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August 07, 2015

7th August 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Nepal has started issuing passports to sexual minorities, adding a third-gender category in the passports.
    • Nepal had so far been issuing passports under only male (codified as M) and Female (codified by F) categories, now it will provide passports to all sexual minorities, commonly known as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGTBT) under others (codified as O) category. 
    • Nepal also issues citizenship certificate to all sexual minorities under others or “O” category.
    • Manoj Shahi (now changed name as Monica Shahi), a transgender of Nepal is set to become the first recipient of category “O” passport in Nepal.
    • Note : Countries like Australia and New Zealand have already recognized third gender in passports with a gender sign "X".
  • Pakistan has made it mandatory for local Sikhs to take prior permission from the top Sikh religious body before visiting other countries, especially India.
  • Egypt has opened a major expansion of the Suez Canal, which deepens the main waterway and provides ships with a 35km (22 mile) channel parallel to it.
    • The expansion aims to increase the traffic handled by the canal.
    • Egyptian President : Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

National Affairs
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the first National Handloom Day (7th August)
    in Chennai today.
    • At the event Modi also launched the ‘India Handloom’ brand to help weavers with brand for global markets. 
    • He also confered the Sant Kabir awards and National awards for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 to distinguished handloom personalities on the occasion.
    • Note : 7th of August was chosen as National Handloom Day because on this day, Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905. 
      • This movement involved revival of domestic products and production processes.
  • The Southern States today decided to form "Southern Forest Ministers' Inter-State Co-Ordination council", an inter-state co-ordination council in a bid to tackle forest-related problems in the region.
    • This council would initiate standard operating procedures to tackle the forest-related problems in the region.
    • Under the Interstate council, a full-time secretariat will function in the respective Forest Departments.
    • For the first year, Kerala Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan will be the President of the council.
  • Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015, a bill seeking to scrap a set of 295 obsolete Acts dealing with several issues including changes in marriage laws and cement hoarding was passed by Lok Sabha yesterday.
  • Tripura Assembly has passed a resolution to request the Union Government to amend Section 302 of the IPC to abolish capital punishment.
    • The resolution is apparently fallout of recent hanging of Yakub Memon, prime accused in Mumbai serial blasts.

New Appointments
  • E-commerce major Snapdeal has appointed former TaxiForSure Cheif technological officer (CTO) Amitava Ghosh as it's Vice President (Engineering).

Business & Economy
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed the banks to shift, merge or close all their branches except rural branches and sole semi-urban branches at their own discretion.
    • The banks have also been allowed to shift some activities of a branch in any centre due to space or rent constraints without seeking prior approval of the RBI.
  • The government will impose an import duty of 10% on wheat effective until March 31 next year.
  • Agreements worth Rs 2,530 crore were signed today between several private companies and Rajasthan government to establish industrial units in the state as a build-up to the 'Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit', which is going to be held in Jaipur on November 19-20.
    • Rajasthan Chief Minister : Vasundhara Raje 
  • India on has extended anti-dumping duty on import of all forms and grades of Vitamin C at USD 3.74 per kg from China for five years to safeguard the interest of domestic industry.
    • The anti-dumping duty has been imposed following the findings of designated authority which concluded that imports of Vitamin-C have caused injury to the domestic industry.

Science & Technology
  • NASA has extended a contract with Russian Federal space agency for $490 million to carry US astronauts to the International Space Station amid a lack of Congressional funding.
    • Note : The United States has been dependent on Russia for ISS access since it ended its space shuttle program in July 2012. 

Awards & Honors
  • A global satellite for earth observation and disaster risk reduction — GlobalSat for DRR — proposed under the UN framework is to be dedicated to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who died on July 27th.
    • The satellite will be named as UN Kalam GlobalSat.
  • Russian journalist, Zhanna Nemtsova has been awarded with Poland’s Solidarity Prize 2015.
    • She was honored with this award for advocating democracy and human rights.

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