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2nd Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Island Countries (FIPIC) at Jaipur.

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee will receive the Heads of State/Government participating in 2nd Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Island Countries (FIPIC) at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The second FIPIC Summit will be held on August 21 2015 in Jaipur. The first FIPIC summit was held in Suva, Fiji in November 2014 during Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s visit. FIPIC has as its members India and 14 Pacific Island countries, namely Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. 

About FIPIC

Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation(FIPIC) is a multinational grouping developed in 2014 for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Islands nations which include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. All Head of state/head of government of the above countries met in Suva, Fiji in November 2014 for the first time where the annual summit was conceptualised.

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Signing of MoU India and Australia on cooperation in the fields of education, training and research

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia on cooperation in the fields of education, training and research. The costs of the cooperative activities under this MoU will be funded on mutually agreed terms and will be subject to availability of funds. 

The MoU will help intensify existing partnerships between India and Australia in higher education & research, including technical and professional education, schools, vocational education and training and will open up new and innovative areas of cooperation. 

The main objectives of this MoU, amongst other things, are: 

i. Consideration of expansion of the Australia India Education Council membership from time to time to ensure appropriate representation from academia, policy makers and industry as required and agreed; 

ii. Strengthening the policy dialogue and exchange in areas of mutual benefit, including qualification and quality frameworks and standards for education, research and training; 

iii. Supporting mobility of students and faculty members through formal exchange programs, internships and other modalities; 

iv. Improving credit transfer arrangements and work towards qualifications recognition between Australia and India; 

v. Supporting and organizing professional development programmes for subject experts, educational administrators, faculty members and teachers; 

vi. Encouraging twinning arrangements between institutions of higher learning and organisation of joint research programmes and publications; 

vii. Encouraging research collaboration between institutions of higher learning to enlarge the scope for joint research, joint Ph. D. programmes and joint degrees; 

viii. Sharing best practice education materials including research materials, publications, and educational literature; 

ix. Supporting skills development through joint conferences, seminars, policy dialogue and technical cooperation in national standards development; 

x. Strengthening communication for exchange of information on new policy initiatives and opportunities for development of education, training and research activities of both countries; 

xi. Further develop bilateral programmes between institutions of educational excellence in technical, vocational, schools and higher education, subject to availability of funds; and 

xii. Any other activity as mutually determined by both parties.

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Minority Ministry Launches Online Application Management System (OAMS) for- Nai Roshni

Dr. Najma Heptulla,the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Launched Online Application Management System (OAMS) for “Nai Roshni” here today. Speaking on the occasion she said the system brings the scheme in to public domain and will facilitate transparency and quick delivery.
 The Ministry has developed an Online Application Management System (OAMS) for “Nai Roshni” scheme. The procedures involved and benefits of the  system include:
(a) Submission of online application and generation of an application ID with date.
(b) Online screening of applications.
(c) Online receipt of documents.
(d) No loss of documents due to postal or human negligence.
(e) Curtailment of procedural delays.
(f)  Minimized paper work.
(g) Time saving.
(h) The applicant can check the status of their applications with their ID.
(i)  Online project approval, sanctions and release of funds.
(j)  Online monitoring of projects.
(k)  Reports on trained women, location of projects etc. available in public domain.
 

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Resigns

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned in a bid to trigger snap elections and return to power stronger, plunging his country into weeks of political paralysis just as it seemed to have scraped through a summer of fraught bailout talks and near-bankruptcy.

Mr. Tsipras’s gambit, announced in a short televised address late on Thursday, is expected to lead to his re-election in September, thanks to his popularity and the absence of strong challengers. But whether elections bolster his grip on Parliament, as he hopes, hinges on his ability to persuade Greeks that the €86 billion ($96 billion) bailout he negotiated with Europe is the only path out of the country’s long crisis.Greece’s head of state, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, was expected to accept Mr. Tsipras’s proposal to hold the vote on Sept. 20.
The election will effectively be a referendum on the 41-year-old Mr. Tsipras and his bailout agreement with the rest of the eurozone.The deal commits Greece to further years of stringent economic retrenchment, including tax increases and cuts to pension entitlements. Greeks elected Mr. Tsipras and his left-wing Syriza party only in January this year to put an end to five years of unpopular austerity measures, which the country’s creditors demanded in exchange for bailout loans.Greece and its international creditors reached agreement on the terms of the country’s new bailout program, which if ratified by other eurozone countries could unlock essential financing over the next three years. Charles Forelle has the details.
Mr. Tsipras’s acceptance in July of creditors’ policy demands followed months of diplomatic confrontation. The standoff ultimately led to Greece defaulting on its debts to the International Monetary Fund and imposing capital controls, further battering Greece’s depressed economy.
The premier’s U-turn has split Syriza. Dozens of his lawmakers have withheld support for legislation needed to clinch the bailout package. Mr. Tsipras has had to rely on the votes of opposition parties, but they have warned they won’t prop him up for long.
In his address, Mr. Tsipras admitted the talks with creditors had been tough, and the results not what he had hoped. “We gained considerable ground without that meaning that we achieved what we, and the Greek people, wanted,” he said. “Now that the difficult cycle has reached its end…I feel the deep ethical and political obligation to put to your judgment all I have done.”

