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Evening News Digest: 22 July 2018

Most advanced SAFAR inaugurated at Chandni Chowk

  • The first of a kind Air Quality and Weather Forecast System was inaugurated at Chandni Chowk, Delhi.
  • It is named as SAFAR.
  • LED display will give real-time air quality index on 24x7 basis with colour coding along with 72-houradvance forecast.
  • The new system can track UV-Index, PM1, Mercury and Black carbon in real time and will provide health advisory and related precaution.
  • SAFAR will accelerate public awareness and preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes. 

GST Council reduces tax rates on more than 50 items

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in its 28th meeting cut tax rates on more than 50 items ranging from air conditioners and refrigerators to batteries used in mobile phones.
  • Lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, mixers, storage water heaters, hair dryers, hand dryers, paint, varnishes, water cooler, milk cooler, ice cream coolers, perfumes, toilet sprays and toilet preparation have been brought to 18 from 28 per cent slab. 
  • Tax rate on ethanol to be used in autofuel blending has been lowered from 12% to 5%. 
  • The GST Council is headed by the Union finance minister and comprises the state finance ministers.

Five oil PSUs sign JV pact for N-E Natural Gas Pipeline Grid

  • Five central oil PSUs - IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL and NRL - signed a joint venture agreement for executing the North-East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid as a step towards the Urja Ganga Gas Pipeline Project.
  • The JV company shall develop, build, operate and maintain the Natural Gas Pipeline Grid connecting Guwahati to the other major North-Eastern cities.
  • The project will connect the state capitals of all the eight North Eastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • The Gas Grid Project will connect all NE States to the National Gas Grid through Barauni-Guwahati Gas Pipeline being laid by GAIL.

UAE, China sign 13 MoUs on various subjects

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China Friday signed at least 13 Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on various subjects including that concerning joint cooperation on the One Belt One Road Initiative.
  • The deals were signed during the state visit of President Xi Jinping of China to the UAE.
  • That included an agreement between state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and China National Petroleum Corp. to explore business opportunities that would strengthen the two country’s energy partnership. 
  • UAE is the 10th largest investor in India in terms of FDI.
  • India ranks second among countries that imports from UAE.

Power Grid signs MoU with UP Power Corp for energy efficiency

  • Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID) has signed an MoU with Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation (UPPCL) for energy efficiency and agricultural demand side management programme.
  • POWERGRID is contemplating investment of about Rs 2,200 to 2,500 crore in these projects, subject to necessary clearances.
  • POWERGRID is Navaratna Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE). It is central transmission utility (CTU) of India.
  • It is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana. Government owns 56.91% of POWERGRID and balance 43.09% is owned by public.

Indian women's compound team settles for Silver at Archery World Cup

  • The India women's compound team missed won a silver medal at the 2018 Archery World Cup - Stage 4 in Berlin on 21 July.
  • The team comprising of Tisha Deb, Muskan Kirar and Jyothi Surekha lost by a slender margin 228-229 to France to take the second spot. 
  • Archery World Cup 2018 is being held in Germany.

Himachal govt announces MIS for apple procurement

  • The Himachal government has approved implementation of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for procurement of apple. 
  • The scheme will be implemented from July 20 to October 31 this year
  • The MIS will be undertaken for procurement of 2,29,136 metric tonnes apple, for which price has been set at Rs 7.50 per kg, the handling charges will be Rs 2.75 per kg and assumed sale realisation will be Rs 3.50 per kg.
  • Apple having a diameter above 51 mm will be accepted only under the scheme, he said, adding that fruit having punctured skin or bird eaten or damaged would not be accepted.
  • Management information system (MIS), broadly refers to a computer-based system that provides managers with the tools to organize, evaluate and efficiently manage departments within an organization.

Aamir Khan to be chief guest at Indian Screenwriters Conference

  • Bollywood actor Aamir Khan will be the Chief Guest at the 5th edition of the Indian Screenwriters Conference.
  • The reputed journalist and Padma Shri awardee Vinod Dua will deliver the Keynote Address at the Inaugural day of the conference which will be held from August 1- 3, 2018 at the St. Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra.
  • The theme of the conference this year 'Where Mind Is Without Fear’.

Sri Lanka in a process to finalize Mattala airport deal with India

  • Sri Lankan is in talks with India operationalize Mattala airpot to be operated by Airports Authority of India (AAI).
  • It will be used for commercial purposes only and they are waiting for detailed plan to make the airport active.
  • AAI will own 70 percent majority stake in the venture while the rest will be owned by Sri Lankan government.
  • Mattala airport is considered the world’s emptiest airport as there is no passenger flight in service now.
  • It is just 30 Km from Hambantota airport thus its commercial viability is in question. However, it has strategic significance for India.

NASA to launch Parker Solar Probe into sun’s scorching atmosphere

  • On Aug. 6, the Parker Solar Probe will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for one extremely intense mission: to fly closer to the sun than any spacecraft before.
  • The probe will fly through and study the sun's atmosphere, where it will face punishing heat and radiation. At its closest, it will come within 6.1 million kilometres of the sun.
  • The probe is named after astrophysicist Eugene Parker — the first living researcher to receive such an honour — the probe will travel in the sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona. Because it isn't very dense, the corona is difficult to study. 

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