US President recognises Jerusalem as capital of Israel, promises to move US embassy
The President of United States on 6 December 2017 recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, keeping with his long overdue campaign promise.
Trump has also announced the plan of relocating the US embassy, which is currently based in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem, a move that is being opposed by many nations across the world including some of America’s closest allies.
Trump made the announcement through a live television address from the White House. Citing a 1995 law, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, compelling the president make the move absent national security risks, Trump said the time had come to recognise what everyone already knows to be true. "Jerusalem is the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times," he said. “Today Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government,” he added.
The International community including the Arab world and countries such as France, Germany, Britain feel that Trump’s decision may have violent repercussions and that the future of the Israeli-Palestinian issue must be determined through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.
International Solar Alliance comes into force
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 6 December 2017 became a treaty-based international inter-governmental organisation following the ratification by Guinea on 6 November 2017.
Guinea was the 15th country to ratify the agreement. And as per the rules, ISA would become an international legal body after the ratification by 15 countries.
The other 14 countries were India, Bangladesh, Comoros, Fiji, France, Ghana, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Mali, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan and Tuvalu.
Headquartered at Gurugram, ISA aims at large scale deployment of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
RBI releases Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2017-18
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 6 December 2017 released its Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2017-18.
After assessing the current and evolving macroeconomic situation in the economy, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the Repo Rate under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.0 per cent.
Consequently, the Reverse Repo Rate was also kept unchanged at 5.75 per cent and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate and the Bank Rate remained at 6.25 per cent.
The Monetary Policy Committee voted in the ratio of 5:1 in favour of no rate change, with only Ravindra Dholakia favouring a 25 basis point cut in Repo Rate.
RBI rationalises charges on debit card transactions
The Reserve Bank of India, In order to promote digital payments, came out with differentiated merchant discount rates (MDR) for debit card transactions, prescribing separate caps for small and large traders.
The shift is aimed at giving a boost to the digital transactions in the country, as the government is not seeing any expected result despite giving a major thrust to digital payments.
It is expected that introduction of differentiated MDR will help increase the acceptance of debit card usage and it will also bring down the cost of transactions for small merchants.
India, Italy sign new MoU for cooperation in Agriculture and Phytosanitary issues
India and Italy signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in Agriculture and Phytosanitary issues on 6 December 2018. The agreement will replace the one signed in 2008.
It was signed by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh and the visiting Italian Minister for Agriculture Food and Forestry Policies, H E Maurizio Martina.
India and Italy enjoy traditionally friendly and cordial relations. India attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties between the two countries and aims to further expand and strengthen ties between the two countries in various areas including in the Agriculture sector.