Current Affairs July 2016

INTERNATIONAL

China has no historic rights over South China Sea Hague Tribunal

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Hague, the Netherlands has rejected China’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of South China Sea. Ruling in this regard was given by a five-member tribunal appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague in a case brought by the Philippines. The ruling came from an arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which both China and Philippines have signed. India supports freedom of navigation and flight and unimpeded commerce based on the principals of international law in South China Sea.

Peru declares Zika emergency across northern half of the country

Peru has declared Zika outbreak as a health emergency across the northern half of the country after 102 people were infected with thevirus. The 90-day health emergency was declared to prevent the spread of the disease. So far 34 cases of disease (principally transmit-ted by mosquitos) were detected in pregnant women. A major Zika outbreak in Peru’s neighbouring country Brazil has caused nearly 1,600 birht of babies with the birth defect due to microcephaly i.e. abnormally small heads and brains. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which also also transmit 3 other vector-borne diseases Chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever.

Sweden Inaugurates World’s First Electric Road

Sweden on 22 June inaugurated a test stretch of an electric road. With this, the country has become one of the first countries in the world to conduct tests with electric power for heavy transports on public roads.The test was conducted on parts of road E16. It involved a current collector on the roof of the truck cab feeding the current down to a hybrid electric motor in the truck.

Britain votes to exit European Union in historic Referendum

People of United Kingdom (UK) in a historic Brexit referendum have voted in favour of leaving European Union (EU). In the Brexit referendum, the ‘Leave’ side won decisively by securing 51.9% of the total votes over-turning ‘Remain’ side which secured 48.1% votes. This is the second referendum on UK’s relationship with the EU. In 1975, in a referendum on whether the UK should stay or leave the EU, the country voted for staying with 67.2% votes. After results were declared UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the architect of the referendum and a passionate supporter of UK within the EU, announced stepping down as Prime Minister in October 2016.

Theresa May appointed Prime Minister of United Kingdom

With this appointment, she became the second women to assume the office of Prime Minister of the UK. The first women prime minister was Margaret Thatcher who was in the office of PM from 1979 to 1990.

She succeeded David Cameron who resigned from the post on the same day following Brexit vote. Cameron tendered his resignation to the Queen. Britons on 22 June 2016 voted to exit the European Union.

Colombia , FARC Rebels Signed Historic Ceasefire Agreement

The Colombian government and the leftist FARC (RevolutionaryArmed Forces of Colombia) rebels have signed a historic ceasefire and disarmament agreement on 23 June 2016. It was signed in presence of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon at a ceremony held in Havana, Cuba. The ceasefire and disarmament agreement is considered as one of the last steps toward ending a half-century conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in Colombia. The deal puts a definitive end to fighting in Latin America’s longest civil war, which has torn Colombia apart with shootings and bombardments in its coca-rich jungles and hills. The ceasefire and disarmament agreement establishes a bilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities and the definitive laying down of arms. Under the agreement, the FARC rebels must hand over its weapons to United Nations monitors within six months.

INDIA & WORLD

WHO declares India as Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified India as Yaws, Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus free coun-try. In this regard, WHO presented certificates to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda in New Delhi. India was declared Neonatal and Maternal Teta-nus free country in August 2015. Previously in May 2016, WHO certified India yaws-free after a team of experts verified interruption of disease transmission in the coun-try. India is the first country under the 2012 WHO ne-glected tropical diseases (NTD) roadmap to eliminate yaws. “Yaws is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the skin, cartilages and bones. It is caused by the spiro-chete bacterium Treponema pallidum pertenue”.

India ranked 105th on WEF’s Human Capital Index

India has been ranked 105th position out of 130 countries globally on the 2016 Human Capital Index (HCI), which was recently released in the World Eco-nomic Forum (WEF) report. The report was released by Geneva-WEF in the Chinese city of Tianjin at its Annual Meeting of New Champions which is also known as `Summer Davos’ summit. The Human Capital Index measures countries’ ability to nurture, develop and de-ploy talent for economic growth. The WEF report of HCI presents an analysis by focusing on a number of key issues that can support better design of education policy and future workforce planning.

India Becomes 35th Member of MTCR

India on 27 June became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). It would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives.In this regard, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the instrument of accession to MTCR in New Delhi. It marks India’s first entry into any multilateral export control regime. India’s accession to the regime was conveyed by the MTCR Point of Contact in Paris through the French Embassy in New Delhi as well as Embassies of The Netherlands and Lux-embourg. India was able to successfully enter this multi-lateral export control regime with the unopposed support of all 34 MTCR Partners. Earlier in 2015, India’s bid for the membership to the group had failed after it was blocked by Italy.

