Latest updates around the world
Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 8th, 2017.
No-detention policy to go from 2018
- Government has decided to do away with the no-detention policy for students from the next academic session.
- Decision was taken as the standard of education had deteriorated because of the policy.
- Under the Right to Education Act, 2009, no child admitted to a school will be held back in any class or expelled till the completion of elementary education covering Classes 1 to 8.
SC stays HC verdict on Ganga status
- Supreme Court froze the status of “legal persons” accorded to rivers Ganga and Yamuna by the Uttarakhand HC in March 2017.
- A Bench of CJI J.S. Khehar and D.Y. Chandrachud stayed HC verdict which held that the rights of 2 major rivers shall be equivalent to the rights of human beings.
- Stay came on a petition filed by Mohammad Salim over mining and stone crushing along the banks of the Ganga.
India plans to invite leaders of ASEAN countries for 2018 Republic Day Celebrations
- India has planned to invite the ten leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as Chief Guests for 2018 Republic Day celebrations. This Plan has come at a time when India is engaged in a stand-off with China in the Sikkim sector.
- If invited Republic Day 2018 would be the first Republic Day event that will have so many leaders as the chief guests.
Scheme for IPR Awareness
- A ‘Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India; Innovative India’ has been launched by CIPAM.
- It aims at raising IPR awareness amongst youth, authors, artists and inventors to inspire them to create, innovate & protect their creations and inventions across India.
- It aims to conduct over 4000 IPR awareness workshops/seminars in academic institutions and industry including MSMEs and Startups.
NBFCs to offer NPS
- RBI has allowed systematically important non-banking finance companies to offer new pension scheme.
- NBFCs with asset size of Rs 500 cr & above, that have made a net profit in preceding year will be permitted to offer NPS after registration with the pension regulator.
- They will have to deposit the subscription collected from public on the day of collection itself with the trustee bank.
GST Rates Finder app
- Centre has launched an app – GST Rates Finder to verify the accurate tax rate on commodity and services under the GST regime.
- This app will not only benefit tax payers but also every citizen of the country will be able to find out how much GST is charged on a particular good and service.
- The app can be downloaded on any smart phone and can work in offline mode, once downloaded.
IISc to get Rs 3000-crore foundry
- Indian Institute of Science has received initial approvals from the govt to set up a Rs 3,000-crore foundry to produce a wonder nano material, gallium nitride.
- The nano material Gallium Nitride is a superior alternative to silica-based semiconductors.
- Foundry is proposed to be developed around an existing facility for producing gallium nitride transistors on silicon wafers, at IISc’s CeNSE.
India – China
China issues safety advisory
- China has issued a safety advisory to its citizens travelling to and living in India over the worsening border row between the two countries.
- It also asks them to strictly comply with Indian laws and regulations and respect local and religious customs.
- The advisory comes as Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a stand-off in Doklam region in Sikkim sector since mid-June.
India – Bangladesh
India and Bangladesh to construct bridge along Mizoram Border
- India and Bangladesh have decided to construct a bridge over Mizoram’s Khawthlangtuipui river (also known as Karnaphuli river) to facilitate trade and to improve communication between the two countries.
- The decision was taken after officials from both the side met at Tlabung town in Mamit district of Mizoram. The Mamit district is situated adjacent to Khagrachari district of Southeast Bangladesh.
- The proposed bridge is expected to be constructed as closer as possible to the nearest custom station located in the Bangladesh side.
Tie up for marketing bancassurance
- Private life insurance company Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance has entered into an alliance with Dhanlaxmi Bank for marketing various life insurance products.
- As part of the agreement, the Bank will be a corporate agent for 3 years.
- The company has access to around 115 million customers and a pan-India network of over 9500 branches of the three shareholder banks.
World Bank: India emerging as front – runner in fight against Climate Change
- The World Bank has observed that India has made a sweeping commitment to solar power, innovative solutions and energy efficiency initiatives to provide round the clock electricity to its people by 2030.
- With these initiatives and a firm decision to use more clean energy, India has emerged as the front-runner in the global fight against climate change.
Science & Technology
Soil of Mars may be Toxic to Alien Life
- According to the research carried out by Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, surface of Mars has chemical compounds called perchlorates that can wipe out living organisms.
- The researchers have found that the chemical compounds found on the surface of Mars when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light can kill the bacteria which are commonly carried by spacecraft. This finding has given a blow to the hopes of finding alien life on the surface of the Mars.
Ceasefire deal for southwest Syria
- US and Russia have reached an agreement on a cease-fire in southwest Syria as Trump held his first meeting with Putin.
- It aims at permanently ending hostilities, restoring stability and allowing free access of humanitarian aid.
- Jordan and Israel also are part of the agreement, they share a border with the southern part of Syria and have been concerned about violence spilling over the border.
UN adopts historic global treaty to ban Nuclear Weapons
- The United Nations has adopted a historic global treaty banning nuclear weapons with 122 members in favour.
- None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons took part in the negotiations or the vote.
- Only the Netherlands voting against while Singapore abstained.
2017 G20 Hamburg summit
- In the 12th G20 Summit held in Hamburg, the leaders of the G20 countries has agreed for taking concrete steps to stop funding of the terror activities.
- The leaders have also pledged for a joint crackdown on the global scourge of terrorism and check its funding sources.
- Theme for this year’s summit is Shaping an Inter-connected World.
- Issues like free & open trade, climate change, migration and global stability will be discussed.
- Summit witnessed massive protests, as protesters believe that G20 has failed to solve many issues threatening world peace.
UK launches ‘Grand Trunk Road’ project
- British govt has launched a new project ‘Grand Trunk Road’ to mark 70th anniversary of India’s partition.
- Project was launched this week to bring British Asians of all faiths & backgrounds together to reflect on their shared history through 11 special events.
- The aim is for the participants to remember lives lost and learn about history of partition from those who lived through the violence.
International Aviation Security seminar
- NSG organised the first International Aviation Security seminar in Manesar.
- It aimed at bringing all major stakeholders under one roof and facilitate them sharing views/opinion, discussions with the matters concerning Aviation Security.
- Weapons & equipment were also displayed showcasing the current weapons & systems used by the forces and cutting edge systems considered for future planning.
Sandhu wins South Australian Open
- India’s Harinder Pal Sandhu has defeated Rhys Dowling of Australia 11-8 12-10 11-4 to lift South Australian Open squash title.
- It was Sandhu’s eighth title at the PSA level and the third this season after winning two in Malaysia in the month of May and first in Australia.
Kohli breaks Tendulkar’s record
- Virat Kohli has surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most hundreds in chases during the 5th ODI against West Indies. This was Kohli’s 28th ODI hundred.
- While Sachin took 232 innings to score 17 hundreds, Virat has taken just 102 innings to score 18 ODI tons while batting second.
- Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan and West Indies’ Chris Gayle are joint third with 11 tons each.
Sportsperson of the Year 2017
- Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu was bestowed with the ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ award during the ‘Maruti Suzuki Sportsperson of the Year’ Charity Gala Awards.
- The awards were initiated by Sports Illustrated India and were given to various sportspersons for their achievements.
- Sindhu’s coach P Gopichand received the ‘Coach of the Year’ award.
Appointments & Awards
Saima as goodwill ambassador for autism
- Saima Wazed Hossain has been appointed as the WHO goodwill ambassador for autism in South-East Asia.
- She has been appointed as the goodwill ambassador for a period of 2 years.
- As a Goodwill Ambassador she will be promoting Thimphu declaration which also emphasises on integrating the needs of autism affected people, into national health and socioeconomic development plans.
Tata Steel bags PM’s trophy
- Tata Steel has bagged Prime Minister’s trophy for being the best performing integrated steel plant in India during 2014-15 & 2015-16.
- This makes it the 3rd consecutive-year for the firm to be honoured with this award.
- The Group is among top 10 global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 27.5 million tonnes per annum.
- It is the world’s 2nd-most geographically diversified steel producer.
Microsoft CIO Jim DuBois resigns
- Microsoft’s chief information officer, Jim DuBois has decided to quit the company amid a broader reshuffling of its global sales organization to focus on cloud services.
- DuBois had been with Microsoft since 1993 and was named CIO in 2013.
- News came after Microsoft announced nearly 4000 job cuts from its global sales force outside US.
- Kurt DelBene will replace DuBois as Chief Digital Officer
Australia’s highest civilian award
- Guruswamy Jayraman has been awarded Order of Australia for community work, the highest civilian award in Australia.
