News for today – July 18, 2017
Army jawan, young girl killed in cross-LoC firing
Pakistani troops fired mortars along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir causing the deaths of an army jawan and a nine year old girl. It was an unprovoked attack and the Indian Army retaliated strongly to this. Since the attack also was targeted at civilian areas, the authorities sounded an alert asking residents to stay indoors. Due to this, 120 students were held up in government school at Panjgrain. Two civilians were injured in the shelling.
7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Off Russia’s Kamchatka
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck in the northern Pacific Ocean between the tip of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The epicentre was west of Attu, the largest island in the Near Islands group of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. The earthquake was shallow with just 6 miles below the seabed. The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center sounded the Tsunami warning also. The quake was followed by several aftershocks, including a few above magnitude 5.0.
Brexit talks goes on despite infighting
Britain and the EU have launched fresh Brexit negotiations in Brussels, even as bitter infighting is going in the British government.
Brexit minister David Davis met EU negotiator Michel Barnier for talks ahead of Britain’s historic withdrawal, scheduled for March 2019. However, in London the weakened Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to urge her warring ministers to end damaging leaks against each other over Brexit. Barnier has repeatedly called on Britain to set out a full divorce strategy.
Trump approves 15,000 extra visas for seasonal foreign workers
Donald Trump has authorised an additional 15,000 seasonal worker visas for foreign employees, during “Made in America” week. With this the previous annual cap of 66,000 H-2B visas will now rise to 81,000. The programme is designed to fill unskilled jobs that Americans do not want. However, US companies need to fill these vacancies in order to keep their businesses going.
US Air strikes pummel Syria’s Raqa
Heavy bombardment and fierce fighting have shaken the Islamic State group’s stronghold in Syria, Raqa on Monday, as US-backed forces have captured a new neighbourhood from entrenched jihadists. The US-led coalition conducted airstrikes in western neighbourhoods of Raqa. Thick pillars of black smoke dotted the city skyline, lined with bombed-out concrete homes and the damaged minaret of a mosque. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that at least 10 civilians including two children were killed by these air strikes.
Venkaiah Naidu for Vice President
BJP has chosen Union urban development and I&B minister M Venkaiah Naidu as its candidate for Vice-President of India. However, this decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah means that the posts Mr. Naidu held will be vacant and thereby raises the probability of a reshuffle of the cabinet. Shah endorsed the candidature of 68-year-old Naidu as Vice President after a meeting of the Parliamentary Board.
Heavy rain forecast in Mumbai this week
Mumbai is expected to receive heavy rainfall this week after having a dry spell since the beginning of July. Mumbai experienced heavy rainfall on Monday with the Santacruz observatory recording 126.6 mm rainfall and the one at Colaba recording 48.6 mm rainfall. There was waterlogging at several places in the western suburbs resulting in traffic congestion.
Govt raises cess on cigarettes
The GST Council on Monday increased the cess of cigarettes by 48 paise to 79paise per stick. It is not yet clear how this will have an impact on the prices. An ITC spokesperson has said that the company is studying the details of the decision regarding prices. This increase in cess is expected to bring in Rs. 5,000 crore of additional tax revenue for the government, which would have been enjoyed by the manufacturers.