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♦ Train 18 named Vande Bharat Express: Piyush Goyal
- Acknowledging its made-in-India status, the Indian Railways has named the indigenously manufactured Train 18 as Vande Bharat Express, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Sunday.
- The train is set to run between Delhi and Varanasi at a maximum speed of 160kmph.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to flag off the train soon.
- The 16-coach train, built in 18 months at a cost of ₹97 crore by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. It’s also the first locomotive-less train in the country.
- The fully air-conditioned train will stop at Kanpur and Allahabad and will have two executive chair cars.
- “It is completely made in India and various names were suggested by the general public but we have decided to name it Vande Bharat Express. A gift on the occasion of the Republic Day to people. Will request the prime minister to flag it off,” said Mr. Goyal.
♦ President Ram Nath Kovind confers Ashoka Chakra on Nazir Wani
- The award India’s highest peacetime gallantry honour was received by Wani’s wife and mother at the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath. Wani is the first Kashmiri to be conferred the Ashoka Chakra.
- On November 25, 38-year-old Wani, hailing from Cheki Ashmuji in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, lost his life in a counter-terror operation against six terrorists in Hirapur village near Batgund in Shopian.
- Under intense hail of bullets from the terrorists, he eliminated the ‘district commander’ of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and one foreign terrorist in a daring display of raw courage, Army officials said.
- In the ensuing gunfight, he was hit multiple times including on his head. He also injured another terrorist before succumbing to his grievous wounds, they said.
- According to the citation, Wani single-handedly killed two terrorists during the Shopian operation and injured a third one despite receiving serious injuries.
- “In an unparalleled saga of sacrifice, Lance Naik Wani prevented escape of the terrorists from the target house and made a huge contribution in neutralisation of six hardcore terrorists, in the process laying down his life upholding the highest tradition of the Indian Army,” it said.
- One of his colleagues, who wished not to be named, said he always volunteered for challenging missions, displaying great courage under adverse conditions and exposing himself to grave danger on numerous occasions in the line of duty.
♦ Indian economy may grow 7.6% in FY20: UN report
- The Indian economy is expected to accelerate in 2019-20 to expand by 7.6% from 7.4% in the year ending 31 March on the back of robust growth in private consumption, while private investment may continue to remain sluggish, according to the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report released by the UN on Wednesday.
- “Economic growth continues to be underpinned by robust private consumption, a more expansionary fiscal stance and benefits from previous reforms. Yet, a more robust and sustained recovery of private investment remains a crucial challenge to uplifting medium-term growth,” the UN report said.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday projected India’s growth at 7.5% in 2019-20 amid slower global expansion.
♦ Saina claims Indonesia Masters after injured Marin limps out of final
- Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal claimed her first BWF title in two years after three-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain limped out of the Indonesia Masters final due to a leg injury, here Sunday.
- The London Olympics bronze medallist was trailing 4-10 in the opening game when Marin decided to withdraw from the contest.
- “It is important year for all of us. This was not good at all. She is a tough competitor, she started off well and it is unfortunate what happened today,” said Saina, who last won a BWF title in 2017 in Malaysia.
- It is a creditable performance for the Indian, who had suffered a shin injury late last year.
♦ Dominant Djokovic beats Nadal to win seventh Australian Open title
- Novak Djokovic claimed a record seventh Australian Open crown on Sunday as he demolished Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 in his most dominant Grand Slam win in his long rivalry with the Spaniard.
- The peerless Serb broke Nadal five times at a stunned Rod Laver Arena while conceding only a single break point to clinch his 15th Grand Slam title and third in succession after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
- The pair’s 53rd Tour clash and eighth in a major final was not the marathon battle it was expected to be, as top seed Djokovic bulldozed through the first two sets with machine-like precision and wrapped up the match in just over two hours.
- Sealing the win on the second championship point when a desperate Nadal fired a backhand long, Djokovic kneeled on the blue hardcourt and shook his fists at the sky, letting out a roar of triumph.
♦ Naomi Osaka becomes first Japanese player to win Australian Open
- Naomi Osaka recovered after wasting three championship points and reasserted herself down the stretch to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title, edging Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night.
- The victory allows the 21-year-old Osaka to become the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings.
- Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. But Osaka couldn’t close it out. Instead, she completely lost her way, dropping 23 of the next 27 points.
- That allowed Kvitova to come back and make a match of it, reeling off five games in a row to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third.
- Osaka was yelling at herself. She slammed a ball off the court. She tugged at her pink visor’s brim. She headed to the locker room after the second set with a towel draped over her head.
- This time, Osaka would not falter. She would not let this lead disappear.
- Osaka added the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected in a U.S. Open final last September that forever will be remembered for the way runner-up Serena Williams was docked a game after arguing with the chair umpire.