- He works as a senior accountant with Woollahra Municipal Council for a living and has been devoting most of his spare time in community work for the last 25 years.
- He was also awarded for his contributions for seniors in Western Sydney by the Minister for Ageing & Disability.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 7th, 2017.
Odisha government signs EOI with IAAF & AFI
- The Odisha govt signed an Expression of Intent with the International Association of Athletics Federations & Athletics Federation of India to establish a High Performance Academy in Bhubaneswar.
- The EOI was signed by Sports Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev and AFI president Adille Sumariwala and IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe.
- An academy for athletes will be built in the Kalinga Stadium.
Anti-Hijacking Law Comes Into Force
- India’s new anti-hijacking law which prescribes capital punishment in the event of death of “any person”, has come into force.
- It replaces a 1982 law, according to which hijackers could be tried only in event of death of hostages, such as flight crew, passengers.
- The law mandates central govt to confer powers of investigation, arrest and prosecution on any officer of central govt or NIA.
Jail term for not printing new MRP
- Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan warned of a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, including a jail term, if new, post-GST rates are not printed on the inventory in the interest of consumers.
- Manufacturers have been allowed to clear the unsold stocks by September with new MRP.
- Under the GST regime, he said some prices of goods have fallen and some have risen.
JIGYASA programme launched
- Jigyasa, a student- scientist connect programme was officially launched in New Delhi.
- Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has joined hands with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to implement this programme.
- The focus is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend student’s classroom learning with that of a very well planned research laboratory based learning.
Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centre
- Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centres will be established in 100 districts of the country.
- They will effectively ensure employment oriented skill development of youth belonging to Minority communities.
- In next 6 months, Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centres will be established at Hyderabad, Noida, Lucknow etc.
India declared free from H5N1 & H5N8
- India has declared itself free from highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1 & H5N8) after surveillance in the states showed no evidence of its presence.
- India reported outbreaks of Avian Influenza at epicentres in Delhi, Gwalior, Rajpura among others during Oct 2016 to Feb 2017.
- The move will help India to resume export of poultry products to countries which had banned trade in such items.
Siemens opens its first digital factory
- Siemens has opened its 1st digital factory in India, 3rd globally after one each in Germany and China.
- Company hopes to use this digital factory as a showcase to sell a range of plant automation equipment & software to Indian manufacturing units.
- It is situated on outskirts of Mumbai and is capable of producing 180+ variants of low-voltage switchgear at the rate of 1 product every 9 seconds.
RBI limits Customer liability in Online Banking
- According to RBI, Customers will not suffer any loss if unauthorised online banking transactions are reported within 3 days.
- The amount involved will be credited in the accounts concerned within 10-days.
- In case the third party fraud is reported with a delay of four to seven working days, a customer will face liability of up to Rs25,000.
South Indian Bank ties up with PFG Forex
- South Indian Bank has tied up with PFG Forex for remittance facility for the benefit of Indian expatriates from Australia.
- Under this arrangement, NRIs can enjoy cost-effective and fast remittance services using SIB’s Express facility.
- NRIs can visit the PFG Forex outlets across Australia for remittances to India.
India – Vietnam
Vietnam renews Indian Oil Deal
- Vietnam has granted ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128 in the South China Sea.
- The part of the oil block 128 is in the U-shaped ‘nine-dash line,’ the area which is claimed by China.The permission was first granted in the year 2006 which is due to expire in mid-June.
UNESCO puts Old City of Hebron in its heritage in danger list
- UNESCO infuriated Israel as it voted to list the biblical West Bank city of Hebron as a world heritage site in danger.
- 12 countries on the world heritage committee voted in favour of the Palestinian request to name Hebron a heritage site, while only 3 voted against it.
- The move makes Hebron’s old city the 3rd Palestinian world heritage site.
Srei joins hands with Russian Govt Bank
- Srei Infrastructure Finance has joined hands with Russian Govt-owned Vnesheconombank to create a $200 Mn fund.
- Fund aims to facilitate innovation in the field of IT.
- The fund will serve as a two-way bridge between the Indian and Russian markets and create opportunities for India-Russia cross-border technology cooperation.
- This MoU provides for a credit line to Srei of up to $500 million
CopyCat Malware Infected 1.4 cr Devices
- A new strain of a malware called CopyCat has infected more than 14 million Android devices around the world.
- Majority of victims are in Asia, more than 280,000 Android devices in the US were hit by the massive hack.
- CopyCat is able to replace the Referrer ID on your apps with its own, so every ad that pops up on the app will send revenue to the hackers instead of the app’s creators.
UNSC sanctions splinter group of Taliban
- UN Security Council has sanctioned a splinter group of the Pakistan Taliban, subjecting it to assets freeze and an arms embargo.
- The Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee has added Jamaat-Ul-Ahrar to the terror group Islamic State and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.
- Jamaat-Ul-Ahrar is the splinter group of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and is associated with the Islamic State terror group
Pakistan test fires short-range NASR
- Pakistan has successfully test-fired short-range surface to surface ballistic missile named Nasr.
- NASR is a high-precision weapon system with the ability to be deployed quickly.
- The test was conducted to validate missile’s new technical parameters including enhanced range from 60 km to 70 km and flight maneuverability.
- Pakistan is planning to conduct several such tests over next few days.
India ranks 23rd in cybersecurity index
- India has been ranked 23rd out of 165 nations in the second Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) that measures the commitment of nations across the world to cyber security.
- The Index has been released by the UN telecommunications agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
India to be base to economic pole of global growth: Harvard University
- According to the research conducted by the Centre for International Development at Harvard University (CID), India will be the base to the economic pole of global growth over the coming decade.
- The study has stated that over the years, the economic pole of global growth has moved from China to neighbouring India and it is likely to remain over India in the coming decade.
India slips to be 4th largest investor
- India has slipped by one spot to become the fourth-largest foreign investor into the UK.
- India lost its position as the third largest investor in the UK to France which set up 131 projects last year while India could set up 127 new projects.
- US remains on the top, investing in 577 projects in the UK, with China (including Hong Kong) remaining in second place with 160 projects.
2017 Asian Athletics Championships
- Manpreet Kaur and Govindan Laxman has managed to win gold medals on the opening day of Asian Athletics Championships held at Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneshwar.
- The Asian Athletics Championships is an event organised by the Asian Athletics Association. It is held once in every two years.
- The 2017 Asian Athletics Championship is the 22nd edition and will be held from 6 July to 9 July 2017
Sanjiv Goenka renamed as IIT-Kgp Chairman
- RP Sanjiv Goenka Group Chairman, Sanjiv Goenka, has been renamed as the Chairman of the Board of Governors at IIT-Kharagpur.
- President Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as visitor of the institute has nominated Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group for the role for a period of three years.
- Mr. Goenka has served as chairman of IIT-Kharagpur from 2002-2007.
Non-executive chairman of Union Bank
- Union Bank of India has appointed Kewal Handa as its non-executive chairman.
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Handa’s appointment as non-official director/non-executive chairman of the bank.
- Handa will hold the post for a period of three years.
- Union Bank is one of the largest government-owned banks of India headquartered at Mumbai.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 6th, 2017.
Supreme Court asks government to formalise Election Commissioner’s appointment
- The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to formalise appointment of election commissioners through law.
- The Supreme Court has observed that even though the Election commissioners have been so far appointed in a very fair manner, there exists a legitimate expectation in the Constitution of India that Election Commissioners, who are charged with the free and fair conduct of elections be appointed through a “most transparent and just process” formalised by a law enacted by the Parliament.
EC to tally paper trail slips with EVMs
- Election Commission has decided to mandatorily tally paper trail slips with the results of EVMs in 5% of polling stations in each assembly seat selected randomly, for all state and Lok Sabha elections.
- Counting of paper trail slips, however, will not take place in more than 14 polling stations and less than five polling stations in each assembly seat.
Target of constructing 57,000 km of road
- Government has set a target of constructing 57,000 kms of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana during 2017-18.
- According to the Rural Development Ministry, the roads will be constructed at an average rate of 156 kilometers per day.
- Pace of construction of PMGSY roads reached a 7 year high of 130 km per day in 2016-17s against an average of 73 km during the period 2011 to 2014.
J&K assembly passes resolution for GST
- Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly has finally adopted the GST resolution during a special session on 5th July and it’s the last state to pass the GST bill.
- The resolution moved by state finance minister Haseeb Drabu was adopted through a presidential order calling on the Centre to safeguard the special status and exclusive taxation powers of the state.
