In pictures: Top developments you should know about

Rafale fighter jets induction

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The Indian Air Force inducted the newly acquired Rafale fighter jets into its fold on Thursday. The jets that flew into India from France on July 29 have been inducted into the Golden Arrows squadron of the IAF at the Ambala airbase. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, without naming China, said that the induction of Rafale is a strong message to eyes being raised towards the territorial integrity of India. This induction is especially critical for the atmosphere being created on our borders.


Control at LAC

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Indian Army convoy moves towards Leh via Manali-Leh road, near Manali. Photo: PTI


The Indian Army has put up barbed wires at heights under its control at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) bordering Ladakh, signalling to the Chinese that they must not enter its territory. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has made multiple attempts to take over Indian-held positions, sources told IANS.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers' meet in Moscow on Thursday.

The meeting is scheduled to take place today evening. 


On the Covid-19 front

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India saw its worst-ever single-day spike of 95,529 coronavirus cases. With this, India's tally has surged past the 4.4-million mark to 4,465,863. 

According to data provided by Worldometer website, India has recorded more new Covid-19 cases than any other country in the past two weeks. 

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu account for 62 per cent of total active coronavirus cases in the country. 


California wildfires

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Captured with a slow shutter speed, embers light up a hillside behind the Bidwell Bar Bridge as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, California. Photo: PTI


From San Francisco to Seattle, people in vast parts of the US woke on Wednesday to hazy clouds of smoke lingering in the air, darkening the sky to an eerie orange glow that kept street lights illuminated into midday, all thanks to dozens of wildfires throughout the West.

It's after 9 a.m. and there's still no sign of the sun, the California Highway Patrol's Golden Gate division tweeted, urging drivers to turn on their headlights and slow down.



Reliance’s offer to Amazon

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Photo: Bloomberg


Mukesh Ambani-led oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is offering to sell roughly $20 billion worth of stake in its retail arm, Reliance Retail, to Amazon, BloombergQuint reported on Thursday, citing Bloomberg News. 

Amazon has held talks about investing in Reliance Retail and expressed interest in negotiating potential deals, according to the report.

The report comes a day after RIL announced that US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners would buy a 1.75 per cent stake in Reliance Retail for Rs 7,500 crore and a Bloomberg report also suggests that KKR & Co. is also in advanced talks to invest at least $1 billion in the retail business of RIL.

On Thursday, RIL’s market-capitalisation also crossed the Rs 15 trillion mark for the first time ever.  

ALSO READ: Reliance offers Amazon $20-billion stake in retail arm: Report


Warmest 5 years on record

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Small chunks of ice floating on the water near Fournier Bay, Antarctica


With greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at record levels, emissions heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels, and the world set to see its warmest five years on record, the threat from climate change is as grave as ever, the United in Science 2020 report says.

The projections are not in line with the targets to keep the rising global temperature well below 2 degrees Celcius or at 1.5 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels.

TO READ MORE: Climate change did not stop for Covid: Brace for warmest 5 years on record


Sharper contraction in FY21 GDP

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Illustration: Ajay Mohanty


After India’s real GDP contracted by a record 24 per cent in Q1, global and domestic rating agencies have sharply cut their forecast for India’s economic growth this fiscal year.

Fitch now expects India’s GDP to contract 10.5 per cent in FY21, compared to its earlier estimate of 5 per cent. India Ratings, its wholly-owned Indian subsidiary, predicts a sharper fall of 11.8 per cent in real GDP.

Goldman Sachs, which had earlier estimated an 11.8 per cent contraction, has now estimated it at 14.8 per cent.

ALSO READ: Rating firms rework their India FY21 GDP forecasts with sharper contraction


400 million Indians into poverty

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The United Nation’s labour body has warned that about 400 million people working in the informal economy in India are likely to be poverty-stricken due to the coronavirus crisis which is having “catastrophic consequences”, and is expected to wipe out 195 million full-time jobs or 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of this year.

The International Labour Organization in its report titled ‘ILO Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work’, describes the coronavirus pandemic as “the worst global crisis since World War II”.


Read our full coverage on Rafale

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