India and Tanzania signed five agreements

“India and Tanzania signed five agreements including water resources management and establishment of vo-cational training centre at Zanzibar during meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzanian President, John Pombe Joseph Magufuli in Dar Es Salaam on 10thJuly. Indian investment in Tanzania stands at around 3 billion dollars. Both countries have agreed to expand the ties further. Both countries agreed to expand ties in the field of agriculture and food security through enhanced export and production of pulses.““India and Tanzania also agreed to work together in developing and use of natural gas, building industrial capacity and enhance industry to industry ties.“”

World must focus on poorest children UNICEF

The world must focus more on helping the poorest children to build on progress achieved in health and education over the past 25 years, UNICEF said on 28th June. “In its annual State of the World’s Children” report, the UN children’s agency took stock of important gains such as a 53 percent drop in infant mortality since 1990 and a dramatic reduction in extreme poverty. But without a sharper focus on the most vulnerable, it warned, 69 million children under five will die from preventable causes and 167 million will suffer poverty over the next 15 years. Without a shift, some 750 million women and girls will have been married as children by 2030, the deadline set by the United Nations to achieve its new global goals for sustainable development.

NATIONAL

Indian Railways to install TRI-NETRA to reduce train accidents

The Indian Railways has launched the Terrain Imaging for Diesel Drivers- Infrared Enhanced Optical and Radar Assisted (Tri-NETRA) system to avoid train accidents. The system will be installed on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather. The device uses infrared and radar technology to collect signals up to a distance of 2-3 km and displays the information (composite video image) on a screen fitted inside the locomotive. The Tri-Netra will alert the drivers of any physical obstruction on railway tracks ahead and thus give ample time for the driver to apply the brakes to prevent train accidents. It is made of high sensitivity infrared video camera, high-resolution optical video camera and a radar based terrain mapping system. These three components shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.

Nalanda University enters UNESCO’s World Heritage List

“The archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) in Bihar has been included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which also featured three new sites from China, Iran and Micronesia. The inclusion of the four new sites was announced at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul in Turkey. Nalanda stands out as one of the most ancient universities in South Asia““The site includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal. The University engaged in the organised transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years.

Union Cabinet Reshuffle 2016

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expanded his Union Council of Ministers with 19 new Ministers of State. President Pranab Mukherjee administered oath to these new ministers, and elevated MoS Prakash Javadekar to a Cabinet rank. The new faces in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers come mainly from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharash-tra.“Here are the names of those inducted: SS Ahluwalia, Ramesh Chandappa Jigjinagi, Parshottam Rupala, MJ Akbar, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Anil Madhav Dave, Vijay Goel, Rajen Gohain, Mahendra Nath Pandey, CR Chaudhary, PP Chaudhary, Ramdas Athawale, Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Jasvant Sinh Bhabhor, Mansukh Mandaviya, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ajay Tamta, Anupriya Singh Patel, and Krishna Raj.“Anupriya Patel, the Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, is the daughter of party founder Sone Lal Patel, she has been veering the Uttar Pradesh party towards the BJP in the run up to the elections. There is widespread speculation that the party will merge with the BJP before the elections”. The portfolios for the newly inducted ministers will be made known by the Union government later this evening. Earlier in the day, five ministers tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are Nihalchand, Ram Shankar Katheria, Sanwar Lal Jat, Manuskhbhai D Vasva and M K Kundariya.

Centre launches India’s first pilot programme to run two wheelers on CNG

Union Government has launched a pilot programme to run two wheelers on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in New Delhi to curb air pollution in cities. The project was jointly launched by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar at the CGO Complex CNG station. The first-of-its-kind pilot programme in India to run two-wheelers on CNG has been launched by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL). It is being implemented by IGL under its “Hawa Badlo” movement along with GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited). These CNG two-wheelers are substantially economical as compared to similar variant of petrol vehicles.

231 Projects Under Namami Gange Launched

“Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on 7 July inaugurated 231 projects under the Namami Gange Programme.The projects were inaugurated from Haridwar, Uttarakhand in various locations in different states namely Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi. These projects involve modernization and redevelopment of Ghats and crematoriums, development of sewage infra-structure and treatment, afforestation, tree plantation, pilot drain project, interceptor drain project, trash skim-mers and conservation of biodiversity. 47 such projects were inaugurated at various locations in Dehradun, Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Chamoli districts of Uttrakhand. 20 projects will be inau-gurated at various locations in North 24 pargana, Nadia, South 24 pargana and Howrah districts of West Bengal. 26 projects were inaugurated at various locations in Buxar, Vaishali, Saran, Patna and Bhagalpur districts of Bihar. 112 projects under Namami Gange programme were in-augurated at various locations in Amroha, Bijnor, Hapur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Mathura, Allahabad, Varanasi, Farukhabad and Kanpur districts.

