third quarter as Odisha picked up the lead. Ashim Kanchan Barla in the 59th minute sealed the game with a late goal as Odisha beat Karnataka 2-0 to claim the Championship.
  • Jharkhand beat Haryana 3-2 to earn third-place finish.
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Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal Resigns, Cites Personal Reasons

  • Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal resigned citing "personal reasons" and submitted the resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind. Baijal, a 1969-batch IAS officer, was appointed as the 21st Lieutenant Governor of Delhi in December 2016 after the sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung.
  • His over five-year tenure was marked by frequent run-ins with the AAP dispensation over administrative jurisdiction and governance-related issues, including one in which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers staged a dharna at the LG office in 2018. In Delhi, three subjects --- land, services and law and order, directly come under the purview of the Lieutenant Governor. The matter regarding control over the services department is still in the Supreme Court.
  • Baijal was the Union home secretary in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He has also served as additional secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He was also the Chairman and MD of Indian Airlines and CEO of Prasar Bharati.

Kerala to Launch India's First State-owned OTT Platform

  • In a first in the country, Kerala will launch a state-owned over-the-top (OTT) platform, CSpace, on November 1, offering film lovers an array of movies, short films and documentaries of their choice. The launch of CSpace, which boasts of several unique features, will coincide with the state's formation day on November 1.
  • Noting that this was a first-of-its-kind initiative in India, Minister for cultural affairs Saji Cheriyan said the launch of the state-owned OTT will mark a new beginning and will considerably help in the growth of Malayalam cinema.
  • OTT platform will also showcase films with artistic value irrespective of their performance at the box office, along with internationally-recognised and award-winning films, best films screened at the annual International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), short films and documentaries.
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India's First Indigenous Trainer Aircraft, HANSA-NG Successfully Completed Engine Relight Test in Air

  • 'HANSA-NG', a two-seater flying trainer aircraft, design and developed by CSIR-NAL, successfully completed in-flight engine relight test at DRDO's Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) facility at Challakere. Flight test was carried out at an altitude of 7,000-8,000 feet with the speed range of 60 to 70 knots by Wg Cdr K V Prakash and Wg Cdr NDS Reddy, Test Pilots from Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Indian Air force (IAF).
  • CSIR-NAL mentioned that the in-flight engine relight test is the most critical and important milestone towards certification of the aircraft by DGCA.
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National Endangered Species Day 2022

  • Every year on the third Friday in May National Endangered Species Day is celebrated annually to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and restoration efforts for all imperilled species. Endangered Species Act 1973, focuses on the protection of wildlife and threatened species.
  • The day spread awareness about the importance of protecting endangered species, their habitats and taking actions necessary to protect them. Therefore, Endangered Species Day recognises the national conservation efforts to protect our nation's endangered species and their habitats. Several events and youth contest are held at various wildlife refuges, zoos, parks, community centres, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and colleges etc.
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Ajay Piramal Receives Order of the British Empire Award

  • Chairman of the Piramal Group, Ajay Piramal received an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty The Queen. He received the award for services to the UK-India trade relationship as India Co-Chair of the UK-India CEO Forum. As co-chair of the India-UK CEO forum since 2016, the endeavour has been to help strengthen the strong bilateral relations between the two countries through greater economic cooperation.
  • Honorary Commander of The Order of The British Empire is given to person with prominent national role of a lesser degree, a conspicuous leading role in regional affairs through achievement or service to the community, or a highly distinguished, innovative contribution in his or her area of activity. The award was Instituted in 1917 by King George V.
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Monkeypox Spreads to more European Countries, Australia, Canada

  • Italy, Sweden, Australia and Canada have joined a slew of countries with confirmed cases of monkeypox, signalling a global outbreak. Health officials in Australia have confirmed a case in Victoria and another likely case in New South Wales (NSW). According to Victoria's Department of Health, a man, in his 30s, fell ill after returning from travel to the UK. He remains in isolation at The Alfred Hospital in a stable condition with mild symptoms.
  • NSW Health has also detected a possible case of monkeypox in a man in his 40s who recently returned from Europe. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had also confirmed two cases of monkeypox in Quebec. Health authorities are investigating about 17 people for potential cases of the virus.
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Cheque Bounce: Set up Special Courts, Says Supreme Court

  • In a relief to victims in cheque-bounce cases, the Supreme Court ordered setting up of special courts headed by retired judges in the five states with the most number of pending cases. The three-judge Bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice B. R. Gavai, and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat in this suo motu case said the special courts would be set up from September 1, 2022 in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, to hear such cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act (cheque dishonour).
  • The court directed its secretary-general to communicate the order to the registrar general of the High Courts of the five states and directed them to file an affidavit on compliance by July 21, 2022. The next hearing on the matter has been slated for July 26.

Supreme Court Hands over Gyanvapi Dispute to Varanasi District Judge

  • The Supreme Court handed over the trial of the suit for permission to worship Hindu deities inside the Gyanvaapi Complex to the Varanasi District Judge, saying it needed to be handled by a "slightly more experienced and seasoned" officer from the UP Higher Judicial Service.
  • After a court-mandated videography of the Gyanvapi complex discovered a 'Shivling' on its premises, court had ordered the place to be sealed. Judge ordered the Varanasi District Magistrate to seal the area where the 'Shivling' was found to ensure that no one entered the premises. It had ordered the District Magistrate, Police Commissioner and the Central Reserve Police Force to ensure that the sealed area remained safe and secure.
  • The Supreme Court ordered protection of the area where a 'Shivling' was reported to have been found at the Gyanvapi Shringar Gauri Complex in Varanasi and clarified that there shall be no restriction on Muslims offering namaz or other religious observances there.
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