30 June 2021

Europe's Space Agency to hire first Disabled Astronaut.

The European Space Agency hopes to hire and launch the world’s first physically disabled astronaut.

The 22-member space programme has just closed its latest decennial recruitment call for astronauts and received 22,000 applicants.

The ESA, whose Ariane rocket once dominated the market for commercial satellite launches, faces ever stiffer competition from tech-funded upstarts like Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Amazon founder Bezos hopes next month to become the first man to go into space on his own rocket, highlighting the growing role tech billionaires are playing in a field that was once dominated by public agencies.


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An Indian warship conducted Military Drill with South Korean Ship In East China Sea.

An Indian Navy warship carried out a military drill with a South Korean vessel in the East China Sea on 28 June 2021.

This partnership exercise was aimed at enhancing interoperability and facilitating the exchange of best practices between the two navies.

Indian Navy's indigenous ASW Corvette INS Kiltan deployed in the Far East undertook Navy Partnership Exercise in East China Sea with Republic of Korea''s Ship ROKS Gyeongnam

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China turns on world’s 2nd-biggest hydro power dam.

The Government of China officially turned on the first two generating units of the Baihetan Dam, the world’s second-biggest hydroelectric dam, to start generating energy. The Baihetan Dam is set up on the Jinsha River, in southwestern China.

About the dam:

The dam is a 289-meter-tall (954-foot-tall) double-curvature arch dam, having 16 generating units.

Each unit will have to generate a capacity of 1 million kilowatts, making it the second biggest in size after the “Three Gorges Dam” opened in 2003 on the Yangtze, with 22.5 million kilowatts of generating capacity.

Through the Baihetan Dam, the Chinese government aims to curb surging fossil fuel demand by building more hydropower capacity.

Both the dams have been built by the state-owned Three Gorges Group Corp., the world’s biggest investor in hydro, solar and wind generation.

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UK financial regulator bans world’s largest crypto exchange.

Binance, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, has been issued a warning by the UK's financial regulator.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ruled that the firm cannot conduct any "regulated activity" in the UK.

It also advised people to be wary of adverts promising high returns on cryptoasset investments.

Binance said the FCA notice would have no "direct impact" on the services it provides from its website Binance.com.

Binance's existing crypto exchange is not UK-based so despite the FCA ruling, there will be no impact on UK residents who use the website to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies.

The FCA does not regulate cryptocurrencies, but requires exchanges to register with them. Binance has not registered with the FCA and therefore is not allowed to operate an exchange in the UK.

The FCA move comes amid pushback from regulators around the world against cryptocurrency platforms.

Binance.com is an online centralised exchange that offers users a range of financial products and services, including purchasing and trading a wide range of digital currencies, as well as digital wallets, futures, securities, savings accounts and even lending.

Binance Group is currently based in the Cayman Islands, while Binance Markets Limited is an affiliate firm based in London. The firm has multiple entities dotted around the world and Binance Group was previously based in Malta.

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International Asteroid Day - 30 June.

Every year on June 30th, International Asteroid Day raises public awareness about the hazards of an asteroid impact. It’s also a day to inform the public about crisis communication actions necessary in the event of a credible near-Earth object event.

Considered minor planets, some asteroids even have a companion moon. These massive objects orbit the sun consisting of rock, metals, and other elements. The largest asteroids are over 300 miles in diameter. 

Four people are credited for founding Asteroid Day. The co-founders include Dr. Brian May, an astrophysicist and lead guitarist for the rock band QUEEN, Danica Remy, President of B612 Foundation, Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut, and filmmaker Grig Richters. June 30th commemorates the date of the Tunguska impact. On June 30th, 1908, a mysterious cosmic impact occurred in Siberia. 

In December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/71/90, declaring 30 June International Asteroid Day  in order to "observe each year at the international level the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, Russian Federation, on 30 June 1908, and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard."

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International Day of Parliamentarism - 30 June.

Every year on June 30th, the International Day of Parliamentarism celebrates the fundamental principles of parliamentarism. The day also draws attention to how the parliamentary systems of government improve the lives of people around the world.

A parliamentary democracy is one in which citizens elect representatives to a legislative parliament. It’s this legislative parliament that makes the necessary laws and decisions for the country. The goal of a parliament is to represent the people directly. Parliaments work to make sure that policies benefit all people. This includes those who are the most vulnerable. Other advantages of a parliamentary system include accountability, adaptability, and equal distribution of power.

