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2013 - July 20 - Current Affairs


International Issues


China has lifted control on banks allowing them to set their own lending rates, a move to arrest slowdown and spur growth. The People's Bank of China said in Beijing that it will further ease lending interest rates for financial institutions so they can decide the rates themselves from today. 

The removal of control on lending rates is the first major economic reform launched under the government of President Xi Jinping, who assumed office this year. 

The move to liberalise the interest rates came as the second quarter GDP declined amid speculation that Chinese economy for the first time will miss official target of 7.5 per cent growth rate, set for this year. 



India in the month of July 2013 has come into view as the second largest investor in the city of London with Indian companies led by software major Infosys encouraged by the investment fervour generated by the 2012 Olympic Games in the British capital.

Software services firm Infosys leads the charge of inner foreign direct investment (FDI) made by a total of 28 Indian companies, which has created 429 additional jobs for the British economy in the in year 2012 alone.



Incheon in South Korea is named as the World Book Capital for the year 2015. 

UNESCO announced on 19 July 2013 that the committee in charge of international book industry named South Korean city of Incheon as the World Book Capital for the year 2015.

The nomination was made by an international committee of experts representing the book industry and UNESCO, who met on 16 July 2013 at Paris headquarters of UNESCO.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova endorsed the committee's decision and welcomed the number and quality of applications received by UNESCO for the title of World Book Capital 2015.


National Issues


The Ministry of Environment and Forests on 19 July 2013 gave green clearance for an international airport in north Kerala's Kannur district. Kannur airport would be the fourth international airport in the state after Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.

The international airport will be constructed in a total land area of 525.50 hectares with a proposed built-up area of 50000 square metres. It will be constructed at Keezhallur and Pazhassi Panchayat in Thalassery.


Bilateral Issues


Shri Beni Prasad Verma, Steel Minister, was accorded a warm reception in British Columbia by the Premier, Ms. Christy Clark, during his visit to Vancouver.

The Premier, Ms.Christy Clark, thanked the Steel Minister, Shri Beni Prasad Verma, for his visit to British Columbia along with the delegation comprising of Shri DRS Chaudhary, Secretary to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Steel; Shri AP Choudhary, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd.; and Shri Lokesh Chandra, Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Steel. The Minister for International Trade, Ms.Teresa Wat, was also present and indicated that in recent years, the Indo-Canadian relationship is witnessing a new momentum in line with India’s economic growth.

The delegation had a series of meetings with the Govt. of British Columbia, wherein both the Ministers identified a number of opportunities for mutual cooperation. It was acknowledged that the Indian steel industry is growing at a fast pace, requiring additional quantities of coking coal, which can be sourced from British Columbia.

The various possibilities of sourcing coal from British Columbia, equity participation in coal assets, coal asset acquisition & other areas of interest were discussed during the meeting. The delegation also had series of discussions with the coal asset owners and various avenues for sourcing coking coal to India to meet its ever growing requirement, was discussed.

A “Cooperation Agreement” was signed between Ms.Teresa Wat, Minister for International Trade, British Columbia and Shri AP Choudhary, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. in the presence of Minister of Steel, Govt. of India, Shri Beni Prasad Verma and the Premier of British Columbia, Ms. Christy Clark.

The agreement expresses the intent to promote and expand bilateral cooperation in the Minerals & Mining sector, to explore and encourage investment opportunities, development and exploration of mining related projects and exchange of technological research and innovation.

A “Statement of Cooperation” was also signed by Shri AP Choudhary, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Rashtriya Nigam Ltd. with CEO of IC-IMPACTS Centre of Excellence, University of British Columbia, to encourage and strengthen relationship and potential collaboration for technology development and transfer, network development, research partnerships related to promotion of steel, water conservation and augmentation, in the presence of Shri Beni Prasad Verma, Minister of Steel and the Premier, British Columbia, Ms.Christy Clark.


Economic Issues


Reserve Bank of India on 20 July 2013 stated that India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by 21.1 million US dollars to 280.19 billion US dollars. 

The total forex reserves had decreased by 4.48 billion US dollars to 280.16 billion US dollars in the previous reporting week.

Foreign currency assets, a major component of the forex reserves, increased by 33.5 million US dollars to 252.14 billion US dollars for the week ended 12 July 2013. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms comprise the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves.

The gold reserves were unchanged at 21.55 billion US dollars. For the week under review, the special drawing rights (SDRs) decreased by 1.5 million US dollars to 4.334 billion US dollars, while India’s reserve position with the IMF was also down by 19.1 million US dollars to 2.162 billion US dollars.


Sports


The South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship kicks off at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on July 20, 2013.



Australian legend bowler Shane Warne on 19 July 2013 joined the list of cricket legends to be inducted into the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Hall of Fame at Lord's.

Shane Warne is the 69th male member of the Hall of Fame and the 18th from Australia.

The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame recognises the achievements of the legends of the game. It was launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on 2 January 2009, in association with the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), as part of the ICC's centenary celebrations.


Persons


Rana Kapoor, Yes Bank Managing Director and CEO, on July 20, 2013, took over as the President of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) at the end of the 92nd annual general meeting.



Khurshed Alam Khan, former Union Minister and father of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, died on July 20, 2013, at the age of 95.


Awards


The Manipal University has for the second consecutive year bagged the Golden Peacock Environment Management Award. 


Science & Technology


Engineers at the Kyoto University of Japan, in cooperation with Panasonic Corporation developed a new technology which can be used effectively for successful greening of the desert areas.

Experts of Japan proposed to mix the dry sand along with special reagents which have the capability of holding water and do not allow this water to get absorbed deeper into soil.

The special reagents can help in forming the fertile layer below soil surface. This fertile layer can preserve up to 70 percent moisture. The new technology does not ban the circulation of air inside the soil and thus helps in promotion of growth of plants.



China successfully launched three satellites into space for scientific experiments on July 20, 2013. The Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center said the satellites were launched at 7:37 (local time) on July 20, 2013. 

The Chuangxin-3, Shiyan-7 and Shijian-15 satellites were boosted by a Long March-4C carrier rocket. Officials said the three satellites will be used mainly for conducting scientific experiments on space maintenance technologies. 


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