- The US, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity.
- The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.
- Afghanistan’s strategic location has for a long time been touted as a competitive advantage for the country. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China to the northeast.
- The formation of the new quad group is important amid China’s desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan.
- The BRI, a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.
- By virtue of its location, Afghanistan can provide China with a strategic base to spread its influence across the world.
(SOURCE: THE HINDU)
- Thirty-five per cent of India’s tiger ranges are outside protected areas and human-animal conflict affects over 75 percent of the world’s wild cat species, according to a WWF-UNEP report.
- The report “A Future for All – A necessity for Human-Wildlife Coexistence”, examined rising human-wildlife battle, and has discovered that marine and terrestrial protected areas solely cowl 9.67 per cent globally.
- With most of these protected areas disconnected from one another, many species rely upon human-dominated areas for his/her survival and shared landscapes. Protected areas play a more and more necessary function for the survival of key species similar to giant predators and herbivores. Apart from India’s tigers, 40 percent of the African lion vary and 70 per cent of the African and Asian elephant ranges fall outside protected areas, finds the report.
- World Wide Fund for Nature, Headquarters: Gland, Switzerland
- UNEP HQ: Nairobi, Kenya.
(SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS)
- Google Cloud has announced the launch of its new Cloud Region in Delhi NCR, for customers and the public sector in India and across the Asia Pacific.
- With the new region, the customers operating in the country will benefit from lower latency and higher performance of their cloud-based workloads and data.
- This new Google Cloud region is the second such in India after Mumbai and the 10th in Asia-Pacific.
- As the second cloud region, customers are expected to benefit from improved business continuity planning, while maintaining data sovereignty. Totally, 26 Google Cloud regions are present across the world.
- Google CEO: Sundar Pichai.
- Google Founded: 4 September 1998, California, United States.
- Google Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin.
(SOURCE: HINDUSTAN TIMES)
- The International Cricket Council (ICC) inducted Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Switzerland as members at its 78th Annual General Meeting.
- Mongolia and Tajikistan as the 22nd and 23rd members of the Asia region. Switzerland is Europe’s 35th member. With the ICC now comprising 106 members in total, including 94 associates.
- History of Cricket in these 3 Nations:
- The Mongolian Cricket Association (MCA) was established in 2007 and became the official national administrator of the sport in 2018.
- In Switzerland, cricket was first played in 1817, and Cricket Switzerland (CS) was formed in 2014. Over the past seven years, CS has led the unification of the sport following the expulsion of the Swiss Cricket Association in 2012.
- The Tajikistan Cricket Federation was officially formed in 2011 with the support of the Ministry of Sports and Olympic Committee that has led the development of infrastructure and the building of a domestic cricket structure focusing on women and junior cricket.
- ICC Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- ICC Founded: 15 June 1909.
- ICC Deputy Chairman: Imran Khwaja.
- ICC Chairman: Greg Barclay.
(SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA)
- Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus will receive the Olympic Laurel at the Tokyo Games, the second time the trophy will be awarded.
- Yunus, whose pioneering micro-lender has been hailed for cutting poverty across the globe, will be honoured for “his extensive work in sport for development. The 81-year-old economist-turned-globe-trotting celebrity speaker won the Nobel in 2006.
- He will be given the award at the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on July 23.
- The Olympic Laurel was created five years ago to recognise endeavours in culture, education, peace and development through sport.
- It was given for the first time at the 2016 Rio Games to Kenyan former Olympian Kip Keino, who opened a children’s home, a school and an athletes’ training centre in his home country.
- About the Muhammad Yunus: Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in the 1980s and shared the Nobel Prize with the micro-lender. His initiatives include the Yunus Sports Hub, a network of social enterprises that promote development through sports.
- Yunus has faced legal troubles in recent years after he was sacked in 2011 as head of Grameen Bank. His supporters say he has been targeted by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who accused him of “sucking blood” from the poor with high-interest rates.
(SOURCE: AL JAZEERA)
- The Cannes Film Festival 2021 concluded on 17 July 2021. The jury, presided by Spike Lee, presented the awards at the Closing Ceremony. Julia Ducournau won the Cannes’ top prize, the Palme d’Or, for her film Titane, making her the second woman ever to win the award. The first was Jane Campion in 1993.
- This year’s Cannes had a wide range of films, from Wes Anderson The French Dispatch to Julia Ducournau’s Titane, and Leos Carax’ Annette.
- Jodie Foster and Marco Bellocchio won the Honorary Palme d’Or.
- Here is the list of Cannes 2021 winners in key categories:
- Palme d’Or: Julia Ducournau for Titane (France)
- Grand Prix (TIE): Ashgar Farhadi for A Hero (Iran) and Juho Kuosmanen for Compartment No.6 (Finland)
- Best Director: Leos Carax Annette (France)
- Best Actress: Renate Reinsve for Worst Person in the World (Norway)
- Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram (US)
- Best First Film: Antoneta Kusijanovic for Murina (Croatia)
- Best Short Film: Hong Kong’s All The Crows In The World Tang Yi
- Short Film Palme d’Or: Tian Xia Wu Ya by Tang Yi
- Special Jury Mention for Short Film: Ceu de Agosto by Jasmin Tenucci
- This year’s jury, with Spike Lee as president, consisted of director Mati Diop, director Maggie Gyllenhaal, writer-director Jessica Hausner, songwriter Mylène Farmer, director Mélanie Laurent, writer-director Kleber Mendonça Filho, actor Tahar Rahim, and actor Song Kang-ho.
- The Federal Bank has launched “FEDDY”, an Artificial Intelligence-powered virtual assistant to help customers with banking-related queries anytime.
- The bank said while most of the similar AI-powered virtual assistants are available only on its website, FEDDY can be accessed via Alexa, Google Assistant and WhatsApp.
- It is integrated into Google Business Messaging, a first-of-its-kind by an Indian bank.
- The bank has recently come out with innovative and user-friendly facilities such as FedSelfie, under which individuals can open their accounts by merely taking a selfie, and Federal 24×7, which makes possible the opening of accounts through a video call to the bank.
- Federal Bank MD and CEO: Shyam Srinivasan.
- Federal Bank Headquarters: Aluva, Kerala.
- Federal Bank Founder:P Hormis.
(SOURCE: FINANCIAL EXPRESS)