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International Current Affairs July 2nd week 2018

 1.Brexit Secretary David Davis Resigns.

The man responsible for overseeing the UK`s exit from the European Union has resigned, citing irreconcilable differences with Prime Minister Theresa May, a move that threatens to destabilize her government.

In a resignation letter sent to May late Sunday night UK time, Brexit Minister David Davis said it was looking "less and less likely" that the Conservative-led government would be able to deliver on its "manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market."

Speaking early Monday on BBC Radio 4, Davis said he "proposed one approach, (May) chose another one that is more conciliatory to the EU."

"My fear is they`ll take what we`re offering and demand some more ... We`re giving too much away, too easily, and that`s a dangerous strategy," he added.

The departure of a key minister could lead to further resignations and throw May`s government into chaos just as it enters a key period of negotiations with the EU.

It comes as May is preparing for a state visit by US President Donald Trump later this week, and faces a potential new international crisis after a British citizen died as a result of being exposed to Novichok, the same nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

 

2. Prakash Javadekar Inaugurates 17th World Sanskrit Conference In Canada.

Human Resource Development Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar will inaugurate the 17th World Sanskrit Conference to be held at Vancouver, Canada from 9th July to 13th July, 2018.

More than 500 scholars and delegates from over 40 countries will be participating in this conference and exchange their knowledge by presenting papers on various subjects followed by discussions from amongst the members.

There will be a special panel discussion on over a dozen topics like; History & Education of Women in Vedic Literature; Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts; Mimamsa Beyond the Yagasala; The Yuktidipika Forging a Place for Sankhya; Introducing Bhagavata Purana Commentaries; Research on the Gargiyajyotisa. Over 500 papers on various themes are likely to be presented during the 5-day conference. The purpose of this conference is to promote, preserve and practice the Sanskrit language all over the world by the people. The World Sanskrit Conference is being held in various countries across the globe once in every three years and so far it has been held thrice in India.

Besides the Minister, 10 scholars and two officers are part of the Indian delegation participating in the 17th World Sanskrit Conference.

 

2. World`s Oldest Colours Discovered.

Scientists have discovered the oldest colours in the geological record — 1.1 billion-year-old bright pink pigments extracted from rocks deep beneath the Sahara desert in Africa. The pigments taken from marine black shales of the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa, were more than half a billion years older than previous pigment discoveries, said Nur Gueneli from The Australian National University (ANU).

“The bright pink pigments are the molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms inhabiting an ancient ocean that has long since vanished,” said Dr. Gueneli.

The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted, according to a study published in the journal PNAS.

The researchers crushed the billion-year-old rocks to powder, before extracting and analysing molecules of ancient organisms from them.

“The precise analysis of the ancient pigments confirmed that tiny cyanobacteria dominated the base of the food chain in the oceans a billion years ago, which helps to explain why animals did not exist at the time,” Dr. Gueneli said.

The emergence of large, active organisms was likely to have been restrained by a limited supply of larger food particles, such as algae, senior lead researcher Jochen Brocks, an associate professor at ANU. “Algae, although still microscopic, are a thousand times larger in volume than cyanobacteria, and are a much richer food source,” said Dr. Brocks.

“The cyanobacterial oceans started to vanish about 650 million years ago, when algae began to rapidly spread to provide the burst of energy needed for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where large animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth,” he said.

 

3. World Population Day: 11 July.

The world population day celebrated on 11th July 2018 is a United Nations Initiative to raise the awareness of increasing population day to day.  In 1989, the governing council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that 11th July should be observed as World Population Day.

This day was first suggested by Dr KC Zachariah, an Honorary Professor at the centre of Development Studies who was then working as a senior demographer at World Bank.

The theme for 2018 is “Family Planning is Human Right”. This theme for the first time stresses that women can refuse to have multiple pregnancies placed too close if they want. It gives a response to the 50-year-old legislation which also states the same.

A total of 8 objectives have been selected for this year’s population day

Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, Dep Representative at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at the world population day 2018 press conference said that “Family Planning is not a human right but a Fundamental Human Right.

The theme for 2017 was “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations”.

 

4. UN Security Council Adopts Resolution To Protect Children In Armed Conflict.

 

The Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.

Resolution 2427, which won unanimous approval of the 15 members of the council, strongly condemns the recruitment and use of children by parties to armed conflict as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and abductions.

The resolution also condemns attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict and all other violations of international law committed against children in situations of armed conflict.

It demands that all relevant parties immediately put an end to such practices and take special measures to protect children.

The resolution also emphasizes the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children.

The resolution reiterates the Security Council`s readiness to adopt targeted and graduated measures against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children.

It calls on member states and the United Nations to mainstream child protection into all relevant activities in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations with the aim of sustaining peace and preventing conflict.

It recalls the importance of ensuring that children continue to have access to basic services during the conflict and post-conflict periods, including education and health care, and urges member states, UN bodies and civil society to take specifically into account girls` equal access to education.

