16 July 2021

EU approves military training mission in Mozambique.

The European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers on 12 July approved the launch of a military training mission in Mozambique aimed at “training and supporting the Mozambican Armed Forces” in “restoring security” in Cabo Delgado.

"The goal of this mission is to train and support the Mozambican Armed Forces in protecting the population and restoring security in Cabo Delgado province”, reads a statement published by the Council of the European Union (EU).

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The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 (SOFI).

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 (SOFI 2021) report presents the first evidence-based global assessment of chronic food insecurity in the year the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and spread across the globe.

The SOFI 2021 report will also focus on complementary food system solutions that address the key drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition, i.e. conflict, climate variability and extremes, economic slowdowns and downturns, and COVID-19, and that ensure access to affordable healthy diets for all. It will look in-depth at six transformative pathways to achieve this, drawing upon best practices and lessons learned from around the world.  

The report was jointly produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to SOFI 2021 report, between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020, which is around 161 million more than in 2019. 

Key Facts & Findings:

  • Number of hungry people in 2020 in the World: between 720 and 811 million
  • Asia: 418 million (More than half of world hunger population)
  • Africa: 282 million (One-third)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 60 million
  • Nearly 2.37 billion people did not have access to adequate food in 2020, an increase of 320 million people over 2019.
  • Children under 5 affected by stunting (low height-for-age): 22.0 percent (149.2 million)
  • Children under 5 affected by wasting (low weight-for-height): 6.7 per cent (45.4 million)
  • Children under 5 who are overweight (high weight-for-height): 5.7 per cent (38.9 million)
  • Percentage of women of reproductive age affected by anemia: 29.9%
  • Percentage of infants aged below 6 months who were exclusively breastfed: 44%

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The world's first commercial modular small reactor on land.

The world's first commercial modular small reactor on land, the Linglong 1, has officially entered into the construction phase for a demonstration project in Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant in South China's Hainan Province.

Launched by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the multipurpose modular small reactor (SMR) technology demonstration project will have a power generation capacity of 125,000 kilowatts. After its completion, the annual power generation will reach 1 billion kilowatt hours, meeting the needs of 526,000 households. 

SMRs are cost friendly and faster to construct.

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Tesla Signed a $436M Deal with Samsung.

Tesla has made a $436 million deal with Samsung to supply camera modules. The "largest US EV maker" is reported to have struck a deal with Samsung to complete a new car that does not have side mirrors and has eight driving cameras, prompting speculation that this is for Cybertruck.

On July 13, early in the morning, The Korea Economy Daily reported that Samsung signed a $436 million deal to supply top US electric vehicle maker with camera modules for a new model. Although "Tesla" and "Cybertruck" names were not featured in the post, all information provided hinted that the deal was signed with the Californian manufacturer for its new pickup truck.

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Chris Gayle becomes 1st batsman to score 14,000 runs in T20 cricket.

West Indies swashbuckling opener Chris Gayle added another feather to his already decorated cap when became the first cricketer in history to score 14,000 runs in T20 cricket.

Universe boss breached the 14,000-run mark during the third T20I against Australia in St Lucia in style - a six over wide long-on.

He smashed 67 runs off 38 balls as he became the first cricketer to breach the 14,000 run mark in T20 cricket.

He then went on to hit his half-century with West Indies chasing 142 to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. It was the 41-year-old's first T20 half-century since 2016 after barely featuring in the shortest format for the national team in recent years.

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UAE becomes first Gulf state to inaugurate embassy in Israel.

The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday (14th) became the first Gulf state to open an embassy in Israel, as its envoy hailed the trade and investment opportunities that closer ties would bring at a flag-raising ceremony also attended by Israel’s president.

The new mission is located in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Building.

Sudan and Morocco have since also moved to establish ties with Israel.

The ceremony was attended by new Israeli President Isaac Herzog. UAE Ambassador Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah officially presented his credentials at the beginning of March.

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15 July 2021

“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff passes away.

WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff, known to fans as “Mr. Wonderful,” passed away at the age of 71.

Orndorff was a standout running back at the University of Tampa and joined Mid-Southern Wrestling after a brief stint in the World Football League. Early rivalries with Jerry Lawler, Ted Dibiase and Jake “The Snake” Roberts gave way to NWA North American Heavyweight and National Heavyweight Championship reigns.

