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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

25 Mar 2023


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Exits

  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed lawmakers for the last time as Scottish leader, expressing pride in her government's achievements to lessen poverty and inequality – but frustrated in her quest to make Scotland an independent country.
  • Sturgeon had announced her resignation in February 20233 after more than eight years as First Minister in Scotland's semi-autonomous government and leader of the governing Scottish National Party.
  • Sturgeon's resignation unleashed a battle for the direction of the SNP, which currently holds 64 of the 129 seats in the Scottish parliament and governs in coalition with the much smaller Greens.

Egypt Becomes BRICS Bank as New Member

  • After President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi visited India as a chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations, Egypt become a member of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB).
  • The African-Arab nation intends to enhance its infrastructure, and NDB funding can make a significant contribution toward achieving this goal.
  • Following President El-Sisi's visit to India for the Republic Day celebrations, the Egyptian Parliament approved the agreement that permitted Egypt to join the NDB. The lawmakers welcomed the move, recognizing it as a means of reducing the need for US dollars.
  • NDB is a multilateral development bank jointly founded by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2014.
  • It was formed to support infrastructure and sustainable development efforts in BRICS and other underserved, emerging economies for faster development through innovation and cutting-edge technology.
  • It is headquartered at Shanghai, China.
  • In 2018, the NDB received observer status in the United Nations General Assembly, establishing a firm basis for active and fruitful cooperation with the UN.
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MoU Exchanged for Setting up Nation's First PM MITRA Park in Tamil Nadu

  • The nation's first PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA) Park is set to be established in Virudhunagar District of Tamil Nadu, and employ an estimated 2 lakh people, the Memorandum of Understanding for which was signed between the Central and State governments.
  • Giving a big boost to the textile sector, the PM MITRA Parks, in all, would create huge employment opportunities and an estimated 20 lakh people would get 'new work' attracting about Rs. 70,000 crore investment, Union Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal.

Income Tax Department Launches Mobile App AIS for Taxpayers

  • The Income Tax Department of India launched a new mobile app called ' AIS for Taxpayers' to facilitate taxpayers to view their information as available in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) / Taxpayer Information Summary (TIS). With an aim to provide a comprehensive view of the AIS/TIS to the taxpayer, the AIS app displays information collected from various sources pertaining to the taxpayer.
  • As per the Income Tax Department, using the new AIS app, taxpayers can easily view information related to their TDS/TCS, interest, dividends, share transactions, tax payments, and Income Tax refunds. This is another initiative of the Income Tax Department in the area of providing enhanced taxpayer services facilitating ease of compliance.

FSIB Recommends Siddhartha Mohanty for LIC Chairperson's Position

  • Headhunting agency, Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB), recommended Siddhartha Mohanty for the position of chairperson of India's largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
  • Mohanty is already serving as the interim chairperson of the insurance behemoth for a period of three months, along with discharging his responsibilities as Managing Director (MD) of the corporation.
  • Mohanty took over as the MD of LIC in February 2021 from T. C. Suseel Kumar. He is a veteran in the financial services industry with almost four decades of experience. He started his career as a direct recruit officer with LIC in 1985 and rose through the ranks.
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World's 1st 3D-Printed Rocket Launched

  • The world's first 3D-printed rocket was launched successfully, marking a step forward for the California company behind the innovative spacecraft, though it failed to reach orbit.
  • Billed as less costly to produce and fly, the unmanned Terran 1 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida but suffered an anomaly during second-stage separation as it streamed towards low Earth orbit.
  • While it failed to reach orbit, the launch proved that the rocket, whose mass is 85 percent 3D-printed, could withstand the rigors of lift-off.
  • The successful launch came on the third attempt. It had originally been scheduled to launch on March 8 but was postponed at the last minute because of propellant temperature issues.
  • A second attempt on March 11 was scrubbed due to fuel pressure problems.

India's Largest Rocket LVM3 Performs Second Commercial Mission

  • The Indian space agency, ISRO launched its largest rocket LVM3 from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This was the rocket's sixth mission overall and its second commercial mission. Notably, this was also the shortest duration in which ISRO carried out two missions of the LVM3 rocket - on October 23rd, 2022 and March 26, 2022. Such quick execution was carried out in order to meet the timelines of the customer whose satellites were launched.
  • The rocket carried 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites with a total mass of 5,805 kg, into a 450 km circular Low Earth Orbit with an inclination of 87.4°. OneWeb, a UK-based firm backed by India's Bharti Group.
  • LVM3 is a three-stage vehicle with two S200 solid motors as the first stage, L110 twin liquid engines as the second stage and a final C25 cryogenic upper stage. This 43.5 m tall vehicle has a lift-off mass of 643 tonnes.
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New IPL Rule: Captains Can Name Playing XI after Toss

