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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

05 Jul 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Finland, Sweden Sign Protocol to Join NATO but Still Need Ratification

  • NATO's 30 allies signed an accession protocol for Finland and Sweden to allow them to join the nuclear-armed alliance once allied parliaments ratify the decision, the most significant expansion of the alliance since the mid-1990s.
  • The protocol means Helsinki and Stockholm can participate in NATO meetings and have greater access to intelligence but will not be protected by the NATO defence clause that an attack on one ally is an attack against all until ratification. That is likely to take up to a year.
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ENVIRONMENT

Climate Change: 'Sand Battery' Could Solve Green Energy's Big Problem

  • Finnish researchers installed the world's first fully working "sand battery" which can store green power for months at a time.
  • As per the developers, this could solve the problem of year-round supply, a major issue for green energy.
  • Using low-grade sand, the device is charged up with heat made from cheap electricity from solar or wind.
  • The sand stores the heat at around 500C, which can then warm homes in winter when energy is more expensive.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Aviva Life Insurance Appoints Asit Rath as New CEO

  • Private life insurer Aviva Life Insurance Company India appointed Asit Rath as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.
  • He will take up his role on July 11 and succeed Amit Malik who is leaving the business after 10 years.
  • Rath is currently the CEO of Prudential Myanmar Life Insurance and has 22 years of banking and insurance experience in India and Myanmar.
  • Aviva Life Insurance Company India Limited is a joint venture between Dabur Invest Corp and Aviva International Holdings Limited, a UK-based insurance group. Aviva International has been associated with India since 1834.

Julius Baer Appoints Umang Papneja as India unit CEO

  • Julius Baer, the leading Swiss wealth management group, appointed Umang Papneja as the new chief executive officer for its India operations.
  • Papneja will report to Rahul Malhotra, head global India and developed markets as he takes over the role from Ashish Gumashta, who will become executive chairman at Julius Baer India.
  • Umang Papneja joined the global wealth management company from IIFL Wealth Management where he served as the chief investment officer dealing with multiple asset classes including equities, real estate, fixed income, commodities and alternatives.

Start-up Ranking 2021: Gujarat, Karnataka Emerge as Best Performers

  • Gujarat and Karnataka emerged the "best performers" in the third edition of States' Start-up ranking, 2021, while Meghalaya bagged the top honour among North-eastern (NE) states.
  • In the second edition of the survey, which was conducted in 2020, Gujarat was the best performer.
  • States and UTs with a population of more than 10 million are ranked separately from those with a lower population.
  • UTs and states are classified into five categories based on their performance in the survey. They are best performers, top performers, leaders, aspiring leaders and emerging start-up ecosystems.
  • Top performers among the larger states include Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.
  • Among smaller states and UTs, Jammu and Kashmir was adjudged the top performer.
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SPORTS

Carlos Sainz Wins Maiden F1 British Grand Prix 2022

  • Carlos Sainz claimed his maiden Formula One win on his 150th start in a thrilling British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
  • The Ferrari driver kept his cool and defeated Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes.
  • World champion Max Verstappen finished seventh but retained the series lead in a race marred by a multi-car pile-up at the opening corner.

Elorda Cup: Boxers Alfiya Pathan, Gitika Win Gold

  • Reigning youth world champions Alfiya Pathan and Gitika produced sensational performances to win gold medals at the inaugural edition of the Elorda Boxing Cup in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
  • Kalaivani Srinivasan and Jamuna Boro signed off with silver.
  • With the addition of two gold, two silver and 10 bronze, India concluded its campaign with an overall tally of 14 medals.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

CM Eknath Shinde Wins Floor Test, NCP's Ajit Pawar Elected LoP

  • As new government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis won the trust vote in Maharashtra Assembly, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former deputy CM Ajit Pawar was selected as the Leader of the Opposition.
  • The Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government proved majority in the Assembly floor test and crossed the midway mark (144) after getting 164 votes in their favour.

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates Digital India Week 2022 at Gandhinagar

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Digital India Week 2022 in Gandhinagar, with the theme of 'Catalyzing New India's Techade', to transform the nation into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • PM Modi launched 'Digital India Bhashini' that would enable Indians an easy access to the internet and digital services in vernacular languages, along with 'Digital India GENESIS' (Gen-next Support for Innovative Start-ups), a national deep-tech start-up platform. For both schemes, the total budget of Rs. 750 crore was envisaged.
  • The Prime Minister also dedicated 'MyScheme' to the citizens, which would provide access to government schemes at a single place.

CM Mann Expands Punjab Cabinet

  • Five AAP MLAs were inducted as ministers in the Punjab government as Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expanded his cabinet.
  • It was the first cabinet expansion of the Mann-led government after AAP stormed to power in the state during the Assembly elections earlier this year.
  • Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the MLAs at Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium of Punjab Raj Bhawan.
  • The five AAP MLAs were Arora, Dr. Inderbir Singh Nijjar, Fauja Singh Sarari, Chetan Singh Jourmajra and Anmol Gagan Mann.
  • Anmol Gagan Mann is the second woman who became the cabinet minister in the Mann-led cabinet.
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DEFENCE

Defence Minister Dedicates New Manufacturing Facilities to Nation at BDL in Telangana

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)'s Rs. 44 crore warhead manufacturing facility for making current and futuristic missiles at the Bhanur unit on the city outskirts. He also virtually launched an RF (radio frequency) Seeker facility, which has been established at its Kanchanbagh unit with an investment of Rs. 50 crore.
  • The RF Seeker facility is for production and testing of RF seekers useful for future missiles for target tracking. Seeker is a critical and technology intensive subsystem which will be used in all future missiles for target tracking.

