Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Politics and Government

MSME Ministry to re-launch modified SFURTI scheme 

In order to give a fillip to the Khadi and coir sectors, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) has revamped the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI scheme). The Ministry of MSME had launched this scheme in the year 2005 with a view to promote cluster development.The Scheme envisages need-based assistance for replacement of production equipment, setting up of common facility centres (CFC), product development, quality improvement, improved marketing, training and capacity building.


India, Nepal sign 3 deals; put off power pact

Nepal and India have signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) during the bilateral talks held between the delegations led by PM Modi and PM Koirala. Under the first agreement, India would provide Rs. 65 million to procure and distribute iodised salt in the rural areas of Nepal. This would be the extension of the ongoing goiter control project being implemented under India's grant. The two governments also signed MOU regarding the amendment of Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on the Mahakali river. Under the agreement, the two countries have agreed to move forward works relating to Pancheshwar Development Authority by declaring Pancheshwar authority regulation. The third agreement paves the way for cooperation between two national broadcasting television channels - Nepal Television and Doordarshan.

US confirms re-supplying arms to Israel during the Gaza conflict, Bolivia declares Israel a terrorist state

The United States has confirmed that it resupplied Israel with arms and ammunition during the ongoing conflict in Gaza. 12 days after the Gaza strip conflict began Israel made a request to withdraw 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm ammunition for grenade launchers, which was accepted by the US defence department three days later. However, it was mentioned that Israel had not cited an emergency while requesting the supplies and the US had agreed to the request in order to rotate its stock. Since the 1990s, the US has kept a stockpile of arms inside Israel known as the War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), which Israel can use in emergencies. The United States also said that it is committed to the security of Israel which is vital to US national interests. The defence sale was consistent with those objectives. The news comes soon after the US condemned an attack on a United Nations (UN) school in Gaza in which 16 Palestinians were killed. Meanwhile, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that irrespective of a ceasefire, Israel will not stop its operation in Gaza until the tunnels constructed by Hamas militants to infiltrate Israeli territory have been destroyed. Bolivia has declared Israel a terrorist state and refused to abide by a visa exemption treaty with the country in protest over its offensive in Gaza. The treaty has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa since 1972. Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over a previous military operation in Gaza. In mid-July, Bolivian President Evo Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for "crimes against humanity."

Severe Ebola virus disease outbreak in West African countries, 887 dead till now

A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus disease has occurred in some West-African countries with 887 deaths reported by the WHO as of 1 August, 2014. This outbreak is the most severe in recorded history in regard to both the number of human cases and fatalities and has raised alarm around the world. The outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever, for which there is no known cure, began in the forests of remote eastern Guinea in February, but Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases. Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria are the 4 countries facing the epidemic with 57 new deaths between July 24 and 27. Sierra Leone declared a health emergency and called in troops to quarantine Ebola victims on Thursday, joining neighbouring Liberia in imposing tough controls to contain the spread of the dangerous virus. Various organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the European Commission have donated funds and mobilized personnel to help counter the outbreak; charities including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross and Samaritan's Purse are also working in the area. World leaders from the developed countries are holding talks to decide on a response against the threat.

China bars Kaspersky, Symantec in government offices: Report

China has excluded United States-based Symantec and Russia’s Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved anti-virus software vendors. The report came after China had last week updated a public website that lists technology vendors whose goods are approved for use by the nation’s massive central government. It was not immediately clear if agencies were being advised to avoid other non-Chinese products.The report is the latest sign that China is intent on promoting the use of domestic information technology products after leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden raised concerns about foreign surveillance programs.


India finishes fifth in XX Commonwealth Games, wins 15 gold medals

The 2014 Commonwealth Games (the XX Commonwealth Games) were held in Glasgow Scotland from 23rd July to 3rd August, 2014. The Games received acclaim for their organisation, attendance, and the public enthusiasm of the people of Scotland. A 216-strong team of Indian athletes bagged 15 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze medals for a total haul of 64 medals to finish fifth on the table. India collected a maximum of 17 medals from shooting. The wrestlers though had the maximum gold count with 13 overall medals. The weightlifters performed  August, 2014. Around 4,950 athletes from 71 different nations and territories competed above expectations as they bagged 12 medals with India topping the tally in that sport. In judo, India won their biggest haul of four medals (two silver and two bronze medals). In hockey, India won their second consecutive silver losing out 4-0 to world champions Australia. India also won 4 medals in Badminton. Parupalli Kashyap bagged a gold medal to become the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to win the singles title in Commonwealth Games after Syed Modi in 1982. Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa created history by winning India’s first ever gold medal in CWG Squash. The nation got one gold, one silver and one bronze from the track and field events. Vikas Gowda took the men’s discus throw gold medal, the only Indian male athlete after Milkha Singh (who won the 440m yards title at the 1958 Games in Cardiff), to win a gold medal in the athletics events. 

The table below shows the top 5 countries in the XX Commonwealth games and the number of gold, silver and bronze medals won by each.



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