In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly formed the International Day of Parliamentarism. They chose the date of June 30th to reflect the establishment of the (Inter Parliamentary Union) IPU in 1889. The IPU is the global organization of parliaments. Today the IPU consist of 179 Member Parliaments. Their slogan is “For democracy. For everyone.” It is their vision to have a world where every voice counts.

In 2021, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and its Member Parliaments will mark the International Day of Parliamentarism with a number of events focusing on youth empowerment following the recent launch of the IPU campaign "I Say Yes to Youth in Parliament !"

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Philippines on FATF grey list, working on junket controls.

The Paris-based watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has added the Philippines to its “grey list” of jurisdictions that it regards need increased monitoring in relation to risk of financial crimes. 

The Financial Action Task Force said in its latest update: “When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies,” in its anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) framework “within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring”.

The body added that the Philippines already had made this month “a high-level political commitment” to work with the FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a regional watchdog.

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29 June 2021

Envirnment Ministry has banned all types of lunch sheets without publishing new gazette.

The Environment Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera, advised the ministry officials to take steps to ban all types of lunch wrapping sheets in the country without publishing a new gazette notification.

The decision was made by the Minister yesterday, after taking into account all steps that the Ministry had taken in the past to prohibit the use of lunch sheets.

On the earlier decision, the lunch sheet manufacturing companies have stated that they would take steps to introduce biodegradable material which would decay fast, but until now they did not honour it properly, the Minister said.

Hence, the decision was taken during a meeting at the Ministry with the Ministry Secretary and and officials from several institutions, including the Central Environmental Authority.

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The International Day of the Tropics - 29 June.

Each year on June 29th, the International Day of the Tropics raises awareness about various challenges that tropical nations face. It’s also a day to celebrate the extraordinary diversity of the Tropics.

The regions of the Earth that lie in the middle of the planet are called the Tropics. The Tropics account for 36 percent of the Earth’s landmass. It includes the Equator and parts of North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. This region is warm all year round. The temperature in the Tropics ranges from 77 to 82 degrees F. The Tropics get a lot of sun and only have two seasons: the wet season and dry season.

On June 14th, 2016 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that declared June 29th as the International Day of the Tropics. The UN chose the date June 29th to mark the anniversary of the inaugural “State of Tropics Report.” The report was launched in 2014 by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar (Burma).

The theme for International Day of the Tropics 2021 is "The Digital Divide in the Tropics".

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Matt Hancock quits as health secretary after breaking social distance guidance.

Matt Hancock has resigned as health secretary after he breached social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague.

In a letter to the PM he said the government "owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted Health Secretary Matt Hancock's resignation and said he was "sorry" to receive the resignation.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid has said he is "honoured" to have been chosen as Mr Hancock's replacement.

Mr Hancock had been under increasing pressure to quit, after the Sun published pictures and then a video of Mr Hancock and Gina Coladangelo, who are both married with three children, kissing. The newspaper said they had been taken inside the Department of Health on 6 May.

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma sentenced to 15 months.

South Africa's highest court found former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison on Tuesday 29 June 2021, a landmark move in the country's long-running corruption saga.

The Constitutional Court of South Africa ordered that Zuma present himself at a police station in his home town of Nkandla or Johannesburg within five days.

The order stems from Zuma's refusal to appear at an anti-corruption commission to answer questions about his alleged involvement in corruption during his time as president. Zuma has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Judge Khampepe said that Zuma attempted to corrode the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court by conducting a "politically motivated smear campaign" against it, the commission and the judiciary.

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BCCI confirms 2021 T20 World Cup switch to UAE.

The BCCI has communicated to its member associations that this year's T20 World Cup will be held in the UAE.

However, BCCI retain the hosting rights of the 16-team event that is scheduled to begin on October 17, two days after the completion of the IPL final, also in the UAE.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly stated that the decision had been taken "after several rounds of discussions internally.

The ICC expected to make an official announcement in due course.

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Sudirman Cup moved to Finland, World Tour Finals to Indonesia.

The Sudirman Cup Finals 2021 and the BWF World Tour Finals, two key badminton tournaments this year which were originally planned to take place in China, have now been moved to Vantaa, Finland and Bali, Indonesia respectively.

