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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

29 Mar 2023


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ADB, Maldives Sign $41mn Financing Package to Support SMEs, Tourism

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $41 million financing package with the Bank of Maldives (BML) to support locally owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tourism.
  • As the sole mandated lead arranger and bookrunner, the Manila-based ADB arranged, structured, and syndicated the entire financing package, comprising a loan of up to $13 million from the ADB's ordinary capital resources, a parallel loan of up to $13 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and a parallel loan of up to $5 million from the Development Bank of Austria.
  • To improve development impact and to address bankability issues relating to blue economy transactions in Maldives, the ADB said it blended the project's debt financing with a concessional loan of up to $9 million from the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia II (CFPS II) and a grant of up to $1 million from the ADB's Asian Development Fund (ADF)-Private Sector Window (PSW).

Greek PM Calls General Election in May

  • Greece's centre-right PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis called general election on May 21 as his party's long-standing lead in opinion polls declined in the aftermath of the country's worst train disaster. A February 28, 2023 collision between two trains left 57 dead. The disaster stirred public anger, cutting the conservative New Democracy party's support by a half-point to 4 points over Syriza party.

EU Countries Approve 2035 Phase-out of CO2-emitting Cars

  • European Union countries gave final approval to a landmark law to end sales of new CO2-emitting cars in 2035, after Germany won an exemption for cars running on e-fuels.
  • The approval from EU countries' Energy Ministers means Europe's main climate policy for cars can now enter into force, after weeks of delay caused by last-minute opposition from Germany.
  • The EU law will require all new cars sold to have zero CO2 emissions from 2035, and 55% lower CO2 emissions from 2030, versus 2021 levels. The targets are designed to drive the rapid decarbonisation of new car fleets in Europe.
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Centre to Soon Notify Dibang Tiger Reserve

  • The Union environment ministry will soon notify the Dibang Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, a development that makes it even less likely that the deferred Etalin hydropower project will be developed in the way it was originally envisaged -- but the indigenous Idu Mishmi people, who were opposed to the hydropower project aren't very keen on the tiger reserve either.
  • Once notified, Dibang will be India's first high altitude tiger reserve and the largest in terms of area, at 4149 sq km. The Idu Mishmi are worried that naming Dibang a tiger reserve will restrict their access to the reserve.
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Aditya Birla Capital Sells Insurance Broking Arm to Samara Capital

  • Aditya Birla Capital (ABCL), the holding company of the financial services business of Aditya Birla Group, will exit its insurance broking business by selling Aditya Birla Insurance Brokers (ABIBL) to Samara Capital for an upfront payment of Rs. 455 crore.
  • Under the share purchase agreement (SPA), the company and Infocyber (the other shareholder) may receive an additional consideration after completion of five years from the closing which is conditional upon the fulfilment of certain conditions under the SPA.

SJVN Gets 'GREEN' Finance from Japan Bank for International Cooperation

  • SJVN Ltd, a state-owned company, secured Rs. 915 crore in 'GREEN' financing from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to support its 90 MW Omkareshwar floating solar project in Madhya Pradesh and 100 MW Raghanesda solar project in Gujarat. The 'Facility Agreement' was signed virtually between SJVN and JBIC under the Global Action for Reconciling Economic Growth and Environmental Preservation (GREEN) program of JBIC. The purpose of this debt is to fund the 90 MW Omkareshwar Floating Solar Power Project in Madhya Pradesh and 100 MW Raghanesda Solar Power Project in Gujarat, which have a combined estimated cost of Rs. 1,288.35 crore.
  • SJVN is committed to achieve 25 GW of generation capacity by 2030, more than half of which is bound to come from solar and wind resources, and emphasised for more association with JBIC for GREEN financing in near future.
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Scientists Find Reservoir Containing Substantial Quantities of Water on Moon

  • Researchers discovered water trapped in tiny beads spread across the surface of the Moon. It is based on samples of the lunar surface brought back by China's Chang'e 5 mission. The beads embedded in the surface contained substantial quantities of water.
  • Researchers saw microscopic droplets trapped in minerals in the samples. They said that the discovery may help in better understanding of the Earth's neighbour and space missions that could use it as a habitat.
  • For years, it was believed that Moon is dry but space missions in the last few decades found water trapped inside the surface.
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Sunil Chhetri Becomes Fifth Highest Goal-Scorer in International Football

  • India played some inspiring football against higher-ranked Kyrgyz Republic to snatch a 2-0 victory and bagged the Hero Tri-National International Tournament Trophy with an all-win record in Imphal. India had earlier defeated Myanmar 1-0. Captain Sunil Chhetri scored a record 85th international goal in India's win.
  • With the goal, Chhetri overtook Hungary's Ferenc Puskas as the fifth-highest goal scorer in the history of football. Chhetri is overall third in the list of active footballers with the most goals, behind only Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi.

