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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

02 Mar 2024


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Alexander Stubb Assumes Finnish Presidency

  • Alexander Stubb was sworn in as the President of Finland, taking over from longtime former President Sauli Niinistö who served 16 years at the helm. The leadership transition came in a new era after becoming a NATO member — something he will demonstrate by making his first foreign trip to inspect the military alliance's drill in neighbouring Norway's Arctic region.
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Zoological Survey of India Names New Marine Species after President Droupadi Murmu

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) identified and named a new species of marine head-shield sea slug discovered along the West Bengal and Odisha coasts. Named Melanochlamys droupadi, this distinctive species bears a ruby red spot and has unique characteristics that distinguish it from other sea slugs.
  • The species was discovered from the coastal areas of Digha in West Bengal and Udaipur in Odisha.
  • It is characterised by its short, blunt cylindrical body, smooth dorsal surface, and distinctive red spot.
  • Named after the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, Melanochlamys droupadi was confirmed through morphological, anatomical, and molecular examinations.

Cabinet Approval, Establishment of International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

  • The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with its headquarters based in India. This landmark decision came with a one-time budgetary support of Rs. 150 crore for a period of five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recognising India's significant role in conserving big cats and endangered species, called for the formation of an Alliance of Global Leaders to combat poaching in Asia during his speech on Global Tiger Day in 2019. This call was reiterated on the occasion of commemorating 50 years of India's Project Tiger on April 9, 2023, where the launch of the International Big Cat Alliance was formally announced.
  • The International Big Cat Alliance focuses on conserving big cats, including Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah. Five out of these seven big cats are found in India, emphasising the country's pivotal role in big cat conservation.
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RBI Revamps BBPS Norms for Enhanced Efficiency

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a revised regulatory framework for the Bharat Bill Payment Systems (BBPS), effective April 1, 2024. This overhaul aims to streamline bill payments, foster wider participation, and bolster consumer protection measures in light of evolving payment landscape dynamics.
  • NPCI Bharat Bill Pay Ltd (NBBL), a subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), serves as the designated Payment System Provider for BBPS. NBBL operates as the Central Unit (BBPCU), managing the connection between customers and billers, along with overseeing clearing and settlement activities for BBPS transactions.

Future Generali India Life Insurance Appoints Alok Rungta as MD & CEO

  • Future Generali India Life Insurance appointed Alok Rungta as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD & CEO) from April 1, 2024 subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Rungta has more than 25 years of experience and has held executive positions at insurance companies in the Philippines, Hong Kong and India.

American Beverage Giant PepsiCo Launches New Globe Logo Worldwide

  • American beverage giant Pepsi rolled out its new globe logo worldwide, as part of its first major global redesign in 14 years.
  • In India, the company unveiled the new globe logo at the Gateway of India, Mumbai, with a digital artwork that introduced the updated colour palette for the brand – electric blue and black.
  • The new logo thoughtfully borrows equity from Pepsi's past, whilst incorporating modern elements to create a look that is unapologetically current and undeniably Pepsi.
  • The fresh design language reflects the invigorating spirit of Indian youth and their boundless pursuit of possibilities.
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Iran Launches Pars-I Remote Sensing Satellite

  • Russia launched into space an Iranian research satellite which will scan Iran's topography from an orbit of 500 km (310 miles).
  • The remote Pars 1 research-sensing satellite, launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, weighs 134 kg (295 pounds) and is equipped with three cameras.
  • Russia had sent Iran's remote Khayyam sensing satellite into orbit in 2022 from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome, reflecting deeper scientific cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.
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Lucknow Super Giants Hire Lance Klusener as Assistant Coach

  • Lucknow Super Giants signed former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener as their assistant coach for the 2024 Indian Premier League.
  • He teamed up with head coach Justin Langer and fellow assistant coach S. Sriram.
  • LSG reached the IPL playoffs in both the seasons they have featured in since their inception in 2022. However, on both occasions, they were ousted in the eliminator.
  • Klusener is also the head coach of LSG's South African franchise, the Durban's Super Giants.
  • Klusener has coached various teams across the world, including being the consultant coach for the Delhi and Tripura domestic sides.
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India and Nicaragua Sign Historic MoU on Pharmacopoeia Recognition

  • India and Nicaragua forged a significant partnership in the field of pharmaceutical regulation through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Pharmacopoeia recognition. This milestone agreement marks Nicaragua as the first nation in the Spanish-speaking world to recognise the Indian Pharmacopeia, showcasing the growing global recognition of India's pharmaceutical standards.
  • India's Ambassador to Nicaragua, Dr. Sumit Seth, and Nicaragua's Minister of Health, Dr. Martha Reyes, signed the MoU on Pharmacopoeia cooperation between the two nations. This MoU underscores the commitment of both countries to collaborate in regulating medicines and ensuring quality healthcare for their citizens.

Second India-Italy Consular Dialogue in New Delhi

  • The 2nd India-Italy Consular Dialogue was held in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was led by the Secretary (Consular, Passport, Visa, and Overseas Indian Affairs) in the Ministry of External Affairs Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi. The Italian delegation was led by the Director General for Migratory Policies and Italians Abroad, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Luigi Maria Vignali accompanied by the Italian Ambassador to India Vincenzo de Luca. Joint Secretary (Consular, Passport, Visa) K. J. Srinivasa and other officials from various divisions of the Ministry of External Affairs, other ministries, and agencies attended the meeting.
  • The Dialogue between the two strategic partner countries reinforced the strong people-to-people ties and cooperation that both countries share across consular issues of mutual interest.
  • Both sides discussed ways of enhancing cooperation on a wide range of issues such as quicker visa processing, mobility of students and professionals, safe and legal migration, Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement, protection of vulnerable women and children, and enabling smooth travel of their nationals.
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Indian Navy to Commission New Base, INS Jatayu, in Lakshadweep Next Week

