July 23 to 29 Current Affairs

International Affairs


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi used her first speech in Parliament on 25th July, to call for laws protecting the rights of the country's ethnic minorities. The Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy crusader won her first seat in Myanmar's Parliament in a historic April by-election that was seen as a key step in the country's transformation from military rule to fledgling democracy. Suu Kyi stood from her seat toward the back of Myanmar's Parliament to call for an end to discrimination against ethnic minorities as part of the "emergence of a genuine democratic country."





India has prohibited US-sanctioned Iranian ships from entering its water as it is hampering crude oil imports from Iran. In early July, the government had allowed crude oil import from Iran in ships arranged by Tehran after European sanctions evaporated insurance cover to domestic shippers. However, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) and other state refiners are allowed to import oil from Iran on cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis -- wherein Tehran was to arrange for ships and insurance. “We were to import four tankers or cargoes of about 90,000 tonne each from Iran in July. But we could only get one as the CIF approval was withdrawn,” MRPL Managing Director PP Upadhya. US has sanctioned National Iranian Tanker Co and its 58 vessels -- some of which have been reflagged in other nations to put off international sanctions.





Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi elected fifty year old Hisham Kandil as the country’s Prime Minister. Mohamed Morsi who became the fifth President of the Republic of Egypt on 24 June 2012, is the first to have been freely elected in the country.


National Affairs


The Supreme Court directed that there should be no tourism activity in any of the core zones of tiger reserves across the country. A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Ibrahim Kalifulla also warned of contempt proceedings and imposition of exemplary costs on states which failed to notify the buffer zones in their respective tiger reserves. The apex court was also furious that several states despite its earlier directions of April 4 and July 10 had failed to notify the buffer zones in their respective reserves and warned that if they failed to comply within three weeks the defaulting states shall be saddled with a cost of Rs 50,000 each, recoverable from the Principal Secretary, Forest of the state concerned. The apex court also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 each on Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra and Jharkhand for not complying with its directions. 





Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, Director General Indian Coast Guard at Karaikal on 25 July 2012, commissioned Coast Guard Station Karaikal. Karaikal is the fifth coast guard station on the Puducherry-Tamil Nadu coastline. The station is part of ongoing efforts by the Coast Guard to strengthen coastal security along the Indian coastline. The station at Karaikal will help augment patrolling along the east coast and prevent illicit activities such as infiltration, smuggling and illegal fishing. Coast Guard Station Karaikal will function under the administrative and operational control of the Commander Coast Guard Region (East) through the Commander Coast Guard District Headquarter- 5 located at Chennai. Commandant PR Lochen was appointed as the Commanding Officer of the station.





The Supreme Court of India on 26 July 2012 modified one of its order on welfare and rehabilitation of sex workers. A special bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Gyan Sudha Misra modified its earlier order, saying, "the modification shall not be construed that by this order any encouragement is being given to prostitution." Modifying its earlier order, the bench clarified that it would only examine the conditions conducive for sex workers to work with dignity in accordance with provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.  Article 21 in the Constitution of India states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.





The Ministry of Women and Child Development on 26 July 2012 drafted the National Policy for Children 2012. The revised draft policy reaffirms the government's commitment towards children and addresses new challenges, seeking to realize the full potential of children’s rights throughout the country. It defines a child as a person below eighteen years of age, and acknowledges the inalienable and inherent rights of the child and aims to realize the full range of child rights for all children in the country.

The draft has stated that every child has a right to be safeguarded against hunger, deprivation and malnutrition. According to the draft policy, the state is bound to secure the rights and entitlement of children in difficult circumstances such as migration, displacement, disasters and communal violence. The first National Policy on Children was formulated in 1974. The first policy of 1974 described children as a supremely important asset and made the state responsible for providing equal opportunities for growth and development of all children. The policy primarily focused on health and education of the children.





Kapil Sibal, the Union Human Resource Minister inaugurated the ‘Anti- Ragging Web Portal’ on 26 July 2012. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has developed the portal in collaboration with Ed.CIL (India) Ltd. and Planet E-Com Solutions. Rajendra Kachroo, father of Aman who lost his life to ragging at a medical college in Himachal Pradesh in 2009 has also contributed in the UGC managed portal. Supreme Court, in its judgment dated 8 May, 2009 ordered implementation of a ragging prevention programme comprising, setting up toll-free anti-ragging helpline /call centre, database of institutions/students, engaging an independent non-government agency.All calls that would be received by the Anti-ragging Helpline (18001805522) will be managed and followed up in a structured software system. Moreover, students can see the progress of their complaint any time on www.antiragging.in


Bilateral Relations


India and Indonesia signed an agreement to avoid double taxation and prevent fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income on 27 July 2012. Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. R. M. Marty Natalegawa and his Indian counterpart S.M Krishna at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi signed the agreement.

