US

Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki on July 16

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold their 1st summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. The 2 leaders will discuss relations between US and Russia and a range of national security issues. It meeting would also entail high-level talks on US sanctions on Russia and Russia’s rejoining the Group of Seven industrialised countries to make it the G8 again.

US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley visits India

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley is on a 2-day visit to India. Haley will meet with senior Indian government officials, NGO leaders, and the interfaith community to underscore the United States’ shared values and a strong alliance with the people of India. She is the first Indian-American to serve in a Cabinet-level position in any US presidential administration.

US dismisses 3rd party role in Kashmir dispute

The US administration has dismissed a third-party role in resolving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. “We believe the pace, scope and character of any discussion on Kashmir are for the two sides to determine,” it said. This comes after Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said trilateral cooperation between India, China and Pakistan could help resolve the issue.

Chief Economic Advisor Subramanian resigned

The Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) of India, Arvind Subramanian had resigned from the post and will return to the US because of “pressing family commitments”. The announcement was made by Mr Arun Jaitley. Subramanian was appointed as CEA to the finance ministry in October 2014, for the period of three years. In 2017 his term was extended for a year.

Brooks Koepka wins US open 2018

Brooks Koepka wins US Open 2018 by defeating Tommy Fleetwood at Shinnecock Hills becoming first player in 3 decades to successfully defend his title. Earlier the record was in name of Curtis Strange who won back to back titles in 1988 and 1989. The victory comes less than 2 months after Koepka returned from left wrist injury that kept him out of action since Jan 2018.

Fed Reserve raises rates

15 : In raising its benchmark overnight lending rate a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.75% to 2%, the Fed Reserve of US marked a milestone in the U.S. central bank’s shift in monetary policy. After the rate-setting, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the US economy is doing very well. The rate hike marks a shift in US policies used to battle the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

US approves sale of Apache choppers to India

The US government has approved a deal to sell six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to India for $930 million. The US will also provide night vision sensors, control radars, Hellfire Longbow missiles and Stinger air-to-air missiles to India under the deal. “(The helicopters) will increase India’s capability to counter ground-armoured threats and modernise its armed forces,” the US said.

Trump & Kim Sign Agreement On Denuclearization

US has decided to provide security guarantees to North Korea, in exchange of Pyongyang’s firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. This is according to the joint document which was signed by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Both nations commit to establishing new relations in accordance with the desire of the people.

U.S. Pacific Command renamed

The United States renamed its strategically important Pacific Command (PACOM) to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.Representatives from Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, India, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Nepal attended the change-of-command ceremony in Pearl Harbor.The renaming recognizes India’s increasing military relevance for the US.

India’s external debt rises to US$ 529.7 bn

India’s external debt increased US$ 58.4 billion or 12.4% to US$ 529.7 billion end-March 2018 over its level at end-March 2017. The increase in the magnitude of external debt was partly due to valuation loss resulting from the depreciation of the US dollar against major currencies. Debt service payments have declined to 7.5% of current receipts in 2018 as compared with 8.3% in 2017.

India became a major US defence partner

India’s status as a major defence partner of the US and strong US-India strategic partnership was affirmed by both nations at the Argentina Meet. Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires, the 2 nations discussed the agenda for the forthcoming 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. India and US also discussed opportunities to advance stability in Afghanistan.

CIA’s first female director

US Senate has approved Veteran spy Gina Haspel as CIA’s first female director.She replaces former CIA chief Mike Pompeo who was recently made Secretary of State. Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian foreign intelligence service of US federal government that analyses national security information from around the world.

Pakistan limits movement of US diplomats

Pakistani authorities have imposed “reciprocal” restrictions on the movement of U.S. diplomats in the country after Washington took similar measures. The move comes after the U.S. required Pakistani diplomats to get permission 5 days in advance to travel more than 25 miles from their embassy. Islamabad also decided to withdraw a number of facilities being enjoyed by the US diplomats earlier.

India slips to 6th spot in biz optimism index

As per Grant Thornton’s quarterly global business survey, India slipped to the 6th position globally in the business optimism index for the first quarter of 2018. While the business optimism is at an “all-time high” globally, business sentiment in India has been the weakest since 2014. The top five nations on the index are Austria, Finland, Indonesia, Netherlands and the US.

Nasa, Uber team up to get flying taxis

NASA and Uber have signed an agreement to explore putting flying taxis in the skies over US cities. NASA will begin simulations for so-called “urban air mobility” vehicles that also include delivery drones. NASA said the goal is to create a rideshare network that will allow residents to hail a small aircraft the same way Uber users can now use an app to call a car.

