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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

31 Mar 2023


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After FATF, European Union Removes Pakistan from List High-Risk Third Countries

  • The EU removed Pakistan from its list of "High-Risk Third Countries" that do not have a robust anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regime, a move welcomed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as a major development which would facilitate the cash-strapped country's businesses.
  • The developments came as a much-needed breather when Pakistan faces an economic crisis.
  • Pakistan was included on the list in 2018, placing the country under additional regulatory restrictions.
  • The list includes countries that the European Union considers to have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing frameworks.

Passport Index Points: India Ranks at 144th Spot in 2023

  • According to the latest update from the Passport Index, India's Mobility Scores decreased, resulting in the country experiencing the largest global drop on the Index this year (2023). Prior to the pandemic in 2019, India had a mobility score of 71, which increased to 73 in 2022 as the post-pandemic wave of increasing mobility took effect. However, as of March 2023, its mobility score dropped to 70. This decline occurred despite record increases in mobility as the global and national economies re-opened after the pandemic. India's ranking fell by six places in 2023, resulting in an individual ranking of 144 compared to 138 in 2022.
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Conservation Plan for Great Indian Bustard

  • In order to conserve and protect the Great Indian Bustard, which is considered one of the largest flying birds in the world, the Government of India is implementing various measures throughout the country. However, apart from certain regions in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the bird has disappeared from 90% of its original habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the species as "critically endangered."
  • The species is known for its distinctive appearance, with a brownish-grey body, long neck, and crown of black feathers on its head. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and hunting, the Great Indian Bustard has become critically endangered and is now found only in small pockets of its original range in India and Pakistan.
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IRDAI Removes Commission Limit for Agents

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) lifted limits on the payment of commissions to insurance intermediaries. With this, life and non-life players will have more freedom in offering commissions – the compensation paid to and received by an insurance agent from an insurer for soliciting and procuring an insurance policy.
  • However, the commission will have to be within their overall Expenses of Management (EOM) and insurers can have board-approved limits for paying commissions to their agents.
  • IRDAI has asked insurance companies, including life and non-life, to fix an overall cap on commission to agents, brokers and other intermediaries, giving more flexibility to insurers in managing their expenses.
  • This means the regulator has replaced the earlier cap on different commission payments to various types of intermediaries with an overall board-approved cap which should be within the allowed expenses.

Tata Power re-appoints Praveer Sinha as CEO, MD

  • Tata Power re-appointed Praveer Sinha as the company's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director.
  • His re-appointment to the top post is for a period of four years from May 1, 2023, to April 30, 2027, subject to the approval of the members of the company.
  • His present tenure as a CEO and MD is scheduled to conclude on April 30, 2023.

Rajib K Mishra Takes over as Chairman and Managing Director of PTC India

  • Power trading company PTC India appointed Rajib Kumar Mishra as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD).
  • Mishra was holding the additional charge of CMD of the company. He joined the PTC Board in February 2015 as Director (Marketing and Business Development).
  • Prior to this, Mishra worked as Executive Director of PTC since October 2011 and was responsible for Operations, Business Development, Retail & Advisory Services.
  • He has 38 years of professional experience and has served at state-run NTPC and Power Grid in various capacities. He has authored four published books and twenty-four technical and management papers.
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Astronomers Discover One of the Biggest Black Holes

  • One of the largest black holes ever recorded was discovered using a new technique that could spot thousands more of the insatiable celestial monsters in the coming years, according to astronomers.
  • The ultramassive black hole, one of just four ever observed, is more than 30 billion times the mass of the Sun.
  • It is the first black hole ever observed using a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, in which light travelling towards us from a distant galaxy appears to magnify and bend inwards, giving away the presence of a dark giant.
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BFI President Ajay Singh Elected as Vice-president of World Boxing Body

  • Boxing Federation of India (BFI) chief Ajay Singh was elected as the International Boxing Association (IBA) vice-president. Singh's appointed was confirmed during the IBA board of directors meeting.
  • Singh, who is in his second term as the BFI president, became IBA's third vice-president and will stay in the role till 2026 alongside Volodymyr Prodyvus of Ukraine and Serbia's Abdulmutalim Abakarov.

