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Evening News Digest 21 July 2018

BJP led NDA govt wins No Confidence motion in Lok Sabha


  • After a raging 12-hour debate, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government defeated the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha by 199 votes.
  • While 126 members supported the motion, 325 MPs rejected it. The day-long session in the Lower House saw the government and the Opposition trade charges and a moment of drama when Congress president Rahul Gandhi, after a blistering speech, walk over to Prime Minister and embrace him in a hug.
  • This no-confidence motion, the 27th in Parliamentary history, was the first to be admitted in 15 years. The last was in 2003 when the Congress party moved a no-confidence motion against prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • What is no confidence Motion:
  • A motion of no-confidence(non-confidence motion) (alternatively vote of no confidence, no-confidence motion, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion) - is a statement or vote which states that a person(s) in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel detrimental.

Prime Minister launches India-assisted emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the country-wide Emergency Ambulance service for Sri Lanka through video conferencing from New Delhi.
  • The service was introduced in two provinces of Sri Lanka with grant assistance from India and will be expanded to the remaining seven provinces
  • The inaugural function will be held in Jaffna of the northern province where Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be present among other dignitaries.
  • India has given a grant of 22.8 million US dollars - 7.6 million in the first phase - and 15.2 million for the country-wide expansion.
  • Under the first phase, 88 ambulances were purchased for the two provinces, while another 209 ambulances are being provided to cover all districts in the country.
  • This is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after Indian housing project. Apart from providing ambulances, the grant covers training of manpower in India and meeting operational costs for one year. The project is another milestone in the wide raging development partnership between India and Sri Lanka.
  • India's development portfolio in Sri Lanka is nearly 2.9 billion US dollars, out of which 545 million dollars is pure grants.

Finalise construction workers' welfare scheme by Sept 30: SC to Centre


  • The Supreme Court set the deadline of September 30 for the Centre to finalise a welfare scheme for building and construction workers across the country.
  • A bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta made it clear to the government that "no further time" would be granted to it for finalising the welfare scheme.
  • The counsel appearing for the Centre referred to an affidavit filed by the government which has said that a draft scheme has been uploaded on the website of the labour ministry and suggestions have been invited from the states till August 10.
  • The Centre told the apex court that others could also give their suggestion on the draft scheme till August 30 and the scheme would be finalised by September 30.
  • The court is hearing a matter related to implementation of two laws -- the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW Act) and the Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Cess Act, 1996, (Cess Act) -- meant for welfare of construction workers across the country.
  • Cess- A cess imposed by the central government is a tax on tax, levied by the government for a specific purpose
  • Labor Day – 1st Monday of September



Home Minister Rajnath Singh to launch Student Police Cadet programme


  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will launch the national Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurugram
  • Students of Classes VIII and IX are the target of this programme.
  • The programme envisions a humane and just society, where citizens respect and follow laws, practise responsible behaviour, demonstrate empathy for weaker sections of society and participate in tackling community issues.
  • There is a paradigm shift in policing function from enforcement to facilitation of law. So the aim is to incorporate civic sense, social responsibility and inclusiveness in the youth, besides solving problems of contemporary youth.
  • As part of the programme, the teachers will act as community police officers (CPOs) and additional CPOs, who will be trained by the police.
  • An annual activity calendar will be prepared for this with periodic monitoring. The training programme will include study classes, physical training, field visits, camps and practical projects.
  • Students will study about the law and Constitution, communication skills, disaster management, and health and hygiene. Summer and mini camps will be organised at the district and State levels.
  • Yoga, cross-country march and parade will be part of the physical training curriculum. Cadets will be given certificates based on evaluation of their performance.
  • The STUDENT POLICE CADET (SPC) is a school-based youth development initiative that trains high school students to evolve as future leaders of a democratic society by inculcating within them respect for the law, discipline, civic sense, empathy for vulnerable sections of society and resistance to social evils.


Israel, Hamas agree to restore calm in Gaza Strip


  • Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border and the Israeli military launched dozens of strikes into the Strip that killed four Palestinians, including three Hamas fighters. At least 120 Gazans were wounded.
  • During the flare-up which lasted several hours, the Israeli military said its tanks had hit 68 Hamas targets and had “eliminated about 60 buildings and infrastructures and revoked significant military and command and control capabilities.”
  • What is Gaza Strip ?
  • Gaza is a densely populated strip of land that is mostly surrounded by Israel. Egypt controlled Gaza until 1967, when Israel occupied it (along with the West Bank) in the Six-Day War.



