US Congress grants waiver for India from CAATSA
• The US Congress on July 25, 2018 agreed to waive sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for buying Russian military equipment.
• Indonesia and Vietnam are the two other countries covered under the waiver.
• The move comes after the meeting of US Senate and House Armed Services Committee on the 2019 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA).
• The committee decided to provide flexibility for strategic partners and allies to move away from the use of Russian military equipment to American equipment through a modified waiver under CAATSA.
• The new language in NDAA 2019 amends Section 231 of CAATSA, saying the US president may use the authority to waive sanctions, if he certifies in writing to the US Congress that the waiver is in the national security interest.
• CAATSA seeks to deter countries from buying weapons or oil from Russia, Iran and North Korea.
SC raps Centre for lack of access for disabled
• The Supreme Court pulled up the government for not complying with its directions to make public places disabled-friendly.
• A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to file a fresh affidavit detailing the work done so far and fixing a deadline to complete the directions of the court issued on December 15, 2017.
• The court also raps the States for not making any effort.
• On December 15, 2017, the court gave 11 directions to make public transport, government offices and educational institutions disabled-friendly.
India to help Bangladesh in warship design
• Garden Reach Ship Builders (GRSE) of Kolkata, a defence public sector undertaking, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Khulna Shipyard Limited (KSY) of Bangladesh to help the country in design and construction of warships.
• The MoU regarding this was signed on May 8, 2018.
• Khulna Shipyard Limited is an independent commercial enterprise under the Bangladesh’s Ministry of Defence and is operated by the Bangladesh Navy.
First lake of liquid water is discovered on Mars
• A massive underground lake has been detected for the first time on Mars, raising the possibility that more water and even life exists there.
• The lake is about 20 kilometres wide, located under a layer of Martian ice.
• It is the largest body of liquid water ever found on the Red Planet.
• Mars is now cold, barren and dry but used to be warm and wet.
• It is believed that the planet was home to plenty of liquid water and lakes at least 3.6 billion years ago.
• Scientists are eager to find signs of contemporary water because such discoveries are key to unlocking the mystery of whether life ever formed on Mars in its ancient past, or if it might persist today.
Short film on Modi’s childhood ‘Chalo Jeete Hain’ screened at Rashtrapati Bhawan
• The Rashtrapati Bhawan screened a short film titled ‘Chalo Jeete Hain’ (Come, let us live) which is based on the childhood of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
• The same film was screened at the Balayogi auditorium in Parliament and would have its world premiere on July 29, 2018 on Star Network.
• It is a short film of about half an hour or more that captures some aspects of the Prime Minister's childhood indirectly.
• The film was about a boy, called Narendra, or Naru, in post-independence Vadnagar, who gets impressed by a book by Swami Vivekanand that said those live who wish to serve others. The boy, the film suggested, was destined to serve the nation.
West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to rename State as ‘Bangla’
• The West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to rename the State as ‘Bangla’ in three languages — Bengali, English and Hindi.
• The move is aimed at climbing the alphabetical sequence of State names in which West Bengal appears last in the list now.
• The State will have to wait for the nod from the Union Home Ministry for the final approval of the resolution.
• Earlier, the Centre had rejected the State government’s proposals of having three names Bangla (in Bengali), Bengal (in English) and Bangal (in Hindi).
• The Mamata Banerjee government’s proposal to rename West Bengal as Paschim Bango in 2011 was turned down by the Centre.
Media banned inside Karnataka assembly
• Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy issued an order to not allow access to media personnel inside the Vidhana Soudha- the state assembly building.
• The movement of journalists and media personnel will be restricted inside the Vidhana Soudha from now onwards on a day-to-day basis.
• This is the first time that such a move has been initiated in Karnataka state assembly.
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