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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

22 Feb 2024


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Cybercrime Report: India Ranks 80th Worldwide

  • In 2023, India ranked the 80th most targeted country for cybercrime globally. Local threats affected approximately 34% of users, resulting in the blocking of 74,385,324 incidents by Kaspersky products. The country's cyber security market reached USD 6.06 billion in 2023, yet the surge in sophisticated external cyber threats poses a significant challenge for enterprises, according to date released by IDC.
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Malta Becomes 119th Country to Join International Solar Alliance

  • Malta took a remarkable step towards sustainable energy by joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA). This move underscores the country's commitment to reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources and embracing environmentally friendly alternatives.
  • With this development, Malta became the 119th nation to join the alliance, reinforcing the collective effort to combat climate change through solar energy deployment.
  • The signing ceremony, held in the presence of Abhishek Singh, Head of Depository and Joint Secretary (Economic Diplomacy) in the national capital, signified the collaborative spirit underlying the ISA. With over 120 signatory nations, the alliance fosters cooperation in developing and implementing solar energy solutions.
  • The International Solar Alliance originated from a joint effort by India and France on November 30, 2015. It aims to reduce global dependence on fossil fuels by promoting the widespread adoption of solar energy. The alliance prioritises the development of cost-effective solar solutions to facilitate sustainable growth, particularly in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
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Fintech Start-up 'Paymart' Partners with Indian Banks for Virtual ATM Service

  • Paymart, a fintech start-up, announced its partnership with Indian banks to introduce a groundbreaking virtual, cardless, and hardware-less cash withdrawal service. The partnered banks include IDBI Bank, Indian Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, and Karur Vyasa Bank, with discussions underway with four additional banks for further collaboration.
  • Paymart boasts future-ready technology and direct connectivity to banks' Core Banking Systems, positioning itself as a versatile Cardless Switch.
  • Paymart's virtual ATM service aims to empower local shopkeepers by transforming them into essential hubs for cash withdrawals, eliminating the need for traditional ATM machines or additional hardware.

Uttarakhand CM Launches 'Himalayan Basket' to Empowering Local Economy

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami unveiled the 'Himalayan Basket' initiative. Initially conceived by local entrepreneurs Sumit and Sneha Thapliyal in 2018, this innovative project aims to harness the agricultural riches of Champawat district, propelling it towards becoming an ideal district through the enhancement of local employment opportunities.
  • The 'Himalayan Basket' initiative is designed to boost local employment by capitalising on the district's abundant agricultural resources. By focusing on the procurement of milk, turmeric, and mint from local farmers, the project endeavours to produce and export high-demand products such as 'churpi' and ghee. This approach not only supports the local farming community but also taps into a lucrative market, thereby opening new economic avenues for the region's inhabitants.

Govt. Appoints Non-executive Chairmen in Bank of India, IOB, UCO Bank

  • The government appointed former Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India M. R. Kumar as the non-executive chairman of public sector lender Bank of India.
  • The government also appointed Srinivasan Sridhar as the non-executive chairman of Indian Overseas Bank on the condition that he resigns from the board of Bank of Baroda where he is shareholder director.
  • Aravamudan Krishna was appointed non-executive chairman of Kolkata-based UCO Bank on the condition that he resigns from the board of Suraksha Asset Reconstruction Ltd. Krishna will be the first chairman of UCO since the chairman and managing director's post was splitted in PSBs in 2015.
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Reliance Industries is Set to Launch 'Hanooman', a ChatGPT-style AI Service

  • Reliance Industries, led by Mukesh Ambani, in collaboration with some of the country's premier engineering institutions, is poised to unveil its pioneering ChatGPT-style service named 'Hanooman' in March. This initiative marks a significant milestone in the advancement of AI capabilities within India, promising to bring a new era of digital innovation and accessibility.
  • The development of 'Hanooman' is a result of a concerted effort between Reliance Jio Infocomm, Centre, and several Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), including IIT Bombay. This collaborative endeavor, featuring a consortium of Reliance and eight affiliated universities, underscores the synergy between India's leading corporate powerhouse and its academic institutions in pushing the frontiers of technology.
  • One of the defining features of 'Hanooman' is its ability to operate across 11 local languages, catering to a wide spectrum of fields including healthcare, governance, financial services, and education.

