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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

10 Apr 2024


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Simon Harris Becomes Ireland's New Prime Minister

  • Irish lawmaker Simon Harris was elected as Ireland's new Prime Minister by a vote in parliament on Tuesday, becoming the country's youngest premier after openly gay and Indian-origin Leo Varadkar announced a surprise resignation last month. Harris will now take over as the head of Ireland's three-party coalition government led by the centre-right Fine Gael party and was already poised to replace Varadkar.
  • The 37-year-old Harris, who has been the coalition government's further and higher education minister, was the only candidate to put his name forward to succeed Varadkar, who had been Ireland's previous youngest prime minister, or what Ireland calls its taoiseach. Varadkar announced his resignation on March 20 due to "personal and political reasons" and said he had no future plans, apart from remaining in parliament as a backbench lawmaker.
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India Secures Second Overseas Port: Sittwe Agreement Approved by MEA

  • In a strategic move to bolster its maritime presence and enhance regional connectivity, India has gained operational control over the Sittwe Port in Myanmar, following approval from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). 
  • The agreement allows India Ports Global (IPGL), a company fully owned by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, to manage the entire port on the Kaladan River, marking India's second overseas port acquisition after Chabahar in Iran.
  • IPGL is a company 100 per cent owned by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
  • Unlike the limited control over terminals in Chabahar, India now possesses complete operational authority over the Sittwe Port, positioning it strategically in the Indian Ocean rivalry with China.
  • The deal includes a long-term lease arrangement, subject to renewal every three years, enabling India to undertake substantial development initiatives at the port.
  • India Ports Global Limited, a subsidiary of Sagarmala Development Company Limited under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, will spearhead the port's development and operations.
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Aishwarya Mishra's 400m Bronze at 2023 Asian Championships to be Upgraded to Silver

  • Top Indian athlete Aishwarya Mishra's 400m bronze medal at 2023 Asian Championships will be upgraded to silver as original second-place finisher Farida Soliyeva of Uzbekistan failed a dope test.
  • Soliyeva's urine sample collected on July 13, during the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok last year, contained prohibited substance Meldonium and the Athletics Integrity Unit, the international federation's body for combating doping, disqualified all her results from that date.
  • Soliyeva had finished second with a time of 52.95 seconds while Mishra was third in 53.07 seconds.
  • Nadeesha Ramanayake of Sri Lanka had won gold with a time of 52.61 seconds.

Sri Lankan Star Kamindu Mendis and England's Maia Bouchier Crowned ICC Players of the Month

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named Sri Lankan cricketer Kamindu Mendis as the ICC Men's Player of the Month for March 2024. Mendis' historic batting performances in the first Test against Bangladesh in Sylhet were instrumental in Sri Lanka's comfortable victory.
  • Mendis, who had a quiet start to the tour in the T20I series, soon found his groove in the Test match. Facing a challenging situation with Sri Lanka at 57 for 5, Mendis rescued the innings with a brilliant century, scoring 102 runs. His heroics continued in the second innings, where he scored a remarkable 164 runs, becoming the first player batting at number seven or lower to hit two centuries in a single Test match.
  • On the women's side, England's Maia Bouchier has been awarded the ICC Women's Player of the Month for March 2024. Bouchier's exceptional performances in the T20I series against New Zealand were crucial in securing a 4-1 series victory for the visitors.
  • Bouchier's consistent batting displays were a highlight of the series, as she amassed 223 runs at an average of 55.75 across five matches. Her standout performance came in the decisive fourth match, where she blasted 91 runs off just 56 balls, including 12 fours and two sixes, to guide England to a 47-run victory and secure the series win.
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Pune Celebrates Yoga Mahotsav Ahead of International Yoga Day

  • The 'Yoga Mahotsav' was held in Pune, Maharashtra, to mark the 75-day countdown to the International Day of Yoga. Organised by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga and the National Institute of Naturopathy, Ministry of Ayush, the event witnessed the overwhelming participation of thousands of people. The participants engaged in the practice of the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP), showcasing the growing popularity of Yoga.
  • The Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) was given significant importance during the event, with a live demonstration performed by the experts from the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga.
  • More than 5,000 Yoga practitioners participated in the CYP demonstration, which was streamed through various social media platforms of the Ministry of Ayush, MDNIY, and other Yoga institutions.

GUJCOST Designated as Nodal Centre for ISRO's START Programme

  • GUJCOST has been appointed as the Nodal Centre for ISRO's START programme, aimed at nurturing aspiring scientists and engineers in the field of space science and technology. The programme, conceptualized by ISRO, provides an introductory online platform covering various areas of space science research.
  • Under the START programme, GUJCOST will conduct live classes, acting as the central hub for knowledge dissemination. Four Regional Science Centres in Rajkot, Patan, Bhavnagar, and Bhuj will also contribute to facilitating the programme, expanding its reach across the region.
  • The inaugural online programme, titled "Exploration of Solar System," invites registrations until April 19. Scheduled to commence on April 24 and run until May 10, 2024, the programme aims to provide participants with a deep understanding of the complexities of the solar system.
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Navy Chief inaugurates New facilities at Karwar Naval Base

  • Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar inaugurated a 350m long major pier for Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and a residential accommodation at Naval Base Karwar. These infrastructure developments are part of the ongoing Phase IIA of Project Seabird, which will accommodate 32 ships and submarines, 23 yardcraft, a dual-use Naval Air Station, a full fledged naval dockyard, four covered dry berths and logistics for ships and aircraft.
  • The Pier 3 OPV Pier is 350m long, capable of berthing OPVs, large survey vessels and mine counter measure vessels. The pier would also provide various shore-based services, such as electrical power, potable water, chilled water for air conditioning, 30 tonnes mobile crane and other domestic services to the ships.
  • The residential accommodation consists of two towers of 80 flats for married officers and 149 flats of single officers accommodation along with related amenities and external services. Further, six towers of Type-II accommodation consisting of 360 flats for Defence civilians were also inaugurated.
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Pioneer of Dravidian Movement, Prominent Film Producer R. M. Veerappan Passes Away

  • He was 98. Veerappan had served as a minister in the former Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran's Cabinet and was also in the Cabinets of late Chief Ministers: Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa.
  • One of the pioneers of the Dravidian movement and prominent Tamil film producer R. M. Veerappan died.
  • This Dravidian leader born on September 9, 1926, enjoyed good ties with DMK stalwart and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi too. He launched the MGR Kazhagam party after quitting the AIADMK.
  • As a prolific producer, Veerappan ensured several hits in the Tamil film industry. His passion for Tamil made him president of the Chennai Kamban Kazhagam and he left his mark in literature too. In addition, he was also involved in spiritual activities.

Peter Higgs, Nobel Winner, Dies at 94

  • Nobel Prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the so-called "god particle" that helped explain how matter formed after the Big Bang, has died at age 94.
  • Higgs predicted the existence of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, in 1964. But it would be almost 50 years before the particle's existence could be confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider.
  • Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work, alongside Francois Englert of Belgium, who independently came up with the same theory.
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World Homoeopathy Day (WHD)

  • World Homoeopathy Day is observed on April 10 every year. This day is dedicated to the homeopathic system, which believes that the power of tiny homeopathic substances can cure the symptoms of a condition.
  • The founder of modern homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann was born in 1755. Hahnemann was a German physician and chemist who believed that the homeopathic system could provide a better and more effective way to treat disease. He Hahnemann's research was focused on the use of homeopathic remedies in the treatment of malaria, smallpox, and other conditions. He found that by taking small doses of homeopathic substances, he could cure the symptoms of malaria without the use of conventional medicine.
  • The theme for World Homeopathy Day 2024 is 'Homeoparivar: One Health, One Family'.
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ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 Mission Awarded the Prestigious John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr. Award for Space Exploration

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s Chandrayaan-3 mission team has been awarded the 2024 John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr. Award for Space Exploration by the US-based Space Foundation. This prestigious award is given to recognize the remarkable achievements of a space agency, company, or consortium in the realm of space exploration and discovery.
  • The Chandrayaan-3 mission, launched by ISRO on July 14, 2023, was a groundbreaking achievement for India. The mission consisted of a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan, and it successfully landed at the unexplored south pole of the moon on August 23, 2023. This made India the first country in the world to land a lunar module at the south pole of the moon.
  • The Space Foundation, in presenting the John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr. Award for Space Exploration to the Chandrayaan-3 team, recognized the exceptional technical and engineering achievements of the mission. The Foundation highlighted the unquestioned leadership and ingenuity of the people of India in the global space ecosystem, showcasing their remarkable contribution to space exploration.
  • The John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr. Award for Space Exploration was instituted by the Space Foundation in 2004, in memory of John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr., who was part of NASA's Apollo 13 mission to the moon. The mission was aborted due to a leakage in the spacecraft's oxygen tank, but Swigert's quick thinking and problem-solving skills helped the crew safely return to Earth.
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NCERT Introduces Bridge Month Programme for Class 6 Amid Textbook Transition

  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) initiated a significant shift in pedagogical approaches, aligning with the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF-SE) and the new National Education Policy (NEP). This shift calls for a move from traditional, content-focused teaching methods towards more dynamic, competency-based approaches.
  • To facilitate this transition, NCERT launched a month-long bridge course for teachers aimed at familiarising them with the new syllabi and textbooks, particularly for Classes 3 and 6.
  • These courses will introduce teachers to innovative pedagogical tools emphasising fun-based, play-based, and discovery-based activities, departing from routine teacher-guided activities. Moreover, there is a transition from assessing selected abilities to holistic assessment methods.
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Air India, BIAL Sign Agreement to Develop Bengaluru Airport as Hub

  • Air India and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) signed a pact to develop the Bengaluru airport as an aviation hub, encompassing the construction of a dedicated domestic lounge, expansion of international services, and establishment of a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility.
  • Air India (along with other Tata Group airlines – AIX and Vistara) and BIAL will collaborate to enhance international connectivity, operational efficiency, and passenger experience over the next five years.
  • Air India is wholly owned by the Tata Group, while AIX Connect and Air India Express are its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Vistara, a 51:49 joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, is currently undergoing a merger into Air India. The Bengaluru airport is operated by Fairfax-run BIAL.
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Karnataka HC Hears Submissions from Lawyer Using Sign Language

  • Karnataka High Court became the first High Court in India to hear arguments of a speech and hearing-impaired advocate through sign language.
  • Bar and Bench reported that Justice M. Nagaprasanna praised Advocate Sarah Sunny for his determination and efforts. The hearing-impaired lawyer presented arguments in a case with the assistance of a sign language interpreter. 
  • The court's decision was also commended by the Additional Solicitor General Arvind Kamath who said that it is a historic moment for the Karnataka High Court.
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