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Evening News Digest 13 July 2018

Hima Das: First Indian to win 400-m gold in track event at U-20 Worlds

  • Hima Das scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships as she clinched to top spot in the women's 400m final race in Tampere.
  • Hima Das became first Indian woman to win gold medal at IAAF U-20 World Athletic Championships.The 18-year-old Das, a pre-tournament favourite, clocked 51.46s to win the gold.
  • She now joins the illustrious company of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort.
  • In fact, Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition.
  • The previous medal winners at the World Junior Championships were Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014).

TCA Raghavan appointed Director General of ICWA

  • The Vice President of India and the President of ICWA, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has appointed Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan (IFS: 1982) as the Director General, ex officio Member-Secretary of the Council, ICWA.
  • The decision was taken in the meetings of the Governing Body and Governing Council of the Indian Council of World Affairs
  • The post is equivalent to the rank of Secretary to the Government of India, with effect from 24th July, 2018.
  • Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan has served as India’s High Commissioner to Islamabad and Singapore and has served in our missions at London, Thimphu and Kuwait.
  • Background:
  • The Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) is a New Delhi based Indian think-tank. Established in 1943, it is devoted exclusively for the study of international relations and foreign affairs. By an Act of Parliament, it has been declared an institution of national importance in 2001. The Vice President of India is the ex-officio President of ICWA, while the Minister of External Affairs is its Vice-President.


ASI allows photography within premises of centrally protected monuments


  • The Archaeological Survey of India, an organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, in an order, decided to allow photography within the premises of all centrally protected monuments/sites (except 3).
  • However, the 3 monuments/sites in which the photography would not be permitted are Ajanta Caves and Leh Palace having paintings, and Mausoleum of Taj Mahal, Agra.
  • The above comes in the wake of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi observing in his Speech at the Inaugural Event of ‘Dharohar Bhawan’ in New Delhi that Space Technology in the modern era has developed to such an extent that one can photograph even minute objects from far off distances, and in this background , it is indeed ironical to restrict the tourists/visitors from taking  photographs  of  their experiences at  heritage monuments and sites.


Balharshah & Chandrapur most beautified railway station premises

  • Maharashtra’s Ballarshah and Chandrapur railway stations have been adjudged joint winners in the Railways’ in-house station beautification contest, while Madhubani station in Bihar with its Mithila (Madhubani) art work done by local artists ranked second along with Madurai.
  • Gandhidham railway station in Gujarat, Kota in Rajasthan and Secunderabad in Telangana were declared the third best in the ‘Beautification of Railway Stations with Local Artists’ competition.
  • The first prize entails a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh, the second will get Rs 5 lakh while those of the third spot will receive Rs 3 lakh.

Aadhaar in Ayushman Bharat desirable but not mandatory: Govt


  • The Government clarified that Aadhaar is desirable but not mandatory to avail benefits under the Ayushman Bharat scheme providing health insurance to poor families. 
  • Health Minister J P Nadda confirmed that the government will provide services to all eligible beneficiaries with or without Aadhaar card.
  • The scheme is aimed at providing an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per year for hospitalisation to 10.74 crore poor families.
  • The Ministry said, the notification of the Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission, being issued by it under the Aadhaar Act, merely enables the implementing agencies to ask beneficiaries for Aadhaar Card to authenticate their identity.
  • In order to authenticate the identity of beneficiaries accurately, the use of Aadhaar card is preferable, but it is not a must.  It said, there will be no denial of benefit for want of Aadhaar number.
  • The Ministry said, the draft notification also provides for exception handling mechanism - production of alternative identification mechanisms such as ration card, voter ID card, MGNREGA card among others in case the beneficiary does not have Aadhaar number.