The Rajya Sabha on 28 July 2016 unanimously passed the Compensatory and Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill

lThe Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.These Funds will receive payments for: (a) compensatory afforestation, (b) net present value of forest (NPV), and (c) other project specific payments. The National Fund will receive 10 percent of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90 percent.These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.

Lok Sabha passes Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 13, 2015. The Bill seeks to amend the Benami Transactions Act, 1988. The Act prohibits benami transactions and provides for confiscating benami properties.

The Bill seeks to: (i) amend the definition of benami transactions, (ii) establish adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions, and (iii) specify the penalty for entering into benami transactions.

Ban on Cash transactions above 3 lakh rupees

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has recommended ban on cash transactions of above 3 lakh rupees in a day and a separate law to declare such transactions as illegal and punishable. “1. It has also suggested upper ceiling of cash holding at 15 lakh rupees to curb illegal wealth in the economy. “2. The SIT felt that the cash transaction limit can only succeed if there is a limitation on cash holding. “3. The panel said, in case any person or industry required holding more cash, it may obtain necessary permission from the Commissioner of Income Tax of the area. “4. The SIT headed by retired Justice M B Shah, submitted its fifth report to the Supreme Court on methods to curb black money in the economy.”

STATES

India’s first e-court opened at Hyderabad High Court

India’s first e-court (paperless court) was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad which is the common high court for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It was inaugurated by Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court. Key Features The purpose of e-court is to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. The e-Courts will ensure easy and better access to justice for public. It will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country. It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective.

Madhya Pradesh becomes first state to have Happiness Department

Madhya Pradesh became the first state in India to have ‘Happiness Department’ that will work as knowledge resource centre on the subject of happiness on the lines of Bhutan. Decision to set up Happiness Department was taken by the state cabinet meeting presided by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The Happiness Department will work under a working committee headed by a chairman. The committee will evaluate the state’s gross happiness. Bhutan is the first country in the world to come up with the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). The department will prepare guidelines for coordination between different departments like women and child development, health, and sports for propagating happiness in the state.

Kerala launches world’s first online incubator for Student Startups

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has launched SV.CO, purportedly world’s first digital student incubator, as a digital makeover of the Startup Village in Kochi on July 13, 2016. SV.CO will constitute the second phase of development of Startup Village and is designed to help thousands of college-goers make an early start in entrepreneurship. Startup Village is India’s first PPP model technology incubator and has supported more than 500 start-ups and helped create 3,000 jobs during its first phase 2012-15. Startup Village will scale up by reaching out to five million students in 3,500 engineering colleges across the country.

Odisha Govt to Provide Education loan at 1% Interest

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched a new scheme Kalinga Siksha Sathi Yojana with an aim to provide education loan at 1 % interest to students for pursuing higher studies. The State government dedicated this scheme to former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik on his Birth Centenary. Under this scheme, poor students aspiring to pursue professional and technical education can now avail themselves of study loan up to 10 lakh rupees at 1% interest rate. The State Government allotted 500 crore from its own resources.

Maharashtra Government grants minority status to Jews

Maharashtra Government has accorded minority status to Jews in the state as per the provisions of the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission Act, 2004. Decision in this regard was taken at the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai. With this, Maharashtra becomes second state in the country to accord minority status to Jews after West Bengal.

CONFERENCES

Vadodara to host world power ministers at ‘Switch’ summit

The Country’s largest electrical summit “Switch” is going to be held in Vadodara during October 6-10. The Power Ministers of 30 – 35 countries are likely to join this global electric expo summit. The summit is promoted by Gujarat Government and includes top officials of power utilities from over 90 countries and buyers, sellers, consultants, re-searchers, and entrepreneurs from across the globe. SWITCH Summit is likely to see over 100,000 visitors, and over 200 buyers from Europe, 75 buyers from West Asia and over 1000 top corporate from India.

ASEM summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The eleventh edition of Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM11) or ASEM2016 began in Ulaanbaatar, the capi-
tal of Mongolia. The theme of the Summit is ‘20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity‘. World leaders including from the leaders of 51 member countries and the representatives of European Union and Asian are attending the two day summit. Indian delegation is led by Vice President Mohmmad Hamid Ansari. India’s agenda for the summit is to push the efforts to boost inter-continental connectivity. ASEM2016 is being held in the new world environment following Britain’s exit from the European Union and a global economic slowdown.

