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- The Union Government has constituted a four member expert committee to study the silt in the river Ganga, in Bihar. The team will be headed by a member of the Ganga Flood Control commission, A .K. Sinha, and must submit its report within 10 days.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for simplification and liberalisation of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy, 2016 in various sectors. The radical changes to the FDI policy are meant to liberalise and simplify it, so as to provide ease of doing business in the country. In the defence sector, FDI beyond 49% has been permitted with government approval. With respect to food, pharmaceuticals, and civil aviation, 100% FDI has been allowed.
- The Indian Army has set up the Army Design Bureau (ADB) in an attempt to indigenise procurements and reduce import dependence. It has been established as part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and will integrate various stake holders in its long-term requirements.
- The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has erred on its forecast for monsoon rain in August. In June, it said that India would get more rain than it usually did but as of August 31, it emerges, the country got significantly less — or 8% less rain — than what’s normal for the month.
- The Indian Railways launched an insurance scheme for passengers travelling on e-ticket, and a facility to book retiring rooms on hourly basis at stations. Passengers with confirmed or RAC ticket, booked through the IRCTC website, will need to pay 92 paise as premium to get insurance coverage of up to Rs. 10 lakhs in case of train accidents and other untoward incidents, including terrorist attacks, dacoity, rioting, shooting or arson.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his tour of Southeast Asia and China next week. The focus will be on India’s position on the South China Sea and the newly evolving defence partnership with the United States for the Asia-Pacific region. The eastern outreach is important in view of the July 12 declaration of the Permanent Court of Arbitration challenging China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea region.
- The Guinness World Records declared Assam’s Majuli as the largest river island in the world. The island is located in the Brahmaputra River, and was formed due to course changes by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit.
- Reliance Industries has started a new 4G plan on its mobile network, offering customers lifetime free voice and roaming and unlimited data. The plan is called Reliance Jio. RJio’s plans could help shrink average monthly mobile bills for mid-to-high end subscribers by over 50 per cent.
- South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc tied-up with Amazon.com Inc on smart-home services. This tie-up will help enabling the services of Amazon such as the Alexa virtual assistant on some of LG’s devices.
- Lavazza, the Italian coffee company, has opened its first training centre in India to help baristas make Italian coffee. It will offer coffee-roasting workshops for baristas, bartenders and caterers.
- Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed her commitment to continue war crimes trial against those involved in crimes against humanity during the nation’s Liberation War in 1971.
- A new fossil find and analysis by Australian scientists has revealed that life on Earth may be 3.7 billion years older than was thought earlier. The tiny fossil structures — called stromatolites — were found in ancient rock along the edge of Greenland’s ice cap, and were 220 million years older than the previous record holders. They show that life emerged fairly shortly — in geological terms — after Earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Stromatolites are formed when microorganisms, such as certain kinds of bacteria, trap bits of sediment together in layers. These layers build up over time to create solid rock.