Orndorff joined WWE in 1983 and was tabbed with the “Mr. Wonderful” nickname by his then-manager “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. With his awe-insipring in-ring style and umatched swagger, "Mr. Wonderful" turned his talent into a prototype for the modern-day Superstar. He made a memorable debut on January 23, 1984, with a win over Salvatore Bellomo at Madison Square Garden and launched right into the main event picture with matches against World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan. Mr. Wonderful achieved sports-entertainment immortality by competing alongside Piper to face Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of WrestleMania I.

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India stops payment service provider from issuing cards.

India's central bank has barred Mastercard indefinitely from issuing new debit or credit cards to domestic customers.

The Reserve Bank of India has accused the company of violating data storage laws.

The bank said Mastercard had not complied with rules requiring foreign card networks to store data on Indian payments exclusively in India.

There has been no response from the global payments service provider.

Mastercard will be prohibited from issuing debit, credit or prepaid cards to customers in India from 22 July.

The Reserve Bank's decision will not have any impact on Mastercard's existing customers. 

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Google hit with record $593 million fine in France in news copyright battle.

Google was fined 500 million euros ($593 million) Tuesday (13) by French competition regulators for failing to comply with an order to negotiate fair deals with news publishers for the use of their content.

France’s Competition Authority said Google had breached an April 2020 ruling that ordered the company to negotiate “in good faith” licensing deals with publishers and news agencies for any reuse of copyrighted content.

In January, Google agreed to a major digital copyright deal with French publishers. As part of that deal, the company said it would negotiate individual licenses with members of France’s press alliance covering related rights and access to a new service called News Showcase.

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Sher Bahadur Deuba becomes Nepal’s Prime Minister for 05th time.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba on 13th July became the country’s Prime Minister for the fifth time. His appointment is in line with the ruling issued by the Supreme Court on 12th July to make way for his claim to the premiership, replacing incumbent K P Sharma Oli.

Previously, Deuba served as Nepal’s Prime Minister four times from June 2017 to February 2018, June 2004 to February 2005, July 2001 to October 2002 and September 1995 to March 1997.

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A.R. Rahman launch Tokyo Olympics cheer song "Hindustani Way".

Singer Ananya Birla has teamed up with music maestro A.R. Rahman to launch a cheer song for Indian sports personalities as they gear up for Tokyo Olympics. Titled “Hindustani Way”, the song has been sung by Ananya and composed by Rahman. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur also present in the launch of the song.

The video of the song follows a family from 1996 to the present day as they cheer for Indian sports personalities across different Olympic seasons. The video features archival footage from Atlanta (1996), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio (2016) and some exclusive training footage of this year’s contingent. The archival footage features winning moments of Leander Peas, Vijender Singh, Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, among others.

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Korean palm oil giant stripped of sustainability status.

A Korean palm oil giant has been rejected from the world's leading green certification body in the wake of a BBC investigation.

The BBC had earlier found evidence that the Korindo group had been buying up swathes of Asia's largest remaining rainforests in the remote Indonesian province of Papua.

A visual analysis suggested that fires had then been deliberately set to these forests, a clear violation of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The regulator's tree logo - found on paper products throughout the UK and Europe - is meant to tell consumers the product is sourced from ethical and sustainable companies.

At the time of the BBC's investigation late last year, the FSC said they would not expel Korindo but were working with the Korean company to address social and environmental problems.

But now the green body says the relationship has "become untenable" and Korindo's trademark licenses with FSC will be terminated from October.

Source: www.bbc.com

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India to host 2026 World Badminton Championships.

The Badminton World Federation has allotted the BWF World Championships to India for 2026. This will be the second time that India will host the premier tournament, which is held every year except for the Olympic year. India had hosted the BWF World Championships in Hyderabad in 2009.

Since then, India has played host to various major badminton tournaments including the 2014 Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, the Asian Championships apart from the annual BWF Super 500 event, the Yonex-Sunrise India Open.

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A Mahatma Gandhi's statue unveiled in Georgia.

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Georgia on Saturday, 10 July 2021. The ceremony was held in Tbilisi Park and he was accompanied by David Zalkaliani, the Georgian Foreign Minister. 

The External Affairs Minister is on a two-day visit to Georgia to hold diplomatic talks with the top leaders of the country. Georgia is considered important by Indian strategists as the small country is located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.returned permanently.

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World Youth Skills Day - 15 July.

Every year on July 15th, World Youth Skills Day encourages youth to acquire certain skills that will help them achieve personal success and fulfillment. The day also raises awareness about the lack of skills that prevent young people from working.

