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Important Current Affairs 7th August 2017

Important Current Affairs 7th August 2017

Current Affairs 7th August 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

29 Indian cities and towns highly vulnerable to earthquakes

Twenty-nine Indian cities and towns, including Delhi and capitals of nine states, fall under “severe” to “very severe” seismic zones, according to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS).
●    A majority of these places are in the Himalayas, one of the most seismically active regions in the world.
●    Delhi, Patna (Bihar), Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir), Kohima (Nagaland), Puducherry, Guwahati (Assam), Gangtok (Sikkim), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Imphal (Manipur) and Chandigarh fall under seismic zones IV and V.
●    The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has classified different regions in the country into zones II to V, taking into consideration earthquake records, tectonic activities and damage caused, the director of the NCS, Vineet Gauhlat, said.

Reliance Communications close to sealing Sistema deal

Reliance Communications is likely to close its merger with Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL) this week, as the company expects to get the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) approval in a day or two. 
●    A formal announcement is also expected soon, if not this week.
●    Rcom is expecting the DoT, the country’s telecom licensor, to clear the deal this week itself.
●    The approval is expected as the company had paid ₹400 crore to the DoT last week, which includes a ₹390-crore bank guarantee and ₹10-crore spectrum payment, sources close to the development said.
●    In November 2015, Russia’s public diversified holding company Sistema had announced plans to merge its Indian telecom subsidiary SSTL with Rcom.

Supreme Court bans use of heavy metals in firecrackers to prevent air pollution

The Supreme Court has imposed a ban on the use of five harmful heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacturing of firecrackers as they cause air and noise pollution.
●    The Supreme Court order came on a 2015 petition filed by three Delhi children who had requested the court to intervene to regulate the use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali.
●    The Supreme Court maintained that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance of ban order to ensure compliance of ban order particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu where there are a large number of firecracker manufacturers.
●    The court also asked CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) and PESO to make collaborative efforts for setting up standards with regards to air pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers.

Tiger count in Uttarakhand gone up 

The count of tigers in Uttarakhand has gone up to 242 with an increase of 63 big cats this year, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has said. 
●    Also 11 cubs were found in the two tiger reserves, he had said on Wednesday releasing the latest figures for the year 2016 -17.
●    Uttarakhand has two tiger reserves – the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. Chief minister Rawat congratulated the forest department for the great work being done for the conservation of tigers and added that in terms of area and tiger population ratio, Uttarakhand is the number one state behind Karnataka which has 400 big cats.
●    According to the data, at least 208 tigers have been identified in Corbett Tiger Reserve, up from last year’s 163. 
●    Also six cubs were identified there. At least 34 tigers have been identified in Rajaji Tiger Reserve in 2016-17, up from previous year’s 16, he said, adding five cubs were also found there.

Cabinet approves revision of cost of Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of Department of Rural Development for revision of cost of Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011). It provides for:
●    Revising the cost of SECC 2011 to Rs. 4893.60 crore from the approved estimated expenditure of Rs.3,543.29 crore within the indicative cost of Rs.4,000 crore as approved by the Government.
●    Approval of time and cost overrun and consequential revision in the upper limit of cost per record to the consortium of Central Public Sector Undertakings. 
●    The SECC -2011 project has been concluded on 31.3.2016. 
●    The cost has already been committed and the project has met all its milestones.

Current Affairs 7th August 2017: INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Arab countries to negotiate with Qatar

The four Arab countries isolating Qatar have reiterated their call for Doha to agree to a framework of six broad “principles” which they say will set the parameters for future talks on how the crisis is resolved.
●    The emphasis on these principles — rather than the 13 specific demands originally issued to Qatar — could indicate that the quartet is now more willing to engage in the mediation process led by Kuwait and backed by the United States, United Nations and European powers.
●    “I don't see this as a softening of the quartet's position on Qatar per se, as much as a measure taken to restart the negotiation process,” said Mohammed Alyahya, a Saudi analyst of Gulf politics and non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.
●    “It is clear that the boycotting nations are prepared to play the long game with Qatar, but there is no doubt that a speedy resolution of the crisis will be in everyone's interest,” he said. 
●    “These six principles are best viewed as an effort to set the foundation for meaningful negotiation process.”

Bolivia Declared 'Total Independence' from World Bank and IMF

Since 2006, a year after Morales came to power, social spending on health, education, and poverty programs has increased by over 45 percent.
●    Bolivia's President Evo Morales has been highlighting his government's independence from international money lending organizations and their detrimental impact the nation.
●    "A day like today in 1944 ended Bretton Woods Economic Conference (USA), in which the IMF and WB were established," Morales tweeted. "These organizations dictated the economic fate of Bolivia and the world. Today we can say that we have total independence of them."
●    Morales has said Bolivia's past dependence on the agencies was so great that the International Monetary Fund had an office in government headquarters and even participated in their meetings.
●    Bolivia is now in the process of becoming a member of the Southern Common Market, Mercosur and Morales attended the group's summit in Argentina last week.
●    Bolivia’s popular uprising known as the The Cochabamba Water War in 2000 against United States-based Bechtel Corporation over water privatization and the associated World Bank policies shed light on some of the debt issues facing the region.

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