Current Affairs Quick Reminder (1-15 August, 2018)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will have an year-long Vikram Sarabhai centenary celebration starting in August 2019 to honour the visionary scientist and legendary founding father. Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space programme, the first ISRO chief and renowned cosmic ray scientist, was born on August 12, 1919. ISRO’s tributes to Sarabhai start with naming the first Indian moon landing spacecraft of the Chandrayaan-2 mission ‘Vikram’. The mission is planned for early 2019.

Maharashtra government will implement its ambitious Automated Multi-modal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS), crime detection and conviction rates in the State. The system is unique because it uses mobile live scanners, and a police patrol team can ascertain on the spot if a suspect has criminal antecedents. It will detect criminals within a matter of 0.46 milliseconds with the help of seven different identification modes apart from conventional finger print method.

Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences & Environment, Forest & on August 12 dedicated India’s only facility for conservation of endangered species. The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), a dedicated facility of CSIR’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad uses modern biotechnologies for conservation of endangered wildlife.

Civil Aviation Ministry has approved a proposal for setting up of water aerodromes in the country. In the first phase, Chilika Lake in Odisha, Sardar Sarovar Dam and Sabarmati river front Ahmedabad in Gujarat have been identified for construction of water aerodromes. The development will pave the way for operation of seaplanes to enhance air connectivity. Under the proposal, water aerodrome will be set up near locations of tourist and religious importance.

Novelist Sir VS Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize in literature, has died on August 12 at his home in London. He was 85. Sir Vidia, who was born in rural Trinidad in 1932, was known for works including ‘A Bend in the River ‘and his masterpiece, ‘A House for Mr Biswas’.

Nobel prize-winning scientist Marie Curie was the most influential woman in history, the BBC found in a poll. Readers of BBC History magazine ranked Polish-born Curie at the top of a list of 100 women who changed the world, for her role in treating cancer.

Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship scheme of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.The project under inauguration was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in September 2015 for Rs.72.30 Crores. The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom.

The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Environment Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma inaugurated an exhibition entitled ‘Prathibandhit Sahitya mein Swatantrata Sangram’ (Freedom Movement through Proscribed Literature) in the premises of National Archives of India, in New Delhi on August 10. The Exhibition is based on the unique collection of proscribed literature in its possession.

The announcement of setting up of two corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in UP- exclusively for defence manufacturing in the current year’s budget, is a logical continuum to this policy of the Government. For the corridor in UP, six nodal points have been identified, viz. Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chitrakoot and Jhansi. Stakeholder interactions have already been held in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Jhansi. All the interactions have seen huge response from the industries in and around the locations. The interactive meets were organised by the Indian Industries Association (IIA), which is the largest organisation of Small and Medium Industries in UP.

Parliament has passed the National Sports University Bill 2018 with the Rajya Sabha approving it on August 9. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill last week. The Bill seeks to establish a first-of-its-kind National Sports University in Manipur for the promotion of sports.

Colombia’s newly-elected President Iván Duque was sworn in on August 7. He pledged to unite the country and improve economic growth. He pledged changes to tackle corruption andinvigorate the economy and vowed to change the peace deal with the FARC rebel group.

The Delhi High Court on August 8 decriminalised begging in the national capital. The Court said that the provisions penalising the act were unconstitutional and deserved to be struck down. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the inevitable consequence of this decision would be that prosecution under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act against persons alleged to have committed the offence of begging would be liable to be struck down.

The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sounded the alarm after the invasive agricultural pest, Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), was discovered in Karnataka this July. A major maize pest in North America, the Fall Armyworm arrived in Africa in 2016. Since then, it has threatened the continent’s maize crop, a staple which feeds 300 million people. The Karnataka finding is the first report of the pest in Asia. The discovery is more worrisome because the pest feeds on around 100 different crops, such as vegetables, rice, and sugarcane.

The West Bengal government has been maintaining the Massanjore dam in Dumka (Jharkhand) dam since 1955. Controversy erupted after the reservoir wall was painted with blue and white, the flag colour of Trinamul Congress.

At the 48th Kerala film awards ceremony, f ilmmaker Sreekumaran Thampi received the J.C. Daniel Award; M.K. Arjunan got the best music director award; Parvathy won the best female actor award; Indrans was given the best actor award; and Lijo Jose Pellissery got the best director award.

