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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

21 Mar 2023


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Finland Tops World Happiness Report

  • Finland was named the happiest country in the world in the annual World Happiness Report. This is the sixth consecutive year that Finland won the coveted prize due to high scores in factors the report uses to measure happiness: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and low corruption. The report was released on International Day of Happiness. India was ranked 125 based on the various parametres of happiness.
  • The World Happiness Report is a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and is based on global survey data from people in more than 150 countries.
  • This year's (2023) list is similar to past rankings with many of the Nordic countries in top spots. While Denmark is at number 2, Iceland is ranked number 3.
  • India, one of the fast growing economies, ranked below Nepal, China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Emmanuel Macron Survives No-confidence Vote

  • The government of French President Emmanuel Macron narrowly survived a no-confidence vote, as furious opposition lawmakers contested his decision to force changes to the pension system through parliament without a poll.
  • Two no-confidence motions had been filed — one by a coalition of centrist and left-wing parties, and a second by the far-right National Rally. The latter now has no chance of going through.
  • The first no-confidence motion, put forward by Charles de Courson, France's longest-serving MP and a member of the small opposition centrist grouping Liot, was narrowly defeated – it fell short of the required absolute majority by only nine votes. A total of 278 MPs voted in favour.
  • A second no-confidence motion tabled by Le Pen's party, National Rally, was rejected. After the government won both votes, Macron's proposed changes to the pension system are likely to swiftly become law.
  • Under Macron's changes, the minimum general retirement age will rise from 62 to 64, some public sector workers will lose privileges and there will be an accelerated increase in the number of years of work required to qualify for a full pension.

Thailand PM Dissolves Parliament

  • Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha dissolved the country's parliament, setting up a general election in May as the former coup leader seeks to extend army-backed rule.
  • The former army chief Prayut came to power in a 2014.
  • The main opposition Pheu Thai group, fronted by Paetongtarn Shinawatra, is polling strongly but Thailand's junta-scripted 2017 constitution will make it hard for the party to secure the top job.
  • The election is the second since the 2014 coup and the first since the country was rocked by massive youth-led pro-democracy protests in Bangkok in 2020.
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Nations Approve Key UN Science Report on Climate Change

  • Governments approved a major new UN report on climate change, after approval was held up by a battle between rich and developing countries over emissions targets and financial aid to vulnerable nations.
  • The report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change caps a series that digests vast amounts of research on global warming compiled since the Paris climate accord was agreed in 2015.
  • The unusual process of having countries sign off on a scientific report is intended to ensure that governments accept its findings as authoritative advice on which to base their actions.
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ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Launches 'ICICI Pru Gold'

  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance launched the ICICI Pru Gold, a long-term savings product that enables customers to create an additional income stream.
  • Besides guaranteed lifelong income, it provides life cover for the family's financial security.
  • The product is available in three variants: Immediate Income, Immediate Income with Booster, and Deferred Income.
  • The fund house said that besides these benefits, ICICI Pru Gold offers customers the option to accumulate their income in a "Savings Wallet" instead of receiving it as regular payments.
  • All three variants of this product provide a combination of guaranteed and bonus-oriented regular income, besides life cover.

CEAT's Anant Goenka Resigns, Arnab Banerjee to Take Over

  • Tyre maker CEAT's Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer CEO Anant Goenka resigned to focus on group activities and was named as its Vice Chairman.
  • The company's board approved the appointment of Arnab Banerjee as its new MD and CEO.
  • Anant has been MD and CEO of the company since April 1, 2012.
  • Banerjee has executive experience of over 30 years during which he has worked in CEAT, Marico and Berger Paints.

Jayanti Chauhan to Head Bisleri International after Tatas Walk Out

  • Jayanti Chauhan, daughter of Bisleri International Chairman Ramesh Chauhan, will now be at the helm of the bottled water company. Jayanti is currently the vice chairperson of the company.
  • She will work with a team headed by chief executive Angelo George.
  • In November 2022, Bisleri International had entered into talks with Tata Consumer Products (TCPL) to sell a majority stake in the company for Rs. 6,000-7,000 crore.
  • However, now, TCPL said that it had ceased the talks and that it has not entered into any definitive agreement or binding commitment on this matter.
  • Bisleri was originally an Italian company set up by Felice Bisleri. It entered Mumbai in 1965 with its packaged drinking water brand. Four years later, Ramesh Chauhan and his brothers acquired the firm for Rs. 4 lakh.
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ISRO Organises Young Scientist Programme "YUVIKA" for Students

