South Korea scraps annual government war drill

South Korea has decided to scrap an annual government mobilisation drill this year as part of a suspended joint exercise with US. The Ulchi drill, which aims at examining the country’s war preparedness, usually takes place in tandem with joint Freedom Guardian military exercise with US. The suspension of the combined exercise could facilitate ongoing nuclear talks between North Korea & US.

Low rainfall slows sowing of cotton, paddy

Rice-growing Odisha, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have witnessed rain deficiency which has left an adverse impact on the sowing areas of paddy. Rice and cotton are the most affected crops because of the below-normal rainfall. The country’s largest producer of rice, West Bengal received 22% below-normal rainfall, while Odisha and Chhattisgarh received 30% and 21% less rains till July 6.

PM to inaugurate statue of unity

PM Modi will inaugurate the Statue of Unity on 31st October 2018, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The construction of the tallest statue in the world that began in December 2015, is nearly complete. World’s tallest statue dedicated to country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabbhai Patel is being built with 5,700 Metric tonne structural steel and 1,900 MT of bronze.

Nasscom unveiled new Center for Data and AI

Nasscom opened a Center of Excellence for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence with an aim to strengthen the country’s AI ecosystem. It also signed a MoU with Niti Aayog to foster privacy, security, applied research, and accelerate ethics. The CoE initiative is a nationwide programme which is based on innovation and would focus on solutions.

Bengaluru to get India’s first e-waste plant

The country’s first e-waste recycling unit will come up in Bengaluru, Union minister of chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar said. A 2016 study by Assocham and KPMG ranked India among the top five countries in e-waste generation. The e-waste recycling unit will be set up by the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET).

Andres Manuel elected as Mexico’s President

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been elected as Mexico’s President with over 53% of the vote, according to the country’s electoral commission. Obrador, who has won the presidency at the third attempt, promised to tackle violence and wipe out corruption. The 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor will formally take power on December 1.

New World heritage site: Chiribiquete Park

Being the ninth site in Colombia to be given the status of world heritage site, Chiribiquete park is the country’s largest park and has one of the highest rates of plant diversity in the northern Amazon. It is located on one of the world’s oldest rock formations, the Guiana Shield. It was first declared a national park in 1989. It also bears traces of ancient human life.

1st Inter-state translocation proj. of tigers

In the country’s 1st inter-state translocation of tigers project, a female cub was shifted from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, MP to Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha. India has a population of 3891 tigers, according to 2016 census. The ambitious project is conceived by the Ministry of Environment, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India to boost tiger population.

British Queen approves Brexit law

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth granted royal assent to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit legislation on 26th June. The debate over the legislation will formally end the country’s European Union membership. The E.U. (Withdrawal) Bill would repeal the 1972 European Communities Act through which Britain had become a member of EU. The Brexit day in British law slated as March 29, 2019.

Mongolia to develop country’s 1st refinery

Mongolia to develop country’s first oil refinery at Stantsiin Hooloi in Altanshiree Soum with the help of a USD 1 billion loan from India. The home minister, Rajnath Singh is on a 3-day visit to Mongolia to strengthen India’s relations with Mongolia and security cooperation. Engineers India Ltd. will assist with construction of the refinery, which will boost Mongolia’s GDP by 10%.

Nepal, Bhutan spend more than India on health

India spends 1% of its gross domestic product on public health. According to the National Health Profile 2018 report, there is one allopathic doctor for 11,082 people in the country’s villages. Low-income nations like Bhutan and Nepal spend 2.5% and 1.1% of its GDP respectively on public health. India aims to increase its public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025.

Govt. to set up 5th data centre in India

The govt will set up the country’s biggest data centre in Bhopal with a capacity to host 5 lakh servers. The data centre will be set up by the National Informatics Centre and will be 5th National Data Centre (NDC) after Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Hyderabad & Pune. These NDC host government websites, services and applications. The government also expanded BPO scheme to 1 lakh seats from 48,000 seats

Georgia’s PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili Resigns

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, prime minister of Georgia, has announced his resignation amid a disagreement with Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the ruling party. Kvirikashvili, 50, has been the country’s prime minister since 2015. The prime minister’s resignation comes amid growing popular discontent over his government’s handling of the economy and after mass protests in recent months.

10th smart city centre in Naya Raipur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the country’s 10th Smart City Integrated Command and Control Centre at Naya Raipur. Naya Raipur is the upcoming capital city of Chhattisgarh and the country’s first smart greenfield city. Nine other cities under Integrated Command and Control Centre are in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Bhopal and Kakinada.