Colombia's Santos urges peace as FARC take seats in Congress


  • Colombian former FARC guerrillas took their seats in Congress as part of an agreement that ended five decades of war, and outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos urged the nation to protect the nascent peace and put an end to violence.
  • At the opening of the new Congress, one-time fighters for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) filed into the lower house where they prepared to be sworn in collectively along with other members of the two chambers.
  • Under the terms of the 2016 peace deal between the FARC and the government, the group formed a political party, kept its famous acronym as the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force, and was awarded five seats each in the 108-member Senate and the 172-member lower house through 2026.
  • Santos, who won a Nobel Peace prize for his efforts to end the war, in his final address to Congress before leaving office on Aug. 7.
  • The FARC's presence in Congress promises to create tension.
  • Capital and largest city of Colombia - Bogotá
  • Official language –Spanish





4th BIMSTEC Summit to be held in Kathmandu on 30 August


  • 4th BIMSTEC Summit will be held in Kathmandu from 30 to 31 August.
  • Nepal's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali has said that connectivity and poverty alleviation will be top priority of the summit.
  • The Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional economic bloc comprising seven member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
  • The group was formed in 1997 and it brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC.
  • The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.


Australia announces plans to explore concepts to save Great Barrier Reef


  • Australia announced plans to explore concepts such as firing salt into clouds and covering swathes of water with a thin layer of film in a bid to save the embattled Great Barrier Reef.
  • The UNESCO World Heritage-listed reef, about the size of Japan or Italy, is reeling from two straight years of bleaching as sea temperatures rise because of climate change.
  • Canberra in January offered US$1.5 million to attract innovative ideas to protect the site, which is also under pressure from farming runoff, development and the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish.
  • Six schemes selected out of a total of 69 submissions will be tested to see if they are feasible. One selected concept is cloud brightening where salt crystals harvested from seawater are fired into clouds, making them more reflective and therefore deflecting solar rays back into space.
  • Another idea was a biodegradable "sun shield", where an ultra-thin film containing light-reflecting particles covers some reef waters to protect corals from heat stress.
  • Other short-listed projects include mass producing coral larvae with the aid of 3D-printed surfaces to support new growth, and large-scale harvesting and relocation of larvae.
  • Experts have warned that the 2,300-kilometre long area could have suffered irreparable damage.
  • The Great Barrier Reef -  off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral.


IOC names Afghan woman Samira Asghari among nine candidates for membership


  • The International Olympic Committee named a young Afghan woman, Samira Asghari, among nine candidates for membership of the body in a move to boost women's rights.
  • Thomas Bach, the IOC president, said the nomination of the 24-year-old Asghari, who played basketball for her country and has taken on a series of administrative roles, sent a message.
  • Five of the nine candidates due to be voted in October are "Individual Members" proposed by a special committee, three of which are women.
  • The other four represent either National Olympic Committees (NOCs) or international sports federations (IF) which are entitled to representation, of which all four are men.
  • The two other women are Daina Gudzineviciute, president of the Lithuanian Olympic Committee, and Felicite Rwemarika, vice president of the Rwanda's Olympic committee.



Mansi settles for silver, Swati claims bronze at Junior Asian Wrestling in New Delhi

  • India bagged a Silver and a Bronze medal in Women's Freestyle Wrestling at the Junior Asian Championships in New Delhi.
  • In the 57 kilogram category, Mansi had to settle for a Silver after she lost to Japan's Akie Hanai in the Final.
  • The Bronze medal was won by Swati in the 53 kg division.



8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting at Durban


  • The ‘8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting started at Durban, South Africa.
  • India is committed to eliminating TB by 2025.
  • The accomplishments of India in the health sector,India’s achievement in reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 100000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 100 000 live births in 2016.
  • The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of MMR below 70 by 2030.


What is Sustainable Development Goal :The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which started a global effort in 2000 to tackle the indignity of poverty.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 to be achieved by 2030.


ISRO ropes in three partners to assemble 27 satellites


  • Each partner will work with the URSC to produce three small to medium satellites each year.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has roped in three partners to help it assemble 27 satellites at a quick pace over the next three years.
  • Each partner will work with the URSC to produce three small to medium satellites each year.
  • About 50 members from each partner will separately work with URSC engineers to complete the project.
  • A URSC official signed the agreements with the three entities in the presence of URSC Director M. Annadurai.

Audio Notes: 21 July 2018

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