Fintech Major PhonePe Takes on Google, Apple with Homegrown Indus Appstore

  • Fintech major PhonePe launched of its homegrown Indus Appstore specifically for the Indian market, in a bid to compete with global incumbents like Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.
  • The Indus Appstore is PhonePe's attempt at creating a more competitive and localized mobile app store economy for India, which is already the world's largest market for mobile apps.
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MI Emirates Wins ILT20 Title by Defeating Dubai Capitals

  • Nicholas Pooran led MI Emirates secured their first ILT20 title by defeating Dubai Capitals by 45 runs in the final at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
  • MI Emirates set a record score of 208 for 3 in 20 overs and in reply, Capitals could muster only 163 for 7 in 20 overs.

Ladakh Organises 'World's Highest Frozen Lake Marathon' on Pangong Tso

  • Ladakh's Pangong Lake marathon, dubbed the 'world's highest frozen lake marathon', on Pangong Tso which was held, had about 120 runners from seven countries.
  • This year (2024) marked the second edition of the event, organised jointly by Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh with the support of the Administration Union Territory of Ladakh and the 14 Corps of the Indian Army.
  • The event was organised with the agenda to bring attention towards the melting Himalayan glaciers, which pose a massive threat to our environment. The run was titled as 'theastrun', suggesting that this might be the last run on the frozen lake, which faces a threat due to climate change.
  • Notably, the maiden marathon run conducted in 2023 was recorded in the Guinness World Record as the world's highest frozen lake half marathon.

Pakistan's Babar Azam Becomes Quickest to 10,000 Runs in T20s

  • Former Pakistan captain and batting maestro Babar Azam showcased his unparalleled prowess once again as he etched his name in the annals of cricket history by becoming the quickest batter to surpass the milestone of 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. His remarkable achievement came during an exhilarating clash between Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2024.
  • In a display of sheer brilliance, Babar Azam achieved the monumental feat in his 271st innings, surpassing cricketing stalwarts like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, and David Warner in an elite list. This remarkable accomplishment solidifies Babar's status as one of the premier batters in the shortest format of the game.
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Indo-Bangla Inland Waterway Connectivity Terminal Launched in Tripura's Srimantapur

  • A new inland waterway terminal and a permanent jetty at the Indo-Bangla inland waterway protocol route between Sonamura and Daudkandi was inaugurated at Srimantapur in Tripura's Sepahijala district, nearly four years after the route was started.
  • Chief Minister Manik Saha, who joined the inaugural event via videoconferencing, said that the new infrastructure would help to strengthen the trade and economic relations between India and Bangladesh.

India's Longest Transportation Tunnel Opens in Jammu

  • The longest transportation tunnel of the country on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) was opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he flagged off the first electrified train of the Kashmir valley.
  • The official added that the Prime Minister also inaugurated the 48.1-km-long Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan section. This longest tunnel, which is 12.77 km long and known as T-50, falls between the Khari-Sumber section.
  • T-50 is supposed to be the most challenging of the 11 tunnels in the Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangadal section.
  • According to railway officials associated with the project, the tunnel survey work started around 1996 but the tender was awarded in December 2013 so it took around 10 years to operationalise it.

PM Opens Raisina Dialogue

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 9th edition of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, and the keynote address was delivered by the Chief Guest Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (Greece), Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
  • The Raisina Dialogue is India's flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the international community.
  • The 9th Raisina Dialogue witnessed participation of representatives from over 100 countries including Ministers, former Heads of State and Heads of Government, Military Commanders, Captains of Industry, Technology Leaders, Academics, Journalists, Scholars on Strategic Affairs, Experts from leading Think Tanks, and Youth.
  • The theme of the 2024 edition is 'Chaturanga: Conflict, Contest, Cooperate, Create'.
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Multinational Military Exercise 'Shanti Prayas IV' Commences in Kathmandu

  • Kathmandu became the focal point of global peacekeeping efforts as it is hosting the multinational military exercise 'Shanti Prayas IV'. This significant event, which draws army representatives from 19 countries actively involved in United Nations Peacekeeping missions, underscores the collaborative spirit and dedication towards maintaining global peace and security.
  • The exercise was inaugurated by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda in a ceremony held at the Nepali Army Headquarters in Bhadrakali, Kathmandu. This marked the beginning of an intensive training program aimed at enhancing the peacekeeping capabilities of the participating nations.
  • The Shanti Prayas Exercise is co-hosted by the Nepali Army and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, reflecting the strong military cooperation between Nepal and the United States. The training sessions are taking place at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre in Nepal, with over 1,125 participants from 19 countries engaged in the exercise from February 20 to March 4, 2024.
  • The primary objective of Shanti Prayas IV is to showcase Nepal's proficiency in peacekeeping operations and to highlight the United States' support for the Nepali Army's contributions to global peacekeeping efforts.
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World Thinking Day

