Saturday, August 4, 2018

July 2018, Current Affair’s (for CLAT)


1.      Antonio Vitorino, a lawyer and politician from Portugal, has been elected Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM). It provides services and advice to Governments and migrants, such as humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

2.      India has pledged $5 million in assistance to the UN agency working for the welfare of Palestinian refugees to help bolster its “severe funding crisis” following US’ cut in its annual aid to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

3.      In a remarkable achievement, the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai has been declared as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 30th June 2018. The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at Manama in Bahrain. This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be included on the World Heritage List. Now, India has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites. While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.

4.      The International Day of Tropics is observed every year on June 29 to raise awareness to the specific challenges faced by tropical areas, the far-reaching implications of the issues affecting the world’s tropical zone and the need, at all levels, to raise awareness and to underline the important role that countries in the tropics will play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

5.      S Ramesh, a 1981 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), has taken over charge as the new chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the apex policy-making body for indirect taxes. Prior to his elevation, he was Member (Administration) in the Board. He succeeded Vanaja N Sarna, who superannuates on June 30, 2018.

6.      The Union government has constituted a committee a 13-member committee to upgrade the norms for computation of economic data at states and districts level in the backdrop of plans to revise the base year for National Accounts or GDP calculation. The Committee for Sub-National Accounts will be headed by Ravindra H Dholakia, a retired professor of IIM Ahmedabad. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) will change the base year to 2017-18 for the calculation of GDP and IIP numbers from the existing 2011-12 with an aim to capture changes in the economy. The panel will review the concepts, definitions, classifications, data conventions, data sources and data requirements for preparation of State Domestic Product (SDP) and District Domestic Product (DDP) and to lay down revised guidelines. It will also suggest measures for improving SDP and DDP in the country taking into consideration availability of data and requirements of the Centre and states/union territories.

7.      The novel “Eleventh Hour” is authored by Crime writer Hussain Zaidi to pay tribute to the men in uniform. The book is inspired by and derived from real-life events – a vast stash of RDX that has remained undiscovered since the Mumbai serial blasts of 1993 and the agencies totally clueless about it; the jailbreak in Bhopal of five men; the hijacking of an Indian ship and a commercial vessel by Somali pirates and Pakistan’s designs to spread terror in India.

8.      Former India captain Rahul Dravid and former Australian captain Ricky Ponting have been inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame for their stupendous achievements in international cricket. Along with Dravid and Ponting, retired England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor was also named in the ‘Hall of Fame’ during a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland on July 1, 2018. With this, Dravid became only the 5th player from India to be named in the elite list. The other four Indians are former skippers Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble.

9.      As per US State Department’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, North Korea has been tagged “worst human trafficking nation” for the 16th straight year, citing the use of forced labour. North Korea has been included in the Tier 3 category, which is the lowest ranking, along with China, Russia and Iran. The report stated that the North Korean government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. It is continued to use forced labour in prison camps and labour training centres. In a stark contrast, South Korea has been ranked at the highest category, that is, in the list of Tier 1 countries for the 16th consecutive year, along with US, UK, France and Canada.

10.  The first-ever International Day of Parliamentarism is celebrated across the world on 30th June 2018 to recognize the importance of parliaments and their responsibility of representing the people.

11.  Rajat Sharma, who is the Chairman and Chief Editor of Hindi news channel INDIA TV, has become the new president of Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) for a period of 3 years. He beat former cricketer Madan Lal by 517 votes in the DDCA election 2018.

12.  Australian hockey team has won the 2018 Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy by defeating India in the final via penalty shoot-off at Breda, the Netherlands on July 1, 2018. It was Australia’s record 15th Champions Trophy title. While India won their second consecutive silver medal, hosts the Netherlands bagged the bronze beating Olympic champions Argentina 2-0 in the third-fourth place match.

13.  Anjolie Ela Menon, the well known muralist, has recently been conferred with the prestigious National Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh government in Delhi for her contribution in visual arts. The award was conferred in recognition of her insightful and sensitive portrayal of the identity and spirit of women through her meaningful paintings in a variety of media.

14.  For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the world’s first-ever cannabis-based medicine “Epidiolex” made from marijuana.