Petrol, diesel sales hit record high in May

India’s domestic sales for diesel and petrol rose to record highs in May, pushing the country’s overall fuel consumption for the month higher year-on-year, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Oil Ministry showed. Fuel consumption, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 18.72 million tonnes last month. Diesel consumption in 2018 may more than double from 2017.

Infosys completes acquisition of WongDoody

The country’s second largest IT services firm Infosys has completed the acquisition of US-based WongDoody. WongDoody Holding Company is a US-based digital creative and consumer insights agency. WongDoody has clients across industries like telecommunications, consumer electronics, healthcare and consumer packaged goods. WongDoody is headquartered in Seattle and has an office in Los Angeles.

Ordinance for sports university approved

2 : President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to an ordinance to set up the country’s first national sports university in Manipur. The Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance on 23rd May in this regard. The University, first of its kind, will promote sports education in the areas of sports sciences, sports technology, sports management and sports coaching.

MCX launches India’s first silver options

India’s Multi Commodity Exchange has launched the country’s first silver options contracts. Five contracts expiring in June, August, November, February and April with a lot size of 30 kg were launched. India is the world’s biggest consumer of silver, which is mainly used for jewellery making in the county. The exchange had recently launched crude oil and copper options.

First national sports university in Manipur

The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to set up the country’s first national sports university in Manipur. The varsity will be spread over 325 acres in Imphal West district with a cost of Rs 524 crore. The proposal to set up the national sports university in Manipur was initially announced by PM Modi, while Rs 100 crore funds for it were allocated in the 2014-15 budget.

MCX launched India’s first copper options

India’s Multi Commodity Exchange has launched country’s first copper options contracts. It will provide physical market participants an additional instrument to hedge their risk. Option contracts were launched with a lot size of 1 tonne in 3 contracts expiring in June, August and November 2018. Copper ranks as the 3rd most-consumed industrial metal in the world, after iron & aluminum.

Venezuela’s Maduro won presidential vote

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro won a new six-year term in what is being seen as a controversial vote. Country’s main opposition coalition, Democratic Unity Roundtable, had boycotted the election. The two most popular opposition leaders, Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez, were barred from running in the vote. Several democratic countries have rejected to recognize the vote.

Paraguay officially moves embassy to Jerusalem

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes has inaugurated his country’s Israel embassy in Jerusalem. Paraguay is now the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States and Guatemala. Israel considers the entire city of Jerusalem to be its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Paraguay officially moves embassy to Jerusalem

21 : Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes has inaugurated his country’s Israel embassy in Jerusalem. Paraguay is now the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States and Guatemala. Israel considers the entire city of Jerusalem to be its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Physicist EC George Sudarshan passed away

Famous theoretical physicist EC George Sudarshan passed away in Texas, USA.He worked in the subjects of quantum Zeno effect, optical coherence, open quantum system, non-variance groups among others. In 2007, the Kerala-born scientist was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award.

China’s aircraft carrier begins sea trials

China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier has begun sea trials. The 50,000-metric tonne vessel will become the country’s second aircraft carrier, and the first to be entirely built and designed inside of China. Few countries in the world have aircraft carriers. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers.

Biggest City Gas Distribution Auction

India has launched its biggest auction of city gas distribution networks, offering permits for selling compressed & piped natural gas in 86 geographical areas. The 9th CGD licensing round would help bring gas coverage to 174 districts in 22 states & UTs, covering 29% of the country’s area. The cities for which CGD licenses are on offer include Bhopal, Ahmednagar & Ludhiana among others.

First integrated smart cities control centre

Madhya Pradesh has launched country’s first Integrated Control & Command Centre for all the 7 smart cities of the state in Bhopal. The centre would enable authorities to monitor the status of various smart civic amenities in real-time through the sensors connected to it. Smart City Mission, is an urban renewal program by the govt that aims to develop 100 smart cities across the country.

MCX to launch crude oil options

India’s Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) will launch the country’s first crude oil options contract on May 15. India is the world’s third-biggest consumer of crude oil. Crude oil futures contracts were most traded on the exchange platform in 2017/18 fiscal year ended on March 31. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the options contract.

Pradeep Kumar Sinha got one year extension

Cabinet secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha has got another one-year extension as the country’s top bureaucrat. Cabinet Secretary is the administrative head of the cabinet secretariat & is also the ex-officio chairman of the civil services board. The cabinet secretariat is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister. The cabinet secretariat assists in decision-making in the government.

