CURRENT EVENT AUGUST 2017
Kenya Imposes World’s Toughest Law against Plastic Bags
In Kenya, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000. It is the world’s toughest law which is aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect. The East African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.
IAEA opens world’s first low Enriched Uranium bank in Kazakhstan
The UN global nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has opened world’s first low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen in Kazakhstan. The bank is owned and managed by IAEA. It will be the first of its kind LEU bank not to be under control of any individual country. The IAEA also manages 123 tons of uranium in Angarsk, Russia but it is under the control of Russian government.
Canada to allow gender-neutral passports to promote equality
The Canadian government announced that citizens, who do not identify with a particular gender, whether male or female, would soon be able to obtain gender neutral passports. the citizens would be able to mark “X” in space of gender on their passports and other identity documents. the decisiobn would be effective starting 31 August 2017.
Qatar restores its diplomatic relation with Iran
Qatar restored full diplomatics relations with Iran, disregarding the demands of Arab Nations now loked in a regional dispute with the energy-rich country that it lessens its ties to Tehran. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced that the contry’s amabassador would return to Tehran. Qatar pulled out its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom.
Nepal launches Climate-Smart Snow Leopard plan
Nepal has launched its climate-smart snow leopard landscape management plan. The plan aims to safeguard them endangered species of snow leopard and its habitat. The plan is the first climate-smart landscape management plan for snow leopard conservation in the world. The conservation plan was launched ahead of the International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum that addresses key current and emerging threats to the snow leopards, including climate change.
China launches first cyber court in e-commerce hub of Hangzhou
China launched its first cyber (internet) court specialising in handling internet-related cases in the e-commerce hub of Hangzhou, amid a spike in the number of online disputes. The cyber court will handle cases such as online trade disputes and copyright lawsuits. These cases handled by the court will be tried online. According latest report of China Internet Network Information Center, China had about 751 million netizens and 724 million mobile Internet users as of the end of June 2017. With high internet penetration, Chinese people have increasingly turn to online shopping and payment.
First Regional Centre of NDB Opens in S Africa
The first regional centre of the New Development Bank, set up by India and other BRICS nations, was officially opened by South African President Jacob Zuma and the bank’s Indian head K V Kamath. NDB has anauthorized capital of the bank is USD 100 billion. In 2018 it is expected to present about 15 to 20 projects involving a total lending of about USD 4 billion for the boards consideration.
World’s largest data centre to be built in Arctic Circle
A small town in the remote north of the Arctic Circle is set to be home to the world’s largest data center. The Kolos facility is being developed by a US-Norwegian partnership, also called Kolos, who say the site will eventually draw on a record-setting 1000 megawatts of power. The company added that Kolos will be a “fortress for data”.
US designates Hizbul Mujahideen as Foreign Terrorist Organisation
The United States has named Pakistan based Kashmiri terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)”. The designation slaps a series of US sanctions on the outfit. With this, Hiz Mujahideen joins them other terrorist outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) on the US list of FTO designated in 2001. Moreover, two other anti-India groups, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (2016) and Indian Mujahideen (2011) are also in the list.
Saudi king orders Qatar border be reopened to pilgrims
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has ordered the country’s border with Qatar to be reopened in order to allow Qatari pilgrims to carry out their annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The move represents the first forward step ever since Saudi Arabia along with other Gulf nations completely cut off ties with Doha, after accusing it of supporting and funding extremist groups. The Salwa border crossing has remained shut since then. The announcement to reopen after Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman received an envoy from Doha, the first-ever public high-level encounter between the nations since the crisis erupted.
China Bans Imports from N. Korea as part of U.N. sanctions
China will halt iron, iron ore and seafood imports from North Korea, following through on new UN sanctions after U.S. pressure for Beijing to strong arm Pyongyang over its ally’s nuclear programme. The United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Beijing, approved tough sanctions against Pyongyang that could cost the country $1 billion a year. China, which is suspected of failing to enforce past UN measures, accounts for 90% of North Korea’s trade. Among the latest banned products, China imported $74.4 million worth of iron ore in the first five months of this year, almost equalling the figure for all of 2016.
Nepal, China signed three pacts to boost energy, economic ties
China and Nepal have signed three pacts to further boost their ties in power, energy and economic sectors. The agreements signed cover oil and gas resources exploration, economic and technological cooperation and promotion of investment. These agreements were signed after visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yng held discussions with Nepal’s Deputy Prmie Minsters Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
WHO declares Somalia free of Polio
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Somalia free of polio. The UN Health agency announced that it had not recorded any case of polio disease in Somalia in the last three years. The declaration by WHO keeps Somalia outside the last group of countries which still record cases of polio in the world. Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan are the remaining countries where polio is still being recorded. The WHO stated that Somalia recorded the case of polio in 2014 in the central part of the country. However, since then it has remained free of the disease.Poliomyelitis, often called polio, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.
Iran responds to US sanctions by voting to boost military defence
Iran’s parliament has voted in favor of boosting investment in its missile defence and foreign operations programmes by more than $500 million. The bill was passed with an overwhelming majority. Among 244 parliamentarians present, 240 voted in favour of passing the bill. The move is in response to the latest round of sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States of America. The US had imposed sanctions on the country after it conducted ballistic missile test in January 2017.
2016 warmest on record for the planet as a whole
An annual report compiled by scientists around the globe has stated that the year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its annual checkup of the Earth, highlighting numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level, and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica. The year 2016 even surpassed the temperature records that date back 137 years. For global temperatures, last year also surpassed the previous record-holder, i.e. the year 2015.
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta wins second term
President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election in Kenya defeating veteran opposition leader and longtime rival Raila Odinga in a tense contest. Election Commission Head Wafula Chebukati announced in Nairobi that Kenyatta got 54.27 per cent votes beating his rival Raifa Odinga who got 44.74 per cent of votes. The opposition rejected the results even before they were declared, calling the process a charade.
Two massive earthquakes hit China
At least nine people were killed and 164 others injured in an earthquake that struck China. A seven magnitude earthquake jolted a remote but popular tourist destination in China’s southwest in which 100 people are feared dead and thousands injured. The condition o 30 hospitalized injured was stated to be serious. Five among the dead were visitors to the popular tourist destination of Jiuzhaigou national park.
UNSC adopts resolution to prevent terrorists access to weapons
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a resolution to prevent terrorists from aquiring weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons. The resolution came after the UN body witnessed that there is a continuous flow of weapons, unmanned aircraft systems and improvised explosive device (IED) components between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaida, their affiliates and associated groups. The accumulation and misuse of these weapons continue to pose threats to international peace & security and cause significant loss of life.
China officially opens its first overseas military base in Djibouti
China formally opened its first overseas military base with a flag raising ceremony in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, the same day as the People’s Liberation Army marks its 90th birthday. Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled worry in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. China began construction of a logistics base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to re-supply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
INDIA & WORLD
10th India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue
India and the European Union have agreed to strengthen cooperation between their security and intelligence agencies to combat the threat of terrorism and check terror financing. During the 10th India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue in New Delhi, the two sides deliberated extensively on combating terror financing and challenges posed by radicalization.
Joint Proposal by India & China in WTO
India and China have jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, known as Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations. The proposal is significant in view of the ongoing negotiatiobs for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, which is scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017. It counters the efforts of some countries to target the subsidies of the developing countries while letting the developed countries retain their huge farm subsidies.
India, China agree to end Doklam standoff
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a press statement declaring that India and China have agreed to an ‘expeditious disengagement of border personnel at faceoff site in Doklam’ along the China-Bhutan border. The foreign ministry of China, however, maintains that while India was withdrawing its troops, they will continue to patrol in the Doklam Plateau.
Govt restricts gold, silver imports from South Korea
The government has restricted imports of gold and silver items from South Korea in a bid to check spurt in inbound shipments of precious metals from that country. The importers will now have to obtain a license from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for importing gold and silver from South Korea. These restrictions are being imposed against the backdrop of sudden surge in imports of precious metal from South Korea, with which India has a free trade agreement since January 2010.
Indian Navy Band Participates in International Military Music Festival
The International Military Music Festival “Spasskaya Tower” is the parade of the best military music bands of Russia and other countries that takes place every year at Red Square in Moscow. This time Indian Navy Band is participating in the festival. Every year about 1500 musicians, military men and other artists from around 40 countries perform at the “Spasskaya Tower”. The Festival is duly considered one of the largest international events in Russia and attracts tremendous response of the general public.
ISA extends India’s exclusive rights to explore Polymetallic Nodules
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) in its 23rd session recently held at Kingston, Jamaica has extended India’s exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB). These rights extend over 75000 sq. km of area in international waters allocated by ISA for developmental activities for polymetallic nodules. The estimated polymetallic nodule resource potential of this area is around 380 million tonnes, containing nickel (4.7 million tonnes), copper (4.29 million tonnes), cobalt (0.55 million tonnes) and manganese (92.59 million tonnes).
India, US Establish TWO-BY-TWO Ministerial Dialogue
India and US have established new two-by-two (2 by 2) ministerial dialogue to enhance strategic coordination between them and maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The new dialogue format will replace the earlier India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. It will be similar to the India-Japan 2+2 dialogue format between foreign and defence secretaries of the two countries.
India Ratifies 2nd Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol
India has ratified the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that commits countries to contain the emission of greenhouse gases, reaffirming its stand on climate action. With this, India became the 80th country to accept the amendment relating to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the international emissions reduction treaty. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
India ranks 43rd in 2017 Global Retirement Index
India ranked 43rd position in 2017 Global Retirement Index (GRI). It is published by French asset management company Natixis Global. The 43 countries include members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) advanced economies and the BRIC countries. The top three countries in 2017 GRI are Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland.
Sri Lanka Commissions an Offshore Patrol Vessel built in India
Sri Lankan Navy has commissioned an India-built state-of-the-art Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV), the first-ever purchase from a foreign ship builder, to boost its search and rescue capabilities. Sri Lankan President and Armed Forces commander-in-chief Maithripala Sirisena commissioned the new patrol vessel “SLNS Sayurala”. It is the largest vessel built by an Indian ship builder for a foreign navy to date. Built at the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) in India, SLNS Sayurala is the first-ever brand new platform purchased from a foreign ship builder. The 105.7 metre-long and 13.6 meter-wide vessel can also be used for external fire-fighting missions.
India, AIIB sign 329 mln USD loan for Gujarat Road Project
India signed a loan agreement with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for providing loan of 329 million U.S. dollars to improve rural road connectivity in western state of Gujarat. The objective of the project is to improve the rural road connectivity and accessibility to 1,060 villages in all the 33 districts in Gujarat state benefiting about 8 million people. The project will also benefit the service providers such as public transport operators, educational institutions, hospitals, local markets and traders.
USISPF set up to deepen Indo-US ties
A new representative body US- India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is being set up to enhance business relations between India and US. The body will work with businesses and government leaders to achieve its goals of driving economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship. Mukesh Aghi will serve as a USISPF President while GauravVerma will serve as Chief Operating officer. USISPF’s board of directors will include Chairman John Chambers (Executive Chairman, Cisco), Vice-Chairs Punit Renjen (Global CEO, Deloitte LLP) and Edward Monser (President, Emerson Electric), and board members Indra Nooyi (Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo), and Ajay Banga (President and CEO, MasterCard).
India can go ahead with Kishanganga, Ratle projects under IWT
World Bank allowed India to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir. The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.
India & Somalia sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons
India and Somalia signed a bilateral agreement for the transfer of sentenced persons. The move is step forward in deepening humanitarian cooperation between the two nations. Signing the agreement with Somalia will facilitate the Indian prisoners imprisoned in Somalia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence. The step will also facilitate their social rehabilitation. The agreement was signed between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia Yusuf Garaad Omar.
India-Bhutan trade & transit pact come into force
The new bilateral Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan came into force. It aims to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and Bhutan. The Agreement provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan. It also provides for a duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.
Union Cabinet approves equivalence of posts
The Union Cabinet has approved the norms for establishing equivalence of posts in Government, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Banks, Insurance Institutions for claiming benefit of OBC reservations. This approval came after nearly 24 years. This will ensure that the children of those serving in lower categories in PSUs and other institutions can get the benefit of OBC reservations. It will prevent treatment of Children of OBC category individuals in senior positions as non Creamy Layer by virtue of wrong interpretation of income standards. The cabinet also approved the increase in the Creamy Layer ceiling of OBCs from Rs 6 lakh per annum to Rs 8 lakh per annum. This increase came with the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Rajnath Singh inaugurates “YUVA-Skill Development Programme”
The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated “YUVA – Skill Development Programme”. YUVA is an initiative by Delhi Police under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. The YUVA initiative by Delhi Police aims to connect with youth by upgrading their skill as per their competencies. The programme will help the youth to get a gainful employment under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) under the Union Ministry of Skill Development.
Govt launches National Sports Talent Search Portal
The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched ‘National Sports Talent Search Portal’ to unearth sporting talent from every nook and corner of the country. The portal will be also available as smart phone application. The portal will enable any person from across country to upload their information through a simple three step process for registration, profile creation and also upload their achievements. Using this portal, a child or his parents, coaches or teachers can upload their bio data or video on the portal.
Government to launch Deep Ocean Mission
The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is going to launch Deep Ocean Mission by January 2018 to spur research activities in ocean science and develop technology to harness ocean resources. The proposed inter-ministerial and interdisciplinary project aims to explore and harness mineral resources beneath the ocean floor. The mission is intended to harness ocean resources in responsible way and play important transformative role in prosperity and security of the nation. It will also seek to create jobs and business opportunities in ocean science.
Govt inaugurates India’s first Videsh Bhavan in Mumbai
The Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) launched country’s first Videsh Bhavan by assimilating all Regional Passport Offices and allied departments under a single roof at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Currently, 90-plus RPOs and PoEs across the country function from rented offices. Merging and integrating them into similar Videsh Bhavans in different state capitals is expected to cut costs besides ensuring improving efficiency and speeding up the delivery of various services.
Arun Jaitley hands over LRSAM to Indian Navy
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley handed over the Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) jointly developed by India and Israel, to the Indian Navy, at Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL). LRSAM is an advanced combat suit for missile defence against air targets and missiles, and has full capabilities of air and surface surveillance, threat alert and fire control. The minister also dedicated a first-of-its kind 50-tonne Rocket Motor Static Test Facility. He inaugurated the ASTRA Manufacturing Unit at the BDL’s Bhanur unit.
Govt imposes anti-dumping duty on sodium nitrate imports from China
The Union Finance Ministry’s Revenue Department has imposed a five year anti-dumping duty on Sodium Nitrite imports from China. It was imposed based on recommendations of Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD). In its sunset review, the DGAD concluded that there is “continued dumping” of the ‘sodium nitrite’ from China and it is causing injury to the domestic industry.
Coast Guard Training Ship Varuna Decommissioned
The Indian Coast Guard Ship Varuna, which was part of the First Training Squadron of the Navy, was decommissioned with full armed forces honors at a ceremony. The ship had an illustrious service spanning about 30 years. ICGS Varuna was the fourth of in its class of offshore patrol vessels built by the Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock. The ship had numerous operational achievements to its credit, including a record number of apprehension of smugglers with gold worth crores of rupees during the late 1980s.
Amit Shah, Smriti Irani sworn in as Rajya Sabha members
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah and Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani took oath as Rajya Sabha members. The oath was administered to both BJP leaders by Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Smriti Irani took the oath in Sanskrit. While this would be Amit Shah’s first stint in the parliament, for Smriti Irani it would be her second term, as she was sworn in as a member of parliament from Gujarat to the upper house in 2011 as well.
Supreme Court declares Right to Privacy as Fundamental Right
The Supreme Court of India pronounced that individual privacy is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar ruled that the right to privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty, thus coming under Article 21, and comes under the various fundamental freedoms in PART III of the Indian Constitution. All the nine judges arrive at the same conclusion, though through different but concurring judgments, that right to privacy is intrinsic to right to life and liberty. With this now India has total seven fundamental rights.
SAMPADA renamed as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minster Narendra Modi has approved the renaming of SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY). The new Central Sector Scheme PMKSY was approved for the period of 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.
NITI Aayog launches Mentor India Campaign
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has launched Mentor India Campaign, a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders for guiding and mentoring students at Atal Tinkering Labs. The Mentor India Campaign aims at maximising the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs by engaging leaders who will nurture and guide students in the Atal Tinkering Labs. Under this initiative, NITI Aayog is looking for leaders who can spend one to two hours every week in one or more such labs to enable students learn, experience and practice future skills such as design and computational thinking.
Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat Programme launched
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) launched ‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme. It was launched by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar in Kochi, Kerala The programme is an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to prepare a physical Health and Fitness Profile Card for more than 12 lakhs of Kendriya Vidyalaya students. The programme aims to provide a comprehensive and inclusive report card for children covering all age groups and children of different abilities. Its main objective is to make students, teachers and parents aware about the importance of good health and fitness and encouraging 60 minutes of play each day.
Supreme Court strikes Triple Talaq by 3:2 majority
With its trial to give an end to the issue of the Triple Talaq in Muslim community, the five judges of five faith of the Supreme Court of India in its judgement struck down the validity of triple talaq by a majority of 3:2. The court in its verdict also said that the practice of instant triple talaq was violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The bench said that the practice violates the fundamental right of Muslim women as it irrevocably ends the marriage without any chance of reconciliation.
Police verification for passport to go online within a year
Soon passport applicants will be free of the tiresome procedure of physical police verification, as the Union Government is planning to connect the procedure with the national database of crimes and criminals, the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS). The CCTNS is expected to be linked with the passport service of the External Affairs Ministry and it will replace physical police verification for passport applicants with online verification within a year.
Government launches digital police portal under CCTNS
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs launched digital police portal under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS). The portal is a smart policing initiative of the Government to provide services to citizens and aid efficient police investigation. It will help in realising Government’s dream of ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’. The police portal is a platform for citizens to file online crime related complaints and also request for antecedent verification. It will also provide 11 searches and 46 reports from the national database for state police and central investigation agencies. Central investigating and research agencies. Central investigating and research agencies also have been provided logins to the portal to access crime statistics.
Champions of Change’ Initiative Organised by NITI Aayog
PM Narendra Modi addressed a gathering of young entrepreneurs and CEOs startups at an event organised by NITI Aayog. The event called ‘Champions of Change’ was organised by India’s policy think-tank, was aimed at bringing together young businessmen at a place and share ideas. The “Champions of Change” initiative is one effort to bring together diverse strengths for the benefit of the nation and society.
Centre doubles Child Care allowance for Women with Disabilities
The Centre has doubled the Child Care allowance from Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 for women employees with disabilities. The allowance shall be payable from the time of the child’s birth till the child is two years old. Moreover, it shall be payable for a maximum of two eldest surviving children. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) also issued orders for the reimbursement of children education allowance, which will be Rs 2,250 per month.
NHAI launches MyFASTag and FASTag Partner mobile apps
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) launched two mobile Apps – MyFASTag and FASTag Partner in to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) project. The mobile apps will ease the process, making it possible to buy or recharge FASTags easier using mobile button. MyFASTag is a consumer application that will facilitate consumer to purchase or recharge FASTags on it. It also helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online grievance redressal. FASTag Partner is a merchant application. it will allow agencies like Common Services Centre (CSC), banking partners and vehicle dealers to sell and enroll FASTag.
Govt launches Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan has launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign. The Ministry also administered a pledge or a Green and Healthy Diwali to the gathering of students. The pledge will be widely circulated to the schools, colleges and other educational institutions. The Ministry launched the campaign while addressing a gathering of about 800 children from schools of Delhi and NCR.
Navika Sagar Parikrama: Indian Navy’s all-woman team to circumnavigate globe
A six-member all-woman team of the Indian Navy will set sail to circumnavigate the globe on the sailing vessel INSV Tarini. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-woman crew. The expedition has been aptly titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ with an aim to promote women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.