Canadian Teenager McIntosh Sets 400m Freestyle World Record

  • Summer McIntosh set a world record in the 400m freestyle at the Canadian swimming trials.
  • McIntosh finished in a time of 3:56.08 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre to beat Titmus's time of 3:56.40.
  • Earlier in March 2023, McIntosh ended American Katie Ledecky's nine-year home pool winning streak when she touched first in the 200m freestyle at a Pro Series swim meet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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The First G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group Meeting Held in Gandhinagar

  • The First G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group meeting under India's G20 Presidency was held in Gandhinagar, in Gujarat. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister P. K. Mishra and Minister of State for Communication Devusinh Chauhan, inaugurated the meeting. As per Member Secretary, of National Disaster Management Authority Kamal Kishore, five priority areas were identified for the meeting which included:
  • Global coverage of Early Warning Systems
  • Increased commitment towards making infrastructure systems – disaster resilient
  • Stronger national financial frameworks for DRR
  • Strengthened national and global disaster response system
  • Increased application of ecosystems-based approaches to DRR

World Bank Grants $363m Loan to Karnataka for Clean Drinking Water Supply

  • The World Bank's Executive Board of Directors approved a USD 363 million loan to Karnataka to provide clean drinking water supply to two million rural households in the state through a piped water connection in their homes. Through the programme, the World Bank and the state of Karnataka seek to demonstrate 24/7 water supply service in at least 500 Gram Panchayats. The programme will develop an advanced sector monitoring system for rural water service delivery and provide on-the-job skills training to around 3,000 rural women to be employed as plumbers. The USD 363 million loan from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), uses the Program-for-Results (PforR) financing instrument that links the disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific program results. The loan has a maturity of 13.5 years including a grace period of two years.
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ICG Conducts Regional Search and Rescue (SAR) Exercise in Andhra Pradesh

  • The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) displayed its operational and rescue capabilities on water and air by deploying seven ships, helicopters, and Unmanned Rescue Boats on the last day of the two-day Regional Search and Rescue Exercise, titled Re-SAREX-23.
  • The ships, ICGS Samudra Paheredar, ICGS Vigraha, Kanaka Latha Barua, Priyadarshini, C-430, 438 and 449, demonstrated their capabilities by participating in a mass rescue operation.
  • The exercise was held five nautical miles away from the Kakinada coast, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Kakinada coast was chosen for the regional exercise as it falls in the Krishna-Godavari basin, in which oil explorations are extensively in progress. The exercise assured that ICG can respond and save lives in any rescue and search operation.
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Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Awards

  • The Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi announced the fellowships, awards, and Gurupuja Puraskaram of the year 2022.
  • Theatre person Gopinath Kozhikode, music director P.S. Vidyadharan, and Chenda/Edakka artist Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan were selected for the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi fellowships for their contribution to the respective fields.
  • There are 17 winners from various fields for the Akademi awards.
  • Winners of the 2022 Gurupuja Puraskaram were: Meppayur Balan (Music); K.D. Anandan (Music); Thrikkakkara Y.N. Santharam (Music); K. Vijayakumar (Music); Vaikkam R. Gopalakrishnan (Music); Sivadas Chemenchery (Music); Ustad Asharaf Hydros (Music); Matangi Sathyamoorthy (Music); Poochakkal Shahul (Drama); Venkulam Jayakumar (Drama); Thrissur Viswam (Drama); Babu Kilirur (Drama); T.P. Bhaskara Pothuval (Drama); Kulathoor Lal (Drama); Kunjikannan Cheruvathur (Drama); Kalamandalam Kalluvazhi Vasu (Kathakali); Kalanilayam Kunjunni (Kathakali); Ponkunnam Saidh (Drama); Arival John (Drama); Artist Ramdas Vadakara (Drama); Kavadiyar Suresh (Dance drama); Thanneermukkam Sadasivan (Kathaprasangam).
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SC Grants Two Attempts to Clear Exams to Students who Returned from Ukraine, China

  • Undergraduate medical students who had to return from Ukraine and China in their penultimate year of study will get two attempts to clear their final MBBS exams in India.
  • The Supreme Court allowed this after the centre, as a one-time exception, expressed willingness to give them one chance to clear the exam as recommended by an expert Committee. Though the centre suggested one chance, the SC bench of Justices B. R. Gavai and Vikram Nath felt that this may be insufficient and modified it to allow two attempts.
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Allahabad High Court Says Provisions of JJ Act do not Give Power to Decide Disputed Matters, Allows Custody Plea

  • The Allahabad High Court while allowing the petition said that the Provisions of JJ Act does not give power to decide contested and disputed matters pertaining to custody, while it can only as an interim measure, pass appropriate orders in the welfare of children.
  • A single Bench of Justice Alok Mathur passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Smt Shivani Singh.
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