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July 12 to 15 Current Affairs

International Issues



International Criminal Court (ICC), located at The Hague has awarded Thomas Lubanga, a Congolese warlord, 14-year imprisonment on 10 July 2012. Judges at the ICC found Thomas Lubanga guilty of recruiting and using children in his Union of Congolese Patriots militia. Lubanga had led the Union of Congolese Patriots, an ethnic militia in the violent struggle in the Ituri region and its main town of Bunia.

The conflict, which began in 1999, claimed the life of about 60000 people in the country.Lubanga, who had used children as the soldiers during the violent struggle in Congo's eastern Ituri region in 2002-2003 was convicted for war crime. He is the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it was established in 2002. He was arrested by UN peacekeepers, in March 2005.





Tokyo Conference pledged to provide 16 Billion Dollar Aid to Afghanistan Hoping to stabilise Afghanistan's future after the foreign troops' exit, international donors on 8 July met in Tokyo and pledged to shell out USD 16 billion in Afghan aid. Informal sources said, the money will come with conditions to ensure it doesn't fall victim to rampant Afghan corruption and mismanagement.

The Tokyo donors conference to discuss aid for Afghanistan beyond 2014, was attended by representatives from about 80 countries and international aid organizations, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. A follow-up meeting is to be held in Britain in 2014. Though the US didn't mention any exact monetary figure for their expected aid, but an American official traveling with Hillary Rodham Clinton had spoken ahead of the event, on condition of anonymity, and said USD 4 billion per year would be promised from 2012 through 2015. Japan, the second-largest donor, says it will provide up to USD 3 billion through 2016. Germany has announced it will keep its contribution to rebuilding and development at its current level of USD 536 million a year, at least until 2016. The Asian Development Bank announced it is providing USD 1.2 billion through 2016.





The United States unleashed a fresh wave of sanctions against Iran on 12th July, ratcheting up pressure on Tehran to take seriously concerns about its suspected nuclear weapons programme. The actions impose additional sanctions on Iran's ''nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation networks'' and identifies Iranian ''front companies and banks,'' the Treasury Department said. ''The Treasury and State Department actions target more than 50 entities tied to Iran's procurement, petroleum, and shipping networks,'' said the Treasury.

David Cohen, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the moves take ''direct aim at disrupting Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as its deceptive efforts to use front companies to sell and move its oil'' The increasing pressure is designed ''to convince Iran to engage seriously and address the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme.''





Asean summit ended in failure: Days of heated diplomacy ended in failure as splits over territorial disputes with China prevented Southeast Asian nations from issuing their customary joint statement at a summit on 13th July. Foreign Ministers from the 10-member Asean bloc have tried to hammer out a final communique in Cambodia, which has held up progress on a draft code of conduct aimed at soothing tension in the flashpoint South China Sea. China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the resource-rich sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, among others, have competing claims in the area.


National Affairs


India is the third most desirable destination for FDI: As per the report from UNCTAD World Investment Report 2012 released on 5 July , India is the third most desirable destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) .The report said, the two large emerging economies, China and India, saw inflows rise by nearly 8 per cent and by 31 per cent, respectively. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) is an inter-governmental body that seeks to maximize trade, investment and development in developing nations. The UNCTAD report said that,in South Asia, FDI inflows have turned around after a slide in 2009–2010, reaching $39 billion, mainly as a result of rising inflows in India, which accounted for more than four fifths of the region’s FDI.

FDI outflows from India rose by 12 per cent to $15 billion in 2011. The UNCTAD report, however, shows that FDI inflows by multionational companies was third-highest in India, only behind China and the US. It also found that India remains the third highest prospective host economy for FDI by multionational companies from 2012-2014, only behind China and the US. Last year, the coalition United Progressive Alliance government approved 49 per cent FDI in retail but had to quickly dial back the development after political parties, including allies, protested.





Supreme Court upholds life term for Bihar ex-MP The Supreme Court on 10th July, upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of ex-MP Anand Mohan Singh in the 1994 murder case of Gopalganj District Magistrate G. Krishnaiah. A bench headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik dismissed the plea of Singh, a gangster-turned-politician from Bihar, who had approached the Supreme Court against his conviction and life imprisonment in the murder case. Singh, who was the leader of the then Bihar People's Party (BPP), was accused of inciting a mob accompanying the cortege of a BPP leader to lynch Krishnaiah on December 5, 1994.

The BPP is now defunct.The officer was pulled out of a car, beaten up mercilessly and then shot dead. Singh, a former MP from Sheohar, was awarded death sentence under Sections 302 (murder) and 109 (abetment of offence) of the Indian Penal Code by Additional District and Sessions Judge R.S. Rai on October 3, 2007. However, the Patna High Court in its December 2008 verdict had commuted Singh's death penalty to life sentence, against which he had moved the Supreme Court.





