Trade, border dispute likely to dominate Modi-Xi talks

  • Trade issues, boundary disputes and multilateral cooperation are expected to dominate the “informal summit” at Mamallapuram as the seaside resort on the outskirts of Chennai prepares to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday and Saturday.

Govt. moves to reopen J&K for high-end winter tourists

  • The Jammu & Kashmir government’s decision to withdraw an August 2 advisory, asking tourists to leave the Valley, is aimed at “high value” foreign tourists who visit the State during winter to enjoy skiing and adventure sports, a senior government official said.
  • Security restrictions have been removed from almost all parts of J&K and Ladakh. The situation was reviewed, and it was decided that the August 2 advisory be withdrawn.

Moody’s cuts India’s FY20 growth to 5.8%

  • Moody’s Investor Service has pegged India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the current financial year at 5.8%, lower than what the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) projected last week at 6.1%.

SC to examine plea for better fire services

  • A Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, has recently issued notice to the government on the petition filed by Sanjay Garg, who said 58 people die in fires every year. Any apathy towards improving the fire services would amount to a violation of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, the petition said.

Assam tea estates violating labour laws

  • A report by Oxfam, a confederation of independent charitable organisations focussing on the alleviation of global poverty, has flagged violation of labour rights in the tea estates of Assam.
  • The report noted that the Assam government’s commitment to increasing the minimum wages of tea plantation workers to ₹351 met with hurdles of financial viability in the sector.
  • The report attributed the condition of plantation workers to the “relentless squeeze by supermarkets and brands on the share of the end­consumer price for tea”. The researchers found that despite working for over 13 hours a day, workers earn between ₹137­167, while tea brands and supermarkets “typically capture over two-thirds of the price paid by consumers for Assam tea in India — with just 7% remaining for workers on tea estates”.

Invasive weeds threatening tiger habitats in Adilabad

  • It was way back in 1992 at the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biodiversity that biological invasion of alien species of plants was recognised as the second-worst threat to the environment after habitat destruction. But nothing much was done subsequently to contain the spread of invasive weed species in environmentally­sensitive areas like the former composite Adilabad district, where plants are threatening to obliterate pastures from precious habitats.