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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

03 Dec 2023


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India to Act as Automaker Toyota Motor Corporation's Regional Hub

  • Japanese auto major Toyota Motor Corporation announced a regional restructuring with India being integrated into its 'Middle East, East Asia & Oceania Region' operations and slotting the country to act as the hub of the new geography.
  • As part of this development, Masakazu Yoshimura, MD and CEO of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) -- the company's joint venture in India with the Kirloskar Group -- is concurrently the Regional CEO.

RBI Inks Pact with Bank of England on Bond Clearing Settlement

  • The Reserve Bank of India signed an agreement with the Bank of England (BoE) on exchange of information for settlement of bond trades through Clearing Corporation of India Ltd (CCIL).
  • Under the new memorandum of understanding (MoU), the BoE will assess and recognize CCIL as a counterparty to clear and settle bonds and overnight indexed swap trades done by England-based banks and investors.
  • CCIL is the RBI-supervised central counterparty which hosts the trading platform for Indian government bonds and overnight indexed swaps.

HUL Appoints Former Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj as Independent Director

  • FMCG major Hindustan Unilever (HUL) appointed former Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj as its independent director for five years.
  • Bajaj, a 1988-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, served as the Revenue Secretary in the Indian government before superannuating in November 2022.
  • As the Revenue Secretary, he played a key role in stabilising the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and contributed towards a substantial increase in revenue collections under GST and Income Tax.
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Minho & Lee Dong Wook Global Ambassadors for 2024 Winter Olympics

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected SHINee's Minho and acclaimed K-drama actor Lee Dong-wook as the first Global Ambassadors for the 'OlympicTM Friends' program. They will represent the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games, to be hosted in Republic of Korea's Gangwon province in 2024.
  • The 'OlympicTM Friends' program aims to use public figures to promote Olympic values. The 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics, the first Asian Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), are scheduled to take place from January 19 to February 1, 2024, aiming to provide more opportunities for youth to participate in various events.
  • The motto for the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics is 'Grow Together, Shine Forever'.
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Ram Karan Yadav Takes Charge as General Manager of Central Railway

  • Senior railway official Ram Karan Yadav took charge as the General Manager of the Central Railway (CR).
  • Before joining the Central Railway, Yadav was the Director General of the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN) Pune.
  • The senior officer replaced Naresh Lalwani.
  • Yadav graduated in civil engineering with honours from IIT Roorkee in 1985 and joined the Railways in March 1988. He also earned an M.Tech (Soil Mechanics & Foundation Engineering) from IIT Delhi in 1987.

Global Ayurveda Festival 2023

  • India is celebrating the 5th edition of the Global Ayurveda Festival in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar inaugurated the Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF) 2023 which is taking place from December 1-5, 2023. International practitioners of alternative medicine, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders joined the event to explore its impact on healthcare. The theme of the 5th Global Ayurveda Festival 2023 is 'Emerging Challenges in Healthcare and a Resurgent Ayurveda'.
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Lt Gen Manjinder Singh Takes Over as GOC-in-C, Army Training Command

  • Lieutenant General Manjinder Singh took over as the 24th General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Shimla-based Army Training Command.
  • Prior to this, he was serving as Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Policy, Planning and Force Development). He succeeded Lt Gen Surinder Singh Mahal, who superannuated.
  • An alumnus of Sainik School Kapurthala, National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and the Indian Military Academy, Lt Gen Manjinder Singh was commissioned into 19 Madras in December 1986.

Navy Appoints First Woman Commanding Officer in Naval Ship

  • The Navy appointed the first woman commanding officer in a naval ship in line with the Navy's philosophy of 'all roles-all ranks' to deploying women in the service.
  • As per reports, the officer, a Lieutenant Commander, would be commanding INS Trinkat, a fast attack craft based in the western seaboard. She is yet to take over the new role.
  • This is for the first time that a woman officer would assume command of a ship. The officer is a qualified navigation instructor and has been involved in training observers inducted into the Navy.
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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

  • Every year, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed on December 3.
  • In 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was announced by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The day was celebrated with the aim of understanding disability issues and gaining support to ensure that their rights to well-being, dignity and equal opportunities are practiced.
  • The theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023 is 'United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities'.
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French Government Honours Translator and Writer Arshia Sattar

  • Renowned author and translator Arshia Sattar was honoured with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. The prestigious award was presented by Thierry Mathou, the ambassador of France to India, in a ceremony held at the Consulate General of France in Bengaluru.
  • Arshia Sattar, based in Bengaluru, has made significant contributions to Indian literature and mythology. Notable among her works are translations of epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as tales from Kathasaritsagara. Her literary prowess extends to creating engaging books for children, with 'The Mahabharata for Children' earning her the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Children's Literature in 2022.

Akshaya Mukul Wins Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize

  • Author Akshaya Mukul won the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2023 for his biography of Hindi writer-poet Agyeya – 'Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya'.
  • The book, published by Penguin Random House, offers a panoramic view of the Hindi literature' through Agyeya's life.
  • The winner of the sixth edition was selected from a diverse shortlist of five books across a range of Indian history, including Achyut Chetan's 'Founding Mothers of the Indian Republic', Rotem Geva's 'Delhi Reborn: Partition and Nation Building in India's Capital', Gita Ramaswamy's 'Land, Guns, Caste, Woman: Memoirs of a Lapsed Revolutionary', and Taylor C Sherman's 'Nehru's India: A History in Seven Myths'.
  • The book prize recognises excellence in non-fiction writings about modern and contemporary Indian history by writers of all nationalities.
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NITI Aayog for Extending Schooling to 18 Years

  • NITI Aayog member V. K. Paul emphasised the need to extend the years of schooling in India from the current 13 years to 18 years.
  • Addressing the seventh edition of the National School Education Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Paul, who is the former head of paediatrics department at AIIMS, highlighted the potential impact of adding even one more year to schooling.

CBSE Drops Division and Distinction Accolades for Class 10, 12 Students

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced major changes to its assessment methodology for Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations. Effective immediately, CBSE will no longer award divisions or distinctions to students, focusing instead on individual subject performance.
  • The decision was communicated through an official release by CBSE Examination Controller Sanyam Bhardwaj, marking a departure from the traditional grading system.
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Iconic Garisenda Tower in Italy May 'Collapse' Due to Excessive Leaning

  • The Garisenda Tower in Italy's Bologna, also known as the 'leaning tower', has been steady for nearly 1,000 years. But the tallest tower in the town is now at risk of collapsing due to excessive leaning.
  • The 150-foot tall tower has been leaning at an angle of 4 degrees since the 14th century when officials tried to remove the top of the building with the aim of stabilising it. The iconic Tower of Pisa leans at 5 degrees.
  • But now the tower is leaning excessively and has forced city officials to bring into action a civil protection plan.
  • A protective cordon will be erected to contain debris resulting from a possible collapse, to reduce the vulnerability of surrounding buildings and the exposure to the population, as well as blocking access to the off-limits areas.
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Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh Resigns

  • Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India Balbir Singh resigned from the post after representing the Central government for over three years.
  • Singh had resigned as a Senior Partner at DSK Legal in 2015 to start counsel practice in Delhi before he was appointed as ASG.
  • In July this year (2023), he was re-appointed as ASG along with Vikramjit Banerjee, K. M. Nataraj, S. V. Raju, N. Venkataraman and Aishwarya Bhati.
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