Shettar sworn in Karnataka Chief Minister: Fifty-six year-old Lingayat leader from north Karnataka, Jagadish Shettar, was sworn-in as chief minister on 12th July, along with a full-fledged team of 33 ministers. This included two deputy chief ministers - Party State President K. S. Eshwarappa and former Home Minister R. Ashok. Mr. Shettar is the third chief minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party that came to power in 2008. He will have a short tenure of only about 10 months as the State Assembly's term ends in May 2013. While all the 21 ministers who were part of the previous dispensation have been continued in the new government, 12 new ministers have also been included. With this, the ministry has reached the maximum size of 34 members including the chief minister that has been allowed for Karnataka considering the numerical strength of its Assembly. This is the first time since the formation of the BJP government that all the ministerial berths have been filled up. Also, this is the first time that the state is having two deputy chief ministers though five other previous governments had single deputy chief ministers.

The members of the Shettar ministry are: K. S. Eshwarappa and R. Ashok (Deputy Chief Ministers), Govind Karjol, Umesh Katti, C. M. Udasi, Suresh Kumar, Visveshwara Hegde Kageri, Shobha Karandlaje, Murugesh Nirani, B. N. Bachche Gowda, C. P. Yogeshwar, V. Somanna, M. P. Renukacharya, S. A. Ravindranath, S. A. Ramdas, Balachandra Jharkiholi, Anand Asnotikar, A. Narayanaswamy, Revunayak Belamagi, Varthur Prakash, Raju Gowda (who were part of the earlier dispensation); S. K. Bellubbi, C. T. Ravi, D. N. Jeevaraj, Sogadhu Shivanna, Arvind Limbavali, B. J. Puttaswamy, Appachchu Ranjan, Anand Singh, Kalakappa Bandi, Kota Srinivas Poojary and Sunil Valyapure. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Glass House in Raj Bhavan.





World Population Day was celebrated on 11 July 2012. It aims to make aware people about the increasing population in the country. The main theme of the year 2012 was “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services”. Since 1987, the population day is being celebrated world wide.


Bilateral Relations


Months after reversing its policy of not selling uranium to India, Australia on 11th July, said it was in the process of working out internal arrangements to ensure supply of the yellowcake (Uranium) to New Delhi. In December last year, Australia's ruling Labor led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard cleared the way for the Australian uranium to be exported to India after a strong debate on the floor of the party's 46th national conference. Despite resistance from opponents, the landmark policy change was carried out, paving the way for the first Australian country-to-country agreement to sell yellowcake to a nation outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Australia has the world's largest reserves of uranium and its ores are considered to be of superior quality among those found elsewhere across the globe. Currently, Australia exports uranium to China, Japan, Taiwan and the United States. However, it had earlier declined sale to India citing a policy that barred nuclear trade with countries that were not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.






India and Singapore signed three key bilateral agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 11 July 2012, New Delhi. The agreements were signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong. While the MoU was signed by Indian Labour Minister Malikarjun Kharge and Singapore Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Salient points of Agreements:

Both the countries, in the memorandum of understanding have decided to renew the bilateral arrangement between the Air Forces on joint training.

The military training agreement was signed between Indian Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Singapore's Permanent Secretary for Defence Chiang Chie Foo. It stated that the military training that Indian armed forces extend to their Singaporean counterparts shall by all means continue.

The other agreement focused on expansion of joint ventures, technological collaboration both bilaterally and in third countries.
The agreement also stated that Singapore is all game for investment in education and health. - Both the countries in the agreement also decided to pin on defence cooperation.





Pakistan on 12th July, said it is willing to go by the agreement that it had in the past with India to resolve some of the disputes like Sir Creek and Siachen.  She said the two countries must move forward in the relationship and ''moving forward would require that we all are able to sometimes show flexibility, some times we don't need to show flexibility.'' Ms. Khar is in the Cambodian capital to attend the ASEAN Ministerial meeting.


Economic Issues


The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) granted permission to MCX-SX to operate as a full-fledged stock exchange on 10 july, a development that will bring in more competition in markets. MCX Stock Exchange (MCXSX) was first granted recognition by SEBI in September 2008, but it was allowed to conduct trading only in the currency derivatives segment.With the approval, MCX-SX would be able to offer additional asset classes such as equity and equity F&O (Futures and Options), interest rate futures and wholesale debt segments.