- Unlike that day, there was no jeering from the confused crowd. No controversy. No chaos. No sharing the spotlight.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- REMISSIBLE (ADJECTIVE): Reasonable, well-founded (असावधान)
Synonyms: logical, admissible
Antonyms: unlikely, improbable
Example: The team took a remissible decision.
- PROSAIC (ADJECTIVE): Unimaginative (सामान्य)
Synonyms: banal, humdrum
Antonyms: creative, interesting
Example: Prosaic people normally do not achieve much in life.
- TIRADE (NOUN): Abuse, outburst (निंदा–भाषण)
Synonyms: invective, ranting
Antonyms: compliment, praise
Example: The drunk driver did not realize his tirade was being captured by a camera in the police officer’s car.
- COALESCE (VERB): Blend, come together (संगठित होना)
Synonyms: consolidate, integrate
Antonyms: divide, separate
Example: Local high school principals have agreed to coalesce around new approaches for college preparation.
- CONTRIVANCE (NOUN): Plan for collusion, plot (युक्ति)
Synonyms: conspiracy, gambit
Antonyms: loyalty, faithfulness
Example: The thief’s contrivance for robbing the jewelry store did not take into account the presence of the guard dogs.
- DOLEFUL (ADJECTIVE): Mournful (उदास)
Synonyms: woeful, sorrowful
Antonyms: elated, cheerful
Example: It must be a doleful morning for her and her family.
- CEREBRATION (NOUN): Thought (दिमाग़ी कार्य)
Synonyms: cogitation, contemplation
Antonyms: avoidance, ignorance
Example: It is a nice cerebration.
RANTING (ADJECTIVE): Raving (डींग मारना)
Synonyms: angry, raging
Antonyms: serene, placid
Example: Ram is a ranting man.
Filler Based on The Hindu Editorial
A wide Democratic field
As expected, the array of presidential hopefuls for the 2020 U.S. election has widened considerably on the Democratic Party side, with at least eight candidates declared running, another six likely to run, and a further eight potential entrants sitting on the fence. Some analysts put the total size of the potential Democratic aspirational pool at 34. The latest addition to the list was Kamala Harris, a first-term Senator from California and daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Ms. Harris enters this crowded arena with the heft of her star power, having accumulated considerable political capital through her tough questioning of President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees — including then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who admitted that being grilled by Ms. Harris made him “nervous” — and other notables. Nevertheless, she was beaten to it by the New Year’s Day announcement of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a top-tier Democrat who also took on Mr. Trump over policy issues but attracted criticism for an unnecessary controversy over a DNA test to establish her Native American ancestry. While it is likely that the two Senators will remain on the ballot when the first state, Iowa, heads to the primaries in early February 2020, most entrants between now and then are expected to drop out as their popularity and donor-support figures come into sharper focus.
That is the real question at the heart of America’s complex Democratic primary: why are so many candidates throwing their hats in the ring at this juncture, and what does it tell us about the challenge that the ultimate nominee will pose to Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects? First, whoever wins the nomination will inherit the burden — and benefits — of the considerable anti-Trump sentiment that is swirling across diverse pockets of the country. An early indication of this likely outcome lies in the fact that most prospective candidates have announced policy positions that are situated in the centre-left of the American political spectrum, positioning themselves against Trump on immigration, health care, criminal justice and more. An example of such a policy position is Medicare-for-All, which not only Ms. Harris and Ms. Warren, but some newcomers too, such as Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, consider a part of their core agenda. Second, the Democratic universe is enthusiastic about this race as Mr. Trump not only lost the popular vote in 2016, by 46% to 48%, nearly three million votes, but also, currently, has the worst net approval rating of any post-World War II U.S. President. However, a big challenge that looms for Democratic candidates is to gauge the way independent voters, who often keep their voting preferences secret from pollsters, lean. These voters were the undoing of Hillary Clinton in the Rust Belt states, and they could again tip the scales back toward the nativist populism of their Commander-in-Chief.
Question 1: However, a big challenge that ……….. for Democratic candidates is to gauge the way independent voters, who often keep their voting preferences secret from pollsters, lean.
Question 2: These voters …………. the undoing of Hillary Clinton in the Rust Belt states.
Question 3: The latest addition to the list was Kamala Harris, a first-term Senator ……….. California and daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants.
B) With in
Question 4: Mr. Trump not only lost the popular vote in 2016, by 46% to 48%, nearly three million votes, but also, currently, has the ………….. net approval rating of any post-World War II U.S. President.
Question 5: Select the word which is most nearly the Opposite MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
Question 6: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
6-E Enthusiastic उत्साही
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