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Mysore tops Swachh Bharat rankings for 476 cities

 Mysore city in Karnataka has topped the Swachh Bharat Rankings of 476 cities in the country with three more from the State figuring in the top 10. West Bengal does well with 25 cities/towns from the State finding a place in the top 100 cities. These rankings are based on the extent of open defecation and solid waste management practices in these cities. The city of Mysore leads the cities with minimal open defecation and extensive adoption of solid waste management practices.
The top 10 ranked cities being : Mysore, Thiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu), Navi Mumbai, Kochi (Kerala), Hassan, Mandya and Bengaluru from Karnataka, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Halisahar (West Bengal) and Gangtok (Sikkim) in that order.
                Damoh (Madhya Pradesh) came at the bottom of 476, preceded by Bhind(MP), Palwal and Bhiwani, both in Haryana, Chittaurgarh (Rajasthan), Bulandshahar (UP), Neemuch (MP), Rewari(Haryana), Hindaun (Rajasthan) and Sambalpur in Odisha at 467thrank.
                All the 476 Class-1 cities in 31 States and Union Territories, each  with a population of above one lakh were surveyed for assessing  total sanitation practices covering a set of parameters including the extent of open defecation, solid waste management, septage management, waste water treatment, drinking water quality, surface water quality of water bodies and mortality due to water born diseases etc.
                The survey conducted during 2014-15 was commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development as required under the National Sanitation Policy of 2008.
                Since the Swachh Bharat Mission is being implemented in urban areas with focus on construction of individual household, community and public toilets to eradicate open defecation and ensure door-to-door collection and disposal of municipal solid waste, all the 476 Class-1 cities have been ranked based on the data pertaining to these elements from out of the date generated in the survey. This helps in assessing the present situation in these cities so that they can undertake necessary interventions to  meet Swachh Bharat Mission targets in urban areas.
                Over all sanitation rankings of these cities based on a total of 100 marks assigned to different parameters covering all aspects would be announced later. The Swachh Bharat rankings are based on a total of 42 marks including 20 for open defecation indicators and 22 for solid waste management indicators.
Number of cities surveyed in major States include : UP (61), West Bengal (60), Mharashtra (43), MP(32), Gujarat (30), AP(30), Tamil Nadu(29), Rajasthan(28), Bihar (27), Karnataka (26), Haryana(20), Punjab(16), Telangana (11), Odisha (10), Jharkhand(10), Chattisgarh(9) and 6 each from Kerala, Uttarakhand and North-Eastern states.

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President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated-Navachara Kaksh

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a new Science and Innovation Museum called ‘Navachara Kaksh’ at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (August 4, 2015).
‘Navachara Kaksh’, established by Rashtrapati Bhavan with the assistance of M/s. Intel India has a compelling mix of information, scientific know-how and inspiring innovation designed to encourage young people on the path to scientific discovery and learning. It will exhibit Robotic Dog, Virtual Tabla, Stringless Piano, 3D printer, Talking Wall and ‘Planet Wall. Visitors can also click selfies 3D-style with the President’s House as a backdrop and email it.
The ‘Robotic Dog’ called Clumsy resembles a real dog. 16 Servo Motors can enable him to perform complex motor actions like walking and squatting. It also has sensors that allow him to see, touch, hear and see. Just like a brain, the microcontroller board takes inputs from these sensors and controls his movements. Clumsy has been designed by a talented school student who won prestigious awards at an International science competition.
Withthe ‘Virtual Tabla’ one can play the drums and hear its rhythmic sound without touching the drums at all. Sensors detect hand movements and play a corresponding sound with the help of microprocessors. Like the Robotic Dog, the Virtual Tabla has been created by a school student at a makeathon.The ‘Stringless Piano’, similar to the Virtual Tabla, is a sensor activated device that creates music seemingly out of thin air. It has a wireless, touch-sensitive electric sound producer that responds to action mechanisms to sound like a regular piano.
The ‘3D printer’ enables making a three dimensional solid object from a digital file by laying out successive layers of material until the entire object is created. The 3D printer is pre-programmed using the open-source Intel® Galileo development board, which enables the printer to be customized in various ways to achieve different objectives.
The museum also has a ‘Talking Wall’ and a ‘Planet Wall’ intended to inform and encourage students on the path to discovery. An interactive audio-visual display (through an LED TV) will arouse curiosity about various discoveries and the mechanics of innovations. It gives information about national science fairs where students can showcase their talent and also features young geniuses, through the passage of time, who have earned international recognition through their ground-breaking research.
At the "Navachara Kaksh",a selfie 3D-style can also be clicked with the President’s House as a backdrop. The Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera, the world’s first and smallest integrated 3D camera, is designed to sense a user’s head and hands in 3 dimensions to provide a natural and immersive interaction.The "Navachara Kaksh" will be open for visitorson weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) as part of the Rashtrapati Bhavan tour.

