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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

25 May 2023


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Indian-Origin Sikh Becomes First Turban-Wearing Lord Mayor of UK City Coventry

  • Jaswant Singh Birdi, a local British Sikh councillor based in Coventry made history for the central England city by becoming its first turban-wearing Lord Mayor.
  • Birdi, who was born in Punjab and spent some time as a child in Calcutta in West Bengal, moved to Coventry 60 years ago and has served as a local councillor in the city for 16 years.
  • He served as Deputy Lord Mayor for the past 12 months and was presented with the Chains of Office at the Annual General Meeting at Coventry Cathedral last week, a ceremony attended by members of his family. He succeeded Councillor Kevin Maton in the role of Lord Mayor and Councillor Mal Mutton was named as the Deputy Lord Mayor for the coming year.

WHO Appoints Artists Renée Fleming and Pretty Yende as WHO Goodwill Ambassadors for Arts and Health

  • WHO announce the appointments of internationally acclaimed artists Renée Fleming and Pretty Yende as Goodwill Ambassadors for Arts and Health. This prestigious announcement was made as part of WHO's 75th Anniversary commemoration during the seventy-sixth World Health Assembly.
  • Renée Fleming, one of the most celebrated singers of our time, and Pretty Yende, an extraordinary soprano known for her dazzling performances, were selected for their artistic achievement and advocacy for improved health outcomes through creative means.
  • The appointments of Fleming and Yende underscore the profound link between arts and health. Engagement in creative activities, such as music, art, and dance, positively impacts physical, mental health, social well-being, and overall quality of life. Through their roles as Goodwill Ambassadors, Fleming and Yende will promote the integration of arts into health-care systems, advocate for access to creative arts therapies, and champion the importance of artistic expression in improving health outcomes globally.

NATO: Ukraine Cannot Join Alliance amidst War

  • Ukraine will not be able to join NATO as long as the war against Russia rages on, bloc's chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
  • In September 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a bid for fast-track membership of NATO after Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed four partially occupied regions of Ukraine as annexed Russian land.
  • NATO allies have not acceded to Zelenskyy's request, with Western governments wary of moves that they fear could take NATO closer to entering an active war with Russia.
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National Campaign for Updating and Verifying the People's Biodiversity Register (PBR)

  • The National Campaign for Updation and Verification of People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) was launched in Goa, marking a significant step towards the documentation and preservation of India's rich biological diversity. The function, organised by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in association with the Goa State Biodiversity Board, the National Biodiversity Authority, and the Government of Goa, witnessed the presence of esteemed dignitaries. Among the distinguished guests were the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey; the Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Goa, Nilesh Cabral, Chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority, C. Achalender Reddy and other senior government representatives.
  • The People's Biodiversity Register serves as a comprehensive record of various aspects of biodiversity, including the conservation of habitats, preservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals, micro-organisms, and the accumulation of knowledge related to the area's biological diversity. As per the Biological Diversity Act 2002, Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) are created for "promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity" by local bodies across the country. BMCs have been constituted by the local bodies in the States and Union Territories and are entrusted with preparation of the People's Biodiversity Registers (PBRs), in consultation with local communities.

Endangered Red Panda Spotted in Arunachal's Tawang

  • A little red panda, listed as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature list of threatened species, was spotted at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Perhaps this is for the first time a red panda was spotted in the border district of the north-eastern state.
  • According to the World Wildlife Fund website, the red panda is slightly larger than a domestic cat, with a bear-like body and thick russet fur. The belly and limbs are black and there are white markings on the side of the head and above its small eyes.
  • Red pandas are very skilful and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees.
  • It is the state animal of Sikkim which hosts the Red Panda Festival every year.
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Yes Bank Collaborates with Red Hat to Redefine Mobile Banking Experience

  • Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open-source solutions, announced that Yes Bank adopted Azure Red Hat OpenShift to transform their mobile banking applications. Azure Red Hat OpenShift will further expedite the digital journey of Yes Bank with faster time to market, more flexibility and ability to drive greater innovation. The new platform will enable Yes Bank to improve customer experience and provide innovative banking solutions by launching security-focused and efficient modern applications. These applications will have the agility and flexibility to scale on demand, helping the bank with their growth initiatives of serving customers across India.