Government to Conduct ‘World’s Largest Sample Survey’ for Students
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has announced November 13 as the date for conducting its National Assessment Survey (NAS) for the students of class 3, 5, and 8. So far, during several rounds of the survey, a total of 4.45 lakh students have been tested for various learning outcomes. This time, approximately 30 lakh students will be assessed in the year 2017-18 making it the world’s largest sample survey of student learning achievement.
Aadhaar must for subsidised farm loans: RBI
To ensure hassle-free benefits to farmers under Interest Subvention Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India has advised banks to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for availing short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh in 2017-18. In order to provide short-term crop loans to farmers at an interest rate of 7 percent during the year 2017-18, the RBI said it has been decided to offer interest subvention of 2 percent to lending institutions, public sector banks, private sector commercial banks on use of their own resources. Banks have been asked to include land details, even after providing gold as a security, for the loan to avoid multiple loaning and to ensure that only genuine farmers avail of concessional crop loans through the mechanism of gold loans.
India’s first Partition Museum to come up in Amritsar
India’s first museum on Partition of the Indian subcontinent will open in Amritsar Punjab, as India and Pakistan celebrate 70 years as independent nations. The Punjab government has joined hands with the World Bank to set up India’s first ever official Partition museum at Amritsar, barely 30 km from Pakistan. The museum will include photographs, newspaper clippings, donated personal items, and screens showing video interviews with survivors. It will also have ‘The Gallery of Hope’, where visitors can scribble messages of love and peace. Tickets are priced low at Rs10 for Indians and Rs150 for foreigners.
Nation celebrated its 71st Independence Day on 15th August 2017
The nation celebrated its 71st Independence Day today (15th August 2017) and the main function was held at the Red Fort of the national capital where Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted the National Flag. The unfurling of the tri-colour was synchronized with the 21 Gun Salute fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 2281 Field Regiment (Ceremonial).
Prez approves Gallantry Awards to Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces
On the occasion of 71st Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind has approved 112 Gallantry Awards to Armed Forces Personnel and members of Paramilitary Forces which include 5 Kirti Chakras, 17 Shaurya Chakras, 85 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 3 Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) and two Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry). Havaldar Giris Gurung from first Gorkha Rifles who was martyred during a major counter-infiltration operation along the Line of Control in Naugam sector of Kashmir has been awarded Kirti Chakra posthumously. Major David Manlun, who was martyred during an encounter with militants in Mon district of Nagaland, CRPF commandant Pramod Kumar who was martyred in a terror attack in Srinagar’s Nowhatta hours before last Independence Day has also been awarded Kirti Chakra Posthumously. CRPF commandant Chetan Kumar Cheetah who miraculously recovered from the deep coma after being hit by at least nine bullets during a gun battle with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has been awarded Kirti Chakra, the 2nd highest peacetime gallantry award.
Rajnath launches live Twitter wall on ‘Bharat Ke Veer’
The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has launched the live twitter wall for promoting ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ portal on the eve of 71st Independence Day. On the occasion, Mr Singh and Ministers of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Kiren Rijiju contributed their one month salary for Bharat Ke Veer corpus. Mr Singh has handed over a cheque of 1.59 lakh rupees to the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi in New Delhi. This “social media awareness” campaign will display all tweets with hashtag Bharat Ke Veer, at Connaught Place, CGO complex and Khan Market in New Delhi where huge LED display screens have been installed.
Govt asks Internet Giants and others to remove Blue Whale links
The Indian government has directed internet majors- Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo – to immediately remove the links of dangerous online game Blue Whale Challenge, which has led to suicide of children in India and other countries. Mumbai and West Midnapore district have reported deaths linked to this game. Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) instructed the internet majors in a letter to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or similar game is immediately removed from their platform.The letter was issued following instructions from Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The Blue Whale challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing the challenge.
Nation Tribute to Sri Aurobindo on 145th Birth Anniversary
India paid tributes to Sri Aurobindo on his 145th Birth Anniversary. Sri Aurobindo’s rich thoughts and grand vision for India continues to be a great source of inspiration. A spiritual reformer and philosopher, Sri Aurobindo had a major contribution in the Indian freedom struggle.
PM Modi launches website to honour Gallantry Award Winners
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a website to honour all the gallantry award winners since Independence. The portal will preserve and tell the stories of bravest men and women, civilians as well as armed forces personnel. In remembrance of heroes who have been awarded gallantry awards since Independence, launched the site http://gallantryawards.gov.in. While launching the site PM said that, If you have any information/ photo that is missing and can be added to the portal, please share it through the feedback link on the site.
Ministry of Culture Organizes ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi Program’
To take forward the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a New India movement from 2017-2022, a Sankalp Se Siddhi (Attainment through Resolve) Program was organized at Coimbatore. Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr. Mahesh Sharma graced the occasion. The New India Movement 2017-2022 envisages an India free of Poverty, Corruption, Terrorism, Communalism, Casteism and Un-cleanliness. The participants took the New India Pledge of “Come, let us together pledge for building a New India by 2022, a Clean India, a Poverty-free India, a Corruption-free India, a Terrorism-free India, a Communalism-free India, and a Casteism-free India”.
India’s First Online Course on Infusion Therapy launched
The Infusion Nurses Society (INS)-India in its 6th National conference launched country’s first online course on Infusion Therapy for nurses. INS is global authority in infusion therapy. Under the online course, the INS aims to train over 3000 nurses in the vital medical procedure. The course will enable members to access the various infusion therapy modules and presentations through its website.
Coast Guard inducts new ship Shaurya
Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Shaurya’, the fifth in the series of six 105-metre Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), was commissioned in Vasco, Goa by Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. ICGS Shaurya is an offshore patrol vessel designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL). It will be based at Chennai under administrative and operational control of Commander Coast Guard Region (East).
Govt launches video of National Anthem in sign language
Union Minister of State for HRD Mahendra Nath Pandey has launched an Indian National Anthem video in sign language, featuring differently-abled and partially differently-abled children. The 3.35-minute video, directed by Govind Nihalani, stars Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, along with physically challenged children performing the anthem in sign language, with the Red Fort in the background. The video was also launched in Goa, Bhopal, Chandigarh and Kolhapur.
Gehlot inaugurates Inclusive Independence Day Celebrations
Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot has inaugurated Inclusive Independence Day celebrations organized by the National Trust. Around 2500 people from all walks of life participated in the event along with 500 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On the occasion, Mr Gehlot administered New India Pledge “Sankalp se Siddhi” to participants. The Initiative aims to provide equal access to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, by means of Inclusive Education, Inclusive Employment and Inclusive Community Life.
Central Govt offices to retrofit energy efficient appliances
The Union Finance Ministry has issued guidelines for mandatory installation of energy efficient appliances in all Central Government buildings across India. It has directed that usage of LED based lightings and energy efficient cooling equipment such as fans and air conditioners in government buildings will lead to savings in the long run through reduction in energy consumption. Under the programme, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) intends to bring in investment of around Rs. 1000 crore covering more than 10,000 large government/private buildings by 2020.
Govt launches Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana
The Government of India has decided to launch a new sub-scheme named “Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)”, a sub-scheme under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY_NRLM). AGEY aims to provide an alternative source of livelihood to members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) by facilitating them to operate public transport services in backward rural areas. This will help to provide safe, affordable and community monitored rural transport services to connect remote villages with key services and amenities. AGEY will be initially implemented in 250 Blocks in the country on pilot basis.
Govt reconstitutes Existing CBFC for three years
The Centre has appointed lyricist Prasoon Joshi as Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for a period of three years. Mr Joshi has replaced former Chairman Pahlaj Nihalani. Government has also reconstituted the existing CBFC with immediate effect for a period of three years. There are 12 members in the new board, which include Ms. Gautami Tadimalla, Shri Narendra Kohli, Shri Naresh Chandra Lal, Shri Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, Shri Vivek Agnihotri, Shri Waman Kendre, Ms. Vidya Balan, Shri T.S. Nagabharana, Shri Ramesh Patange, Ms. Vani Tripati Tikoo, Ms. Jeevitha Rajasekhar, Shri Mihir Bhuta.
Govt launches Gaj Yatra campaign to protect Elephants
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has launche a nationwide campaign Gaj Yatra to protect elephants. It was launched on the occasion of World Elephant Day on 12 August 2017. The Ministry also released the All India Census 2017 Report on elephants and Agreed Points of Action on Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and Bangladesh.The campaign is planned to cover 12 elephant range states across the country. It is 15 months campaign that will be led by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The ‘Gaju’, mascot, which was released by the Ministry in 2012, will be helm of the campaign.
Google, NSDC Launch Android Skill Development Programme
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Google India launched Android Skill Development Programme to impart mobile app development training on the Android and Web platform and improve the quality of mobile app development ecosystem in India. Under the initiative, NSDC would introduce a specific course to create applications for the mobile platform that can be used on smart phones and tablets running on the Android operating system. The 100-hour duration course is designed to be delivered by NSDC’s partner agencies, outside the formal education system. NSDC and Google India will also work together to focus on up-skilling Android trainers under the programme.
Govt approves 10 Namami Gange projects worth Rs 2033 crore
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved ten projects in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal to the tune of about Rs. 2,033 crore. These projects were approved in the 5th meeting of the Executive Committee of NMCG. Eight of ten projects pertain to sewage infrastructure and treatment, one each to ghat development and Ganga Knowledge Centre. In bihar, three major sewage infrastructure projects were approved in Brh, Kankarbagh and Digha. In West Bengal, three projects were approved. Out of these two pertain to sewage infrastructure while the third one is for ghat development. In Uttar Pradesh, sewage infrastructure work in Chunar, district Mirzapur, has also been approved at an estimated cost of around 28 crore rupees.
LS passes bill to approve SBI associates’ merger
The Lok Sabha passed a bill that approved merger of associate banks with the SBI with the government. The Lok Sabha passed the bill to repeal the SBI (Subsidiary Banks) Act 1959, State Bank of Hyderabad Act 1956 and to further amend the State Bank of India Act, 1955, following the merger of five associates with the parent SBI. State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) merged with SBI on 1 April along with the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
Kerala, Haryana Top Sanitation Survey
According to the survey, almost all rural households in Kerala and Haryana had access to a toilet report. The survey is released by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and was carried out by the Quality Council of India (QCI). The survey, covering 4626 villages across all States and Union territories, claimed that 62.45% of the households had access to a toilet. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has least access to toilets compared to other states.
6 states chosen Under NITI Aayog’s SATH initiative
NITI Aayog has shortlisted Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka under its ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital’, SATH initiative to handhold them and transform their health sector. The Aayog has also selected Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha under its SATH initiative to transform their education sector. To give major push to competitive, cooperative federalism, the government think tank had invited all states and Union Territories to participate in its SATH initiative to transform Health and Education sectors. States then made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprised of senior members of NITI Aayog and Health and Human Resources Development ministries.
Oxford Launches Tamil, Gujarati Online Dictionaries
After the Hindi version, Oxford University Press (OUP) has launched online dictionaries in Tamil and Gujarati as part of its special focus on Indian languages. Launched in September 2015 Oxford Global Languages (OGL) is a major initiative from Oxford Dictionaries which aims to build dictionaries and lexicographical resources for around 100 of the world’s languages and to make them available online.
Parliament special session marking 75th anniversary of Quit India movement
Both the Houses of the Parliament today will hold a special session to mark the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will hold the treasury bench of the Lower House while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will lead the treasury bench of the Upper House. The Parliament will suspend the Question Hour and Zero Hour to make way for this special session. All the parties are also expected to express their views on the same, with the discussion culminating into a resolution that will be passed in order to reaffirm their commitment to the nation. The Quit India Movement also known as the India August Movement in August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule from India.
Flipkart Launches ‘Budding Star Programme’ for Staff
Flipkart has launched ‘Budding Star Programme’, an exclusive programme aimed at Flipkart employees to help them achieve their dreams by providing them financial assistance and paid leave. The programme will cover all national and international sports and non-sports competitors recognized by the govt. authorities. Flipsters who have completed six months with the company are eligible for the ‘Budding Star Programme’.
Railways earned Rs 540 crore through flexi fare in less than a year
The Railways has earned an additional revenue of Rs 540 crore in less than a year through the flexi fare scheme and there is no plan to discontinue it. The scheme, launched on 09th September 2016, is applicable in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, allowing 10 per cent of the seats to be sold at the normal fare and thereafter increasing it by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold with a ceiling of 50 per cent. The Railways made changes in the flexi fare structure to attract last minute travellers and introduced a range of discounts.
India’s First Private Missile Production Facility Unveiled
India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility, a joint venture between the $2.5 billion Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., was inaugurated near Hyderabad. The Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant will make anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Spike. Besides supplying to the Indian Army, the plan is to export to South East Asian countries. Formed in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre and the policy to encourage private sector participation in defence production, the 51:49 joint venture will develop a wide range of advanced capabilities.
WCD Ministry launches contest for logo design for ‘Women of India Festival’
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a contest for designing a logo for the ‘Women of India Festival’, which is scheduled to be held at Dilli Haat in New Delhi in October 2017. The festival is being organised and fully funded by the Ministry as a part of their major initiative of economic empowerment of women. The festival lays a platform for designers who aspire to see their creation displayed on a National platform. Details of the contest have been made available on the official social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) of the Women and Child Development Ministry. The last date to submit entries is 21 August 2017.
Govt inks MoA to set up IRRI’s regional centre in Varanasi
The Agriculture Ministry signed a Memorandum of Association (MoA) for setting up a regional centre of the global rice research institute IRRI in Varanasi to develop high- yielding rice varieties. The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which has offices in 17 countries, is known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the green revolution in 1960s. IRRI’s South Asia Regional Centre will be set up at the campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi. The MoA was signed between Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Patnaik and IRRI Director General Matthew Morell.
Book Tatkal Train tickets now & Pay later: Indian Railways
Indian Railways has announced that people can book now & pay later for tickets booked under the tatkal quota on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) website. Till now, this service was available only for general reservations. The book now and pay later mode enables customers to book tatkal e-ticket and pay the fare within a period of 15 days. While booking an e-ticket, the customer will be provided with an ‘ePaylater’ scheme and a service charge of 3.5 per cent will be levied on the transaction amount along with other taxes.
2nd Agri UDAAN accelerator program launched in New Delhi
In an attempt to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture, Government launched the 2nd AGRI-UDAAN program in New Delhi. It will mentor start-ups and help them connect with potential investors. The program focuses on catalyzing scale-up stage food and agribusiness start-ups through rigorous mentoring, industry networking and investor pitching. This 6-month program is a unique platform for scale up stage innovators, entrepreneurs and startups in the Food and Agribusiness sectors. Top 40 startups will be shortlisted and allowed to pitch in front of the panel of evaluators during cohort finalization program.
Rajya Sabha passes RTE amendments
The Rajya Sabha has passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that amends Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The Bill extends the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment by 4 years. The teachers can get the prescribed qualification using the Swayam portal. They will also be provided practical experience by the respective states.
Cabinet approves India-BRICS MoU for Agriculture Research Platform
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among India and various BRICS countries for establishment of the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (BRICS-ARP). During the 7th BRICS Summit held in July 2015 at Ufa in Russia, PM Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. BRICS-ARP will be the natural global platform for science-led agriculture-based sustainable development for addressing the issues of world hunger, under-nutrition, poverty and inequality, particularly between farmers’ and non-farmers’ income, and enhancing agricultural trade, bio-security and climate resilient agriculture.
Cabinet scraps no-detention policy for kids of Class 5 and 8
The Union Cabinet approved the scrapping of the no-detention policy in schools till Class 8th. It also gave its nod to the Human Resource Development Ministry’s plan of creating 20 world-class institutions in the country. An enabling provision will be made in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Amendment Bill which will allow states to detain students in class 5 and class 8. However, students will be given a second chance to improve via an examination before they are detained. The bill will now be placed in Parliament for approval.
Union Cabinet clears proposal to extend proxy voting for NRIs
The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws. This was informed by a senior government functionary. For overseas Indians, the representation of the People Act needs to be amended to include proxy voting as other means to cast their votes. While NRIs and overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies where they are registered, according to the proposal, they will also be allowed to use the option of proxy, which as of now is only available to service personnel.
Lok Sabha passes Bill to replace NPA Ordinance
The Lok Sabha gave its nod for a Bill to replace the NPA Ordinance promulgated in May 2017. The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2017 sought to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, for this purpose. The NPA Ordinance had conferred powers on the Centre for authorising the Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to banks to initiate the insolvency resolution process in respect of a default, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016. It had also conferred powers upon the RBI to issue directions to banking companies for resolution of stressed assets and allow it to specify one or more committees to advise banking companies on resolution of stressed assets.
PM announces Rs 100cr corpus to find permanent solution to flood problem in North-East
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a Rs 100 crore corpus to study and find a permanent solution to the North-Eastern states of India. In addition to this corpus of Rs 100 crore, the Prime Minister also announced Rs 2350 crore as an immediate aid for the North East after holding a review meeting on the flood situation with several North Eastern states in Guwahati. The corpus was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Guwahati, Assam. He was in Assam to take stock of flood situation of Assam and few other North-Eastern States.
Union Govt launches e-RaKAM portal for selling Agricultural produce
The Union Government has launched a portal, e-RaKAM, to provide a platform to sell agricultural produce. The portal is a joint initiative by state-run-auctioneer MSTC and Central Warehousing Corporation arm CRWC. The platform is a digital initiative that aims to bring together the farmers, PSUs, civil supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products.
Govt enters into 9 Unilateral APAs with Indian taxpayers in July
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into nine Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers in the month of July 2017. The APA Scheme endeavors to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the Arm’s Length Price of international transactions in advance for a maximum period of five future years. CBDT has signed its first APA with a taxpayer engaged in supplying rigs used in Oil & Gas exploration. The international transactions covered in these nine APAs include provision of software development services, engineering design services, distribution, contract manufacturing, etc.
Union Govt orders LPG prices to be hiked by Rs 4 per month
With an aim to eliminate all subsidies by March 2018, the Union Government has ordered state-run oil companies to raise subsidised cooking gas, LPG (liquified petroleum gas), prices by four rupees per cylinder every month. The information in this regard was provided in the Lok Sabha by Petroleum and natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on 31 July 2017. In a written reply, Pradhan informed that the govt in its order dated 30 May 2017 has authorised the oil companies to increase the price by four rupees excluding tax per month. the order came into effect on 1 June 2017.
Swachh Survekshan-2018 launched to assess sanitation
Central Government has launched the third cleanliness survey ‘Swachh Survekshan-2018’ to rank all the 4,041 cities and towns of the country based on infrastructure development for improved sanitation services and their sustainability, outcomes, citizen connect and visible impact on ground. Under the survey, launched by Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, 500 cities with more than 1 lakh population and state and UT capitals will have all-India ranking. Also, 3,541 cities with less than 1 lakh population will have state and zonal rankings. Under this survey, cities will be ranked based on 71 sanitation related parameters with different weightages for a total of 4,000 marks. Total score has been doubled this time to avoid crowding of cities with very marginal differences in scores that happened in the previous survey.
SC bans use of five harmful metals in firecrackers
The Supreme Court of India announced a ban on the use of five metals including lithium, mercury, arsenic, antimony and lead in firecrackers, deeming them as harmful for the environment. The decision was taken by a bench of justices headed by Justice Madan B Lokur who cited air pollution as one of the main reasons behind the move. The order came after the Central Pollution Control Board;s (CPCB) Member Secretary informed the apex court that standards on air pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers are yet to be laid down and the exercise would be completed by 15 September.
Amazon to help implement Karnataka’s Ksheera Bhagya Scheme
Amazon has announced a partnership with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to implement the Karnataka Government’s Ksheera Bhagya Scheme in the city. Under the scheme, the school children of the city would be provided a glass of milk each five days a week. This scheme ensures that children start their day in school with a healthy glass of milk, which is rich in protein and fat, essential for healthy growth and all-round development of children. the partnership aims to reach out to 170000 children across 1300 government schools in the state.
