1. 18th July : Nelson Mandela International Day observed
i. Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. The day is aimed at inspiring individuals to take action to help change the world for the better.
ii. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. However, other groups began celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July 2009.
iii. The Day recognized Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights. The Nobel Peace Prize 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”.
2. Three Indian sites listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites
i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has listed Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex and Sikkim’s national park home to the world’s third highest peak Mount Khangchendzonga among its World Heritage Sites, approving all three nominations linked to India this session.
ii. This approval comes two days after the ruins of Nalanda University in Bihar made to the elite tag at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul. 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.
iii. India now has 35 sites, including 27 cultural properties, seven natural sites, and one mixed site, notified as World Heritage Sites. A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, etc.) that is listed by UNESCO as being of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
3. India’s first e-court opened in Hyderabad
i. India’s first e-court has opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. It is the common high court for the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
ii. Inaugurating the e-court, Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur stated that Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were first two states in the country to be chosen for Integrated Criminal Justice System project.
iii. Justice Lokur, who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, said modalities of the system will be worked out at a meeting scheduled on July 28.
4. Government launches Transforming India portal
i. Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched a website ‘Transforming India’, a repository for real-time sharing of the impact of various governance initiatives with citizens.
ii. The Transforming India portal will provide information in a user-friendly format enabling citizens to view the content in the form of Infographics, e-books, performance dashboard, videos, daily news corner, and so on.
iii. Viewers can engage with the content by comments and share it through social media.
5. Govt releases Rs 100 Cr towards co-contribution in APY
i. The Government has released Rs 100 crore towards its co-contribution for Atal Pension Yojana (APY) for 2015-16. APY provides minimum guaranteed pension ranging between Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month for the subscriber from the age of 60 years. The same amount of pension is paid to the spouse in the case of the subscriber’s demise.
ii. Under the scheme, individuals who have registered before March 31, 2016, will get a co-contribution from the government, which will be 50 per cent of the subscriber contribution up to a maximum of Rs 1,000. The co-contribution will be for 5 years from 2015-16 to 2019-20.
iii. The government is implementing Atal Pension Yojana (APY) through banks and the Department of Post. The total number of subscribers registered under APY as on June 30, 2016, has crossed 30 lakh and every day, nearly 5,000 new subscribers are added. Only those users who are not income tax payers and not part of any other social security schemes are eligible for the central government co-contribution.
6. Commerce Ministry starts e-marketplace for goods procurement
i. The Commerce Ministry has launched an e-marketplace for online purchase of goods and services by various central government ministries and departments which aimed at bringing in more transparency and streamlining the government procurement of goods and services.
ii. It was launched by the Union Minister of State (MoS) Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi. In this regards, the portal has been developed by the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) which works under the Commerce Ministry and carries out the procurement.
iii. At the launch of portal, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that under this initiative various brands and specifications are available at the portal with cost and this is just a beginning, many more things are in the offing. It will get expanded in the longer term by March next year.
7. Vice President Hamid Ansari unveils Gandhi’s stone statue
i. Vice President Hamid Ansari has unveiled a stone statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Pethub Monastery in the Mongolian capital which is seen as a symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties.
ii. After unveiling the statue of the ‘Father of the Nation’, the Vice President also went to the monastery founded by former Indian ambassador Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.
iii. Pethub Monastery, seen as a symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties, was inaugurated in August 1999 by Indian Vice President Krishan Kant. Rinpoche named his monastery as ‘Pethub’, which in Tibetan means a model or exemplary. The name is drawn from the main monastery in Ladakh which is also known as Spituk Monastery and is over 800 years old.
8. Pema Khandu was sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh
i. Pema Khandu has sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh while Chowna Mein has sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister. With this, Mr. Khandu became the youngest Chief Minister in the country.
ii. They both Mr. Khandu and Chowna have administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Tathagat Roy at a function in Itanagar.
iii. The 37 years old Mr. Khandu is a son of late Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and represents Moktu assembly constituency in Tawang district.
9. Delhi CM launches live interactive programme TalkToAK
i. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has launched a live interactive programme, titled ‘TalkToAK’, aimed at directly engaging with the Delhiites, where people from across the country can ask him questions over the phone, by sending text messages and through social media.
ii. The first programme went on for nearly two hours, in which the Chief Minister answered a wide variety of questions based on education, youth and city administration.
iii. During the programme TalkToAK, on education, Mr. Kejriwal stated that his government has planned 100 new schools, which would be better than private schools and speaking about the youth, the CM exhorted them to participate in politics on a large scale. Speaking on the issue of flyover construction in the city, Mr. Kejriwal stated that his government has managed to save over Rs. 350 crores in the construction of five flyovers in the national capital since his party came to power in February, last year.