Vantaa, Finland is the new host of the Sudirman Cup Finals 2021 from September 26 to October 3, 2021, followed by the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark.

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Turkey and Azerbaijan started Joint Military Drills.

The armed forces of Turkey and Azerbaijan have began joint military drills called “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – 2021,” in Baku on Monday 28 June 2021, deploying tanks, helicopters and drones in an effort to improve the two countries’ combat interoperability.

The main purpose of the exercises is to improve interaction between the two countries’ army units during combat operations, to develop the commanders’ military decision-making skills and their ability to manage military units.

The drills will last until Wednesday (30), involving up to 600 personnel, around 40 tanks and armored vehicles, and seven helicopters.

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28 June 2021

Singapore’s surprising new plan to ‘Live with Covid’ revealed.

A country that has been one of the world’s most successful at combating Covid-19 has announced it will soon fundamentally change how it manages the pandemic.

The city state of Singapore has stated covid will be treated like other endemic diseases such as flu.

There will be no goals of zero transmission. Quarantine will be dumped for travellers and close contact of cases will not have to isolate. It also plans to no longer announce daily case numbers.

But you may need to take tests to head to the shops or go to work.

Senior Singaporean ministers have said it is the “new normal” of “living with covid”.

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Cristiano Ronaldo becomes joint top-scorer in men's international football.

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the joint-top scoring men's international player of all time. He is currently tied with Iran legend Ali Daei, who scored 109 times in 149 matches between 1993 and 2006. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties to tie the overall men’s scoring record with 109 goals in 176 matches and Portugal advanced to the round of 16 at the European Championship after a 2-2 draw with France.

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French non-fiction author Emmanuel Carrere wins top Spanish award.

French author Emmanuel Carrere, popular for his non-fiction books in a high literary vein, has been granted this year’s Spanish Princess of Asturias Literature Award. The award is one of the eight prestigious prizes by the foundation named after the heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor.

Its jury said Wednesday that Carrere, 63, was chosen among 33 candidates from 20 countries because of the ability of his works to straddle reality and fiction.

Starting with his The Adversary in 2000, about the murderer Jean-Claude Romand, Carrere abandoned a previous career in fiction and began to write stories narrating his own experience or the lives of others.

His books contribute to the unmasking of the human condition and relentlessly dissect reality, the award’s jury said in a statement. It added that, in doing so, Carrere draws an incisive portrait of today’s society.

The author has also worked as a screenwriter and maker of films and documentaries, including a collaboration with German filmmaker Werner Herzog. Carrere has also been a jury member at the Cannes and Venice film festivals.

The 50,000-euro (USD 61,000) award is handed out annually during a lavish ceremony, normally in October, by the Princess of Asturias Foundation, which is presided over by Princess Leonor’s father, King Felipe VI.

The eight prizes cover different disciplines, from arts to social sciences or sports.

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Ukraine, US launch Black Sea drills

Ukraine and the United States have launched a military exercise involving more than 30 countries in the Black Sea and southern Ukraine, despite Russian calls to cancel the drills.

The "Sea Breeze 2021" manoeuvres that began on Monday (28) and will last for two weeks are set to involve about 30 warships and 40 aircraft from US and its NATO allies and Ukraine. US destroyer Ross has arrived in the Ukrainian port of Odessa for the drills.

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Scientists find Neanderthal ancestor, challenging what we thought about human evolution.

Scientists had discovered a new kind of early human in Israel after studying pieces of fossilized bone dug up at a site used by a cement plant in central Israel.

After studying fossils in Israel, scientists said they discovered a new kind of early human. Researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found pieces of a skull and lower jaw with teeth dating back 130,000 years.

The fossil discovered has been named Nesher Ramla Homo, after the place southeast of Tel Aviv where it was found. The new species coexisted with Homo sapiens for more than 100,000 years. Some scientists even said the two species may have even interbred.

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Max Verstappen Wins 2021 Styrian Grand Prix


Max Verstappen (Netherlands-Red Bull) has won the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix. This is the Verstappen's 14th career win and 4th of the  Formula One season. 

Also, with this win, Verstappen leads the 2021 driver’s championship standings with 156 points followed by Hamilton (138). 

Lewis Hamilton (Britain-Mercedes) stood second. Valtteri Bottas (Finland- Mercedes) came third.

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Turkmenistan's capital tops list of most expensive cities for expats.