Indian Navy Commissions First Naval Air Squadron in Visakhapatnam

  • An advanced light helicopter squadron was commissioned into the Indian Navy in Visakhapatnam to further bolster its maritime surveillance apparatus.
  • It is the first naval squadron on the eastern seaboard operating the indigenously designed and built advanced light helicopter (ALH) MK III.
  • Indian Naval Air Squadron 324 was commissioned into the Indian Navy in the presence of Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.
  • INAS 324 was named "KESTRELS", which are birds of prey and have good sensory capabilities, symbolising the envisaged role of the aircraft and the air squadron.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Karnataka's Sini Shetty Crowned Femina Miss India World

  • Sini Shetty won the title of Femina Miss India 2022. Shetty will now represent India at the 71st Miss World pageant. Shetty was crowned Femina Miss India World 2022 by her predecessor Miss India 2020, Manasa Varanasi at JIO World Convention Center in Mumbai.
  • Hailing from Karnataka, Shetty was born in Mumbai in 2001. She holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and financing, is currently pursuing a course in Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
  • Shetty's win in Femina Miss India 2022 added another gem to Karnataka, as before her many women from the state have won the title. These include Lara Dutta, Sarah Jane Dias, and Sandhya Chib, Nafisa Joseph, Rekha Hande, and Lymaraina D' Souza.

Veteran Film Director Tarun Majumdar Passes Away

  • Acclaimed film director Tarun Majumdar, who is known for making movies based on compelling tales highlighting the life of middle-class families, died in a Kolkata. He was 92.
  • Notable among his works are 'Kancher Swarga' (1962), 'Palatak' (1963), 'Kuheli' (1971), Shriman Prithviraj (1972), 'Balika Badhu' (1976), 'Thagini' (1974), 'Ganadevata' (1978), Dadar Kirti (1980), 'Bhalobasa Bhalobasa' (1986).
  • Majumdar, who received Padma Shri in 1990, has five Filmfare awards to his credit.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

HCL Technologies Bags Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards 2022

  • HCL Technologies was recognised at Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards 2022, for innovation and implementing customer solutions based on Microsoft technology. HCL Tech bagged Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for Healthcare and Life Sciences (global winner) and the 2022 UK Microsoft Partner of the Year Award (country winner). The IT company was also named a finalist in the 2022 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for Internet of Things (domain finalist).
  • The Awards recognise Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered outstanding Microsoft-based applications, services, and devices during the past year. More than 3,900 nominations were filed from 100+ countries worldwide, for the annual Awards. Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards is announced annually before the company's global partner conference, Microsoft Inspire.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

UGC May Allow Part-time PhD for Working Professionals

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) is exploring the possibility of allowing part-time PhD programmes for working professionals in tune with the system followed by the IITs.
  • UGC vice-chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said that part-time PhD programmes are also offered by prestigious universities across the world.
  • The UGC had in March notified the draft UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of Ph.D. Degree) Regulations, 2022. The provision on part-time PhD programmes is likely to find a place in the regulations which are being finalised.

CBSE Launches Pariksha Sangam; One-stop Solution for CBSE Students & Administrators

  • CBSE Board launched a portal named 'Pariksha Sangam' to connect students, school regional offices and CBSE board headquarters to integrate examination-related processes. A single window will from now be available for board examination results, sample papers, and other details.
  • CBSE's pariksha sangam portal can be accessed at 'parikshasangam.cbse.gov.in'. The portal is divided into three parts, namely- Schools (Ganga), Regional Offices (Yamuna) and Head Office (Saraswati).
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TOURISM AND HOTEL INDUSTRY AWARENESS

Choice Hotels Signs 15-year Master Franchise Agreement with Suba Group

  • Choice Hotels Asia Pacific signed a 15 year master franchise agreement with Suba Group of Hotels in India.
  • With effect from July 1, Choice Hotels in India would transit from a direct franchise market to a master franchise model. ET was the first to report on June 16 that Suba Group could take over as the master franchise for Choice Hotels in India.
  • Suba Group of Hotels said that it would assume responsibility as master franchise holder for the 58 Choice Hotels properties open and under development in India and hold the exclusive rights to develop the Clarion, Quality and Comfort brands in the market.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Inaugurates Fifth Global Film Tourism Conclave

  • At the Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach in Mumbai, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, officially inaugurated the fifth Global Film Tourism Conclave (GFTC). In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organised the fifth GFTC with the subject "Unleashing the Power of Cinematic Tourism."
  • For Film Commissions, Tourism Boards, and Production Houses, GFTC offers a distinctive platform for promoting their sites, incentives, and services to the thriving Indian film industry. When a spectator is persuaded to travel to a specific site after seeing it in a movie, this is known as film tourism.
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LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Madras HC Disposes of Petition Seeking Quota for Third Gender in Govt. Jobs

  • The Madras High Court disposed of a petition seeking a direction to the respondents to consider the representation of the petitioner seeking reservation for the third gender in government jobs.
  • The petition filed by P. Sudha prayed in reference to Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
  • Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram submitted that pursuant to the judgment of the Supreme Court in "National Legal Services Authority (vs) Union of India and Others" reported in (2014) 5 SCC 438, where a direction was given in Para No.135.3 to the Central and State Governments to take steps to treat the transgenders as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
  • In view of the above, it became clear to the Division Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala that the transgenders have already been brought under the category of Most Backward Classes and they are getting reservation.
  • Hence, the Court found the petition to be unnecessary, as the necessary Government Order has already been issued to treat the transgenders under the category of Most Backward Class to enable them to avail the benefit of reservation in Government employment.
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