1. A new snake species has been discovered in the Anaikatty hills, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. It is named as Uropeltis bhupathyi after the late herpetologist S. Bhupathy, for his contributions to the field.
2. The dense vegetation in the Western Ghats determines the amount of rainfall that Tamil Nadu gets during the summer monsoon as per the suggestions of researchers from the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. It contributes to nearly 40% of moisture to the southwest monsoon rainfall in Tamil Nadu in the normal monsoon years. The average contribution is 25-30%. In monsoon deficit years, the contribution increases to 50%. The study highlights importance of urgent need to stop deforestation in the Western Ghats.
1. ‘India and the world: a history in nine stories’ exhibition was inaugurated by the President, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, (IGNCA), Raam Bahadur Rai, at National Museum, New Delhi .It is supported by Ministry of Culture.This exhibition is a part of commemoration of 70 years of India’s independence and a year of major cultural exchange between India and the UK (UK/India 2017). This Exhibition will be held for two months till 30th June 2018. It is open for public on all days from 10 am to 6 pm, except on Mondays and public holidays. The exhibition portrays the evolution of Indian civilization. It provides insights into two million years of history. This Exhibition also marks the collaboration in museum exhibition with the British Museum, London; National Museum, New Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai.
2. The Cochlear Implant Awareness Programme was organized by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment along with Indian Red Cross Society and Sarvodaya Hospital & Research Centre was held at Faridabad, Haryana. Cochlear Implant is an advanced technology to help children with severe deafness in both ears. But it was costly and unaffordable for common people. Through “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas”, the DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is offering this technology to poor people also. Sarvodaya Hospital & Research Centre, Faridabad is a part of this scheme. It has operated 30 kids from various parts of North India.
3. As a part of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Aajeevika and Kaushal Vikas Melas were held in various parts of India on 5th May 2018.
4. PCI rejects World Press Freedom Index citing ‘lack of clarity’. This announcement was made by Justice C.K Prasad, Press Council of India Chairman.
5. The First Apex Conference for CEOs of Smart Cities organised by Union Urban Affairs Ministry and inaugurated by Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs was held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Smart Cities Mission (SCM) has been one of the most transformational urban missions that have launched in June 2015. Total 99 cities have been selected for development as Smart Cities. The two-day conference was organised for providing platform for cross learning and knowledge sharing among Smart City CEOs. It enabled CEOs to learn from experiences of all city leaders to understand in greater details both successes and failures.
6. The setting up additional 100 One Stop Centres (OSCs) for women affected by violence has been approved by Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in its Programme Approval Board (PAB) meeting. The purpose of these OSCs is to provide integrated services for women affected with violence such as police assistance, medical aid, psycho-social counselling, legal aid and counselling, temporary stay for 5 days etc. under one roof. These OSCs will be set up in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
7. A Statement of Intent (SoI) with search engine giant Google was signed by the NITI Aayog to work together to foster growth for India’s nascent artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) ecosystem. Google will train and incubate Indian AI startups in accelerator program. These startups will be mentored and coached by Google and its affiliates to enable them to better leverage AI in their respective business models
1. Israel announced its withdrawal from the contest for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2019-2020 term.
2. The third edition of United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP) conducted by Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in India (CUNPK) in partnership with United States will be held in New Delhi from May 7 to 25, 2018. UNPCAP-03 was aimed at building and enhancing capacity of the African Troop Contributing Countries to UN and to further train trainers from these countries. The first and second editions of the course were held in New Delhi in 2016 and 2017.
Science & Technology/ Defence:
1. ISRO has developed an atomic clock to be used in navigation satellites to measure clear-cut location data. The desi atomic clock is being developed by the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad.This clock is currently undergoing a series of qualification tests. Once it successfully clears all tests, the desi atomic clock will be used in an experimental navigation satellite to test its accuracy and durability in space. Currently ISRO imports atomic clocks from European aerospace manufacturer Astrium for navigation satellites.
2. A key peptide was successfully identified by researchers from Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, Gandhinagar that can be used to develop a new preventive vaccine against leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is an emerging tropical infectious bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It caused by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Leptospira.
3. Android Things (codenamed Brillo), a variant (or spinoff) of Android operating system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart home appliances and other smart machines was launched by Alphabet Inc’s Google. Google also introduced Weave protocol along with Android Things, which will be used by these devices, will use to communicate with other. Every Android device can automatically recognize any Brillo OS or Weave API based device. Users can choose a device, set it up and use it immediately.
1. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that, it will buy Rs 10,000 crore of government bonds through open market operation (OMO). RBI made this decision after failing to sell all the debt it had offered to bidders. It was the third consecutive week when the RBI couldn’t sell everything on offer which lead to a spike in bond yields.
2. A protocol to amend existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kuwait has been notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The said protocol amends existing DTAA was entered into force in March 2018. It updates the provisions in DTAA for exchange of information as per international standards. The DTAA between both countries was signed in June 2006 for the avoidance of double taxation and for prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
3. $200 million loan agreement with World Bank for National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) for 315 districts across all states and union territories has been signed by the Union government. POSHAN Abhiyaan (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) was launched in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan in March 2018. It aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.The loan proceeds will be used for reducing stunting in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4% to 25% by 2022 under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
1. Fiji’s Indian-origin former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has been selected for the V K Krishna Menon Award for his contribution to the Indian diaspora.
1. According to the latest rankings released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in New Delhi, Saina Nehwal has entered into the top 10 and PV Sindhu remains at World No 3 in women’s ranking, Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth has reached the third spot , HS Pronnoy is in world number 8 position and Viktor Axelsen of Denmark has obtained the top rank in Men’s section. The highest ranked Indian pair in men’s doubles are Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty at World No 18. Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy are in 26th position in women’s doubles. Pranaav Chopra and Sikki Reddy are in 23rd spot in mixed doubles rankings.
2. Olympic medalist Gagan Narang and Pooja Ghatkar bagged the silver medal in the mixed event at Grand Prix of Liberation international shooting competition held in Pilsen, Czech Republic. P. Shri Nivetha and Amanpreet Singh claimed the mixed air pistol silver.
3. India finished on top with 20 gold, 22 silver and 8 bronze medals, at the 3rd South Asian Junior Athletics Championships (SAJAC) at Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka won 12 gold medals 10 silver and 19 bronze medals and occupied 2nd place. Pakistan won 1 silver and 1 bronze medal and secured the third place.