10. Terrapin acquires Yatra Online for $218 mn
i. The 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 Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition firm Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corp (TRTL).
ii. The transaction values Yatra at an enterprise value of $218 million (Rs 1,458 crore).
iii. However, the combined company will continue to be led by Yatra’s experienced management team under the leadership of chief executive and co-founder Dhruv Shringi.
11. 11th Asia–Europe Meeting Summit issues Ulaanbaatar Declaration
i. The 11th edition of the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM11) or ASEM2016 has issued Ulaanbaatar Declaration.
ii. The declaration has reaffirmed ASEM’s commitment for greater partnership through informal political dialogue and initiatives in economic and socio-cultural fields. It also has expressed its commitment to the united fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
iii. Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari is also attending the summit which also focused on greater connectivity between Europe and Asia as the theme of the summit is “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity”.
12. Sovereign Gold Bond scheme opened for subscription
i. The fourth tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bonds scheme has opened for subscription.
ii. The bond can be purchased from the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange, besides all Bank branches, select Post Offices and the Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited.
iii. The government had yesterday fixed 3,119 rupees per gram as the issue price of the bond. The scheme will be open until Friday. The minimum subscription has been reduced to 1 gram, although the maximum remains at 500 gram per person or institution. Earlier, the minimum denomination was 5 gram.
13. Coimbatore-based Air Carnival commences operations
i. Low-cost airline with pink and white themed Air Carnival has launched its operations with its maiden flight from Coimbatore to Chennai. The airline, which is based in Coimbatore, will focus on short-haul services with ATR72-500 aircraft.
ii. The carrier charged Re 1 for the first flight. It plans to keep the tariff at Rs 999 for the first three months. Initially, the company will focus on South Indian market for a year and then it plans to expand to other parts of the country.
iii. The airline will have daily service for 10 sectors including 3 daily flights from Chennai to Coimbatore (up and down) and two daily flights from Chennai to Madurai (up and down). The promoter CMC group plans to infuse around $12-15 million (of which $5 million already invested) initially, which will fund to acquire at least 3-5 air crafts but at present, the airline has started operations using only one aircraft. It would add its second aircraft by the end of September and a third one by the end of October.
14. Dabur and DRDO unit tie up for high altitude medicinal plants
i. Dabur, a leading ayurvedic FMCG firm has tied up with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO’s) unit Defense Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), Leh, to promote sustainable cultivation of high-altitude medicinal plants in Ladakh.
ii. As per this deal, both organizations will educate farmers and help enhance livelihood opportunities in the cold desert area.
iii. Under this tie-up with the unit of DRDO, Dabur will also impart training to the villagers on the sustainable cultivation of herbs. For this, the Jivanti Welfare and Charitable Trust, Dabur’s corporate social responsibility arm, had approached DIHAR & Pragya — an NGO operating from Leh-Ladakh, with the primary focus on helping the local community in Leh-Ladakh while also augmenting the population of medicinal herbs in the country.
15. Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Saurav Ghosal clinch National Squash tittles
i. Dipika Pallikal Karthik toppled defending champion Joshna Chinappa to regain the women’s title in the 73rd Senior National Squash Championship in Mumbai.
ii. The men’s crown was captured by the titleholder and top seed Saurav Ghosal, who created history by winning it for the 11th time, defeating fourth seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu in five hard-fought games.
iii. Saurav Ghosal beat Harinderpal Singh Sandhu 11-7 7-11 3-11 11-8 14-12 after an 88-minute battle to go past RK Narpat Singh’s feat of 10 titles, won from 1946 to 1955. The World no. 19 Dipika, who was playing in the nationals after a five-year gap when she won in 2011, made it to the tops once again by beating arch-rival Joshna 4-11 11-6 11-2 11-8 in 43 minutes.
16. Vijender Singh beats Kerry Hope to clinch WBO Asia Pacific title
i. Vijender Singh, the boxing star from India, has clinched the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title at the Thyagraj Stadium, New Delhi.
ii. To win the title, the six-footer from Haryana defeated former WBC European champion Kerry Hope.
iii. The 30-year-old Vijender Singh took all 10 rounds to dismantle the 34-year-old Australian Hope and record his seventh straight win in the circuit. He scored 98-92, 98-92, 100-90 to be the unanimous winner. With this, Singh also became the country’s first-ever professional boxing title holder. The win also helped him to climb to 15th in the world in his category.