‘India Secular State with No State Religion’: India at United Nations Human Rights Meet
- Safeguarding the rights of minorities is an essential core of the polity in India; Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, rebutting attempts by Pakistan to point fingers at New Delhi for attacks on minorities.
- On Thursday’s meeting, the country’s top law officer reportedly mentioned the pivotal role played by the judiciary in upholding human rights in the country along with other institutions.
- On one occasion, without naming Yakub Memon, he mentioned how he was summoned at 2 in the morning by the Supreme Court to hear his appeal.
- Mr Rohatgi held his ground, telling the review meeting that “the concept of torture was completely alien to our culture” and reiterated India’s commitment to ratify the convention. He gave no assurances on removing AFSPA, which more than one government panel has said should be repealed.
- Mukul Rohatagi is a designated senior counsel, and the 14th and current Attorney General of India.
New Delhi cleanest in north: Swachh survey
- The New Delhi Municipal Council area was announced the cleanest in the north, based on solid waste management, access to sanitation and other parameters of cleanliness, under the zone-wise Swachh Survekshan 2017.
- NDMC finished seventh among 434 cities in the national ranking, slipping three notches from the fourth position it had bagged among 73 cities in 2016 and eight points above the 15th position it got in 2014.
- NDMC scored 819.95, 426.88 and 461.13 under municipal documentation, direct observation and citizen engagement, respectively.
- For Checking the Waste generation in the form of plastic bottles, NDMC is installing water ATMs at public places. To improve its public toilets, NDMC will install machines for public feedback at public utilities to improve the level of maintenance and citizens’ perception.
- NDMC spokesperson M S Sherawat told TOI: “The urban development ministry has observed that a slide in ranking does not mean that we had compromised in extending quality civic services to citizens and did not maintain the upkeep of cleanliness at par with the previous year.”
- The evaluators reached the conclusion on the basis of data provided by the council besides data collection through independent observation and assessment and collection of direct citizen feedback.
- New Delhi has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as an a smart city under Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
- New Delhi is a Capital of India and it one of Delhi City’s 11 districts.
India must rethink its ‘stable’ Pakistan policy with Islamic fundamentalists grabbing control of neighbour’s army
- Any dispassionate answer will depend on what precisely is the nature of Pakistan as a country or state. Let us not forget that Pakistan is an essentially an “Army with a country”. It is the army that decides Pakistan’s policy towards India.
- There has always been a perpetual patron-client relationship between the Pakistan Army and militant Islamists. General Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s first military head of state always used Islamic rhetoric against even his political opponents, let alone against India in the 1965-war.
- India was partitioned in 1947 to create a homeland for Muslims under the name of Pakistan.
- In other words, India will remain Pakistan’s eternal enemy as long as one can see. It is against this background that one has to review the rationale behind India’s traditional position that it wants a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan.
- The Indus River is the lifeline of Pakistan, the most credible lesson that India can teach to Pakistan is to dissolve the IWT and negotiate a fresh one by drawing a clear linkage between Pakistan’s right to water inflows more than what a lower riparian gets by international standard and its responsibility not to indulge in anti-India activities.
- India must rethink its ‘stable’ Pakistan policy with Islamic fundamentalists grip the neighbour’s army.
- Pakistan Capital – Islamabad
- President Mamnoon Hussain
- Prime Minister – Nawaz Sharif
- Currency – Pakistan rupee
‘Government cannot “belittle” SC order grabbing Aadhaar voluntary’
- Challenging the decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN numbers and income tax filing.
- Today its opponent said that the government cannot “belittle” the supreme court order holding the unique identification number as voluntary.
- The senior advocate, representing one of the petitioners said that “They cannot belittle the Supreme Court order. The sacrosanctity of a judicial order has to be preserved. Please save the sanctity of the Judgement of this court, otherwise, it would have a dangerous precedent.”
- The Supreme Court said it is yet to be “tested” whether Aadhaar violated protection of life and personal liberty granted under Article 21 of the Constitution, which was pending hearing for an authoritative pronouncement by a five-judge Constitution Bench.
- The bench, however, seeks, “At the time when the order was passed, it was a scheme. Now the question is whether those directions would come in the way of Parliament while enacting legislation.”
- The apex court was hearing three petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act which was introduced through the latest budget and the Finance Act 2017.
- The section 139AA provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax return and making application for allotment of PAN number with effect from July 1 this year.
- Aadhaar Launched – 28 January 2009
- Main people – Nandan Nilekani and Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey CEO
- Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data.
