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CURRENT AFFAIRS: DAYS
National Simplicity Day
- National Simplicity Day is observed annually on 12 July to honour Henry David Thoreau who was an author, philosopher, historian, tax resister, abolitionist, development critic, surveyor and leading transcendentalist. Basically, he was an advocate for living a life of simplicity.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
Chernobyl’s radioactive dust ‘safe confinement’ shelter unveiled in Ukraine
- A structure built to confine radioactive dust from the nuclear reactor at the center of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was formally unveiled.
- Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelenskiy inaugurated the “new safe confinement” shelter that spans the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s Reactor No. 4.
- The enclosure cost €1.5 billion (almost $1.7 billion) to build, and the project took nine years to complete and cost €2.2 billion (about $2.5 billion) in all.
- Reactor No. 4 at the plant in what was then Soviet Ukraine exploded and burned on April 26, 1986. The disaster’s eventual death toll is subject to speculation and dispute.
- The new confinement structure was designed to keep radioactive dust from moving and as a safeguard from further crumbling of the reactor. A section of the machine hall collapsed in 2012.
WHO declares Sri Lanka ‘measles-free’ nation
- WHO declared that measles disease has been eradicated in the island nation of Sri Lanka.
- Measles is a highly contagious viral disease transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
- Sri Lanka is the fourth country in the WHO South-East Asia Region, after Bhutan, Maldives, and Timor-Leste, to eliminate measles and control rubella. Last year, Sri Lanka achieved rubella control, along with five other countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Timor-Leste.
France to impose green tax on flight tickets from French airports
- All tickets for outbound flights from French airports will include a green tax from 2020.
- France will introduce an eco-tax of up to €18 ($20) on all tickets for flights flying out of French airports to fund less-polluting transportation projects.
- The tax, estimated to raise around €180 million a year, will come into effect in 2020 and calls for a fee of €1.50 on economy-class tickets for domestic flights and those within Europe. The highest tariff of €18 per ticket will be applied to business-class travelers flying outside.
- It will only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country
CURRENT AFFAIRS: MOU
BCC signs MoU with BRICS chamber to promote trade
- The Bharat Chamber of Commerce, (BCC) and the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, signed anMoU for promoting trade and investments between the BRICS countries and the eastern part of India, in particular.
- The MoU was signed by BCC president Sitaram Sharma and BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director General B B L Madhukar.
- The MoU will enable both the BCC and the BRICS chamber to share trade related information and exchange trade delegations among the five countries of the group.
- Members of the BRICS are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
PrasarBharati signs MoU with IIT Kanpur for research collaboration
- PrasarBharati signed anMoU with IIT Kanpur for research collaboration in various areas, including Direct to Mobile Broadcasting, Convergence with 5G, Rural broadband, Artificial Intelligence and Next Generation Broadcasting Standards.
- PrasarBharati CEO, ShashiShekharVempati exchanged the MoU with Director, IIT Kanpur, AbhayKarandikar in New Delhi.
Samsung ties up with Paisabazaar to offer financial products on Samsung Pay
- South Korean tech giant Samsung announced its partnership with Paisabazaar.com, an online marketplace for financial products in India.
- com will now support Samsung Pay to provide users with a one stop solution to their financial requirements.
- Users can apply for credit cards and personal loans from the platform. The move will enable existing and potential users to get the benefit of opting for a host of financial services.
- Samsung Pay has been designed to be the smartest and most convenient method to make digital payments almost everywhere. Our partnership with Paisabazaar.com has helped us create a holistic platform that gives them the comfort of opting for various financial products besides using it as a payment platform.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
PAN not linked to Aadhaar card will become invalid from September
- The government will invalidate all PAN cards that are not linked to Aadhaar by September 1.
- At the moment 180 out of the existing 400 million PAN cards are not linked to Aadhaar.
- To validate and continue using the existing PAN cards, citizens will have to link them to Aadhaar. Or else, they will be permitted to use Aadhaar instead for filing returns and while making other high-value transactions, specified under the Income Tax Act.
- Those who cite an Aadhaar number, which is not already linked to a PAN number, for tax returns and other specified transactions after September 1, will get a fresh one from the Income Tax Department.
- This is how the Aadhaar-PAN linkage, proposed in the Finance Bill, 2019 will be rolled out.