US to reschedule the 1st two-plus-two dialogue

The US is looking to reschedule the first two-plus-two dialogue with India, following the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State. The dialogue involves defense and foreign ministers from the two countries. The dialogue is likely to take place sometime this summer, most probably after the historic summit meeting between Trump and Kim Jong un.

India, US discuss maritime security

3 : India and the US held their third maritime security dialogue in Goa from 30th April to 1st May. The two sides discussed developments in the maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific Region and exchanged views on ways to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation. They also reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken during the previous Maritime Security Dialogues.

Blue Origin launches its first space mission

Blue Origin, the US aerospace company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has launched its suborbital ‘New Shepard’ rocket and space capsule. The mission marked the company’s first test flight of the year and second flight of the New Shepard 2.0 spacecraft. New Shepard is a reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing space vehicle, consisting of a pressurized capsule atop a booster.

Pompeo sworn in as new US secretary of state

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been sworn in as the 70th US secretary of state after the Senate voted to confirm him, 57-42.Mike Pompeo replaces President Donald Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.His confirmation creates a vacancy atop the CIA that will be filled, at least for now, by Gina Haspel, the intelligence agency’s No. 2 official.

Jim Bridenstine to be the new NASA chief

US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump-nominated Representative Jim Bridenstine to serve as NASA’s 13th administrator.His confirmation following a vote in the Senate ends the longest span of time that NASA has operated without a permanent leader. Bridenstine, a pilot in US Navy Reserve currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee & Science, Space & Technology Committee.

Syria returned prestigious Legion d’honneur

Syria has returned to France the prestigious Legion d’honneur presented to President Bashar al-Assad.President Assad was decorated with the highest class of the award, the Grand Croix, in 2001 after he took power following the death of his father. France recently joined the US and Britain in bombing Syrian targets over an alleged chemical weapons attack.

K-Pop Group BTS won TIME 100 Reader Poll

South Korean pop group BTS has won the online reader’s poll for TIME ‘Person of the Year 2018’.South Korean President Moon Jae-in finished second with 5% votes, followed by former US President Barack Obama with 3% votes. The group won the Top Social Artist title at last year’s Billboard Music Awards and earned a spot on TIME’s list of the Most Influential People on the Internet in 2017.

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.

Natgeo award for physical therapy app

Dr. Asha, a neurophysical therapist from Andhra Pradesh has won the ‘National Geographic Chasing Genius Challenge’ in the U.S. for designing Therax, a web/mobile application.‘Therax’ helps patients with home exercise programmes in their native language. The NatGeo challenge is part of a marketing strategy to popularise a television series.

NASA test launches Mars landing parachute

A supersonic parachute that will help NASA missions to land on Mars, was successfully launched into the sky.The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) was launched on March 31 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in the US. The test was meant to mimic the conditions that a spacecraft would experience during a red planet entry, descent and landing.

Sloane Stephens won Miami Open

US Open champion Sloane Stephens defeated Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to win her first Miami Open title.Sloane Stephens has now won 6 WTA titles & has never lost in a final.This win will move Stephens into world top 10 for the 1st time.Stephens had beaten 3 former Grand Slam champs – Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, and Victoria Azarenka to make the final.

S Korea, US began joint military drills

South Korea &US have kicked off their annual joint military exercises after they were delayed about a month for Olympics.Foal Eagle field exercise, which involves combined ground, air, naval & special operation troops, will continue for a month while the computer-simulated Key Resolve is scheduled for 2 weeks. The two drills would involve 23,700 US troops & 300,000 South Korean forces.

New Jersey declares April as Sikh Awareness

The US state of New Jersey has declared April as =Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month‘ as part of its effort to promote awareness of the faith. The resolution was adopted unanimously by both the New Jersey House of Representative and the Senate. The move would promote public awareness of the Sikh faith, recognizing important contributions of the Sikh community to US.

OPIC loan for drinking water project in India

The U.S. government‘s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) committed a Rs. 80 crore loan to WaterHealth India Pvt Ltd, which will help finance installation of 900 decentralised plants in India. The project will expand access to affordable clean drinking water to millions of people in India. These plants will be installed at locations like railway stations, shopping malls etc.

U.S., India hold naval training

Indian Navy‘s Talwar class frigate INS Tarkash carried out a ?greeting and training? exercise with the U.S. Navy‘s Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG). During the exercise, personnel from both the sides ? practised working together and strengthened their crews‘ ship handling?. The TRCSG will now be responsible for counter-piracy, freedom of navigation operations and training.

Indians least criminal among major economies

According to Institute for Criminal Policy Research, India has a lower imprisonment rate compared with other major economies. In India 33 of every 1 lakh Indians are behind bars. US, with 666 of every 1 lakh Americans behind bars, has the highest imprisonment rate among major countries. India‘s neighbours, China has a prison population rate at 118, while Pak is at 44 & Sri Lanka is at 78.