Donald Trump’s healthcare bill passed in US House: Republicans won this battle, but they’ve lost the war
- The US House of Representatives passed Trump care, a giant tax cut for millionaires and billionaires masquerading as a health care bill, On Thursday.
- But unlike Pyrrhus surveying the remnants of his once mighty army and reflecting upon his impending doom at the hands of the Roman Empire, Trump and the Republicans have failed to foretell the defeat that lurks behind this win. Before long, those sounds of champagne corks popping will resemble Chopin’s Funeral March.
- Unfortunately for them, the CBO was able to analyse the previous iteration of the bill. The better version of this bill, which would have thrown close to 24 million people off healthcare.
- If this bill is ratified into law, it will decimate the Republican majority in the House and Senate in 2018. In 2020, it will hand over the presidency to the Democrats.
- US Capital – Washington, D.C.
- President – Donald Trump
- Currency – United States dollar
The US seeks tougher visa scrutiny, including social media checks
- The U.S. Department of State has proposed tougher questioning of visa applicants believed to warrant extra scrutiny, according to a document published Thursday; in a push toward the “extreme vetting” that President Donald Trump has said is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.
- A set of new questions would apply to visa applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities,” the State Department said in a notice to the Federal Register.
- The Document said that the Consular officers would not request user passwords for social media accounts.
- While parts of the travel order, including a temporary ban on the entry of nationals from several majority-Muslim countries, were halted by federal courts, the review of vetting procedures detailed in an accompanying memorandum remains in place.
- DHS spokesman David Lapan said that “Some improvement will be classified, others will be public, but the Department has only just begun ways to enhance the security of our immigration system.
- US Capital – Washington, D.C.
- President – Donald Trump
- Currency – United States dollar
China’s first homegrown jet takes off to challenge Boeing, Airbus
- On Friday the first large made-in-china passenger plane took off on its maiden test flight, marking a key milestone on the country’s ambitious journey to compete with the world’s leading aircraft makers.
- The develop by state-owned aerospace manufacturer commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, the plane is represented almost a decade of effort in a government-mandated drive to decrease dependence on European consortium Airbus and US aeroscope giant Boeing.
- The President Xi Jinping himself has endorsed the new project, visiting COMAC even before he took an office in 2013.
- In the previous year, the first flight was supposed to take place, but it was delayed until now.
- COMAC’s smaller, 90-seat ARJ21 plane, which entered service in 2016, several years late, is currently restricted to flying domestic routes as it still lacks the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification that would allow it to fly US skies.
- China Capital – Beijing
- President – Xi Jinping
- Congress Chairman – Zhang Deijiang
- Currency – Renminbi (yuan)
- China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia and has been characterised as a potential superpower.
Donald Trump’s five-nation tour to forge partnerships, deliver peace
- The senior administration official said that the five-nation trip by President Donald Trump to Europe and the Middle East later this month is aimed at reversing America’s disengagement with the world, establishing American leadership and forging partnerships with the countries in the region.
- After taking office this will be the first foreign trip for Trump. However, the exact dates of his visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, Brussels and Italy, have not been declared yet.
- The official said that the “Circumstances in the Middle East, that have bled over, as we all know, into Europe and globally, associated with radical, Islamist terrorist groups — Salafi-jihadist groups that are victimising so many in the region and beyond, as well as the problems associated with these terrorists groups, combined with Iran’s subversive and malign behaviour across the region, have aligned interests in a way that could lead to new partnerships enabled by American leadership.”
- In a recent phone call with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump followed up on a broad range of diplomatic efforts to address the civil war in Syria, the problem associated with ISIS in particular and its control of territory and populations and resources.
- The official also said that “Of course that’s hopeful, as all that is right now, but it’s an opportunity that’s been created by the integration of elements of American power and American leadership in a very complex situation.”
- The Trump is a 45th and current President of the United States.
- Trump Born – June 14, 1946 (age 70)
- Political Party – Republican
- Net worth – US$3.5 billion
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ‘encouraged’ by deal on Syria safe zones
- The Spokesman said that the UN secretary-General Antonio Guterres is encouraged by the agreement signed by Turkey, Russia and Iran to set up safe zones in Syria and de-escalate fighting.
- In a statement, the UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that “It will be crucial to see this agreement actually improve the lives of Syrians.”
- The United Nations will support de-escalation, said the spokesman but he did not elaborate. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, who was in Astana as an observer, described the agreement as “an important promising positive step in the right direction” toward a halt in the fighting.
- According to the memorandum seen by AFP, the fourth zone will include parts of the Deraa and Quneitra provinces in southern Syria.
