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2013 - July 21 - Current Affairs


International Issues


The Election Commission of Sri Lanka has announced that South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, SAARC, Commonwealth, and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, ASEAN, are the three organizations that will be invited to monitor the polls for Northern, Central and North Western provincial councils. Details of deployment for monitoring for the three Provincial Council elections will be decided later. 

The Election Commissioner will discuss with the political parties and the independent groups about the election monitoring after the process of nominations are completed. 



Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority released a data of tourists, which claimed that India topped the charts of foreign tourists to the island nation. 

As per the report, over 83 thousand Indians visited, the Sri Lanka in the first half of this year of which 13000 Indian visitors in June 2013 alone. India was followed by Britain and Germany with 55 thousand and 36 thousand visitors. 

Sri Lanka has set a target of attracting 1.25 million tourists to the country un 2013, of which more than half a million people visited the nation by June 2013. 


National Issues


The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on 20 July 2013 finalised its GST (Goods and Services Tax) report. The report would be tabled in the parliament during its Monsoon season that is scheduled to begin from 5 August 2013. 

The GST Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2010 and since then was being examined by the Standing Committee on Finance. The proposed GST aims towards bringing in a common tax regime for goods and services by including most of the indirect taxes and would be beneficial in increasing the revenue collection. 

Earlier, several deadlines were missed-out by the standing committee in submission of the report due to the differences between the central and the state governments. The governments at the two levels had issues of central sales tax, compensation to states and design of GST structure. 



ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) and the Industry to Commercialize Agri-Technologies on 20 July 2013 signed more than 60 MoUs on ready-to-commercialize agro-technologies from different agricultural sectors like crops, food technology, horticulture, veterinary, agri-engineering, agri-inputs and fisheries. The MoUs were signed as a part of the two day Agri-Tech Investors Meet 2013, from 19 July-20 July 2013. 

With the signing of the MoUs, the two bodies appealed promotion of entrepreneurship in agriculture and accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies and activities through an array of business support resources and services. 

During the Agri-Tech Investors Meet 2013, an expo that featured more than 60 ready-to-commercialize agro-technologies from different agricultural sectors was also held. 



Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 18 July 2013 promulgated the Securities Law Amendment Ordinance 2013. The ordinance would grant Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the powers to regulate any pooling of funds under an investment contract involving a corpus of 100 crore rupees or more and attach assets in case of non-compliance. 

The ordinance was promulgated by the President following the powers granted to him by Clause 1 of Article 123 of Constitution The Chairman of SEBI would have powers to authorize the carrying out of search and seizure operations, as part of its efforts to crack down on ponzi schemes. 

With President's approval of the Ordinance, SEBI has received the power to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being investigated by it. Establishment of Special Courts enabled by this Ordinance would fast-track the resolution of pending SEBI related cases. 


Sports


Olympic Champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia and Haley Anderson of American won the 5 Kilometer open water race on 20 July 2013 at the World Championships, Barcelona. 

Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia became the first swimmer of the world to win Olympic and world titles in both the Pool and Open Water after he sprinted a victory in Barcelona in a 5 kilometer event. 

Mellouli (29) won Gold in the open water race by covering the set distance in 53 minutes, 30.4 seconds. Canadian, Eric Hedlin took silver by completing the race 1.2 seconds behind Mellouli and Thomas Lurz of Germany, the five-time world champion finished at third position. 



The fast rising Indian pair of Divij Sharan and Purav Raja clinched its first ever ATP tour level title with a hard-fought win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Igor Sijsling in the summit clash of the Claro Open on 21 July 2013. 


Science & Technology


The World's first mission to south pole of the Moon for installation of a permanent telescope on the lunar surface was announced in July 2013. 

This installation of telescope would aid in the professional and amateur researchers. 

The announcement was made during the NASA Lunar Science Institute conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. 


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