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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Jan 2024


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Meet Gabriel Attal, France's Youngest Prime Minister

  • France's President Emmanuel Macron named the 34-year-old Education Minister, Gabriel Attal, as his new Prime Minister. He is France's youngest Prime Minister. The record of being France's youngest post-war Prime Minister was previously held by the leftist Laurent Fabius, who was 37 when Francois Mitterrand appointed him Prime Minister in 1984.
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Denmark Launches Green Fuels Alliance India to Drive Sustainable Energy Collaboration at GIM 2024

  • At the Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2024, Denmark unveiled the Green Fuels Alliance India (GFAI), a pivotal initiative under the Green Strategic Partnership (GSP) signed between India and Denmark in 2020. The GFAI aims to accelerate collaboration in the sustainable energy solutions sector, aligning with the joint global objective of carbon neutrality.
  • Led by the Danish Embassy and the Consulate-General of Denmark in India, the GFAI focuses on advancing the green fuels sector, particularly green hydrogen. Nine leading Danish organizations, including Maersk, Novozymes, and Danfoss, commit as founding members, highlighting a strategic approach to fostering innovation and collaboration.
  • The primary goal of the GFAI is to establish an ecosystem promoting collaboration among businesses, government entities, research institutions, and financial stakeholders. This initiative bolsters India's efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, showcasing a commitment to sustainable energy growth.
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IndusInd Bank Introduces 'Samman RuPay Credit Card' for Government Employees

  • In a strategic collaboration with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), IndusInd Bank launched the UPI-enabled 'Samman RuPay Credit Card,' exclusively tailored for government sector employees. This initiative aligns with the RBI permission allowing RuPay credit cards to integrate with UPI payment applications.
  • The Samman RuPay Credit Card combines traditional credit card advantages with advanced UPI features, streamlining financial transactions.
  • Benefits include cashback on various expenditures, complimentary movie tickets, no cash advance charges, and surcharge waivers for IRCTC and fuel transactions.

PFC Secures RBI Approval for IFSC Finance Company in GIFT City

  • Power Finance Corporation (PFC) received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a wholly-owned finance company in the GIFT City in Gujarat. The entity at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) will present new business opportunities for PFC and contribute to the growth of the country's power sector.
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China Sends New Astronomical Satellite

  • China sent a new astronomical satellite shaped like a lotus into space to observe mysterious transient phenomena in the universe that flicker like fireworks.
  • The satellite named Einstein Probe (EP), which uses new X-ray detection technology inspired by the functioning of a lobster eye, was launched by a Long March-2C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
  • Weighing about 1.45 tonnes and as large as a full-size SUV, the satellite is shaped like a lotus in full bloom and features 12 petals and 2 stamens.
  • The 12 petals are 12 modules consisting of wide-field X-ray telescopes (WXT), while the two "stamens" consist of 2 modules of follow-up X-ray telescopes (FXT).
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Squash to Debut at Khelo India Youth Games

  • Squash will make its debut at the Youth Games with the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 in Tamil Nadu slated to be held in Chennai, Madurai, Trichy and Coimbatore – from January 19-31, 2024 and the state's Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin chaired a meeting at the Secretariat on Monday to take stock of the final preparations for the games.
  • This is the first time that the Khelo India Youth Games are being held in South India and will be played across four cities. Squash will make its debut in the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 Tamil Nadu, while state's traditional sport Silambam will be a demo sport.
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Narendra Modi and Al Nahyan Ink Four MoUs

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met for the fourth time in less than seven months and expressed their satisfaction with the progress of their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The two leaders witnessed the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between India and the UAE, covering areas such as renewable energy, healthcare, food parks and logistics.
  • One of the MoUs was between the Gujarat government and DP World, a Dubai-based global port operator and logistics company, which aims to develop a multi-modal logistics park and a free trade zone in the state.
  • The other three MoUs were between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the UAE's Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Govt. Appoints New Legislative Dept Secretary, Additional Secy

