2013 - July 25 - Current Affairs


International Issues


42 Year old Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on 25 July 2013 officially launched his political party to contest Australian elections this year. 

As per Assange, his party which he named Wikileaks Party would be fielding seven candidates including Assange for upper house Senate seats in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. 


National Issues


Paradip Port was conferred with the Major Port of the Year award for its excellent performance in the year 2012-13. The award was received by SS Mishra, Chairman, Paradip Port Trust, at the SCOPE International Conference & Exhibition 2013 held in Chennai. 

Paradip Port Trust (PPT) handled 56.55 million tonnes of traffic in the year 2012-13. There is an increase from 54.25 million tonnes of traffic in 2011-12. 

During 2012-13, the port also added 22 million tonnes of capacity, thus bringing the total to 102 million tonnes. It is important to note that the Paradip Port was also adjudged as the Major Port of the Year during 2009-10 at the Annual Indian Maritime Gateway Awards 2010 ceremony organised by Gateway Media Private Ltd. 


Bilateral Issues


India and Saudi Arabia have decided to set up a “Saudi-India Business Network (SIBN)” separately in Riyadh and Dammam. It will act as a catalyst to promote India-Saudi bilateral commerce and trade relations, investment, Business-to-Business interactions and exchanges. The proposed network will be comprised of both Indian and Saudi businessmen, entrepreneurs, industrialists and members of business Chambers. 

The first meeting of the SIBN, Riyadh will be held at Indian Embassy in Riyadh on September 2. 

Membership of SIBN will be open to all Indian and Saudi businessmen and entrepreneurs. Indian and Saudi companies recruiting Indians have also been invited to join the Saudi-India Business Network. 

India-Saudi Arabia trade relations have grown over the years. Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest trade partner of India and the bilateral trade stood at $ 43.19 billion in 2012-13. 

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for 17% of India’s requirements. It is also one of the major markets for Indian exports and the destination for more than 1.86% of India’s global exports. For Saudi Arabia, India is the 5th largest market for its exports, accounting for 7.55% of its global exports. 

The two countries have an established framework of cooperation which includes Joint Commission Meetings (JCM), India-Saudi Business Council, etc. and hold regular meetings. Several Indian companies are collaborating with the Saudi companies in the areas of designing, consultancy, financial services and software development. Saudi Arabia is also emerging as a big investor in India. 


Business Issues


Aircel, the telecom operator, on 25 July 2013 announced that it partnered with Wikimedia Foundation for offering the free mobile access of Wikipedia to its customers. The aim of the partnership is to make the Wikipedia knowledge accessible to the Aircel customers in not just urban areas, but also the rural areas. The initiative of Aircel is a part of the Wikipedia Zero programme which is aimed at reaching the mobile Internet users all over the world. 

The Aircel-Wikimedia partnership will provide access of Wikipedia to the 60 million users. The Aircel customers will have access to versions of Wikipedia in various languages such as English, Hindi, Tamil as well as 17 other Indic languages. 

The Wikimedia Foundation explained that through this partnership, they have extended the Wikipedia Zero programme to India, which has the potential of millions of people. It is important to note that Wikipedia is the fifth most-visited website across the world. All the pages of Wikipedia will be made accessible to 470 million users absolutely free of cost. With this partnership, India joined Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia as well as other countries in West Asia, Southeast Asia as well as Africa under the Wikipedia Zero programme, which aims at reducing the obstacles of accessing information. 

The Aircel-Wikipedia partnership will ensure free access of global online encyclopedia, which contains 25 million articles that are contributed by around 80000 volunteers around the world. These articles are available in English, Hindi as well as other 18 Indic languages. It is worth noticing that India is the market of second largest mobile user base in the entire world. India has more than 867 million subscribers, out of which 77 million subscribers have access to the Internet. 


Awards


Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who exposed the widest US global surveillance operations, was on 25 July 2013 awarded German Whistleblower Prize 2013 worth 3900 Dollars in absentia. Snowden has exposed the substantial and unsuspecting monitoring and storage of communication data by US and other western intelligence agencies, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies.


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