  • World Thinking Day is observed on February 22 every year to celebrate friendship, sisterhood, and empowerment of women around the world. The day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to create a better world, where every girl has equal opportunity to thrive. It is aimed at providing a platform for all women and girls to freely express their views and ideas, take part in discussions about priority issues as well as offer global solutions.
  • Its history dates back to 1926 when it was established to honour Lord Robert Baden-Powell's birthday. Powell was the founder of the scouting movement. Originally it was named 'Thinking Day' and urged scouts worldwide to pause and reflect on the meaning of their promise and the movement's global nature.
  • It was officially named the 'World Thinking Day' in 1932. Since then, it has been marked annually with a unique theme every year.
  • The theme for World Thinking Day 2024 is 'Our World, Our Thriving Future'.
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Dadasaheb Phalke IFF Awards 2024

  • The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2024 was held in Mumbai. Several notable celebrities, including Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Rani Mukerji, Atlee and Nayanthara, among others were in attendance at the star-studded event. Shah Rukh bagged the Best Actor Award while Nayanthara was awarded the Best Actress.
  • Here is the full list of winners of the Dadasaheb Phalke International Films Festival Awards 2024: Best Actor - Shah Rukh Khan (Jawan), Best Actress - Nayanthara (Jawan), Best Actress - Rani Mukerji (Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway), Best Director - Sandeep Reddy Vanga (Animal), Best Actor (Critics) - Vicky Kaushal (Sam Bahadur), Best Music Director - Anirudh Ravichander (Jawan), Best Playback Singer (Male) - Varun Jain, (Tere Vaste from Zara Hatke Zara Bachke), Best Actor in a Negative Role - Bobby Deol (Animal), Best Actress in a Television Series - Rupali Ganguly (Anupamaa), Best Actor in a Television Series - Neil Bhatt (Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin), Television Series of the Year - Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin, Best Actress in a Web Series - Karishma Tanna (Scoop), Outstanding Contribution to the Film Industry - Moushumi Chatterjee and Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry – K. J. Yesudas.

Alex Dawson Captures the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 Award

  • Swedish photographer Alex Dawson clinched the prestigious title of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024. His winning entry, 'Whale Bones', is a mesmerising image that transports viewers beneath the icy expanse of the Greenland ice sheet, where a diver is seen exploring the skeletal remains of a minke whale. This striking composition not only showcases Dawson's exceptional photographic skills but also highlights the haunting beauty of the underwater world.
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Union Cabinet Expands National Livelihood Mission (NLM)

  • The Union Cabinet approved modifications to the National Livelihood Mission (NLM), enhancing its scope with new subsidy provisions. These changes aim to bolster entrepreneurship in the livestock sector and improve fodder cultivation, alongside simplifying the livestock insurance program.
  • Individuals, FPOs, SHGs, JLGs, FCOs, and Section 8 companies can now receive a 50% capital subsidy, up to Rs. 50 lakh, for establishing horse, donkey, mule, and camel enterprises.
  • State governments will assist in breed conservation efforts for horses, donkeys, and camels.
  • The Central Government would allocate Rs. 10 crore for establishing semen stations and nucleus breeding farms for these animals.
  • Launched in 2014-15, the NLM now has three Sub-Missions - Breed improvement of Livestock and Poultry, Feed & Fodder and Innovation & Extension. The re-aligned NLM has ten activities and targets towards entrepreneurship development, feed and fodder development, research and innovation, and livestock insurance.
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PM Modi Inaugurates IIM Jammu Campus

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new campus of IIM Jammu.
  • Spanning 200 acres and built at a project cost of Rs. 500.91 crores, the new campus reflects IIM Jammu's commitment to providing world-class infrastructure conducive to the holistic development of the students. The new campus has been completed in record time, boasting state-of-the-art facilities, including smart classrooms and the "Nalanda", a modern library, fostering an environment of academic pursuit and innovation.
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Book Titled 'Sculpted Stones: Mysteries of Mamallapuram' by Ashwin Prabhu

  • A new book titled 'Sculpted Stones: Mysteries of Mamallapuram' emerged as a beacon guiding readers through the rich tapestry of history and artistry that defines the ancient town of Mamallapuram. Authored by Ashwin Prabhu and published by Tulika Books, this captivating exploration invites readers to delve into the enigmatic world of ancient sculptural art.
  • 'Sculpted Stones' serves as a portal to Mamallapuram's illustrious past, offering readers a window into the architectural marvels and cultural heritage that have stood the test of time. Through meticulous research and engaging narrative, the book unfolds the stories behind the iconic landmarks that dot the landscape of this historic town.
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