GK Update 7th January 2021

1. Biden selects Judge Merrick Garland for attorney general

  • President-elect Joe Biden will nominate federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to be the next U.S. attorney general.
  • He serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, one of 13 federal appeals courts. Vanita Gupta, the head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will be nominated by Biden as the Associate Attorney General, the No. 3 people in the department.

2. Alex Ellis appointed new British high commissioner to India

  • Alexander Ellis has been appointed British high commissioner to India and will take up the key role later this month.
  • He has held several posts, including deputy national security adviser in the cabinet office, director-general in the department for exiting the European Union, and the British ambassador to Portugal. Ellis succeeds Philip Barton.
  • In August 2020, Barton was promoted as permanent undersecretary in the UK’s newly formed foreign, commonwealth and development office.

3. India and NDB signs USD 646 million loan agreement for Andhra Pradesh

  • The New Development Bank (NDB) has signed loan agreements worth USD 646 million with the Government of India for two road projects in Andhra Pradesh. Each project costs USD 323 million.
  • These projects will improve mobility and connectivity to the socioeconomic centres, enhance transport efficiency, improve road safety and riding quality, and provide all-weather accessibility for the State’s road users.
  • The first project is the Andhra Pradesh Roads and Bridges Reconstruction Project. It comprises widening 1,600 km of State Highways to double lane and reconstructing dilapidated bridges on the State Highway network.
  • The second project is Andhra Pradesh Mandal Connectivity and Rural Connectivity Improvement Project. It comprises widening 1,400 km of district roads to double lane and reconstructing dilapidated bridges on the district road network.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • New Development Bank Headquarters Location: Shanghai, China.
  • New Development Bank President: Marcos Prado Troyjo.
  • New Development Bank Founder: BRICS.
  • New Development Bank Founded: 15 July 2014.

4. Karan Bajwa to head Google Cloud in Asia Pacific

  • Google Cloud has announced the elevation of Karan Bajwa as its new leader for the Asia Pacific.
  • Presently, Bajwa leads Google Cloud in India. He will lead all regional revenue and go-to-market operations for Google Cloud, including on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Google Workspace. He succeeds Rick Harshman who leaves the organisation for a new opportunity.
  • At present, Bajwa is based in Gurgaon but will relocate to Singapore in 2021. He will continue to lead Google Cloud in India until a new senior leader for the business is appointed.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • CEO of Google: Sundar Pichai; Headquarters: California, United States.

5. Arup Kumar Goswami sworn in as CJ of Andhra Pradesh High Court

  • Arup Kumar Goswami was sworn in as the Chief Justice (CJ) of Andhra Pradesh High Court by Governor Biswab Bushan Harichandan in the presence of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
  • Justice Goswami was transferred from the Sikkim High Court a few days ago. He replaced J.K. Maheswari who has been posted as the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court.
  • Chief Justice Goswami began his career as an advocate with the Bar Council of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura in 1985.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy; Governor: Biswa Bhusan Harichandan.

6. RBI introduces Legal Entity Identifier for NEFT, RTGS transactions above Rs 50 crore

  • The Reserve Bank of India has introduced Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) for all payment transactions of value Rs 50 crore and above undertaken by entities (non-individuals) via Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT).
  • Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) are the Centralised Payment Systems operated by RBI. This instruction shall come into effect from April 01, 2021.
  • The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a 20-digit number used to uniquely identify parties to financial transactions worldwide.
  • Reserve Bank has introduced LEI in a phased manner for participants in the over the counter (OTC) derivative and non-derivative markets as also for large corporate borrowers.
  • LEI can be obtained from Legal Entity Identifier India Ltd. (LEIL) which is wholly owned subsidiary of Clearing Corporation of India Ltd (CCIL).

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikant Das; Headquarters: Mumbai; Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.

