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International Current Affairs Aug 1st Week 2018

 1. NDA Act 2019 Passed, Capping US Aid To Pakistan To $150 Million.

“The legislation reduces the total amount of funds provided for reimbursement to Pakistan to $150 million. This is a significant reduction from the $700 million that was authorised through Coalition Support Fund (CSF) last year.”

The United States Congress has passed the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) which capped its security-related aid to Pakistan to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than $ one billion to $750 million per year.

This year’s defense legislation, however, removes certain conditions — like action against Haqqani network or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) -- as was the case in the past few years for disbursement of US aid to Pakistan.

The Senate passed the conference report on NDAA-19 by 87 to 10 votes on Wednesday afternoon. The House of Representatives had passed the conference report last week. It now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump’s assent.

“The legislation reduces the total amount of funds provided for reimbursement to Pakistan to $150 million. This is a significant reduction from the $700 million that was authorised through Coalition Support Fund (CSF) last year,” Anish Goel, who was part of Barack Obama’s White House National Security Council, told PTI.

However, in doing so, the legislation gets rid of the certification requirements for Pakistan’s action against the Haqqani Network and it also gets rid of the authority to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism, he said

 

2. France’s Parliament Signed Into Law, Asylum And Immigration Bill.

France`s parliament Wednesday signed into law a controversial asylum and immigration bill -- despite opposition on the left which decried an effort to limit arrivals while the far right saw the measure as not going far enough.

The bill is designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time to 90 days after entering France from 120 currently.

The text was adopted on a final reading by 100 votes in favour to 25 against with 11 abstentions.

The senate had rejected the bill on Tuesday, but the lower house passed the text as President Emmanuel Macron`s La Republique En Marche party holds a large majority, even if the law has exposed divisions within his own camp.

As well as slimming down the time taken to overcome administrative hurdles the text cuts to six months, from 11, the time limit to make an asylum claim while facilitating both the expulsion of those rejected and the acceptance of those whose bid succeeds.

 

3. Fortune 500 List Of World`s Largest Companies Released.

Seven Indian companies feature in the US magazine Fortune 500 list of the world`s largest firms, with state-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) remaining the top-ranked Indian company in the 2018 rankings and Reliance Industries (RIL) improving its position substantially.

American retail giant Walmart tops the latest Fortune listing, while Indian Oil jumped to 137th position, from its 168th rank last year.

"The world`s 500 largest companies generated $30 trillion in revenues and $1.9 trillion in profits in 2017. Together, this year`s Fortune Global 500 companies employ 67.7 million people worldwide and are represented by 33 countries," Fortune said.

The Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, whose main oil and gas business has been supplemented with the addition of telecom player Jio, was the top private company from India as its ranking improved by 53 places to 148, from being the 203rd last year.

State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which did not figure in the 2017 list, returned among the Forbes 500 with a ranking of 197th.

In the continuing good story for oil companies at a time of rising prices, two Chinese majors -- China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) -- were at 3 and 4, respectively, while Royal Dutch Shell secured the 5th position on the list.

State-run electric utility, State Grid Corporation of China is at second position in the Fortune 500 of 2018.

State-run oil marketer Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) moved up to 314th position, from 360th last year, while the government-owned State Bank of India (SBI) improved one place over last year to be at 216.

Tata Motors improved its ranking to 232, from 247th last year.

Private firm Rajesh Exports was the seventh Indian company on the list at the ranking of 405 as it fell over a hundred spots from 295 last year.

In a separate category of globally most profitable companies topped by Apple, RIL became the most profitable Indian firm with a rank of 99.

 

5. EAM Sushma Swaraj In Kyrgyzstan As Part Of Her 3-Central Asian Nations` Tour.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is now in Kyrgystan which is the second leg of 3-central asian nations` visit. Before landing in Bishkek..the Minister completed a successful visit to Kazakhstan where she met the country`s top leaders to discuss ways to consolidate its strategic partnership with India in areas like trade, energy, security and information technology.

Minister Sushma Swaraj held a bilateral meeting with her Kazakh External Affairs counterpart. Sushma Swaraj expressed India`s interest to partner with Kazakhstan on several fronts.

The two leaders discussed diversifying trade in traditional products to inject fresh impetus to trade between the two countries. India views Kazakhastan as an emerging market for new products.

The two leaders also discussed defence & security, energy, informations and communication technology, pharma, capacity building and culture. EAM Sushma Swaraj also called on Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. On Thursday she interacted with Indian community in Kazakhstan. 

Bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan have been strengthened by the bilateral visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kazakhstan in 2015 and his visit for SCO Summit in June 2017. 

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International Current Affairs Aug 1st Week 2018

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