1. India to host 2nd Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)
India will host second edition meeting of Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) on 21 August 2015 in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The meeting will be attended by the heads of 14 island nations from Indo-Pacific oceanic region. It is seen as India’s first step towards greater engagement with the region, which is important from geostrategic and economic standpoint. It could also help counter the growing Chinese influence in this oceanic region. The FIPIC meeting will pave the way for agreements in various potential areas between India and these nations. It will include sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, food processing, solar energy, e-networks for coordination in tele-education and tele-medicine. It will also include space cooperation and climate change. Earlier in November 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Fiji had proposed to hold FIPIC summits regularly to increase ties among the participating nations.
2. Tiju Thomas initiative emerged as UAE's first and biggest donor registry
An Indian diplomat with the Indian consulate in Dubai Tiju Thomas was in news in first week of August 2015. He came in news after spearheading an initiative to make blood from rare groups accessible to those in need through a website www.blooddonors.ae
The initiative that had a soft launch on World Blood Donor Day on 14 June 2015 and was formally launched on 21 June 2015 on International Yoga Day emerged as the United Arab Emirates (UAEs) first and biggest donor directory.
This was his effort to give back to the society as a gift from the Indian community to the UAE and aims at bridging gaps between communities.
Tiju Thomas, Consul (Economic & Education, Press and Information), who practiced medicine prior to switching his career, discovered blood shortage as a major problem in the Gulf country. He sound that nearly 42 percent of the blood units collected is required by thalassaemia patients.
3. MCA lifted 3-year old Wankhede Stadium entry ban on Shah Rukh Khan
Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) on 2 August 2015 lifted the 5-year ban on Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on entering the Wankhede Stadium. The decision on removal of ban imposed on Khan was taken during the Association’s meet in Mumbai.
Khan was banned from entering MCA premises, including the Wankhede Stadium, for five years for engaging in a scuffle with the officials of the cricketing body and the security staff on 16 May 2012 following Kolkata Knight Rider’s (KKR's) victory over Mumbai Indians.
4. CERN formally confers its Associate Membership to Pakistan
Pakistan was formally conferred Associate Membership status by European Organisation for Nuclear Research (also known as CERN). The membership was granted after Pakistan formally completed the required internal ratification process. With this, Pakistan became the first Asian country to become member of CERN.
5. India women’s team wins silver in World Archery Championship
Indian women’s recurve archery team has won silver medal in World Archery Championship held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Indian women’s team included trio of Laxmirani Majhi, Deepika Kumari, and Rimil Buriuly. In the final match of World Championship they lost to Russia by 4-5 score. The winning Russian women’s team included trio of Ksenia Perova, Inna Stepanova and Tuyana Dashidorzhieva. While, Indian archer Rajat Chauhan has won silver medal in the World Archery Championships in the compound category. It was India’s first-ever individual medal in the World Archery Championships
6. US country singer Lynn Anderson passes away
United States country singer Lynn Anderson passed away after she suffered a heart attack in Nashville, US. She was 67. She was best known for her 1971 worldwide hit I Never Promised You a from Rose Garden. Lynn Anderson was born in North Dakota and was raised in Sacramento, California. She was daughter of two country songwriters and started her career at the age of 6. Her other US hits are How Can I Unlove You?, You’re My Man and Top of the World.
7. HSBC India plans to launch ‘green bonds’ this year
HSBC India is planning to launch ‘green bonds’ this year to enable fund raising for investments in projects with environmental benefits, the private sector bank’s Chairman Naina Lal Kidwai said today.
“HSBC is the world’s fourth largest issuer of green bonds. We are big player. We are working to get this in India.
We are working with key authorities on this issue. Most probably we will launch this year,” Kidwai told reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI event.
She did not divulge the size of green bonds saying that the discussions on the new product are at a nascent stage.
Globally, the green bonds market has tripled to $37 billion in last two years, Kidwai said, adding that India’s market for these bonds is “just the tip of the iceberg” and there is scope to grow.
Some banks like Axis Bank and Yes Bank have come out with such bonds. In February, Yes Bank had raised ₹1,000 crore against a targeted ₹500 crore by issuing green infrastructure bonds
Besides green bonds, Kidwai also emphasised on creating ‘Yieldcos’ that enable access to low cost liquid and generate predicable cash flows by bundling up renewable assets with long-term power purchase agreements.
“For Yieldcos, we need large amount of support from regulatory SEBI. We hope it clears the way for this product soon,” she added.
8. FCI gets ₹13,000 cr as food subsidy
To ensure smooth procurement and distribution of grains, the government has released ₹13,000 crore as food subsidy to state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The corporation is facing a subsidy arrear of above ₹55,000 crore as of March 31, 2015.
For 2015-16, the government has allocated ₹97,000 crore as food subsidy to FCI against an estimated bill of ₹1,18,000 crore. The bulk of the food subsidy is paid to FCI for running the public distribution system.