15.  On July 2, the first meeting of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) will be held at Central Water Commission (CWC) office in New Delhi to resolve disputes over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. The meeting of the 9-member Authority will be chaired by the CWC Chairman S Masood Hussain, who is also heading the Cauvery Authority.

16.  India’s first dedicated ‘Khadi Mall’ will soon be set up by the Jharkhand government to boost market for khadi and khadi made products.

17.  The Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) of Odisha has become the largest habitat of the endangered estuarine crocodiles in India with a record number of their nesting sites spotted in it. Recently, the enumerators have spotted 101 nests of crocodile in Kanika, Gahirmatha, Mahakalapada and Rajnagar wildlife forest range divisions under the park. As per the January 2018 crocodile census report, the water bodies of Bhitarkanika are home to 1,698 saltwater crocodiles.

18.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed Colombia’s Chiribiquete National Park (CNP) on its list of world heritage sites.

19.  Premier stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has signed pact with the Bombay Metal Exchange (BME) for the growth and systematic development of commodity derivatives markets in the non-ferrous metals complex.

20.  Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, launched the ‘Happiness Curriculum’ for students of nursery to Class 8 in government schools on July 2, 2018.

21.  India’s first-ever state-of-the-art e-waste recycling unit will come up in Bengaluru, which produces an estimated one lakh tonne of electronic waste a year. The Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET), a research institute that comes under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, will set up the unit in the next four months.

22.  The famous cultural festival “Behdienkhlam 2018” was celebrated at the small peripheral town of Jowai, the District headquarters of Jaintia Hills District in Meghalaya with joy and religious fervour. The festival witnessed a colourful display of 12 rots or ‘rath’ at the sacred pool ‘Aitnar’.

23.  The Sunil Mehta committee which was formed with a view to tackle Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and creating credit capacity submitted its report with recommendations to Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on July 2, 2018. The Sunil Mehta panel presented project ‘Sashakt’ and has recommended a five-pronged strategy to deal with NPAs in the country’s banking system.

24.  The Madhya Pradesh government has launched an outstanding power bill waiver scheme and subsidised power scheme ‘Sambal’ for labourers and poor families.

25.  Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra, is set to host the Monsoon session of the state Legislature today after a gap of 47 years. This will be the fourth time that the monsoon session of the state Legislature, normally held in Mumbai, will take place in Nagpur.

26.  The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched user-friendly android app “cVigil” for citizens to report any violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during elections. The unique Internet-based beta version of the application ‘cVIGIL’ stands for “citizens’ vigil”. The app will be active only in States where elections have been announced.

27.  The world’s first all-digital art museum has opened at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.

28.  Angela Ponce from Seville has created by becoming the first-ever transgender woman to be crowned Miss Universe Spain, after beating 22 contestants. She will representing her country at the 67th Miss Universe 2018 pageant in Philippines in December 2018.

29.  Justice L Narasimha Reddy, the former Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, has been appointed as Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad for a period of three years. President Ram Nath Kovind in his capacity as Visitor of the University appointed Justice Reddy as Chancellor of of UoH. Justice Reddy, who is also the Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal, served as a Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, between 2001 and 2015.

30.  The Kerala government has constituted an expert panel comprising eminent writers and language experts to choose an official song for the state. Rani George, the Cultural Department Secretary, would be the convenor of the panel.

31.  India will operate the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport as a Sri Lanka-India joint venture in Hambantota. The $210 million facility, 241km south-east of Colombo, is dubbed the “world’s emptiest airport” due to a lack of flights. Mattala airport, named after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, was funded through high interest Chinese commercial loans.

32.  On July 4, the Gujarat government launched a statewide mission ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ to eradicate malnutrition among children by providing them nutritious food through Anganwadi centres.

33.  In a unique ruling, the Uttarakhand High Court has recently declared the “entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic” as legal entities with a distinct persona and corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lokpal Singh bestowed the unique status on animal kingdom while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals. All the citizens throughout the State of Uttarakhand are hereby declared persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals. The court also declared all Uttarakhand natives the guardians of animals and endowed them with the duty to ensure their welfare and protection.

34.  Sunita Parmar, a Hindu woman in Sindh province, has created history by becoming the first from the minority community to contest the provincial assembly elections in Pakistan that are scheduled to be held on July 25. Parmar, who is from the Meghwar community will contest as an independent candidate for the Sindh Assembly constituency from Tharparkar district which has the highest number of Hindus in Pakistan. Sunita vowed to improve standards of education for women and poor health facilities in her constituency.

