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North Korea conducts Nuclear Test

North Korea said it hit the button on its fifth and potentially most powerful nuclear test Friday morning, claiming to have successfully detonated a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on ballistic rockets.
•    State media said the test would enable North Korea to produce "a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power."
•    The blast, detected about 9 a.m. local time in the area of North Korea's Punggye-ri underground test site, is estimated to have had the explosive power of 10 kilotons, almost twice as large as the most recent test in January, said Kim Nam-wook of South Korea's Meteorological Administration.
•    The test comes on North Korea's national day, and six months after it claimed it had miniaturized nuclear warheads to fit on ballistic missiles.
•    At the same time, South Korea is negotiating an expected deployment of a US missile defense system -- a plan that Pyongyang has decried as provocative.
 

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World's Highest Glass Skywalk Opens in China


Said to be the world's longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge, a 430-metre-long and 300-metre-high skywalk opened in China on Saturday. 
•    The skywalk, made of 99 glass panels connecting two mountain cliffs, is located at Zhangjiajie Park. 
•    The mountain cliffs in the area are said to have inspired the 'floating peaks' in the movie 'Avatar'.
•    Glass bridges in China have been a popular craze for the daring photo opportunities they provide. 
•    Events like mass yoga displays and even weddings have been staged on several such bridges.
•    Park officials have said a maximum of 8,000 visitors will be allowed on the bridge each day.
•    So those wanting to add another thrill to their bucket list are strongly encouraged to book their slots in advance.

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Edgar Lungu wins Zambia presidential election

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu has been re-elected, according to official results, which are being challenged by the main opposition party.
•    The electoral commission said Mr Lungu had secured 50.35% in Thursday's vote, just over the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round under a new electoral system.
•    His main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, who alleges electoral fraud, won 47.67%.
•    Mr Hichilema described this election as a sham which did not reflect the will of the people.
•    He plans to petition the constitutional court to challenge the result. 
•    He may well be going at it alone because of the fluidity of Zambia's political landscape.
•    Mr Lungu defeated Mr Hichilema in the previous election, last year, by less than 28,000 votes. This time, his margin of victory was about 200,000 votes.
 

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The first South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Youth Parliamentarians Conference on `Peace and Harmony for Development’ was held in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The first South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Youth Parliamentarians Conference on `Peace and Harmony for Development’ was held in Islamabad, Pakistan. (from August 16 to 18, 2016)
•    8 parliamentary delegates from 8 SAARC member countries are participating in the conference. 
•    Lok Sabha MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, is leading the three member Indian delegation. 
•    The conference was hosted by the Pakistan National Assembly and was inaugurated by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. 
•    The goal of the conference is to build bridges between the future leaders of South Asia on a platform that supports continued engagement and cooperation. 
•    It is dialogue among Young Parliamentarians of SAARC region to create democratic space to meet expanding expectations of burgeoning youth population in region. 
•    It seeks to set the foundation of strong inter-parliamentary linkages between parliamentarians from across South Asia. 
 

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Summer sonic festival begins in Japan Aug 20

The Summer Sonic festival will be held simultaneously in the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka on August 20 and August 21. 
•    The line-up for this year includes Fergie, Flo Rida, Radiohead and Panic! At the Disco. 
•    The annual rock festival which was founded in 2000, features Japanese artists in addition to international ones.
•    The Summer Sonic Festival is an annual two- or three-day rock festival held at the same time in Osaka and Chiba. 
•    The majority of the bands playing in Osaka the first day go to Chiba the following day and vice versa. 
•    The line-up contains many Japanese rock musicians from both major and indie record companies, and also international acts. 
•    It also operates the festival sonic mania, with an EDM focus, since 2011. 
•    Producer Creative man formed a joint venture with Live Nation Entertainment in 2012, and Live Nation bought full control of the venture in 2014.
 