IIT Kanpur, Yes Bank Collaborate to Offer Support to Incubated Start-ups

  • The Start-up Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC,) at the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK), embarked on a path of revolutionising the start-up ecosystem in India. In a major stride towards this goal, SIIC collaborated with Yes bank by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that seeks to provide crucial support to the start-ups incubated at SIIC.
  • Under the terms of the MoU, SIIC and Yes Bank will collaborate closely to identify innovative start-ups and extend them the necessary financial backing. This strategic partnership aims to bolster the start-up ecosystem in India by granting these ventures access to a wide range of resources through Yes Bank's specialised start-up-focused program called Yes Head-Start-up. This program, backed by a full-service banking proposition, is specifically tailored for technology-based or technology-enabled start-ups and is complemented by an exclusive privilege program.
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Infosys Launches Topaz, an AI-first Set of Services, Solutions, and Platforms

  • Infosys launched Topaz, an AI-first set of services, solutions, and platforms using generative artificial intelligence technologies.
  • According to Infosys, Topaz helps amplify the potential of humans, enterprises, and communities to tap into the next generation of opportunities to create value from unprecedented innovations, connected ecosystems, and pervasive efficiencies.
  • The platform leverages Infosys' applied AI framework to build an AI-first core that empowers people to deliver cognitive solutions, accelerating value-creation, Infosys said.
  • Topaz converges the power of Infosys Cobalt cloud and data analytics to AI-power business, delivering cognitive solutions and intuitive experiences that revitalise growth.
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Slovenia Open: Sameer Verma Wins Gold; Rohan Kapoor-Sikki Reddy Bag Silver

  • Indian shuttler Sameer Verma emerged victorious in men's singles competition at the 2023 Slovenia Open beating Su Li Yang, while the duo of Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy bagged silver in the mixed doubles event in Maribor, Slovenia.
  • Verma won 21-18 21-14 against his Taiwanese opponent.
  • Kapoor and Reddy beat Denmark's Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch 21-15 21-19 in the semifinals but lost to Jesper Toft and Clara Gravesen, also from Denmark, 12-21 13-21 in the summit showdown.

Namdev Shirgaonkar New President of India Taekwondo

  • Namdev Shirgaonkar was elected unopposed as the President of the executive committee of India Taekwondo. The election was attended by 25 affiliated state associations.
  • The entire election process went off without a hitch, with all the office-bearers being elected unopposed. All due election norms were firmly in place, with Bhagwatrao Gaikwad (Retired judge) functioning as the Returning Officer in tandem with Sharad D. Madakre (Retired Deputy Charity Commissioner).
  • Kiarash Bahri (Coordinator – World Taekwondo – WT) as well as (Observer – Asian Taekwondo Union – ATU) and Wanyong LEE (2nd Observer – Asian Taekwondo Union – ATU) and Prashant Desai (Observer – Paralympic Committee of India – PCI) were the individuals who conducted the Election process.

Akash Madhwal Creates all-time IPL Records, goes Past Jasprit Bumrah and Anil Kumble

  • Mumbai Indians thrashed Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator of IPL 2023 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Akash Madhwal was the hero for the five-time champions returning with the magical figures of 5/5 to skittle LSG for just 101 runs in the 17th over of the innings.
  • Madhwal, the fast bowler has grown in stature with every match and became the first ever bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul in the IPL playoffs. He also equalled former India captain Anil Kumble's bowling record in IPL 2009. Madhwal's figures are now joint-best for an Indian bowler in the history of IPL, while overall, his 5/5 are the fourth-best figures in the history of cash-rich league.
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Sengol', a Symbol of Fair Governance, to be Installed in New Parliament

  • 'Sengol', a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu, which was given by the British to first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to represent the transfer of power and was kept in a museum in Allahabad will be installed in the new Parliament building to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Shah said that 'Sengol' symbolises the transfer of power from British to India, just as it was originally used to mark the handing over power from one king to another during the Chola dynasty in Tamil Nadu.
  • On August 14, 1947, 'Sengol' was accepted by Nehru, the then Prime Minister, in presence of Rajendra Prasad, who later became India's first President.
  • The word 'Sengol' derived from the Tamil word 'Semmai', meaning 'righteousness.' The historical sceptre was made of silver, coated with gold, and crowned with the sacred Nandi, with its unyielding gaze. The Nandi on top of the 'Sengol' is symbol of 'nyaya.'

Nineteen Opposition Parties to Boycott Inauguration of New Parliament Building

  • Nineteen opposition parties, including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Shiv Sena (UBT), the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and Janata Dal (United), issued a joint statement they will boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building on May 28 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The 19 parties who will boycott the inauguration are -- Congress, DMK, AAP, TMC, Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Kerala Congress (Mani), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), JD(U), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), National Conference (NC), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK).
  • In the joint statement, a copy of which was uploaded on the Twitter handle of the Congress's communication department, the opposition parties said that PM Modi's move to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself, completely sidelining President Droupadi Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy which demands a commensurate response.
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Indian Navy Wants to Extend the Lease of US Sea Guardian Drones