Indian Grand Prix 2: Tajinderpal Singh Toor Wins Shot Put Gold

  • Tajinderpal Singh Toor dominated the men's shot put in the AFI Indian Grand Prix 2.
  • Toor won the gold medal with a best effort of 19.76 m. Toor is still looking for his first 20 m effort of the year. Karanveer Singh won the silver medal with a throw of 19.17 m.
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Second G20 Infrastructure Working Group Meeting in Visakhapatnam

  • The second G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) meeting under G20 Indian Presidency was held in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh for two days.
  • The conference was in Visakhapatnam under the theme of 'Economic Cities of Tomorrow'.
  • The first G-20 IWG summit was held in Maharashtra's Pune.
  • Out of a total of 8 sessions, four sessions were on the first day and the rest of the sessions on the second day.
  • As per reports, 63 representatives of G-20 countries and other invited organizations, ADB and World Bank had enrolled their names for this conference.

First G20 Trade and Investment Working Group Meeting in Mumbai

  • The first Trade and Investment Working Group meeting under India's G20 presidency was held in Mumbai.
  • Union commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal welcomed all 70 delegates who converged for the meet in Mumbai. Regional groupings and international organizations engaged in deliberations to accelerate global trade and investments.
  • The aim of India's G20 Presidency is to build a shared understanding of the challenges being faced in accelerating global trade and investment, and how existing opportunities can be harnessed to formulate human-centric concrete outcomes and deliverables.
  • The deliberations during the three-day meeting facilitated cooperation on trade and investment in view of India's G20 Presidency priorities.
  • So far under India's G20 Presidency which assumed on December 1, 2022, two Ministerial, one Sherpa, 23 Working Groups, 20 Engagement Groups, and one Curtain Raiser were held.

World Bank Approves $108 Million Loan for Assam's Flood Management Project

  • The World Bank gave nod to provide a loan of $108 million (about Rs. 889 crore) to assist Assam in its efforts to improve its disaster preparedness and enhance flood forecasting. The multilateral bank stated that around six million individuals will benefit from this project, which is part of a larger investment program worth $500 million for the state. The main aim of the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project is to build eco-friendly infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins to lessen the impact of floods and river erosion on the state, ultimately safeguarding around one lakh individuals.
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Bharat Dynamics Limited Successfully test-fires ATGM "Amogha-III"

  • In a significant development, Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited successfully carried out the field firing of its 3rd generation fire and forget man-portable Anti Tank Guided Missile, Amogha-III.
  • As per reports, all the mission objectives were achieved. Amogha-III has been designed and developed by the in-house R&D Division of BDL. Amogha is the first missile designed and tested by Bharat Dynamics.
  • Amogha-III has a range of 0.2 to 2.5 km.

First Batch of Agniveers Graduate

  • The first batch of 2,585 Agniveers graduated after completion of four months training. The Passing out Paraded was held at INS Chilka in Odisha.
  • Naval chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar took the salute from the new recruits in the Passing out Parade, which was held post-sunset, a first of its kind in the Indian armed forces. Traditionally, Passing out Parades are held in the morning.
  • Among those passing out were 272 female Agniveers.
  • These Agniveers, who underwent training at the Chilika Lake which is Asia's biggest brackish water lake, would be deployed on frontline warships for sea training.
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Krishna Prakash Becomes First Person to Swim from Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves

  • As part of the 'Drowning Prevention Awareness' campaign, Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Krishna Prakash swam from Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves, Mumbai. He completed the expedition of 16.20 km in just 5 hours 26 minutes and became the first person in history to do so. This is far from the first time the IPS officer broke records in sporting competitions.
  • Prakash had accomplished a remarkable achievement in sports in the past as well. In 2017, he was praised for finishing the Ironman Triathlon, a competition that demands participants to swim 3.8 kilometres, bike ride for 180.2 kilometres, and run for 42.2 kilometres within a span of 16-17 hours.