MERIT app and e-Bidding portal launched
- Union Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal has launched the ‘MERIT app (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency)’ and the e-bidding portal for offering an e-Bidding solution to States.
- The app and the portal would help the states to select Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for procurement of power by transferring their domestic coal under the scheme of flexibility in utilisation of domestic coal.
AIIB approves USD 329 mn loan
- Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved a USD 329 million loan to build access roads to 4,000 villages in 33 Gujarat districts.
- It aims to construct & upgrade district and farm-to-market roads for the villagers and provide approaches to educational institutions, schools and hospitals.
- It will also better integrate rural population and industries with national and state economy.
Electric Buses in Gurgaon
- Haryana government will set up an environment-friendly transportation system in Gurgaon on the pattern of Poland.
- In the first phase, 75 to 100 electric buses would be operated.
- Each electric bus would help save about 4.25 lakh litres diesel & reduce carbon emissions by 1150 tonnes in 10 years of operation.
- JBM Group would soon begin manufacturing electric buses under the Make in India programme.
EPFO ties up with 5 more banks
- The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has inked an agreement with four private banks and Bank of Baroda for the purpose of collection of provident fund dues from the employers and payments to its subscribers.
- This is the first time the EPFO has roped in private banks, namely, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Earlier, the EPFO was making use of the services of only the state-run banks. This move of the EPFO will help the organisation to save nearly Rs 300 crore per year as the five banks have agreed to zero transaction charges.
July 19 as Save public sector banks day
- United Forum of Bank Unions has decided to observe July 19, the 48th anniversary of nationalisation of major banks, as ‘Save public sector banks’ day.
- Members will wear a commemorative badge on the day, display posters in front of all branches, distribute leaflets & hold rallies at all centres across the country.
- The main challenge that PSB face today is the alarming increase in bad loans.
First ‘White Tiger’ spotted in Nilgiris
- A photographer named Nilanjan Ray is believed to have spotted a rare ‘white tiger’ with a pale skin colour for the first time in the Nilgiris.
- The discovery has aroused interest among conservationists and forest officials. It is yet to be ascertained whether the white tiger is a true genetic mutant.
Scientist discovers reasons behind 2015 Chennai Floods
- A study conducted by the University of Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay has found out that the extreme El Nino conditions and warming of the Bay of Bengal had resulted in unprecedented heavy rainfall in Chennai for three days between November 30th to December 2nd in 2015.
India – BRICS
5th Meeting of BRICS Education Ministers
- Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education was held on 5th July, 2017 at Beijing, China.
- Indian delegation was led by Prakash Javadekar, Minister of HRD.
- He highlighted some of the initiatives of the Govt. of India in education like National Institutional Ranking Framework which provides a relative ranking of Indian institutions, India’s indigenous MOOCs platform and SWAYAM among others.
India – Israel
India, Israel ink 7 agreements
- India and Israel signed as many as seven agreements on areas including space, tech, water and agriculture.
- A MoU was signed for setting up of USD 40 million worth India-Israel Industrial Research and Development and Technical Innovation Fund.
- Separate MoUs were signed on cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link and cooperation in Electric Propulsion for small satellites.
India – Jordan
10th Session of the TEJC
- 10TH India-Jordan Trade and Economic Joint Committee Meeting was held in New Delhi.
- India and Jordan discussed ways to increase cooperation in diverse areas like customs taxation and visa to promote trade and investments between the two countries.
- Discussions were also held on ways to increase ties in sectors like maritime, air and rail transport, renewable energy, smart grid development.
India likely to clock GDP growth of 6.9%
- Indian economy is expected to recover in the coming quarters and is expected to clock a real GDP growth of 6.9 % in this financial year.
- A report by BMI Research has said that India’s growth is expected to pick up following the negative ramifications from the demonetisation drive in November 2016.
- Real GDP growth slowed substantially to 6.1 % year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2016—17.
Yes Bank inks pact with Santander
- Yes Bank has signed an MoU in London with Santander to promote India-UK trade and business opportunities.
- The deal is aimed at Santander UK offering its clients in Britain access to banking facilities and on-the-ground support through Yes Bank’s network across India.
- The MoU also covers access for Indian businesses looking to expand globally to access Santanders support network in the UK.
Indus OS partners with YES Bank
- Indus OS has partnered with YES Bank to launch OS-integrated Unified Payment Interface payment platform in India.
- Users with Indus OS will be able to use this UPI payment platform on SMS/ messaging, dialler interface, and on third party apps like WhatsApp.
- Users will be able to initiate payments through a â‚¹ symbol in Indus Keyboard, within the messaging app.
SAIC Motor to set up Rs 2000cr car plant
- China’s SAIC Motor has entered into an MoU with the Gujarat government to establish the plant at Halol where MG brand cars will be manufactured.
- SAIC will set up a passenger car manufacturing facility at Halol in Panchmahals district of Gujarat with an investment of Rs 2,000 crore.
- Project will create 1,000 jobs in the state.
- SAIC Motor plans to bring the MG car brand in India by 2019.
US calls for new UN sanctions against N. Korea
- The United States has decided to present a draft resolution in the U.N. Security Council aimed at imposing new sanctions on North Korea as it has successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
- An emergency meeting of the UNSC was called by the United States, Japan and South Korea to agree on a response to the North Korea’s ICBM test. In the emergency meeting, the US has said that the launch of an ICBM by the North Korea is a clear and sharp escalation. Under the new sanctions, the US has decided to use trade restrictions targeting those countries that continue to have dealings with North Korea. France has expressed its support for a new resolution.
US rolls out expedited entry
- US has started rolling out for Indian citizens its Global Entry programme which allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers.
- India has become the 11th country whose citizens are eligible to enroll in the Customs and Border Protection initiative.
- Presently, Global Entry programme is available at 53 US airports and 15 pre-clearance locations.
Volvo cars to be electric or hybrid
- Volvo has announced that starting from 2019, all of its new cars will be fully electric or hybrid.
- This makes Volvo the first major traditional automaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.
- Volvo will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. Three of them will be Volvo models and two will be electrified cars from Polestar
India 96th in FIFA World ranking
- India has moved four places up to the 96th position in the FIFA World ranking released on 6th July.
- This is India’s second best ranking, its previous best was the 94th position in February 1996.
- India has been averaging at the 134th rank since the creation of the world ranking system. Among Asian nations, Iran leads at No. 23.
- Germany topped the rankings followed by Brazil and Argentina.
India wins Asian Snooker Championship
- Pankaj Advani-led Indian team demolished Pakistan in the finals to clinch the Asian Team Snooker Championship.
- Advani remained the only player to not lose a single individual match in the team event.
- This title brings up Advani’s second Asian title this season and 8th overall while it was the first title for Advani’s teammates Rawat and Singh.
Dilip Pendse commits suicide
- Tata Finance’s dismissed managing director Dilip Pendse allegedly committed suicide at his office in Mumbai.
- In October 2014, SEBI had found Pendse guilty of illegal trades and banned him from accessing capital markets for two years.
- In October 2014, the markets watchdog Sebi had found Pendse guilty of illegal trades and banned him from accessing capital markets for two years.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 5th, 2017.
5% for physically challenged items
- The Ministry of Revenue has announced a 5% concessional GST rate on the following assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically-challenged person.
- The concessional 5% GST rate on these devices/equipments would enable their domestic manufacturers to avail of input tax credit of GST paid on their inputs and raw materials.
UDAY covers 97% of discom debt
- The Union Ministry of Power has announced that about 97% of the total outstanding debt of all state power distribution companies has been covered under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana.
- As on September 2015, the total debt of all state-owned discoms was Rs 3.95 lakh crore.
- The 26 states and 1 UT which have joined the UDAY scheme accounted for total outstanding debt of Rs. 3.82 lakh crore.
Karnataka launches ‘Elevate 100’ scheme
- The Karnataka government has launched the ‘Elevate 100’ scheme to identify and nurture innovative start-ups.
- The Elevate scheme is the brainchild of the start-up cell, Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), to help start-ups across the state.
- The aim is to identify 100 most innovative start-ups in the state to elevate them to the next level of success.
Foundation stone of country’s biggest Global Skill Park laid in Bhopal
- The foundation stone of the country’s biggest Global Skill Park was laid in Bhopal jointly by Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Pratap Rudi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
- The park will come up on 37 acre land allotted in Narela Shankari area of Bhopal. It will be established with the support of Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education and Education Services (ITEES).