35.  Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, who retired from the Supreme Court on 7th July 2018, has been appointed the new chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). His tenure as NGT Chairperson has been specified as being for a period of 5 years from the date he assumes office, or till he reaches the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. He will succeed Justice Jawad Rahim, who is the acting chairperson of NGT. The NGT was established on October 18, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. The tribunal’s principal bench is located in New Delhi while its zonal benches are in Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai and its circuit benches are in Shimla, Shillong, Jodhpur and Kochi.

36.  On July 6, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) declared the 438 sq. km. of area around Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) as an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ). The move will prohibit construction and commercial mining activities and restrict hotels and resorts near the reserve in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. The area supports an ecologically sustainable habitat in the Western Ghats

37.  Kabutari Devi (70), the famous Kumaoni folk singer, has passed away in Pithoragarh.

38.  India’s premier gymnast Dipa Karmakar from Tripura clinched gold with a score of 14.150 in the vault event of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin in Turkey on July 8, 2018. This is Dipa’s first medal in a World Challenge Cup.

39.  The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the 17th World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) in Vancouver, Canada on July 9, 2018.

40.  ‘The English Patient’, the wartime love story by Michael Ondaatje, has won the Golden Man Booker Prize at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre in London on July 8, 2018. The prize was instituted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker prize. The English Patient is a compelling work of fiction – both poetic and philosophical. It is that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight. It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate – one moment you’re in looking at the vast sweep of the desert and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient’s mouth. That movement is mirrored in the way your thoughts, while reading it, move between large themes – war, loyalty, love – to tiny shifts in the relationships between characters.

41.  The 6th edition of biennial World Cities Summit (WCS-2018) has started in Singapore with theme “Liveable & Sustainable Cities: Embracing the Future through Innovation and Collaboration” from July 8.

42.  The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has launched a mobile help centre “‘Saathi’” to reach out to people undertaking the annual pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath.

43.  South Korean consumer electronics major, Samsung has set up the world’s largest mobile phone factory in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The facility was inaugurated jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The new plant will help the company raise its capacity in a phased manner, from 68 million units at present, to 120 million by 2020.

44.  The Gujarat Government has granted religious minority status to Jewish community living in the state. The GR to this effect was issued on July 6 by the state’s Department of Social Justice and Empowerment. As religious minority members professing the faith of Judaism, they shall get the religious minority rights envisaged in the Constitution and various acts and rules of the state government. They shall also get benefits of welfare schemes formulated for religious minority communities within the jurisdiction of Gujarat. With this, Gujarat has become the 3rd state in India to grant religious minority status to Jews after West Bengal and Maharashtra.

45.        The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched ‘The Eat Right Movement’ to empower the citizens by improving their health and well-being. It is a platform to provide credible information to help make informed and healthful eating choices. It is built on two broad pillars – “Eat Healthy and “Eat Safe”.

46.        The Western Ghats (India) bagged the 4th best tourist spot in Lonely Planet’s top five “2018 Best in Asia” list, a collection of 10 of the best destinations to visit in the continent for the year. The list is topped by Busan in South Korea, followed by Uzbekistan and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).

47.        India has been ranked 57th most innovative nation among 130 countries in the 11th edition of Global Innovation Index (GII-2018), which is developed jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

48.        The Rajya Sabha has, for the first time in 76 years since it came into being, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a foreign counterpart for promoting inter-parliamentary dialogue. With this, M. Venkaiah Naidu became the first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to sign such an agreement. He signed an MOU with the visiting President of the Senate of the Republic of Rwanda.

49.        The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has granted “Institutions of Eminence” (IoEs) status to IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the public sector, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani and Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation in the private sector.

50.        On July 10, the Indian naval ship INS Sumitra became the first-ever warship to enter port of Sabang in Indonesia.

51.        Ramesh Abhishek, secretary in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), has released State Business Reform Assessment 2018 at an event in New Delhi on July 10. In it, Andhra Pradesh has topped the ease of doing business rankings, while Telangana is in 2nd and Haryana is in 3rd position. DIPP in collaboration with the World Bank conducts an annual reform exercise for all States/UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP).

