India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

E-visa facility for Chinese tourists from tomorrow

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2. E-visa facility for Chinese tourists from tomorrow

The electronic tourist visa facility for Chinese nationals announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May will be rolled out from July 30 onwards.

Along with the citizens of China, the e-tourist visa facility will also be offered to the nationals of Hong Kong and Macao from Thursday, an official said.

Brushing aside concerns raised by intelligence agencies, Mr. Modi, during his visit to China announced that the e-tourist visa facility would be offered to Chinese nationals.

India had last year launched e-tourist visa facility (which was earlier called ‘tourist visa on arrival enabled by electronic travel authorisation’) for more than 40 countries, including the U.S. The scheme was later extended to 36 more countries with effect from May.

Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.

The number of foreign tourists availing themselves of the e-tourist visa facility has increased by over 700 per cent in May as compared to the same period last year.

3. Find out difference between curative petition and review petition.

4. Pak. gets $336m to support forces in Afghanistan

Pakistan on Tuesday received $336 million from the United States for its ongoing role in combating a Taliban insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The injection of cash, which comes as the Taliban steps up its annual summer offensive launched in late April, has helped Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves reach a fresh high of about $19 billion, state bank officials said.

Regular payments to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) programme began in 2001 when Pakistan joined the US-led coalition in Afghanistan as a “frontline ally.”

Pakistan provides use of its air bases and other facilities in exchange for the reimbursements.

The central State Bank of Pakistan in a one-line press note said it had received a total of $336.8 million under the CSF programme, which is the first tranche of a $1.5 billion for the current fiscal year ending June 2016. Pakistan has received a total of $13 billion in CSF payments since the programme began.

U.S.-led NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan last December, leaving local forces to battle militants alone, but a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

The Afghan government meanwhile conducted its first face-to-face talks with Taliban cadres on July 7 in a Pakistani hill station, aimed at ending the 14-year insurgency.

But despite the willingness to engage in talks there has been no let-up in militant attacks, which are taking a heavy toll on civilians.

Almost 1,000 civilians were killed in the conflict during the first four months of this year, a sharp jump from the same period last year, according to the U.N.



1. Whistle-blower, rights activist win Magsaysay Award

Whistle-blower officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi and human rights activist Anshu Gupta are among the five winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year.

Sanjeev Chaturvedi, who won the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year, is a 2002-batch Indian Forest Service officer who is fighting a protracted battle with the Centre over alleged harassment for his tough stance on corruption during his tenure as Chief Vigilance Officer of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here. He has been technically without an official assignment for a year.

Anshu Gupta, founder of the non-governmental organisation Goonj, was being recognised for “his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India, his enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor, and in reminding the world that true giving always respects and preserves human dignity.” He left his corporate job to start the non-profit organisation in 1999.

Other winners

Kommaly Chanthavong from Laos has been recognised for her efforts to develop the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa from the Philippines for “her single-minded crusade in preserving the endangered artistic heritage of southern Philippines”. Kyaw Thu from Myanmar, the statement said, is being recognised for “his generous compassion in addressing the fundamental needs of both the living and the dead in Myanmar.”

2. ‘IS plans to attack India’

Islamic State plans to trigger “a war in India to provoke an Armageddon-like end of the world scenario,” says an IS paper obtained through the Pakistani Taliban.

3. India under pressure to declare emission targets

Ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris in December this year, India is under growing pressure to announce its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), containing emission reductions targets, at the earliest date.

On Tuesday, top French climate ambassadors Laurence Tubiana and Nicholas Hulot met with ministers, including Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar, to discuss India’s progress on determining its contributions ahead of the Paris summit.

Sources say both the U.S. and French negotiators are keen that India makes some sort of announcement when Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. The negotiators said they are hopeful that most of the climate agreement text would be ready by October.

“We are looking forward to India for leadership on the climate action front,” said Ms. Tubiana, special representative of Laurent Fabius, the French minister of foreign affairs and international development, for the Paris Climate 2015 conference (COP21). While France cannot impose the domestic commitment of various countries - each country will have to commit to its own set of goals for reducing global warming, so as to maintain the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees celcius,

In March this year, the European Union announced its INDCs of at least a 40 per cent domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030. India is yet to make its contributions clear.

Sources say the government told the visiting French negotiators that India’s current priority is to give access to energy to about 300 million people, which cannot be achieved without the use of coal. Switching to a low-carbon economic model for developing countries like India would require access to cheap capital by way of climate financing. “The G20 summit happening in Turkey in November, a little ahead of the Paris summit, might be a good forum to discuss some of the climate-financing related issues,” Ms. Tubiana said.


1. Kerala State ready with draft anti-superstitions law

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