At present, Sebi has granted permanent recognition to eight stock exchanges in the country, but only two of them BSE and NSE are operating as active nationallevel bourses across the segments. MCX-SX and USE (United Stock Exchange) are present in the currency derivatives trade only.With Sebi's latest decision, MCX-SX is likely to become the third major national-level fullfledged stock exchange.





As part of the agreement with Spain, finance ministers from all 27 European Union countries are expected to approve a one-year extension, until 2014, of Spainâ deadline for achieving a budget deficit of 3 per cent. There will be specific conditions for specific banks, and the supervision of the financial sector overall will be strengthened, Mr. Juncker said. ''We are convinced that this conditionality will succeed in addressing the remaining weakness in the Spanish banking sector''he said. Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said the agreement should be finalised soon. ''We have a tentative deal on the bailout conditions for a bailout of Spanish banks,'' Mr. de Jager said. ''The total will likely be €100 billion. Some countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Finland need to get parliamentary approval. We hope this can be wrapped up within a week.''

The exact amount of the bailout will likely not be known until September, when individual examinations of different Spanish banks have been completed. Mr. de Jager said Madrid's partners agree that ''financial sector reforms in Spain must be ruthlessly implemented. These reforms include, notably, a cap on salaries of bank executives and a ban on bonuses.'' ''There are still differences over this,'' he said. ''The details will be worked out by the end of the year.'' As part of the agreement with Spain, finance ministers from all 27 European Union countries are expected to approve a one-year extension, until 2014, of Spain’s deadline for achieving a budget deficit of 3 per cent.





No Service Tax on remittences from abroad. Setting at rest concerns expressed in various quarters, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), on 10th July, clarified that remittances from abroad would not attract service tax.


Awards


Manipal University has bagged the Golden Peacock Environment Management Award for 2012. Karan Singh conferred the award at the 14th World Congress on environment management in Delhi on 8 july. Dr Ramdas M Pai, chairman, Manipal Education and Medical Group earlier had received Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011 in recognition of his contribution in fields of education and healthcare on January 22, 2012.A jury chaired by Justice PN Bhagwati, former CJI and member, UN Human Rights Commission selected Manipal University for the award.



Sports



Australian fast bowler Brett Lee(35) announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket on 12 July 2012. However,he will continue to play in the IPL. He had already announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2010.In his 13 year career,he played 76 Tests, 221 One Day Internationals and 25 T20 internationals. He took over 700 international wickets (310 in Tests, 380 in ODIs and 28 in T20s). He has taken 10 five-wicket hauls in Tests and 9 five-wicket hauls in ODIs. He is also the first bowler to take a hat-trick in T20 cricket.





Australian Mark Webber of Red bull won the British Grand Prix Formula one title held in London on 8 july. However ,Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished at second.





China won the junior women hockey championship by defeating India,The tournaments final was held in Bangkok on 7 july.





PV Sindhu of Andhra Pradesh created history by becoming the first Indian to win the girls' singles title in the Asian Youth Under-19 Championships at Gimcheon, Korea. In the finals on 7 july, Sindhu rallied to beat Okuhara Nozomi of Japan 18-21, 21-17, 22-20. She is the reigning national women's champion.





South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher on 10 July 2012 announced his retirement from International Cricket due to eye injury. He suffered the eye injury on the opening day of South Africa’s tour match against Somerset at Taunton on 9 July 2012. Mark Boucher had played 147 Test matches with a world record of 555 dismissals which include 532 catches and 23 stumping. He also played 295 ODIs in which he made 425 dismissals with 403 catches.





The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on 15th July, announced that wrestler Sushil Kumar, a bronze medallist at the Beijing Games, will be the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent at the upcoming London Olympics. The names of top boxer Vijender Singh, tennis legend Leander Paes and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra were also doing the rounds for the honour. Vijender, Sushil and Bindra had all returned with medals from the last edition of the Games in Beijing in 2008.

IOA acting president V.K. Malhotra announced that Sushil will be India's flag-bearer.mBindra was reportedly the preferred candidate of the IOA but since his 10m air rifle event is scheduled three days after the opening ceremony on July 30, the shooter wanted to focus on his preparations. Similarly, Vijender's weigh-in is scheduled for July 28 so it was tough for him to do the honours. Paes had led the contingent in 2000 Sydney Games and IOA decided Sushil should do the honours this time.





Indo-Pak cricket ties breakthrough, BCCI agrees to ODI series: Indo-Pak cricketing ties are set for revival with the BCCI on 16th July agreeing to a three-match ODI series between the two arch-rivals, who have not played each other in a bilateral series for close to five years. The decision to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan was taken by the Board's powerful Working Committee, much to the delight of cricket fans on both sides of the border.


