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India ranks 35th in World Bank’s 2016 Logistics Performance Index

India has improved its ranking in the World Bank Group's bi-annual "Logistics Performance Index 2016", jumping from 54th in 2014 to 35th in 2016. This was announced by the World Bank Group in its recent launch of the report. In the latest ranking India has gone past countries like New Zealand, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Latvia and Indonesia who were ahead of it in the index. India's jump of 19 positions in the ranking demonstrates the commitment of various Ministries and agencies of Government of India to make it easy to do business in India. Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank met the Prime Minister of India recently and congratulated him on this achievement. 
•    India also improved significantly in the following sub-indices: 
•    The ability to track and trace consignments, improving from 57 to 33; 
•    The quality of trade and transport infrastructure, improving from 58 to 36; and
•    The competence and quality of logistics services, improving from 52 to 32. 
•    On the remaining two sub-indices - the ease of arranging competitively priced shipments and the frequency with which shipments reach consignees within scheduled or expected delivery times - by 5 and 9 places respectively. 
•    The World Bank Group's bi-annual report ‘Connecting to Compete 2016: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy’, launched on Wednesday, captures critical information about the complexity of international trade. The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) within the report scores 160 countries on key criteria of logistics performance.

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Australian pilot Lachlan Smart becoming the youngest person to fly solo around the world

An Australian teenager has become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single- engine aircraft, completing the 45000 km trip in almost two months.
•    Lachlan Smart touched down on the Sunshine Coast at Maroochydore on Saturday, having departed from the same airstrip on July 4.
•    Smart, who is 18 years, seven months and 21 days, stopped in 24 locations and 15 countries on his way. 
•    During his expedition, Smart said some of his highlights were visiting relatives in England, flying over the white cliffs of Dover and partying on a Cannes beach in France.
•    But it was not all smooth sailing for Smart, with dangerous weather conditions, lack of support from airport staff and the language barrier hindering his progress.
•    He encountered heavy storms over the Pacific and a hurricane between California and Hawaii delayed him for 24 hours, but he said "there was not anything I could not overcome".
Govt. launches E-box for reporting child sexual abuse.

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India ranks 66th in 2016 Global Innovation Index

India has ranked 66th in the 2016 Global Innovation Index (GII). 
•    In this edition, India has jumped up by 15 spots from 81st position in 2015 GII. 
•    The annual index was released by France-based international business school INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. 
•    The index ranks world economies since 2007 according to their innovation capabilities using more than 80 indicators. 
•    India’s better performance in the 2016 GII readings was due to its strengths in tertiary education, corporate R&D, software export and market sophistication. 
•    India has starting to excel in ICT and creative goods exports. It is setting a good example highlighting how its policy is improving the innovation environment.
•    Among the middle income countries, India (25th) came second after China (17th) in innovation quality by overtaking Brazil (27th). 
•    China has figured at the 25th position (29th in 2015 GII) is the only middle-income country in the top 25.

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The W Taipei hotel in Taiwan has topped the list of

•    The Four Seasons Hotel in the Australian city of Sydney and the Sofitel New York Hotel in the United States have ranked second and third respectively. 
•    The Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok in Thailand and the Dolce CampoReal Lisboa in Portugal complete the top five.
•    Here are the top-ranked luxury hotels according to
1.    W Taipei, Taiwan
2.    Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Australia
3.    Hotel Sofitel New York, US
4.    Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, Thailand
5.    Dolce CampoReal Lisbon, Portugal
6.    Playford Adelaide MGallery by Sofitel, Australia
7.    Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8.    Mondrian London, UK
9.    Waldorf Astoria Orlando, US
10.    Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, US
•    Set in the cosmopolitan district of Xinyi, this striking hotel is across the road from the Taipei City Hall Metro and a 12-minute walk from Taipei 101. 
•    The vibrant rooms feature contemporary art, playful furniture, panoramic views, flat-screen TVs, Bose sound systems and WiFi , some add whirlpool tubs. 
•    Suites also have separate living rooms, and the flashy, upgraded, split-level, 2-bedroom suite has a gym, a sauna, a kitchen and a fireplace.

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India is highest producer of Tea in World In 2016

The financial year 2015-16 saw record tea production at 1,233 million kg (mn kg) and exports crossing 230 mn kg after 35 years. 
•    India exported 232.9 mn kg, valued at Rs 4,493 crore. In 1980-81, export was 231.7 mn kg; it had since not crossed that level.
•    Of the production, that of crush-tear-curl (CTC) was 91 per cent of the total, at 1,121 mn kg, up 23.2 mn kg.
•    Tea Board data shows total domestic production grew by three per cent or nearly 36 mn kg from the year before. 
•    South Indian gardens saw 224.6 mn kg, a decline by 16.8 mn kg  or nearly seven per cent, due to adverse climatic conditions and labour issues in Kerala.
•    Among major growing states, the share of small growers was the highest in Tamil Nadu at 53 per cent, followed by West Bengal at 40 per cent and Assam at 27.6 per cent.