Apart from the agreement, both sides also signed the agreed minutes of the fourth Joint Commission Meeting between India and Indonesia. Both the countries, reviewed the entire state of bilateral relationship including trade and commerce. Two nations have also agreed to strengthen the bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership both countries share a warm relationship on account of the solid foundation of historical and cultural ties. Both countries are also hopeful of achieving the trade target of 25 billion US Dollars by 2015.


Economic Affairs


The market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 23 July 2012 tightened eligibility and exit criteria for stocks in the derivatives segment by increasing the benchmark liquidity level for any scrip to be eligible for trading in the derivatives segments. By doing away with illiquid stocks, SEBI aims to check manipulation.

According to the circular issued by SEBI, scrips with a minimum trading volume value of Rs 10 lakh and market wide position limit (MWPL) or market capitalisation of Rs 300 crore cannot be eligible for entry into the Future and Options (F&O) segment. Over 220 scrips trade in the F&O segment on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) at present. Of these 220 scrips only 100 scrips will possibly meet the new eligibility criteria set by the market regulator. The minimum Median Quarter Sigma Order Size, which indicates liquidity/order size in scrip, a requirement for introduction in derivatives segment was revised to Rs 10 lakh, from Rs 5 lakh at present. The MWPL, indicating the size of the company was also raised to Rs 300 crore, from Rs 100 crore. Scrips that fail to maintain a minimum MWPL requirement of Rs 200 crore would cease to be in the F&O segment. The earlier limit was set at Rs 60 crore. SEBI also tightened the minimum conditions for a stock to continue trading in the derivatives segment. As per the circular, a stock's MQSOS over the last six months ought to be more than Rs 5 lakh against Rs 2 lakh earlier for the stock to continue trading.






India’s leading four-wheeler manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Limited announced to close down its factory at Manesar,located in Haryana on 21 July 2012. The company’s move came after a scuffle between the workers and senior management of the company broke out at the factory site on 18 July 2012.The scuffle, which left many of the company’s executives injured, broke out after the workers' demand of pay-parity was not accepted by the company.The plant had witnessed 5 workers’ strike in year 2011 itself. In October 2011 the company had witnessed a 14-day-long strike that ended on 21 October 2011, after the company gave in to the workers' demand to register a trade union.





The finance ministry declared on 24 July 2012 that the government based on the recommendation of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved 14 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs 1584.11 crore. The FDI proposal which received government approval included 225-crore investment in the Indian operations of Asian equity research firm CLSA. Maharashtra based Abhijeet Power’s proposal to invest Rs 674 crore for induction of foreign equity in an investing company to make downstream investment also received approval. The government also cleared the proposal of Pune-based Bajaj Finserv, which sought a nod for issue of equity shares to carry out NBFC activities directly and through subsidiaries. It proposed to bring in FDI worth Rs 100 crore.


Awards


The Government of Japan on 23 July 2012 decided to honour renowned Indian Environmentalist Vandana Shiva with Fukuoka Prize 2012. She enlightens people about the ideas for the love of nature. She is the director of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. Dr. Shiva is the founder of Navdanya, an NGO which was established in the year 1991.

She commenced her work in the field of conservation of traditionally used seeds, organic farming and fair trade. In 1993, she had received Right Livelihood Award that is known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. Fukuoka Prize is the prestigious award and given to those people who contribute to the academy, arts and culture in Asia. Earlier, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Padma Subrahmanyam, Romila Thapar and Ashis Nandy were the famous personalities who were honoured by this award. She penned several books including, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace, The Violence of the Green Revolution, Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology, and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in India. She also set up an international college for sustainable living in the year 2001.





Indian social activist Kulandei Francis, who gave up being a priest to devote himself entirely to social work in Tamil Nadu, is among the six individuals from across Asia who has been chosen for the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Awards for 2012. Kulandei Francis is being recognised for "his visionary zeal, his profound faith in community energies, and his sustained programmes in pursuing the holistic economic empowerment of thousands of women and their families in rural India.

The others chosen for the prizes, announced by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) in Manila today, are Ms Chen Shu-Chu from Taiwan, Mr Romulo Davide from the Phillipines, Ms Syeda Rizwana Hasan of Bangladesh, Mr Yang Saing Koma of Cambodia and Mr Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto from Indonesia. Established in 1957, the Award is Asia's highest honor and is widely regarded as the region's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine President, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.





US President Barack Obama has named four Indian-American scientists among 96 researchers as recipients of the prestigious presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers on 23, July. The awards bestowed on Sridevi Vedula Sarma, Pawan Sinha, Parag A. Pathak and Biju Parekkadan is the highest honour given by the US Government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Established in 1996, the awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.


Sports


Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari won this year's Formula One German Grand Prix championship on 21 July that was held in Hockenheim, Germany. While, Redbull’s driver Webber took the second position.





Egypt won the world junior squash championship by beating Pakisthan on 19 July held in Doha, Qatar. While India beat England to get the Bronze medal.





Hashim Amla became the first South African to hit a triple century against England on 21 July at Oval. He surpassed teammate AB de Villiers' 278 not out - the previous highest Test innings for a South African.