The capital of Turkmenistan in Central Asia has been named as the world's most expensive city for foreign workers.

Ashgabat, a city of about one million people, topped a 2021 cost-of-living survey by consultancy firm Mercer.

The ranking puts Ashgabat above last year's priciest city, Hong Kong, which was placed second, followed by Beirut in Lebanon and Tokyo in Japan.

The annual report ranks 209 cities based on the cost of expenses such as housing, transport and food.

It evaluated more than 200 goods and services for the report, which is designed to help companies and governments around the world determine how much they should pay expatriate employees.

Expatriates, or expats, are people who live or work outside their native countries.

Most of the cities in Mercer's top 10 are business hubs where economic growth has led to a hike in the price of housing and other living costs.

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Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has refused to take Pakistan out of the ‘Grey List’ yet again. It said Pakistan had failed to take appropriate action against UN-designated terrorists such as 26/11 accused Hafiz Saeed and JeM chief Masood Azhar.

Although the global anti-money laundering and terror financing body has acknowledged some progress made by Pakistan, it said the country should continue to work to address its strategically-important deficiencies.

FATF president Marcus Pleyer said the decision was taken at the conclusion of the virtual plenary of the Paris-based organisation. Pakistan continues to remain on “increased monitoring list”, Pleyer said at a virtual press conference. “Increased monitoring list” is the another name for the Grey List.

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Zhang Zhizhen: First Chinese man to qualify for Wimbledon.

Zhang Zhizhen will be the first Chinese man in the Open Era to play in the main draw at Wimbledon next week after the world No. 178 booked his place by defeating Argentine Francisco Cerundolo 6-0 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(6) in the qualifiers on Thursday.

The 24-year-old is only the fourth Chinese man to play singles in the main draw of a grand slam since the Open Era began in 1968.

Wu Di (2013, 2014, 2016), Zhang Ze (2014, 2015) and Li Zhe (2019) have all played at the Australian Open.

Wimbledon, the only grand slam to be canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will return in its usual slot this year with the main draw starting on June 28.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com

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AWS has acquired messaging service Wickr.

Amazon’s cloud services giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) is getting into the encrypted messaging business. The company has just announced that it has acquired secure communications service Wickr — a messaging app that has geared itself towards providing services to government and military groups and enterprises. It claims to be the only “collaboration service” that meets security criteria set out by the NSA.

AWS will continue operating Wickr as is, and offer its services to AWS customers, “effective immediately,” notes a blog post from Stephen Schmidt, the VP and CISO for AWS, announcing the news.

Accordingly, AWS (Amazon Web Services) will be offering Wickr services effective immediately and the current Wickr users would not see significant changes for the time being.

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Nuclear capable missile successfully test-fired in India.

India on Monday (28) successfully carried out the test-firing of a new missile of the Agni series known as Agni-Prime at 10.55 am, off the coast of Odisha. It was test-fired successfully from launchpad No-4 of Chandipur.

The new nuclear-capable missile is fully made up of composite material and it was a textbook launch, government sources said.

Various telemetry and radar stations positioned along the eastern coast tracked and monitored the missile. It has followed textbook trajectory, meeting all mission objectives with a high level of accuracy, DRDO officials said.

Agni-Prime is a short-range ballistic missile. It is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with a range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km.

The surface to a surface missile can carry a payload of around 1,000 kg or a nuclear warhead. The double stage missile is lighter and much sleeker than its predecessor Agni-1.

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Yam-based eco friendly lunch sheets, shopping bags introduced to Sri Lanka.

With the decision of the Environment Ministry to ban polythene and plastic lunch sheets and shopping bags, local manufacturers are keen to introduce new products made out of eco friendly and easily perishable materials.

As an alternative to this ban, various manufacturers are interested in introducing eco-friendly, chemical-free lunch sheets and shopping bags that will decompose quickly.

Accordingly, two young entrepreneurs in the country have come forward to produce eco-friendly lunch sheets and shopping bags using manioc (tapioca), a local edible yam that decomposes easily and quickly.

Overall, shopping bags and lunch wrapping sheets that people buy are not recyclable, but 99% of those bags purchased are disposed directly into the environment.

Therefore, the Minister instructed the Central Environmental Authority to take steps to encourage such eco-friendly products. 

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International Body Piercing Day - 28 June.

