India sends largest ever contingent for Tokyo Paralympic Games

•Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on August 12, 2021, addressed virtually and sent a 54-member, largest ever Indian contingent to Tokyo Paralympic Games.

•Minister of State External Affairs and Culture Meenakshi Lekhi and Minister of Tourism GK Reddy also addressed the athletes.

•The 54-member Indian contingent consists of 54 para-sportspersons across 9 sports disciplines.

Al-Mohed Al – Hindi: 3-day long maiden bilateral exercise between Indian Navy, Royal Saudi Naval Force

•The sea phase of the 3-day long maiden bilateral exercise ‘Al-Mohed Al – Hindi’ between the Indian Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Force commenced on August 12, 2021, off the coast of Al Jubail.

•Indian Navy participated in the exercise with its indigenously built stealth destroyer Kochi and two integral Sea King helicopters.

•The sea phase of the 3-day long exercise showcased a coordinated action of both navies against asymmetric threat, anti-piracy and boarding operations, and replenishment at sea procedures.

•Weapon targeting drills were also conducted to boost synergy and inter-operability between both navies.

Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021: Govt bans single use plastic items

•The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, prohibiting identified single-use plastic items by 2022.

•The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items will be banned from July 1, 2022.

•From September 30, 2021, onwards, the thickness of plastic carry bags will be increased from 50 microns to 75 microns, and thereafter from December 31, 2022, it will be increased to 120 microns.

•Pollution due to single-use plastic is an environmental menace. India had adopted a resolution to address single-use plastic products pollution at the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019.

•Under the Swacch Bharat Mission, the Government is taking measures to strengthen the waste management infrastructure in the States and UTs.

Afghan President offers power-sharing deal to Taliban to end violence

•The Afghanistan government led by Ashraf Ghani on August 12, 2021, offered a ‘power-sharing’ deal to the Taliban to stop the violence and end attacks on civilians.

•The announcement of the deal came in after Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousaf Ahmadi informed that the insurgent group has captured Ghazni city in Afghanistan.

•The Taliban insurgent group has captured 10 provincial capitals in Afghanistan over the last week.

•During the extended Doha Troika meeting, the Afghan Foreign Ministry expressed concerns over brutal attacks on cities, human rights violations, war crimes, and humanitarian crises caused by the Taliban.

•The US, China, Russia, and Pakistan along with the Afghanistan government in the extended Doha Troika meeting aimed to resume meaningful intra-Afghan peace negotiations. The US-led foreign troops have also been withdrawn from the region.

Switzerland suspends deportation of Afghan migrants amid Taliban crisis

•The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) along with European nations – Germany and Netherlands on August 12, 2021, suspended the deportation of failed Afghan asylum seekers due to the security situation in Afghanistan.

•The SEM further said that no new decrees on expulsions will be pronounced. Only the deportation of criminals will continue.

•The decision came in after they sent a joint letter to the European Commission along with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Greece, warning against suspension of such deportations in fear of motivating more Afghans to migrate to Europe.

•In July, Kabul also requested that EU nations not repatriate Afghan nationals for at least 3 months. While Germany and Netherlands maintained that suspension of failed asylum seekers would trigger illegal immigration from Afghanistan.

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