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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

15 Aug 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Turkey Urges Sweden, Finland to Fulfil NATO Accession Commitments

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged Finland and Sweden to take concrete steps about their commitments that should be fulfilled before their accession to the NATO.
  • Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO after the outbreak of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on February 24.
  • However, their accession bid was initially blocked by Turkey, which accused the two countries of supporting terrorist organisations after they refused Ankara's extradition requests for suspects affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.
  • The three countries had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June that addressed Turkey's concerns at the NATO summit in Madrid, in which Finland and Sweden pledged to support Ankara's fight against terrorism and agreed to address its pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly.

US House Gives Biden a Win with Massive Bill on Climate Change, Drug Prices

  • The Democratic-led US House of Representatives approved a $430 billion bill that is seen as the biggest climate package in US history, delivering a major legislative victory for President Joe Biden ahead of the November 8 midterm elections.
  • The legislation to fight climate change and lower prescription drug prices aims to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions. It will also allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for the elderly and ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay the taxes they owe. Democrats say it will help combat inflation by reducing the federal deficit.
  • The House voted 220-207 along party lines to pass the measure titled the "Inflation Reduction Act" and send it on to Biden to sign into law.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

NCLT Okays Demerger Plan of Piramal Enterprises into Pharma, Corporate Biz

  • As per Piramal Enterprises Ltd (PEL), the National Company Law Tribunal approved the demerger of its pharmaceutical business and simplification of corporate structure.
  • With this, the company can now go ahead with its plans to have two separate listed entities -- PEL, a non-banking financial company and Piramal Pharma Ltd (PPL).
  • Last October, the PEL board approved the demerger of the pharma business and simplification of the corporate structure.
  • It had already obtained approvals from RBI, SEBI, stock exchanges, creditors and equity shareholders.

India Holds World's Highest Rate of Recognising Start-ups per Day

  • Start-ups have been the buzzword in India for the last several years. India is powering its growth with innovation and entrepreneurship. Currently, there are 75,000 start-ups in the country, which coincides with the 75th year of independence.
  • A programme was initiated to lay out an action plan to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and start-ups in the country.
  • In the past six years, the action plan has successfully guided into making India the third largest ecosystem. While the initial 10,000 start-ups were recognised in 808 days, the latest 10,000 were achieved in only 156 days. With more than 80 start-ups getting recognised per day- India holds the highest rate in the world. This further encourages the future start-up culture that is promising and encouraging for budding entrepreneurs. The Indian start-up ecosystem is promising not just for entrepreneurs but also for job seekers too.
  • Currently, of the total recognised start-ups, around 12 per cent cater to IT services, 9 per cent to Healthcare and Life Sciences, 7 per cent to education, 5 per cent to professional and commercial services and 5 per cent to agriculture. The start-up India programme has become synonymous with sustainable economic growth.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Neptune-Sized Exoplanet Found Orbiting A-Type Star HD 56414

  • With an effective temperature of 8,500 K, the A-type star HD 56414 is one of the hottest stars known to host a planet smaller than Jupiter.
  • HD 56414 is located approximately 873 light-years away in the constellation of Volans.
  • Also known as TOI-1228, TIC 300038935 or SAO 249773, the star is roughly 420 million years old, much younger than our Sun's 4.5-billion-year age.
  • The newly-found exoplanet orbits HD 56414 every 29 days at a distance equal to about one-quarter the distance between Earth and the Sun.
  • The alien world has a radius 3.7 times that of Earth and belongs to the class of warm Neptunes.
  • Named HD 56414b (TOI-1228b), it was detected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) as it transited its parent A-type star.