At least 40 people were injured in a fire that broke out after an explosion at a hydrocracker plant in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited’s (BPCL) refinery at Mahul in on August 8. The fire broke out in the compressor shed of the 72-tonne plant around 2.45 p.m., and was categorised as a level III (major) blaze.

The Centre government on August 7 appointed S. Gurumurthy and Satish Kashinath Marathe as part time non-official directors on the central board of Reserve Bank of India for four years. The Department of Personnel and Training issued their appointment notification after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved their names as recommended by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 10 said that 12 modern biofuel refineries worth ten thousand crore rupees will be established across the country. This will provide employment to 1.5 lakh youth. He was addressing an event on the occasion of World Biofuel Day 2018 in New Delhi.

On the occasion of World Biofuel Day 2018, Prime Minister launched web portal PARIVESH, a single window for environmental, wildlife, forest and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances. He also released a book on National Biofuel Policy 2018.

Under the ‘One District One Product’ scheme of Uttar Pradesh, the state government has set a goal of providing employment to 25 lakh people in five years through the financial assistance of Rs. 25,000 crores.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu unveiled what is being claimed as the world’s first ingeniously made high energy storage device developed by the Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited in Amaravati on August 6.

Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have emerged as the new hotspots for HIV, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Ministry attributed the reason for the rise in the incidence of HIV in the three northeastern States to the high-risk behaviour of Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), and unsafe sexual practices.

August 8 marks the 30th anniversary of the people’s uprising in Myanmar. The ‘8888’ uprising (or the eighth day of August 1988) is one of Myanmar’s most important historic days in the context of the pro-democracy movement (Picture shows the student flag with the ‘Fighting Peacock’ insignia, and used during the uprising). ‘8888’ was a people’s movement that challenged the then ruling Burma Socialist Programme Party’s grip on political, economic and social affairs which led the country into extreme poverty. The protests and the bloody crackdown gave rise to the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The government introduced an amendment to the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2015, in the Lok Sabha on August 6 to empower District Magistrates with the authority to grant adoption orders. It will make the adoption procedure faster for prospective parents, by avoiding delays in courts. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2018, revises the provisions governing adoptions in the JJ Act by making changes to Section 56,58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64 and 65, where the word “court” has been replaced by “District Magistrate.” The changes are applicable for both domestic and international applications.

Article 35A gives the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature complete authority to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special rights and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public welfare programmes. The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature, under the ambit of Article 35A, could be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.

As per the, Bangladesh Law and Justice Minister Anisul Huq, the Cabinet has approved a new law allowing for the death penalty “if an investigation finds that the death in a road accident has been caused deliberately”. The tens of thousands of teenage school pupils and university students, who have paralysed Dhaka and elsewhere for more than a week are pressing for better road safety after a speeding bus killed two teenagers on July 29.

Joel Robuchon, the world’s most-starred Michelin chef who tore down kitchen walls to give diners new insights into the art of haute cuisine, has died at 73 on 6 August. Robuchon was hailed as one of four “chefs of the century” by the Gault & Millau industry bible in 1990. He founded L’Atelier restaurants.

China on August 6, 2018 announced that it has successfully tested its first hypersonic aircraft which could carry nuclear warheads and penetrate any current generation anti-missile defence systems, seen as a breakthrough in developing weapons. The Xingkong-2 or Starry Sky-2, was launched in a target range located in Northwest China on Friday, the state-run China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament will be marked as social justice session in history following the passage of the bill giving Constitutional status to OBC Commission and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha.

In Women’s Hockey, the Netherlands have been crowned the world champions for a record eighth time. The defending champions recorded a stunning 6-0 victory over Ireland in the summit clash at London on August 5, extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 matches. Kitty van Male, who was among the six different goal scorers, finished the tournament as the top scorer with eight goals. Spain won the third place match by beating Australia 3-1 to claim their first ever World Cup medal. India finished the tournament at the 8th spot.

Computer scientists and a student team from the IIT- Madras have developed the first of a family of six industry-standard microprocessors. The initial batch of 300 chips named RISECREEK, produced under Project Shakti, have been fabricated free at Intel’s facility at Oregon, U.S., to run the Linux operating system.

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the ‘Festival of Democracy’ in Thiruvananthapuram on August 6, 2018 to mark the conclusion of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Kerala legislative assembly.