  • During the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, teams would be allowed to announce their playing eleven after the toss instead of before it. The move will allow the introduction of the 'Impact Player'. Each captain will nominate 11 players plus a maximum of 5 substitute fielders in writing to the IPL match referee after the toss.
  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had tried the 'Impact Player' rule in its domestic tournaments before introducing it during the 2023 IPL season. At the same time, like in the Women's Premier League (WPL), teams will be allowed to challenge wide and no-ball calls made by umpires under the Decision Review System (DRS).
  • There is a new umpire signal for the introduction of the impact player. They will clench their fists, and cross their hands above their heads.
  • The BCCI also increased the playing squad on match days to 16, in order for teams to utilise the Impact Player optimally and also to account for the concussion replacement (if required) and fielding substitutes.
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HP Signs MoU with French Agency to Improve Drinking Water, Sanitation

  • To improve drinking water and sanitation services in five towns of Himachal Pradesh, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Rs 817.12 crore project was signed by the Himachal Pradesh Government with the French Development Agency Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD).
  • The MoU was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri by the Secretary Jal Shakti Vibhag Amitabh Awasthi on behalf of the State Government and country Director AFD Bruno Bosle on behalf of French Development Agency.
  • The objective of the project is to develop better sewerage facilities in five towns of the state viz. Manali, Bilaspur, Palampur, Nahan and Karsog and to improve drinking water supply in Manali and Palampur towns.

Govt. to Appoint Interlocutor Shah Tells Tripura Tribal Party TMP

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah informed Tipra Motha Party (TMP) supremo Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman that the Centre will appoint an interlocutor by March 27 to study the "constitutional solutions" to TMP's demands.
  • The party, after capturing the politically important Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) in April 2021, has been demanding elevation of the areas of the autonomous body by granting a 'Greater Tipraland State' or a separate state under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

G20 Framework Working Group Meeting Discusses Macro-economic Issues

  • A host of global issues pertaining to inflation, energy security and climate change were discussed in the G20 second Framework Working Group meeting, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on March 24-25, 2023.
  • India along with the United Kingdom played a 'facilitator role' in discussing the issues with member countries during the two-day summit.
  • The Framework Working Group of the G20 Finance Track deliberated on how international policy cooperation can be enhanced to achieve strong sustainable balance and inclusive growth across G20 nations.
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Army, Air Force Conduct Joint Multi-domain Air-land Exercise Vayu Prahar

  • The Indian Army and the Indian Air force conducted a multi-domain air-land exercise 'Vayu Prahar' in the eastern theatre to validate plans to execute synergised operations.
  • As per report, the scope of the joint exercise included rapid mobilisation of an earmarked rapid reaction force from the hinterland to undertake air-landed operations at a nominated advance landing ground.
  • "The conduct of Exercise Vayu Prahar enabled coordination and rehearsal amongst various agencies for quick mobilisation, transportation and deployment of forces within a theatre which can be executed across theatres.
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Indian Woman Hockey Player Salima Tete Appointed AHF Athletes Ambassador

  • National women's hockey team midfielder Salima Tete was appointed the AHF Athletes Ambassador from India for a term of two years. Tete accepted the certificate and the position during the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Congress in Mungyeong, Korea.
  • Tete, who led the Indian women's junior hockey team to a fourth-place finish at the 2021 FIH Women's Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, is among four players from Asia who were appointed for the position.
  • As the AHF Athletes Ambassador, Tete, along with the other selected athletes from Asia, will play a leadership role in international representation, development, and advocacy of athletes.
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International Day of the Unborn Child

  • International Day of the Unborn Child is observed on March 25.
  • The International Day of the Unborn Child is an annual commemoration of unborn fetuses, observed as a day of opposition to abortion, on March 25. It was established by Pope John Paul II to coincide with the Feast of the Annunciation.
  • This day was instituted in Argentina by Pope John Paul II to coincide with the Feast of the Annunciation. John Paul II viewed the day as a positive alternative in favour of life and the propagation of a culture of life to assure respect for human dignity in all situations. El Salvador was the first nation to recognise the 1993 establishment of the Day of the Right to Be Born.

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members

  • The United Nations observes the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members on March 25 every year. This is a day to mobilize action, demand justice and strengthen our resolve to protect UN staff and peacekeepers, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the press.
  • The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is marked each year on the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, a former journalist who was working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) when he was abducted by armed gunman in 1985. His body was finally found in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in 2009.

Earth Hour 2023

  • Earth Hour is an annual event that takes place on the last Saturday of March. This year (2023), it was observed on March 25 at 8.30 pm local time, individuals, communities, and businesses around the world are being encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour and engage in activities that benefit the environment.
  • Earth Hour is an annual event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which encourages individuals, businesses, and governments to turn off non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to the planet. The event was first introduced in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 by WWF and its partners as a symbolic lights-out event to raise awareness about climate change.
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Supreme Court States Citizens Cannot Claim Right to Directly Petition Parliament to Discuss Important Issues

  • The Supreme Court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) that was looking forward to a declaration that citizens have a fundamental right to directly petition Parliament and invite deliberation on important issues of public interest.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D. Y. Chandrachud with Justices P. S. Narasimha and J. B. Pardiwala said that a citizen cannot ask for right to stand up in Parliament.
  • As per the bench, one should go and talk outside Parliament, and that a citizen cannot seek a right to stand up in Parliament.
  • The Court noted that the relief laid within the domain of Parliament and state legislatures, which does not allow making any decisions in a PIL.
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