Pioneering Artist Vivan Sundaram Passes Away

  • Vivan Sundaram, one of India's pioneering multidisciplinary artists, passed away. He was 79.
  • Born in Shimla in 1943 to parents Kalyan Sundaram, former chairman of Law Commission of India, and Indira Sher-Gil, sister of noted Indian modern artist Amrita Sher-Gil, the Delhi-based artist studied painting at MS University, Baroda and The Slade School of Fine Art, London in the 1960s.
  • Sundaram's artistic practice, which moved from painting during his college years to engaging with everything from ready-mades, photographs, videos to sculptural installation, has been widely considered crucial in the definition and development of installation as a practice in the country.
  • Sundaram's works have been exhibited in the Biennials of Kochi (2012), Sydney (2008), Seville (2006), Taipei (2006), Sharjah (2005), Shanghai (2004), Havana (1997), Johannesburg (1997) and Kwangju (1997).
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Alia Mir, First Woman Wildlife Rescuer in J-K, Honoured with Wildlife Conservation Award

  • Alia Mir, a woman from Jammu and Kashmir was honoured with the Wildlife Conservation Award by the administration for her conservation efforts in the region.
  • J-K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha facilitated her with the wildlife honour award.
  • Alia is also the first woman from Kashmir who works for the charity Wildlife SOS organisation which is part of the Wildlife Rescue Team.
  • Alia, who is an eminent sociologist, was awarded at the World Forestry Day celebrations organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Collective Forests. She was awarded the award for her achievements in all aspects of wildlife conservation including bear rescue in Kashmir, rescue and release of wild animals, injured animal care, and wildlife.
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Mamata Banerjee to Launch Scheme for Development of Rural Roads in Bengal

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a scheme for development of rural roads at Singur in Hooghly district.
  • Under the 'Pathashree-Rastashree' scheme around 12,000 km of roads would be constructed or reconstructed in 29,475 villages of the state.
  • Twenty two districts will benefit from this project as 8,767 roads were approved under this scheme.
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Around 9000 Schools Shortlisted for PM SHRI Scheme

  • Around 9,000 schools from across India were shortlisted for the Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) programme.
  • The schools were selected from over 2.5 lakh government schools, including Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, which were found eligible to apply for the tag.
  • The selection process was based on six broad parameters, including curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment; access and infrastructure; human resources leadership; inclusive practices and gender equity; management, monitoring, and governance; and beneficiary satisfaction.
  • The PM SHRI programme is a new centrally sponsored scheme that aims to develop more than 14,500 schools across the country by strengthening select existing schools being managed by all forms of governments.
  • The PM SHRI schools aim to deliver quality teaching for the cognitive development of students and create and nurture well-rounded individuals equipped with key 21st-century skills.

Ukraine-returned Indian Medical Students Given One-time Option to Clear MBBS Exam

  • The Centre informed Supreme Court that students who returned to India from Ukraine will be given a single opportunity to clear the MBBS final exams -- both Part I and Part II exams (both theory and practical), without enrolling in any existing medical colleges.
  • According to the Centre, after clearing these two examinations, students will have to complete two years of compulsory rotatory internship, with the first year being free and the second year being paid, as decided by the National Medical Commission (NMC) for previous cases.
  • The decision was made by a committee set up by the Centre to address the concerns of these students. The committee has emphasised that this will be strictly a one-time option and will not become a basis for similar decisions in the future. The scheme shall be applicable to present matters only.
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Sacred Hopi Site in Arizona Awarded ICOMOS Water and Heritage Shield

  • A site located in Arizona, United States and sacred to the Hopi Native American Nation was awarded a 'Water and Heritage Shield' by the International Committee On Monuments and Sites International Science Committee.
  • The Shield was awarded to the Black Mesa Trust (BMT), a Hopi grassroots organisation.
  • The purpose of the Shield is to help the public become aware of the significance of water and indigenous sacred sites all over the world and the right to cultural and historical memory.
  • ICOMOS ISC is a non-governmental international organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world's monuments and sites. It helps the United Nations to recognise heritage globally.

National Gallery of Modern Art Organises Spring Fiesta 2023

  • The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi organised Spring Fiesta 2023 for the first time to celebrate 69 years of the museum. More than 50 stalls were set up for display and sales at the museum lawns, such as handicrafts, ceramics, indigenous art, and fashion. The education and research department of the National Gallery of Modern Art is constantly working on ideas and projects to provide an interactive experience for visitors so that they can connect more with the museum.
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