US launched WTO challenge against China

US has launched a challenge at World Trade Organization against China over intellectual property breaches. US is taking action at WTO to address China‘s unfair technology practices that run counter to WTO rules. This comes just as the US prepares to impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel & 10% on aluminum – sanctions that are meant to hit China for flooding world with cheap steel & aluminum

Trump signed U.S.-Taiwan travel bill

Donald Trump has signed a legislation that encourages US to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts & vice versa. The Taiwan Travel Act is a signal of improving ties b/w US & Taiwan, which have not maintained diplomatic relationships since 1979. China opposed to the legislation & urged US to abide by ?one China? policy, that stipulates that Taiwan is part of China.

Kudlow to be Trump’s new economic advisor

Larry Kudlow, a well-known conservative media pundit, would be the new chief economic advisor of the US President Donald Trump. Kudlow would replace Cohen, who quit the post after his differences with Trump on imposing a 25% tariff on import of steel & 10% on aluminum. Kudlow, who served as Trump‘s informal economic adviser during the 2016 campaign, is a well-known conservative voice.

US is India’s 2nd biggest arms supplier

The US has rapidly increased its arms sales to India, emerging over the last five years as its second-biggest supplier by providing 15% of its weapons imports. Washington increased its sales by more than 5 times compared to the previous 5 years . Russia remained by far India‘s biggest arms seller while Israel moved up to the third spot. India is the world‘s biggest importer of major arms.

US hits Russia with sanctions

US has slapped a series of sanctions on top Russian spy agencies & cyber actors for their alleged interference in the 2016 elections & conducting separate cyber attacks. This move by Trump Administration is the 1st rebuke of Russia‘s interference during the election campaign. Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s personal chef Yevgeniy Prigozhin is one of the individuals singled out by US.

India Gets Past $300-b FDI Mark

India crossed the $300-billion foreign direct investment (FDI) milestone between April 2000 & Sept 2016. Around 33% of the FDI came through the Mauritius route, apparently because the investors wanted to take advantage of double taxation avoidance treaty. India received $101.76 billion from Mauritius between April 2000 & Sept 2016. The other big investors have been from Singapore & the US.

US President signs off a new law imposing new sanctions against North Korea

US President Mr. Barack Obama signs off a new law imposing new sanctions against North Korea, punishing the regime for its nuclear and missile tests as well as for suspected cyber-hacking incidents.

Five different types of cancer is discovered by US

A telltale marker of five different types of cancer is discovered by the US researchers, raising the possibility of diagnosing cancer with a simple blood test, without any other clinical symptoms.

Developed Computer Software

The US scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a computer software that can decode brain signals and read people’s thoughts with almost 96 percent accuracy in real time.

US bans solitary confinement in federal prisons

US President Mr. Barack Obama announces a ban on solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, citing the case of teenager who spent two years in solitary confinement and killed himself.

US deploys on North Korea’s nuclear test

The US deploys a B-52 bomber on a low-level flight over its ally South Korea in response to North Korea’s nuclear test a week ago.

US missile turned up in Cuba

A report by Wall Street Journal says that a US Hellfire missile has turned up in Cuba after going missing in a fiasco that has left American officials worried.

US scientists successfully convert human skin cells

The US scientists successfully convert human skin cells into functional pancreatic cells, a breakthrough that may lead to a personalised cell therapy for diabetics, ending the need for insulin jobs.

Ashton Carter confirmed as new US defence secretary

Ashton Carter, a close confidant of President Barack Obama and a strong proponent of Indo-US strategic ties, has been confirmed by the Senate as the next American defence secretary. He was confirmed to the top Pentagon post with an overwhelming 93 to five votes. Mr. Carter will be the 25th U.S. Secretary of Defence, replacing Chuck Hagel who quit from the post in November last amid reports of differences with Mr. Obama.

Ajaypal Singh Banga appointed as member of US Advisory Committee for Trade Policy

Indian-American Ajaypal Singh Banga is appointed as the Member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), a key administration position in the United States (US). His appointment was announced by the US President Barack Obama. Presently, Banga is President and CEO of MasterCard since 2009.

Verma sworn in as US Ambassador to India

Mr. Richard Rahul Verma was sworn in as the US Ambassador to India on Dec. 20, 2014. 46-year-old Mr. Verma, the first-ever Indian-American to be the top US diplomat in New Delhi, is a lawyer by profession, with extensive experience in national security and nonproliferation issues.

Obama warns North Korea

US President Mr. Barack Obama warns North Korea that it would face relation for cripping cyber attack on Sony Pictures.