NATO Summit in Warsaw

The 2016 Warsaw Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was the 27th formal meeting of the heads of state and heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. In the two day Summit, the leaders of the 28 NATO Allies and many partner nations will deliberate and take decisions to enhance the Alliance’s security by strengthening its deterrence and defence, and projecting stability beyond its borders. On the heels of a U.S. announcement to keep 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, NATO leaders will discuss key security topics. Issues such as continuing support for Afghan forces, defeating Islamic State militants on NATO’s southern flank and deterring Russian aggression on the alliance’s eastern flank will be discussed.

SCO summit 2016 held in Tashkent of Uzbekistan

The 2016 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit started in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The 2-day meeting of heads of state of SCO is being conducted under the presidency of Uzbekistan. During the summit, the issues related to strengthen stability and security in Central Asia will be undertaken. It will also take into consideration the expansion of SCO’s contacts with other international organization and states. India and Pakistan will sign a memorandum of obligation for obtaining SCO member states status. SCO is a Eurasian economic, political and military organisation, headquartered at Beijing, China.

International conference on Yoga in New Delhi

The Vice President of India Mohd Hamid Ansari has inaugurated a two day international conference titled “Yoga for body and beyond” in New Delhi. In it, about 70 international delegates from countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Malaysia, Spain, Russia, Australia, China, Egypt, Japan, Kuwait, Korea, and Mauritius will attend the conference.

AWARDS & HONOURS

Turkish musician Kudsi Erguner named UNESCO Artist for Peace

Turkish musician Kudsi Erguner was appointed as the UNESCO Artist for Peace by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. He was appointed after the opening ceremony of the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) held in Istanbul, Turkey. He was named UNESCO Artist for Peace in recognition of his Efforts to promote the universal values of music, an essential instrument of dialogue between cultures. Contribution to the protection of musical heritage, his support for the International Decade of the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022).

Kannada movie Thithi wins Best Film Award at Shanghai International Film Festival

Kannada Movie Thithi has won two awards viz. Best Film and Best Script Writers at the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival. It has won the awards under the Asia New Talent Awards Category Thithi is a dramatic comedy film cowritten and directed by Raam Reddy. It is about how three generations of sons react to the death of the oldest man in their clan, named Century Gowda who is a locally renowned, highly cantankerous 101-year-old man.

IIT-Kanpur professor Sanjay Mittal awarded 2015 GD Birla Award

IIT-Kanpur professor Sanjay Mittal has been awarded the twenty-fifth GD Birla Award for Scientific Research for the year 2015. He has been bestowed with this award for his significant contributions have been in the area of Mechanics. Sanjay Mittal is a Professor of computational fluid dynamics in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT-Kanpur. He also has worked in the area of sports aerodynamics.

Radhika Menon becomes first woman to bag IMO Award

Captain Radhika Menon became the first woman in the world to receive the Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for the year 2016 from the International Mari-time Organisation (IMO). She will be bestowed with this award for saving the lives of seven fishermen, whose hopes of survival were all over. The award will be presented to her at the ceremony set to take place at IMO Headquarters in London on 21 November 2016. She was chosen by 116th session of IMO Council meeting held in London. Captain Menon had displayed great determination and courage in leading the difficult rescue operation in the Bay of Bengal in June 2015.

Four Indian-Americans Honoured with 2016 Great Immigrants Award

“Indian-origin Google CEO Sunder Pichai and three other Indian-Americans are among the 42 US nationals honoured with this year’s prestigious ‘Great Immigrants: The Pride of America’ award 2016. The other three Indian-Americans are Hari Sreenivasan, anchor and senior correspondent, PBS NewsHour, Vikram Malhotra, Chairman of the Americas at McKinsey & Company and Bharati Mukherjee, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author. They are among 42 distinguished US personalities representing more than 30 countries of origin around the world honoured with this year’s award. All of these personalities represent a wide range of personal immigration stories, and inspiring professional accomplishments.The award is given by New York-based Carnegie Corporation on the occasion of Independence Day of United States i.e. 4th July.”

SPORTS & GAMES

Harika Dronavalli wins Fide Women’s Grand Prix trophy

India’s Grand Master Harika Dronavalli has won the Fide Women’s Grand Prix trophy in Chendu in China. She was playing with white against Russia’s Olga Girya and made draw to win the title, her maiden career GP title. Harika finished on 7 points in the round robin tournament featuring the world’s top 12 players to be crowned the champion. Other India Grand Master Koneru Humpy too rounded off her campaign with a victory to also finish on 7 points. But, Harika was declared winner for finishing with a better tie-break record in the tournament.