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Justice Jawad S. Khawaja appointed as new Chief Justice of Pakistan.

President Mamnoon Hussain approved Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's advice to appoint Justice Jawwad S Khawaja as the Chief Justice of Pakistan with effect from August 17, 2015.
Incumbent Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk is set to complete his tenure on August 16, 2015.
A news release issued by the Presidency reads:“On a summary initiated by the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division, President Mamnoon Hussain approved the prime minister’s advice for appointment of senior judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, as Chief Justice of Pakistan with effect from August 17, 2015, after superannuation of Justice Nasirul Mulk, Chief Justice of Pakistan, on attaining the age of 65 years w.e.f. August 16, 2015.”
Justice Jawwad Khawaja was born on September 10, 1950 in Wazirabad and obtained a degree in law from Punjab University.
He started his career as an advocate of high court in 1975 and got practicing license of Supreme Court in 1985. He has also served as a visiting lecturer at the Punjab University Law College from 1975 to 1986.Justice Khawaja also received an LLM from University of Berkeley, California and taught at Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) until he was appointed as the Judge of Supreme Court in 2009.It is pertinent to mention here that Justice Khawaja was the first judge to resign in protest from the high court in March 2007 after former President Pervez Musharraf virtually suspended the then chief justice of Pakistan, Chaudhry Iftikhar, and appointed the available senior-most judge, Justice Javed Iqbal, as the acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

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Microsoft's Bill Gates tops the first Forbes list of the richest global tech billionaires

Microsoft's Bill Gates was the unsurprising leader of the first Forbes list of the richest global tech billionaires, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his personal fortune surge.The Forbes survey released on August 5 found US-based tech magnates made up 51 of the 100 richest people in technology, with 33 from Asia and eight from Europe.The net worth of the 100 people amounted to $842.9 billion, according to the magazine. The minimum net worth to make the top 100 was $2 billion.
Gates, who has long been at or near the top of the world's richest individuals, led the group with an estimated worth of $79.6 billion, trailed by Oracle founder Larry Ellison at $50 billion.The surprising number three was Bezos, who saw a gain of some $13 billion in his fortune this year with the rise of Amazon shares, and is now worth $47.8 billion, Forbes said.Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg snared the number four position with a net worth of $41.2 billion, followed by Google founders Larry Page ($33.4 billion) and Sergey Brin ($32.8 billion).Alibaba founder Jack Ma was number seven with a worth of $23.2 billion, the wealthiest of 10 Chinese billionaires on the list.Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer came in eighth at $22.7 billion, while Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was number nine at $21.4 billion, and computer company founder Michael Dell was tenth with a worth of $19.4 billion.Jobs was the richest of the seven women on the list. The average age is 53, or a decade younger than the average of all billionaires, Forbes said.The youngest is Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, who at age 25 is worth an estimated $2.1 billion. The oldest is Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, 86, whose estimated worth is $6 billion.Forbes said 94 of the tech moguls created their own companies, while three inherited their wealth, and three others inherited fortunes but have expanded them.

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Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed first Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with ‘Rollback’ provision.

 In order to bring certainty in tax liability and avoid disputes in taxation with the multinationals operating in India, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for the first time has entered into an Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with ‘Rollback’ provision with the two US MNCs. Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with ‘Rollback’ provision facilitates tax liability for future transactions for five years and transactions of previous four years that now provide tax certainty to applicant for nine years altogether, which was mere five regular years of APAs initially. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had entered into this APAs with US MNCs is first ever since the Finance Ministry made announcement in March 2015. Over all CBDT has signed14 APAs of which 13 are unilateral APAs and one is a bilateral APA but did not had facility of rollback provision.

Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)

It is an agreement between a taxpayer and the tax authority that settles transfer prices and of setting prices of international transactions in advance and normally covers multiple years.

It provides certainty to taxpayers regarding transfer pricing that aim to avoid disputes between taxpayer and tax regulator.
 This will introduce certainty in tax law reduces compliance costs and makes tax regime investment friendly. 
It will give a boost to the Indian economy as the investors will adopt this APA route with rollback provision to reduce litigation and to business with ease.

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Govt to allow Aadhaar enrolments of NRIs, PIOs, OICs.

 Government has decided that Aadhaar enrolment of Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India should be eventually allowed to help them authenticate their identity digitally, The government has decided that a longer term goal should be to expand Aadhaar enrolment activities in order to ensure that all persons on the Indian soil (Resident Indian, NRIs, OCI/PIO and visa holding visitors) shall be empowered with a unique identity/identifier that can authenticated on a digital platform any time anywhere. At present, all residents including Indian national and foreigners with valid visas can be enrolled and provided Aadhaar number by the UIDAI.
Under the Aadhaar project, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is providing a unique identity numbers to residents, which can be digitally verified using the database.
As per the official sources, UIDAI is working on the policy for Aadhaar enrolment of NRIs, PIOs and OICs after receiving a direction from the government on the issue.
However the minister said in its reply that no timeframe has been formulated at this stage for achieving the goal.
The Aadhaar number helps in availing various services and benefits provided by the government.It is a valid know your customers (KYC) document for various services including banking, telecom, cooking gas subsidy, vehicle registration driving licence, government scholarships, pension and public distribution system.
The UIDAI was set up in January 2009 to issue Aadhaar numbers. It has generated 89.43 Aadhaar numbers so far as per the information provided on UIDAI’s website.

