- High-tech covered conductors to protect Kaziranga wildlife
- For the first time in the State, the power department is in the process of installing ‘covered conductors’ for power transmission which will provide safety against accidental contact.
- Covered conductors are longitudinally water blocked and covered with special grade materials that provide insulation and ultra violet ray protection. These conductors provide safety against accidental contact and are a major help in significantly reducing outages.
- While the covered conductors would ensure safety of both human and wildlife, power department officials say it would also check power theft to a large extend.
- The first such ‘covered conductor’ is being laid on a 11-km stretch of animal corridor in Kaziranga.
- Earlier, all covered conductors were imported, but the parties that have participated in the tendering process have opened world-class facilities in India and the lot for Kaziranga will be provided from the India factories.
- USA win first Athletics World Cup
- The USA has won the first Athletics World Cup as Great Britain came third at the London Stadium.
- America took the crown by 57 points ahead of Poland, who finished second.
- The USA banked £370,000, which is split evenly between the squad.
· U.S. and North Korea held talks at DMZ village
- S. and North Koreanmilitary officials met on the inter-Korean border to discuss the return of remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. This is the first time in nine years that generals from the two sides have held talks.
- The repatriation of U.S. remains is among the agreements of the Singapore summit which was held between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
- Negotiations had begun at 0100 GMT at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.
· Cassini coverage of NASA lands Emmy nomination
- The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominated NASA’s coverage of the Cassinimission’s final crash into Saturn for an Emmy in the Outstanding Original Interactive Program category.
- In 2017, after nearly 20 years in space and 13 years revealing the wonders of Saturn, Cassini began a whole new mission, its Grand Finale, which ended with a spectacular plunge into the planet.
· Pakistan PM launched first land based communication link with China
- Pakistan Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk inaugurated the Pakistan-China Optical Fibre Cable(OFC) project that would serve as the first land-based communication link between the two countries, and as a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
- The project includes an 820 km-long underground OFC from Rawalpindi to Khunjerab and a 172-km aerial OFC link from Karimabad to Khunjerab.
· India, US may hold first joint triservices military drill
- India and the US are likely to hold their first tri-services military drill later this year and talks to finalise the modalities of the exercise are on.
- The three wings of the armed forces of India and the US hold separate military exercises, but this will be the first time that the two countries will have a joint drill of their Army, Air Force and the Navy.
- The topic is likely to come up for discussion in September during the 2 plus 2 Dialogue involving external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on one side and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary James Mattis on the other.
- This will be second such international military drill involving all the three services.
- Last year, an Indian contingent comprising 350 personnel from Army, 80 from Air Force, two IL 76 aircraft and one Frigate and Corvette each from the Navy participated in a bilateral exercise, ‘Indra 2017’, with the Russian forces in Eastern Military District of Russia.
- The armies of India and the US also participated in Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, while the navies of India and the US had last month participated in Malabar 2018, a trilateral exercise involving Japan.
· India inaugurated World’s largest visa centre in Bangladesh
- To reduce the waiting time for VISA applicants, Home Minister Rajanth Singh, who is in Dhaka on a three-day visit inaugurated the world’s largest visa centre along with his Bangladeshi counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan.
- The new integrated state-of-the-art Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) spread in an 18,500 square feet commercial area at Jamuna Future Parkin Dhaka will replace all the existing centres (Motijheel, Uttara, Gulshan and Mirpur Road) in Dhaka in two phases.
- Bangladeshis constitute one of the largest number of visitors from a single country to India. Last year, India issued 1.4 million visas to Bangladeshi nationals.
- Centre feels the pinch of Bihar’s new scheme of assisting farmers for crop loss
- Bihar’s new scheme to assist farmers in case of crop loss has created some unease at Centre. The Union agriculture ministry apprehends that the state’s move may drive small and marginal farmers away from the central flagship crop insurance scheme – Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) – which has already extended its footprints across the country despite reporting some teething problems and delay in settling claims.
- The Bihar government had early this month launched a scheme where farmers will get Rs 7,500 per hectare (maximum for two hectares) if the production loss is less than 20% of threshold limit and Rs 10,000 per hectare (maximum for two hectares) if the loss in production is more than 20%. Farmers will not have to pay anything in advance to get such relief.
- The threshold limit will be calculated on the basis of average production of the last seven years. The scheme – Bihar State Crop Assistance Scheme – will come into force from the ongoing Kharif season.
- Though the Bihar’s scheme is not an insurance scheme and therefore it will run concurrently with the PMFBY, officials in the agriculture ministry have already felt the pinch of it at the time when they have been trying hard to promote the central scheme enlisting how it benefited more farmers during the first year (2016-17) of its launch as compared to previous schemes.
- A section within the ministry felt that the Bihar’s scheme will deter small and marginal farmers (having land holdings up to two hectares) from opting PMFBY which would, otherwise, provide them much bigger relief in lieu of very small premium.
- The PMFBY was launched from Kharif 2016 season. So far, 26 states have opted for the scheme. These are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
- The Centre has fixed a target of covering 50% of ‘Gross Cropped Area’ (GCA) under the PMFBY by the year 2018-19. At present, over 30% of the GCA is covered under the crop insurance scheme.
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