 

5. Forbes Releases 2018 List Of America`s Richest Self-Made Women.

 

Indian-origin technology executives Jayshree Ullal and Neerja Sethi have made it to the Forbes` list of America`s 60 richest self-made women, with 21-year-old reality-TV star and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner the youngest to be featured in the power list. Ullal is ranked 18th in the list of 60 self-made women, having a net worth of $1.3 billion while Sethi is ranked 21st with a net worth of $1 billion.

"America`s top female entrepreneurs have shattered ceilings and scaled new heights, creating companies and building fortunes in everything from genetic testing to aerospace. Increasingly these self-made starters are tapping social media to cement their brands and build businesses ever more quickly. That in turn has helped the nation`s most successful women become richer than ever before," Forbes said.

Born in London and raised in India, Ullal, 57 has been president and CEO of Arista Networks, a computer networking firm, since 2008.

The publicly-traded company recorded revenues of $1.6 billion in 2017. Forbes said Ullal owns about five per cent of Arista`s stock, some of which is earmarked for her two children, niece and nephew.

Sethi, 63, is the vice president of IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel, a company she cofounded with her husband Bharat Desai in 1980 in their apartment in Troy, Michigan.

Starting out with an initial investment of just $2,000, they pulled in a mere $30,000 in first-year sales. Syntel racked up $924 million in 2017 revenues and has 23,000 employees, 80 per cent of whom are in India, Forbes said.

 

6. UN Secretary-General Constitutes High-Level Panel On Digital Cooperation.

 

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, has been selected by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as one of 20 independent experts to advise him on his High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, launched at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday. The Panel will be co-chaired by Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, and includes prominent leaders from government, private industry, civil society, academia and the technical community, acting in their personal capacity while representing a broad mix of disciplines, sectors, ages, geographies and areas of expertise to reflect the cross-boundary nature of the digital sphere. The purpose of the Panel is to advance proposals to strengthen international cooperation in the digital space, with the ultimate aim of realizing the transformational potential of digital technologies while safeguarding against risks and unintended consequences. The panel will contribute to the broader global dialogue on how interdisciplinary and cooperative approaches can help ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all.

Rapidly advancing digital technologies hold unprecedented opportunities to accelerate sustainable development, advance well-being, and empower individuals around the world, yet there is a risk that the use of these technologies may deepen inequality, increase mistrust and undermine human rights. The scale of both the opportunities and the challenges requires new ways of cooperating across borders to ensure that digital technologies support sustainable development while mitigating potential dangers or unintended consequences.

 

7. Sushma Swaraj Embarks 2-Day Visit To Manama.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here on Sunday on a two-day visit to attend a joint consultative committee meeting to review the bilateral ties and discuss ways to further strengthen the relationship.

Ms. Swaraj, who arrived on a special Indian aircraft, was received by her Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmud Ali at the Bangabandhu Air Base in Dhaka. Officials said the Teesta River deal and the Rohingya crisis were among issues likely to be discussed in Ms. Swaraj’s talks with Mr. Ali.

She is “expected to meet the Bangladeshi leadership and also interact with the representatives of leading Bangladeshi think-tanks, chambers of commerce and industry and cultural organisations,” an Indian High Commission statement said.

Bangladesh foreign ministry officials said Ms. Swaraj was scheduled to call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, main opposition leader Raushan Ershad of Jatiya Party and former premier Khaleda Zia later on Sunday.

Ms. Swaraj is likely to join the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for setting up a “common facility centre” for small and medium enterprises in southwestern city of Khulna and export of hi-speed diesel to Bangladesh, they said, adding that she would also inaugurate 15 development projects funded by the Indian government.

This is Ms. Swaraj’s second visit to Bangladesh and comes after recent trip of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during which India operationalised a $4.5 billion line of credit to Bangladesh to enable implementation of development projects in key areas, including power, railways, roads and shipping.

The announcement of the line of credit was made during the visit of Prime Minister Hasina to India in April. The development is also seen as India’s attempt to counter increasing Chinese influence in Bangladesh, where Beijing is trying to make inroads in infrastructure ventures.

 

8. Integrated Indian Visa Application Centre Inaugurated In Bangladesh.

A new integrated state-of-the-art integrated Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) was jointly inaugurated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan at Dhaka`s Jamuna Future Park here on Saturday.

The High Commission of India in Dhaka, the new IVAC in Jamuna Future Park will replace the existing IVACs in Motijheel and Uttara from July 15. The remaining two IVACs in Dhaka (Gulshan and Mirpur Road) will also be shifted to the new facility by August 31. Thereafter, only one IVAC will be functional for all categories of visa applications without prior appointment, as per a release by the High Commission of India in Dhaka.

The new IVAC in Jamuna Future Park will be a model visa centre. Located in an 18,500 square feet commercial area, the IVAC will have facilities like computer generated token vending machines (expected waiting time will be indicated), comfortable seating arrangements in an air-conditioned waiting area, coffee and soft drinks vending machines, food kiosks and as many as 48 counters for submission of applications.

Separate counters will be reserved for senior citizens, women, freedom fighters and business applicants, the statement added.

A special help desk and counter for services, including printing and photocopying will be accessible at cost price. The location of the new IVAC inside a spacious and secure shopping mall is expected to provide comfortable and seamless visa services to applicants and is expected to reduce waiting time considerably.

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International Current Affairs July 2nd week 2018

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