7. SMCB becomes India’s 1st urban co-operative bank to transition to SFB

  • Uttar Pradesh-based, Shivalik Mercantile Co-operative Bank (SMCB) has become the first urban co-operative bank (UCB) in India to receive a licence from RBI to operate as a Small Finance Bank (SFB).
  • The RBI had given an 18-month timeline to commence business.
  • SMCB received the commercial banking license from banking regulator Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 06, 2021, to transition to an SFB, under the voluntary transition scheme. The Shivalik Small Finance Bank (SSFB) will start its banking operations from April 2021.
  • SSFB operates through 31 branches and over 250 banking agents in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Uttarakhand with 400,000 customers. As on March 31, 2020, the total deposit base of the bank stood at Rs 1,140 crore and total advances stood at Rs 719 crore.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Suveer Kumar Gupta, MD & CEO of Shivalik Mercantile Cooperative Bank.
  • Shivalik Mercantile Cooperative Bank HQ: Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

8. World Bank Projects Indian Economy to Contract By 9.6% in 2020-21

  • World Bank has projected the Indian economy to contract by 9.6 per cent in the fiscal year 2020-21, in its Global Economic Prospects report. World Bank estimates Growth to recover to 5.4 per cent in 2021.
  • Apart from this, the global economy is estimated to expand by 4 per cent in 2021 by the World Bank. According to the report, global growth is projected to moderate to 3.8 per cent in 2022.

9. India & Israel successfully test MRSAM air defence system

  • India and Israel successfully tested a Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) defence system.
  • The MRSAM missile defence system has been developed jointly by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to deal with airstrikes by enemy countries.
  • Currently being used by all three wings of the Indian Army as well as Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the air and missile defence system was a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the IAI.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Secretary Department of Defence Research and Development  & Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
  • DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • DRDO Established: 1958.
  • President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries: Boaz Levy.

10. A book on India’s tours Down Under by R. Kaushik

  • A book titled ‘India’s 71-Year Test: The Journey to Triumph in Australia’ and one which reflects on India’s previous 12 tours Down Under, was launched.
  • The book, a Bradman Museum initiative, is authored by senior cricket scribe R. Kaushik, and it chronicles a rivalry that has given a fillip to Test cricket.

11. Claire Polosak set to become first female match official in men’s Test match

  • Australia’s Claire Polosak is set to become the first female match official in a men’s Test match when she takes up the fourth umpire’s role in the third Test between India and Australia.
  • The 32-year-old from New South Wales has already earned the distinction of being the first woman on-field umpire in a men’s ODI match in ICC’s Division 2 league between Namibia and Oman played at the Windhoek in 2019.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman of ICC: Greg Barclay.
  • CEO of ICC: Manu Sawhney.
  • Headquarters of ICC: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

12. Khelo India Ice Hockey Tournament begins in Chiktan, Kargil

  • Khelo India Ice Hockey Tournament organised at Chiktan in Kàrgil, Ladakh. For the first time, the women team of Chiktan also participated in the Khelo India Games in Kargil district.
  • There are 13 teams from different villages of Chiktan participating in the tournament, which include 11 men’s teams and 2 women’s teams.
  • The tournament was inaugurated by SDM Shakar Chiktan and the Chief Guest of the event Kacho Asgar Ali khan in the presence of ZPEO Chiktan Ghulam Rasool along with in-charge police post-Chiktan.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports: Kiren Rijiju.
  • Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh: Radha Krishna Mathur.

13. Oldest living first-class cricketer Alan Burgess passes away

  • The world’s oldest living first-class cricketer Alan Burgess has passed away at the age of 100. A right-hand batsman and slow left-arm bowler, Alan appeared in 11 first-class matches for Canterbury from 1940/41 to 1951/52 and also for New Zealand Services in England in 1945.
  • He took 6-52 on debut against Otago at Lancaster Park in a match that began on Christmas Day 1940. Alan Burgess was a tank driver for New Zealand’s forces in England during the Second World War. Following his death, India’s Raghunath Chandorkar is now the oldest first-class cricketer alive.

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