The Government of India (GoI) has given ‘In-Principle’ approval for construction and operation of LIGO-India (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) Laboratory in Hingoli District of Maharashtra. The LIGO-India Observatory is scheduled to be operational in 2024 in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the United States. This is the 3rd observatory identical to two other LIGO observatories in the USA: Hanford ( Washington) and Livingston ( Louisiana). Regarding this, a MoU was signed between DAE-DST of India and National Science Foundation of USA in March 2016. This information was provided by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 18th of July 2018.
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal from 9th July to 15th July 2018. It has been observed as ‘Shubharambh Saptah’. The campaign has been initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange programme. The aim of the campaign is to bring greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation. Plantation activities are being carried out with great enthusiasm all along the banks of the River Ganga with the participation of local people. Some of the plants which are being sown during the campaign are Kanji, Sheesham, Farmis, Jamun, Arjun, Gutal, Siras, Chhitvan, Mango, Neem, Semal, Jungal Jalebi, Gulmohar, Kadam, Sagwan, Saal, etc.
The biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise “Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18)” will be hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Australia, which is scheduled from 24th July to 18th August. For the first time, the Indian Air Force is participating in the mega exercise with fighter aircraft, which will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe. The IAF contingent consists of 145 air-warriors including Garud team, 04 X Su-30 MKI, 01 X C-130 and 01 X C-17. The contingent is being led by Group Captain CUV Rao VM and would aim to undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing IAF operational capability
The Supreme Court of India (SCI) has stated that women have the constitutional right to enter the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala and pray like men without being discriminated against. The court was hearing a bunch of petitions that challenged the traditional ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in the Sabarimala temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said that even if there was no law, women cannot be discriminated against with regard to offering prayer in a temple. As per the temple tradition, entry of women in the 10-50 age group is restricted in the shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is considered a ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ (perennial celibate).
As part of Indo-US Bilateral Defence Cooperation, the 7th Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) meeting was held between India and the US delegation in New Delhi on July 18, 2018. The meeting was co-chaired by, Secretary (Defence Production), Dr Ajay Kumar and Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, DoD, US Government Ms Ellen M Lord. The purpose of the meeting is to bring sustained leadership focus to the bilateral defence trade relationship and create opportunities for co-production and co-development of defence equipment. The DTTI is an important forum leading to the 22 dialogue between the two countries. The meetings are held twice a year, alternately in India and the USA.
The book “The House of Islam: A Global History” has been authored by Self-proclaimed former Islamist radical Ed Husain. It explores the intricacies of Islam and the inner psyche of the Muslim world. Through the book, he makes three suggestions to help heal the rancour in the Islamic world – create a Middle East Union, implement a Muslim Marshall plan and expel extremists from within Islam. The author also feels that as long as the house of Islam provides shelter for Salafi-jihadis, the rest of the world will attack Islam and Muslims. Salafi-jihadis claim to be the truest of true Muslims and inject total certainty into the minds of their adherents so that they would be prepared to kill if they could. He suggested that there needs to be a global declaration by all 50-plus Muslim governments and their Islamic leaders, disowning these theological brigands as disbelievers.
Veteran actress Rita Bhaduri (62), who worked extensively in films and television shows, has passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on July 17, 2018. In her over three-decades-long career in the entertainment industry, Rita acted in over 70 movies like Raja, Julie, Beta, Dil Vil Pyar Vyar and 30 TV shows including Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, Choti Bahu, Kumkum, Khichdi and many others.
The 2018 Nelson Mandela International Day (NMID) marked the 100th birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela, the former South African President & Nobel Peace Prize winner, i.e. on July 18. The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) dedicated this year’s Mandela Day to ‘Action Against Poverty’, honouring Nelson Mandela’s leadership and devotion to fighting poverty and promoting social justice for all. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of a legend who embodied the highest values of the United Nations (UN). Mandela was South Africa’s first black president, who spent 27 years in three different prisons and was an anti-Apartheid icon who led a memorable life. His negotiations in the early 1990s with South African President F.W. de Klerk led to the end of the country’s apartheid system of racial segregation. For their efforts, both of them jointly received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993
According to Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s latest report “Asian Development Outlook (ADO)”, India’s GDP growth has been projected to rise 7.3% in current fiscal year FY19 (2018-19). The report, which was published in April 2018, stated that Indian economy’s growth will further accelerate to 7.6% in FY20 (2019-20) because the measures taken to strengthen the banking system and tax reform will boost investment. The report also pointed out that South Asia, led by India will continue to be the fastest growing sub-region despite rising tensions between the US and its trading partners. The ADO has also retained the combined growth forecast for the major industrial economies — the US, the Eurozone and Japan — as growth in the US and the Euro area remains robust.
Rajmata Satvashila Devi Bhosle (83), the noted activist from Konkan region in Maharashtra, has passed away at Sawantwadi on July 18, 2018. She was associated with Sawantwadi Sansthan. She was the wife of the last King of the Sawantwadi Kingdom late Shivramraje Bhosle who was coronated before the merger of the princely state into Union of India.