June 28th is International Body Piercing Day. The day recognizes the practice of body piercing and modification. It also promotes the education and awareness of both the culture and safety standards that should be practice with body piercing.

July 28th was selected for International Body Piercing Day because it is the birthday of the cosmetic piercing pioneer, Jim Ward. He opened Gauntlet, the world’s very first professional piercing studio in California in 1978. The holiday itself was reportedly begun by a friend of the great Mr. Ward to continue his legacy of piercing education and promote safety standards within the industry.

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27 June 2021

India has launched its Olympic Theme Song.

India's "Official Olympic Theme Song" was launched on Wednesday, 23 June 2021 ahead of the Summer Games in July-August.

The event was organised by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and attended by its President, Secretary General, Deputy Chef De Mission, Sports Secretary and DG Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Mohit Chauhan has composed and sung the song titled "Lakshya Tera Samne Hai".

The Games will open on July 23 and over 100 Indian athletes have qualified for the event so far.

Source: www.thehindu.com

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Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises Day - 27 June.

Every year on June 27th, Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day raises awareness for the important role different sized enterprises play in meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

There are two classes of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. These classes include manufacturing enterprises and service enterprises. Businesses are further broken down according to how much money they invest in their manufacturing plant, machinery, and equipment. According to recent estimates, more than 95% of global enterprises are micro-, small and medium-sized. These companies account for 60% of private-sector employment. Additionally, these enterprises make up 50% of GDP.

In 2015, the UN General Assembly developed 17 global goals that they called Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of the goals is to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The UN also hopes to achieve these goals by 2030.

On April 6, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate June 27th as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. The resolution was co-sponsored by 54 member states, representing over 5 billion people. The UN has appointed the International Trade Centre as the leading agency for this observance.

In 2021, the theme is "MSME 2021: key to an inclusive and sustainable recovery." That is why the UN will be hosting a series of events to explore how MSMEs – the backbone of our economies – can be equipped to ensure an equitable and sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery.


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World Drug Report 2021

Consisting of five separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2021 provides an in-depth analysis of the global drug markets and paints a comprehensive picture of the measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world drug problem.

The World Drug Report 2021 is aimed not only at fostering greater international cooperation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on health, governance and security, but also, with its special focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, at assisting Member States in anticipating and addressing challenges that may arise in the near future.

Around 275 Mn. people used drugs worldwide in 2020, while over 36   Mn. people suffered from drug use disorders, according to the World Drug Report.

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Microsoft Officially Launches ‘Windows 11’

Microsoft officially launched its new Windows operating system ‘Windows 11’. It is being called as the “next generation” of Windows. The release comes nearly six year after the current latest Windows Operating System ‘Windows 10’ was launched in July 2015. Windows 11 is special because it focuses on a new user interface, a new Windows Store, and improvements to performance, including a centre-aligned Taskbar and Start button.

Key features of Windows 11:

  • One of the unique features of Windows 11 is that it will support Android apps via Amazon’s app store. It will work better in touch mode as well.
  • Windows 11 operating system (OS) will be available as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users in late 2021, as long as the user has a compatible PC that meets the requirements of Microsoft’s new operating system.
  • Windows 11 OS will work on PCs having a processor that has two or more cores and a clock speed of 1GHz or higher.
  • PCs having Intel’s sixth and seventh-generation processors will not be eligible to use Windows 11.

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Great Barrier Reef should be listed as 'in danger'.

Australia's government has lashed out after a United Nations report claimed it had not done enough to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change.

UN body Unesco said the reef should be put on a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" due to the damage it has suffered. Key targets on improving water quality had not been met, it said.

The latest row is part of an ongoing dispute between Unesco and Australia over the status of the iconic site.

The reef, stretching for 2,300km (1,400 miles) off Australia's north-east coast, gained World Heritage ranking in 1981 for its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".

After Unesco first debated its "in danger" status in 2017, Canberra committed more than A$3 billion (£1.bn; $2.2bn) to improving the reef's health.

However, several bleaching events on the reef in the past five years have caused widespread loss of coral.

Great Barrier Reef suffers another mass bleaching Racing to save one of the great wonders of nature Scientists say the main reason is rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

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26 June 2021

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - 26 June.

Every year on June 26th, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking raises awareness about drug abuse and the negative repercussions of illicit trafficking.

According to the most recent World Drug Report, 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug abuse disorders. The number of opioid users is 53 million. In 2017, about 585,000 people died from drug use. Opioids caused two-thirds of these deaths.

