Current Affairs in English – August 1, 2019

☛  US Gifts 480 Million Dollar to Srilanka

The United States (US) has asserted that the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s 480 million US dollar aid to Sri Lanka was a gift from the people of the US and not a loan.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena the agreement is transparent and is designed to foster the prosperity, the President seeks to deliver to the people of Sri Lanka.

The ambassador noted that the agreement has a five-year term and will not establish any permanent institution or agency.

☛   SC Reserves Order on 10 % Quota challange

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice S.A. Bobde reservedits orders on the question of referring a batch of petitions challenging the validity of a constitutional amendment providing 10% economic quota in government jobs and educational institutions to a Constitution Bench.

The Bench, however, refrained from staying the 103rd Constitutional Amendment of 2019 providing 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the “economically backward” in the unreserved category.

☛   Parliament Passes Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill – 2019

The Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment), Bill, 2019 with some amendments. The bill was passed with 108 members voting in favour of the bill and 13 against.

The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to provide for road safety.

☛   President Kovind gives assent to Triple Talaq Bill

President Ram Nath Kovind has given his nod to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 that abolishes the practice of instant Triple Talaq. A Gazette Notification to this effect was issued 31 July, 2019. The Parliament had passed the bill on 30 July, 2019.

The law comes into force retrospectively from 19th September 2018.

The bill seeks to declare the practice of instant Triple Talaq as void and illegal and makes it a cognizable offence.

It also provides allowance to women victims and their dependent children. The offence is made compoundable with the permission of the Magistrate at the instance of the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced.

☛   Srilanka Exempts Visa fees to indian tourists

India is among 48 countries whose citizens have been exempted from visa fees for tourism purposes by Sri Lankan government. The decision was announced on 31 July, 2019 during a media conference in Colombo.

visa fees which ranged from 20 to 40 US dollars, will not be charged for grant of one month visa for tourism. The tourists can apply for electronic travel authorisations online or apply for visa on arrival.

☛  IPPB Convert to Small Finance Bank

The Postal Department said it has decided to convert the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) into a small finance bank (SFB), enabling it to offer small loans to customers. Besides, the department also looks to open one crore accounts for IPPB in 100 days.

A statement of the Postal Department said that the decisions were taken at the annual Heads of Circles Conference held at Srinagar.

☛  India became fifth largest investor in Africa

Trade and investment ties between India and Africa are growing. India has become the fifth largest investor in Africa with cumulative investment at over 54 billion US dollars. African continental Free Trade Area Agreement launched this month will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world.

After South Asia, the African Continent is the largest recipient of Indian overseas assistance.

☛  London named worlds best student city in new rankings

London named the world’s best city for students. According to the rankings, India’s best student city is Bengaluru at 81st. It is followed by Mumbai (85th) and Delhi at 113 and Chennai at 115.

There are a total of 120 cities in the list.

This report is released for the second consecutive year.

London beat Tokyo and Melbourne and came second and third respectively on new worldwide rankings.

The QS Best Student Cities ranking was done by global education consultancy QSQuacquarelli Symonds.

It mainly highlights each city’s performance across different categories. The number of Indians moving to London for higher studies rose by 20% in 2017-18.

They marked an increase from 4,545 in 2016-17 to 5,455 in the fiscal year 2017-18.

☛  Supreme Court judges to increase from 31 to 34

Against the backdrop of rising cases in the Supreme Court, the Union Cabinet on July 31 approved increasing the number of judges in the top court from the present 31 to 34, including the Chief Justice of India, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said. At present, the sanctioned strength of the apex court is 31.

Once the bill to increase the number of judges gets parliamentary nod, the number of judges would go up to 34, including the CJI, the Minister told after the Cabinet meeting.

At present, the Supreme Court is working with its full sanctioned strength of 31.

The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 was last amended in 2009 to increase the judges’ strength from 25 to 30 (excluding the CJI).

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