Lewis Hamilton Won Austrian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton on 3 July won the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.Hamilton started the race from pole and went on to win the race after colliding with Nico Rosberg on the final lap. As a result, Rosberg finished fourth behind Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Winners of 2016 Wimbledon Championships of Tennis

The 2016 Wimbledon Championships was a tennis tournament held from 27 June to 10 July 2016. It was the 130th edition of the championships and the 49th edition in the Open Era. The tournament had taken place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom.

Men’s Singles Title: Britain’s Andy Murray won the 2016 Wimbledon title in men’s singles category. It was his second Wimbledon title after he had won it for first time in 2013. In final match he defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic by 6–4, 7–6 (7–3),7–6(7–2)score.

Women’s Singles Title: Serena Williams of United States has won 2016 Wimbledon title in women’ singles category. In the final match played she defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber by 7–5, 6–3 score. It is Williams’ seventh Women’s Singles Wimbledon title (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015) and overall 22nd Grand Slam title.

Men’s Doubles Title : French pair of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the 2016 Wimbledon title in the men’s doubles category by defeating French pair Julien Benneteau and Édouard Roger-Vasselin.

Women’s Doubles Title: US pair of Serena Williams and Venus Williams won the 2016 Wimbledon title in the women’s doubles category by defeating Tímea Babos (Hungary) and Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) pair.

Mixed Doubles Title: Henri Kontinen (Finland) and Heather Watson (United Kingdom) pair won the 2016 Wimbledon title in the mixed doubles category. They defeated Robert Farah (Colombia) and Anna-Lena Grönefeld (Germany) pair by 7–6(7–5), 6–4 score.

Dutee Chand qualifies for Rio 2016 Olympics

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand on 25 June qualified for Rio Olympics in the women’s 100metre event. She qualified in the games after meeting the qualification mark at 26th International Meeting G. Kosanov Memorial in Almaty, Kazakhstan.Dutee clocked 11.30 seconds beating the Rio Olympics qualification mark of 11.32 secs.With this, she became the first Indian woman sprinter to qualify for the event since qualification started for the event. PT Usha had qualified for the event in 1980 Olympics. In the 26th International Meeting G.Kosanov Memorial, Kazakhstan’s Viktoriya Zyabkinawon won the race with personal best performance of 11.15s.

Lionel Messi Retires From International Football

Barcelona FC star Lionel Messi has announced retirement from Argentinean Football team. How-ever, he will continue to play his club football for FC Barcelona. He made this announcement after Argentina was defeated by Chile in the 2016 Copa America final in the penalty shootout by 4-2 score. He had missed the penalty in the final match.In his football career with Argentinean team, Lionel Messi had played four finals at different titles for his country. It includes 2014 World Cup final and three Copa America finals. He had made his senior international debut in 2005. He is Argentina’s all-time top scorer, with 55 goals from 113 match appearances.He is the only footballer to win five FIFA Ballons d’Or, four of which he had won consecutively. He also the first football player to win three European Golden Shoes.

ECONOMY

HDFC becomes first Indian Company to issue masala bonds

The Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) has become the first Indian company to issue rupee-denominated bonds “masala bonds” on London Stock Exchange (LSE). The bond will help HDFC, India’s biggest mortgage lender (home finance company) to diversify its borrowing profile and access global investors. With this issuance of masala bonds, HDFC is planning to raise 750 million dollars from the overseas market during the current financial year.

Terrapin acquires Yatra Online for $218 mn

Indian travel agency Yatra Online which has been founded in 2006 and emerged as the fastest growing consumer travel platforms and online travel agents in India with more than 4 million customers has been entered into a merger agreement with a Nasdaqlisted special purpose acquisition firm Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corp (TRTL). The transaction values Yatra at an enterprise value of $218 million (Rs 1,458 crore). The combined company will continue to be led by Yatra’s management team under the leadership of chief executive and co-founder Dhruv Shringi. Yatra said that it intends to be listed on the U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq under the symbol ‘YTRA’.

Black money declarants get more time to pay penalty

The government has decided to revise the time schedule for making payments under the Income Disclosure Scheme. As per the revised norms, a minimum of 25 percent of the tax, surcharge and penalty should be paid by November 30, 2016 and a second & third instalments of 25 per cent and 50 per cent by March 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017 respectively. The window under the Income Declaration Scheme 2016 opened on June 1 and will close on September 30. Tax and penalty on income declared, as per the original scheme, is to be paid by November. The Budget for 2016-17 announced a 4-month compliance window, allowing domestic black money holders to declare their unaccounted wealth, pay a tax and penalty of 45 per cent and escape prosecution and harsher punishment.