TERI ranked second
- New Delhi-based The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) was ranked second among world’s best climate think tank by the International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG).
- The rankings were released by the the International Center for Climate Governance, which focuses on the design of climate policy and related governance issues.
- TERI conducts research for sustainable development of India and is headquartered in New Delhi.
India’s tallest ATC tower
- The new 101.9-metre air traffic control tower at the Delhi airport — touted to be the country’s tallest — is likely to start operations by December.
- The tower, among the tallest structures in Delhi, will give a 360-degree view of the airport to the controllers who will be able to see all the three runways, aprons and taxiways.
- The tower, built at a cost of Rs 350 crore.
India – Israel
A new Israeli flower named after Modi
- Commemorating Modi’s visit to Israel, Danziger Flower Farm named the flower Chrysanthemum as Modi.
- Modi visited the farm along with his Israeli counterpart Netanyahu where they were briefed about the latest technologies being used for floriculture.
- The farm is one of Israel’s leading floriculture companies with 80,000 m2 of state-of-the-art greenhouses specialising in reproduction of plants.
India – US
US rolls out expedited entry for low -risk Indian travellers
- The United States of America (USA) has rolled out pre-approved expedited entry clearance for low-risk Indian travellers under its Global Entry programme (GEP).
- With this initiative, India became 11th country whose citizens are now eligible to enroll in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative. Indian Ambassador to US Navtej Sarna was the first Indian national to enroll in the programme.
$100 million venture fund for startups
- Infosys co-founder, Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani along with venture capitalist Sanjeev Aggarwal has launched a $100 million venture fund called Fundamentum to back mid-stage startups.
- The corpus may be extended to $200 million if the fund sees more opportunities.
- The fund, which has so far closed $50 million, will see one-third of the corpus coming from Nilekani and Aggarwal.
RBI ups FPI investment limit in g-secs
- Reserve Bank has raised the FPI investment limit in government securities by 4.7% to Rs 2.42 lakh crore for July-September quarter.
- Likewise, the foreign portfolio investors will be allowed to raise their investment in state development loans by Rs61 billion to Rs331 billion for September quarter.
- Hence, the overall limit of FPI investment in government securities goes up to Rs 2580 billion
ICICI terminates JV with Fairfax
- ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company has terminated its joint venture agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings.
- This move is pursuant to a termination agreement signed on July 3, the bank said in a stock exchange notice.
- In May 2017, Fairfax Financial Holdings offloaded 12.18% in ICICI General to a clutch of investors for Rs 2,473 crore.
Microsoft India inks pact with NISA
- Microsoft India has signed an agreement with National Independent Schools Alliance to offer Microsoft Aspire School Program (MASP) Pro Plus to over 55,000 member schools.
- MASP aims to equip schools with technology and innovative learning solutions, modernise campuses, and prepare future- ready students, among others.
- With this partnership, schools across 23 states can now avail MASP Pro Plus
Xiaomi signs agreement with Nokia
- Nokia has announced that it has entered into a wide-ranging patent licensing and purchase deal with Xiaomi.
- The deal will see both companies cross-licensing each other’s cellular standard essential patents, with Xiaomi also picking up an unspecified number of patents from Nokia.
- Xiaomi will also become a customer of Nokia’s network equipment
Science & Technology
New species of dinosaur discovered
- Scientists have discovered an ancient, giant, crocodile-like creature in Madagascar that had T-Rex-sized teeth it used for crunching bones.
- The discovery helps to fill in the evolutionary gaps of a 74 million year long crocodilian “ghost lineage.”
- It has been named Razanandrongobe sakalavae.
- The findings, published in the journal PeerJ, place the fossils in the suborder Notosuchia.
Most detailed brain scans
- An advanced MRI machine has produced the world’s most detailed scan of the human brain that could one day be used to better understand schizophrenia, dementia and epilepsy.
- The scan was carried out at Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre.
- The images were generated using an advanced MRI machine – one of only three in the world.
Ivory Coast International tournament
- Ritika Thaker defeated Simran Singhi to win the singles title in the Ivory Coast International badminton tournament at Abidjan.
- Later, Ritika and Simran paired together to beat the Nigerian duo of Zainab Momohand Peace Orji in the women’s doubles final.
- Ritika became only the second player from Nagpur after Arundhati Pantawane to clinch the women’s singles crown.
Personalities & Appointments
MFIN re-elects President
- Microfinance Institutions Network has re-elected Rakesh Dubey as its president for the second term.
- The industry association and self-regulator for the NBFC-MFIs has also elected Devesh Sachdev, chief executive of Fusion Microfinance as vice president.
- Prior to joining the SVCL, Dubey was involved in the formation of Sonata Finance and Cashpor Micro Credit.
Madhukar Toradmal passes away
- Veteran Marathi actor-writer Madhukar Toradmal has passed away.
- Toradmal was a writer, director and actor. He had acted in Marathi as well as Hindi films including “Simhasan,” “AapliManasa”, “Atmavishwas” and “Raakh”.
- The Marathi play “Tarun Turk Mhatare Urk”, which he wrote and acted in, ran for as many as 5,000 shows.
Cisco India President quits
- Cisco India and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation president Dinesh Malkani has resigned at the networking solutions giant to take on a leadership role at a start-up.
- Malkani will continue in his role until 31st July and remain associated with Cisco till the end of September.
- He had joined Cisco in 2010 to lead the collaboration technologies team in Asia Pacific, Japan & China.
Signature Global’s new Brand Ambassador
- Realty firm Signature Global, which is into development of affordable homes, has roped in Bollywood actress Vidya Balan as brand ambassador.
- She has been signed as Signature Global’s brand ambassador for two years.
- Signature Global has launched 9 affordable housing projects, comprising about 9300 units in a price range of Rs 15-25 lakh, in Gurgaon in the last three years of operations.
Sanjay Kumar appointed as New NDRF Chief
- Senior IPS officer Sanjay Kumar was appointed as Director General (DG) of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
- He will succeed R K Pachnanda who was appointed as the chief of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
- Kumar, who is the director general of police in Himachal Pradesh, is set to retire in December next year.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 4th, 2017
President clears bill banning hookah bar
- President Pranab Mukherjee has approved a Legislative Bill to ban the hookah bar in Gujarat.
- Violation of this law will attract Minimum 1 year and maximum 3 year sentence, provision of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 fine is also mentioned in this amendment.
- Most of the hookah bars in the state were running on the restaurant licence illegally and also selling products which are harmful to youngsters.
Kambala is now legal in Karnataka
- President Pranab Mukherjee has approved the promulgation of The Prevention of cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 by the Governor of Karnataka in pursuance of Article 213 of Constitution.
- In February, Karnataka govt had passed a bill to legalise Kambala, the traditional buffalo race as well as bullock cart race in the state.
- Kambala is a folk sport, held traditionally under the auspices local land lords and households, in coastal Karnataka.
AFSPA in Nagaland extended
- Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been extended for 6 more months in Nagaland beginning June 30.
- According to home ministry, Nagaland is in such a disturbed & dangerous condition that use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.
- AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades and has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015.
Pune NGO wins UN prize
- Pune based NGO, Swayam Shikshan Prayog has been awarded UNDP’s Equator Prize for devising an ecologically sustainable agriculture model to combat the adverse impacts of drought.
- Model advocates the use of bio-fertilizers & pesticides, preservation and exchange of local seeds, and a change in farming patterns.
- It is the only Indian organisation to win the award from more than 800 nominations.
MP plants record 6.63 crore saplings
- Madhya Pradesh government has claimed that record 6.63 crore saplings were planted on the banks of river Narmada as part of its river conservation efforts.
- The drive started at 7 am continued till 7 pm along the banks of the river covering 24 districts.
- Drive might find a place in Guinness World Records as the current record of planting max saplings in least time is 5 cr in 24 hours by UP.
India, ADB inks $220 mn Loan Agreement for Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program
- The Union Government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $220 million loan agreement for improving connectivity as well as transport efficiency and safety on State Highways of Rajasthan.
- It is the 1st tranche of the $500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Programme, approved by ADB Board.
- It will enhance the capacity of state PWD in areas of road asset management, road safety and project management.
Additional excise duty removed
- Finance ministry has removed additional excise duty on tobacco, pan masala and cigarettes with effect from July 1.
- Revenue department also repealed its earlier central excise notification, which deals with excise duty rate on unmanufactured tobacco and chewing tobacco.
- Under the GST, Cess on pan masala has been decided at 60%, while in tobacco it will vary from 71-204%.