52.        Dr. TCA Raghavan, a 1982 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), has been appointed as Director General of Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) with effect from 24th July 2018.

53.        The Gujarat government has given in-principle approval for ‘Seema Darshan’ project for developing more infrastructure facilities from T-Junction to Zero Point at Nadabet near Suigam in Banaskantha district to instill patriotism through a unique Gujarat initiative.

54.        India has become the 69th shareholder of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). London-headquartered EBRD is a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

55.        Sprinter Hima Das has created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold at the IAAF World Under- 20 Athletics Championships in Tempere, Finland on July 12, 2018. Das, who is from Dhing village in Assam’s Nagaon distrist, has clinched the top spot in the women’s 400 meters final race on the third day of the competitions. She clocked 51.46 seconds to win the gold. No woman before Das has won a gold medal in a World Championship at any level, be it youth, junior or senior. She is also the first Indian, men or women, to have won a gold in a track event at the world level.

56.        The Government of India (GoI) has invited US President Donald Trump to be chief guest at the 2019 Republic Day Parade. The US is yet to officially accept India’s invite, which offered in April 2018.

57.        Angelique Kerber has won the 2018 women singles’ Wimbledon tennis tournament by defeating 7-time winner Serena Williams by 6-3 6-3. With the win, Kerber has become the first German woman to win the title since Steffi Graf in 1996. Serena was bidding a record-equaling 24th major trophy.

58.        Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day tour of eastern Uttar Pradesh, dedicated the 171 km long Bansagar Canal Project to the nation in Mirzapur on July 15, 2018. The project, which is a joint venture of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

59.        The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a resolution 2428 (2018) to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.

60.        The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has constituted a 10 Member Committee, headed by the Injeti Srinivas (Secretary of Ministry of Corporate Affairs), for review of the penal provisions in the Companies Act, 2013.

61.        Recently, President Ram Nath Kovind has nominated 4 Rajya Sabha members viz. Farmer leader and former MP Ram Shakal, sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh and Founder of Delhi-based “India Policy Foundation” Rakesh Sinha.  Raghunath Mohapatra is an internationally renowned sculptur famous for his stone carvings. Practicing since 1959, Mr. Mohapatra has trained over 2000 students. He has contributed to the preservation of traditional sculpture and ancient monuments, and has worked on the beautification of the Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri. Mr. Mohapatra’s famous works include a six-feet high statue of the Sun God carved in grey sandstone in the Central Hall of Parliament, the lotus carving at Vir Bhoomi memorial of Rajiv Gandhi in New Delhi, and the Wooden Buddha in Paris.

62.        Haryana has launched ‘I am not afraid of English’ initiative to make primary school students fluent in English.

63.        India’s home minister Rajnath Singh has recently inaugurated the world’s largest state-of-the-art visa centre in Dhaka with modern facilities, promising shorter waiting times for applicants. This Integrated centre at Jamuna Future Park (JFP), Dhaka is the largest Indian visa centre in the world with 18,500 square feet commercial area.

64.        The UN members have unanimously elected Iceland to take a seat on the world body’s 47-member Human Rights Council. US had left the UNHRC in June, 2018 calling it a cesspool of political bias for its criticism of Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians.

65.        Vikas (acronym for  VIKram Ambalal Sarabhai) Engine is the workhorse liquid rocket engine powering the second stage of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), second stage and the four strap on stages of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the twin engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.

66.        Sanskrit is one of the languages in the Eighth Schedule and is also an official language in Uttarakhand.

67.        World Youth Skills Day is celebrated on 15th July every year.

68.        On 16 July, India’s supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha under extreme conditions. Brahmos is India’s only supersonic cruise missile and it can cruise at speeds of up to Mach 3.0, or three times the speed of sound.

69.        On July 16, 2018 IIT-Madras unveils “world’s first” remotely operable LEAP (Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) microscope.

70.        Ayushman Mitra Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) will be a medical professional assisting patients seeking treatment. Their main work will be to assist patients coming to the hospital, and coordinate between patients and hospitals. The AB-NHPS aims at providing a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually and benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.

71.        The 2018 Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit is to commence from August 30, 2018 in Nepal. This is the fourth summit of BIMSTEC since its formation in 1997. Nepal is hosting it for the first time. It will see the heads of states from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand along with Nepal.