- More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the country’s war began with anti-government protests in March 2011.
- The Secretary-General serves as a thechief administrative officer of the United Nations.
- The role of the United Nations Secretariat and of the Secretary-General in particular, is laid out byChapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of the United Nations Charter.
BANKING AND FINANCE
Loan defaulters beware! Modi govt notifies new Banking Regulation Act
- On Friday the Modi government has notified the ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act, empowering the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and banks to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against chronic defaulters.
- The gazette notification said that “The Central Government may by order authorise the Reserve Bank to issue directions to any banking company to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect of a default, under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.”
- The RBI and the government had also asked banks to impose a strict ban on any new loans to wilful defaulters. Such borrowers are also now barred from being appointed as directors on boards of companies.
- The fresh set of rules may also allow banks to separate the outstanding unpaid debt into sustainable and unsustainable parts to better restructure loans.
- Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had set banks a March 2017 deadline to clean up their balance sheets. Mounting bad loans and high default rates by large companies have drawn criticism from experts and regulators.
- RBI established – 1 April 1935; 82 years ago
- Governor – Urjit Patel
- Reserves – US$363.00 billion
- The RBI is a India’s central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee.
GST will propel economy to eight per cent growth rate in next fiscal: Shaktikanta Das
- The Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has said that the Indian economy will grow 8% in next fiscal as the full-year impact of the landmark Goods and Services Tax will be observed by that time.
- The 8% growth rate in 2018-19 fiscal years will compare to a projected 7.5 percent GDP expansion in the current financial year and 7.1% of 2016-17.
- The GST, dubbed as the biggest tax reform since independence, will club nearly a dozen central and state levies into a single national sales tax, helping the country integrate into one market.
- Das has said that not just a GST but the government continues to take other reform measures, including procedural reforms as also stepping up public investment in infrastructure.
- Das said the principal anchor of the Committee’s suggestions on the fiscal road map is a debt to GDP ratio of 60%.
- GST (Goods and services Tax) is an indirect taxation in India combining most of the existing into a single system of taxation.
- The GST is governed by GST Council and its Chairman is Union Finance Minister of India.
Ujjivan small Finance Bank commences operations in Pune
- Ujjivan Small Finance Bank today commenced operations from four locations in Pune, taking its total branches to 30 across the country.
- The four locations are Swargate, Pimpri, Akurdi and Hadapsar and the small finance bank now operates out of Bengaluru, Ramanagara, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Pune.
- Its managing director and Chief executive Samit Ghosh said that “in less than three months of our bank launch, we have established our presence across all four regions – South, North, East and West India. In the coming months, we will continue to increase our banking footprint across the country to serve the target customer segments”.
- A statement issued here has said that Ujjivan has a presence across 14 districts in Maharashtra with 51 branches, catering to over 3.65 lakh customers.
- The bank’s chief operating officer Ittira Davis said it is offering savings bank account with no charges for minimum balance and also services like doorstep banking, mobile, the internet and phone banking, access to biometric ATMs and Aadhar enabled debit cards.
- The Small finance banks are the type of niche banks in India.
- The Bank with a small finance bank license can provide basic banking services of acceptance of deposits and lending.
Asian Development Bank Predicts 7.4% growth for Indian Economy this Fiscal
- ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said that reforms like the Goods and Services Tax and the new bankruptcy law will make it easier to do business in India.
- On the impact of rupee appreciation on exports, he said, the appreciation cannot be considered in isolation, and the overall export performances of India so far appear to be quite positive.
- The rupee has appreciated by over 5% against the US dollar since January. Mr Sawada was talking to the media at Yokohama in Japan yesterday, a day before finance ministers and central bank governors meet for the ADB’s 50th annual meeting.
- Sawada cited the example of China, which is shifting from an export driven model to a more internal demand driven model.
- Sawada said there is a trend in Asia that domestic consumption and investment play a much more important role than external demand.
- ADB (Asian Development Bank) Formation – 19 December 1966
- Motto – Fighting Poverty in Asia and the Pacific
- Headquarters – Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines
- President – Takehiko Nakao
- ABD is a regional development of bank.
Dronacharya awardee wrestler captain Chand Roop passes away
- Dronacharya the award winning wrestling coach Captain Chand Roop passes away on Tuesday evening. He was 87.
- Chandroop, who hailed from Sundana village of Rohtak district of Haryana, was admitted to a private hospital in Delhi after complaining of breathing problem. “After examining him, the doctors declared him dead,” said Ashok Dhaka, Chandroop’s nephew and a coach at his Delhi-based akhara.