Ernie Els of Britain won the British Open golf championship on 21 July held in Lytham, England. Els captured his fourth major title after the 1994 and 1997 US Opens and the 2002 British Open.


Persons


JOHN ATTA MILLS(68)-President of Ghana, died on 24 July 2012. He won international praise for a stable model democracy in Africa. He reputed for his economic policies and good governance. However, John Dramani Mahama (53) succeeded John Atta Mills.





Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, who was part of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army, died on 23rd July in Knapur, following a brief illness. Sehgal (97), breathed her last at a private hospital at 11.20am, her daughter and noted CPM leader Subhashini Ali said. Sehgal, who was ill for some time, was admitted to the hospital on July 19 after she suffered a heart attack at her residence in Civil Lines area here. She was kept on life support system. She was very active during the Independence movement and had commanded the 'Rani of Jhansi Regiment' of the INA formed by Bose. A doctor by profession, Sehgal was working as a medical practitioner and a social worker. She was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1998.





Sally Ride, the first US woman to travel into space died in La Jolla, California on 23 July 2012. She was 61. She was suffering from pancreatic cancer. Ride fired the imagination of millions of women across the world when she set off for space in the US space shuttle Challenger in June 1983. Sally Ride was, however, not the first woman to travel into space, as Valentina Tereshkova of erstwhile USSR had visited space in June 1963.

Born on 26 May 1951 at Los Angeles, California, Ride received her Masters degree in Physics from Stanford University. Subsequently, she joined NASA in 1978. Ride went on her first space shuttle mission on board the Challenger in 1983. She was only 32 when she first travelled into space, making her the youngest person in America at the time to go into space. Her second space visit occurred in 1984, also aboard the Challenger. She spent a total of more than 343 hours in space.





Rupert Murdoch an eighty one year old founder of the News Corporation, resigned. He resigned from his directorship from a string of companies, namely the director of the NI Group, the Times Newspaper Holdings, and Newscorp Investments in Britain. He is a known name in the industry of media and known as the ‘media mogul’. After more than a year of scandal in his own British news paper empire, the sustained criminality led to an influential parliamentary committee in May 2012 to describe Murdoch as unfit to run a major company, resulting finally into his resignation. Murdoch has now moved to the United States of America. 





Appointment Committee of the Cabinet(ACC) appointed Omita Paul as the Secretary of the President on 24 July 2012. Her tenure as Secretary to the President is for contract basis. Omita is 63 years old. She replaced Christy L Fernandez. Omita Paul was appointed as the information commissioner in the central Information Commission in the year 2009 for the short duration of time at the end of the UPA-I government’s tenure. In addition, she had resigned to join as the Advisor in Finance Ministry from 2004 to 2009. Omita is a retired officer from Indian Information Service (IIS) from 1973 batch. Omita Paul is the wife of KK Paul. KK Paul was the former Delhi Police Commissioner. He is working as the member of the Union Public Service Commission.





Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi elected fifty-year-old Hisham Kandil as the country’s Prime Minister on 26 July. Morsi ordered the country’s former minister of water resources and irrigation, Kandil to form a new government. Kandil, holds an engineering degree from Cairo University in the year 1984 and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in the year 1993.

Kandil will be the first Egyptian prime minister to wear a beard, which is a sure sign of change in the country. A number of more experienced names were suggested for the prestigious role, but Morsi chose Kandil, a relatively lesser-known face as the Prime Minister of the country, this could be because he wanted someone unlikely to threaten or overshadow him. Mohamed Morsi who became the fifth President of the Republic of Egypt on 24 June 2012, is the first to have been freely elected in the country. The next government will be technocratic in nature, and the ruling Islamist Freedom and Justice Party is expected to head eight to ten ministries of the new cabinet.


Science and Technology


Russia's Soyuz-FG carrier rocket set off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan on 22 July 2012. The rocket will put the Russian satellites Canopus-B and MKA-PN1, a Belarusian BKA satellite, the Canadian ADS-1B and German TET-1 into orbit. The Canopus-B satellite, developed by the All-Russia Research Institute of Electromechanics, is designed for remote sensing of the Earth. It weighs about 400 kg and will work on a circular orbit at a height of 510 km.

The MKA-PN1 satellite, developed by Russia's NPO Lavochkin aerospace company, will collect data to help meteorologists build models of ocean circulation - particularly in Arctic waters along Russian shores - and climate dynamics. The German TET-1 satellite, a part of the German Aerospace Center's On-Orbit Verification Program, will conduct a test on new space technologies. The ADS-1B satellite, built by the Com Dev aerospace company, will form part of a ship-identification satellite system.






A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel of outside experts recommended Gilead Sciences Inc's “Truvada” as a treatment for preventing HIV infection among people at risk for contracting AIDS, including homosexual and bisexual men. In a move that could lead to a new milestone for treatment in the evolution of the worldwide AIDS epidemic, the FDA advisory committee voted 19-3 to endorse the drug's use for controlling HIV infection among the highest risk group -- men who have sex with men.



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