India ranks 10th in FDI inflows: UNCTAD report

As per the recently released 2016 World Investment Report, India ranks 10th in FDI (Foreign Direct Invest-
ment) inflows. As per the report, India’s FDI inflows have increased to 44 billion dollars in 2015 as compared to 35 billion dollars in 2014. According to the report, Top 10 Countries are: United States, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, and India. United States with 380 billion dollars FDI inflows has topped the list. China with FDI in flows at 136 billion dollars (more than three times India’s FDI) in 2015 was ranked third.

100% FDI in Aviation, Defence and e-commerce sectors

The Union Government has radically liberalized the foreign direct investment (FDI) norms by permitting 100 % FDI under government approval route for almost every sector including defence to give impetus to job creation and ease of doing business in the country. The decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi. With these changes in FDI norms, India has become the most open economy in the world for foreign direct investment. Some of these sectors are Food products, Defence Sector – Present FDI regime in this sector permits 49% FDI participation in the equity of a company under an automatic route. Now, FDI beyond 49% has now been permitted through government approval route, in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country, Pharmaceutical Sector, Aviation Sector, Animal Husbandry, Single Brand Retail Trading. The Union Government has also mentioned few sectors in the small negative list in which FDI continues to be prohibited in atomic energy, lottery, gambling, real estate and Real Estate Investments Trusts (REIT) and railways operations.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA announces discovery of 104 new planets outside solar system

NASA has announced the discovery of 104 new planets outside our solar system including four that could have Earth-like, rocky surfaces. Scientists discovered the exoplanets in Hawaii using Kepler space telescope. The unmanned Kepler mission has been scanning 150,000 stars in the Cygnus constellation for signs of orbiting bodies, particularly those that might be able to support life. The $600 million Kepler mission has allowed scientists to discover more than 4,600 planets 2,326 of them confirmed since it launched in 2009.

First Su-30 MKI with BrahMos Missile Flies Successfully

BrahMos Aerospace for the first time successfully demonstrated integration of the world’s most formidable supersonic cruise missile system BrahMos on the Sukhoi SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft. In this regard, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Nasik division on 24 June conducted a test flight of a 2,500 kg supersonic BrahMos missile integrated with SU-30 MKI aircraft at its Nasik airport. With the successful integration of BrahMos missile system with Su-30 MKI aircraft Indian Air Force (IAF) became the first air force in the world in procession of a supersonic cruise missile system with a long range fighter aircraft. IAF also moved few steps closer towards actual test firing when a 2.5 tonnes supersonic BrahMos air-to-ground missile from the Su-30 MKI.

ISRO sets record by successfully launching 20 satellites in single mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a record 20 satellites in a single mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The launch has been made by using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-34, carrying India’s latest earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 along with 19 co-passengers satellites from US, Canada, Germany, Indonesia and two Indian academic institutions. With 20 satellites, the ISRO has beaten its previous record of placing 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.

China’s Sunway TaihuLight declared world’s fastest supercomputer

Chinese supercomputer Sunway TaihuLight with 93 petaflop/ second speed was declared as the world’s fastest supercomputer. It was revealed in the TOP500 list of supercomputers released at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany. Sunway TaihuLight can perform 93 petaflop operations per second. It was developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.

Scientists Develop First 1000-processor Micro-chip In The World

The scientists have developed d a microchip, named KiloCore that has 1000 independent programmable processors. The microchip is the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and has the highest clock-rate processor ever designed at the university level. KiloCore microchip has been designed by a team scientist from the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. It contain around 621 million transistors and was fabricated by tech giant IBM using their 32 nm (nanometre) CMOS technology. It is the most energy efficient chip which has maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second. It can execute around 115 billion instructions per second by dissipating only 0.7 Watts of energy.

PERSONS IN NEWS

APPOINTMENTS

World Bank appoints Paul Romer as Chief Economist

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has appointed Paul Romer as World Bank Chief Economist with effect from September 2016. Romer is a widely respected economist and a successful entrepreneur. The American economist Paul Romer will succeed Kaushik Basu as Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank. Romer is currently a professor at New York University (NYU) and director of NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management.

Malcolm Turnbull appointed Prime Minister

Malcolm Turnbull on 19 July 2016 was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Australia for another term.

Turnbull was sworn in after a narrow election victory with budget repair and a public vote on same sex marriage among his top priorities.