- After joining the Indian Army in 1948, Chand roop then took up a wrestling. He was a former National champion who became a coach to train the Army wrestlers.There he made an Asian Games bronze medallist and former Bharat Kesari title winner Netrapal and anther prominent wrestler Vijay Kumar.
- Three Chandroop akhara wrestlers, Joginder Kumar (120kg freestyle silver), Sanjay Kumar (74kg Freco Roman gold) and Dharmender Dalal (120kg Greco-Roman bronze), bagged medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The same year Chandroop has conferred the prestigious Dronachrya award for lifetime achievement.
- Ashok Dhaka, Chan drops nephew and a coach at his Delhi-based akhara said that “The most remarkable quality of guruji was his love for discipline. Being an Army man, he never allowed his students to take training sessions lightly and ensured 100% attendance.”
- Dronacharya Award, officially known asDronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games is sports coaching honour of the Republic of India.
- This award is named after Drona, often referred as “Dronacharya” or “Guru Drona”, a character from Sanskrit epic Mahabharata of ancient Indian.
AWARD & RECOGNITION
Sports Ministry announces changes in National Youth Awards
- On Wednesday the Sports ministry Vijay Goel declared several changes in the National Youth Awards structure by raising the number of recipients and making it more broad-based and transparent in the selection process.
- The National Youth Awards are conferred by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports every year to young people to give recognition to their outstanding work and to motivate and encourage them to achieve better in the field on National Development and social service.
- In a statement, the ministry said that “The number of awards in theVoluntary Organisation category has now been increased from 1 to 10 and the prize money is Rs 2,00,000 with a trophy and certificate. The amount of money for the award in the ‘Individual’ category has also been enhanced to Rs 50,000 and will be given to 25 individuals.”
- Earlier, only one award was given under Voluntary Organisation category, working with the youth for national development and social service.
- The NYA was earlier conferred for excellent work in the field of youth development activities and social service without specifying the individual fields thereby making it more general and less focused.
- Vijay Goel is an Indian Politician and the current Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- Vijay Goel was born on 4 January 1954.
- He is affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
3D-printed bricks from moondust may help build lunar colonies
- Scientists at ESA have successfully 3D printed bricks using simulated moondust and a solar furnace, an advance that could allow humans to develop settlements on the Moon in the future.
- “We took the simulated lunar material and cooked it in a solar furnace,” said Advenit Makaya, who is overseeing the project for European Space Agency.
- The solar furnace focuses sunlight into a high-temperature beam on melting the soil grains together. The resulting bricks have the equivalent strength of gypsum, the main constituent in many forms of plaster.
- The Tommaso Ghidni, who heads ESA’s Materials and Processes sadi that “For a mission like building a base on the Moon surface, in-situ resource utilisation will certainly be one of the most important enabling technologies.”
- ESA (European Space Agency) Established – 30 May 1975; 41 years ago
- Headquarters – Paris, France
- Budget – €75 billion
- The ESA is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states, dedicated to the exploration of space.
World’s biggest X-ray laser generates first light
- The world’s biggest X-ray laser has generated its first beam of light that will allow scientists to get a glimpse of new materials, drugs and chemical reactions at the atomic level.
- The 3.4-kilometre-long European XFEL, most of which is located in underground tunnels in Germany, will usher a new era of European research, according to scientists.
- The achievable laser light wavelength corresponds to the size of an atom, meaning that the X-rays can be used to make pictures and films of the nano cosmos at atomic resolution -such as of biomolecules, from which better understanding of the basis of illnesses or the development of new therapies could be developed.
- The Robert Feidenhans’l, Managing director of the European XFEL said that “This is an important moment that our partners and we have worked towards for many years. The European XFEL has generated its first X-ray laser light.”
- The German research Centre DESY, the largest shareholder of the European XFEL, put the accelerator into operation at the end of April.
- With more than 27,000 light flashes per second instead of the previous maximum of 120 per second, an extremely high luminosity, and the parallel operation of several experiment stations, it will be possible for scientists investigate more limited samples and perform their experiments more quickly.
- European XFEL Headquarters – Hamburg
- The European x-ray free electron laser is an X-ray research laser facility currently in commissioning.
- In May 2017 the first laser pulse was developed.
Hubble Space Telescope Captures Galaxy Cluster 6 Billion Light Years Away
- TheNASA/ESA Hubble space telescope has revealed new details of a huge galaxy cluster located about six billion light-years away from the Earth.