Environment & Ecology
Sunderbans Mangrove Depleting Alarmingly
- Data obtained from latest study conducted using remote sensing and GIS for the first time has offered definite proof that the mangrove forest cover in Indian Sunderbans has been depleting alarmingly.
- From 1986 to 2012, 124.418 sq km or about 5.5% of the mangrove cover of Sunderbans was lost. Moreover, variable degrees of erosion were also observed in at least 18 islands.
BYJU’s acquires TutorVista and Edurite
- Online education startup BYJU’s has acquired TutorVista & Edurite from Pearson for an undisclosed amount.
- TutorVista is one of the largest online tutoring brands catering to school & college students in US while Edurite provides audiovisual content for CBSE classes VII-XII.
- BYJU’s is backed by investors, including IFC (World Bank Group member), Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia Capital.
Science & Technology
India successfully test-fires QRSAM
- India successfully test-fired an indigenously developed short range and Quick Reaction Surface to Air missile by DRDO from Chandipur along the Odisha coast.
- The missile has a strike range of 25-30 km and is capable of engaging multiple targets.
- The missile was tested for 2nd time to evaluate the performance of its canister version.
First asteroid deflection mission
- NASA is developing the first-ever mission that will deflect a near-Earth asteroid.
- It will help test the systems that will allow mankind to protect the planet from potential cosmic body impacts.
- Double Asteroid Redirection Test will be used to defend against a potential future asteroid impact.
- Target for DART is an asteroid that will have a distant approach to Earth in Oct. 2022 and in 2024
India – Thailand
India-Thailand military exercise Maitree 2017 begins in Himachal Pradesh
- A 14-day joint military training exercise between India and Thailand has started in Himachal Pradesh at Bakloh in Chamba district.
- Exercise Maitree 2017 is a continuation of a series of joint exercises between the Indian Army and the Royal Thailand Army.
- The aim of this exercise is to build and promote closer relations while exchanging skills and experiences between the two armies.
Uhel to lead UN Syria war crimes probe
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Catherine Marchi-Uhel to lead an international panel tasked with gathering evidence of war crimes in Syria’s 6 year war.
- She has served as an international judge in Kosovo, Cambodia and at war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia.
- She currently works as the ombudsperson for a Security Council committee that deals with IS group & Al-Qaeda.
North Korea fires another missile
- North Korea has successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting anywhere in the world.
- The Hwasong-14 missile reached an altitude of 2,802km and hit its target precisely after flying for 933km in 39 minutes.
- It is a game-changing development in North Korea’s push to militarily challenge US.
- Weapons analyst says missile could be powerful enough to reach Alaska
US celebrates its 241st Independence Day
- US will celebrate its 241st Independence Day on July 4, 2017.
- On that day in 1776, 13 British colonies in America signed the Declaration of Independence from Britain.
- The declaration was made through the adoption the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by founding father Thomas Jefferson.
- The day is associated with patriotic displays, barbecues, picnics, fireworks and parades.
Talks to end Syrian conflict begins
- A fifth round of talks on ending the six year Syrian conflict began in Kazakhstan.
- A three-way meeting gathering the co-sponsors of the talks, Russia, Iran and Turkey is underway in Kazakhstan, aimed at cementing four conflict free areas agreed in May.
- While Syria has spoken in support of zones deal, the rebels have been far more pessimistic and slammed any Iranian involvement in the plan.
New chief election commissioner
- Achal Kumar Joti has been elected as the 21st Chief Election Commissioner of India.
- He will succeed Nasim Zaidi and will take charge on July 6.
- He is an IAS officer of 1975 batch from Gujarat cadre and has served as chief secretary of Gujarat during Narendra Modi’s tenure as chief minister.
Chandrasekran to be chairman of Tata Global
- Tata Global Beverages has appointed Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran as chairman of its Board with immediate effect.
- He will replace Harish Bhat as the chairman of Tata Global Beverages, the No. 2 tea player in the world.
- Chandrasekaran also chairs the Boards of several group operating companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, Indian Hotels and Tata Consultancy Services.
New CEO of Syndicate Bank
- Melwyn Rego, former chairman of the Bank of India, has been appointed as managing director and chief executive officer of the Syndicate Bank.
- Rego assumed the charge on 1 July.
- He had earlier served as deputy managing director of IDBI Bank, CEO of IDBI Homefinance and as its Head- International Banking Division spearheading the overseas initiatives of IDBI.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 3rd, 2017.
PM Modi adopts wrestlers’ village under SAGY
- PM Narendra Modi will adopt Kakrahia, a village known for its wrestlers and wrestling arenas, under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).
- This will be the 3rd village to be adopted by Modi in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi.
- In past 2 years, Modi adopted Jayapur and Nagpur, as his first and second villages.
Maharashtra government to remove Haji Ali encroachment
- Supreme Court has granted the last opportunity to the Maharashtra government to remove encroachments near Haji Ali Dargah shrine in south Mumbai.
- A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud granted two weeks to the concerned authorities to remove these encroachments.
Kerala CM Vijayan launches G-Ride
- Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched G-Ride, a digital ride sharing platform designed and deployed for the IT industry.
- The platform has been developed by the Group of Technology Companies (GTech), the industry body of IT companies in the state.
Special Rhino Protection Force in Assam
- The Assam government is going to raise a new Special Rhino Protection Force (SRPF) for better protection of the one-horned rhinos in Assam.
- State government has already started the process of recruitment for the proposed force. The cadre for the force will selected from local youths hailing from the fringe areas of the Kaziranga national park.
Telangana: Agriculture budget from next year
- Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to present a separate agriculture budget from next year.
- He also asked the officials to form farmers’ associations at various levels. – from villages to the state to organise the cultivators.
65 MoUs signed at Textiles India 2017
- 65 MoU’s in the textiles sector were signed on the 2nd day of mega textiles trade fair, Textiles India 2017 held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- MoUs were signed b/w various domestic & international organizations from industry and govt, 3 of the MoUs signed were G2G MoUs.
- MoUs relate to exchange of information and documentation, Research & Development, commercialization of handloom products etc.
PM Modi releases a photo book
- PM Modi released a photo book titled “President Pranab Mukherjee – A Statesman”, at an event in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- It is a 340-page photo essay capturing moments from the Presidency of Pranab Mukherjee and is published by The Statesman.
- PM Modi presented the first copy of the book to President Mukherjee during the event.
- Mukherjee is going to leave his presidential chair on 25th July.
Free education for transgenders
- Indira Gandhi National Open University has announced that transgender students can now study in any of the programmes offered by the university for free.
- This is set to benefit 4000+ transgenders in the state who have lost out on job opportunities as they don’t have necessary qualifications.
AIIMS to adopt 50 elderly people
- AIIMS in association with NGO Healthy Aging India would adopt 50 elderly people, who are economically & physically challenged, to provide them with health care facilities.
- They will be adopted from various old age homes and society as per their health requirements and access to health care facilities.
India’s third biggest commodity exchange
- National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE) will merge with Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) creating the country’s third biggest commodity exchange.
- The ICEX will hold a 62.8% stake in the merged entity, while NMCE shareholders will own the rest.
ITC crosses Rs 4 trillion in market cap
- FMCG giant ITC has become the fourth Indian company to cross market capitalization of Rs. 4 trillion.
- Stock hit a record high and gained as much as 9.06% in intraday trade as investors continued to buy the stock after the government notified that cigarettes will be exempted of additional excise duty under the GST regime.
- Earlier TCS, Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank have achieved this milestone.
Reliance Capital arm invests $1 mn
- Reliance Corporate Advisory Services, an arm of Reliance Capital has made an investment of $1 million in alternative digital lending startup Billionloans Financial Services.
- Billionloans is a technology-enabled financial services company focused on providing flexible & affordable options to individuals and small businesses.
- It is the 2nd major startup investment, after Paytm, by Reliance Capital.
FINO becomes payments bank
- According to RBI, FINO Payments Bank has commenced its operations as a payments bank with effect from June 30.
- It was 1 of the 11 applicants which were issued in-principle approval for setting up a payments bank.
- Earlier in January, Fino closed its Rs 400 crore domestic fund raising exercise that helped it meet key RBI guidelines including reducing foreign shareholding in the company.
Karnataka Bank’s Image Debit Card
- Karnataka Bank has launched the ‘KBL-Image Debit Card’ to enable its cardholders to personalise the card with the image of his/her choice.