NASA's InSight Mission Finds Martian Equator Contains Little or No Ice

  • Martian equator contains little or no ice, according to a new analysis of seismic data from NASA's Mars InSight mission.
  • The findings describe the dry conditions in the top 300 metres of the subsurface beneath the landing site near the Martian equator.
  • These findings don't preclude that there could be grains of ice or small balls of ice that are not cementing other minerals together.
  • Further, a team found that the red planet may have harboured oceans of water early in its history.
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SPORTS

Tamara Walcott Breaks Powerlifting Guinness World Record

  • Tamara Walcott, a female powerlifter from Maryland in the United States broke Guinness Worlds Record (GWR) for the heaviest cumulative lift for bench/squat and press in competition (female) after lifting a total of 737.5 kg (1,620.4 lb) across three compound lifts - the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift.
  • She was honoured at the 2022 World Raw Powerlifting Federation American Pro in Manassas, Virginia in July 2022.
  • Walcott started powerlifting four years ago when she realized that she cannot invest time in baseball or basketball. Initially, she was aiming for weight loss and general fitness, and not setting new world records.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Initiative 'SMILE' to Make Cities, Towns and Municipal Areas Begging-free

  • The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry on Friday launched the 'SMILE-75' initiative for comprehensive rehabilitation of persons engaged in begging in 75 identified municipalities as a part of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence.
  • The initiative is part of the Ministry's ongoing SMILE project (Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise) for which Rs. 100 crore was allocated till 2025-2026.
  • Under the SMILE-75 initiative, 75 municipal corporations in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging with focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other government welfare programmes etc.
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DEFENCE

India, Malaysia Air Force Exercise 'Udarashakti' Conducted in Malaysia

  • A contingent of the Indian Air Force participated in a bilateral exercise named 'Udarashakti' with Malaysia. This is the first bilateral exercise conducted between Indian Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
  • Indian Air Force participated in the air exercise with Su-30 MKI and C-17 aircraft while the RMAF flewg Su 30 MKM aircraft. The Indian contingent departed from one of its air bases directly for their destination, the RMAF base of Kuantan.
  • The IAF contingent members shared and learnt best practices with some of the best professionals from RMAF, while also discussing mutual combat capabilities.
  • The four days of exercise witnessed the conduct of various aerial combat drills between the two Air Forces. Ex Udarashakti would fortify the long-standing bond of friendship and enhance the avenues of defence cooperation between the two Air Forces, thereby augmenting security in the region.

Indian, Oman Army Exercise Concludes in Bikaner

  • A joint exercise of the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman -- Al Najah -- held in Mahajan fielding firing range in Rajasthan's Bikaner district concluded.
  • The exercise commenced on August 1 and concluded on August 13.
  • The joint exercise was conducted in systematic three phases.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

Marina Tabassum Becomes First South Asian to Win Lisbon Triennale Millennium bcp Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Renowned Bangladeshi architect, researcher and educator Marina Tabassum became the first person from the global south and first south Asian to win the prestigious Lisbon Triennale Millennium bcp Lifetime Achievement Award. Announcing the award, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale jury praised Marina Tabassum for presenting an inspiring example of work with local communities that can have a positive impact across the globe even under the most adverse conditions.
  • The International Jury for the award said that Marina Tabssum's unique practice touches on the spiritual fundamentals of architecture. Driven by specific cultural and geographical context, her works address pressing contemporary issues, said the jury in their citation for the award. Her work shows how architects can challenge the climate crisis and bring about social change in an experimental, respectful and inspiring manner.
  • She will receive an original artwork by the Portuguese artist and sculptor Carlos Nogueira as award during the Lisbon Triennale which begins on 29 September in Lisbon, Portugal.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

One Nation One Entrance: UGC Plans to Merge NEET, JEE into CUET UG Exam

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) is planning to incorporate medical and engineering entrances into the Common University Entrance Test (CUET). The motive of this step would be to test students on the same knowledge based on one test.
  • As per report, the new proposal will allow students to appear for one entrance test, instead of individually writing tests for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. Their respective score would play a crucial role in deciding their desired stream based on their performance. UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said that the idea is to unburden students from the additional pressure of appearing in multiple exams.
  • Not just the core subjects, students will also have a chance in other courses offered under the umbrella of CUET-UG.
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LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Six HCs Get 26 Judges, 2 for Himachal Pradesh

  • Twenty-six judges were appointed to six High Courts, bringing the total number of HC judges appointed so far this year to a record 127. Of those elevated as additional judges and judges, 20 were judicial officers and six advocates. While two judges each were appointed to the High Courts of Orissa, HP and Guwahati, five were appointed to the Karnataka HC. Six judges were appointed to the Telangana HC and nine to the Allahabad HC.
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