- The galaxy cluster called Abell 370, in the constellation Cetus (the Sea Monster), contains an astounding assortment of several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity.
- Astronomers chose Abell 370 as a target forHubble because its gravitational lensing effects can be used for probing remote galaxies that inhabited the early universe.
- The current image of Abell 370 was captured as part of the Frontier Fields programme, which used a whopping 630 hours of Hubble observing time, over 560 orbits of the Earth. Six clusters of galaxies were imaged in exquisite detail, including Abell 370 which was the very last one to be finished.
- The statement added that an earlier image of this object using less observation time and therefore not recording such faint detail was published in 2009.
- The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation.
- Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile and is well-known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy.
BCCI needs to abandon its arm-twisting tactics, act like a statesman for cricket
- Four years ago, Team India won the Champions Trophy in England. That was a remarkable win that seemed unlikely at one second when Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara were in complete control.
- A lot of us would also clearly remember the winning moment, with Ashwin bowling the last ball and MS Dhoni leaping in pure joy. The celebrations went on with several players showing their dance moves and a number of us replicating the same in our living rooms late that night. Such wonderful memories.
- Over the past decade, a narrative has been made by the Board of Council for Cricket in India that cricket is growing in India, reflected by the massive amounts of money that he sporting has earned and put back in.
- Coming back to the point about prize money, BCCI has made it their full-time job to earn money and maximise their profits. They are supposed to be the guardians of the game, but they act like its proprietors, leasing out their players in exchange for cash.
- Cricket fans will thank them for not having to read about legal cases and boardroom deals. It makes us uncomfortable when administrators start making headlines in cricket news, we are much happier following the players.
- BCCI founded – 1926
- Headquarters – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, Maharashtra
- The BCCI is the national governing body for cricket in India.
- Chief executive – Rahul Johri
- Vice President – Rajeev Shukla
Djokovic parts ways with coaching team in bid to boost results
- World number two Novak Djokovic has parted company with his coaching team in a bid to halt a run of poor results which culminated in a quarter-final exit at the Monte Carlo Masters last month.
- A winner of 12 Grand Slam titles, the Serb has suffered a noticeable dip in form since winning his maiden French Open last June, relinquishing top spot in the ATP rankings to Briton Andy Murray five months later.
- On Friday, the 29-year-old announced that he would part ways with his coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil-Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic.
- In a statement, Djokovic said that “I am forever grateful to Marian, GG and Miljan for a decade of friendship, professionalism and commitment to my career goals.”
- Novak Djokovic Born – 22 May 1987 (age 29)
- Novak Djokovic often referred to by the hypocorism Nole, is a Serbian professionals tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 2 in men’s single tennis, according to the association of Tennis Professionals.
Afridi confident of Pakistan bowlers challenging Indian batsmen in ICC Champions Trophy 2017
- Shahid Afridi the former Pakistan all-rounder has called on his side’s formidable bowling line-up to fire against their arch-rivals India in the upcomingChampions Trophy, starting July 1 in England and Wales.
- India is yet to declared their squad for the upcoming 50-over pinnacle tournament, the fans from both nations have marked their calendars for June 4 when the two arch-rivals take on each other in their group clash.
- The express Tribune reported that the Afridi is also pointed out that the champions trophy is the only ICC event where Pakistan have had achieved success against India.
- Despite not playing a full-fledged bilateral series against Pakistan since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, the arch-rivals have played each other a number of times in the ICC events, with the most recent coming at the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup. Although, Pakistan toured India for a short series in December 2012.
- ICC Champions Trophy First Tournament was played on 1998.
- The ICC champions Trophy is a one day International Cricket tournament organised by the International Cricket Council.
La Liga: Barcelona forward Neymar ordered to stand trial for corruption
- Barcelona forward Neymar and his parents will stand trial over alleged corruption, making the Brazilian the latest football superstar to have to take the stand, a Spanish court ordered on Thursday.
- An initial court statement had said Neymar and his parents were also accused of fraud, but a detailed court document seen later revealed the trio have only been charged with “business corruption.”
- Barcelona originally published the transfer figure as 57.1 million euros ($62.6 million), with 40 million euros of that given to the player’s family and the rest to Santos.
- Neymar signed a bumper new deal with the club to extend his contract until 2021 in July 2016 despite admitting he held talks with Paris Saint-Germain amidst interest from a host of top European clubs in luring him away.
- La Liga Founded – 1929
- The Primera Division, Commonly known as La Liga and as La Liga Santander for sponsorship reasons, is the top professionals’ association football division of the Spanish football league system.