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet appointed Rajiv Mani, additional secretary in the Department of Legal Affairs, as the secretary of the Legislative Department under the Union Law and Justice Ministry.
  • The Indian Legal Service officer was appointed for a period of two years with effect from the date he assumes charge or until further orders whichever is earlier. Justice Department secretary S. K. G. Rahate was holding additional charge as Legislative Department Secretary since October, 2023.
  • In the same order, the ACC approved the upgrading of one post of joint secretary and legislative counsel in the Legislative Department to additional secretary for two years. It also appointed Manoj Kumar, the founder and managing partner of the law firm Hammurabi & Solomon Partners, as additional secretary, Legislative Department on contract for two years.

IAS Samir Kumar Sinha Takes Over as DG (Acquisition) in Defence Ministry

  • Senior IAS officer Samir Kumar Sinha was appointed as Additional Secretary and Director General (Acquisition) in the Defence Ministry, as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle affected by the Centre.
  • Samir Kumar Sinha is a 1994-batch IAS officer from the Assam-Meghalaya cadre.
  • Sinha's appointment comes at a time when the Defence Ministry is focusing on enhancing its acquisition capabilities. His role is pivotal in streamlining and overseeing the procurement process, contributing to the strengthening of the country's defense infrastructure.
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Indian Navy's P8I Aircraft Joins Exercise Sea Dragon-24 in Guam

  • Indian Navy's P8I aircraft landed at Guam, a US island territory in Western Pacific, to participate in Exercise Sea Dragon - 24. The exercise aims to enhance synergy and interoperability amongst participating navies from US, Australia, South Korea and Japan through professional interactions on ground and in air. Exercise Sea Dragon – 24 will conclude on January 24.
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Former TCS Executive Director Phiroz Vandrevala Passes Away

  • Phiroz Vandrevala, former director on the board of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), passed away at the age of 70.
  • Vandrevala joined TCS in 1982 and served as a key part of the leadership team over the decades, including serving as Executive Director of the company between 2007-2016.
  • As Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of its UK-based subsidiary Diligenta, he led TCS' life insurance and pension's industry business.
  • Vandrevala also served as Chairman of NASSCOM, Co-Chair of the Indo-British Partnership, and represented the industry and country in many other important global forums.

Maestro Ustad Rashid Khan Passes Away

  • The Indian classical music world mourned the passing of Ustad Rashid Khan, a towering figure who left an indelible mark on the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana and beyond.
  • Born in Uttar Pradesh's Badayun, Rashid Khan's musical lineage ran deep. His initial training came from his maternal grand-uncle, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, laying the foundation for his exquisite vocal skills. It was under Nissar Hussain Khan's tutelage that he delivered his debut concert at the tender age of eleven, already showcasing the promise of a remarkable career.
  • He was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards, and in 2012, West Bengal bestowed upon him the Banga Bhushan, recognizing his contribution to the state's artistic landscape.
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World Hindi Day

  • World Hindi Day, also known as Vishwa Hindi Diwas, is celebrated on January 10 and is dedicated to acknowledging the language and its substantial impact. True to its name, the day strives to raise awareness about Hindi.
  • In 1949, Hindi was spoken for the first time in the United Nations General Assembly. In 2006, the first Vishwa Hindi Diwas was celebrated by the then Prime Minister of the country – Manmohan Singh. Since then, January 10 has been observed as World Hindi Day everywhere.
  • The theme for World Hindi Day 2024 is 'Hindi – Bridging Traditional Knowledge and Artificial Intelligence.'
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President Droupadi Murmu Confers 'Khel Ratna' and 'Arjuna' Award