Pema Khandu was sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh

Pema Khandu was sworn in as the ninth chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh on 17, July 2016 marking the culmination of fast-paced political developments in this north-eastern state. Chowna Mein was sworn in as the deputy chief minister. They both Mr. Khandu and Chowna have administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Tathagat Roy at a function in Itanagar. The 37 years old Mr. Khandu is a son of late Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and represents Moktu assembly constituency in Tawang district.

Johannesson Elected President of Iceland

Gudni Johannesson has been elected president of Iceland. Gudni Johannesson on 26 June won Iceland’s presidential election. The history professor who ran as an independent in the election was able to secure 39.1% of the vote.He will succeed Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who served 20 years as head of state. The elections were held in the backdrop of the Panama Papers leak in April, which implicated several top officials of the country.

Anju Bobby George & Pullela Gopichand Become Members of Khelo India

India’s lone athletics World Championship medal winner Anju Bobby George and chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand have been drafted as members of Khelo India, a national programme for the development of sports in the country, an initiative by the Government. Khelo India is a seven-member committee, in which Anju and Gopichand are the two sportspersons. The committee will be headed by Sports Secretary Rajiv Yadav. Known for her feats as a long jumper, Anju has recently quit as the president of the Kerala Sports Council along with 13 other members in protest against the “insulting behaviour” of Kerala Sports Minister E P Jayarajan.

First woman Chief Justice of Nepal Sushila Karki takes oath

Sushila Karki has become the first woman Chief Justice of Nepal after taking oath of office and secrecy at a special programme organised at the Presidential Residence, Sheetal Niwas.“She will head the judiciary till June 6, 2017. The oath was administered by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. “Beside Karki, President Bhandari has also administered oath of office and secrecy to newly appointed Chief Election Commissioner Dr Ayodhi Prasad Yadav.

RESIGNS

Sidhu resigns as Rajya Sabha MP

Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Indian cricketer and Member of Parliament has resigned from his Rajya Sabha seat on the first day of the Monsoon Session i.e on 18 July 2016. Sidhu’s resignation was accepted with immediate effect by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari. The cricketer-turned-politician wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, is Chief Parliamentary Secretary in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP government. Sidhu himself was nominated to the Rajya Sabha earlier this year.

UK PM David Cameron Resigns

The Prime Minister of United Kingdom David Cameron on 24 June announced his resignation hours after the Brexit vote that favoured leaving the European Union (EU). During the campaign, Cameronled Conserve Party advocated for remaining with the EU. In the referendum that was held on 23 June 2016, 51.89 percent of the voters preferred to leave the EU.

DEATHS

Indian hockey player Mohammed Shahid passed away

Noted Indian hockey player Mohammed Shahid passed away due to multiple organ failure in Gurugram, Haryana. “He was 56. Mohammed Shahid was a member of the V Baskaran-led Indian team that won a Gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.“He was also a member of the Indian hockey team that had won silver medal at the 1982 Asian Games and bronze medal at the 1986 Asian Games.

Legendary playback singer Mubarak Begum passed away

Legendary playback singer Mubarak Begum passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra after a prolonged illness. She was 80. She is known for her singing scores of songs, duets and ghazals for Bollywood, mainly during the 1950s-1970s. She had started her career with light music recitals in All India Radio (AIR). Her career as a playback singer began in 1949 with the Indian, Hindi-language film Aaiye.

India’s Olympic Silver Medalist Joe Antic passed away

Hockey Olympian Joe Antic has passed away in Mumbai. He was 90 years old. He represented the country in the Rome Games where Pakistan won the final between the arch foes 1-0. The hockey player was also a part of the hockey squad that finished runner-up, again to Pakistan, in the Asian Games at Jakarta. Joseph Anthony Antic was an Indian field hockey player. He was born on 13 March 1931 in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. He won a silver medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He had retired from Western Railway in the mid-1980s. After his playing days, he took up coaching. He was one of the coaches in the Indian team’s World Cup camp in 1973.

Indian football legend Amal Dutta passed away

Former India international Amal Dutta, who was also the first professional football coach of the country, passed away in his Kolkata residence. He was 86. Amal Dutta played in midfield for East Bengal in the 1950s. He also represented India in the 1954 Asian Games at Manila. After retirement as a player, his first major assignment was to coach Railways in 1960 for the Santosh trophy.

Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard Died

Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France, passed away on 2 July in Paris, France. He was 85. Rocard, a Socialist who served as prime minister under president François Mitterrand from 1988 to 1991, became an ardent European federalist, spending 15 years in the European parliament until he resigned in 2009. He entered politics as a student leader whilst studying at Sciences-Po. He became chair of the French Socialist Students. From 1967 to 1974, he led the dissident Unified Socialist Party (PSU).In 1974, he joined Francois Mitterrand and the renewed Socialist Party (PS). In 1977, he was elected as the Mayor of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

VISITORS

Narendra Modi visit to African Countries

PM Narendra Modi visited Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya from July 7-11. PM Modi held deliberations with President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, South African President Jacob Zuma, President John Magufuli of Tanzania and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. PM Modi’s four-nation tour strengthened India’s ties with the African mainland.