No interview for Non-Gazetted posts in UP
The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to end the process of holding interview for selection of candidates for the government jobs in all the non-gazetted posts of Group B, C and D categories. The decision was made at at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath. The decision has been taken keeping in mind the system followed by the Government of India. however, for recruitment of gazetted officers in Class II category, Interview will be a must. this new rule will not be binding on the ongoing recruitment for Class II officers.
Kerala CM launches FIFA U-17 World Cup logo for Kochi venue
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has launched the host city logo for Kochi, one of the venues of FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. The logo launched by the CM represents Kochi’s identity and will also serve as a valuable tool in linking the local community in a global World Cup. Alongside the FIFA U-17 World Cup India official emblem, the logo for Kochi venue will form a crucial link in the promotions and communications regarding the host city. The tournament will be hosted in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium of the city.
Modi dedicates 11 completed highway projects in Rajasthan to Nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated to the nation 11 completed highway projects in Rajasthan, covering a total length of about 873 kilometres. The projects include six Lane Cable Stayed Bridge across River Chambal at Kota, four laning of Gomati Chauraha – Udaipur section and four laning of Rajsamand – Bhilwara section. During his visit to Udaipur, Modi also laid the foundation stone of national highway projects including the Jaipur Ring Road. The total outlay on these projects is estimated to be over Rs 15000 crore.
West Bengal’s Gobindobhog rice gets geographical indication status
The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) has granted geographical indication (GI) status to Gobindobhog rice, a speciality from Burdwan district of West Bengal. The state government had applied for GI status for Gobindobhog rice in August 2015. Gobindobhog variety of rice is a short grain, white, aromatic, sticky rice having a sweet buttery flavor. It derives its name from principal ingredient usage in preparation of offerings to Govindajiu, the family deity of Setts of Kolkata.
Kerala Govt has launched E-waste disposal in state schools
Kerala government has begun e-waste disposal in its state schools with about 12500 kg being disposed state wide on a single day under a programme aimed at clearing the accumulated junk. The programme is a joint initiative of Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE), formerly IT@School project and Clean Kerala Company. The initiative mainly aims to dispose e-waste such as desktop computers, CRT monitors, laptops, disk drives, printers, UPS, camera, speaker system, television, network components and generators from 10,000 odd schools and educational offices in the state. The accumulated junk is reported to be over 1 Cr kg.
Nungthaang Tampak- North East’s First 100% Computer Literate Village
Manipur’s Nungthaang Tampak village has emerged as the ’100 percent computer literate’ not only in the state but in the entire North East. The computer course, which is affiliated to All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT), was organized by Mangal Rural as a part of the Digital India program. Nungthang Tampak has become India’s second 100 percent computer literate village. Kerala’s Chamravattom village is the country’s first 100 percent computer literate village.
‘Food ATM’ installed for poor and needy in Kolkata
‘Food ATM’, a 320-litre refrigerator laden with leftovers, is ensuring that the poor and needy in the city do not go hungry, thanks to an initiative by a restaurateur. Asif Ahmed, the co-owner of Sanjha Chulha restaurant chain, started the ‘Food ATM’ with the support of three organisations (Rotary, Round Table, JITO) in front of one of his outlets in Park Circus to help curb food wastage and feed the needy. The refrigerator is topped with a placard saying “the amount of food India wastes annually is enough to feed entire Egypt for a year”.
Odisha Govt launches rooftop solar project
Odisha Government has launched a grid-connected rooftop solar programme through net-metering system at the State Secretariat in capital city of Bhubaneswar. The programme aims at harnessing renewable solar capacity through people’s participation to further strengthen the grid and reduce power losses and benefit the public. It will also help state to targets in addressing the climate change action plan. The programme is being implemented by Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA).
Andhra Pradesh First to Implement Bharat QR Digital Payments
Andhra Pradesh’s Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (EPDCL) and the Southern Power Distribution Corporation of AP Ltd. (SPDCL) have become the first state-owned distribution companies in India to accept payments through Bharat QR. As part of the ‘Vizag less–cash city’ initiative underway between Visa and the Andhra Pradesh government, the state has witnessed a slew of initiatives aimed at increasing the rate of digital payment adoption across the masses.
Mumbai amongst 17 most-polluted cities in Maharashtra
Mumbai is among the 17 most polluted cities of Maharashtra and 123 cities from the country. The data is based on the reports of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Other cities that have been marked as having poor air quality by CPCB are Nagpur, Badlapur, Pune, Nashik and Ulhasnagar. The air quality in these cities is way below the prescribed pollution standards.
Karnataka Govt launches clouding seeding Project Varshadhari
Karnataka Government has launched clouding seeding Project Varshadhari in Bengaluru under which an aircraft will spray chemicals to induce rainfall. The cloud seeding project is an experimental project that will cover Bengaluru, Gadag and Yadgir districts of the state. The experimental project aims to condense small water particles by clouds (size less than 10 microns) to droplets of 50 microns, which can constitute rains. The flight for cloud seeding – BQ-100 Beechcraft will spray Silver Iodide, Sodium Chloride and Potassium Chloride to condense the water particles.
First 3 fast track courts for Maharashtra to be set up in Mumbai, Thane
The Law and judiciary department has issued an order for setting up of the first three of 24 fast track courts for Maharashtra in two of its most popular cities. While one of the courts would be set up in Mumbai, the other two would be set up in Thane. The courts would be dealing with heinous crimes like rape and murder.
India’s First World Peace University Inaugurated in MIT, Pune
MIT World Peace University, the first of its kind in India, was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis. Following the celebrations, a two-day ‘Global Summit Science and Spirituality for World Peace’ was organized on the next day discussing issues of national and international importance and how a different outlook towards education could solve many of them.
Odisha launched ‘DAMON’ to prevent spread of malaria
Odisha Government will soon launch “Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran” (DAMON), a special programme to prevent the spread of malaria in remote areas of Ganjam district. Under this programme, camps will be held in remote areas for mass test for malaria. As many as 103 camps will be held in the next three months. Around 15,000 people would be covered under the programme. The health officials have identified over 135 remote villages under the jurisdiction of five community health centres as malaria prone areas. The community health centres that have been identified are Patrapur, Adapada, Badagada, Dharakote and Gallery.
Karnataka launches ‘Indira Canteen’ in Bengaluru
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched the ‘Indira Canteen’ scheme, dedicated to former Prime minister Indira Gandhi- a state government initiative to provide food at low cost to cater to the urban poor. The canteen, located in Kanakana Palya (Jayanagar) in Bengaluru, is one of 101 such that opened across various locations in Bengaluru. The canteens are loosely modelled on the late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s “Amma canteens”.
Maharashtra CM launches ‘Namo Yuva Rojgar Kendra’
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched Namo Yuva Rojgar Kendra an initiative on the part of the state government providing job opportunities to unemployed youth in Mumbai. Under this programme, there will be various schemes including farmers weekly market, farmers mobile market and mother’s tiffin, enabling the people living in Mumbai to procure fresh and healthy food as well as farm produce directly from the farmers. These products will be made available with the help of mobile vans all over Mumbai and the information about the location of the vans is made available through an app.
Jharkhand Assembly passes Religious Freedom Bill
Jharkhand Assembly has passed Religious Freedom Bill 2017. It aims to stop the forced conversions in the state. The bill will now be sent to the governor, following whose approval it would go to the President for assent. The Bill has provision for the imprisonment of three years and fine of 50,000 rupees or both, and four-year imprisonment and 1 lakh rupee fine, or both, if the person converted is a minor, woman or a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. It also says, that a person converting willingly will have to inform the Deputy Commissioner about details such as time, place and the person who administers the conversion proceedings.
Gujarat govt to give ‘Namo’ tablets to 3.5 lakh college students
Around 3.5 lakh college students in Gujarat will get tablets at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,000 each under a state government scheme launched by chief minister Vijay Rupani in Ahmedabad. Under this scheme, the first year college students in the state will get 7-inch ‘NAMO E-Tab’ tablets, which have a market value of Rs 8,000 each, by just paying Rs 1,000. Several students, who had already registered for the scheme, received the tablets from the chief minister at the launch ceremony in Ahmedabad. NAMO E-Tab is the acronym for ‘New Avenues of Modern Education through Tablets’. The state government has allocated Rs 200 crore for this scheme.
Telangana Govt launches ‘Smart Streets Lab’ for road safety
The government of Telangana in association with the World Resources Institute (WRI) India – Ross Centre and the Indian School of Business (ISB) launched the ‘Smart Streets Lab’ program. The Lab will pilot innovative road-safety and women safety solutions and leverage new developments in technology and IT to transform the streets of Hyderabad. Through the ‘Smart Streets Lab’, the state government aims to utilize technological interventions from outside and integrate them with its various departments.
Odisha Govt & FB launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’
Odisha government and social networking giant Facebook has launched ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme to train women entrepreneurs in the state. It was launched in partnership between Odisha’s MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) department and Project Mission Shakti. Under this initiative, 25,000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members from the state will be given training on digital marketing skills within by the end of 2018. Facebook will monitor the growth of MSMEs in Odisha after imparting training to them in next one year.
UP Government launches Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra
Uttar Pradesh Government has launched a new awareness drive called Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra. The drive will be focusing on cleanliness along the banks of Ganga river and maintain hygiene. The drive will be covering a total area of around 1,025 kms. It will pass through 108 blocks of 25 districts of UP from Bijnore to Ballia alongside the Ganga covering around 1,025 kms. Under it, above one lakh Homeguard volunteers will organise public gathering and other awareness programmes in the district under Namami Gange Project.
NGT bans use of plastic bags of less than 50 microns in Delhi
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned plastic bags thinner than an average human hair in the capital, stepping in to eliminate the most common shopping accessory that clogs sewers, pollutes the environment and even kills cattle. In an interim order, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found in possession of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns, which is the thickness of a human hair. Microns, short for micromillimetre, is the global measurement unit for thickness of plastic bags. The thinner the bag, the more harmful they are to the environment. The green court directed the Delhi government to seize the banned bags within a week. However, implementing the NGT order could be a tough job as a similar ban by the Centre last year failed to make stop the use of such bags.
Gujarat First State to Implement Coal Utilisation
The Gujarat government has issued a tender for power developers to receive cheap coal marked for the state in return for selling coal-based power at less than Rs 2.82 a unit. Through the auction, Gujarat will transfer the coal allocated to power generating stations owned by Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) to more fuel-efficient private power plants. The aim is to reduce the cost of fuel for financially ailing distribution companies and ensure effective distribution of domestic coal.
Telangana CM Initiates Rs. 2,000-cr Sriram Sagar Modernization Project
In an effort to modernize the Sriram Sagar project and increase the area served, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao initiated a Rs. 2,000-crore project that seeks to modernize the project. This project on the Godavari river has the potential to serve several districts in the state. Under the Sriram Sagar project revival and restoration initiative, water from the Pranahitha river, which joins the Godavari, will be diverted at Medigadda and pumped into the Sriram Sagar project.
Maharashtra to raise $270 m from Green Climate Fund
The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030WRG) will help the Maharashtra Government raise $270 million from the Green Climate Fund, which will be invested in integrated watershed programmes such as Jalyukt Shivar Yojana. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a new fund under the UN and is guided by the principles and provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 2030WRG is hosted by the International Finance Corporation and is a public-private-civil society collaboration for water resources reform in developing economies. Its ultimate aim is to close the gap between water demand and supply by the year 2030.
Centre declares entire Assam as ‘disturbed’ for another month
The Centre has declared entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for one more month, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others. The Union home ministry also declared Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam, and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh as “disturbed” under the AFSPA for two more months with effect from 03 August, 2017. It has also declared as “disturbed” under the AFSPA three districts of Arunachal Pradesh – Tirap, Changlang, Longding and areas falling within the jurisdiction of 14 police stations in nine other districts of the state with effect from 04 August 2017 to 30 September 2017.
J&K Govt to spend Rs 1 lakh Cr on Development
The state government of Jammu and Kashmir has announced that it would be spending around Rs 1 lakh Cr on development works with special emphasis on education and road connectivity over the next five years. According to Public Works Minister, Naeem Akhtar the state is set to enter an era of unprecedented development as the government is spending Rs 1 lakh Cr on roads, buildings and creation of other public assets in the next five years.
‘Dawn of cruise tourism in India’ inaugurated in Mumbai
In order to promote cruise tourism in India, a special event, ‘The dawn of cruise tourism in India’ was inaugurated in Mumbai. The preparedness of Mumbai Port and Ministry of shipping to host cruise vessels in the country is revealed to a worldwide audience at the event. It also saw the launch of three reports, “Mumbai Port SoP’s for cruise operations”, “Road map for Sea cruise tourism” and “Cruise terminals in India”.
FMCG Britannia to set up largest plant in Maharashtra
India’s leading FMCG Britannia Industries would set up its largest plant in Maharashtra in a food park at Ranjangaon. There will be an investment of Rs 1000 crore at the Ranjangaon food park over a period of four to five years with an employment potential for 3000 people. The plant would have six biscuit lines, and one each for rusk and croissant. Besides, Britannia would set up its first greenfield unit in Nepal & commissioning two plants one each at Mundra and Guwahati.
Amazon India ties up with Telangana Handloom dept
Amazon India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Telangana Department of Handloom and Textiles, to educate, train and enable weavers and artisans to directly sell their products to Amazon customers across the country. According to a statement issued by the e-commerce giant, with over 17,000 handlooms in the state, this association will further help elevate popular handloom products from clusters such as are Pochampally, Warangal, Gadwal, Narayanpet and Siddipet which have a tremendous potential and demand in urban areas.
Coconut regains tree status in Goa as Assembly passes bill
Goa Legislative Assembly has passed Goa, Daman and Diu, Preservation of Trees Act, 1984. The bill seeks to reclassify coconut as a tree and ensure legal protection to it. The bill was passed to regulate felling of coconut trees and reclassify it as a tree on he last day of the Monsoon session of the state. Goa Forward Party, a partner in the Manohar Parrikar-led government, had promised to reclassify coconut as a tree. The previous Laxmikant Parsekar-led government had changed the classification of the coconut tree to a palm.
Maharashtra govt launches online portals MahaDBT, MahaVASTU
Maharashtra Government has launched MahaDBT and MahaVASTU, two line portals to streamline the process of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). The portals were launched with an aim to bring more transparency in construction sector and to provide direct benefits with ‘Aadhaar’ authentication. MahaDBT portal is an Aadhaar-aunthenticated electronic mechanism that will enable direct transfer of benefits for over 40 schemes currently implemented by state’s various departments. MahaVASTU is an Online Building Permission Management System with an electronic workflow for sanctioning building approvals with full transparency.
Mughalsarai railway station renamed after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya
The Centre recently approved the Adityanath-led UP government’s proposal to rename the Mughalsarai railway station after the Jan Sangh leader as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) station. This comes as the part of the state government’s attempt to revive the legacy of Upadhyaya who died in 1968. The UP government in its proposal pointed to the mysterious death of Upadhyaya at the Mughalsarai station as one of the primary reasons to rename the station.
Delhi Police ties up with Uber to enhance Women Safety
Passengers can now access the Delhi Police’s women safety mobile application ‘Himmat’ via cab aggregator Uber’s application while travelling in taxis. This is Delhi Police’s first partnership with a technology company to intensify its focus on the safety of women in the city. With this partnership, Himmat will now be accessible to lakhs of women riders in one go. Uber also aims to act as a force multiplier and expand its access to all of its women riders. In the first phase of the partnership, Uber will develop a permanent in-app access for Himmat app, including a link to download it from the app store. The second phase will allow users to directly access the Himmat app from within the Uber app.
Non-Performing Teachers will be forced to Retire in Bihar
The Bihar government has informed that it has decided to compulsory retirement to the non-performing head masters, teachers and education department officials above the age of 50 years. The decision was taken after the review of the Education department by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. According to the Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar the state government is in process of identifying non-performing institutions and all those responsible for the poor show will be given compulsory retirement. He informed that those teachers having failed thrice in assessment test would be removed or will be given compulsory retirement, as per government norms.
Aadi Perukku Festival Celebrated in Tamilnadu
Aadi Perukku is celebrated for the birth of the Tamil month of Aadi. This is the beginning of all the festivals during the festival seasons. The Aadiperukku festival was celebrated with religious fervour in the towns of Mettur, Poolampatti etc situated on the banks of River Cauvery. During the month of Thai and Aadi the sun changes directions so it is celebrated Aadi Perukku festival celebrated in Tamilnaduin that way. The 18th day of Aadi is observed as ‘ Aadiperukku’, a day of offerings and prayers to the water bodies like rivers and lakes.
Govt to develop green airports in Andhra Pradesh
As a part of Government of India’s initiative to develop green airports, two airports in Andhra Pradesh-Tirupati and Vijayawada are going to go completely green. The work on the same has already begun with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) commencing the process of installing 1 Mega Watt solar power plant at both the airports. The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) in Kerala is the first airport in the world to be completely powered by solar energy.
Telangana govt to use Artificial Intelligence for eye screening
Microsoft is tying up with the state of Telangana to use its artificial intelligence-based MINE platform to screen children for eye problems and prevent avoidable blindness. The government of Telangana and Microsoft had signed an MoU in November 2016 to use Microsoft’s cloud technology to drive citizen services and digital inclusion. The latest tie up is the result of an initial pilot to understand the health screening programme conducted under the National Health Mission. MINE -Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare -is a global consortium of eyecare providers, research and academic institutions that will apply artificial intelligence to help in eyecare delivery.
Bengaluru Airport to be first in India to get HeliTaxi service
Thumby Aviation, a private helicopter service provider, and Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) have partnered to launch HeliTaxi services from Bengaluru Airport. The helicopter service will initially be launched from Bengaluru Airport to Electronic City and gradually expanded to other parts of the city.
NOTA will remain applicable in Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls
The Election Commission has rejected the demands of the political parties to remove the Nne of the Above (NOTA) option in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat. The Commission said that the NOTA option will be applicable in the Rajya Sabha Elections in Gujarat. The electoral body made this announcement in the wake of protests by the opposition against the insertion of the option.
Jharkhand Cabinet approves Religious Freedom Bill 2017
Jharkhand Cabinet has approved Religious Freedom Bill 2017. The bill named as Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill, 2017 seeks to bring the stringent anti-conversion law in place under which forceful or allurement induced religious conversion will be a non-bailable criminal offence. According to an official release, Section three of the Bill prohibits forceful conversion. In the event of violation of section three, there will be up to three years imprisonment or Rs 50000 penalty or both. If the crime involves a minor, woman or person from SC or ST community then the prison term would be up to four years and penalty of one lakh rupees.
Maharashtra Govt planning to relocate tigers
Maharashtra Government is planning to relocate tigers from Vidarbh region to the state of the sanctuaries elsewhere where their population is smaller, including Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR). Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) is located in Sahyadri ranges in the western Maharashtra, which has only seven tigers at present. The information was given in the Legislative Assembly of the State by State’s forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. The forest minister said that the government has set up a committee to examine this issue, and a decision will be taken based on its recommendations.
Maharashtra govt to launch pilot project to encourage use of bicycle
The Maharashtra state government is planning to create cycle tracks through ‘streets with cycle track’ project in order to encourage the use of bicycles, to ease congestion and reduce air pollution. The pilot project will be at first implemented in 10 cities across the state including Nagpur, Amaravati, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Solapur, Latur, Jalgaon, Chandrapur and Kolhapur. A government resolution confirming the same was issued recently. A committee comprising four members including the Additional Director General of Police (Traffic), Secretary PWD (Roads) and two members of NGO Mission Olympics will be studying the project and providing technical inputs.
Fourth Session of India-Tanzania Joint Trade Committee
The Fourth Session of India-Tanzania Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting was held in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was led by Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and Tanzanian delegation was led by Charles John Mwijage, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment. During the meeting both sides discussed potential areas of cooperation and agreed to enhance sectoral co-operation based on respective needs comparative advantage for mutual benefit.