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Bhutan is world's first Carbon negative country

According to a one-minute video, Bhutan is the world's first carbon negative country, meaning that the country's forests absorb more carbon dioxide each year than it produces. 
•    Around 72% of its land is under forest cover due to Bhutan's strong environment protection policies. 
•    Interestingly, Bhutan is also the world's only country to use gross national happiness to measure its growth.
•    Nearly 56.3% of all Bhutanese citizens are involved with agriculture, forestry or conservation.
•    The government aims to promote conservation as part of its plan to target Gross National Happiness.
•    It currently has net zero greenhouse gas emissions because the small amount of pollution it creates is absorbed by the forests that cover most of the country.
•    The entire country collectively produces 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
•    Yet the immense forest covering 72% of the country acts as a carbon sink, absorbing more than four million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
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Pakistan based Jamaat-ur-Ahrar designated a ‘terror group’

The United States declared Pakistan based Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (JuA) as a ‘terror group’ by adding it to its list of global terrorists. 
•    This declaration triggers sanctions against the terrorist faction that has staged multiple attacks on civilians, religious minorities and soldiers. 
•    Besides anyone who supports Jamaat-ur-Ahrar could have his assets frozen by the US Government. 
•    Jamaat-ur-Ahrar is a militant Sunni Islamic group. 
•    It is a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban movement. It has declared loyalty to Islamic State’s (IS). 
•    The aim of Pakistani Taliban allied with Afghan Taliban is to topple the Pakistan Government. 
•    It has claimed responsibility of 5 major attacks in Pakistan since December 2015, including the Easter Sunday bombing in a public park that killed 70 people in Lahore city.
 

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Japan’s cabinet has approved an economic stimulus package


Japan’s cabinet has approved an economic stimulus package worth 275 billion dollars in attempt kick-start the economy and boost growth of the world’s third-largest economy. 
•    Decision in this regard was Japanese Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. 
•    The Japanese government expects that this package will boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.3%. 
•    The economic stimulus package of measures aims at tackling deflation and strengthening the national economy of Japan. 
•    It includes increase expenditure for the national and local governments as well as significant investments in the country’s infrastructure. 
•    It also includes in a supplementary budget, which will be considered by an extraordinary session of Parliament starting in September. 
•    It also will provide support of small and medium-sized enterprises in Japan over the next two years. More than half of package sum has been earmarked for the current fiscal year. 
•    The package also includes spending on reconstruction of disaster zones, including parts of north-eastern Japan which were devastated by 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 

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BRICS-MSME Round Table and Seminar on Services

The 2nd meeting of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) Round Table and the Seminar on Services was held on 28 July, 2016 at Agra. 
•    The BRICS is a grouping consisting of 5 countries namely Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa. 
•    Mr Dammu Ravi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce was the moderator of both the MSME Round Table and the Seminar on Services. 
•    The deliberations were centered around the regulatory framework and institutional structures of MSMEs; the role of MSMEs in innovation, technology transfer and international projects; integration of MSMEs in the global value chains and a possible portal for BRICS MSMEs. 
•    India also provided a brief on the 1st BRICS Trade Fair to be held in October, 2016. 
•    In the 2nd BRICS Seminar on Services, the issues that were discussed were cooperation on the services statistics in the BRICS region and possible areas of cooperation on trade facilitation in services. 
•    The discussions were useful and highlighted the importance of the service sector in the BRICS region.

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Lotus field in China - World's largest field

The largest lotus field is 1.08 km² and was achieved by Guangchang County CPC Committee and Guangchang County People's Government (both China) in Guangchang, Jiangxi, China on 9 July 2016.
•    The total area of lotus plantation is more than 60 km² in Guangchang. The total output is about 8 million kg per year.
•    Official Guinness World Records adjudicator Maggie Luo presented a certificate to Guangchang County CPC Committee and Guangchang County People's Government earlier this month.
•    The people of Guangchang applied for this record because they wanted to promote their planting products and attract tourists to the area.
•    Agriculture is a vital industry in China, employing over 300 million farmers.
•    China ranks first in worldwide farm output, primarily producing rice, wheat, potatoes, tomato, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oilseed and soybeans. 
•    Although accounting for only 10 percent of arable land worldwide, it produces food for 20 percent of the world's population.

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