The eight-day-long international Minjar fair in Chamba was concluded on August 5. Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur led a procession from Akhand Chandi Palace to Manjri Garden to immerse the Minjar (golden tassel) in the Ravi river.

Prominent film personality M. Bhaktavatsala passed away on August 5. He produced critically acclaimed Kannada film Kanneshwara Rama that was directed by M.S. Sathyu. He was also a writer, film producer, film distributor, and even exhibitor. He wrote many books on the history of the film industry.

Andhra Pradesh has emerged the “front-runner” in the field of energy efficiency according to the States’ Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index (SEEPI) released by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and NITI Aayog. The World Bank has already ranked A.P. No. 1 in Energy Efficiency Implementation Readiness.

1,125 endangered Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), which were meant to be smuggled to Bangladesh, were seized from three passengers on board a train at the city railway station. The species is categorised as ‘Vulnerable’ in the red list of endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. The species is listed in the Schedule IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and prohibited from export under the Foreign Trade Policy. 

The National Academy of Art, Lalit Kala Akademi(LKA), established in 1954 by the then Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, celebrated its 64th Foundation Day, on 6th August, 2018. The event was inaugurated by Minister of State for Culture(I/c), Dr. Mahesh Sharma. The LKA Chairman UttamPacharne, eminent artist Padmabhushan Ram V. Sutar and the founder of Sanskar Bharti, Padmashree Baba Yogendra were present at the event.

The Uttar Pradesh government has given its in-principle approval to bring man-animal conflict under listed disasters in the State Disaster Response Fund. The move will enable faster relief, creating awareness, ensuring police support in areas when such conflicts are reported, and proper guidelines to handle situations when wild animals venture in human in-habitation.

Students in their tens of thousands have brought parts of the Bangladesh capital to a standstill since two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.

‘Tebori’-style tattooing, the century-old traditional Japanese method of tattooing by hand with a needled rod is gaining momentum in Japan.

Hundreds of Philippine mothers simultaneously nursed their babies in public on August 5, some of them two at a time, in a government-backed mass breastfeeding event aimed at combating child deaths. About 1,500 women, some of them wearing tiaras and superhero T-shirts, sat on the vast floor of a Manila stadium and let their babies suckle to the beat of dance music.

A high school science teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio, Bryce Carlson has rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean, setting a record for a west-to-east crossing.

NITI Aayog’s International Conference on “Sustainable Growth through Material Recycling: Policy Prescriptions” was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri. Nitin Gadkari at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New delhi on August 6, 2018. The day-long conference has 5 technical sessions on “Circular Economy in Material Recycling”, “Infrastructural Issues in Recycling Industry”, “Standardization and certification in Recycling Industry”, “Environmental Benefits of Material Recycling”, “Financial and Taxation issues in Recycling Industry”, “Financial and Taxation issues in Recycling Industry” respectively, followed by a Valedictory Session to be chaired by Dr. V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel opposition leader Riek Machar have signed a peace deal to share power in a transitional government, to end a five-year civil war. The deal says that Kiir will head the government during the transitional period and Machar will return as First Vice President. A similar arrangement fell apart in July 2016 when fighting erupted in the capital, Juba, and Machar fled the country. South Sudan’s civil war erupted in December 2013 between supporters of Kiir and his then-deputy Machar. Tens of thousands have died in the war.

Saudi Arabia has announced to freez all new trade and investment with Canada over its interference in its internal affairs. The Saudi foreign ministry expelled the Canadian ambassador and recalled its own envoy in Canada. The kingdom gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country.

In Indonesia, some 10,000 people have been evacuated on the island of Lombok after a powerful 6.9 magnitude quake on August 5, 2018 left nearly 100 people dead. National Disaster Agency said thousands of buildings damaged, and power and communication lines cut.

The Indian Under-20 football team created history on August 5 when they defeated Argentina, 2-1 in their final match of the Cotif Cup in Spain. Deepak Tangri scored for India in the 4th minute, before Aniket Jadhav was sent off in the second half. Anwar Ali’s 68th minute put India 2-0 up against the most successful team in U-20 World Cup history.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on August 4 inaugurated the State’s first ‘skill museum’ at the Industrial Training Institute Cuttack. The museum, which will run under the auspices of the Odisha Skills Development Authority, is spread over an area of 2,600 sq. ft. and showcases several ancient and modern equipment and machinery.