Australian Trade Minister to lead ‘Business Week’ in India
Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo will lead a major mission named to India – the second Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) – to India. Ths mission scheduled to be held from 28 August to 1 September 2017 will aim at deepening the collaboration between the two nations in different fields. Fields that will be covered during the visit include agri-business and food, higher education and research and smart cities and infrastructure. Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
17th meeting of FSDC Held in New Delhi
The seventeenth Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance, Shri Arun Jaitley. A brief report on the activities undertaken by the FSDC Sub-Committee Chaired by Governor, RBI was placed before the FSDC. The Council discussed the Central KYC Registry (CKYCR) system. The Council also deliberated on strengthening the regulation of the Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs).
India to host Steering Committee Meeting of TAPI Gas Pipeline
India (New Delhi) will host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. The decision came during the sixth joint Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation. The meeting was followed by a meeting between visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.
Italy to host G-7 Interior Ministers summit on security
Italy would be hosting the summit of the Group of Seven Interior Ministers on security issues in October 2017. According to Italy’s Interior Minister, Macro Minniti, the meaning is being organised at the request of Italy’s G-7 partners-Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States. Italy currently holds the rotating helm of the G-7 industrialised nations.
Make in India Seminar held in New Delhi
As a step in this direction, second Seminar on ‘MAKE’ projects for Indian Army was held on 12 Aug 17 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi jointly under aegis of Indian Army and Confederation of Indian Industry (Cll). During the course of the seminar, a round table interaction of various Directorates of Integrated Headquarters of MoD (Army) with industry reps was also held at the same venue. The seminar was attended by Senior Officers of the Army as well as from Ministry of Defence.
India-ASEAN Youth Summit Begins in Bhopal
The India-ASEAN Youth Summit begins in Bhopal. The event is being organised by Foreign Ministry, Madhya Pradesh government and India Foundation. Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh (in picture), and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated the five day Summit. The exercise will mark the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership in the ongoing year and also the commemorative year’s theme of “Shared Values, Common Destiny”.
15th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting in Kathmandu
The 15th Ministerial Meeting of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) concluded at Kathmandu, Nepal. The members agreed to intensify their collaborative efforts to realize the aims and purposes of the group embodied therein and pledged to make BIMSTEC stronger, more effective and result oriented. They agreed to emphasize the need for greater cooperation in trade and investment in order to deepen regional integration in the Bay of Bengal region.
India and US to co-host Global Entrepreneurship Summit
India and US are going to co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Hyderabad, Telangana from 28th to 30th November 2017. American delegation will be led by US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump. The summit will serve as a unique opportuniy for bringing together entrepreneurs and start-ups with global leaders. The summit is being organized by the NITI Aayog in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs. Earlier it was hosted by the US State Department.
Sushma Swaraj in BIMSTEC Meeting
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj departed for Kathmandu to participate in the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting (10th and 11th August). During the two-day meet, Foreign ministers of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries will review the progress in identified fourteen areas of cooperation and discuss ways to accelerate cooperation. She will attend inaugural session of the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting.
8th meeting of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process held in New Delhi
The eighth meeting of the Regional Technical Group of Confidence Building Measure on Trade, Commerce & Investment Opportunities under the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was hosted by India in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by the Acting Director General, Economic Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Mr. Hassan Soroosh, and Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Dr. Deepak Mittal and attended by representatives of 17 participating countries and supporting international organisations, including Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Australia, Egypt, Germany, the UK, the US, the EU and the UN. The participants shared the view that Afghanistan acted as a natural bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic integration.
Japan-India Coordination Forum held in New Delhi
The first meeting of the Japan-India Coordination Forum (JICF) for Development of North-Eastern Region was held in New Delhi. Secretary, Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), Shri Naveen Verma led the Indian side while the Japanese delegation was led by the Japanese Ambassador to India, Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu. Priority areas of cooperation identified by Indian side including Connectivity and Road Network Development, especially inter-State roads & major district roads; Disaster Management; Food Processing; Organic Farming and Tourism were discussed in the meeting.
7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers held in Shanghai
The 7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers was held in Shanghai, China. A six-member delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman. Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce from China, presided over the meetings. The other delegations were represented by Mr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry (South Africa), Mr. Marcelo Maia Tavares de Araujo, Secretary of Commerce and Services of Ministry of Industry (Brazil) and Mr Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development (Russia). Sitharaman discussed with her Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan, the trade deficit in India-China bilateral trade which stands at $51 billion for 2016-17 from the $71.48 billion bilateral trade between the two countries.
The Ministers adopted the following documents at the conclusion of the meeting:
- 7th BRICS Trade Ministers’ Joint Statement
- BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap
- BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative
- BRICS IPR Cooperation Guidelines
- Framework on strengthening the Economic and Technical Cooperation of BRICS Countries
- Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS Model E-Port Network
- Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation
AWARDS & HONOURS
Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail receives 2016 Saraswati Samman
Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail (74) was bestowed with prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016. He was awarded for his novel “Hawthan” that captures cultural lives of traditional potter community in Goa. He was presented the award, comprising plaque and a cash purse of Rs.15 lakh by Union minister for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman at event held in New Delhi.
WCD Minister to confer National Level Awards to Anganwadi workers
The Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi will be giving away National Level Awards to Anganwadi workers at New Delhi. The annual awards aim to recognize the exemplary service by the Anganwadi workers in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.
NITI Aayog announced Winners of the Women Transforming India Awards 2017
NITI Aayog, in partnership with MyGov and the United Nations, announced the winners of the Women Transforming India Awards, 2017. Launched on International Women’s Day on 8 March, the contest aimed to gather lesser-own stories of women leading change. Honourable Minister for Textiles and Information and Broadcasting, Smriti Irani has awarded top 12 winners, honoring their courage and role in transforming societies.
Top 6 Contestants-
- Laxmi Agarwal- a champion of violence against women.
- Safeena Husain- working for girls’ education in India’s most backward districts.
- Kamal Kumbhar- enabling women like herself to realize their dreams of a brighter tomorrow.
- Subasini Mistry- working for two decades to build a hospital for the needy.
- Arunima Sinha- Is the first female amputee to scale the highest mountain in the world.
- Jamuna Tudu- has conserved 50 hectares of forest land around her village in Jharkhand.
President presents National Adventure Awards 2017
President Ram Noth Kovind presented the National Sports & Adventure Awards on National Sports Day.
- Tenzing Noragay National Adventure Award 2017
- Premlata Agrawal won the land Adventure title.
- More Rohan Dattatrey won the Water Adventure title.
- Ashok Abbay and Ved Prakash Sharma won the life time achievement title.
- Further, Punjabi University, Patiala was conferred with Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Trophy for the year 2016-17.
- Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskarar 2017
- Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS): For Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent.
- Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO): For encouraging to sports through corporate social responsibility.
- Sports for Development: Golf Foundation and Reliance Foundation.
National Sports Awards 2017 announced
The Union Sports Ministry announced the National Sports Award for the year 2017. Th conferment of National Sports Award on 29 sportsperson was made on the recommendations of the Selection Committees set up for the same. Selection Committee for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award an Arjuna Awards was headed by Justice C. K. Thakkar (Former Judge Supreme Court of India, Chief Justice of High Court of Himachal and Bombay). Selection Committee for Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Awards was headed by Pullela Gopichand.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2017: Instituted in the year 1991-92, it is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four year. The first recipient was Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand. The winners will receive a statuettes, certificate and cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh. The winners are:
- Para Athlete Devendra Singh Jhajharia
- Hockey Player Sardar Singh
Dronacharya Awards 2017: Instituted in the year 1985, it is given to coaches for producing medal winners at presigious International sports events. The winners will receive a statuettes, certificate and cash prize of Rs 5 lakh. The winners are:
- Athlete Late Dr. R. Gandhi
- Kabaddi Player Heera Nand Kataria
- Badminton Player G.S.S.V. Prasad (Lifetime)
- Boxing Player Brij Bhushan Mohanty (Lifetime)
- Hockey Player P.A. Raphel (Lifetime)
- Shooter Sanjoy Chakraverthy (Lifetime)
- Wrestler Roshan Lal (Lifetime)
Arjuna Awards 2017: Instituted in the year 1961, it is given for consistency outstanding performance for four years. The winners will receive a statuettes, certificate and cash prize of Rs. 5 Lakh. The winners are:
- Archer V.J. Surekha
- Athlete Khushbir Kaur
- Basketball Player Prasanthi Singh
- Boxer Sub. Laishram Debendro Singh
- Cricketer Harmantpreet Kaur
- Footballer Oinam Bembem Devi
- Golfer S.S.P. Chawrasia
- Hockey Player S.V. Sunil
- Kabaddi Player Jasvir Singh
- Shooter P.N. Prakash
- Table Tennis Player Amalraj
- Tennis Player Saketh Myneni
- Wrestler Satyawart Kadian
- Para Athlete Mariyappan
- Para Athlete Varun Singh Bhati
Dhyanchand Award 2017: Instituted in the year 2002, it is given for life time contribution to sports development. The winners will receive a statuettes, certificate and cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh. The winners are:
- Athlete Bhupendra Singh
- Football Player Syed Shahid Hakim
- Hockey Player Sumarai Tete
The award distributing ceremony will held on August 29, 2017 where the achievers will be awarded for their outstanding performance by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.
Telangana CM chosen for Agriculture Leadership Award
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has been selected for the prestigious Agriculture Leadership Award-2017. A Committee headed by agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan has recommended the CM’s name. The award will be presented on September 5 at Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi. The Chief Minister has been selected for the award for his innovative services rendered to the welfare of farmers and the farm sector.
Prez gives away National Safety Awards (Mines) for 2013 & 2014
President Ram Nath Kovind has presented the National Safety Awards (Mines) for the years 2013 and 2014. The awards were given away at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. In all, there were 37 Winner prizes and 34 Runner-up prizes which were given away to the winning mines in the award function organized by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Corporation Bank bagged Best performance award from NABARD
Corporation Bank bagged the best performance awards for SHG-bank linkage program for Karnataka for 2015-16 and 2016-17 from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). The bank was given the award for its overall performance under SHG-bank linkage program for 2015-16 and 2016-17 among commercial banks operating in Karnataka. The bank formed more than 1.32 lakh self-help groups (SHGs).
KVGB bags Best Performer Award
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has conferred the ‘best performance award’ for 2015-16 and 2016-17 to Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) for its work in the field of credit-linking joint liability groups (JLGs). 1,194 JLGs(Joint Liability Group) were credit-linked by disbursing Rs 19.38 crore during 2016-17. The outstanding accounts under JLGs stood at 6,329 involving an amount of Rs 63.83 crore.
T J S George bags first-ever Kesari Media Award
Veteran journalist T J S George has been chosen for the first Kesari Media Award, instituted by the Kesari Memorial Journalist Trust. The award comprises a purse of Rs 50,000, citation and a statuette designed by renowned artist Bhatathiri. A jury, comprising filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Asianet editor M G Radhakrishnan, Media Academy chairman R S Babu and Kesari Memorial Journalist Trust chairman C Rahim as members, selected the award winner.
Actor Dev Patel gets Asian Game Changer Award
Indian-origin actor Dev Patel is to be honored by a leading educational organization for making a “transformative and positive” difference for the future of Asia and the world. London-born Dev Patel, who became popular with his debut film Slumdog Millionaire, will be felicitated with the Asia Society 2017 Asia Game Changers Award at a ceremony to be held at the United Nations, New York, in November 2017. The Aga Khan is also being honored this year with the Asia Game Changer Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Madhu Chitkara conferred with Environment Leadership Award 2017
Chandigarh’s Chitkara University’s Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Madhu Chitkara was awarded the prestigious Himachal Pradesh Environment Leadership Award 2017 for excelling in the promotion of environmental conservation and sustainable development through inspiring and exemplary initiatives, vision, and transformative action. Chitkara University was awarded for its effort of recycling waste paper into sheets, folders, envelopes and carry bags and water by dual plumbing. The government introduced ‘Himachal Pradesh Environment Leadership Awards’ to be conferred annually to recognise the outstanding contribution by institutions or individuals in the promotion of environmental protection and conservation and sustainable development through inspiring and exemplary initiatives, vision, transformative action on their own.
Prem Nazir Award for actor Sharada
Veteran actress and national award winner Sharada has been selected for this year’s Prem Nazir Award. The award, carrying a purse of Rs 75,000, a statuette and a citation, was instituted by people of Chirayankeezhu, Nazirs home town in the district, in memory of Keralas evergreen actor. It will be presented to Sharada by state Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran at a function at Chirayankeezhu on August 15. Sharada had won three national awards with the first being for her performance in 1968 tragedy film “Thulabharam”, which was remade in Tamil also. She has acted in several Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil films.
Dhanraj Pillay conferred with Bharat Gaurav
Former Indian Hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay was honoured with the ‘Bharat Gaurav’ by East Bengal Football Club on its foundation day. Bharat Gaurav is the highest award of the club. On the other hand, the club presented lifetime achievement awards to Subhsh Bhowmick, a member of the 1970 Asian Games bronze medal-winning national football team and syed Naeemuddin, former national team coach. meanwhile, Gurwinder Singh bagged the Footballer of the Year award while Boddupalli Amit was adjudged as the Cricketer of the Year.
Trump Awards First Medal of Honor to Vietnam Army Medic
An Army medic from Michigan who risked his life multiple times to rescue Vietnam War comrades is the first person to receive the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump in Washington. Trump presented America’s highest military honor to James McCloughan at a White House ceremony. McCloughan was a 23-year-old private first class who had been drafted into the Army when, in 1969, he found himself in the middle of the raging, days long Battle of Hui Yon Hill. McCloughan voluntarily entered the “kill zone” to rescue injured comrades, even as he was pelted with shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.
SPORTS & GAMES
Indian Police wins record 321 medals at World Police & Fire Games
A 101-member Indian Police contingent has returned to country with record breaking haul of 321 medals including 151 Gold, 99 Silver and 71 Bronze medals at the World Police & Fire Games held in Los Angeles, Calfornia in USA. Indian Police contingent participated only in seven sport events i.e. Athletics, Archery, Wrestling , Boxing, Judo, Swimming and Shooting. It is a rarest of the rare occasion that each team member of India won a medal irrespective of individual or relay events in which they participated.
Indian U-15 Football Team wins SAFF Championships
The Indian U-15 football team completed a brilliant comeback win over Nepal to win the SAFF U-15 Championships in Kathmandu, Nepal. They were trailing 0-1 at the interval, but second half goals from Lalrokima and Vikram clinched the trophy for the Indian side. India beat Nepal by 2-1 in the final and the match took place at ANFA Complex, Lalitpur in Nepal.
Hamilton Wins Belgian Grand Prix
Mercedes’ British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton registered his 58th career race win after claiming the Belgian Grand Prix title. Hamilton’s rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came second, while Daniel Ricciardo was placed third. With the win, Hamilton has cut Vettel’s lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to seven points.
Nozomi Okuhara wins World Badminton Championship: Sindhu settles for Silver
Nozomi Okuhara of Japan has defeated PV Sindhu 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 to claim the 2017 BWF World Championships. The final match was held at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland. It was Sindhu’s first final appearance in the World Championship and also her best performance ever. This was a third medal for the Rio Olympics silver-medalist at Worlds, having won bronze twice in 2013 and 2014 after losing at the semifinal stage in both the editions.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather extends his perfect career record to 50 fights unbeaten
Floyd Mayweather beat Conor McGregor with a 10th-round stoppage through a Technical Knock Out (TKO) to win their money-spinning superfight and clinch his 50th straight victory. Mayweather will now head into what he says is a permanent retirement with a perfect 50-0 record, one better than heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano.
Messi becomes First Ever Player to score 350 La Liga Goals
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi scored a second-half brace against Alaves, becoming the first ever player to score 350 goals in La Liga. Messi’s best goal tally for a season came in 2011/12 when he netted 50 goals in 37 appearances. Messi, who has played 384 league matches, is now 66 goals ahead of rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Australia beats Iran to clinch 2017 FIBA Asia Cup
Australia was crowned the FIBA asia Cup 2017 basketball champions. The team defeated Iran 79-56 in the final to grab the title. On the other hand, South Korea clinched the third place with a win over New Zealand 80-71.
Shapath Bharadwaj wins bronze at Jr Shotgun World Cup
Teenager Shapath Bhardwaj won a bronze medal in the double trap event in the Junior Shotgun World Cup in Porpetto, Italy. The 15-year old Bharadwaj, from Meerut, shot a 48 in the final to finish behind gold-medal winning Briton James Dedman and Finland’s Miki Ylonen. This was India’s first medal in the competition apart from the bronze won by Sheoran and Keer in the mixed team trap competition, which had the status of a test event.
Ghosh-Sathiyan wins silver at Bulgaria Open
India’s Soumyajit Ghosh and G Sathiyan won silver medal in the men’s doubles at the Bulgaria Open Table Tennis in Panagyurishte, Bulgaria. The Indian pair lost to Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura of Japan, who won the gold of the tournament. This was Japanese pair’s second title in three World Tour final appearances. Earlier, they had won the 2013 Japan Open and 2017 China Open.
Indian Athletes Bag 37 Medals at 7th World Dwarf Games
The Indian contingent created history by winning a record haul of medals at the World Dwarf Games in Canada. The 7th edition of the World Dwarf Games was held over a week at the University of Guelph in Ontario province and featured nearly 400 athletes from 24 countries. Joby Matthew bagged two golds, three silvers and a bronze. The 21-men Indian team won 37 medals including 15 golds, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals. Arunachalam Nalini won five medals, including one gold.
Lakshya Sen Wins Bulgaria Open International Series
Young Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen clinched the Bulgaria Open International Series title after notching up a hard-fought win over Croatia’s Zvonimir Durkinjak in the men’s singles final in Sofia, Bulgaria. The 16-year-old shuttler defeated second seed Zvonimir 18-21 21-12 21-17 in a 57-minute match.
Real Madrid wins Spanish Super Cup without Ronaldo
Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in the second leg of the 2017 Spanish Super Cup to seal the win at the Bernabeu, Spain. Real Madrid achieved the feat without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he was sent-off in the first leg.
IAAF World Championships London 2017
The 16th edition of IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships 2017 was held in London. The championships were held in the London Stadium in Stratford. ‘Hero-the Hedgehog’ was a Mascot of 2017 IAAF World Championships and ‘Whizbee-the Bee’ was the Mascot for the Para Athletics. The USA topped the tally of Medals with 30 medals. Top 5 Countries in the list of Medals were-US (30 Medals), Kenya (11 Medals), Great Britain (6 Medals), Poland (8 Medals), China (7 Medals).
Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer to win 2017 Rogers Cup
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has defeated Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 to claim his second Masters 1000 title in Montreal, Canada. With this, Zverev became the third man to beat Federer in the year 2017. By claiming the 2017 Rogers Cup, Zverev became the first player outside the Big Four to win multiple Masters 1000 titles in a season since David Nalbandian in 2007. Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer now have five tournament titles this year.
Cristiano Ronaldo hit with five-match ban for pushing referee
World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo was banned for five matches for pushing the referee after he was shown a red card against Barcelona in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first leg victory. Ronaldo received an automatic one-match ban for his dismissal and an extra four games for his reaction towards referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea. He has also been fined 4,500 US dollars and has 10 days to appeal the ban.
Indian boxers clinch 10 medals at Serbian tournament
India won 10 medals, including two gold, in the 6th Golden Glove women’s Boxing Tournament at Vojvodina, Serbia. While Jyoti won Gold in 51 kg category, and Vanlalharitpuii bagged it 60 kg category. In all, India won two gold, four silver and four bronze medals in the tournament. The silver medals were clinched by Anjali in 48kg, Sakshi in 54kg, Ashtha in 69kg and Anupama in 81kg categories. Mandeep in 57kg, Nisha in 64kg, Shruti in 75kg and Neha in 81+kg category settled for bronze medals after losing in the semi-finals.