72.        India’s first greenfield skill training centre will come up at Baranga near Bhubaneswar in Odisha. For this, the Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan laid the foundation stone of NSTI Bhubaneswar on July 16. The aim of the state-of-the-art institute will be to impart training to the trainers & create a skill-based ecosystem to meet expectations of the industry. The National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) would provide a variety of hybrid skill training programmes, both long and short term, along with advanced diploma programme. The institute would impart training in Systems Applications Products (SAP), Internet of Things (IoT), healthcare and agriculture, mobile repairing, solar technician and technician mechatronics, advanced Diploma in IT Networking and Cloud Computing, Training of Trainers (ToT) in Pedagogy for Sector Skill Councils, ToT for conventional courses including fitter, electrician, plumbing and welding. The Institute will be set up at a cost of Rs. 160 crore, on a 5 Acre land.

73.        On July 14, Classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, columnist Rakesh Sinha, Sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra and farmer leader Ram Shakal have been nominated by the President Ram Nath Kovind to the Rajya Sabha. The new nominations have been made to fill the vacancies caused due to the retirement of nominated members Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha, Anu Aga and K Parasaran. Under Article 80 of the Constitution, the President can nominate 12 members to the Rajya Sabha “from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.” The nominated members have six-year term. The other sitting nominated members include boxer Mary Kom, columnist Swapan Dasgupta, advocate K.T.S. Tulsi, economist Narendra Jadhav and BJP members Subramanian Swamy, Roopa Ganguly, Suresh Gopi and Sambhaji Chhatrapati.

74.        The scientists from IIT Delhi have developed a silk-based hydrogel that emulates the process of hair growth, an advance that may help screen novel drugs for treating hair loss without using animal tests.

75.        The French National Football team has clinched the 2018 FIFA World Cup by defeating Croatia 4-2 in a thrilling final match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15. Croatia were playing in their first World Cup final. They were the smallest country to reach the Final in the modern era. For France, it was a first World Cup crown since winning on home soil in 1998. England’s Harry Kane won the World Cup Golden Boot Award as top scorer with 6 goals. Croatia captain Luka Modric won the Golden Ball award for the World Cup’s best player despite being on the losing side. Kylian Mbappe of France won the Young Player of the Tournament Award after scoring his 4th goal of the competition in the final. Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois won the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper. Now, France joined Uruguay and Argentina in winning the World Cup for a second time, after their 1998 triumph over Brazil when Didier Deschamps — now the coach — was the captain.

76.        The Government of India (GoI) has given ‘In-Principle’ approval for construction and operation of LIGO-India (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) Laboratory in Hingoli District of Maharashtra. The LIGO-India Observatory is scheduled to be operational in 2024 in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in United States. This is the 3rd observatory identical to two other LIGO observatories in USA: Hanford ( Washington) and Livingston ( Louisiana).

77.        The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal from 9th July to 15th July 2018.

78.        The biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise “Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18)” will be hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Australia, which is scheduled from 24th July to 18th August. For the first time, the Indian Air Force is participating in the mega exercise with fighter aircraft, which will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe.

79.        The Supreme Court of India (SCI) has stated that women have the constitutional right to enter the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala and pray like men without being discriminated against. The court was hearing a bunch of petitions that challenged the traditional ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in the Sabarimala temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said that even if there was no law, women cannot be discriminated against with regard to offering prayer in a temple. As per the temple tradition, entry of women in the 10-50 age group is restricted in the shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is considered a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ (perennial celibate).

80.        The 2018 Nelson Mandela International Day (NMID) marked the 100th birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela, the former South African President & Nobel Peace Prize winner, i.e. on July 18. The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) dedicated this year’s Mandela Day to ‘Action Against Poverty’, honouring Nelson Mandela’s leadership and devotion to fighting poverty and promoting social justice for all. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of a legend who embodied the highest values of the United Nations (UN). Mandela was South Africa’s first black president, who spent 27 years in three different prisons and was an anti-Apartheid icon who led a memorable life. His negotiations in the early 1990s with South African President F.W. de Klerk led to the end of the country’s apartheid system of racial segregation. For their efforts, both of them jointly received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993.