India’s Golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar on August 5, 2018 grabbed his maiden European Tour title. At the Fiji International in Natadola Bay, Bhullar soared high with a brilliant chip-in eagle on the 17th hole for a one-stroke win over a charging Anthony Quayle of Australia. It was Bhullar’s first win on the European Tour, ninth Asian Tour title and 10th crown overall. He now becomes the most successful Indian player on Asian Tour, overtaking the tally of eight tour wins by Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa.

In Uttar Pradesh, Mughalsarai junction has been renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya railway station. BJP President on August 5, 2018, inaugurated the new railway station in presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha. They also flagged off a goods train with an all-women crew and a passenger train. Railway official said, this was the first time an all women crew ran a goods train.

The UK government has announced new plans to change the law for organ and tissue donation to address the urgent need for organs within the Indian-origin communities in the country. The proposed new system of consent for organ and tissue donation is expected to come into effect in England in 2020, as part of a drive to help black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people desperately waiting for a life-saving transplant.

FOXP2 is one of the most famous genes to be discovered because of its role in language. Though found in all animals, a slight change in the composition of the gene in humans makes it possible for us to have speech. Those with a malfunctioning FOXP2 have been found to have severe speech defects.

Virat Kohli has now scored a Test hundred in every country he’s played in, except Bangladesh where he has played only one Test. England was the last country where he scored century.

Coins of the British era have been recovered while digging the the courtyard of a house at Oreya village in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand. The coins were found buried in an earthen pot.

As many as 43 peafowl lay dead over a one-km area of a dry channel at Mangalakudi near Kadachanendal in the outskirts of Madurai on August 4. Officials from the City Police and Forest Department, who rushed to the spot, suspect poisoning to be the cause of the deaths of 34 female and nine male birds. The peafowl may have consumed paddy grains laced with poison.

Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams is among the nine astronauts chosen by NASA to fly the first missions into space on commercially provided rockets and capsules, starting next year. The eight active NASA astronauts and one former astronaut-turned-corporate crew member will launch on Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon capsules to the International Space Station beginning in 2019.

The Drishti Marine at Goa Tourism’s beach safety agency has issued an advisory for tourists as well as residents to refrain from venturing into the sea on Baga beach, as lifeguards have spotted a cluster of Portuguese man-of-war, a jelly-like marine organism, washed ashore on the popular beach in north Goa. The marine organism is commonly known as ‘bluebottle’ or ‘floating terror’.

In World Badminton Championships, ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu had to settle for a Silver medal on August 5 after she lost the summit clash of the prestigious tournament at Nanjing, China. The world number three was beaten by the seventh seeded Spaniard Carolina Marin in straight games, 19-21, 10-21. Sindhu had won a Silver in the Championships last year as well.

Bihar Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana’ in Patna on August 3, 2018. The scheme promises to provide 54,100 rupees from the birth of a girl child till she graduates.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj paid floral tributes to Lal Bahadur Shastri at his memorial in Uzbek capital, Tashkent on August 5. At the memorial, Mrs Swaraj also met Yakov Shapiro who sculpted the Bronze bust of India’s second Prime Minister. Shastri had died in Tashkent in January 1966 after signing the Tashkent Declaration that formally ended a war between India and Pakistan.

US Congress has passed a defence spending bill that seeks to amend an existing law to provide waivers to America’s strategic partners like India from punitive sanctions which are aimed at those doing business with Russia’s defence industry. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) waiver is intended at preventing US sanctions on countries like India. New Delhi is planning to buy five S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia for around 4.5 US billion dollars.

The government has distributed cooking gas connection to five crore beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in 27 months ahead of 36 months deadline. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan handed over the gas connection to the fifth crore beneficiary of the scheme, Mrs Takdiran of Delhi at a function in Parliament House on August 3, 2018.

The Lok Sabha on August 3, 2018 passed the National Sports University Bill 2018 which seeks to establish a first-of-its-kind sports university in Manipur to promote sports in the country. The University will address the entire spectrum of sports including research, administration, training and others. The Bill has provisions to establish various campuses in different States as well as abroad.

The Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has recommended that the ban on the retail sale of the life-saving Oxytocin may be lifted. The Union health ministry had cited the advisory board’s recommendation to impose the ban and ask hospitals and clinics to procure oxytocin from a single public-sector company, Karnataka Antibiotics Pharmaceuticals Limited. This had followed longstanding concerns about the abuse of oxytocin in the dairy sector to enhance milk production. Often called the ‘love hormone’, oxytocin is released naturally in human bonding activities such as sex, childbirth and breastfeeding.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) — which has proposed to the Karnataka government to lift the ban on night traffic through Bandipur. A report submitted by the Chamarajanagar police to the NTCA pointed to the fact that before the introduction of the ban on night traffic through Bandipur, there were 23 accident deaths in the core zone between 2004 and 2009. This declined to seven between 2010 and 2017 and all of them were on the stretch from Maddur to Moolehole gate leading to Wayanad during the daytime.

As per the information given in a written reply in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla, a total of 32 crore 17 lakh accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) with a total deposit of over 80 thousand crore rupees by the end of July 2018. Of the total, around 19 crore accounts were in rural/semi-urban centres. As many as 17 crore accounts have been opened by women beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana.

The Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill with over two-third majority on August 2, 2018. The Bill was passed superseding the amendments by the Rajya Sabha which seeks to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). All 406 members present in the House voted in favour of it.

The US Congress has passed a defence spending bill capping its security-related aid to Pakistan at 150 Million dollars, significantly below the level of more than one billion US dollars per year. The Senate passed the conference report on National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19), by 87 to 10 votes yesterday. 

Denmark’s ban on the Islamic full-face veil in public spaces came into force on August 1, 2018, with anyone wearing a garment that hides the face in public risking a fine.

A naval prototype of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has for the first time successfully landed on the Shore Based Test Facility in Goa on August 2. After a series of such trials, the Naval LCA is expected to begin touch and go landings on INS Vikramaditya by year-end.

Union Ministry of Textiles and Union Ministry of Power have joined hands under the initiative SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help Small Industries) in order to sustain and accelerate the adoption of energy efficient textile technologies in the powerloom sector and cost savings due to use of such technology.

An intertidal art gallery, filled with around 30 sculptures acting as a habitat for coral and other marine species, was opened in the Maldives. The gallery, called the Coralarium, is located at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort. At a depth of 3 m in the lagoon, it features semi-submerged exhibits that disappear and reappear as the tide goes in and out. Designed by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the installation was completed after nine months of work and will live as an evolving monument in the sea.

Molecular biologists at the Centre for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences in china have created the first single-chromosome yeast while not affecting the majority of its functions.“If the their claim is true then this breakthrough  could help in furthering research related to aging and diseases in humans. “Brewer’s yeast, one-third of whose genome is said to share ancestry with humans, has 16 chromosomes.“However, Chinese scientists have managed to fit nearly all its genetic material into just one chromosome while not affecting the majority of its functions. 

Platelets found in the blood are the first line of defence in patients with malaria, killing up to 60 per cent of the malarial parasites circulating in the bloodstream. The study published in the journal Blood found that platelets bind to and kill parasites in patients infected with each of the major malaria parasite species which infect and kill humans, Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. knowlesi. The study, involved 376 people, with and without malaria, from Papua, Indonesia and Sabah, Malaysia. The process of killing the parasites is triggered by a toxic platelet peptide called PF4. PF4-based peptides could be potential candidates for malaria treatment in the future.

WHO lauds India’s commitment to accelerated coverage of safe sanitation services which, assuming 100% coverage is achieved by October 2019, could avert up to 300 000 deaths due to diarrheal disease and protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) since the country launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014.

TrackFin (Tracking Financing to WASH) is a WHO’s methodology to identify and track financing to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector at the national or sub-national level in a consistent and comparable manner.

Earth Overshoot Day 2018 was on August 1. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. As per the Global Footprint Network, We are using 1.7 Earths. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through over fishing, over harvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb.

People living in two villages (Kujurum and Latu) in Jharkhand’s Latehar district have been asked to relocate to ensure undisturbed tiger breeding in the area. This step has been taken under Project Tiger which was launched in 1973. These villages fall under the core area of the Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR). The reserve is spread over an area of 1,129.93 sq kms and spans across both Palamu and Latehar districts.