- The customers will have the option of selecting an image either from bank’s gallery of images or any image of their choice to be printed on the debit card.
- This will foster cardholders’ emotional attachment towards the cards.
PNB to block all Maestro debit cards
- All Maestro cards issued by PNB will be blocked or hotlisted on July 31, 2017 for security-based reasons.
- All Maestro debit card holders have been asked to get it replaced free of cost with a new EMV chip based debit card from any PNB branch.
- The replacement is as per RBI advisory issued in 2015, asking all the banks to migrate to a much secured EMV chip based cards.
Science & Technology
World’s Sharpest Laser
- Scientists from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany have developed the world’s sharpest laser with record-breaking precision.
- This precision can be useful for various applications such as optical atomic clocks, radioastronomy, precision spectroscopy, testing the theory of relativity and carry out new precision measurements on ultracold atoms.
Chinese rocket launch fails
- China’s second launch of its new-generation Long March-5 rocket was declared a failure after an anomaly was detected during its flight.
- Dubbed “Chubby 5” for its huge size – 5m in diameter and 57m tall, the rocket is designed to carry up to 25 tons of payload into low orbit.
- The rocket was due to carry the heaviest Shijian-18 satellite and was to launch China’s next mission to the Moon.
WHO declares end of Ebola outbreak in Congo
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
- The announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province of DRC tested negative for the disease for the second time.
- It was DRC’s eighth outbreak of EVD since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. It killed four of the eight people infected in the central African country.
US lifts laptop ban on flights
- US has lifted a ban on laptops in cabins on flights from Abu Dhabi to US, after Etihad implemented tighter security measures.
- Ban went into effect in March for direct flights from 10 airports in the Middle East as U.S. officials were concerned about the potential for terrorists to hide bombs inside the computers.
- Etihad is the only airline that operates direct flights from Abu Dhabi to US.
China cancels Indian journalists trip
- China has cancelled a trip of Indian journalists to Tibet who were to visit Tibet at the invitation of the Chinese govt.
- Cancellation of the journalists’ trip, which was scheduled from 8-15 July, came in the backdrop of a stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector.
- China every year organises sponsored visit for select Indian journalists to Tibet.
First Indian to win FIA F3 Championship
- Jehan Daruvala became the first Indian driver to win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
- His victory in race 3 comes 18 years after Narain Karthikeyan won in the British F3 Championship.
- FIA F3 is the toughest junior racing category in the world, having produced some of the best talents like Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
- He now stands 5th in the 2017 championship standings.
Germany wins FIFA Confederations Cup
- Four-time FIFA World Cup winner Germany won maiden FIFA Confederation Cup Football title by defeating Copa America Champion Chile by 1-0 goals in the final match held at St Petersburg, Russia.
- Lars Stindl of Germany score the goal in the first half against the run of play. Chile was not able to score goal. Earlier, in the third-place play-off match, Portugal defeated Mexico by 2-1.
Shenoy bags Indian of the Year award
- Writer Preeti Shenoy was honoured with Indian of the Year award by Brands Academy.
- She is India’s one of the top 5 highest selling women authors. Shenoy’s books include It’s All In The Planets, Why We Love The Way We Do among others.
- Brands Academy is a branding company in India to recognise achievements of personalities who have contributed towards building up the reputation of the country.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 2nd, 2017
Government completes safety audit
- The Road ministry has completed safety audit of 1.6 lakh bridges in the country out which 147 bridges were found to be unsafe during the audit.
- The government had launched an Integrated Bridge Management System to create data of all bridges and culverts in the country to avert mishaps
- Technologies using nano, laser and sensor are being introduced for real-time monitoring of bridges.
National Biopharma Mission
- The Union Ministry of Science & Technology has launched National Biopharma Mission, a first ever Industry-Academia mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical development in India.
- Under this mission, the ministry also launched Innovate in India (i3) program to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector.
TN to set up Rs 2350 cr solar park
- The Tamil Nadu government will setup an Ultra Mega Solar Photovoltaic Power Park in Ramanathapuram district at an estimated cost of Rs 2350 crore.
- State-run TANGEDCO will establish the 500 MW power park on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) basis at Naripaiyur and adjoining villages in the district.
India’s largest fresh water aquarium
- Jharkhand Chief Minister has inaugurated India’s largest fresh water aquarium in Bhagwan Birsa Munda Biodiversity Park premises built at a cost of Rs 5.67 Crore.
- CM also laid the foundation stone for the upcoming Eco Park at Ormanjhi in Ranchi.
- It houses over 1,500 fishes from 120 fish species displayed in 58 fish tanks.
SEBI slaps fine on Sungold Capital
- Markets regulator SEBI has imposed a fine of total Rs 27 lakh on Sungold Capital and its 3 executive directors for allegedly violating norms related to public holding and disclosures.
- Chairman and managing director Rajiv Kotia was penalised â‚¹12 lakh for failing to disclose family’s shareholding.
- In a separate order SEBI slapped a fine of Rs 10 lakh on five relatives of Koita.
BHEL signs pact for metro trains
- Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has entered into a technology collaboration agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd of Japan for manufacturing of stainless steel coaches and bogies for metros.
- The agreement covers establishing design, engineering and manufacturing facilities at BHEL using Japanese technology.
RBI sees economic growth rate at 7.3%
- The RBI stated the ongoing accelerated reform initiatives like Goods and Service Tax and continuing political stability will push the economic growth scale to 7.3% in 2017-18.
- The Financial Stability Report 2017 bases its optimism to the lower fiscal deficit at 3.2%.
- Reforms in FDI and real estate sector, implementation of GST, and revival in external demand will fuel growth.
Samsung cuts manpower for first time
- For the first time in 7 years, headcount of Samsung Electronics came down in 2016 due to its restructuring in China.
- No. of employees fell to 308,745 in 2016 from 325,677 the previous year.
Carrie Lam is the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong
- China’s President Xi Jinping has inaugurated the new Hong Kong administration led by Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the first woman to lead the city.
- The event coincided with the 20th anniversary of the handover of the city’s sovereignty from Britain to China.
- Carrie Lam is the 4th Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
EESL signs MoU with Saudi Arabia
- Energy Efficiency Services Limited has signed a MoU with National Energy Services Company, Saudi Arabia to implement energy efficiency programmes.
- As per the MoU, EESL will provide consultancy to execute energy efficiency programmes.
- The move comes in the wake of the Arab Kingdom working ardently towards reducing its power subsidies and introducing energy efficiency initiatives.
International Co-operative Day
- International Co-operative Day is an annual celebration of the co-operative movement observed on the first Saturday in July since 1923 by the International Co-operative Alliance.
- “Co-operatives ensure no one is left behind”, is the slogan of the 2017 International Day of Co-operatives.
- The day was first celebrated in 1995.
Personalities & Awards
Economic Relations Secretary appointed
- Vijay Gokhale, currently Indian Ambassador to China, has been appointed as Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
- He has served as Ambassador of India to Germany and also in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and New York.
- Gokhale will replace Amar Sinha, who had held the post for over a year.
Adi Godrej wins award
- Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveries have been awarded the Global Leadership Awards of the US-India Business Council for their role in integrating India in the global supply chain.
- USIBC also presented its inaugural “Artistic Achievement Award” to Yashwant Shirwadkar.
- The President of USIBC is Mr. Mukesh Adhi.
Infosys names Sundaram Independent Director
- Infosys has appointed TVS Capital Funds Vice Chairman and MD D Sundaram as an independent Director of the company, with effect from July 14.
- The decision was taken on the basis of recommendations by the Nomination and Remuneration Committee of the Board.
New CEO & MD of L&T
- SN Subrahmanyan will take charge as the chief executive officer and managing director of Larsen & Toubro.
- The appointment marks a major change in leadership positions at L&T where Naik has served for over 52 years.
- Subrahmanyan is currently the deputy managing director and president of L&T.
- He will assume the new role of non-executive chairman for a period of 3 years beginning 1 October.
TS Vineeth Bhatt awarded
- TS Vineeth Bhatt has been conferred with the ‘Best astrologer of the world’ award at the ‘Russian-Indian economic dialogue’ round-table meet held in Moscow.
- The event was organized by Peacemakers International, a charity that works for advancement of conflict resolution through mediation services and training.
- Bhatt is from Kerala and lives in Bowenpally, Hydwerabad, telangana
Simone Veil passes away
- Simone Veil, the iconic European feminist politician, has passed away in Paris, France.
- She played a leading role in legalizing contraception and abortion in France. She was the first female President of the European parliament since the Parliament was created in 1952.
