nurses freed from Iraq return to Kochi

i. Air India special aircraft,
AI 160, ferrying them along with the remaining 137 evacuees made a smooth
touchdown at 11.52 a.m. as a motley crowd of relatives, friends, officials, and
the media gathered outside the international terminal.

ii. Emotions ran high in
Cochin International Airport on Saturday as 46 Indian nurses briefly held
hostage by ISIS militants arrived in a special Air India (AI) flight around
iii. The entire nation prayed for us. The prayers helped us return
unscathed,” said Marina Joseph, one of the abducted nurses.
iv. Marina said the captors —
whom many in the group termed “bearded boys” — never misbehaved with
“What really scared us was they always covered their faces. They
often changed the guard (who kept watch on the nurses). So, it was tough to be
friendly with them.
v. “Besides, language was
a big problem. There was a Bangladeshi employee in the hospital (in Tikrit
where the nurses worked) who knew Arabic. We used to travel with her,” she
v. A team of State officials
led by chief minister Oommen Chandy was present at the airport sharing the joy.
He attributed their smooth return to the deft and meticulous diplomacy of the
Centre and State governments. “It’s a victory of Indian diplomacy,” thundered
the leader.
2.    Satya Nadella among 4 Indian-Americans felicitated in
US on Independence Day
i. Four Indian-Americans were
among 40 people who were honoured for their contributions to the US in the
annual great immigrants tribute in New York on the country’s Independence day.
ii. Microsoft Corp chief
executive Satya Nadella, comedian and actor Aasif Mandvi, Carnegie Mellon
University president Subra Suresh and former president of the University of
West Georgia, Beheruz Sethna were honoured along with 36 others, the Wall
Street Journal reported.
iii. Mumbai-born Mandvi first
moved to England
before migrating to the US when he was 16. He became
famous as a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” where he was known for
his satire on issues such as Islam, the Middle East and South Asia.
iv. Suresh, who is an engineer and
scientist, was born in Chennai and moved to the US to work on a postgraduate
science degree, graduating in 1979. He is the ninth president of the Carnegie
Mellon University.
He served as director of the National Science Foundation from 2010 to
2013. Appointed by US President Barack Obama, he led the federal science agency
in its mission to advance the fields of science and engineering research.
v. Sethna was born in India in 1948
and served as the sixth president of the University of West Georgia ? the first
Indian-American to lead a university in the US.
3.    Goa Governor B V
Wanchoo resigns
i. B V Wanchoo on Friday resigned as Governor of Goa as government went
about finalizing its plans for replacing the Governors appointed during the
previous UPA regime.
ii. 63-year-old Wanchoo sent his resignation after he received
a call from Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami on Friday morning asking him to
resign, official sources said. 

iii. The
resignation of Wanchoo, a former chief of elite Special Protection Group, will
be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for acceptance. 

iv. A
1976-batch IPS officer, Wanchoo’s resignation came a few days after former
National Security Advisor M K Narayanan quit from Governorship of West Bengal. 

v. Wanchoo
was quizzed by CBI as a witness in connection with AgustaWestland deal bribery
scandal as was Narayanan just before his resignation. 
4.    Nabard, SFAC ink deal to promote small farmers
i. The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development
(Nabard) and the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) have signed a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly implement schemes for the
promotion of farm producer organisations (FPOs).
ii. Under the deal, Nabard will leverage the benefits of the
equity grant and credit guarantee fund for FPOs set up by SFAC to ensure that
finance for producer companies flows smoothly, an Agriculture Ministry release
iii. Nabard will also actively
collaborate with SFAC at the national, State and district level by
participating in the Food Security Mission. The bank said it had a fund of
 Rs. 50 crore for supporting such producer organisations.
iv. Nabard would
actively collaborate with the SFAC at the national, State and district level by
participating in the Food Security Mission. Nabard said it has a fund of
 Rs. 50 crore for supporting producer organisations.
President Macky Sall sacks PM Ms Aminata Toure
i. Senegal President Macky Sall has sacked Prime Minister Ms
Aminata Toure after her ruling party was beaten in local elections. 
ii. 51-year-old Ms. Toure, heading
the Alliance for the Republic, APR, was named Prime Minister last year and
replaced incumbent Abdoul Mbaye in September.
iii. Her departure comes less than a
week after preliminary results from the June 29 local elections showed defeats
for the APR in Dakar and a number of key cities across the country. 

Germany beat France 1-0, reach fourth successive semifinal

i. Mats Hummels’ first half header proved decisive as
Germany marched into the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup for a record fourth
time in a row with a 1-0 win over fellow European giants France in Rio De
Janeiro on Friday.

ii. The contest between
the two European powerhouses lacked spark and Hummels’s 13th minute strike
spelt doom for France at the iconic Maracana stadium. 

iii. Germany
keeper Manuel Neuer was also outstanding under the bar as he made two
spectacular saves in each half to deny France the equaliser. 

iv. Neuer
also made a last-second save when he pushed Karim Benzema’s strong left-foot
strike from the left to send his side into the World Cup semi-finals for fourth
successive time. 
7.    Brazil seal World Cup semi-final spot
i. A sensational David Luiz free kick took Brazil into the
World Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 victory over Colombia but the tournament hosts
saw star striker Neymar carried off in agony.
ii. Brazil’s captain Thiago Silva will also be suspended for
Tuesday’s semi-final against Germany after he followed up his first World Cup
goal with his second yellow card of the tournament.
iii. Brazil are in the World Cup semi-finals for the first
time in 12 years and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is one step nearer his vow to
win the cup for a sixth time.
iv. But Scolari buried his head in his hands when he saw
Silva booked and faces an anxious wait for news of Neymar who was reportedly
taken to hospital for tests.
v. Neymar was stretchered off with a back injury after being
clattered by Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga. Globo television said the
Brazilian star was taken away in an ambulance.
Wimbledon, Petra Kvitova to clash with Eugenie Bouchard for Women’s Singles

i. Sixth seeded Czech player Petra Kvitova will clash with
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada for the Women’s Singles title at Wimbledon today. 

ii. In the semis, 20-year-old
Bouchard defeated third seed Simona Halep of Romania to enter the final of the
prestigious Grand Slam for the first time whereas Kvitova beat Czech compatriot
Lucie Safarova.

iii. In Men’s Singles, Swiss grass court
giant Roger Federer has set up title clash with top seeded Novak Djokovic of
Serbia after defeating Milos Raonic of Canada in the semi final Friday. 
iv. India’s Leander Paes and his Czech
partner Radek Stepanek crashed out of the semi finals of the Men’s Doubles.