Exim Bank inks USD 124 mn loan pact for infra, health projects in Papua New Guinea, Senegal
- Exim Bank has signed agreements with Papua New Guinea and Senegal governments for providing USD 124 million (over Rs 850 crore) loans to finance infrastructure and health care projects in these countries.
- The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has entered into an agreement with Papua New Guinea for Government of India supported line of credit of USD 100 million for financing infrastructure projects in the country.
- Of the total soft loan for the country, USD 60 million is to go for Bayer-Madang road project and USD 40 million for Hoskins-Kimbe road project.
- Besides, an agreement was signed with Senegal for USD 24.5 million line of credit for financing upgradation and rehabilitation of health care system in the country.
UBS pegs down GDP growth to 6.7%
- Swiss brokerage UBS has lowered the country’s real GDP growth forecast to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent earlier in FY20 citing the continuing slowdown in consumption demand and warned that a revival is unlikely before FY21.
- The brokerage expects the Reserve Bank to ease the policy rate by another 75 basis points as against its previous forecast 25 basis points in FY20.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Govt task force to draw up $110-bn mobile export business blueprint
- To figure out how to create a $110-billion mobile phone export business from India, the government has decided to set up a secretary-level task force at the Centre to be steered by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant.
- The push to set up the task force has come from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The PMO has suggested the secretaries should form a policy that eliminates India’s weakness vis-à-vis other Asian countries.
Indian Railways launched ‘Operation Thirst’ to crack down selling of unauthorised packaged drinking water
- As many as 1,371 people were arrested and over 69,294 bottles were seized by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) under ‘Operation Thirst’, an all India drive to crackdown the selling of unauthorised packaged drinking water.
- According to RPF, the operation was launched in all major railway stations across the country to curb the menace of unauthorised packaged drinking water on railway stations.
- During the operation, which was carried out on July 8 and 9, a total fine of Rs 6,80,855 has been realised from these offenders. Four pantry car managers involved in the selling of spurious mineral water were also arrested.
- Stalls on platforms were also found selling packaged drinking water bottles of brands which are not authorised by the Indian Railways.
- The bottles were seized under the sections of 144 and 153 of the Railway Act.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION
Reebok signs Katrina Kaif as its new brand ambassador
- Fitness brand Reebok has announced Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif as its new brand ambassador in India.
- Kaif, who trains hard for a fitter and better self each day, embodies the brand ethos and is an inspiration for today’s generation.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: AWARDS AND HONOUR
Akshay Kumar only Indian star to feature in Forbes World’s Highest Paid Entertainers List
- Akshay Kumar is the only Indian actor to feature in the recently released Forbes World’s Highest Paid Entertainers’ list for 2019. Not only that, at the 33rd spot Kumar is ranked above celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson and many others.
- According to Forbes, Akshay Kumar is paid between $5 million to $10 million per movie and earns millions from endorsement deals with over 20 brands.
- Taylor Swift who topped the list in 2016 was ranked Number 1 at $185 million, followed by Kylie Jenner at $170 million. She is the youngest self made billionaire.
- The third, fourth and fifth positions were taken by Kayne West, Lionel Messi and Ed Sheeran.
Delhi girl IshaKanth bags ICJ Internship Programme
- Delhi girl IshaKanth is one of the two persons in the world to have bagged an internship programme at the International Court of Justice based in Hague.
- Kanth, who is currently pursuing a bachelor degree in Law from Queen Mary University of London, has earlier worked in rural Bihar spreading awareness on the right to education and women empowerment among children belonging to the marginalised sections.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SUMMITS AND CONFERENCE
Second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue held in New Delhi
- The Second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was held in New Delhi, under the chairmanship of Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and Mr.TimurMaksimov, Deputy Minister of the Economic Development of the Russian Federation.
- The Second meeting of the IRSED focussed on six core areas of cooperation, namely,Development of Transport Infrastructure and Technologies; Development of Agriculture and Agro-Processing sector; Small and Medium Business support; Digital Transformation and Frontier Technologies; Cooperation in Trade, Banking, Finance, and Industry; and Tourism & Connectivity.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARY
Brazilian bossa nova pioneer Joao Gilberto passes away
- The legendaryBrazilian musician and songwriter Joao Gilberto passed away.
- He was the pioneer of the lilting, melodious and famous music known asBossa Nova.