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) organised a special programme for school children called "YUva VIgyani KAryakram" (YUVIKA) or "Young Scientist Programme". Aimed at creating awareness about emerging trends in science and technology, this programme is expected to encourage more students to pursue research and a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • The YUVIKA programme was first introduced by the former ISRO chief K. Sivan in January 2019, and it was launched four months later in May 2019. During the programme inception, Sivan had said that the programme was aimed to inculcate and nurture space research interest in young minds and that students from rural backgrounds would be given preference in selection criteria.
  • The YUVIKA Programme will be held from May 15 to 16, 2023.
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IBA Allows Anjani to Represent Nepal

  • Boxer Anjani Teli was cleared by the International Boxing Association (IBA) to continue representing Nepal at the ongoing Women's World Championships.
  • The IBA had launched an investigation after allegations that Teli was ineligible to compete for Nepal.
  • It was alleged that the flyweight boxer, who was born in New Delhi, might be holding two passports.
  • The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said that Teli participated by the name of 'Hemlata Gupta' in the 2021 National Championships and provided an Aadhaar card as her proof of identity.
  • However, the world body cleared the boxer.
  • "New Delhi-born boxer Anjani Teli has never acquired an Indian passport, nor competed internationally representing India. Hence, it doesn't violate any articles of the IBA Technical and Competition Rules in this particular case," the IBA said in statement.

Akshdeep Singh Wins Gold in Men's 20 km Asian Race-Walking Championship

  • India's Akshdeep Singh clinched the gold medal while Priyanka Goswami bagged bronze in the men's and women's categories respectively at the Asian 20 km Race Walking Championships 2023 held in Nomi, Japan. Among the other Indian athletes, Vikash Singh and Paramjeet Bisht clocked 1:20:05 and 1:20:08, respectively, in the men's open category which saw them breach the 1:20:10 mark - the qualification standards for both the 2023 World Championships and Paris 2024 Olympics.

UP Set to Get its Third International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi

  • After Lucknow and Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh is set to get its third international cricket stadium in Varanasi. The state government purchased a land measuring 31 acres in Rajatalab area of Varanasi for the international cricket stadium, and the land will be handed over to the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
  • The construction work of the new stadium will commence by May-June 2023, and the stadium is likely to be completed by the end of 2024.
  • The cost of construction of the proposed cricket stadium is around Rs. 300 crore. The proposed international cricket stadium will be built as per the international standards, and it will have a capacity of accommodating 30,000 visitors.
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The C-20 India Inception Meeting Held in Nagpur

  • In Maharashtra, Nagpur hosted the Civil20 India (C-20) Inception meeting from March 20 to 21. C-20 is one of the empowered groups, working under the ambit of G-20 Secretariat, which provides a platform for Civil Society Organisations around the world to voice the people's aspirations to the world leaders in G20. Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Spiritual leader Mata Amritanandmayi were present in the inaugural ceremony of the meeting organized in Nagpur.
  • Around 250 delegates and 30 speakers participated in the two-day inception meeting. The delegates also visited the wildlife in Pench Tiger Reserve of Nagpur along with other tourist places.

Fifth Poshan Pakhwada Celebrations Begin

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is celebrating the fifth Poshan Pakhwada from March 20 to April 3, 2023 with various activities nationwide. The Pakhwada aims to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition and promote healthy eating habits through Jan Andolan and Jan Bhagidari.
  • Poshan Abhiyaan, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2018, has been instrumental in ensuring people's participation and bringing the discourse on nutrition to the forefront. Poshan Abhiyan was launched with the aim to improve nutritional outcomes in a holistic manner. Behavioral change at individual and community level is an important component to achieve the desired goals of a Kuposhan-mukt Bharat.
  • Every year, Poshan Pakhwada is celebrated in the month of March for 15 days. Similarly, the month of September is celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah, across the country. The Poshan Maah and Pakhwada celebrated so far have witnessed wide participation and enthusiasm from all States/UTs, frontline functionaries, converging Ministries as well as public at large. Close to 2.96 crore activities were held across the country in the last Poshan Pakhwada 2022.
  • The theme of this year's Poshan Pakhwada 2023 is 'Nutrition for All: Together Towards a Healthy India'.