Government Releases Rs. 1,100 Crore To Develop Border Villages


  • The Centre has released Rs. 1,100 crore in 2017-18 for the all-round development of villages located along the international border in 17 states.
  • According to the home ministry, 61 model villages, with amenities like health centre, school, drinking water, will be developed along the  border and Rs. 126 crore has been released for this purpose.
  • The issues related to the implementation of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) were discussed at a high-level meeting held in the home ministry and attended by district magistrate of 25 districts of 17 states.
  • The outlay under this BADP has been increased to Rs. 1,100 crore in 2017-18 from Rs. 990 crore in 2015-16.
  • Background:
  • India shares borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • In general there are total 17 Indian States that are located on the international border.
  • Sikkim(share border with China,Nepal,Bhutan).
  • West Bengal(Bhutan,Nepal,Bangladesh).
  • Arunachal Pradesh(China, Bhutan, Myanmar).
  • Jammu & Kashmir(Pakistan, China, Afghanistan[POK]).


Spiritual leader Dada J.P. Vaswani passes away

  • Regarded as a philosopher and a modern-day saint by the Sindhi diaspora, Dada Vaswani was a familiar face on a number of spiritual television channels.
  • Noted spiritual leader and educationist Dada J.P. Vaswani — the moral force behind the Sadhu Vaswani Mission and a tireless promoter of vegetarianism and animal rights — passed away at the age of 99.
  • Born Jashan Pahlajrai Vaswani on August 2, 1918 in the city of Hyderabad in Sindh province (present-day Pakistan), he was a brilliant student in his youth. His M.Sc. thesis examined by Nobel Laureate, Dr. C.V Raman.
  • Acclaimed as a humanitarian and non-sectarian leader, he later gave up a promising academic career to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, Sadhu T.L Vaswani — the legendary educationist who started the Mira Movement.
  • In order to propagate Sadhu Vaswani’s ideas and vision, he edited three monthly journals – the Excelsior (which became a popular journal), the India Digest and the East and West series.
  • A recipient of the U Thant Peace Award in April 1998, for his dedicated service to the cause of world peace, he spoke from a number of global podiums including the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, the Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders and Parliamentarians at Kyoto, the U.N. and the British House of Commons in London.


Bihar government approves amendments in Prohibition & Excise Act 2016


  • Bihar government has approved amendments in stringent provisions of the Prohibition and Excise Act 2016.
  • A Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar approved scrapping of harsh provisions to confiscate property including house, land and vehicle in case of recovery of liquor.
  • After the Cabinet nod, Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act (Amendment) bill will be tabled in upcoming session of the state legislature.



Discrimination against gays will go if criminality of section 377 is removed: SC


  • The Supreme Court said the social stigma and discrimination attached to the LGBTQ community would go if criminality of consensual gay sex is done away with, even as it maintained that it would scrutinise the legal validity of section 377 of the IPC in all its aspects.
  • A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the 158-year-old penal law, also rejected a proposal of lawyers, seeking retention of section 377, that public opinion should be elicited on the matter, saying it did not want a referendum but would go by constitutional morality.
  • The bench took note of the vehement opposition of these lawyers and their allegation that the Centre had taken a "U-turn" in the case.


Buddha of Swat restored after 11 years after Taliban dynamited it


  • The Buddha seated in a meditative posture, considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia, was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban militants.
  • The iconic Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the 7th century, has been restored to its almost original form with Italian assistance in northwestern Pakistan, nearly 11 years after it was dynamited by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan during their control over the area.
  • The Buddha seated in a meditative posture, considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia, was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban militants, who blew up half the statue’s face by drilling holes into the face and shoulders and inserting explosives, triggering a worldwide anger.
  • The Italian government invested €2.5 million ($2.9 million) in five years to preserve the cultural heritage and restore the six-metre-tall Buddha of Swat, depicted in a lotus position at the base of a granite cliff.
  • In 2009, the Pakistan Army launched an operation, Rah-e-Rast, to flush out militants from the tribal region.


Mexican scientists develop hybrid chayote fruit to battle cancer

  • Researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) developed a hybrid chayote fruit from two wild Mexican species, which could be used to battle cancer.
  • The raw extract of this fruit is as effective as Cytarabine, a medication used to treat some types of cancer.
  • This line of research, according to the statement, was conceived in 2005 as part of efforts by agronomists to discover the possible medicinal benefits of chayote fruits.
  • According to figures from the World Health Organization, cancer is the second cause of death in the world, killing nearly 9 million people a year.


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