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Jharkhand fastest growing tourist place in India

According to the latest tourism statistics by the government, Jharkhand is the fastest growing tourist destination in India. 

•    The state recorded a 40% increase in tourism from 2012 to 2014, with Ranchi being the most popular destination among tourists. 
•    As per the statistics, Tamil Nadu emerged as the top destination for foreign tourists.
•    The state recorded a 40% increase in tourism from 2012 to 2014, with 33.5 million visitors in 2014, including 158,000 foreign tourists, up from a miniscule 3111 foreign visitors in 2001. 
•    The exact reasons for Jharkhand’s growing popularity are unclear, but one likely factor is the improving security situation since the centre approved the creation of the state from the southern part of Bihar to appease tribal separatists in 2000.

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India ranks 3rd on business optimism index

India has ranked third on the scale of global business optimism for the April-June quarter, after remaining on top globally for the two preceding quarters, according to Grant Thornton's latest International Business Report.
•    Growth in employment expectations dropped to second position during this period from top rank in the previous quarter (January-March this year), while the optimism further slipped to fourth place in profitability expectations from third.
•    The business confidence index (BCI) is based on enterprises' assessment of production, orders and stocks, as well as its current position and expectations for the immediate future.
•    There is a tremendous rise in the optimism for an increase in exports.
•    According to the survey, 35 per cent of respondents expect a rise in exports compared to 13 per cent in the last quarter. 
•    The country, however, continues to rank number 2 in citing regulations and red tape as a constraint on growth for two consecutive quarters.

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Aziz became first Indian American person to get Emmy nomination

Aziz Ansari has made history as he has become the first Indian-American actor to land a lead comedy-acting Emmy nomination for his series "Master of None".

•    Mr Ansari is also just the fifth person of South Asian descent to be nominated in an acting category.
•    Mr Ansari, who is also nominated for writing and directing "Master of None", co-created the Netflix comedy with Alan Yang.
•    Aziz Ansari and Yang are currently busy writing season 2 of "Master of None"
•    The 33-year-old actor plays Dev, an actor trying to make it in New York. "Master of None", which is up for best comedy, crystallized diversity challenges in Hollywood in the show's fourth episode, titled "Indians" on TV.
•    Casual racism has also been also addressed in the show. "If you're a minority, you're experiencing all sorts of casual racism all the time. And at a certain point, you just get numb to a lot of it, and you're like, whatever

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US Charleston World's Best City

For the first time, readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have voted Charleston, South Carolina the World’s Best City in the 2016 World’s Best Awards.
•    Charleston is the first domestic destination to earn the coveted World’s Best City ranking, and for the fourth consecutive year, the readers of Travel + Leisure ranked the Charleston area the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada.
•    The title was announced by Jacqui Gifford, Senior Editor of Travel + Leisure.
•    Charleston exceeded other destinations in the categories of sights/landmarks, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people/friendliness, shopping and value to earn the World’s Best City and the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada designation, scoring 91.66 overall.
•    Since 2012, the first year Charleston was awarded the No. 1 City in the U.S. and Canada ranking in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, the total economic impact of tourism has increased 14% to $3.68 billion in 2015 according the Office of Tourism Analysis at the College of Charleston.

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5 Indian Hotels in World's 100 Best Hotels list

Five Indian hotels have made it to the 'Travel + Leisure' magazine's 100 Best Hotels list, with The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur ranked 22nd. 
•    In a survey conducted by the magazine, The Oberoi Vanyavilas (Ranthambhore) was ranked 28th, while The Oberoi Rajvilas (Jaipur) was 59th. 
•    The list also included The Leela Palace New Delhi and the Taj Lake Palace (Udaipur).
•    A luxury island resort in Indonesia has been ranked the best hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure in its annual World's Best Awards.
•    Nihiwatu, a former surf lodge on the little-known island of Sumba, boasts 28 villas, all with private plunge pools, as well as an all-day treetop spa, an equestrian centre, and a beach restaurant serving healthy bush-cooked cuisine.
•    For rates of up to £9,300 ($12,000) per night at high-season, guests can enjoy sunset horse-riding, world-class surfing on its famous 'Occy's Left' wave, local exploration of hidden waterfalls, and scenic views of farmed rice paddies.
•    Sumba Island itself is twice the size of Bali but almost entirely preserved from urban development, and Nihiwatu won particular praise in the competition for its 'strong engagement with the local community, and a feather-light footprint on the ecology of Sumba'.
•    Nihiwatu was first established in 1988 by an American surfer and his German wife as a ten-room surf retreat, but was gradually developed into a more luxury establishment before being bought in 2012 by U.S. entrepreneur Chris Burch.

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