81.        On July 19, the Elphinstone Road station on the suburban rail network of Mumbai has been rechristened as Prabhadevi station in honour of a local deity Prabhadevi and to erase a “colonial” name. The new nomenclature of the station will be PBHD. The station was named after Lord Elphinstone who had taken over as the then Governor of Bombay in 1853 (1853-1860), the year railways were introduced in India. The deity Prabhadevi also has its own importance as the area is locally known as Prabhadevi, after the temple that was first established by Raja Bhimdev in 13th century.

82.        On July 19, the 10th edition of the Delhi Dialogue has started in New Delhi with theme ‘Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Co-operation’. The Delhi Dialogue is a premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and ASEAN.

83.        Israel has passed a law to declare that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country.

84.        Recently, Myanmar has joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA) and became the 68th signatory to the Framework Agreement of the ISA. The primary aim of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It is headquartered at Gwal Pahari village in Gurugram, Haryana. The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the Paris climate summit in 2015. It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

85.        The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has developed an online tool “TreadWill” to help people cope with issues related to mental health.

86.        A young Afghan basketball player, Samira Asghari has been nominated for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership. She is among 9 candidates for membership of the body in a move to boost women’s rights. Regarding to this, IOC President Thomas Bach stated that the nomination of Samira Asghari will send a message not only to men and women in Afghanistan but also in all those countries where women are facing serious obstacles to pursue sport.

87.        The 4th BIMSTEC Summit 2018 will be held in Kathmandu from 30 to 31 August. The main focus of the summit will be to increase connectivity between the BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines. The Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional economic bloc comprising 7 member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. The group was formed in 1997 and it brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC. It focuses on 14 areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, technology, energy, transport and communications, tourism, counter-terrorism and climate change.

88.        During the monsoon session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018, which will empower authorities to attach and confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders like loan defaulters & fraudsters who flee the country. The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind in April 2018. It is expected to re-establish the rule of law as the accused will be forced to return to India and face trial for his offences. The bill proposes the formation of a special court under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2002 (PMLA) to declare a person a Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO). A FEO is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. The cases where the total value involved in such scheduled offences is Rs 100 crore or more, will come under its purview.

89.        The Odisha police has launched a drive to bust an international syndicate that peddles “endangered” pangolin, one of the world’s most illegally traded mammals. Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). Both the species are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

90.        Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Environment Minister, has launched a state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) at Chandni Chowk in Delhi on July 21, 2018. The system, first of its kind in India, was developed indigenously in record time by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).

91.        On July 22, the official mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been unveiled during a ceremony in the Japanese capital Tokyo. The Olympic mascot “Miraitowa” is a blue-checked pointy-eared figure, which fuses the Japanese words ‘mirai’, which means future, and ‘towa’, which means eternity. Its Paralympic counterpart “Someity” is derived from a type of cherry blossom ‘Somei-yoshino’. It is represented as a pink-checked and wears a cape and is sounds similar to English phrase “So mighty”. The Tokyo Olympics are schedule to run from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The Paralympics will take place between August 25 and September 6.

92.        On July 22, Typhoon Ampil hit Chinese financial hub Shanghai that brought heavy rainfall and disrupted transport and shipping.

93.        The Government of India (GoI) has reduced the minimum annual deposit requirement for accounts under Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 250. The move will enable more people to take advantage of the girl child savings scheme. The government has amended the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules, 2016 for the purpose. The interest rate on Sukanya Samriddhi account is revised every quarter, just like other small savings schemes and PPF. For the July-September quarter, the rate has been fixed at 8.1%.

94.        Justice Tahira Safdar has been named as the new Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court. With this, she will become the first-ever female high court chief justice in Pakistan.

95.        The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon issue new Rs 100 denomination currency notes in the Mahatma Gandhi series. The new banknote has a motif of ‘Rani Ki Vav’ (the Queen’s Stepwell) on the reverse, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The heritage site is a stepwell located on the banks of Saraswati river in Patan, Gujarat. It was built as a memorial to an 11th-century king Bhima I.

96.        On July 23, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik released the first-ever tribal atlas of Odisha — a set of maps and statistics – to highlight the tribal demography of the state.

97.        On July 23, the Union government has constituted a high-level committee to suggest laws against mob lynching and violence. The high-level committee, headed by the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.