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Manoj Kumar Panda to get prestigious Sarala Award

Noted Odia writer Manoj Kumar Panda has been selected for the prestigious Sarala Award for his story book 'Maya Bagicha' and overall literary achievements. The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh along with a citation, will be presented at a function to be held in October this year, the award committee said here. Two more notable personalities of Odisha will also be honoured for their valuable contribution in the field of music and art. While Bhimsen Satpathy will be awarded with Ila Panda Memorial Music Samman, D Narayan Rao will be honoured with Ila Panda Memorial Art Samman, it said. They will receive a cash award of Rs 1.5 lakh each along with citations. A special function will be held on October 26 to felicitate Panda and other awardees. Eminent writer Mridula Garg has consented to be the Chief Guest of the Sarala Award function.The annual Sarala Award was instituted in 1979 by Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust (IMPaCT). IMPaCT is the charitable wing of IMFA Group, the leading and the only fully integrated producer of ferro alloys in India. Sarala Award is recognised as the foremost literary award in Odisha.

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Manasvi Noel is Miss India-Canada 2015

Manasvi Noel of Mississauga City has been crowned Miss India-Canada 2015 at the 25th edition of the annual beauty pageant organised.During a night full of "entertainment, prestige and glamour all rolled up into one", the Dubai-born Noel won the esteemed title, the final top contenders for which included Sharon Philipose, Kajill Aujila, Tanpreet Parmar and Priya Sharma, Canada-based the VOICE reported on Tuesday.
Sharon Philipose was adjudged the first runner-up, while Kajill Aujila was the first runner-up of the contest held during the weekend at the International Plaza Hotel here. This year marked the silver jubilee of the beauty pageant.

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Government approves pact between India and Seychelles to curb black money

With an intention of curbing black money generation the government approved signing and ratification of the Tax information exchange agreements between India and Seychelles. According to the agreement both the nations will exchange information with each other regarding taxes so as to curb tax evasion and avoidance by its citizens. As per the agreement the information provided by each nation will be treated as confidential and may be disclosed only to persons or concern authorities (Judiciary) who in relation to taxes covered under the agreement.
Implecations
Due to this agreement the competent authorities of both the countries will get relevant information for administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of two countries concerning taxes.

Background
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Seychelles as part of three-nation tour for cementing strategic partnership with island countries of Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka in March 2015. On his visit he had inked various agreements – relating setting up joint working group to promote ocean based economy, free visa on arrival (VoA) and free visas for three months.  Four MoUs were signed in fields of renewable energy, hydro graphic survey, electronics navigation and infrastructure development at the island of Seychelles.
Government Measures to curb Black Money
The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Asset) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 was passed by the parliament in May 2015.
 It makes people mandatory to disclose their foreign income and assets and pay 30 per cent of it as tax and if fail to pay in given time limit then extra 90 per cent is levied.
 India and United States have signed inter-governmental agreement to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) under which both the nations exchange a wide range of financial information among themselves automatically and periodically.
 In June 2015, India has joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) which includes Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia and New Zealand.

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Ashwani Lohani appointed new Air India chief

Ashwani Lohani, Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) official, was appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of national carrier Air India Ltd, for three years.He will be replacing Rohit Nandan, whose extended tenure ends tomorrow.The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved appointment of Mr. Lohani, a 1980 batch IRSME officer, as CMD, Air India Ltd, for tenure of three years, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said.He is presently working as Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, in Bhopal.The first extension came on August 11, last year, after he completed a three-year term at the helm of Air India, steering it through a difficult phase of merger.Following this, the Civil Aviation Ministry had sought his continuation in the post crediting Mr. Nandan with improving the performance of the loss-making airline and successfully making Air India a member of the 27-member global airlines grouping, Star Alliance.

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Sebastian Coe elected IAAF president

The sport's 214 federations cast their votes in Beijing to decide who should lead the sport, which is dealing with the fall-out from a series of doping allegations.
The UK's Lord Coe succeeds Senegalese Lamine Diack, 82, who has led the IAAF for 16 years.The other contender was Ukrainian Olympic pole vaulter Sergey Bubka.
Lord Coe's initial term will be for four years.
He won 115 votes from the voting members that make up the International Association of Athletics Federations, with Bubka receiving 92.The two-time 1500m Olympic gold medallist praised the organisation for how the contest was conducted, saying it was "fought according to sound judgement throughout".
 About IAAF 
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. It was founded on 17 July 1912 at its first congress in Stockholm, Sweden by representatives from 17 national athletics federations as the International Amateur Athletics Federation. Since October 1993, it has been headquartered in Monaco.Beginning in 1982, the IAAF passed several amendments to its rules allowing athletes to receive compensation for participation in international athletics competitions. However, the IAAF retained the word "amateur" in its name until its 2001 Congress at which the IAAF's name was changed to its current form.

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Taj Mahal makes to world’s top 5 travel hotspots

                                           
The Taj Mahal has made it to the top five of a prestigious new list of the world’s best tourist attractions.Lonely Planet’s “Ultimate Travelist” ranks the historic mausoleum built in Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the fifth most attractive travel hotspot in the world and describes it as a “magnificent Mughal masterpiece”.According to the list, the architectural perfection is reached beginning with “acres of shimmering white marble. Add a few thousand semi-precious stones, carved and inlaid in intricate Islamic patterns. Take a sublime setting by a sacred river, in jewel-like formal gardens. Apply a little perfect symmetry, and tie up the whole package in an outlandish story of timeless love. And there you have the Taj Mahal”.It notes that there’s no other building in India that so perfectly encapsulates the attitudes and atmosphere of its era.The Temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Cambodia, tops the list as a complex of more than 1,000 temples, shrines and tombs which attracts more than 2 million visitors annually.The Great Barrier Reef in Australia comes in at number two, the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru at number three, and the Great Wall of China at four.Travel writers and Lonely Planet staff were invited to submit ideas before voting on their favourites.Voters were asked to consider which sights enthused, inspired, and excited them the most.The one UK entry was the British Museum, which came in 15th on the wish list. To celebrate the release of the new book, some of the world’s finest sand sculptors will recreate five sights from around the world on Peter’s Hill near St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London later this week. 

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