12 July

International News Affairs

  • The United States has deployed anti-aircraft missiles for the first time in the Baltics for use in NATO military drills in Lithuania.
    • This comes ahead of the Zapad exercise by Russia and Belarus, which NATO allies believe could increase Russian presence.


MOUs & Agreements

  • The United States and Qatar today signed an agreement on combating terrorism and terror financing.
    • Note: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt had imposed sanctions on Qatar last month accusing it of financing extremist groups.


National News Affairs

  • The Telecom department has made it mandatory for all phones, including feature phones, to install Global Positioning System (GPS)from January 1, 2018.
    • The order aims to ensure consumers’ safety as GPS can help locate them in emergency situations.
  • To create awareness about Aadhaar number, the government has started a story-telling contest named ‘Aadhaar Hai To Aasaani Hai‘.
    • People willing to participate can send in a 200-500 word-long story about Aadhaar till August 8 midnight.
    • The top five stories will be awarded ₹20,000 each, while the next 20 stories will be awarded ₹5,000 each.
  • The Telangana government has issued an ordinance to curb the “social evils” caused by online rummy card games.
    • Note : Online gaming is an offence as per the provisions of another ordinance issued by the state a month ago.
  • The National Zoological Park, New Delhi is going to launch an Animal Adoption Scheme.
    • Citizens would be able to adopt an animal after paying a fixed amount of money, usually spent on food and medicines for the animal.
    • The adopter would have free entry for a year and their name will be displayed on the cage.
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today directed a complete ban on ‘manja’ (kite strings) made of or coated with any synthetic material that is non-biodegradable.
  • Maharashtra has become the first Indian state to provide free injectable contraceptives to women under the state’s family planning programme, Antara.
    • The injection contains a female birth-control hormone, which prevents pregnancy for three months.
  • Rajasthan has become the first State to lay down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to village cooperative societies and various other cooperative bodies.
    • In this regard, state government has amended State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003.

Places in News

  • A total of 36 places in India are recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, with the latest addition being the city of Ahmedabad.
    • With four of its sites recognised, Maharashtra tops the list in India.
    • India’s World Heritage Sites include West Bengal’s Sundarbans, Maharashtra’s Ajanta and Ellora Caves, UP’s Taj Mahal, Goa’s Churches and Convents, among others.


Banking, Business & Economic News

  • 5 Indian States (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Telangana and Arunachal Pradesh) and a Union Territory (PUducherry) have formally adopted the Centre’s Government e-Marketplace (GeM) initiative.
    • In this regard, this states/UT have signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join GeM initiative.
    • 4 more states including Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Haryana, will ink such MoU soon.
    • What is Government e-Marketplace (GeM) initiative ?
      • GEM Initiative is an Online Market platform to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various Ministries and agencies of the Government.
      • It aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement of goods and services and eliminate corruption.
    • The government has approved e-commerce giant Amazon‘s proposed $500 million (over ₹3,200 crore) foreign direct investment (FDI) in retailing of food products in India.
      • As per the proposal, the company will sell food products online via its wholly-owned subsidiary.
      • Note : The government allows 100% FDI in food retail, including e-commerce, provided the items are produced or manufactured in India.
    • Traders and businesses will have to display the Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration number on their business sign boards and the registration certificate on the premises.
      • This is to ensure that a citizen can easily find out whether a business is registered or not.
      • The GSTIN is a 15-digit number which taxpayers get after registering with GST Network portal.


New Appointments

  • Ned Segal, a long time Goldman Sachs banker and the former Senior Vice President of Finance at Silicon Valley’s financial software company Intuit, has been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer at Twitter.
    • He will take over the CFO role from Anthony Noto, who was promoted to COO post last November.

Science & Technology

  • NASA’s James Webb Telescope, the largest space telescope ever built, has been locked in a vacuum vault for testing at sub-zero temperatures to simulate its working in deep space.
    • The 6.5-metre diameter telescope has 18 gold-coated mirrors and a tennis court-sized sunshield to gather light and protect its instruments.
    • The $8.8 billion telescope took 20 years to build.
  • The Chinese government has ordered telecommunications firms to completely block access to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) by February 2018, in a crackdown aimed at suppressing dissent over the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party.
    • Note: China operates the world’s largest Internet censorship regime and has banned several social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Current Sports Affairs

  • Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj has became the all-time highest run-scorer in women’s ODI cricket.
    • She also became the second player after Charlotte Edwards to score over 500 runs in four different calendar years in women’s ODI cricket.
  • Following Angelo Mathews’ resignation as Sri Lanka’s captain from all three formats, the country’s cricket board has named :
    • Dinesh Chandimal as the Side’s Test captain.
    • Upul Tharanga as the limited-overs captain.