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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

18 Feb 2024

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

'Operation Dunki': Nepal Police Bust Trafficking Racket in Kathmandu

  • Eleven Indian nationals, mostly students, held hostage for over two weeks with a promise to facilitate travel to the USA, were rescued as Nepal police busted a human trafficking racket and arrested eight Indian mafia members along with their Nepali accomplice here.
  • Nepal police named it 'Operation Dunki' as the case turned out to be similar to the situation shown in popular Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan's 2023 movie Dunki. The rescued persons and mafia members came mostly from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana.
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ENVIRONMENT

Major Iron Ore Deposits Uncovered in Rajasthan's Karauli

  • Rajasthan's Karauli district emerged as a new focal point for mineral exploration after the Mines Department announced the discovery of substantial iron ore deposits. This find, located near Hindon, spans approximately 1,888 hectares and is poised to significantly impact the state's industrial landscape.
  • Preliminary assessments suggest that the areas of Khoda, Dadaroli, Todupura, and Liloti harbor over 840 million tonnes of iron ore. Mines Secretary Anandi highlighted this discovery's potential to spur industrial development and generate employment opportunities within the state.
  • The discovery of iron ore in Karauli is a boon for various sectors, including the steel and cement industries, which are integral to Rajasthan's industrial framework.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

LIC Launches a Non-Participating Product 'Amritbaal' for Children

  • The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) launched a non-participating product – 'Amritbaal'.
  • The product, designed for children, is a non-linked, non-participating, individual, savings, life insurance plan.
  • The plan is designed to meet the higher education and other needs of the child. It facilitates the accumulation of a corpus through guaranteed additions at the rate of Rs. 80 per thousand basic sum assured at the end of each policy year from the inception till the end of the Policy term, provided the policy is in force.
  • The minimum entry age is 30 days, with the maximum being 13 years. The age of maturity has to be between 18 years to 25 years at the last age of birthday.
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SPORTS

ICC Bans UK Cricketer Rizwan Javed for over 17 Years

  • UK-based club cricketer Rizwan Javed was handed a severe ban from all cricketing activities for a period of 17 ½ years. This decision came in the wake of his involvement in several breaches of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Anti-Corruption Code for Participants. The ramifications of his actions highlight the stringent measures taken to uphold the integrity of the sport.
  • Rizwan Javed was one among eight individuals charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on behalf of the ECB for their involvement in corruption attempts during the 2021 Abu Dhabi T10 Cricket League. Despite being charged, Rizwan failed to respond, leading to a presumption of guilt. The Chair of the ICC Code of Conduct Committee, Michael J. Beloff KC, acting as the ECB's Disciplinary Panel, rendered the decision based on this non-response.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

India, Colombia Sign MoU on Digital Cooperation

  • India and Colombia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the field of Sharing Successful Digital Solutions Implemented at Population Scale for Digital Transformation. The agreement aims to foster digital transformation through the sharing of India's open-sourced Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs), particularly focusing on India Stack Solutions.
  • The signatories were Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, and Jal Shakti from India, and Mr. Mauricio Lizcano, Minister of Information Technologies and Communications of Colombia.
  • The MoU facilitates the exchange of public officials and experts to enhance cooperation in digital transformation initiatives.

Sonowal Inaugurates Kalughat Inland Waterways Transport Terminal in Bihar

  • Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways (MoPSW), inaugurated the Kalughat Inland Waterways Transport Terminal and two community jetties in Bettiah, Bihar. The ceremony was graced by Vijay Kumar Sinha, Deputy Chief Minister, Bihar; Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Member of Parliament, along with key officials from both central and state governments.
  • Kalughat, strategically located on the north bank of the River Ganga in Bihar's Saran District, emerges as a vital nexus in the region's transportation network. With its direct access to NH-19, the terminal serves as a pivotal link for cargo movement, particularly for Nepal-bound shipments via Raxaul and the hinterland of North Bihar.
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DEFENCE