Persons


E.K. Bharath Bhushan- In a sudden move, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) head was on 10 july stripped off from his post by the governmet, with immediate effect. There has been speculation that his recent warnings to Air India and Kingfisher Airlines to pay dues to their employees may have gone against him.





Dara Singh(84)- renouned wresler from India, passed away on 12 July 2012 in Mumbai. Born on 19 November 1928 in Dharmoochak village of Amritsar in Punjab, Dara Singh earned fame around the globe as a Professional Wrestler. He announced his retirement from active wrestling in 1983. In 1996 he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

Dara Singh, got the popular recognition as an actor when he portrayed the character of Lord Hanuman in the Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan television series. Dara Singh was also the member of Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to August 2009. He was conferred the title Rustam-E-Punjab in 1966 and Rustam-E-Hind in 1978.





Ernest Borgnine(95)-Oscar award winner,passed away in Los Angels. He was best known for Academy award-winning role of a butcher in the movie 'Marty'(1955). He was presented Lifetime achievement Award at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award 2011.




Nasir Ali as the new Joint Managing Director of Air India. Civil aviation Ministry on 11 July, appointed Nasir Ali as the new joint managing director. Prior to his promotion, he was dealing with human resource issue related to the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines. He is the second managerial executive posted in airline by civil aviation ministry after Rohit Nandan who was appointed as the chairperson and managing director of the airline in 2011.

Previously, Nasir Ali worked as the director with the civil aviation ministry. He was appointed as an officer on special duty (OSD) in the Air India Airline. He was the head of four-member committee to apply Dharmadhikari Committee proposal on amalgamation of Air India and Indian Airlines in the year 2008.





African Union (AU) on 15 July 2012 elected South Africa's home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its new head, making her the first female head of the union. In a closely fought contest Dlamini-Zuma beat incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon 37-17. Dlamini-Zuma, wife of the former South African President Jacob Zuma, was declared winner following a third round of voting. In election held in January 2012, neither of the two candidates got the two-thirds majority, which was required to be elected as the organization head. Consequently, Ping got an extension of another six months in the office.

African Union, the successor to Organisation of African Unity, came into existence in 2002 at Durban summit in South Africa. The Union is headquartered at Addis Ababa Ethiopia. A pan-African organization, AU aims at promoting unity and cooperation among African nations. The association also strives to spread democracy and good governance in the continent. At present the African Union has a total of 54 members. Morocco is the only African country which is not the part of the Union.


Science and Technology


A team of scientists at the University of Sydney on 10 July 2012 discovered the first radio emissions from the middleweightblack hole HLX-1, that lies in a galaxy about 300 million light-years away. The research team had used Compact Array radio telescope from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

HLX-1 (hyper-luminous X-ray source 1), lies in a galaxy called ESO 243-49 about 300 million light-years away. As per the new study, the size of HLX-1 is around 20000 times the mass of our sun which makes it an intermediate mass black hole.





NASA's claim of 'arsenic life' disproved. The claim by NASA scientists that they have discovered a new form of bacteria which thrive on arsenic has been disapproved by two new studies, which say the bugs can't substitute arsenic for phosphorus to survive.

Two scientific papers, published in the journal Science, refuted the 2010 NASA finding that bacterium called GFAJ-1 not only tolerates arsenic but actually incorporates the poison into its DNA, swapping out phosphorus. "Contrary to an original report, the new research clearly shows that the bacterium, GFAJ-1, cannot substitute arsenic for phosphorus to survive," the journal said.






Nuclear capable Agni-I test-fired India successfully tested domestically built nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni-I ballistic missile on 13 July. The missile was launched from a test range at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. The missile was launched by the strategic force command of Indian Army. With a specialised navigation system, the Agni-I can hit the target with accuracy and precision.

The 15-metre-long Agni-I, can carry payload up to 1000 kg.Agni-I was developed under the joint work of advanced systems laboratory, the missile development laboratory of the DRDO, Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat, while it was integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.





Indian-American record-setting astronaut Sunita Williams, along with her two colleagues, took off for her second space odyssey on a Russian Soyuz rocket, which blasted off successfully from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on15th July. Forty-six-year-old NASA astronaut Ms. Williams, Russian Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide started their two-day voyage at 08:10 a.m.

IST for a four-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS). Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos announced that the spacecraft had departed successfully from the carrier rocket and reached intermediate orbit. Born in Euclid in Ohio and raised in Massachusetts, Ms. Williams, who had earlier lived and worked aboard the ISS for six months in 2006-07, will further extend the record for the longest stay in space for a woman astronaut.



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