  • India's best-performing athletes were conferred with the national sports awards by President Droupadi Murmu in a regal ceremony where cricketer Mohammed Shami and para archer Sheetal Devi walked in to a rapturous applause at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • Shuttlers Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were chosen for the coveted Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award for a breakout 2023, during which they won their maiden Asian Games gold, a first for India in badminton, while also clinching the Asian Championships title and the Indonesia Open Super 1000 title.
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Mamata Banerjee Launches 'Yogyasree' for SC/ST Students in West Bengal

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee introduced a comprehensive social welfare scheme named 'Yogyasree'. The initiative aims to provide free training modules for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in West Bengal. This move came ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, reflecting the government's commitment to educational empowerment.
  • The Yogyasree scheme encompasses the establishment of fifty training centres across the state. These centres will offer cost-free training for SC and ST students, focusing on entrance and competitive examinations. Additionally, 46 centres will provide similar opportunities for those aspiring to secure government jobs and pursue careers in civil services.
  • In conjunction with the Yogyasree scheme, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also initiated an anti-ragging toll-free number for students. She emphasised the importance of displaying notifications in all colleges and universities to raise awareness about this helpline, ensuring a safer and more inclusive educational environment.
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Undergraduate Computer Applications and Management Courses to Come under AICTE

  • In a notification, the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced the inclusion of Management and Computer Programmes under the regulatory ambit of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
  • The move extended AICTE's oversight from postgraduate to undergraduate courses in Computer Applications and Management from the next academic year.
  • With its current focus on engineering, technology, and postgraduate Management (MBA) and Computer Applications (MCA) courses, AICTE's authority will now extend to include undergraduate programmes.

IIT Indore, CASE Construction Equipment Join to Set up Centre of Excellence

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CASE Construction Equipment. As part of the agreement, a CASE Centre of Excellence will be set up at the IIT Indore campus. The CASE Construction Equipment is a leading brand of CNH Industrial.
  • This collaboration is part of CASE's CSR initiatives and aims to foster increased collaboration between academics and the industry for the exchange of ideas, knowledge enhancement and research.
  • Under the MoU, IIT Indore will provide ready-to-install sufficient space with all the necessary infrastructure and required operators to run the facility to optimize the utilisation to support the testing and research activities. The testing and research will be carried out by IIT faculty and students.
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Inquiries for Lakshadweep Surging: TAAI President Jyoti Mayal

  • Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) President, Jyoti Mayal said that there has been a surge in travel inquiries for Lakshadweep while there are none for Maldives right now. Mayal also noted that Maldives' Tour Operators and Travel Associations, in a letter to the organisation, distanced themselves from the remarks by the sitting minister of Maldives.
  • Mayal addressed concerns within the Maldives travel industry while also spotlighting opportunities in domestic tourism. Notably, Mariyam Shiuna, a sitting Maldives minister, made some derogatory comments about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he visited Lakshadweep.
  • Maldives Tour Operators and Travel Associations are reaching out to TAAI because we have a MoU with the Associations and the Ministry of Tourism there for working together. They are saying that this was not the opinion of everyone and this is an individual opinion.
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Supreme Court Collegium Recommends Appointment of Three New judges to Madhya Pradesh High Court

  • The Supreme Court Collegium recommended the names of one judicial officer and two advocates for appointment as judges of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
  • As per the resolution uploaded on the official website of the Supreme Court, the following names were proposed for elevation: Advocate Deepak Khot, Advocate Pavan Kumar Dwivedi and Judicial Officer Ramkumar Choubey.

Supreme Court Directs High Courts to Form Committees to Implement Second National Judicial Pay Commission Recommendations

  • The Supreme Court directed all High Courts in the country to set up committees which shall be responsible for implementing the recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission with respect to salaries and service conditions of members of district judiciary and for dealing with grievances of judicial officers.
  • The bench of Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud, Justices J. B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra underscored that it is essential that judges are able to lead a life with financial dignity so as to ensure judicial independence.
  • It, therefore, ordered that a committee called the 'Committee for Service Conditions of the District Judiciary' shall be formed by every High Court in the country.
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