Illicit trafficking of drugs is also a huge problem throughout the world. This is due to the growing market for illicit drugs in East Africa and the entire African continent. In addition, frequent international flights, inadequate trafficking controls, and corruption amongst customs officers only compound the problem of illicit trafficking.

As drug abuse and illicit trafficking become more prevalent, this day becomes more important.

On June 26th, 1987, the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking adopted two important texts about drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The Conference recommended a day to observe the importance of the battle against drugs. They chose June 26th as the date commemorating the dismantling of the opium trade in Guangdong in 1839. Thus, the first official International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was held on June 26th, 1989.

The theme of the 2021 "Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives".

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International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - 26 June.

Every year on June 26th, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture speaks out against the crime of torture. The day also honors and supports the victims and survivors of torture.

Torture occurs when someone intentionally inflicts pain on a person. The act is considered a crime against humanity. While international law prohibits the use of torture, many countries still use methods of torture. 

In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As part of this declaration, the international community condemned torture and other inhumane treatment. In 1975, the UN adopted the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they made further progress in enforcing the prohibition of torture. In December of 1997, the General Assembly proclaimed June 26th as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

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EU lifts sanctions on Burundi.

Burundi's presidency announced the European Union had lifted its sanctions after meeting with the EU ambassador to the country.

This move, which comes one year after President Evariste Ndayishimiye's coming to power, will mean the Central African country will no longer be subject to article 96, which suspended financial cooperation between the European Union and Burundi.

The sanctions, which also include the blacklisting of several members of the regime, were imposed in 2016, as citizens protested former president Pierre Nkurunziza's candidacy to a third mandate.

The publication of these sanctions, stirred in turn a wave of protests against the EU.

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25 June 2021

Jamsetji Tata Becomes World's Biggest Philanthropist in Last Century.

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group, has topped the list of EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century, with an estimated donation of $102.4 billion mainly made in the health and education sector.

Jamsetji Tata, whose endowments began as early as 1892, was popular for his ventures within the cotton and pig iron industry. He set up Tata Iron and Steel Works Company (TISCO) in Jamshedpur, now known as Tata Steel in Jamshedpur. Jamsetji Tata died in 1904 and Tata Steel now operates across 26 countries and employs around 80,500 people, according to various reports.

Among others, Wipro founder Azim Premji is the only Indian to be ranked among the top 50 global philanthropists compiled by the Foundation. Premji, who gifted India a donation of $22 billion for various noble causes, has ranked 12th on the list.

Among the top 5 are Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates, Henry Wellcome, Howard Hughes and Warren Buffett.

The data used to collate the rankings has been derived from publicly available sources and in certain cases, from the data directly shared by companies. According to Business Standard, the ranking is based on Total Philanthropic Value, which is the value of the assets adjusted for inflation, together with the sum of gifts or distributions to date.

Source: www.news18.com

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ISRO, NOAA-led multinational project endorsed by UN body world News.

A multinational project co-led by ISRO and NOAA from the US, which aims to improve the accuracy of coastal data based on satellite and land-based observations, was recently approved by a United Nations body on the use and promotion of innovative technology. 

The project is called the Committee for Earth Observation Satellites Coastal Observation, Applications, Services and Equipment (CEOS Coast). Its pilot projects are uniquely capable of using Earth observation technologies to meet many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals designated by the United Nations for the Ocean Decade Initiative, NOAA said in a statement on Wednesday (June 23). 

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Andy Murray to defend Olympic tennis title at Tokyo Games.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray will defend his title this summer after being named in Team Great Britain's for the Tokyo Games.

Murray, who won the singles titles at London 2012 and Rio 2016, will compete in singles and partner London-born Joe Salisbury, the 2020 Australian Open doubles champion.

Heather Watson and Johanna Konta will compete in the women's singles. The Games will be held from 23 July to 08 August 2021 in Japan.

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World Vitiligo Day - 25 June.

Every year on June 25th, World Vitiligo Day celebrates the lives of those with vitiligo. It’s also a day to build global awareness about this skin disease.

Vitiligo is a disease that causes a loss of pigment cells called melanocytes. Up to 1% of the world’s population is affected by vitiligo. While it affects all genders and ethnic groups, it is more noticeable in those with darker skin. Vitiligo usually shows up in people between the ages of 20 and 30.