98.        On July 23, the Lok Sabha passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that allows a court hearing a cheque bounce case to direct the drawer — the person who wrote the cheque — to pay interim compensation to the person who filed the complaint. The interim compensation, to be paid within 60 days of the court’s order, can be up to 20% of the value of the cheque. The court may direct the payee to repay the interim compensation, with interest, if the drawer is acquitted.

99.        The 3rd edition of Kabira festival 2018 will be held in Varanasi on November 16 to celebrate the spirit of 15th-century mystic poet Kabir.

100.    In Madhya Pradesh, acid attack victims have been included under disability and they will be eligible to get all benefits of various schemes of the government as per Disabilities Act 2016.

101.    The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a contest “#Childline1098” to spread awareness on human trafficking and to mark the 2018 World Day against Trafficking in Persons. In it, people are invited to share images of the Childline 1098 logo that they spot at unique locations and send it with a tagline.

102.    South Africa is hosting the 10th edition of BRICS Summit 2018 in Johannesburg on July 25 with theme “BRICS in Africa – collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th industrial revolution”. In it, the heads of the five BRICS nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are participating. They are expected to deliberate on global hot-spot issues, international peace and security, global governance and trade issues among others. The five BRICS countries account for 26% of the world’s landmass and are home to 43% of the world’s population. The bloc is composed of emerging markets and the developing world.

103.    India’s first public sector hotel “Hostess” run entirely by women for women will come up in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

104.    On July 26, Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore has been conferred D Litt (Honoris Causa) by West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at a special convocation of Kazi Nazrul University (KNU) held at the Raj Bhawan.

105.    The Global Disability Summit 2018 was held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England on 24th July 2018.
106.    The book ‘Gandhi: The Years That Changed The World (1914-1948)’ has been authored by Ramachandra Guha.

107.    Two Indians, Dr. Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are named among the six winners of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for the year 2018. The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation stated in its citation that Vatwani is being recognised for his tremendous courage and healing compassion in embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitutes. Wangchuk has been recognised for his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth in Jammu and Kashmir.

108.    The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has constituted a 16-member committee to examine motor third party insurance pricing aspects and make recommendations on the premium rates for 2019-20. Apart from examining the third party cover pricing aspects, including data related ones; the committee has been tasked to revisit the classification of vehicles, in view of the development in the industry. Its term will be till December 31. This is for the first time IRDAI has formed such a committee, which will be headed by IRDAI Member P.J. Joseph.

109.    Shivangi Pathak (17) from Haryana, who became the India’s youngest women to scale Mt Everest from Nepal side, has recently scaled the highest peak of Africa “Mt Kilimanjaro”, which is located in Tanzania. The mountain is about 4,900 metres from its base to 5,895 metres above sea level. Her next target is to scale Europe’s highest peak.

110.    Kane Tanaka (115), a Japanese super centenarian, has become the world’s oldest verified living person following the death of Chiyo Miyako on July 22, 2018. Born on 2nd January 1903, Tanaka is in good health, occasionally playing board games and taking short walks in the facility’s hallways. She credits family, sleep and hope as her secrets for longevity.

111.    In Tamil Nadu, the tiger population in the reputed Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) has doubled to 60 from 30, due to intensive conservation efforts. The MTR is located in Nilgiri District of the state.

112.    On July 30, the second and final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been officially published bearing the names of 2 crore 89 lakh 83 thousand 677 citizens of the state. The NRC will feature the names, addresses and photographs of all Indian citizens, who have been residing in the North-eastern state before 25th March 1971. Out of 3,29,91,385 applicants 2,89,83,677 have been found eligible for inclusion in complete draft of NRC. That means, the names of 40,07,708 people did not appear in the NRC draft. The Registrar General of India, Mr Sailesh stated that persons whose names are not included in the list will be informed individually about the reasons for non-inclusion. Apart from this, the persons who do not find their names in the draft have the legal right to apply again by filing claims on the NRC website or by visiting a NRC Seva Kendra from the 30th of August to 28th of September.

113.    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a 2-member monitoring committee to oversee the Yamuna rejuvenation project. The committee, comprising former Delhi Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra and retired NGT expert member Bikram Singh Sajwan, has been directed to submit the first action plan by September 2018 and report by December 2018. The green panel also directed the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to assist the committee on the project.

114.    The International Tiger Day (ITD) is celebrated every year on July 29 to spread the message to protect these endangered species