Gabriel chundan lifts 2017 edition of Nehru trophy
Gabriel Chundan won the 65th edition of the prestigious Nehru Trophy held at the Punnamda Lake in Kerala. The oarsmen of Gabriel Chundan lifted the trophy after a thrilling photo finish. While ‘Mahadevikkad Kattilthekkethil’ came second, ‘Payippad’ and ‘Karichal’, last year’s winner, secured the third and fourth spots respectively. Around 20 snake boats, known as chundan vallam in local parlance, took part in five heats in the event, which is held on the second Saturday of August every year. The members of the Ernakulam-based boat club dipped their oars in unison, leading the majestic Chundan (snake boat) to the finishing point, pushing fellow competitors behind.
Mairaj-Rashmmi pair bags gold at Asian Shotgun Championship
The Indian duo of Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Rashmmi Rathore eked out a narrow 28-27 win over the Chinese pair of Liu Jiangchi and Gao Jianmei. The host combination of Vladislav Mukhamediyev and Olga Panarina settled for the bronze. India finished the championship with a total of eight medals. Ankur Mittal had earlier won a gold in the men’s double trap and had also helped India bag the team gold in the event. Kynan Chenai won a bronze in the men’s trap and also partnered Shreyasi Singh to claim the trap mixed team bronze. Maheshwari Chauhan clinched a bronze in the women’s skeet, along with a team silver in the event before the men’s skeet team picked up another bronze.
Maheshwari strikes Memorable Bronze at Asian Shotgun Championship
Shooter Maheshwari Chauhan bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Shotgun Championship to earn India’s first women’s skeet individual medal at a top international competition in Astana, Kazakhstan. Maheshwari also led India to the team silver alongside compatriots Rashmmi Rathore and Saniya Sheikh.
Kang becomes first Indian to qualify for javelin throw finals
Davinder Singh Kang has become the first Indian to qualify for the final round of the javelin throw World Championships while his compatriot Neeraj Chopra crashed out in the qualification round. He had an 82.22m in his opening throw and then came up with 82.14m in his second. No Indian has ever qualified in the men’s javelin throw final round in any world championship.
Real Madrid wins 2017 UEFA Super Cup
Real Madrid has defeated Manchester United, the winners of the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League, to grab the 2017 UEFA Super Cup. Real Madrid won the match 2-1 for their fourth UEFA Super Cup title. The match was played ta the Philip II Arena in Skopje, Macedonia. It was the first UEFA final staged in the country. Real Madrid’s Isco was declared the Man of the Match.
Kynan Chenai wins bronze for India at 7th Asian Shotgun Championships
Indian shooter Kynan Chenai won a bronze in men’s trap event, his first international medal at the senior level, at the 7th Asian Championship Shotgun at Astana, Kazakhstan. He shot a score of 30 to finish behind gold medallist Abdulrahman Al Faihan of Kuwait, who shot 39 for a new Asian finals record and another Kuwati Talal Al Rashidi, who bagged the silver with an effort of 38.
Usain Bolt beaten by Justin Gatlin in Swansong 100m final
Justin Gatlin tore up Usain Bolt’s farewell script as he stole world 100m gold with the run of his long and controversial career. Bolt was left with only a bronze in his final individual 100m race as 21-year-old Christian Coleman made it a USA one-two. The 35-year-old Gatlin, twice banned for doping, came through almost unnoticed in lane seven in 9.92 seconds, with Coleman’s 9.94 holding off the greatest sprinter of all time.
Suspended Jadeja ranked No 1 Test all-rounder
Indian Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja has edged past Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan to become the number one all -ronder in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings 2017. This honour adds to the bowler’s already existing top rank in the test bowler’s chart. Jadeja with 438 points has a seven pointer lead over Shakib who has 431 points among the all-rounders. Coming to the batting rankings, Steve Smith and Joe Root retained their positions at Number 1 and 2. India’s Cheteshwar Pujara gained a position to be at the 3rd position with 888 points, while Indian skipper Virat Kohli maintained his stand at the 5th position with 813 points.
Vijender Singh beats Maimaitiali to win WBO Oriental Super
Indian professional boxer Vijender Singh outslugged his Chinese opponent Zulpikar Maimaitiali to retain the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title and win the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title. In the pro boxing bout, termed as ‘Battleground Asia’, at Mumbai, Vijender recorded a unanimous decision win over his Chinese opponent and continued his undefeated streak. It was Beijing Olympic bronze medallist’s ninth successive win in his professional career.
Los Angeles agrees to host 2028 Summer Olympics, Paris set for 2024
Los Angeles formally announced its bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics after agreeing on a deal with the Olympic organizers. This deal with Olympic organizers paves the way for Paris to host the Summer Olympics in 2024. With this Los Angeles will be hosting the games for the third time since it first hosted in 1932. It last hosted Olympics in 1984. Games in Paris, the French Capital, marks 100 years since the last tie it hosted the Games. Paris last hosted the Olympics in 1924 and had narrowly lost out to London or the right to host the 2012 Games.
Rahul, Manu-Sumeeth clinch titles at Lagos Open
Indian shuttler C Rahul Yadav and men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy clinched the men’s singles and men’s doubles title respectively at Lagos International challenge in Nigeria. Rahul surpassed another Indian player Karan Rajan Rajarajan in the final clash to the title at the MoladeOkoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium. In the doubles pair, Manu and Sumeeth, who played at the Rio Olympics, defeated local pair of Godwin Olofua and Anouluwapo Ju won Opeyori.
GST Collection for First Month at Rs 92,283 Crore
The goods and services tax, GST, launched on 1 July, has got off to a good start, with collections exceeding the revenue target for the first month. According to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, taxes worth Rs 92,283 crore were collected in July from just 64.42 per cent of the total taxpayer base. The finance minister added that even after the compensation cess is excluded, the target will still be surpassed when all taxpayers file returns.
RBI issues Rs 200 and Rs 50 notes
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued new Rs 200 and Rs 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) series, bearing the signature of the RBI Governor Urjit Patel. The bright yellow colored Rs 200 notes have Motif of Sanchi Stupa on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage. The note will carry the signature of RBI Governor Urjit Patel, the year of printing on the left, and the Swachh Bharat logo with the slogan. The dimension of the bank note will be 66mm X 146mm. The new denomination of Rs 50 has the motif of ‘Hampi with Chariot’ on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage.
Two RRBs Record Over Rs 150-cr Profit in FY17: RBI
Of the 56 regional rural banks (RRBs), Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank and Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank recorded net profit of more than Rs 150 crore during 2016-17. These are among the 49 RRBs that recorded a profit in 2016-17. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s ‘Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India’, 45 of the 56 RRBs earned profits without carrying any accumulated losses during 2015-16.
FDI jumps 37% to $10.4 billion during April-June 2017
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country grew by 37 percent to USD 10.4 billion during the first quarter of the current fiscal. According to the figures of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), India had received USD 7.59 billion FDI during April-June 2016-17. The main sectors which attracted the highest foreign inflows include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile. The bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan.
RBI to issue new Rs 50 currency note
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will shortly issue new banknotes of Rs. 50 denomination in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series. The base colour of the new notes will be fluorescent blue. RBI also has clarified that all banknotes in Rs. 50 denomination issued in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender. Its dimension will be 66 mm x 135 mm. It will have a motif of Hampi with Chariot on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage along with the Swachh Bharat logo, numeral 50 in devnagiri, year of printing and the language panel.
Government Slaps $264 Million Penalty on RIL
The government has imposed a new penalty of USD 264 million (about Rs 1,700 crore) on Reliance Industries Ltd and its partners for producing less than the targeted natural gas from eastern offshore KG-D6 fields in 2015-16. The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) allows RIL and its partners BP Plc of the UK and Canada’s Niko Resources to deduct all capital and operating expenses from the sale of gas before sharing profit with the government.
Indian Exports in July Grow Nearly 4 Percent over Last Year
The country’s exports grew three point nine percent in July this year (2017), on a yearly basis to 22 (point) 5 billion dollars. Exports rose due to an increase in shipments of petroleum, chemicals and marine products. The imports rose 15.4 per cent in July, to 34 billion dollars, due to a rise in inward shipments of crude oil and gold. The country’s trade deficit widened to 11.4 billion dollars during the month under review, from 7.8 billion dollars in July last year (2016). Gold import spurted 95 per cent, to 2.1 billion dollars in July. Oil imports increased 15 per cent in July.
India one of the most Open Economies Globally for FDI
According to the Economic Survey, India has now emerged as one of the most open economies in the world for receiving foreign direct investments (FDI), on the back of a host of liberalisation measures. It pointed out that measures taken by the government have resulted in FDI equity inflow of $43.4 billion in 2016-17, which is not only an increase of 8% over the previous year but also the highest ever. Mauritius, Singapore and Japan have been top three source countries of FDI inflows to India contributing 36.2%, 20% and 10.8%, respectively, during 2016-17, according to the survey.
Indian Oil Corps buys First Shale Oil from United States
State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has bought the country’s first shale oil from the US and is looking to step up imports from America as part of its crude diversification strategy. IOC bought 1.9 million barrels of US crude in its second import tender seeking oil from the America. India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, joins Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China to buy US crude after production cuts by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content.
Hike Messenger acquires hardware Startup Creo
Homegrown messaging and social media technology company Hike Messenger has acquired Bengaluru-based tech start-up Creo for an undisclosed amount. The Creo team constitutes over 50 members and was founded in December 2013 by Sai Srinivas Kiran G and Shubham Malhotra. In the past, Creo has launched hardware products that include streaming media dongles and smartphones.
For Technical Assistance SEBI ties up with Iran Counterpart
Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) entered into a pact with its counterpart Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO) from Iran to promote technical assistance and facilitate cross-border co-operation in the area of securities regulations. It will facilitate mutual assistance, contribute towards efficient performance of the supervisory functions, and enable effective enforcement of laws and regulations governing the securities markets. The MoU was signed by SEBI chief Ajay Tyagi and SEO Iran chairman Shapour Mohammadi. SEBI has signed nearly two dozen bilateral MoUs with the regulators of various jurisdictions. The markets regulator is also a signatory to the multilateral MoU of International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
Indian Bank brings 2-tier Interest Rate for Savings Accounts
PSU lender Indian Bank has introduced two tier interest rate structure for saving bank accounts and will offer interest rate of 4 per cent per annum on savings account with incremental balance of over Rs 50 lakh and 3.50 per cent per annum for deposit up to Rs 50 lakh. The new interest rate will be effective from August 16, 2017. Recently, the country’s largest lender State Bank of India had slashed interest rate on savings account deposits by 50 basis points to 3.5 per on balance of Rs 1 crore and below.
RBI to pay Rs 30,659 cr dividend to Govt for 2016-17
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it will pay Rs 30,659 crore dividend to the government for the year ended June 30, less than half of what it paid in 2016. The central bank had in the previous year paid Rs 65,876 crore dividend to the government. RBI had in 2014-15 paid Rs 65,896 crore dividend and Rs 52,679 crore in the year prior to that. The dividend payout was less than Rs 33,010 crore in 2012-13.
PNB Introduces Biometric Attendance System
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has introduced biometric attendance in the place of the existing system of signing attendance in the attendance register. The biometric attendance system has already been integrated with the in-house human resources management system. The new system of marking attendance will be implemented in branches/offices with immediate effect. Manual attendance system will run parallel up to August 31, to streamline the process. In exceptional cases, but in no case more than three occasions in a month, an employee may be permitted a grace margin of up to 15 minutes. Reporting/exit timings will be uploaded in the HR system automatically.
BitBay launches cryptocurrency trading platform in India
BitBay, one of the top ten cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world, has launched a dedicated platform for trade and exchange of digital currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, ether, Lisk, monero, dash and gamecredits. The company will also work towards creating awareness about digital currencies and also removing misconceptions related to these currencies in a market like India.
SoftBank Vision Fund invests in Flipkart
Flipkart Group (Flipkart), India’s leading e-commerce marketplace, has announced an investment – a mix of primary and secondary capital – from SoftBank Vision Fund (Vision Fund), the world’s largest technology-focused investment fund. This is the biggest ever private investment in an Indian technology company and will make the Vision Fund one of the largest shareholders in Flipkart. The amount is about $2 billion. The deal will provide a partial exit to Tiger Global, the New York-based investment firm, which until now was the largest and most influential investor in Flipkart.
MCX gets Sebi approval for launching gold options
The Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX), the country’s largest commodity exchange has received capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) approval to launch options trading in gold. It will allow investors and hedgers to minimise their price risk at a fraction of cost compared to currently available futures trading.
Bajaj Auto ties up with Triumph to make mid-capacity motorcycles
Bajaj Auto and Triumph Motorcycles UK have announced a global partnership. This non-equity tie-up between Bajaj and Triumph will enable the former to build a range of mid-capacity motorcycles, building on the collective strengths of both companies. The aim of this partnership is to deliver a range of outstanding mid-capacity motorcycles. It will enable to offer a wide range of motorcycles within its domestic market and other international markets.
Hrithik Roshan signs Rs 100 crore deal with Startup Cure.Fit
Hritik Roshan has been signed as a brand ambassador by a health and wellness startup Cure.fit in a deal worth Rs 100 crore. The actor will be associated with the brand for five years. The deal also includes the actor’s equity stake in the company in lieu of cash investment, promotions and royalty from his personal brand HRX’s specialised workout plan. Cure.fit will soon be launched as a mobile app and is expected to rake in Rs 250-crore annual business in the coming years.
ICICI Bank launches instant credit cards
The country’s largest private sector lender, ICICI Bank, launched instant credit cards enabling its savings account customers to get a credit card instantly, in a completely digital and paperless manner. The bank has opened up this offering to a few lakh of pre-qualified customers who can apply for the card online and generate card details and start shopping online instantly. Currently, this facility to apply for a credit card in–a-flash is available through the Bank’s internet banking platform. It will also be available shortly on iMobile, the Bank’s mobile banking application.
IDFC Bank partners with Zeta for e-payments solution
Private sector lender IDFC Bank has partnered with digital payments company Zeta, to launch ‘IDFC Bank Benefits’. It is a payment solution for corporates that digitizes employee spends and claims, making the process simple, real-time and paperless. The end-to-end digital solution comprises an IDFC Bank Benefits Card and Zeta app which integrates the full suite of allowances and reimbursements offered by an employer into one preloaded card. Employees can also access the Benefits Card via the Zeta app on mobile or web. The Zeta app offers employees a real time view of spends, reimbursement limits and claims.
Syndicate Bank cuts lending rate by 5-10 bps
Syndicate Bank has pared its marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by 5-10 basis points in certain maturity buckets. MCLR for six months and one year will be 8.3 per cent (8.35 per cent now) and 8.5 per cent (8.60 per cent now), respectively, with effect from 10th August, 2017. MCLR for all other maturities have been left unchanged.
Axis Bank cuts interest rate on savings account by 50 bps points to 3.5%
Private sector lender Axis Bank reduced interest rate on savings bank accounts by 50 basis points to 3.5 per cent for deposits up to Rs 50 lakh. However, the bank will continue to pay 4 per cent interest on deposits of above Rs 50 lakh. Axis Bank is the fourth lender to reduce the interest rate after market leader State Bank of India (SBI) begun the process of reducing interest rate on savings account. On 31 July, 2017, SBI slashed interest rate on savings account deposits by 50 basis points to 3.5% on balance of Rs1 crore and below.
Netflix Made its ‘First Ever’ Acquisition with Millarworld purchase
Online entertainment platform Netflix announced that it has acquired Millarworld, a comic book company. The acquisition was the first ever by Netflix. Together, the two companies will bring Millarworld’s portfolio of character franchises to life through films, series and children’s shows available exclusively to Netflix members. Millarworld was founded in 2004 by Scottish comic book writer Mark Millar who has created characters and stories like Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and Old Man Logan.
Customers of PNB to pay higher charges for non-credit services
Come September, PNB customers will have to pay charges for depositing cash above Rs. 5,000 in a non-base branch even if it is located in the same city. Currently, the customers of Punjab National Bank have levied charges only for depositing cash over Rs. 25,000 at a non-base branch within the same city. It has been decided to revise the non-credit related charges (exclusive of GST) with effect from September 1st, 2017 for cash deposit above Rs. 5,000 at other than base branch within the same city. A customer will have to pay Re 1 per Rs 1,000 for above Rs 5,000 cash deposit or part thereof with a minimum of Rs 25 per transaction. At an outstation branch, cash deposit up to Rs 5,000 will be free of cost from September 1, which at present is limited for Rs 25,000.
Iran signs its biggest-ever car deal with France’s Renault
Iran’s official news agency says two Iranian companies have signed the country’s biggest-ever car deal with French multinational automobile manufacturer Group Renault to produce 150,000 cars, beginning in 2018. The Euro €660 million or $778 million deal follows the lifting of international sanctions after Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. It’s expected to create about 3,000 jobs for the two companies, Iran’s IDRO and the privately owned Negin Group. Renault has a 60% partnership in the deal.
Mastercard, PayPal expand partnership into Asia Pacific
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an extension of their partnership into Asia Pacific for making MasterCard a clear payment option within PayPal. PayPal will add Mastercard as a payment method to their e-wallet and consumers can make it their default payment option. Card Company will provide tokenization services and will enable mobile payments using PayPal’s digital wallet at more than 6.5 million contactless-enabled merchant locations across the globe. The partnership will also add Master pass as a payment option for merchants that process payments via Braintree. The partnership will allow consumers and small businesses across Asia Pacific to cash ou t funds held in their PayPal e-wallet to a Mastercard debit card.
Kotak Bank’s New Forex Service
Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched Kotak Remit – an Aadhaar-based integrated outward forex remittance solution for both customers and non-customers. The 24×7 forex remittance service offers a completely paperless process that enables users to register online using Aadhaar and PAN numbers, and initiate remittances instantly.
L&T bags Rs 3375-crore Mauritius metro order
Engineering conglomerate Larsen & Tourbo in August 2017 has announced Rs 3375 crore (18.8 Bn MUR) worth metro order from the Mauritius government to design and build an Integrated Light Rail-based Urban Transit System in the African island nation. The projects will be fully funded through a grant by Union Government and line of credit.
MobiKwik Partners Bajaj Finance for Larger Financial Services Pie
Mobile wallet major MobiKwik has entered into a strategic partnership with Bajaj Finance to transform itself into a financial services app from a payments app at present. Under this partnership, Bajaj Finance has picked up 10.83 per cent equity stake in MobiKwik for about Rs 225 crore and offer its lending (purchase finance, credit card, mortgage loans and personal loans) and insurance products to be sold through the MobiKwik app.
MCX inks MoU with Mahindra Agri for data on farm pricing
Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX) and Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mahindra and Mahindra, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide agriculture related price information. This information would be available on their recently launched mobile application- ‘MyAgriGuru’, which is available for free on Google play store. This MoU would enhance the decision-making ability of the farmers further. To start with, MCX will be providing price information, open interest information, spot price, future price and derived data (analytics) for all the agri commodities namely – CPO (crude palm oil), cotton, cardamom and mentha oil.
Patanjali Team ties Up With FB, Google for Digital Push
Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., the herbal products manufacturer founded by yoga guru Baba Ramdev collaborates with Google and Facebook, Patanjali is for the first time investing in advertisements tailored for online audiences. By June, views for Patanjali on YouTube climbed to 15 crore from 30 lakh, according to the official. Searches for Patanjali products on Google have gone up 11 times in the past four years and three-fold over the past three years. The live interactions, promotional campaigns, and reducing the 30-second ad duration to six seconds for the Facebook audience paid off for the company as it received more than 80 per cent favourable response from the youths in Karnataka, Odisha, and Punjab.
Karnataka Bank to offer 5% for savings bank deposits over Rs 1 cr
Karnataka Bank has raised interest rates on savings bank account for large balance above Rs 1 crore to 5% while for small balances below Rs 1 lakh, the bank has reduced it to 3%. Earlier the private bank was charging 4% irrespective of the amount in the account. Karnataka Bank has said that the bank will offer 4% on deposits in savings account between Rs 50 lakhs and Rs 1 crore. For deposits between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50 lakhs, the bank will offer 3.5%. The reduction in rate will be with immediate effect.