Early symptoms of vitiligo include:

  • Premature graying of the hair on the scalp or the eyebrows.
  • Loss of color on the inside of the mouth.
  • Change in color of the eye’s retina.

In 2011, Ogo Maduewesi from Lagos, Nigeria, came up with the idea for a vitiligo awareness day. At the time, Maduewesi was the president of the Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VSAF). He, along with a small number of activists, held a Vitiligo Purple Fun Day at a local shopping mall. They chose June 25th to commemorate the death of Michael Jackson. Yan Valle, CEO of Vitiligo Research Foundation (VRF) in New York, wanted to expand the idea of having a day dedicated to vitiligo awareness. Thanks to Valle’s efforts, the event became known as World Vitiligo Day. Today, it’s one of the largest grassroots health events on the planet.

The eleventh annual World Vitiligo Day takes place on June 25-26th, 2021.

Each year WVD is officially hosted by a different city and in 2021 it is the turn of 🇮🇩 Jakarta, Indonesia to act as campaign headquarters. The honorary captain is Dr. Srie Prihianti Gondokaryono, supported by a strong team from the Indonesian Society of Dermatology & Venereology (Advisor: Dr. Yulianto Listiawan, Vice-President: Dr. Andreas Widiansyah, and Secretary: Dr. Hanny Nilasari). Unfortunately, the large-scale, in person activities that typify WVD are not possible this year, due to COVID restrictions.

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Day of the Seafarer - 25 June.

Every year on June 25th, the Day of the Seafarer recognizes the valuable contribution seafarers make to international trade and the world economy.

Seafarers regularly travel by sea and are commonly called sailors. Many seafarers work in the shipping industry and are responsible for about 90 percent of world trade. They transport food, fuel, raw materials, and manufactured goods by sea.

In 2010, the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) adopted a resolution establishing the Day of the Seafarer. Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, hosted the conference. They observed the first official Day of the Seafarer on June 25th, 2011. The UN also recognizes the observance, and it is administered by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign will continue to encourage governments to support seafarers amid the pandemic but will expand its message, calling for a fair future for seafarers.

The campaign will discuss issues that will still be relevant to seafarers after the pandemic, such as fair treatment of seafarers, fair working conditions (in line with ILO's Maritime Labour Convention), fair training, fair safety, etc. 

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U.S. bans imports of solar panel material from Chinese company.

The US administration has ordered a ban on U.S. imports of a key solar panel material from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry over forced labor allegations.

The U.S. Commerce Department separately restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), saying they were involved with the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

The three other companies added to the U.S. economic blacklist include Xinjiang Daqo New Energy, a unit of Daqo New Energy; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material, part of GCL New Energy Holdings.

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China plans to send its first crewed mission to Mars in 2033.

China plans to send its first crewed mission to Mars in 2033, with regular follow-up flights, under a long-term plan to build a permanently inhabited base on the Red Planet and extract its resources.

The ambitious plan, which will intensify a race with the United States to put humans on Mars, was disclosed in detail for the first time after China landed a robotic rover on Mars in mid-May in its inaugural mission to the planet.

Crewed launches to Mars are planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and beyond, the head of China’s main rocket maker, Wang Xiaojun, told a space exploration conference in Russia recently by video link.

Before the crewed missions begin, China will send robots to Mars to study possible sites for the base and to build systems to extract resources there, the official China Space News reported, citing Wang, who is head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

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South Africa's Keshav Maharaj becomes first Proteas bowler to take Test hat-trick since 1960 in win over West Indies.

Keshav Maharaj became the first South African in 61 years to claim a Test hat-trick as his side secured a 2-0 series victory against West Indies in St Lucia.

The 31-year-old left-arm spinner removed Kieran Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in three consecutive deliveries to shatter West Indies' middle order as they slumped to 107-6, chasing a stiff target of 324.

Maharaj's feat made him only the second South African player to record a hat-trick in Test cricket after seamer Geoff Griffin - who captured three England wickets with three balls at Lord's in June 1960.

West Indies were eventually bowled out for 165, with Maharaj taking 5-36 as his side clinched a 158-run victory and their first Test series success away from home since 2017.

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Microsoft reaches a $2 trillion market cap.

Microsoft has officially entered the most elite of clubs: corporations with a market value exceeding $2 trillion.

