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Evening News Digest 7 July 2018

CJI alone is the master of the roster, rules SC

  • The term ‘Chief Justice of India’ denotes an individual judge and not a collective of the first three or five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court called the ‘Collegium,’ the Supreme Court declared.
  • It is the exclusive authority of this individual judge to allocate cases to fellow judges in his role as the master of the roster, a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan clarified in their separate but concurring opinions.
  • The ruling is based on a petition by former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan to have the Collegium collectively allocate cases.

US, China fires  first shot in tariff war

  • The U.S. and China launched tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s imports, the opening shots in what Beijing called “the largest trade war in economic history.”
  • At the stroke of midnight Washington time, the U.S. pulled the trigger on 25% duties on $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and hi-tech equipment, including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.
  • The Foreign Ministry in Beijing said retaliatory measures “took effect immediately,” with state news agency Xinhua confirming they involved 25% tariffs on an equal amount of goods.
  • Economists have warned that the escalating trade frictions could throttle global growth.
  • These tariffs could just be the opening skirmishes in the trade war, as U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to hit $450 billion in Chinese goods, the vast majority of imports.

India wins para archery gold in Czech Republic

  • Rakesh Kumar, Shyam Sunder Swami and Tarif have won the compound men’s team gold medal for the country in the World ranking para archery championship in the Czech Republic.
  • India beat Romania 224-208 in the final to take the title.
  • The Indian archery team selection for the Para Asian Games in Jakarta will be held at Rohtak on July 18 and 19.

Forex  Reserves: Import Cover fell to 10.8 months in December 2017

  • The adequacy of foreign exchange reserves, measured by import cover, declined to 10.8 months in December 2017, from 11.3 months at the end of March 2017, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a biannual report on exchange management.
  • Total foreign exchange reserves were at $409 billion in December 2017 as compared with $370 billion as on March 2017. The reserves for the week ended June 29 stood at $406.1 billion, according to latest data released by the RBI.
  • Import cover is an indicator for the currency’s stability. Typically, 10 months of import cover is seen as stable for the currency.
  • The ratio of short-term debt to foreign exchange reserves, which was 23.8% at end-March 2017, remained at the same level at end-December 2017. The ratio of volatile capital flows to foreign exchange reserves declined from 88.1% at end-March 2017 to 86.9% at end-December 2017.
  • “The Reserve Bank holds 560.32 tonnes of gold, of which 268.01 tonnes are held overseas in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
  • Gold as a share of the total foreign exchange reserves in value terms (USD) stood at about 5% as at end-March, 2018.

 Alternative cereals in India can save water: Study

  • Study urges farmers to make the big switch from rice and wheat to cereals
  • If Indian farmers were to switch from growing rice and wheat to ‘alternative cereals,’ such as maize, sorghum, and millet, it could reduce the demand for irrigation water by 33%. This could also improve nutritional availability to consumers, according to an analysis by researchers from the U.S.-based Earth Institute, Columbia University and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
  • For their analysis, the scientists considered water as well as cereal-production data from 1996-2009. Because actual water consumption data was not available, they used a proxy — Crop Water Requirement (CWR), which is the product of the water required by a crop and the harvested area — to calculate water consumption in every district in this period.
  • In this time, cereal production grew by 230%. Although the combined production of alternative cereals was larger than that of wheat in the 1960s, their relative contribution to the cereal supply has steadily dwindled.
  • India announced a 50% hike, or ₹ 200 per quintal, in the minimum support price for paddy — the key kharif crop — along with several other crops.
  • Under the Food Security Act,For those eligible, India is mandated to provide 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices of ₹ 3/2/1 per kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.

Nepal, India to jointly promote tourism

  • Nepal and India decided to jointly promote historically and culturally important tourism circuits like the Ramayana and Buddhist Circuit and adventure tourism.
  • India will also extend all possible cooperation in the domain of human resource development in tourism and hospitality sectors through the intake of Nepali professionals in professional courses in universities and regular exchange of experts and academia.
  • To improve critical tourism enabling infrastructures such as overland road connectivity, further streamline of scheduled bus route operations, including luxury bus coaches.
  • The Nepali delegation was led by Ghanashyam Upadhyaya, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and the Indian delegation was led by Tourism Joint Secretary Suman Billa.

First meeting of E-Commerce Task force held in New Delhi

  • Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia chaired the first meeting of the task force on e-commerce in New Delhi.
  • The task force has been set up to recommend a framework for comprehensive national policy on e-commerce.
  • The meeting was held to take inputs for the proposed policy framework for the sector from other Ministries and Departments, including finance, information technology and telecom and consumer affairs.

UN approves $6.69 billion for 13 peacekeeping operations in 2018-19

  • The UN member states approved a $6.69 billion dollar budget for 13 peacekeeping operations for the year 2018-19, besides agreeing to major management reforms, including creation of two new departments focused on political and peacebuilding affairs.
  • The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the General Assembly recommended authorisation of $6.69 billion to finance 13 peacekeeping missions from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
  • The missions include MINUJUSTH (United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti), MINURSO (Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic), MONUSCO (Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo) and UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon).
  • The Committee also approved significant management reforms — including the creation of two new departments focused on political and peacebuilding affairs and four stand-alone divisions for Africa — aimed at streamlining the Organisation's operations..
  • It said the major reforms approved by the member states, the first in more than 40 years, would result in a restructuring that cuts through silos and UN bureaucracy, increases commonsense UN coordination, removes redundancies, and ultimately makes the UN a more accountable, transparent, and efficient organisation.
  • The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 percent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 percent of the USD 7.9 billion peacekeeping budget.
  • China is the other top contributor with 10.3 percent and Japan with 9.7 percent.

Dhoni reaches coveted milestone of playing 500 international matches

  • The Indian team's senior most player Mahendra Singh Dhoni reached the coveted milestone of playing 500 international matches during the second T20 International against England.
  • Dhoni became the third Indian after Sachin Tendulkar (664) and Rahul Dravid (509) to breach the 500 match barrier in international cricket.
  • Today's T20 International was Dhoni's 92nd in the shortest format. Apart this, the former India captain has played 90 Test matches and 318 One Day Internationals.

UNESCO to set up Design University for Gaming in Visakhapatnam

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will be setting up a 'Design University for Gaming' in Visakhapatnam.
  • UNESCO delegation entered into an agreement with Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) for the establishment of 'Gaming Digital Learning Hub', following which they met with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
  • The UNESCO delegation asked the Chief Minister for an allocation of 100 acres of land in Visakhapatnam for developing the city as 'International Gaming and Digital Learning Hub'.
  • They will develop edutech gaming in the state, with the target of providing 50,000 jobs in 10 years.
  • The UNESCO delegation had also asked for 100 acres of land in Visakhapatnam for developing the city as International Gaming and Digital Learning Hub.
  • Gaming Technology will be the best source of income in future and IT giants like UBSoft, Samsung, Microsoft etc are ready to establish their centres in Visakhapatnam.


Govt. deploys 800 IAS officers for village outreach

  • Teams fan out to 117 districts to ensure delivery of Central welfare schemes
  • A battalion of Central government IAS officers has been drafted to ensure on the ground implementation as the Centre races to saturate 117 “aspirational districts” with seven flagship social welfare schemes by Independence Day.
  • Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to meet 2.5 lakh beneficiaries of these schemes in Jaipur on Saturday, and has pointed to this campaign as a model for future implementation of welfare delivery.
  • The Ministries of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, and the Department of Personnel and Training, which are jointly coordinating the drive.

Listen Daily Current Affairs: 7 July 2018

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