Unemployment Allowance for Graduates in Karnataka

  • Congress announced 'Yuva Nidhi' to provide an unemployment allowance of Rs. 3000 every month for unemployed, graduated youths for two years in Karnataka.
  • At the 'Yuva Kranti Samavesha' in Belgaum, INC promised to provide 'Yuva Nidhi' through which unemployed youth would get Rs 3000 every month for every unemployed youth with a graduate degree and Rs. 1500 every month for every unemployed youth holding a diploma.
  • Following up on its first three guarantees of -- 'Gruha Jyoti' for 200 units of free electricity per month for all households, 'Gruha Laxmi' for Rs. 2000 per month for every woman head of household, and 'Anna Bhagya' for 10 kg rice for every member of the family -- the INC announced 'Yuva Nidhi' for the welfare of the unemployed youth of the state.
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India, Maldives Hold Fourth Defence Cooperation Dialogue in Male

  • India and the Maldives conducted the 4th Defence Cooperation Dialogue (DCD) in Male and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence engagements, while agreeing to increase the complexity of existing exercises.
  • The dialogue was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and his Maldivian counterpart, Chief of Defence Force, Maldives National Defence Forces Major General Abdulla Shamaal.
  • This DCD is the highest institutionalised interactive mechanism between the two countries. Its significance in chartering the future course of relations between both the Armed Forces was highlighted by the importance given to the talks by the two nations.

Carborundum Universal Partners DRDO for 'Ceramic Radome' Technology

  • Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), a private sector pioneer in material sciences, signed a "Licensing Agreement for Tran­sfer of Technology" with the Defence Research and Develop­ment Organisation (DRDO) for manufacturing ceramic radomes used in aerospace and missile systems.
  • Ceramic radome is regarded as an essential, state-of-the-art technology for ballistic and tactical missiles and high-performance aircraft. Missiles undergo extremely high surface temperatures while travelling through the atmosphere, and while re-entering it from space. To withstand those temperatures, radomes located at the tip of a missile are made of ceramic.
  • The ceramic radomes have been developed indigenously by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), one of the premier DRDO labs in the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex, which has developed India's missile arsenal. RCI spearheads R&D in a diverse range of avionics systems for missile and aerospace applications.
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Luxor Selects Virat Kohli as Brand Ambassador

  • Luxor Writing Instruments Pvt Ltd, a stationery manufacturer, appointed renowned cricketer Virat Kohli as its latest brand ambassador. Kohli is widely regarded as one of the best cricketers of all time. He will represent Luxor's stationery products and help the company increase its appeal among young writers, thereby enhancing its position as a prominent writing instrument provider in the country.
  • Luxor, an Indian stationery brand, has teamed up with Germany's Schneider Pen to introduce a high-end range of creative writing instruments in India. This partnership between Luxor and Schneider Pen is expected to increase the appeal of the stationery brand, especially among the younger generation, and consolidate its position as a major supplier of high-performance writing tools in India.
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World Forestry Day

  • International Forest Day is celebrated every year on March 21 with an aim to raise awareness about the values, significance, and contributions of the forests in maintaining the balance between ecosystems on the earth.
  • In 1971, the 16th session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) voted to constitute "World Forestry Day" and later, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) held World Forest Days for six years from 2007 to 2012.
  • Finally, on November 28, 2012, The United Nations General Assembly designated March 21 to be celebrated as the International Day of Forests (IDF). The UN declaration encouraged governments to organise and carry out activities and afforestation campaigns at all levels.
  • "Forests and health" was the theme for International Forest Day 2023.

World Poetry Day

  • March 21 is celebrated as World Poetry Day. The day is an occasion to celebrate poetry and its importance in life.
  • The origin of world poetry day can be traced to Paris. In 1999 the members of the United Nations first thought of honouring the role of poetry in life. World Poetry Day was first observed in October, this was before the United Nations had set a specific date for this day.
  • In an attempt to celebrate a diverse form of poetry with unity, and celebrate its meaning to individuals, and various forms of poetry in various languages, March 21 was officially declared World Poetry Day.
  • The theme for World Poetry Day 2023 was 'Always be a poet, even in prose.'