The world’s biggest colony of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) has dwindled by almost 90 percent in 30 years, a new research has said. The colony is located on France’s Ile aux Cochons, about half way between the tip of Africa and Antarctica.

In Zimbabwe, the ruling ZANU-PF party won the most seats in Parliament, after sweeping rural constituencies by huge margins. Of the 153, ruling ZANU-PF has won 110 seats, while the opposition MDC Alliance got 41 seats. The MDC, led by Nelson Chamisa, won in most urban centres, where it enjoys majority support. The polls were the first since long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe was ousted. The vote attracted a high turnout of 70% and was monitored by international observers.

Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels unveiled by the Centre in May this year. The desert State will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.

A US federal district court has blocked the online release of blueprints for plastic guns that can be made with a 3D printer. A Federal judge in Seattle in the state of Washington issued a temporary restraining order yesterday. A Texas-based group was to publish the designs for 3D-printed guns today after reaching a court settlement with President Donald Trump’s administration.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has launched a foreign initiative called New Southern Policy with an aim to increased engagement with India and the ASEAN countries.

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has been chosen for this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award for promoting communal harmony and peace. The award carries a citation and a cash award of R. 10 lakh.

Arunachal Pradesh’s first medical college and hospital, the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS), will start its maiden academic session from August 1, 2018. The Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences college and hospital will have 50 MBBS seats and a 300 bedded hospital.

The worms, known as nematodes or more commonly as roundworms, came from two samples found in Siberia.  One was found near the Alazeya River in the northeastern part of Yakutia, Russia, from deposits estimated to be about 32,000 years old. The other permafrost sample came from the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, and the age of nearby deposits was around 42,000 years old. 

The pink bollworm has again attacked cotton plants in Maharashtra this year, causing concern among farmers and the government. The pest had caused largescale damage to the cotton crop last year in central and eastern Maharashtra, the state’s main regions producing the commodity.

The Chief Minister of Karnataka has proposed (in the State Budget) for redesigning Brindavan Gardens on the lines of Disneyland for which Rs. 5 crore has been initially allocated. It is situated at Krishnaraja Sagar, near Mysuru. The great granddaughter of Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, the German horticulturist and landscape architect responsible for its development, Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krubiegel has opposed the proposal.

French schoolchildren will have to leave their smartphones switched off or at home from September, after lawmakers voted for a ban on July 30. The ban on smartphones, tablets and other connected devices will apply to students up to the age of 15.

The first ‘Nepal-India Think Tank’ Summit to foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the think tanks of the two countries was held in Kathmandu on July 31. Former Prime Minister of Nepal and Co-Chairman of ruling Nepal Communist Party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ inaugurated the summit. Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary and Director, India Foundation Ram Madhav participated in this summit.

An Indonesian court on July 31 disbanded the country’s largest Islamic State-linked group, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) for conducting terrorism and affiliating itself with the foreign militant organisation. JAD has been linked to attacks across the country in recent years, including suicide bombings in the city of Surabaya in May that killed more than 30 people.

Madhya Pradesh government will observe Independence Day eve as Shahid Samman Divas to honour martyrs. The martyrs will be paid homage and the relatives of the martyrs will also be honoured on the day. Ministers, members of Parliament and state legislative assembly and chief Minister himself will meet family members of martyrs on the occasion to express gratitude for supreme sacrifice done by their near and dear for the nation.

India has welcomed the US Government’s decision to move it into Tier-1 of the Department of Commerce’s Strategic Trade Authorization license exception. The US has eased export controls for high-technology product sales to India by designating it as a Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) country. The designation authorises the export, re-export and transfer of specified items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to destinations posing a low risk of unauthorised or impermissible uses. Currently there are 36 countries on STA-1 list. India is the only South Asian country to be on the list. Other Asian countries designated as STA-1 are Japan and South Korea.

Four persons of India-origin, including three women, have been named by Fortune among 40 of the most influential and inspiring young people in business under the age of 40. Chief Finance Officer of the US’ largest automaker, General Motors Dhivya Suryadevara comes in at the 4th spot, followed by Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud (14), Cofounder and Co-CEO of Robinhood Baiju Bhatt (24) and Female Founders Fund founding partner Anu Duggal (32). Instagram Cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, both 34, are tied for first place on the Fortune ’40 Under 40′ list.

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