MISCELLANEOUS

Rohit Khandelwal becomes first Indian to win Mr. World title

Indian actor, model, television personality Rohit Khandelwal won the prestigious 2016 Mr. World title. With this he became first Indian and first Asian to win the Mr. World title. He received a whopping cash prize of 50,000 US dollars. Rohit defeated 47 other contestants from across the globe to bag the title. Born in Hyderabad in 1989, Mr. Khandewal, is a model, actor and television personality. He is also the winner of Mr. India 2015 contest.

PLACES IN NEWS

UNESCO lists Khangchendzonga National Park & Chandigarh’ Capitol Complex in World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has added Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) and Chandigarh’ Capitol Complex in its list of World Heritage Sites. Decision in this regard was taken by the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO held in Istanbul in Turkey.The KNP is the first ‘mixed’ heritage site from India to make it to the list.A ‘mixed site’ exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance.This is the first time that any country got three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.

China Completes Installation Of World’s Largest Telescope

“China, a communist nation in East Asia, has completed installation of the world’s largest telescope in Guizhou province. The 500 metre-diameter telescope covers an area larger than 30 football pitches. The telescope has overtaken the size of 300 metre-diameter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The largest-ever radio telescope completed installation as the last piece of 4,450 panels was fitted in the center of the big dish. The hoisting of the last triangular shaped panel to the reflector began. Hundreds of Chinese witnessed the installation in a karst valley in Pingtang County of the southwestern province of Guizhou. The telescope is made up of 4,450 triangular-shaped panels. The five-hundred-metre Aperture spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) project began in the south-western province of Guizhou in 2011 and completed with a cost of 127 million Euros. The telescope would begin operations in September and will collect signals from the universe.”

Books in News

Who Moved My Interest Rate authored by Duvvuri Subbarao

A book titled “Who Moved My Interest Rate” written by Duvvuri Subbarao, the former Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), will be released on 27 July 2016. The book is a chronicle of Subbarao’s attempts to demystify the RBI and explain to the public its impact on their everyday lives. It gives an account of the dilemmas Subbarao confronted while leading the Reserve Bank through the extraordinary economic and political challenges India and world faced from 2008 to 2013. Mr. Subbarao is an Indian Economist, Central Banker and Civil Servant. He was the 22nd Governor of Reserve Bank of India from 5 September 2008, with an extension in 2011 till 4 September 2013.

A Life in Diplomacy authored by MK Rasgotra

The book titled A Life in Diplomacy was released which is written by former Indian diplomacy Maharajakrishna Rasgotra. It is an insider’s account of the personalities and policies that shaped Indian diplomacy. The book provides a ringside view of the beginnings of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka, the last years of the Cold War, the negotiations on the formation of SAARC, Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the Bhopal gas disaster.

PM Narendra Modi Releases Book Titled “The Birds of Banni Grassland”

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 June released a book titled “The Birds of Banni Grassland” in New Delhi. The book was presented to the Prime Minister by the scientists of Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE). The Birds of Banni Grassland is book based on environment and consists of a compilation of the research work, relating to more than 250 species of birds found in the Banni area of Kutch, Gujarat.”

COMMITTEES

Govt sets up panel to tackle pulses shortage

The Union Government has recently constituted a high-level committee headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian to tackle the shortage of pulses in India. The committee was constituted by the high-level meeting chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. The committee will consider a reasonable hike in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for pulses and bonus for the farmers to promote pulse cultivation. Beside this, the Union Government also has decided to increase the buffer stock of pulses from 8 lakh to 20 lakh tonnes.

Shankar Acharya Committee To Examine Desirability and Feasibility of Financial Year

The Union Finance Ministry has constituted a Committee headed by Dr.Shankar Acharya, former Chief Economic Advisor to examine desirability & feasibility of having a new financial year. The committee has been tasked to examine the merits and demerits of various dates for the commencement of the financial year including the existing date (April to March) by taking into account the various relevant factors.

IMPORTANT DAYS & DATES

July 1 – Doctor’s Day

July 2 – World Sports Journalists Day

July 11 – World Population Day

July 12 – World Malala Day

July 15 – World Youth Skills Day

July 18 – Nelson Mandela International Day

July 26 – Kargil Victory Day

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