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed on March 21 every year.
  • On October 26, 1966, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2142 (XXI) designating March 21st as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day was chosen because, in 1960, 69 peaceful protesters were killed by police in Sharpeville, South Africa, while demonstrating against the apartheid "pass laws". By establishing this day of commemoration, the General Assembly urged the global community to intensify its efforts to eradicate all types of racial discrimination, especially as it pertains to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
  • The 2023 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination focused on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
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Indian-American Receives National Humanities Medal from Joe Biden

  • US President Joe Biden presented the 2021 National Humanities Medals, in conjunction with the National Medals of Arts. Indian-American Vera Mindy Chokalingam, professionally known as Mindy Kaling awarded the 2021 National Humanities Medal among others.
  • The recipients for 2021 National Humanities Medal are Richard Blanco, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Walter Isaacson, Earl Lewis, Henrietta Mann, Ann Patchett, Bryan Stevenson, Amy Tan, Tara Westover, Colson Whitehead and Native America Calling.
  • The National Medal of Arts is the most prestigious award granted by the US government to artists, arts advocates, and organizations.
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Queen's University Belfast Announces UG Scholarships for Indian Students

  • Queen's University Belfast announced scholarships for Indian and Asia-Pacific students for the 2023 intake. India Academic Excellence Award 2023 will be offered exclusively to Indian students for full time undergraduate degree programme at Queen's University Belfast.
  • This award is available exclusively to students from select schools in India who will be starting their full-time undergraduate degree at Queen's University Belfast in September 2023. Applicants should be enrolled or graduated from one of the recognised schools in India (list of institutes) and should have scored an overall 85 per cent or above in class 12.

Kerala's Gets its 1st Transgender Lawyer

  • Kerala got its first transgender lawyer when Padma Lakshmi enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of the state. Padma Lakshmi was one of the more than 1,500 law graduates who were handed over the Bar enrolment certificate and an event organised by the Bar Council of India on Sunday. Padma Lakshmi graduated from Ernakulam Government Law College.
  • Padma Lakshmi's achievement is being praised on social media after Joyita Mondal, who became India's first transgender judge. She was appointed a judge in the Lok Adalat of Islampur in West Bengal in 2017.

CBSE Adopts New Curriculum Framework for Nursery to Class 2

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced to adopt the implementation of the National Curriculum Framework for Foundation Stage (NCFFS) 2022 from the academic session 2023-24. The new framework has been developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on the lines of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
  • Through an official notice, CBSE said that it is adopting the NCFFS 2022 and the new structure of five-year education at the foundational stage (which is from Nursery to Class 2) from the 2023-24 session. The new curriculum will be adopted in CBSE-affiliated schools which offer education at the foundational stage, especially to students in the age group of 3 to 8 years.
  • NCFFS 2022 has been developed with an aim to "outline the competencies and learning outcomes, general principles and approaches that should guide teaching and learning at the foundational stage.
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India & Sri Lanka Inaugurate Exhibition 'Geoffrey Bawa' in New Delhi

  • India's External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, inaugurated the "Geoffrey Bawa: It is Essential To Be There" exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. The exhibition, which is a joint collaboration between the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi, and the Geoffrey Bawa Trust, showcases the architectural works of Sri Lanka's renowned architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa.
  • To commemorate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Sri Lanka, the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi organised the "Geoffrey Bawa: It is Essential To Be There" exhibition. This is the first retrospective international exhibition of Bawa's architectural works since 2004, following exhibitions in Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, Brazil, Singapore, and Germany.
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Meghalaya Gets Electric Train for the First Time

  • Meghalaya got the electric train for the first time after the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) commissioned the 22.82 km track of Dudhnai-Mendipathar railway line.
  • The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) carried out the electrification works in these sections
  • Mendipathar is the only railway station in Meghalaya which is in operation since 2014. After commissioning of electric traction, trains hauled by electric locomotive will now be able to operate directly from Mendipathar in Meghalaya.
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All High Courts to Establish Online RTI Portals within 3 Months

  • The Supreme Court instructed all the twenty-five High Courts in the country for setting up the online Right to Information Act (RTI Act) portals for dealing with the RTI applications.
  • A bench comprising of Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud along with Justice P. S. Narasimhaa and Justice J. B. Pardiwala asked the registrar generals of High Courts for seeking directions from their respective Chief Justices for establishment of such portals for district judiciary.
  • The court directed that all High Courts to establish online RTI portals within 3 months from the date of instructions issued.
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