  • The Indian Navy will commission a new base, INS Jatayu, in Lakshadweep for better coverage of the Indian Ocean next week.
  • The Navy would commission INS Jatayu in Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep to keep an eye on the activities of adversaries there.
  • This will start with a component of a few officers and men, and then will be expanded to a larger naval base.
  • The base would give a similar capability in the Arabian Sea like the INS Baaz positioned in the Andaman and Nicobar Island territories in the east.
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Ex-Tanzanian President Mwinyi Passes Away

  • Former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, credited with ushering the East African nation into free market economics, died at age 98.
  • Mwinyi took office in 1985, succeeding Tanzania's charismatic founding President, Julius Nyerere, who had led the country to independence from Britain in 1961 and headed a one-party state for 24 years.
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V. K. Paul Launches National Birth Defects Awareness Month 2024

  • NITI Aayog Member V. K. Paul launched the National Birth Defects Awareness Month 2024 at a function in New Delhi. The theme of National Birth Defect Awareness Month 2024 is 'Breaking barriers: inclusive support for children with birth defects'. Under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram of the Health Ministry, various activities for nationwide awareness of birth defect prevention, early identification, timely management, and psychosocial impact will take place throughout the month.
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Bengali Translation Wins Prestigious Romain Rolland Book Prize 2024

  • Pankaj Kumar Chatterjee, the Bengali translator of Stalin's Couch, a French novel about the Soviet ruler's final years, has won the 7th edition of the Romain Rolland Book Prize.
  • Instituted in 2017 by the French Institute in India, it recognises translations of French books into Indian languages, including English.
  • This is the second time a Bengali translator has won the prize, with Trinanjan Chakraborty winning for Kamel Daoud's Meursault, contre-enquête in 2022.
  • The Romain Rolland Book Prize was created in 2017 with the aim of awarding the best translation of a French title (francophone area) into any Indian language, including English. The Indo-French jury takes into account the quality of the translation and of the publication itself. The prize aims at encouraging and rewarding the efforts made by Indian translators and Indian publishers to bring the best of Francophone literature and thought, in all its diversity, to the Indian readership.
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Union Minister Pralhad Joshi Unveils Coal Logistics Plan and Policy

  • Aiming at transporting coal seamlessly across the country, the Union Ministry of Coal has drafted a logistics plan and policy in consultation with all stakeholders in the supply chain.
  • The plan, called 'Coal Logistics Plan and Policy' and unveiled by Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, will bring together all agencies involved in mining, transport, monitoring, and usage on a single digital smart platform.
  • The stakeholders that are part of the planning include the Ministry of Railways; Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways; Coal India; NTPC; NITI Aayog; and private coal miners.

Smriti Irani Launches Improved Guidelines for 'Jiyo Parsi' Scheme

  • Union Minister Smriti Irani launched a revamped 'Jiyo Parsi' scheme and the Avesta-Pahlavi Language Centre at the Mumbai University during an event.
  • Jiyo Parsi is a central sector scheme launched in 2013-14 to arrest the population decline of the Parsi Community by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions.
  • The Minister highlighted the importance of the revival of languishing languages, especially those related to notified minority communities. The Ministry of Minority Affairs in collaboration with Mumbai University aims to establish the Centre and required infrastructure for undertaking certificate courses, diploma courses, and PhD programs.
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Dharmendra Pradhan Inaugurates I-Hub Foundation at IIM Sambalpur

  • Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the I-Hub Foundation, an incubation centre, at IIM Sambalpur. The foundation will play a pivotal role in nurturing and supporting innovative ventures across diverse sectors, including textiles, art and culture, agriculture, healthcare, financial and digital inclusivity, tribal entrepreneurship, and sustainability.
  • Pradhan also launched the Sambalpur chapter of '100 Cube' start-ups to establish 100 start-ups on its premises, each with an approximate valuation of Rs. 100 crore, by Odisha's centennial celebration in 2036.
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Former UN Assistant Secretary General Lakshmi Murdeshwar Puri Launches Debut Book 'Swallowing the Sun'

  • Lakshmi Murdeshwar Puri, wife of Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, celebrated the launch of her debut book 'Swallowing the Sun' in Mumbai. The novel, set during the time of independence, draws inspiration from Puri's parents and her roots in Maharashtra, aiming to illuminate themes of women empowerment and cultural heritage.
  • Lakshmi is a former assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations and a former deputy executive director of UN WOMEN, the first global organisation to promote gender equality. She has also been India's ambassador to countries such as Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • 'Swallowing the Sun' is deeply rooted in Lakshmi Puri's personal history and heritage, drawing inspiration from her upbringing in Maharashtra.
  • The novel explores themes of women empowerment through its protagonist, shedding light on the struggles and triumphs of women during a pivotal period in Indian history.
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FSSAI Gives 'Eat Right Station' Certificate to 150 Railway Stations

  • Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food options for millions of rail passengers, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) awarded its prestigious 'Eat Right Station' certification to 150 railway stations.
  • The 'Eat Right Station' certification process involves stringent audits of food vendors, comprehensive training programs for food handlers, and strict adherence to hygiene and sanitation protocols. According to the Health Ministry, stations that successfully meet these criteria are recognised for their efforts in promoting informed food choices and awarded the 'Eat Right Station' certification.
  • In addition to railway stations, six prominent metro stations across the country were also accredited as Eat Right Stations. Notable among them are stations at Noida Sector 51, Esplanade in Kolkata, IIT Kanpur, Botanical Garden in Noida, and Noida Electronic City Metro Station.
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