Airtel-Telenor receive NCLT nod for proposed merger
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the proposed merger between Bharti Airtel and Telenor India. Bharti Airtel in June received nod from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi), BSE and the National Stock Exchange of India. Airtel would take over its spectrum in all seven circles – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam. It would also acquire its licences and operations, including its employees and customer base of 44 million. It will also enable Airtel to bolster its spectrum footprint in the seven circles, with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.
FB Acquires AI Asst Startup Ozlo to Make Messenger Smarter
To build out a more elaborate personal assistant for the Messenger users, Facebook has acquired an artificial intelligence (AI) startup Ozlo that specialises in understanding text-based conversations. Ozlo claims that its virtual assistants can understand and provide answers to questions which do not have simple “yes” or “no” answers. Ozlo has raised $14 million from a number of investors, including Greylock. The start-up has 30 employees, majority of which will be joining Messenger in Facebook’s offices in either Menlo Park, California or Seattle, Washington.
Airtel Payments Bank, HPCL tie-up for digital payments
Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first payments bank has announced a strategic partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL). There are around 14,000 HPCL fuel stations will act as banking points for Airtel Payments Bank. It also offers facilities such as the opening of the account, cash deposit and cash withdrawal to the payment bank’s customers. These cashless payments can be made by smart phones (MyAirtel App).
RBI cuts key policy rate by 25 basis points to 6%
On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation at its meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by Urijit Patel, decided to reduce the Policy Repo Rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.25 per cent to 6.0 per cent with immediate effect. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
IIT Researchers develops bioartificial implantable pancreas
Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have successfully created an implantable bioartificial pancreas model grown within 3D silk scaffold. The bioartificial pancreas encapsulates insulin-producing beta cells, capable of naturally producing insulin in sustained manner. If successful in animal and human trials, it can be used for treating people with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes arises when the body’s immune system kills the insulin-producing beta cells.
NASA’s WINDY Mission to create white artificial clouds that glow in night
A NASA rocket mission named “WINDY” will form night-time white artificial clouds visible by residents of the Republic of the Marshall Islands during two rocket flights between 29 August 2017 and 9 September 2017. The Waves and Instabilities from a Neutral Dynamo (WINDY) Mission will study a phenomenon that occurs in the Ionosphere, a layer of charged particles in the upper atmosphere.
IIT Researchers develop biosensor to detect kidney disorders
Researchers from Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Bombay and Indore, have jointly developed a biosensor that makes it possible to detect kidney disorders in less than eight minutes. The biosensor can accurately measure both the pH and urea concentration with a single drop of urine. It will help make a point-of-care test to determine whether the kidneys are functioning normally.
Nasikabatrachus bhupathi: New frog species with pig face discovered
Indian scientists have discovered Nasikabatrachus bhupathi, a new species of frog that has a snout-shaped nose, just like a pig in West Ghats. It has been named after the Indian herpetologist S. Bhupathy. Nasikabatrachus bhupathi species show comparisons with the Purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) which was discovered in 2003 in Seychelles. Nasikabatrachus bhupathi is soiled-dwelling species of purple frog. It inhabits the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, near the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. It differs from the Purple frog morphologically and acoustically. It is dark brown in colour and each of its calls consists of four distinct pulses while the Purple frog pauses once between its three-pulse-call.
Indian student develops Nano Missile for Indian Army
Dacharla Panduranga Rohith, a student of Chennai’s SRM University was recognised by World Records of India for developing a nano missile. The basic prototype of the missile was tested in the presence of Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramapuram in Chennai and the video was submitted to World Record of India for recognition in July 2017. He developed the missile for the Indian Army and local police in fighting terrorism. The missile was developed for launch through a robot. This 1 cm nano missile can fly by burning the red phosphorus, and hit the target of three metres distance.
Scientists discover new therapy to prevent sepsis in new born babies
A team of scientists from US have discovered an inexpensive prevention technique (therapy) against sepsis in new born babies. The team was led by US-based Indian doctor Dr Pinaki Panigrahi. The therapy has been found to reduce the risk of sepsis infection by 40% in trials and it can be inexpensive –less than one dollar for a course. Each year globally, more than 600,000 infants die of sepsis most of them in developing countries. In India, more than a quarter of neonatal deaths are due to sepsis. In a significant number of these cases, the infection probably begins in the gut.
Android Oreo released by Google
Keeping up its tradition of naming its Android upgrades with delectable desserts, Google has launched its version 8.0 of the operating system as Android Oreo. The Oreo boasts of a two times faster boot speed, autofill option, and a longer battery life. The new update comes with a Picture-in-Picture feature that allows the user to see two apps simultaneously.
Scientists discover new state of matter
Scientists Los Alamos National Laboratory, US have discovered a potential new state of matter that may help explain phenomena like superconductivity. It was discovered in the high-magnetic-field state of the heavy fermion superconductor CeRhIn5. Heavy fermions are intermetallic compounds, containing rare earth or actinide elements.
NASA Launches Satellite to Help Astronauts Talk to Earth
NASA launched the latest in a series of satellites aimed at ensuring astronauts at the International Space Station can communicate with Earth. The $408 million Boeing-made Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) soared into space atop an Atlas V rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite will support critical space communication into the mid-2020s. TDRS-M is the last of 13 such satellites that have been launched since 1983.
Japan launches Michibiki No. 3 satellite for better GPS System
Japan launched the Michibiki No. 3 satellite of its new quasi-zenith satellites to improve the global positioning system (GPS) navigation services in the country. The satellite was launched aboard an H-IIA rocket, which blasted from the Tanegashima space centre in southern Japan, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Michibiki system is aimed at improving the accuracy of car navigation systems and smartphone maps to mere centimetres.
Two new species of Earthworm discovered in Kerala
Scientists have discovered two new species of earthworm belonging to the primitive family Moniligastridae in Western Ghats ranges of Kerala. The new earthworms distinguished by a set of characters have been named as Drawida polydiverticulata and Drawida thomasi. In total, there are about 200 species of earthworm known in genus Drawida. To date, there are 73 earthworm species belonging to genus Drawida living in Indian subcontinent. The greatest concentration (43 species) is found in Western Ghats.
Scientists develops artificial womb to save premature babies
Scientists have developed an artificial womb that can be used in future to save the lives of extremely premature human babies. It was successfully used to incubate healthy baby lambs for a week. The research showed that preterm lambs were successfully maintained in a healthy, infection-free condition with significant growth, for a period of one week using ex-vivo uterine environment (EVE) therapy.
Scientists discover 91 volcanoes underneath Antarctica
A group of scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on earth, only two kilometres underneath the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica. A paper published by a research team from Edinburgh University revealed that there are 91 volcanoes under the ice sheets in the west of Antarctica. These are in addition to the 47 already known in the region. The largest volcano stands at almost 4000 metres, which is taller than Aoraki Mount Cook (3724 metres tall), Which is New Zealand’s highest peak.
Scientists develop world’s first plant-based Zika vaccine
Scientists from US have developed the world’s first plant-based Zika vaccine that may be more effective, safer and cheaper than other vaccines against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The vaccine was developed using proteins derived from Tobacco plant. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics available to combat Zika.
Canara Bank unveils two new Digital Services
Canara Bank unveiled two new digital services for online payments. Bharat QR (Quick Response) is for payment settlement at merchant locations and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system for net banking customers. The first service is a mobile application, which enables a merchant to accept payments as settlement for sale of goods or services. The second product (BBPS), an initiative of the RBI offers bill payment services to the bank’s net banking customers with network of agents.
Facebook launches ‘Watch’ for original TV content
In an apparent bid to take on Google-owned YouTube, Facebook has rolled out ‘Watch’, a redesigned video platform for creators and publishers. Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work. It is personalized to one in discovering new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching.
US Scientists develop micropropulsion system based on liquid water
Engineers from Purdue University in US have designed and tested a micropropulsion system called a Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array (FEMTA) thruster that uses liquid water as the propellant for orbital maneuvering of tiny satellites called CubeSats. CubeSats are basically miniature satellites which typically weigh around two kilograms. In the future, they have potential to carry out tasks like imaging and remote-sensing currently performed by the heavier satellites which are expensive to build and launch. CubeSats at present cannot totally replace their larger counterparts as they are incapable of changing orbit or performing complex manoeuvres as they do not have a propulsion system. If CubeSats would be having system would allow such tiny satellites to correct their orbit or maintain their altitude, thereby prolonging their operating life in space before becoming space debris.
NASA’s Hubble detects Exoplanet with glowing water atmosphere
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the strongest evidence to date for a stratosphere on a planet outside our solar system, WASP-121b. The stratosphere is a layer of atmosphere in which temperature increases with higher altitudes. The discovery was made by an International team of researchers led by the the University of Exeter by observing glowing water molecules in WASP-121b’s atmosphere.
IIT Delhi researchers develops new nanotechnology-based drug delivery system
An all-women team of researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has developed a new drug delivery platform using nanoparticles. The nanotechnology-based drug delivery system has ability to boost the efficacy of antibiotics at the cellular level and improve chances of recovery from cancer-related bacterial infections. The nanoconjugate was able to kill 50% of bacteria at much lower concentration (400 nM) while the free peptide’s antibacterial activity was not significant at the same concentration.
IISc researchers develop low-cost, sensitive CO sensor
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) researchers from Bengaluru have developed a highly sensitive , low cost nanometre-scale carbon monoxide (CO) sensor, with potential applications in environmental pollution monitoring. The sensor was eveloped using novel fabrication technique that does not involve costly and time consuming lithography technology. Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. It is harmful when inhaled in large amounts. The greatest source of CO is internal combustions (IC) engines of cars, trucks and other vehicles or machinery that burn fossil fuels.
First Environmental Research Satellite ‘Venus’ launched by Israel
Venus’, the first Israeli satellite for environmental research was launched from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite is a joint effort by the Israel Space Agency and the French Space Agency (CNES). The satellite was built in Israel Aerospace Industries. Venus is considered the smallest satellite of its kind in the world. It is crafted to survey and monitor large areas to study soil, vegetation, forests, agriculture, water and air quality and other aspects of the environment.
ISRO, NASA working towards completion of NISAR mission by 2021
The Indian Space Research Organistaion (ISRO) is working along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to co-develop and launch a dual frequency synthetic aperture radar satellite in the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission 2021. The satellite will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual frequency and it is planned to be used for remote sensing purposes, to observe and understand natural processes of the Earth. In the joint mission, NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be responsible for the design & development of L-band SAR, a 12m unfurlable antenna & its deployment elements, GPS system and data recorder. ISRO will be responsible for the design & development of S-ban SAR, Spacecraft Bus, data transmission system, Spacecraft integration & testing, launch using GSLV and on-orbit operations.
Indian Army develops Humraaz app for soldiers to track promotions, postings
The Indian Army has developed a mobile application named Humraaz. The app will allow serving soldiers to track details like postings and promotions. Report suggest thst an army official has that through the app ‘Humraaz’, soldiers can aloso view their monthly slips and the Form 16 and also download them. The mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army and will be launched in the second week of August 2017. The app will allow prompt communication of information to junior commissioned officers and other personnel. For security reasons, the installation of the application has been linked to verification of Aadhaar details.
Historic discovery, Sun’s Core rotates four times faster than its surface
A team of researchers have recently made a historic discovery of solar seismic waves which reveals that Sun’s core is rotating four times faster than its surface. The researchers made the calculations using 16 years of observations from an instrument called GOLF (Global Osciallations at Low Frequency) on a spacecraft called Solar and Heliospheric bservatory (SOHO). SOHO is a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. The method was developed by a team of researchers led by astronomer Eric Fossat.
Human Embryos edited to stop disease
For the first time, an international team of scientists have dicovered a way to successfully edit/ free embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart disease in families. The process named as CRISPR, was completed without introducing any harmful mutations, which was a problem in previous attempts. In short, CRISPR is a gene-editing technique which allows scientists to insert, remove and correct DNA within a cell with pinpoint precision.
Research says Chemical from turmeric helps treat cancer in children
A group of scientists in the U.S. discovered that curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric, holds the power to treat cancer in children. Researchers at Nemours Children’s Hospital and the University of Central Florida (UCF) found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells. In the study conducted by the researchers, curcumin was attached to cerium oxide nanoparticles and then tested the nano-curcumin formulation in cell lines of a high-risk form of neuroblastoma.
PERSONS IN NEWS
PV Sindhu, First Brand Ambassador for Bridgestone India
Badminton ace PV Sindhu, who recently won Silver at the World Championship, was appointed the first brand ambassador of tyre maker Bridgestone India. The shuttler has signed a three year deal with Bridgestone India, a subsidiary of Bridgestone which is one of the sponsors for the Olympics 2020 in Japan. The Padma Shri recipient became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Rajiv Gauba Takes Over as Union Home Secretary
Mr. Rajiv Gauba took over as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Mr. Gauba joined the Ministry of Home Affairs as Officer on Special Duty on June 27, 2017 and took charge as the Union Home Secretary upon the superannuation of Shri Rajiv Mehrishi. Mr. Gauba also served in the International Monetary Fund representing the country for four years on the Board of IMF.
R.K. Raghavan is New High Commissioner of India to Cyprus
According to the External Affairs Ministry, Former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan has been appointed High Commissioner to Cyprus. His specialization is cybersecurity. He had been CBI Director from January 1999 to April 2001. The Supreme Court appointed him head of the Anti-Ragging Monitoring Committee in 2006.
Indian Hotels Company appoints Puneet Chhatwal as MD and CEO
Tata group hospitality firm Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) has appointed Duetsche Hospitality chief executive Puneet Chhatwal as its Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He will take over from incumbent Rakesh Sarna, who is stepping down on 30 September. Before he joined IHCL, Sarna was the group president – Americas of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Mohammad Mustafa takes charge as SIDBI chairman
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) said Mohammad Mustafa has assumed office as the chairman and managing director. Prior to this, Mustafa was working as joint secretary in the department of financial services at the Centre. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment for a period of three years, according to a Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) order.
Dara Khosrowshahi appointed as CEO of Uber Technologies Inc
Dara Khosrowshahi was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Uber Technologies Inc. His appointment was approved by the Uber Board. Prior to this appointment, Khosrowshahi was served as the Chief Executive Officer of travel company Expedia Inc. He succeeds Travis Kalanick, Uber’s co-founder who was expelled as CEO in June 2017 after shareholders representing about 40 per cent of the company’s voting power signed a letter asking him to resign amid growing concern over his behaviour.
Justice Dipak Misra sworn in as 45th Chief Justice of India
Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice of India (CIJ). He was administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind. Justice Misra will retire on 2 October 2018. Justice Misra succeeds Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar who demitted office on 27 August 2017. With this, Misra became the third from Odisha to assume charge as the Chief Justice of India (CIJ). The other two were Justice Ranganath Misra and Justice G B Pattanaik.
Tata Sons appoints Roopa as Chief Economist & Head of Policy Advocacy
Tata Sons appointed Roopa Purushothaman as Chief Economist and Head of Policy Advocacy to drive macro-economic research as well as all policy and advocacy initiatives as relevant to the businesses of the salt-to-software conglomerate. Purushothaman joins Tata Sons from Everstone Capital, where she was leading the research function. Before that, she was with Goldman Sachs International as Vice President & Global Economist. She will join the group with effect from 1st September 2017.
Dharmendra Kumar appointed Director General of RPF
CISF ADG Dharmendra Kumar has been appointed as Director General of the Railway Protection Force. Kumar, who is a 1984 batch IPS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, took charge. After the retirement of S K Bhagat in June 2017, the additional charge of DG, RPF, was being handled by National Security Guard (NSG) DG, Sudhir Pratap Singh. Kumar will retire on September 30, 2018.
Nandan Nilekani appointed as Chairman of Infosys Board
Nandan Nilekani was appointed as the Non-Executive Chariman of Infosys Board, returning to the company ten years after he stepped down as its Chief Executive Officer. The decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the Board of Directors of Infosys. Meanwhile, UB Pravin Rao will continue to serve as the interim CEO and MD at Infosys. Nilekani’s appointments came amid high-level exists from the company as CEO Vishal Sikka, Chairman of the board R Seshasayee and Co-Chair Ravi Venkatesan resigned from the Infosys board.
Union Govt names Rajiv Bansal as CMD of Air India
The Union Government has named Rajiv Bansal, additional secretary and financial advisor in the Petroleum Ministry, as interime CMD of Air India Ltd. The decision came after the previous Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani was appointed as the Chairman of the Railway Board. Bansal is a 1988 batch IAS officer.
Ajay Vipin Nanavati is New Syndicate Bank Chairman
Ajay Vipin Nanavati was appointed as the chairman of Syndicate Bank. The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved his appointment as non-official director/non-executive chairman of Syndicate Bank for three years. In 2015, the government had bifurcated the posts of chairman and managing directors in public sector banks. While the chairman became responsible for overall policy directions, the managing director and chief executive officer became the executive head, accountable for day-to-day functioning of the bank.
O Pannerselvam sworn in as Dy CM of Tamil Nadu
O Pannerselvam was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister (CM) of Tamil Nadu, following the much speculated merger of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) factions. He was administered oath by Governor Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan. Meanwhile, Edappadi Palaniswamy will continue to stay on as the Chief Minister of the state. Pannerselvam is tasked to look after Finance of the State besides Housing, Rural Housing and Housing Development, Slum Clearance Board and Accommodation Control, Town Planning, Urban Development and CMDA.
Nikolay Kudashev appointed Russia’s new ambassador to India
Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed career diplomat Nikolay Kudashev as Russia’s new ambassador to India. Kudashev, a specialist in South East Asia, is currently the Deputy Director General Secretariat of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Russia. The appointment of Kudashev comes nearly seven months after the death of Russia’s previous ambassador to India Alexander Kdakin. Kudashev was the Russian Ambassador to Micronesia and the Marshall Islands in 2014-2015.
Sri Lanka Appoints First Tamil Navy Chief After Four Decades
Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah appointed as the chief of Sri Lanka’s naval forces to head the Navy since the brutal civil war erupted in the country 45 years ago. He succeeds Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne got retired. He got appointed as the Navy Chief by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Mamta Suri Takes Charge as Executive Director of IBBI
Dr. Mamta Suri took charge as Executive Director of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) in New Delhi. Before joining IBBI, Dr. Suri was serving as Chief General Manager, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI). She has also received Honorary membership for High Scholastic Achievement from USA.
Neymar Becomes Goodwill Ambassador for Disabled
World’s Most expensive player Neymar became the Goodwill Ambassador for Handicap International, pledging to work for millions who are “less visible” but deserve equality. The charity was founded in 1982 to assist 6,000 Cambodian refugees who had lost limbs and later co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1992 which won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sohail Mahmood- Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India
Sohail Mahmood has assumed the charge of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India in New Delhi. Mahmood, who joined foreign service in 1985, was earlier deputed in Turkey as Ambassador of Pakistan. He replaced Abdul Basit after his premature retirement.
KVB appoints P R Seshadri as MD & CEO
Karur Vysya Bank Ltd has informed BSE that the Reserve Bank of India has accorded their approval for the appointment of Shri P R Seshadri as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of the Bank for a period of three years from the date of his taking charge. He has replaced K Venkataraman.
P B Balaji named Tata Motors New CFO
Tata Motors announced the appointment of P B Balaji as the new Chief Financial Officer, Tata Motors Group from November 2017 replacing C R Ramakrishnan, the current CFO who retires by September 30, having already served a several extensions. Having started his career with Unilever in 1995 and worked in different corporate finance roles across Asian markets, Switzerland, UK and India, Balaji is very well oriented in global finance stream with over two decades of experience in the corporate sector. Since 2014, Balaji has been heading the finance function as the Chief Financial Officer of Hindustan Unilever.