Nikhil Joshi New Managing Director of Boeing Defence India

  • Boeing, the US-based aerospace company, announced the appointment of Nikhil Joshi as Managing Director of Boeing Defense India (BDI), in a move to strengthen the company's operations and accelerate its growth strategy for India.
  • Based in New Delhi, Nikhil Joshi will lead current and future programs for BDI to enhance the mission readiness and modernization of India's defence forces. Reporting to Salil Gupte, president, of Boeing India and South Asia, Nikhil Joshi will work in close collaboration with Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) and Boeing Global Services (BGS).
  • Nikhil Joshi has more than 25 years of aerospace and defence industry experience, including over two decades of service with the Indian armed forces in the aviation branch of the Indian Navy.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Haryana Launches 'Van Mitra' Scheme to Boost Green Cover

  • In a move towards environmental conservation, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the 'Van Mitra' scheme and its accompanying portal. This innovative initiative is designed to foster community engagement in afforestation efforts, specifically targeting non-forest areas across the state. The scheme aims to empower local communities to play an active role in expanding the state's green cover, thereby enhancing the survival rate of newly planted trees and promoting the planting of trees outside traditional forest zones.
  • The 'Van Mitra' scheme extends an invitation to members of families with an annual income of less than Rs. 1.80 lakh to participate in this green initiative. Eligible individuals aged between 18 and 60 years can register to become 'Van Mitras,' embarking on a mission to contribute to the state's afforestation efforts.
  • Participants in the 'Van Mitra' scheme stand to receive monetary incentives based on the maintenance of the plants. The scheme allows each 'Van Mitra' to plant up to 1,000 saplings, offering a structured incentive program that rewards the care and growth of these plants over time. In the first year, participants will receive Rs 20 for each prepared pit, verified through geo-tagging and photograph uploads. Subsequently, Rs 30 will be awarded for each sapling planted, with additional payments for ongoing maintenance and security of the saplings at different rates over the subsequent three years.

UP Government Boosts Kanya Sumangala Yojana Grant

  • Sandeep Kaur, Director of the Women's Welfare Department, declared substantial increments in grants under the Mukhyamantri Kanya Sumangala Yojana. This follows Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's directive to raise the grant from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000 per beneficiary annually starting this April 2024. The initiative aims to tackle the diverse challenges encountered by girls in Uttar Pradesh, fostering their well-being from birth throughout their educational endeavours.
  • The initial grant amount provided at the time of birth has been raised from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000, effective from the financial year 2024-25.
  • Support for completing all vaccinations within one year has been doubled from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000.
  • Girls passing class 10 or 12, or those enrolled in a diploma/undergraduate program for two years or more, will now receive Rd. 7,000, up from Rs. 5,000.
  • Launched in April 2019, the Mukhyamantri Kanya Sumangala Yojana is a flagship initiative of the women's welfare department in Uttar Pradesh.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

Indian Professor at IIT Madras Elected to National Academy of Engineering, US

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) faculty Professor Thalappil Pradeep became the 23rd foreign member from India to be elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
  • He was elected for his contributions to cluster chemistry and the discovery and implementation of affordable drinking water solutions.
  • Founded in 1964, the NAE is an independent institution that provides engineering leadership. It has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and international members, senior professionals in business, academia, and government who are among the world's most accomplished engineers. They provide the leadership and expertise for numerous projects focused on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life.

University of Birmingham Signs MoU with Indian Institute of Heritage

  • The University of Birmingham collaborated with the Indian Institute of Heritage to create new opportunities in the fields of heritage, museums and museology.
  • Dr. B. R. Mani, Vice-Chancellor, Indian Institute of Heritage and Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore a strategic partnership that will create impactful collaborations in the field of education and research.
  • Through this partnership, the two institutes will ensure participation of students and experts from both the institutions in various research projects as well student and academic exchange programmes Birmingham and Delhi.

IIT Kanpur, GUVI Join Hands to Launch Technology, Business Courses in Regional Languages

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur's Foundation for Advanced Consulting, Education and Training (IFACET) paired up with GUVI, an EdTech company within the HCL Group, to introduce and deliver technology and business courses in regional languages.
  • The courses are aimed at offering transformative career opportunities to students by delivering professional programmes in domains like technology and business. This will not only help upskill candidates to meet the challenges of an evolving job market but also help them learn efficiently in their mother tongue.
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