DC’s highest-grossing movie
- With the box office collection of $334.9 million, Wonder Woman has become the highest-grossing film of the DC Extended Universe at the US box office.
- With $670.68 million worldwide, movie already surpassed international numbers for Man of Steel and the domestic total for Suicide Squad.
- DCEU includes films such as “Man of Steel”, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad”.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of July 1st, 2017
Union Government launches COMMIT for training State Government officials
- The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension has launched a new training programme Comprehensive Online Modified Modules on Induction Training (COMMIT) for State Government officials.
- The objective of COMMIT programme is to improve the public service delivery mechanism and provide citizen centric administration through capacity building of officials who interact with the citizens on day-to-day basis.
- The COMMIT programme has been developed by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
GST Council cuts GST rate on fertilizers
- In order to give relief to farmers, GST Council has reduced the tax rate on fertiliser to 5% from the earlier 12%.
- Council also decided to cut tax rate on exclusive parts of tractors from 28% to 18%.
- Council however did not reduce the rate of 18% on crop protection chemicals.
India’s first-ever mega trade event
- PM Modi inaugurated Textiles India 2017, organised by Union Ministry of Textiles, India’s first ever mega textiles trade fair at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- Event is expected to see participation from 2,500 international buyers over a 1,000 international & domestic exhibitors and several top fashion designers.
eVIN wins GSMA Asia Mobile Award
- Health Ministry’s mobile app eVIN has won the GSMA Asia Mobile Award 2017 for outstanding contribution to the UN’s sustainable development goals in Asia.
- Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) is an online real-time vaccine logistics management system developed and implemented by Ministry of Health and UNDP which is being implemented in 12 states of the country.
MRP, expiry dates now must on products available on ecommerce website
- Ministry of Consumer Affairs has amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 to bring ecommerce companies and online marketplaces under its purview.
- Under these rules, ecommerce companies will have to display online the expiry dates and MRP of packaged consumer products.
- The companies will also have to display the country of origin on their online product pages.
Mizoram: 31st Anniversary of Mizo Peace Accord Celebrated
- The 31st anniversary of the signing of the historic Mizo peace accord on June 30, 1986, was celebrated in Mizoram.
- The Mizo Accord was signed by the Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Laldenga, Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalkhama, and Union Home Secretary R D Pradhan.
- The accord ushered in an era of peace after 20 years of violence and disturbance that hampered Mizoram.
July 1: National Doctors’ Day
- National Doctors’ Day is celebrated on July 1 all across India to honour noted physician and the 2nd CM of West Bengal, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy.
- He was born on July 1, 1882 and died on the same date in 1962, aged 80 years.
- National Doctors’ day is observed to emphasise on the value of doctors in our lives and to offer them our respects by commemorating one of their greatest representatives.
Railways, NBCC ink MoU to redevelop 10 railway stations
- Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has inked MoU with National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) for redevelopment of 10 railway stations across the country on global standards.
- The identified stations to be taken up initially by NBCC, a PSU of Urban Development Ministry for redevelopment are Tirupati, Nellore, Puducherry, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Madgaon, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane (New) and Ernakulam.
Eight core sectors growth slips to 3.6% in May 2017
- The growth of eight core sectors slowed to 3.6% in May 2017 due to fall in output of coal and fertilisers. It was 5.2% in May 2016.
- In April 2017, these eight sectors had recorded a growth rate of 2.8%.
- In India, there are eight core sectors comprising of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity.
- These eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures factory output.
India – UN
$500,000 to UN Peacebuilding Fund
- India has contributed $500,000 to the UN Peace Building Fund.
- India has been a member of the Peacebuilding Commission since its inception in 2005 and has so far contributed $5 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.
- The fund was launched to support activities, actions, programmes and organisations that seek to build a lasting peace in countries emerging from conflict.
India – Pakistan
India asks Pakistan for consular access in Kulbhushan Jadhav case
- India has once again asked Pakistan to grant full and early consular access to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court.
- Jadhav has been sentenced to death on charges of espionage and sabotage activities.
Science & Technology
Jio launches submarine cable system
- Reliance Jio has announced the launch of Asia-Africa-Europe submarine cable system.
- It is the longest 100Gbps tech based submarine system that will stretch over 25,000 km from France to Hong Kong, with 21 cable landings across Asia and Europe.
- Jio provides Network Operations & Management for AAE-1 Cable System.
- It is a combined effort of telecom operators from Europe, Middle East & Asia.
Facebook drone completes test flight
- Facebook has completed its second test flight for its solar-powered, internet drone called Aquila.
- The flight was conducted in Yuma, Arizona and lasted for one hour and 46 minutes.
- The drone landed perfectly on the prepared landing site unlike the first attempt where it had a crash landing.
- Facebook plans to use the drone to beam internet access to unconnected parts of the world.
World’s first “Forest City”
- China has commenced construction of the world’s first “Forest City” as part of China’s larger efforts to fight pollution and become greener.
- The new ‘Forest City’, currently being built in southern China’s Guangxi Province, would be home to 30,000 people once it’s completed in 2020.
- The city will run on renewable energy sources and be connected to Liuzhuo via an electric rail line.
Highest GST rates in the world
- GST rates in India are highest in the world among the 140 countries that have implemented it so far.
- India has 4 tax slabs: 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% which makes it the country with highest GST rate going past Argentina that levies 27% tax on goods and services.
- India has chosen the Canadian model of dual GST as it has a federal structure.
- France was the first country to implement GST
Money Parked by Indians in Swiss Banks hit record low
- According to the data released by Zurich-based SNB, money parked by Indians in Swiss banks have nearly halved to 676 Swiss francs (about Rs. 4,500 crore) in 2016. The data release comes ahead of a new framework for the automatic exchange of information between Switzerland and India to check the menace of black money. SNB (Swiss National Bank) is Switzerland’s central banking authority
- During 2016, the total money held by Indians fell by 45 % to stand at CHF 675.75 million. This is the biggest ever yearly decline in such funds. Out of the total funds, CHF 377 million was in the form of customer deposits, about CHF 98 million owed to Indians through other banks and CHF 190 million constitutes other ‘liabilities’. The funds reported in 2016 is the lowest amount of funds possessed by Indians in the Swiss banks ever since 1987 and marks the third straigh year of decline.
Germany to fine social media firms
- Germany’s cabinet has approved a plan to fine social networks up to €50m if they fail to remove hateful postings quickly.
- Law gives social media networks 24 hrs to delete or block obviously criminal content and 7 days to deal with less clear-cut cases.
- Social networks will also have to publish a report every 6 months detailing how many complaints they received and how they dealt with them.
Pakistan bans JuD front
- Pakistan has banned Tehreek-e-Azaadi Jammu and Kashmir (TAJK), a new front for Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), as the international pressure on the country increases.
- TAJK gained prominence as a JuD front when it held pro-Kashmir freedom rallies and displayed banners & streamers across Pakistan on Kashmir Day.
- UN placed both JuD and FIF on its watch list in December 2008 and March 2012, respectively.
Japan reveals plans to put a man on moon
- Japan has revealed ambitious plans to put an astronaut on the Moon around 2030.
- This is the first time Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has said that it aims to send an astronaut beyond the International Space Station.
Personalities & Awards
Shamma appointed Indian envoy to Greece
- Senior diplomat Shamma Jain has been appointed as India’s ambassador to Greece.
- She will succeed M Manimekalai as Indian envoy in Greece.
- Shamma is a 1983-batch Indian Foreign Service officer and is currently serving as Indian envoy to Panama.
R K Pachnanda takes charge as DG of ITBP
- Senior IPS officer R K Pachnanda took charge as the 29th chief of the Indo-China border guarding force ITBP.
- Prior to his appointment, he was serving as the DG of National Disaster Response Force.
- He is a 1983-batch police officer of West Bengal cadre and was handed over the baton of about 90,000-personnel by outgoing Director General Krishna Chaudhary.
A Billion Colour Story
- A Billion Colour Story has won the audience award at the 8th edition of the London Indian Film Festival.
- The film is a powerful plea for Hindu-Muslim unity and religious harmony.
- It is directed by Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy and produced by Satish Kaushik.
US honours Indian cop
- IPS officer Mahesh Bhagwat has won the U.S. government’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Hero award.
- He was awarded for his leadership in combating modern slavery in India, his role in elevating human trafficking as a government priority and his innovative approach to investigating cases.
- He has closed down 25 brothels in less than a year and rescued over 350 children forced into labour.