Santosh Sharma appointed Hindustan Copper CMD
Santosh Sharma has appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL). He is currently Director (Operations) in the same company. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved his appointment to the post for a period of five years, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
Emandi Sankara Rao appointed MD & CEO of IFCI
IFCI Ltd, a government company, is set to have a new Managing Director & CEO in Emandi Sankara Rao, who is currently Chief General Manager at India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL). The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has given its nod for the Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposal to appoint Emandi Sankara Rao as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of IFCI Ltd. Rao’s appointment will be valid for three years. Rao is also currently a director and chief executive officer at IIFCL Asset Management Company Ltd.
Prasar Bharati CEO given additional charge of Rajya Sabha TV
Shashi Shekhar Vempati, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has been appointed as the chief of Rajya Sabha TV. Rajya Sabha TV is owned and operated by Rajya Sabha and covers the proceedings of the upper house of the Parliament. Prasar Bharati runs Doordarshan television and All India Radio. Vempati will replace Gurdeep Singh Sappal who has been serving as the CEO and editor-in-chief of Rajya Sabha TV since 2011. Sappal, also the officer on special duty to the vice-president of India, resigned earlier in July.
David Rasquinha Appointed as Exim Bank MD
David Rasquinha, who is currently Deputy Managing Director of Exim Bank of India, has been appointed as Managing Director of the bank. This appointment will be valid for a period of three years. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has given its nod for the elevation of Rasquinha to the post of Managing Director, official sources said. A formal order in this regard is expected from the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry in the next few days.
I V Subba Rao appointed secretary to Venkaiah Naidu
Retired IAS officer I V Subba Rao has appointed the secretary to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. The Prime Minister’s Office cleared the appointment a day on which Naidu assumed charge as the 13th vice president of the country. N Yuvaraj, Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer of 2006 batch, will be the private secretary to Naidu. Rao, a 1979 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, retired from service as special chief secretary last year. He held several important posts in Andhra Pradesh and later served the UNESCO.
Milkha Singh appointed WHO’s ambassador for physical activity
Sprint legend Milkha Singh has been appointed as the World Health Organisation’s goodwill ambassador for physical activity in South-East Asia Region (SEAR). As WHO goodwill ambassador, Singh, also known as ‘the Flying Sikh’, will promote WHO SEAR’s non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and control action plan which seeks to reduce the level of insufficient physical activity by 10 per cent and NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025.
Vinay Dube appointed Jet Airways CEO
Jet Airways India Ltd named Vinay Dube as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Jet Airways has been without a full-time CEO since Cramer Ball quit in February 2016. Mr. Dube is currently senior vice president, Asia Pacific with Delta Air Lines Inc., one of the world’s largest and most profitable airlines. Dube has served in various roles at Delta Airlines, Sabre Inc and American Airlines in the USA, Europe and Asia.
Dilip Asbe appointed as Acting Chief Executive of NPCI
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has appointed Dilip Asbe to act as its chief executive officer in the wake of the retirement of A. P. Hota, its founding managing director. Hota who had served as the MD of NPCI since its inception retired recently. Asbe who currently serves as the organisations’ chief operating officer will continue in the same designation, but will also act as the chief executive of NPCI.
Venkaiah Naidu sworn in as the 13th Vice President of India
- Venkaiah Naidu was sworn in as the 13th Vice President of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath to 68-year-old Naidu at a grand ceremony. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader defeated opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, by more than 270 votes in the vice-presidential election held on 5 August. Naidu succeeds Hamid Ansari, who finished his decade-long tenure as the vice president and Rajya Sabha chairman. He was born on 1st July 1949 in Chavatapalem, a village in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Before nomination to vice-president post, Venkaiah Naidu was Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting Minister under the Narendra Modi government. Naidu is also the founder of Swarna Bharath Trust, a social service organization.
Justice Dipak Misra to be next Chief Justice of India
Justice Dipak Misra, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, was appointed as the next Chief Justice of India. An official notification announcing 63-year-old Misra’s appointment was issued by the law ministry. He will be replacing incumbent Justice J S Khehar, who is set to retire on August 27. It was Khehar who had recommended Misra’s name to succeed him as the next Chief Justice of India.
Indian American appointed US Dy Comptroller For Minority Affairs
Indian American Dilip Chauhan has been appointed as the Deputy Comptroller for Minority Affairs in New York’s Nassau county. He was nominated for the post by Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos. Chauhan had joined the Comptroller’s office in 2015 as Director for Community Affairs, South and East Asia. He has served as senior advisor to the Comptroller since early 2017.
PIO named Canada’s consul general in San Francisco
Rana Sarkar, an Indo-Canadian entrepreneur, has been appointed Canada’s consul general in San Francisco as well as a member of the Canadian official team tasked with renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the US and Mexico. Sarkar was till recently national director for high growth markets at the Toronto-based multi-national KPMG. Sarkar is part of a 13-member group tasked with helping Canada navigate the renegotiation of NAFTA.
Aparna appointed as Executive Director of World Bank
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IAS officer from Gujarat S. Aparna as Executive Director of the World Bank. At the World Bank, she will represent the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka for three years. She will replace Subhash Garg, who was recently appointed Economic Affairs Secretary, Union Ministry of Finance. Aparna is 1988-batch IAS officer, currently prinicipal Secretary to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Besides, she also has senior positions in Gujarat such as Economic Affairs, Surat Municipal Commissioner and Joint secretary, Urban Development at centre.
Economist Rajiv Kumar is NITI Aayog’s new Vice-Chief
Noted economist Rajiv Kumar will be the next Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, which is a think-tank that replaced the Planning Commission. He will succeed Arvind Panagariya, who had recently quit as Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog. Meanwhile, the Centre has also appointed Vinod Paul, a Paediatrician at AIIMS, as a member of NITI Aayog.
Prabhat Kumar as the Next Ambassador to The Republic of Kazakhstan
Shri Prabhat Kumar, (IFS 1991), presently Ambassador of India to Colombia has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Kazakhstan. Prabhat Kumar was Director General, in-charge of the Energy Security and Investment and Technology Promotion Division in the Ministry of External Affairs Kumar was earlier posted to the Permanent Mission of India to the conference of disarmament in Geneva. He also served in the Indian Embassies of Nepal, Croatia and Spain.
Akshay Kumar is Brand Ambassador for Swachh Bharat Mission in UP
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced the appointment of Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Mission in the state. The chief minister also announced to make the film tax-free in the state. The chief minister also released the film’s toilet anthem, ‘Karle Toilet Ka Jugar’, which has been sung by the actor himself. The movie stresses on the importance of building toilets and ending open defecation in the country.
Devendra Chawla appointed EVP and COO of Walmart India
Wal-Mart India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has appointed Devendra Chawla as chief operating officer and executive vice president. Chawla had last month resigned from Future Consumer, a part of Kishore Biyani-led Future Group, where he was the CEO. Devendra will lead merchandising, marketing, and omni channel functions for Walmart India’s cash and carry business.
Mohammad Mustafa appointed as CMD of SIDBI
Senior bureaucrat Mohammad Mustafa was appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for a period of three years. Prior to this appointment, Mustafa was working as a Joint Secretary in Department of Financial services. Mustafa is 1995 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre.
Hemant Narayan Bhagwat appointed Air Officer-in-charge Administration of IAF
Air Marshal Hemant Narayan Bhagwat took over as Air Officer-in-Charge Administration (AOA) of Indian Air Force at Air Headquarters in New Delhi. Air Marshal Bhagwat, the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vayu Sena Medal (VM) awardee, was commissioned in Administrative branch of the Indian Air force in June 1981. Prior to assuming the appointment of AOA, he served as the Director General (Works & Ceremonials) at Air HQ. He was commissioned by Chief of Air Staff in 1999 and was awarded Vayu Sena Medal by the President of India in 2005 for his contribution to paratrooping field.
US Senate confirms appointment of three Indian Americans
Three Indian-Americans picked by President Donald Trump have been cnfirmed by the US Senate to key governmental posts. While Neil Chatterjee was confirmed as the member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a body that oversees electricity, natural gas and oil at the national level, Vishal Amin got confirmed as the Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement Coordination in the Trump administration. The third Indian- American to get confirmed to a key governmental position was Krishna R Urs, who was confirmed as the US Ambassador to Peru.
SEBI approves Dhirendra Swarup as BSE chairman
SEBI has approved the appointment of Dhirendra Swarup as the chairman of the board of directors of the BSE. Dhirendra Swarup, who was a public interest director at the BSE, replaces incumbent Sudhakar Rao. Swarup, former Chairman of the Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), has more than four decades of experience across finance, budgeting, public debt management, public policy and pension reforms. Besides, he was the chairman of the Cash and Debt Management Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 2000 to 2003. He was the government nominee director on the board of Sebi for three years and on a public sector bank for five years.
Punjab Govt to appoint cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur as DSP
The Punjab State government has initiated the process of appointing Indian all-rounder cricketer, Harmanpreet Kaur to the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in the state police. The Young star, whose astounding knock of 171 against Australia in the semi-finals steered India into the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 final, said that it was her childhood dream to work with the state police. Kaur met Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who directed the State Director General f Police (DGP) Suresh Arora to complete the necessary formalities for her appointment. Kaur had scored 171 not out from 115 balls in the semi-final against Australia, one of her best innings till date.
Hassan Rouhani sworn in as Iran’s President for 2nd term
Hassan Rouhani was officially sworn in as the President of Irn for a second term. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei gave his official approval for Rouhani’s appointment by giving him a decree to assign him his duties. Rouhani will administer the oth before the parliament on 5 August 2017 and before that, he has to present his cabinet before the parliament for a vote of confidence. As per Iran’s Election Law, a president-elect is required to get the Leader’s approval before being sworn-in before the Parliament. Rouhani won the re-election in May 2017, after securing 57 per cent of the votes and defeating his main contender Ebrahim Raeisi.
Payback announces Gautam Kaushik as new CEO
Payback India has appointed Gautam Kaushik as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Gautam Kaushik will spearhead the India operations and lead all the critical business areas including Strategic Business Planning and Development, Partner Management & Acquisitions and Customer Engagement. Prior to joining PAYBACK, Gautam was working with American Express (AMEX) as Vice President (VP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
O’Neill re-elected Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Peter O’Neill has been re-elected prime minister of Papua New Guinea by a newly elected parliament. He is the leader of the People’s National Congress and represents the constituency of Ialibu-Pangia. Peter O’Neill won the parliamentary vote 60 to 46. The election has been widely criticized because thousands of voters were excluded and there were blazing abuses of the electoral process.
US Senate confirms Christopher Wray as FBI Director
The US Senate has confirmed the appointment of Christopher Wray as the Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Wray was elected to the post by winning 92-5 votes of the Senate. With this, Wray succeeds James Comey, who was unexpectedly fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017 in the midst of the investigation into Russian meddling in US Presidential Elections 2016. Since then, Andrew McCabe has been serving as acting FBI director. Wray, a former high-ranking official in President George W Bush’s Justice Department who oversaw investigations into corporate fraud, takes over the FBI at such a challenging tme when Trump expelled Comey, who was admired within FBI.
Sanjaya Baru appointed as Secretary General of FICCI
Sanjaya Baru was on appointed as the Secretary General of the Freedom of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with effect from 1 September 2017. He succeeds A Didar Singh, who served as Secretary General for 5 years. However, Didar Singh will continue to serve as a strategic advisor to Pankaj Patel, President of the FICCI. Baru had earlier served as the media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from May 2004 until August 2008.
Lt Gen Abhay Krishna appointed as Chief of Eastern Command
Lt General Abhay Krishna, who owns extensive service experience of the Northeast India was appointed as the Chief of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command. Krishna succeeds Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi who has retired from service. The appointment of Krishna comes at a time when India is facing a stand-off with Chinese troops along the Sikkim sector. Krishna was currently serving as the Head of the Army’s Jaipur-based Southwestern Command.
Cisco appoints Sameer Garde as India and SAARC President
Networking giant Cisco has appointed former Philips Healthcare executive, Sameer Garde as its India head effective August 1, following the exit of Dinesh Malkani, who was President Cisco India and SAARC. Malkani will remain associated with Cisco as strategic advisor till the end of September.
Sri Lankan Selection Committee headed by Sanath Jayasuriya Resigns
The Sanath Jayasuriya-led Sri Lankan cricket selection panel has stepped down in the wake of the country’s horrible performance against India. Sri Lanka suffered 3-0 defeat in the Test series and have already lost the five-match ODI series against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team. Sri Lanka Cricket vice-president Mohan de Silva has confirmed that Sanath Jayasuriya’s panel has indeed stepped down.
Qualcomm President quits amid legal battle with Apple
Qualcomm President Derek Aberle, who was closely fighting a legal battle with Apple, has quit after a successful 17-year career. According to a Qualcomm statement, Aberle has decided to quit after he helped drive the company’s overall global strategy and vision as member of the company’s Executive Committee. Aberle will stay till December 31 for a smooth transition Over the past 30 years, Qualcomm has invented the core technologies that have enabled te mobile revolution and made all modern smartphones possible. Executive Vice President Alex Rogers would now reprt directly to Qualcomm CEO Mollenkopf.
England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney retires
Wayne Rooney, hailed from England retired from international football to prioritize ending his career on a high with boyhood club Everton. The 31-year-old was England captain and is the all-time record goalscorer. Rooney’s England career spanned 14 years.
Ashok Mittal resigns as Railway Board Chairman, Ashwani Lohanin is new Chairman
Ashok Mittal, Chairman of the Railway Board submitted his resignation to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. His resignation comes in the wake of a number of a high-profile accidents and derailments on the Indian Railways. Two Indian Rails namely Kaifyat Express and Utkal Express derailed, recently. Ashwani Lohani, the CMD of Air India has been named as the new Chairman of Railway Board. Ashwani Lohani, an IRSME cadre has previously served as DRM, Delhi Division. Mr. Lohani holds four engineering degrees, has authored two books and is credited with the turnaround of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and the India Tourism Development Corporation.
Vishal Sikka resigns as Infosys CEO, Pravin Rao appointed interim chief
Vishal Sikka has resigned as Managing Director and CEO of Infosys. The board has accepted his resignation with immediate effect. Infosys in a notice stock exchanges said Sikka will remain with Infosys as executive vice-chairman. The position is a newly created position at Infosys. Infosys, second largest software exporter of India, has appointed chief operating officer UB Pravin Rao as interim managing director and CEO.
Lalit Modi quits Rajasthan cricket body
Lalit Modi has resigned as president of the Nagaur District Association, marking an end to his presence in the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), which was banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for allowing him in its fold. The 50-year-old, who left India after being charged with money laundering, sent his resignation to both the RCA as well as BCCI CEO Rahul Johri. He requested the BCCI to release the funds meant for the RCA after his resignation.
Legendary sprinter Usain Bolt retires
Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter of modern times, retired from the Athletics world. But the farewell ended in pain as he injured himself while running the last lap of the men’s 4x100m relay race at the World Athletics Championships in London. While running the final race of his career, the 30-year-old Bolt, after taking the baton from his Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake, suffered cramps on his left hamstring as he tried, in vain, to chase down his rivals in the race. Since 2008, when Bolt set his first world record, he had not lost a championship race and collected 19 gold medals in 100, 200 and 4×100 meters. The only time, he did not win the gold was in 100 meters at the 2011 world championships, when he was disqualified for a false start and the 2008 Olympic 4×100, a gold won by Jamaica that was subsequently stripped because a teammate tested positive for banned substances.
NITI Aayog Vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya quits
Arvind Panagariya, the first vice-chairman of Niti Aayog who was considered to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal pick for economic reforms, announced his resignation. The 62-year-old Panagariya is an Indian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. Panagariya is known for his market-friendly views and is a close associate of well-known trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati. Panagariya has earlier been the chief economist of the Asian Development Bank and a professor of Economics and co-director at the Centre for International Economics, University of Maryland, at College Park. Mr Panagariya was appointed to the post in January 2015.
Olympian Footballer Ahmed Khan passes away
India’s two-time Olympic footballer and East Bengal legend Ahmed Khan passed away at the age of 90. Khan, who played in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, was one of the most famous of the legendary quintet of forwards called the “Five Pandavas” who played for East Bengal in an India that had just become an independent nation.
India’s Oldest Cinematographer Ramananda Sengupta Passes Away
Country’s oldest cinematographer Ramanda Sengupta, who worked with legends like Jean Renoir, Ritwik Ghatak, and Mrinal Sen, died in Kolkata, West Bengal. Sengupta was 101 years old. He got his first break in 1938 when he joined Film Corporation of India in Kolkata (then Calcutta) as an assistant cameraman. His first film as a full-time cinematographer was in Purbaraag directed by Ardhendu Mukherjee in 1946.
Tony de Brum passed away
Tony de Brum, the former Marshall Islands foreign minister who became a leading advocate for the landmark Paris Climate Agreement and an internationally recognised voice in the fight against climate change, has died aged 72. De Brum was also the Pacific nation’s climate ambassador.
Former Manipur CM Rishang Keishing passes away
Former Manipur Chief Minister and Veteran Congress leader Rishang Keishing passed away in Imphal following a brief illness. He was 96. He was freedom fighter and member of India’s first parliament (1952-57). He had served as the Chief Minister of Manipur for four terms from 1980 to 1988 and 1994 to 1997.
Brian Aldiss, British Science Fiction Writer passes away
Brian Aldiss, one of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, has died aged 92. Born in 1925, Aldiss served in India and Burma with the British Army during World War II and later became a bookseller, publishing his first stories in a trade magazine. He went on to have a huge influence on sci-fi, as a writer of stories and novels and as editor of many anthologies.
Comedy Legend Jerry Lewis Dies
Veteran American entertainer Jerry Lewis died aged 91. One of the most popular comic actors of the 1950s and ’60s, Lewis perfected the role of the quirky clown in slapstick comedies like “The Nutty Professor” but also won acclaim as a writer, actor, and philanthropist. Honoured with accolades at home and abroad, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.
Veteran Photographer S Paul passed away
Veteran Photographer S Paul passed away in New Delhi. He was 88. Paul was a self-taught photographer who discovered his passion for the art as a teenager. He joined The Indian Express in the 1960s and retired in 1999. He was the first Indian to win the Nikon International Photo Contest in 1971. Famous B&W Magazine of US had described him as ‘The Henry Cartier-Bresson of India’.
Poet, writer Vijay Nambisan passes away at 54
Noted Poet and writer Vijay Nambisan, who became the first All India Poetry Champion in 1988, passed away. He co-authored Gemini, a poetry book, with Jeet Thayil and Dom Moraes. He championed the ethical use of language and made an appeal to readers, writers and enthusiasts of literature in his book ‘Language as an Ethic’. He was 54 years old.
Ruth Pfau, Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ dies aged 87
Ruth Pfau, a German nun who devoted her life to combatting leprosy in Pakistan, has died at the age of 87. Pfau, who was known locally as Pakistan’s Mother Teresa, came to the southern port city of Karachi in 1960 and spent half a century taking care of some of the country’s sickest and poorest people. Dr. Pfau first visited Pakistan in 1960 and was so touched by the plight of leprosy victims that she decided to stay forever in the country to treat them. The nun founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi in 1962 and later set up its branches in all provinces of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan, and treated over 50,000 families. Due to her tireless efforts, the World Health Organisation in 1996 declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to be free of leprosy. She was born in 1929 in Germany and lived through the horrors of the World War II.
World’s oldest man, Holocaust survivor, dies aged 113
Israeli Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man, died aged 113. Kristal, originally from Zarnow, Poland, was born on September 15, 1903, three months before the Wright brothers’ first successful powered airplane flight. Guinness World Records recognised him as the world’s oldest man in March 2016.
Bollywood Actor Sitaram Panchal passes away
Bollywood actor Sitaram Panchal passed away after almost a year-long battle with kidney and lung cancer. He was 54. Sitaram Panchal, who made his Bollywood debut in 1994 with Bandit Queen, was best known for his work in films like Peepli Live, Pan Singh Tomar, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Slumdog Millionaire.