India doing extremely well on electrification

India is doing “extremely well” on electrification with nearly 85% of the country’s population having access to electricity, the World Bank has said. According to the World Bank, between 2010 and 2016, India provided electricity to 30 million people each year, more than any other country. India is all set to achieve the target of universal access to electricity before the 2030 target date.

North Korea to rejoin South’s time zone

29 : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will move country’s clocks 30 mins forward to unify with South’s time zone.The 2 countries on divided peninsula had different time zones since 2015 when North changed its standard time to 30 mins behind the South. North will move to the time zone used before Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of peninsula to mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation from Tokyo.

Cyber Security Operations Centre in AP

Tech Mahindra has set up the country’s first “Cyber Security Operations Centre” (APCSOC) in Vijayawada, in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh government.The APCSOC will leverage Tech Mahindra’s global expertise in cyber security and risk management. The Cyber Security Operations Centre is equipped with traditional SOC and predictive threat analytics capabilities.

First bank to roll out AI-run voicebot

Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched the country’s first artificial intelligence-powered voice-bot ‘Keya’ in the banking sector.Keya uses automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding and text-to-speech technology. The voice-bot uses natural language understanding to navigate the customer directly to the destination where he can get his issue resolved.

New draft coast regulation rules

Environment Ministry has framed new rules governing country’s coastline in which it has proposed expanding land area for development activities & tourism infrastructure.Draft proposes a No Development Zone of 20m to be stipulated for all islands close to main land coast. It also proposes temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, and others at beaches.

Indian Consortium and Saudi Aramco Sign MoU

The world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has agreed to develop a “mega refinery” in Maharashtra with the Indian consortium consisting of Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum.This will be one of the biggest foreign investments in the country’s hydrocarbon sector. Saudi Aramco and the Indian consortium will each own 50% of the project.

India baged first-ever gold in badminton

Indian mixed badminton team claimed the gold medal on day five of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.India beat Malaysia on the back of strong shuttle play from Ashwini Ponnappa, Satwik Rankireddy, Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal. This is the country’s first mixed team badminton gold at any edition of the Common-wealth Games.

India’s first electric locomotive

Prime Minister flagged off the country’s first high-powered electric locomotive assembled in Madhepura in Bihar.This first locomotive is part of a joint venture of the railways with Alstom, signed in 2015 and the first major FDI project in the rail sector. India will join countries like Russia, China, Germany and Sweden that have 12,000 horsepower & above capacity electric locomotives.

India’s forex reserves at all time high

The country’s foreign exchange reserves hit a life-time high of 424.361 billion US dollar.Previously, the reserves had touched a record high of 421.914 billion dollar on February 9, 2018. Gold reserves remained unchanged at 21.614 billion US dollar.

Bahrain discovers largest oilfield

Bahrain had discovered the country’s largest oilfield in decades, located off the west coast of the kingdom.The new light shale oil and gas resources are expected to contain many times the amount of oil produced by Bahrain’s only existing oilfield, as well as large amounts of gas. Bahrain relies on the Abu Safa oilfield for the majority of its oil and shares the field with Saudi Arabia.

Carlos Alvarado to be next Costa Rica Prez

Carlos Alvarado, Costa Rica’s centre-left presidential candidate, is set to be the country’s next leader after elections on 1st April.Costa Rica’s electoral council made the announcement based on ballots from 91% of polling stations. Carlos Alvarado, 38, is a former labour minister, ex-journalist, novelist and sometime rock singer.

MCX launches first brass futures contracts

Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) launched futures trading in brass for the first time globally. The country‘s largest commodity exchange will start futures trading in brass on March 26. MCX Brass futures is the first non-ferrous contract with the compulsory delivery option. Brass is an alloy, which primarily contains around 55-60% copper and the rest is zinc.

Win Myint elected new Myanmar president

Myanmar‘s parliament has elected Win Myint as the country‘s next President. Win Myint has been a speaker in the lower house since 2012. Myanmar‘s President is elected by a joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament from among the country‘s three Vice- Presidents, representing respectively the Lower House, the Upper House and the military.

MCX launches first brass futures contracts

Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) launched futures trading in brass for the first time globally. The country‘s largest commodity exchange will start futures trading in brass on March 26. MCX Brass futures is the first non-ferrous contract with the compulsory delivery option. Brass is an alloy, which primarily contains around 55-60% copper and the rest is zinc.