Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 02 August 2019
India expresses concern over U.S aid to Pakistan
India on Thursday expressed “grave concern” over the recent
U.S. military assistance to Pakistan, and stated that it had conveyed its
concerns to Washington.
The U.S. had publicly stated that the proposed sale was intended
to enable it to continue technical and logistics support services to assist in
the oversight of the operations of F-16 fighter aircraft in Pakistan's
inventory, he said.
However, official sources emphasised that the concern expressed
was not just for the supply of F-16 parts, but for the “signs of growing
military cooperation and resumption of military supplies” by the U.S. to
Last week, days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit
to Washington, the State Department approved a military assistance package for
“continued support” of the F-16 programme.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a
possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for Technical Security Team (TST) in
continued support of the F-16 programme for an estimated cost of $125 million,”
the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement after delivering the
required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale on July 26.
Pakistan, which has long operated the F-16s, recently deployed
them against India during the aerial engagement on February 27, a day after the
Balakot air strike by India.
Parliament passes UAPA amendment bill
Parliament has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Amendment Bill, 2019 with the RajyaSabha approving it today. The LokSabha
has already passed the bill.
Replying to discussion on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah
reiterated NDA government’s commitment to fight against terrorism. He said there
is a need to speak in one voice against terrorism.
Referring to some members objection to naming an individual as a
terrorist, Mr. Shah said the countries like US, Pakistan and China also has
similar provisions to name an individual as a terrorist.
He emphatically said a terrorist does not belong to any religion and the law
should be amended along with time.
Earlier participating in the debate, Congress objected to some
of the provisions of the bill saying they are unconstitutional and against
P. Chidambaram said the bill empowers the Central government to
name any individual a terrorist if it believes so. He said the Bill will be
struck down by the court.
The Congress leader questioned the provisions in the bill saying
the individual is already covered in the law and there is no need to distinguish
between organization and individual on the issue of terrorism.
CRISIL cuts growth forecast to 6.9%
Ratings agency Crisil has cut its forecast for GDP growth in
2019-20 to 6.9% from its earlier forecast of 7.1%, citing weak monsoon, slow
global growth and poor high-frequency data for the first quarter of the
It added that the slowdown would be more pronounced in the
April-June period while the second half of the year would be bolstered by the
expected monetary easing, consumption, and a statistical low-base effect.
Crisil also expects corporate sector growth to slow to 8% in
2019-20, lower than the double-digit growth trend of the last two financial
The report said that banking sectorNPAs are expected to come
down to about 8% by the end of financial year 2019-20, based on lower additional
NPAs and increased recoveries. Credit growth is expected to recover to 14%, the
highest in five years.
“The crucial question is whether a trough is in sight,”
Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist at Crisil said. “Given the fiscal
constraints, public spending is unlikely to have the heft to pull growth above
7%,” he said.
Auto firms report double digit decline in sales
Continuing to face rough weather, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and
three other auto majors reported a double-digit decline in sales in July as
consumer sentiment remained subdued.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said its domestic sales
were down 36.3% to 98,210 units last month compared with 1,54,150 units in July
last year. It was in June 2017 that the company’s sales had last fallen below 1
lakh units mark in a month.
The industry needs stimuli to help revive consumer demand and
conversions, he added. Honda Cars India Ltd. (HCIL) reported 48.67% decline in
domestic sales to 10,250 units in July.
In the two-wheeler space, Bajaj Auto saw its domestic sales dip
13% per cent last month to 2,05,470 units.
TVS Motor Company reported a 12.98% dip in its July 2019 sales
to 2.79 lakh unit on weaker volumes.In the domestic market, two-wheeler sales
dropped to 2.08 lakh units from 2.47 lakh units.
Truck major Ashok Leyland reported a 39% contraction in the
sales of its medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV) in the domestic and
U.S –Russia nuclear forces treaty reaches dead end
The United States and Russia both walked away from the
Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty today putting an end to a landmark
arms control treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev signed three decades ago.
If both US and Russia choose not to extend or replace the larger
New START treaty when it expires in early 2021, there will be no legally binding
limits on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in nearly
The US blames Russia for the demise of the treaty, saying that
for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the
treaty and threaten the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Europe.
President Donald Trump hasn't committed to extending or
replacing New START, which imposed limits starting in 2018 on the number of US
and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.
Netherland law banning burqas in public places comes to effect
The Netherlands banned the wearing of a face-covering veil,
such as a burqa or niqab, in public buildings and on transport from Thursday
as a contentious law on the garment worn by some Muslim women came into
Between 200 and 400 women are estimated to wear a burqa or niqab
in the country of 17 million people.
The legislation was passed in June 2018 after a decade of
political debate on the subject. The far-right politician Geert Wilders had
proposed the veil ban back in 2005.
“From now on the wearing of clothing which covers the face is
banned in educational facilities, public institutions and buildings, as well as
hospitals and public transport,” the Dutch Interior Ministry said.
The law also bans face-covering helmet or hood. A person could
be fined €150($165). However, the public transport sector said it would not stop
to make a woman in a burqa get off as it would cause delays.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Scientists print heart parts using 3D bioprinters
U.S. scientists have successfully built functional heart
parts out of collagen using a 3D bioprinter, a breakthrough they say could
one day create entire organs.
Their technique, which was described in the journal Science on
Thursday, replicates the body’s own complex biological scaffolds that provide
the structure and biochemical signalling organs need to function.
“What we were able to show was you can actually 3D print a heart
valve out of collagen, and they function,” Adam Feinberg, one of the paper’s
co-authors said. Previous attempts at printing these scaffolds, known as
extracellular matrices, had been hindered by limitations that resulted in poor
tissue fidelity and low resolutions.
But the scientists at Carnegie Mellon University were able to
overcome these hurdles by using rapid changes in pH to cause the collagen to
solidify with precise control. “That’s the very first version of a valve, and so
anything that we engineer as a product will actually get better and better,” Mr.
The technique could one day help patients awaiting heart
transplants, but it will need to validated through animal testing and eventually
East Bengal football club celebrates 100 years
Football Giant East Bengal Club turns 100 years today. On
this day in 1920 East Bengal Club was established at Kumartuli Park in North
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the
centenary year celebrations at a glittering function in Kolkata this evening.
Speaking on the occasion Ms. Banerjee recalled glorious contribution of the East
Bengal Club for popularizing football game in the country.
She said that the State Sports Department will also organize
special programmes to mark the Centenary of East Bengal Club. Former Indian
Cricket Captain KapilDev was given ‘Bharat Gourav’ Award at the function.
Former footballer ManaranjanBhattacherjee and BhaskarGanguli
were presented Life Time Achievement Awards and P. K. Banerjee was given best
football coach of the Century award. The State Sports Minister Mr. Arup Biswas,
Former Indian Cricket Captain SouravGanguly, present and past players were
present at the function.
For Study Materials Call Us at +91 8800734161 (MON-SAT 11AM-7PM)