Santosh Mohan Dev, former Union minister, dies at 83
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Santosh Mohan Dev has passed away in Silchar, Assam. He was the son of freedom fighter Satindra Mohan Dev. Santosh served as the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises under the UPA-1 government led by Manmohan Singh. He was the Minister of State for Communications from 1986-1988 and Minister of State for Home from 1988 to 1989. The seven-time Congress MP is survived by his wife and four daughters, including Sushmita. Dev was first elected to the Parliament in 1980. Out of the seven term as the Lok Sabha MP, he represented Silchar, Assam, five times and twice from Tripura.
Renowned scientist Pushpa Mitra Bhargava passes away
Pushpa Mitra (PM) Bhargava, a veteran molecular biologist and a ardent critic of Genetically Modified crops, passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 89. Bhargava was the Founder-Director of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). He was one of the leading scientists who led to the discovery of 5-fluorouracil, an anticancer drug. He is a recipient of over 100 national and international honours and awards, including the Padma Bhushan in 1986 and the Legion d’Honneur in 1998 of France.
Marian Diamond, known for studies of Einstein’s brain, passes away
Marian Diamond, one of the founders of modern neuroscience, passed away in July 2017. She was 90. Diamond is mostly known for her investigations of Albert Einstein’s brain. After receiving four preserved slices of the physicist’s brain in 1984, she discovered that it contained an uncommonly high number of gila, cells that were once believed to merely be supporting structures in the brain. She was the first woman science instructor at Cornell University where she taught human biology and comparative anatomy.
Dhrupad maestro Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar passes away
Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, a classical vocalist and one of the leading exponents of Dhupad tradition, passed away following a brief illness in Pune. He was 78 and is survived by his wife and two sons. Known to his admires as Sayeed Bhai, Sayeeduddin belongs to Dagar family of musicians that is the only one to practice Dhrupad, a form of Hindustani classical vocal music. He is the 19th generation of the family practising this form of music. With his demice, Sayeeduddin’s sons Nafeesuddin and Aneesuddin Dagar will now be the 20th generation of the family to practice Dhrupad.
Nepalese PM Deuba to Begin Four-Day Visit to India
In his first foreign visit after assuming office, Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will arrive on a four-day trip. During the visit, he will hold wide-ranging talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on issues of mutual interest. Deuba will be accompanied by a high-level delegation and will also call on the President and the Vice-President.
Nitasha Biswas, The Winner of Miss Transqueen India 2017
Nitasha, a trans woman who hails from Kolkata, was named the first Miss Transqueen India in Gurgaon. Nitasha, 26, is currently pursuing Masters in Business Management in Kolkata. Loiloi from Manipur bagged the first runner-up position and Ragasya from Chennai was crowned the second runner-up.
Ronaldo First to be named Men’s Player of the Year for three times
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Men’s Player of the Year award for the 2016-17 season. Ronaldo picked up the trophy for the second consecutive season and third time in total. Ronaldo received 482 points in the poll, with Messi (141 votes) and Buffon (109 votes) finishing second and third respectively.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma is Asia’s Richest Man: Forbes
Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma is back on top as Asia’s richest man following gains in the company’s earnings and share price. Jack Ma is worth $37.4 billion, according to the Forbes real-time billionaires list. In the latest rankings, Chinese Internet billionaire- Tencent Chairman Ma Huateng, the latter has slipped to No. 2, with a fortune worth $36.7 billion. Jack Ma currently ranks as the world’s No. 18 richest man and is No. 1 in Asia. Ma Huateng is No. 19 in the world and is No. 2 in Asia.
World’s Highest-Paid Actors 2017: Forbes List
The former rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg is Hollywood’s highest-paid leading man, earning $68 million pretax in 12 month scoring period. From India, Shahrukh Khan is the highest paid actor (Rank 8) followed by Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar. Wahlberg has replaced out last year’s top-ranked star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The Top 10 Highest Paid Actors in the List are:
1. Mark Wahlberg ($68 million)
2. Dwayne “”The Rock”” Johnson ($65 million)
3. Vin Diesel ($54.5 million)
4. Adam Sandler ($50.5 million)
5. Jackie Chan ($49 million)
6. Robert Downey, Jr. ($48 million)
7. Tom Cruise ($43 million)
8. Shah Rukh Khan ($38 million)
9. Salman Khan ($37 million)
10. Akshay Kumar ($35.5 million).
Serena Williams Heads The Highest-Paid Female Athletes 2017
Forbes recently released its list of the highest-paid female athletes, and to no-one’s surprise, Serena Williams is right at the top and leads by a significant margin. Between June 2016 and June 2017, Williams earned $27 million (R361,19 million), Forbes reports. This is more than double any other female athlete in the world this year. While she’s earned a lot from prize money, much of Williams’ revenue comes from her multitude of endorsements. This is Williams’ second straight year as the highest-earning athlete. Before last year, Maria Sharapova held the spot for 11 years straight.
12-yr-old Indian-origin boy crowned as UK’s ‘child genius’
A 12-year-old Indian-origin boy has been crowned as the UK’s ‘Child Genius’ in a popular television quiz competition, days after he became an overnight sensation after answering all questions correctly. Rahul Doshi won the Channel 4 show ‘Child Genius’ by beating his nine-year-old opponent – Ronan – 10-4 in the programme’s finale. The schoolboy from north London clinched the title by answering a question on 19th Century artists William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.
5 Indian-Origin Persons in Fortune’s Annual ’40 Under 40′ List
Five Indian-origin persons, including Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, have featured in Fortune’s annual list of 40 young and influential people in the field of business. Fortune’s 2017 ‘40 Under 40’ list is an annual ranking of the most influential young people who are under 40 in business. The list has been topped by 39-year-old French President Emmanuel Macron “France’s youngest leader since Napoleon”. The Indian-origin persons on the list are 26-year-old Divya Nag, who oversees Apple’s ambitious ResearchKit and CareKit programmes, Rishi Shah, 31, and Shradha Agarwal, 32, 31-year-old Leila Janah. The list also includes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the second spot.
Emma Stone named as 2017’s Highest-Paid Female Actor
Emma Stone has been named Hollywood’s best-paid female actor in Forbes annual list of top earners. The 28-year-old made $26m in the last 12 months, the majority of which was earned from her Oscar-winning performance in the musical romance La La Land. The film made over $445m worldwide.
Norway has the fastest mobile internet in the world
Norway has the fastest mobile Internet in the world, according to broadband testing app Ookla. The Netherlands and Hungary are ranked number two and three on the list of the world’s fastest mobile networks. In only 13 months, Norway has jumped from 11th to first place on the list of world best providers of fast Internet connection. The average Internet speed of Norwegians’ mobile phones has increased by 69% during the last year and has a speed of 52.6 Mbps.
Australia to get World’s Biggest Single Tower Solar Thermal Plant
Australian state government has approved the world’s biggest single tower solar thermal power plant, a 150-megawatt structure to be built in South Australia by 2020. Solar thermal technology uses mirrors to concentrate the Sun’s light at the top of a tower. This heats the stored molten salt and the heat is then used to operate steam turbines. The Aurora Solar Energy Project will be built and managed by SolarReserve company.
Melbourne named ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ for seventh-straight year
Melbourne (in Australia) has been named the World’s Most Liveable City for an incredible seventh-straight year. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Index 2017 ranks 140 of the world’s best cities and once again, Melbourne has come out on top – securing perfect scores for healthcare, education and infrastructure. Melbourne scored an overall rating of 97.5 out of 100 on the liveability index. Damascus in Syria was deemed the world’s worst among the 140 cities surveyed. It is the first time in the survey’s 15-year history that a city has held the No 1 rank in its own right for seven consecutive years. The Canadian cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary took the next positions, with Adelaide in a tie with Calgary for fifth place.
10 year old Indian Youngest to climb 6,153m Mountain
A 10-year-old mountaineer from Visakhapatnam, Kaamya Karthikeyan, successfully summited one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, making her one of the youngest people in the world to achieve this feat. Kaamya completed the expedition three days before she turned 10, on August 7, thereby conquering Mount Stok Kangri. At a height of 6,153 metres (20,187 ft), Stok Kangri is not recommended for beginners and is considered ideal for advanced trekkers.
HUL, Asian Paints in Forbes’ top 10 Innovative Firms List
Three major Indian companies including Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints and Bharti Airtel have been ranked among Forbes’s list of ‘The World’s Most Innovative Companies’. This is a weaker performance compared to last year, when five Indian firms were a part of the list. After two consecutive years in second place, Salesforce finally overtook Tesla Motors (No. 2), regaining the top spot as the world’s most innovative company – a title Salesforce had held from the list’s inception in 2011 to 2015. Amazon vaulted eight spots, emerging as No. 3 this year after 20 years in the public markets. Rounding out the top 5 are Shanghai Raas Blood Products (No. 4) and Netflix (No. 5). While HUL and Asian Paints have moved up in their ranks to seventh and eighth respectively (from 31st and 18th last year), Bharti Airtel has entered the ranking at 78th position.
Aishwarya becomes first woman to raise Indian flag at IFFM 2017
Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has become the first female actor ever to hoist the Indian National Flag at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), Australia’s annual celebration of film from India and the subcontinent. The official handle of IFFM posted a picture on Twitter with a caption that read, “Aishwarya Rai Bachchan hoists the Indian national flag at @FedSquare celebrating the 70th yr of Indian independence”.
Flipkart is the world’s 3rd most funded private company
With the $2.4 billion it just received from Japanese technology and telecom giant SoftBank, Flipkart has become the third most funded private company globally. The homegrown e-commerce company has to date raised almost $7 billion in capital, higher than that raised by global behemoths like online house rental aggregator Airbnb ($3.3 billion) and mobile phone maker Xiaomi ($1.4 billion). The top two are both ride hailing platforms – Chinabased Didi Chuxing and USbased Uber. In April, Didi Chuxing raised $5 billion and increased its total fund raise to $15 billion, overtaking Uber that has raised $12.9 billion. In the top 10, four are ride-hailing platforms, the other two being Silicon Valley-based Lyft and India’s Ola. Flipkart is the only e-commerce company in the top 10. The Flipkart funding reaffirms the faith of global players like SoftBank, Tiger Global, eBay, and Microsoft in Indian companies.
JK Rowling named World’s Highest Paid Author by Forbes
Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has been named the world’s most highly-paid author with earnings of £72.2m ($95m). It is the first time that Rowling has topped Forbes’ list of the 10 highest earners in the global industry for the first time in almost 10 years. Other authors included in the list were Paula Hawkins and EL James.
Neymar becomes world’s most expensive footballer at Rs 1,680 crore
Brazil’s Neymar has become the world’s most expensive footballer, with Paris Saint-Germain signing him for a five-year deal from Barcelona for a fee of Rs1,680 crore (€222 million). The 25-year-old, who scored 105 goals in 186 Barcelona appearances, will earn Rs6.5 crore-a-week before tax. His transfer fee is more than double that of Paul Pogba’s record move to Manchester United.
Mukesh Ambani Becomes Asia’s Second-Richest Person
Mukesh Ambani has elbowed past Li Ka-shing to become Asia’s second-richest man as investors rallied behind his efforts to arm India’s poor with cheap data-loaded phones. The chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has added $12.1 billion to his wealth in 2017, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He passed Li Ka-shing, whose empire spans telecommunications, retail, and ports. Jio took just nine months after launching with a free introductory offer to rope in 117.3 million users and become India’s fourth-largest operator, according to government data.
PLACES IN NEWS
Island of Tuvalu World’s Least Visited Country: UN Report
According to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the island of Tuvalu was the least visited country in 2016. According to the report, 2,000 people visited Tuvalu in 2016, while 1,000 people visited the country in 2014. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu is 4.6 meters above sea level and has a population of 11,000 people.
Arabian cap-shaped World Cup stadium to be built in Qatar for FIFA 2022
The organisers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup announced that Qatar, the host nation, would be building a stadium shaped like an Arabian skull cap for the event. The gulf state has moved ahead with its preparations for the big tournament despite rising tensions due to a diplomatic rift with its Arab neighbours. Four Gulf States including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates boycotted Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting and sponsoring terrorism-a charge that Qatar has denied. The states not only cut off all links with the country but also imposed economic sanctions on it. Despite the boycott, Qatar has got food flown in from Turkey and Iran and chartered ships through Oman to bring in construction material needed for World Cup building projects.
UNESCO worried about Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The UNESCO has cautioned that the damage caused to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)in the northern part of West Bengal due to the Gorkhaland agitation may put in peril the World Heritage tag it earned in 1999. Two prime stations Gayabari and Sonada were torched while an arson attempt was made on Elysia Building – the headquarters of the DHR during the pro-Gorkhaland bandh.
World’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge opens in Swiss
Spanning an awesome 1621 feet and rising as high as 279 feet, the newly opened Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland has broken the record for the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, according to Zermatt Tourism. The bridge, which has replaced an older bridge that was damaged by falling rocks, was named after its chief sponsor, a psychologist and co-owner of a Swiss winery. The span is impossibly narrow, at just 25.6 inches wide. Hikers can now cross the Europaweg (Europe Bridge) which connects Grächen and Zermatt and measures nearly 500m.
BOOKS IN NEWS
Raghuram Rajan Pens Book ‘I Do What I Do’ on his RBI Stint
Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has penned a book titled ‘I Do What I Do: On Reform, Rhetoric & Resolve’. Raghuram Rajan explains economic concepts and talks of issues like tolerance and connection between political freedom and prosperity in his new book. The book is a collection of essays and speeches during his stint as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor. The book will hit stores on 4 September, exactly a year after he quit as the RBI governor.
N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Obelisk Gate’ wins Best Novel 2017
The Hugo Award for Best Novel 2017 was given to Nora K. Jemisin, an American speculative fiction writer for her work ‘The Obelisk Gate’. The award was presented at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki. The awarded book was the second in the trilogy that started with ‘The Fifth Season’, which was New York Times Notable Book of 2015 and won Jemisin the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016. The fantasy novel tells a story about the life on a planet where the inhabitants would undergo a “Fifth Season” of catastrophic climate change every a few centuries.
Govt constitutes task force on artificial intelligence
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has constituted a Task Force on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for India’s Economic Transformation. The 18-member panel will be headed by Dr. V. Kamakoti of IIT Madras. It will comprise of experts, academics, researchers and industry leaders. The Task force will explore the possibilities to leverage AI for development across various fields. It will submit concrete and implementable recommendations for government, industry and research institutions.
RBI appoints Committee to link Home Loan Rates to Repo Rate
Reserve Bank of India appointed committee on Household Finance has suggested that banks link their home loan rates to the RBI’s repo rate, the rate at which it lends to banks. In the past three years the central bank has reduced the policy rate by 200 basis points, but the weighted average lending rates have fallen by 145 basis points. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
Olympic Task Force recommends steps to improve sports in India
The eight-member Olympic Task Force (OTF) that submitted its report in the second week of August 2017 has emphasised the need to be “athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven”. They submitted an extensive report titled as “Preparation of 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games” to the Sports Secretary, Injeti Srinivas. The report focuses on three fold formula of being athlete-centric, coach-led and system-driven.
AIFF Special Committee names Banerjee as Chairman
The AIFF has appointed senior advocate Ushanath Banerjee as the chairman of a special committee that will be dealing with players’ transfer disputes. The Committee entrusted the Chairman to make a detailed and reasoned paper based on the review of the rules and regulations as mentioned above for consideration of the members for a decision thereafter.
Justice Srikrishna to head expert group on Data Protection Framework
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has appointed an expert panel committee that would study various issues relating to data protection in the country and will suggest a draft data protection Bill. It is a 10 member panel and it is headed by former Supreme court Judge Justice B N Srikrishna. The committee will design a broader framework which will cover all other kinds of data and ensure that the deliberations on the issue start as soon as possible. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom, Ajay Bhushan CEO, Unique Identification Authority of India, Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator and Arghya Sengupta, Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy are other members of the committee.
SEBI forms committee on fair market conduct
Regulator SEBI has set up a committee on ‘fair market conduct’ which will suggest measures for improving surveillance of the markets and strengthen rules for trades. The panel, under the chairmanship of former law secretary T K Viswanathan, would suggest measures for improvement in PIT (Prohibition of Insider Trading) norms, PFTUP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) regulations and mainly related to ‘trading plans’ and handling of ‘unpublished price sensitive information’ during takeovers. It would be responsible for recommending steps to align insider trading regulations with Companies Act provisions.
IMPORTANT DAYS & DATES
30 August: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances
The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances was observed across the world on 30 August 2017. The day was first observed in 2011 after a declaration by the United Nations General Assembly. The declaration followed the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Diappearance by the assembly on 20 December 2006.
International Day against Nuclear Tests: 29 August
The United Nations (UN) every year on 29 August observes the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The Day was adopted at the 64th session of UN General Assembly (UNGA) vide resolution 64/ 35 in the year 2009. The resolution was adopted with an aim to increase awareness and education about the effects of nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation so as to acheive the goal of “Safer world”.
National Sports Day: 29 August
The National Sports day is celebrated on 29th August every year to mark the birthday of legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand. To celebrate the day various programs are being conducted through the country. On this occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind will give away the sports Awards. A total of 29 players have been selected to receive the honours from President. The President will confer Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.
23 August: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was observed across the world on 23 August 2017. The Day marks the anniversary of the 1791 insurrection of enslaved men and women in the western part of the island of Santo Domingo, which is known as Haiti. This Haitian Revolution led to their freedom and independence in 1804. This uprising was a turning point in human history.
August 20: Sadbhavana Diwas
The Sadbhavana Diwas or Harmony Day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary (August 20) of Rajiv Gandhi. On this day national integration, peace, love, affection and communal harmony among all Indians is encouraged. Shri Rajiv Gandhi was born on August 20, 1944, in Bombay. At 40, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest Prime Minister of India.
19 August: World Humanitarian Day
World Humanitarian Day (WHD) was observed across the globe on 19 August 2017 wit the theme #NotATarget. The day is commemorated every year to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service and also to rally support for people affected by crisis around the world. This campaign follows a report by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which called for the protection of civilians. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, Guterres appealed for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers as well as civilian infrastructure.
International Youth Day observed globally
The international Youth Day was observed across the world on 12 August 2017 with the theme ‘Youth Building Peace’. This year, the Day is aimed at celebrating young people’s contributions in preventing conflicts and bringing about transformations along with inclusion, social justice and sustainable peace. The international Youth Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 17 December 1999 through its resolution 54/120.
Second National Deworming Day to cover 11 cr children
The second round of National Deworming Day (NDD) is observed on 10 August in 33 States and Union Territories to tackle worm Infections, targeting more than 11 crore children. August 10, is the second round of National Deworming Day, held twice a year. The NDD program was launched in 2015. Under the NDD programme, children aged between 1-19 are provided deworming tablets in schools and anganwadis across the country, except in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where deworming is carried out once a year.
9th August: Nagasaki Day
The atomic age began with the US dropping the first atomic bomb dubbed “Little Boy” on August 6, 1945, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, after its July 16 pre-dawn birth in successful testing at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, the second bomb – “Fat Man” – was dropped on Nagasaki, incinerating the city and its unexpecting inhabitants. Their combined devastation was unimaginable.
7 August: National Handloom Day
The National Handloom Day is being observed every year on 7 August to honour the handloom weavers in the country and also carter an impetus to India’s handloom industry. This year it was third edition of the National Handloom Day after it was instiuted in 2015. The Union government had declared 7 August as the National Handloom Day in July 2015 with the objective to generate awareness about imprtance of India’s handloom industry. The date August 7 was chosen to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this date in 1905 in the Calcutta Town hall to protest against partition of Bengal by the British Government.
World breastfeeding week (August 1 to 7, 2017)
World breastfeeding week 2017 is being celebrated from 1st to 7th August 2017 with the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together”. It was first celebrated in 1992 by World Alliance for Breastfeeding World Breastfeeding WeekAction (WABA) and is now observed in over 120 countries by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners including individuals, organizations, and governments.