The tech giant is only the second publicly traded American company, behind Apple (AAPL), to reach such a valuation. Oil company Saudi Aramco, which went public in 2019, has also previously passed that mark, though its market cap on Tuesday was $1.88 trillion.

Microsoft's (MSFT) market capitalization topped $2 trillion during trading on Tuesday 22 June 2021, and closed just $300 million shy of that mark. Its stock on Tuesday climbed 1.1% to $265.51.

The company reached the $2 trillion milestone just over two years after it first passed the $1 trillion market cap mark.

Microsoft's stock has gained 64% since March 2020, when pandemic lockdowns began going into effect in the United States.

In April, Microsoft reported sales were up 19% year-over-year to $41.7 billion for the three months ended March 31.

Apple's market value passed $2 trillion last August, and it currently stands at $2.24 trillion. Now, Microsoft has joined its ranks, with two other Big Tech firms, Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOGL GOOGLE), nipping at their heels. 

Amazon's market cap hit $1.77 trillion, and Google parent Alphabet's reached $1.67 trillion.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com


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24 June 2021

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino dies.

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has died after a prolonged illness, according to several news reports and later confirmed by his family.

Aquino, 61, served as the country’s 15th president from 2010 to 2016 and was succeeded in office by the incumbent, Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement on Thursday 24 June 2021 afternoon, the Aquino family said the former president died “peacefully in his sleep” after suffering from renal disease secondary to diabetes at 6:30am Manila time on Thursday (2230 GMT June 23).

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American Actor Will Smith announced his autobiography ‘Will’.

American Actor, rapper and film producer Will Smith, who revealed the title and cover of his upcoming autobiography "Will". The book, to be published Nov. 9 by Penguin Press. Will Smith is co-writing the book with author Mark Manson, and the cover is designed by New Orleans artist Brandan “BMike” Odums. Smith will also narrate the audiobook of Will from Penguin Random House Audio.

The book will delve into him being raised in West Philadelphia to entering superstardom as an actor and rapper. He's a two-time Academy Award nominee and won a four-time Grammy winner. Smith starred in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bad Boys, Men in Black and Pursuit of Happyness. He's won Grammys for Summertime, Men In Black, Gettin' Jiggy Wit It and Parents Just Don't Understand.

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The Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyle Accelerator 2021-22.

The Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyle Accelerator, launched by UNEP with Massive Earth Foundation supports revenue positive start-ups that make sustainable goods and services more readily available. From low carbon mobility options, to products that reduce plastic waste, to solutions that reduce the carbon footprints of our lifestyles.​

Asia is a dynamic hub for innovation and startups. The high profile of marine litter, and climate change has sparked interest among consumers to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

Their  vision is to create a prosperous, but not wasteful society, and an economy that is self-sustaining. Individual efforts may seem like drops in the ocean. However, the impacts from the positive changes from these efforts in lifestyles and consumption patterns by millions of people will make significant contributions towards a more sustainable Earth.​

Source: https://lowcarbon.earth/

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New Zealand crowned first ICC World Test Championship.

New Zealand defeated India to win the first ICC World Test Championship. New Zealand chased down the target of 139 to win the first-ever World Test Championship final with eight wickets in hand. The last day of the match was played on June 23, 2021. The match saw 6 days play in place of the regular 5 days due to the rain factor. Kyle Jamieson (NZ) has been adjudged as the "Player of the match", while Kane Williamson (NZ) is the "Player of the series".

Important facts:

  • The first test championship began in 2019 with the finals being played in 2021.
  • The top three teams, as a result, are: First: New Zealand; Second- India; Third- Australia.
  • The final match was played at Ageas Bowl Stadium (Rose Bowl Stadium) in Southampton, England.
  • The next Test Championship will be held between 2021-2023.

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Hong Kong's pro-democracy paper "Apple Daily" announces closure.

Hong Kong's largest pro-democracy paper Apple Daily has announced its closure, in a blow to media freedom in the city.

The tabloid's offices were raided last week over allegations that several reports had breached a controversial national security law.

Police detained the chief editor and five other executives, and company-linked assets were frozen.

The publication had become a leading critic of the Hong Kong and Chinese leadership.

The Apple Daily management said that "in view of staff members' safety", it had decided "to cease operation immediately after midnight" - making Thursday's (24) publication the final printed edition.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the paper's closure was a "chilling blow to freedom of expression in Hong Kong".

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