In 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that proclaimed July 15th World Youth Skills Day. The first World Youth Skills Day was held on July 15, 2015.

On 15 July 2021, World Youth Skills Day, anyone can join an online interactive panel discussion organized by the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka to the United Nations, together with UNESCO, ILO and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

Theme for World Youth Skills Day 2021: Re imagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic.

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Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after suffering a "setback" with his knee during the grass-court season.

Federer, who has 20 Grand Slam titles, was beaten at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals by Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

Federer, who turns 40 on Aug. 08, had said before Wimbledon that he would make a decision about going to the Summer Games after the Grand Slam tournament ended.

He underwent two operations on his right knee in 2020 and was sidelined for more than 12 months in all. He arrived at Wimbledon having played a total of eight matches this season.

Eight time Wimbledon champion had missed the 2016 Rio Olympics also due to a knee injury.

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14 July 2021

Bastille Day - 14 July.

Bastille Day (also known as la Fête nationale) on July 14th commemorates the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789. The event sparked already heated times in France, leading to the French Revolution.

All across the country, the French tricolor flag waves during parades, festivals, fireworks, and other celebrations. The Eiffel Tower lights up in the blue, white and red of the country’s flag. The French proudly display motto Liberté, Egaliteé Fraternité (liberty, equality, and fraternity).

The Bastille was a military fortress, a prison, in Paris. It held political dissents during a time when the French monarchy and the country were going through upheaval. Empty coffers after supporting the Americans against the British in their revolution, continued spending by the king, famine, and unemployment created unrest among the population.

The attack on the Bastille came after King Louis XVI had summoned the Estates-General to address the economic crisis. The Estates-General is divided by social class; the clergy forms the 1st Estate, the nobility forms the 2nd Estate, and the commoners form the 3rd Estate. While the 3rd Estate outnumbered the other two, the 1st and 2nd could combine their efforts to overpower the 3rd Estate. Friction followed and led to the commoners forming the National Assembly and demanding a new constitution.

While the king recognized the National Assembly, he also made military maneuvers. When the 3rd Estate attacked the Bastille, the reasons were two-fold – they needed weapons and freeing the political prisoners represented liberty for France.

Although the French celebrated Bastille Day one year after revolutionaries stormed the prison, the day didn’t become an official holiday until 1880.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org

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New recommendations on human genome editing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released two new companion reports that provide the first global recommendations for using human genome editing as a tool for public health.

Currently, countries can choose their own laws and regulations about human genome-editing, and these reports aim to give guidance to these policies. Human Genome Editing: a framework for governance and Human Genome Editing: recommendations emphasise safety, effectiveness and ethics.

The reports followed a global consultation on the use of genome editing techniques in humans, and included a diverse participant pool of scientists, researchers, patients, and indigenous peoples. The full consultation took two years to complete.

The benefits of human genome editing are vast; they may provide treatments for genetic disease, and have great potential in cancer treatment.

However, there are also risks, as the introduced mutations can sometimes be inherited by offspring or have off-target mutations that may be harmful. There is also concern that embryos cannot consent to editing.

The ability to edit the DNA in human somatic (like skin or liver) and germline (such as egg and sperm) cells is relatively new, and the first International Summit on Human Gene Editing took place in 2015 following the release of a research paper about the editing by CRISPR of a human embryo.

But the issue was entered the spotlight again in 2018 when He Jiankui controversially announced that two babies had been born following editing with CRISPR – the first humans to be born following such genome editing.

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Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos get FAA approval for July 20 trip to space.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday (12) it approved a Blue Origin license to carry humans on the New Shepard launch system into space.

Former Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is set to take part in Blue Origin's maiden voyage next week. Blue Origin is authorized to carry humans while its FAA license is valid through August and is approved to conduct these missions from its Launch Site One facility in Texas, the agency confirmed.

Blue Origin was required to verify its launch vehicle's hardware and software worked safely during a test flight and the FAA confirmed it met regulatory requirements.

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Billionaire Branson soars to space aboard Virgin Galactic flight.

British billionaire Richard Branson on Sunday (11) soared more than 50 miles above the New Mexico desert aboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane and safely returned in the vehicle’s first fully crewed test flight to space, a symbolic milestone for a venture he started 17 years ago.

Branson, one of six Virgin Galactic Holding Inc employees strapped in for the ride, touted the mission as a precursor to a new era of space tourism, with the company he founded in 2004 poised to begin commercial operations next year.

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