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Tripura assembly passes resolution against death penalty.

Tripura Assembly has passed a resolution to request the Union Government to amend Section 302 of the IPC to abolish capital punishment. The resolution is apparently fallout of recent hanging of Yakub Memon, prime accused in Mumbai serial blasts. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar rose to strongly oppose capital punishment terming it a murder of somebody for committing a murder. Leader of opposition Sudip Roy Burman quoted Mahatma Gandhi to raise his objection to death sentence. The adopted resolution would be sent to union government and the Law Commission for consideration. It requested for necessary amendment in IPC Section 302 for commuting death sentence.
About  Death Penalty In India
India retains capital punishment for a number of serious offences . The Supreme Court of India has allowed the death penalty to be carried out in five instances since 1995. official government statistics claim that only 52 people had been executed since independence. In December 2007, India voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. In November 2012, India again upheld its stance on capital punishment by voting against the UN General Assembly draft resolution seeking to ban death penalty.

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India imposed anti-dumping duty on Vitamin-C imports from China.

To safeguard the interest of domestic industries of India, government on 6 August extended anti-dumping duty on import of all forms and grades of Vitamin C from China for the period of five years. Earlier in 2009 government had imposed the anti-dumping duty which was later extended till June 2015 and now further extended to five more years with the duty of USD 3.74 for per kg of Vitamin-C import from China. This move was taken following the findings of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) which concluded that imports of Vitamin-C have caused injury to the domestic industry. As per the notification by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) anti-dumping duty is applicable to all grades and forms Vit-C which includes L-3-Ketothreohexuronic Acid Lactone substrates, 3-Oxo-L-gulofuranolactone, L-Xyloascorbic Acid, Ascorbic acid, etc.

What is Anti-Dumping Duty?
It is a trade duty imposed by any government on imported products which have prices less than their normal values in their domestic market. Usually countries initiate anti-dumping probes to check if domestic industry has been hurt because of a surge in below-cost imports. 
Anti-Dumping Duty is imposed under the multilateral WTO regime and varies from product to product and from country to country. In India, anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Union Ministry of Commerce (i.e. Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty-DGAD), while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.

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August 7 - National Handloom Day

PM Mr Narendra Modi declares August 7 as National Handloom Day to mark Swadeshi movementTo commemorate the 1905 Swadeshi movement the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced August 7 as ‘National Handloom Day’ at the function held in Chennai. At the event PM Modi also launched the ‘India Handloom’ brand to help weavers with brand for global markets. The day 7 August was selected to commemorate the 110 year old Swadeshi Movement, which promoted use of domestic products over British products. The motto behind observing National Handloom Day is to honour the handloom weavers and to carter an impetus to India’s handloom industry. Whereas launching of ‘India Handloom’ brand aims to promote handloom of India in the global markets as a genuine good quality international product.
About Handlooms 
Commissioner for Handlooms was set up as an attached non-participating office on 20th November, 1975 under the Ministry of Commerce. At present it is functioning under the Ministry of Textiles. The Office of the Development Commissioner for Handlooms is headed by an officer of Joint Secretary level having its headquarters at Udyog Bhawan, New Delhi

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Egypt launches Suez Canal expansion

Egypt has launched a major expansion of the Suez Canal. It was inaugurated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a lavish ceremony held at port city of Ismailiya ( located on west bank of canal).

Suez Canal expansion project
The project was started in August 2014 for the expansion of the Ballah Bypass from 61 metres to 312 metres. The project was dubbed as the New Suez Canal. 
Expansion aims to increase the traffic handled by the canal in order to boost Egypt’s economy and global standing by turning the Suez Canal zone into a global logistics and trade center.
 Completed in one year span with an estimated cost of US 8 billion dollars.
 It comprises 72km of new channel and bypasses which has deepened the main waterway. 
It allows ships especially larger vessels to transit the canal in both directions simultaneously, thus increasing canal traffic and revenue. 
The expansion is expected to double the ship capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 ships a day by 2023.

About Suez Canal
 Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt.It links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea through Isthmus of Suez. It was first opened in 1869 after a decade of construction. Strategically and economically it is one of the most important waterways in the world providing the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. 
Its opening had provided alternative route to sea voyage between Europe and India. It had reduced the sea voyage distance between these two regions by about 7,000 kilometres without navigating around Africa.The canal was nationalised by Egypt in 1956 after brief war against the UK, France and Israel.The canal has been a significant income source for Egypt since then.

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