  • With Quad nations joining hands on maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific, India plans to speed up acquisition of armed drones from the US even as the Indian Navy is working towards extending the lease of two General Atomics manufactured Sea Guardian surveillance drones which expires in January 2024. The two Sea Guardian drones are based at Rajali Naval Base in Tamil Nadu.
  • While the cost of armed Predator drones (MQ-9B) will be a determining factor in the acquisition programme, the Indian Navy is satisfied with the output of its surveillance version, the Sea Guardian, since two of them were leased in 2020 for maritime domain surveillance.
  • Given the endurance of the drones, the Sea Guardians provide real time domain awareness from the eastern board of Africa and Gulf of Aden to Sunda Straits in Indonesia and beyond. The leased drones were also used to survey the Chinese build-up all along the LAC after the May 2020 aggression by the PLA in East Ladakh.
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International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories

  • The United Nations designated May 25 to 31 as the 'International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories'. This observance was established by the UN General Assembly on December 6, 1999. According to the UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory refers to a territory where its people have not yet achieved complete self-government.
  • The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories holds significant importance in highlighting the ongoing struggles of these territories and promoting their right to self-determination.

World Thyroid Day

  • World Thyroid Awareness Day is marked annually on May 25 to raise global awareness about thyroid diseases and their impact on people's health. The initiative aims to promote understanding, early detection, and proper management of thyroid disorders.
  • It was officially adopted during the Annual General Meeting preceding the European Thyroid Association (ETA) congress in September 2007. The choice of May 25 was not arbitrary but held special significance for the ETA. This date marks the anniversary of the ETA's foundation in 1965.
  • The theme for World Thyroid Awareness Day 2023 was 'It's not you. It's your thyroid'.
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Georgi Gospodinov Wins the International Booker Prize 2023 for Time Shelter

  • 'Time Shelter', written by Georgi Gospodinov and translated into English by Angela Rodel, won the International Booker Prize 2023, edging out six other novels on the shortlist. This is the first time a novel originally published in Bulgarian won the annual award, given to a work of fiction translated into English and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year. Last year, the prize went to Geetanjali Shree's 'Tomb of Sand', translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.
  • The third book by Gospodinov to be translated into English, 'Time Shelter' is told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator and plays on contemporary concerns through a lens that is both ironic and melancholic, according to Leïla Slimani, chair of this year's International Booker Prize jury. The novel tells the story of the mysterious Gaustine and his clinic for the past, whose premise of treating Alzheimer's — a disease that robs one of memory, the foundational aspect of life — sounds deceptively simple.
  • One of Bulgaria's most well-known writers, Gospodinov is also one of the country's most translated — his books have been translated into over 20 languages. The Italian translation of Time Shelter won the Premio Strega Europeo Prize in 2022 and was been shortlisted for several international awards.
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Colleges Failing to Get NAAC Mandate to Lose Varsity Affiliation

  • Colleges in Maharashtra, who have yet not started the process to obtain National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grades, stand to lose their respective university affiliation at the beginning of the academic year 2023-24.
  • In an order issued to registrars of all non-agricultural universities across the state, Director of Higher Education Shailendra Deolankar issued instructions to collate data of such colleges by the beginning of the admission process and take action against such institutions prescribed under the Maharashtra State Public Universities Act 2016, which suggests de-affiliating the college.
  • This is only the first stage of the NAAC accreditation process. If there are colleges which are not willing to take steps for this, it raises serious questions on the quality of education being imparted at such colleges. It is not possible to ensure effective implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP), without colleges having the basic grading.

IIMA's Executive Education Programmes Number 1 in India

  • The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) was ranked overall number 1 in India for its executive education programmes, as per the latest Financial Times (FT) Executive Education Rankings, 2023. The IIMA ranked 2nd in Asia and the 35th globally.
  • This year (2023), the IIMA moved up two places in the Open Enrolment Programmes category and five places in the Custom Programmes rankings. In the combined category rankings, the IIMA moved up by four places to the 35th position globally.
  • Overall, the IIMA's executive education programmes have done well on several parameters, which include international participants, international location, faculty, programme design, teaching methods, aims achieved, value for money and future use, among others.
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Goa and Uttarakhand Sign MoU to Promote Tourism between the States as Part of the 'Dekho Apna Desh' Initiative

  • Goa and Uttarakhand signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote tourism between the states as part of the Centre's 'Dekho Apna Desh' (explore your own country) initiative.
  • The MoU was signed in Dehradun, the capital of the northern state.
  • According to Goa Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte, the move will connect The Arabian Sea with river Ganga.
  • Khaunte said that Goa and Uttarakhand became the first Indian states to carry forward the Dekho Apna Desh programme, which aims to encourage citizens to witness and experience the rich heritage and diverse culture of the country.
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Appointment of Justice S. Vaidyanathan as Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court Notified by Central Government

  • The appointment of Justice S. Vaidyanathan as the Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court was notified pursuant to the retirement of Justice T. Raja.
  • Justice Vaidyanathan is the third judge to hold the office of Acting Chief Justice in the last nine months after Justice Duraiswamy and Justice T. Raja.
  • The position of Chief Justice of Madras High Court has remained vacant since September 2022 when Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari attained superannuation and demitted office.
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