US Great Immigrants Award
- Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen and former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will be honoured with the prestigious ‘Great Immigrants’ annual award on US’s Independence Day on July 4.
- They are among 38 immigrants to be honoured this year for their role in helping advance the US’s society, culture and economy.
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Important National, International, Economy, Sports, Environment & Ecology and Science & technology related news of June 30th, 2017
Modi inaugurates TransStadia Arena
- PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the TransStadia Arena a stadium complex in Maninagar area in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.
- It was inaugurated almost eight months after the venue played host to a world sporting event.
- The Arena by TransStadia is a Rs. 550 crore project, built through a unique Public Private Partnership model, and is hailed as India’s first convertible stadium.
Government cuts PPF, NSC rate
- Govt has reduced interest rates on small saving schemes, including PPF, NSCs and Kisan Vikas Patra by 10 basis points.
- PPF and NSCs will now earn 7.8%, while KVPs will fetch only 7.5%.
- Senior Citizen’s Savings Scheme and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana will now offer 8.3%.
- Interest rates on small savings are linked to the benchmark 10-year govt bond yields and are revised every 3 months
Kailash Mansarovar yatra cancelled
- Kailash Mansarovar yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim has been cancelled.
- The decision comes in the wake of face-off b/w Indian and Chinese troops over a disputed area along Sino-Indian border.
- The yatra is considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and is undertaken by hundreds of pilgrims every year.
- However the pilgrimage through Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand will continue as scheduled
ADB commits USD 10 billion
- Asian Development Bank has committed USD 10 billion support for infrastructure building and immediate development needs of less-developed states in India.
- ADB has also decided to increase the annual funding by USD 1 billion to USD 4 billion.
- ADB has also assured its support to relatively lesser developed states in the area of power, transport, urban development, and health services.
Training programme COMMIT launched
- Training programme “Comprehensive Online Modified Modules on Induction Training” for State Govt officials has been launched by Dr Jitendra Singh.
- It’s Objective is to improve public service delivery mechanism & provide citizen centric administration through capacity building of officials who interact with citizens on day-to-day basis.
- It has been developed by DoPT in collaboration with UNDP
SIERRA ODC building in Coimbatore receives World’s Second Highest Green Rating
- SIERRA ODC building has been recognised as the world’s second highest ranking Green Building. The building has scored 103 points out of 110 under LEED certification.
- The SIERRA ODC is a three-storeyed building which has been constructed by laying specific emphasis on increasing the efficiency of resource use such as energy, water or materials.
- The building has managed water use efficiency of 89% by using water saving fixtures and curbing wastage. In the building, water is recycled 100%.
- The building is a carbon-neutral building. The building was the first to implement a technology called Amorphous Silicon Thin Building Vortec for the first time in South India. By using this technology, photovoltaic modules produce power at the low cost per watt.
July 1 to be observed as GST Day
- Central Board of Excise and Customs has announced that July 1 will be known as ‘GST Day’.
- It will be celebrated in all offices of CBEC just as Central Excise Day and International Customs Day is celebrated.
- All the offices of CBEC have been instructed to be open on 1st July as a trade facilitation measure.
- CBEC had organised outreach programmes and training sessions for the new regime.
June 29: National Statistics Day
- National Statistics Day is observed every year on 29 June, on the occasion of Birth anniversary of India’s eminent statistician Late Prof Mahalanobis.
- Aim of this Day is to create public awareness about importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation, to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. Mahalanobis.
- Theme for 2017 Statistics Day is Administrative Statistics.
India – US
US to sell C- 17 Globemaster Transport Aircraft to India
- US has decided to sell one C-17 transport aircraft to India.
- US and India have built a close defence relationship in recent years. The US along with Russia and Israel has emerged as a top three arms suppliers to India.
- The sale of USD 366.2 million C-17 transport aircraft manufactured by Boeing also includes one Missile Warning System, one Countermeasures Dispensing System, one Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Transponder and precision navigation equipment.
Science & Technology
NASA launched rocket to produce colourful Artificial Clouds
- The NASA has successfully launched Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket that created colourful artificial clouds visible in the skies of the US.
- The rocket released 10 canisters.
- The canisters deployed blue-green and red vapour that formed artificial clouds visible in the skies of the United States from New York to North Carolina.
- The artificial clouds are formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide.
- The vapour tracers will help in understanding the movement of the particles in the ionosphere.
- It will help to learn more about the movement of the air currents at that altitude.
Myanmar to bar human right investigators
- Myanmar’s govt has said that it will instruct its embassies around the world to bar members of a UN approved fact-finding mission from entering the country.
- Fact finding mission is supposed to investigate human rights violations by security forces against Muslim Rohingya minority and other groups.
- UN Human Rights Council approved the mission by in March in response to international pressure.
Germany Approves Same-Sex Marriage
- Germany has legalised same-sex marriage in a snap vote after Chancellor Merkel changed her mind to allow a free vote.
- The move brings Germany into line with many other European nations including France, Britain and Spain.
- Bill grants same-sex couples’ full marital rights, including child adoption.
- Lawmakers voted by 393 votes in favor of same-sex marriage to 226 against.
US approves arms sales to Taiwan
- US State Department has approved weapons sales to Taiwan worth a total of $1.4 billion.
- The arms sales contains 7 items, including Early Warning Radar Surveillance systems, the Joint Stand-off Weapon, anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and components for SM-2 missiles.
- The sale will anger China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory. China has long criticized US arms sales to Taiwan.
US slaps sanctions on Chinese bank
- United States has slapped unprecedented sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash.
- Bank of Dandong would be severed from US financial system for acting as a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity.
- Bank will now be prevented from having accounts or doing business with US financial institutions.
- US also slapped sanctions on a Chinese shipping company.
UN votes to reduce peacekeepers
- UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution sharply reducing the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s Darfur region.
- The resolution will reduce the number of peacekeepers by 44% and number of international police by about 27% in the Darfur mission.
- The UN-AU force was established in 2007 with a mandate to help protect civilians in Darfur.
Dravid to continue as coach
- Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced that Rahul Dravid will continue to remain the coach for India A and U-19 teams for the next two years.
- He was first appointed as the coach for the two teams back in the year 2015.
- In his first assignment as coach, ‘A’ side won the triangular series in Australia while Under-19 team emerged Runners-up in the 2016 World Cup.
Venugopal appointed as Attorney General
- Senior advocate K K Venugopal’s name has been cleared for appointment as the Attorney General for India.
- He will replace Mukul Rohatgi who has decided to step down as the top law officer.
- He is a noted constitutional expert and recipient of Padma Vibhushan & Padma Bhushan.
- He would become a law officer for 2nd time after being an Additional Solicitor General during the Morarji Desai govt.
Sinha assumes charge as I&B Secretary
- Narendra Kumar Sinha, a 1980 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre has assumed charge as the Information and Broadcasting Secretary.
- He will take charge in place of Ajay Mittal, who has been appointed as the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training.
- Prior to being Secretary, Sinha served as Principal Secretary, Information Technology Department, Government of Bihar.
NIFT gets new Chairperson
- Union government (Ministry of Textiles) has appointed Rajesh V Shah as Chairperson on the Board of Governors of the National Institute of Fashion Technology up to March 31, 2019.
- He will replace former cricketer Chetan Chauhan who resigned from the post after being made the Sports Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
- NIFT has various centres across India and comes under Union Ministry of Textiles.
Preity Zinta started a new service for women’s safety
- Bollywood Actor Preity Zinta in association with Anthony Moorhouse has launched a new service for women’s safety called the Kavach Safety.
- It is a “pro victim – anti perpetrator” emergency response service that assures safety at the press of a button.
- It offers a full range of support services, backed by a leading team of crisis experts to ensure safety and security needs of women.
Ankit Kawatra Anti-hunger activist awarded by Queen
- Anti-hunger activist Ankit Kawatra was awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for 2017 at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace.
- He was awarded for his exceptional work towards solving hunger and malnutrition in India by Queen Elizabeth II.
- He is the founder of Feeding India, that aims to eradicate hunger and food wastage in India.
- He was also selected as one of the 17 UN Young Leaders for SDG.
Indian-origin boy beats Einstein
- A 11-year-old Indian-origin boy Arnav Sharma in UK has secured the top possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test.
- He scored 162 points, 2 points higher than the 160 score both Einstein and Hawking achieved.
- His mark in the exam puts him in the top 1% Britain in terms of IQ level.
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