1. The Eighth Regional 3R Forum in Asia and Pacific , co-organized by Ministry of Housing and Affairs, Japan’s Environment Ministry, and United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) was held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The theme of this edition of forum was “Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air through 3R and Resource Efficiency– A 21st Century Vision for Asia-Pacific Communities”. The event saw participation of around 40 mayors of cities around the world and mayors of more than 100 cities across India. The Regional 3R Forum in Asia and Pacific was launched in 2009 in Tokyo, Japan with objective of integrating 3Rs– reduce, reuse and recycle in policy, planning and development.
2. The 8th edition of Theatre Olympics which was inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in February 2018 at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi was concluded in Mumbai, Maharashtra after glorious run of 51 days across 17 cities of India and showcasing rich heritage and culture across length and breadth of the country. The 8th Theatre Olympics was biggest international theatre festival held in India for first time. It staged more than 400 plays and hosted 78 allied events including 34 Living Legend series, 29 Master Classes, seven Interfaces, six national and international seminars and two workshops across 17 cities. Besides, about 600 ambience performances and 250 youth forum shows were also held during the nationwide event. It was organised by National School of Drama (NSD) under Ministry of Culture. The theme of the festival was – “Flag of Friendship“.
3. A linguist Prof Panchanan Mohanty from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has discovered two languages recently called Walmiki and Malhar, which were “lying hidden from linguists”.The languages are categorised `endangered’ as it is spoken by a very small number of people. The Malhar is spoken by just 75 people including children from a particular community. These people live in a remote and isolated hamlet about 165 kms from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha.
4. The state government of Maharashtra has announced that cancer patients would be provided with free chemotherapy treatment at district hospitals. The first phase of the plan would start in June 2018. The move aims to ease the travelling and lodging problems of cancer patients who come to Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel, which is one of the country's premier cancer treatment facilities, for six-week chemotherapy course as a part of their treatment.
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5. The state government of Goa has decided to launch its own app-based taxi service to few key tourist destinations of the state. The taxi operators who hold the license to run cabs in Goa would be eligible to register for the new transport service. The new service would operate from locations such as GTDC residencies and hotels across the state, the Mormugao Port Trust jetty where cruise vessels anchor, the airport and the St Monica Jetty in Panaji, besides other spots.
6. The state government of Kerala on April 7, 2018 issued protocols that are to be followed to confirm brain death cases.The main aim of the move is to make organ transplantation more transparent in the state. Speaking on the same, the state’s Health Minister K K Shylaja said that it is for the first time that a state in the country is putting in place the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to confirm brain death cases. The guidelines were drawn on the basis of a directive of the Kerala High Court to put an end to the concerns and doubts of the public related to the procedures of organ donations of deceased and transplantation.
7. The Supreme Court on April 9, 2018 asked the Union Government to file its draft scheme by May 3 in pursuance of its judgment in the Cauvery water dispute case. The court said that it has considered the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award and decided the water share for states, which has to be complied with. The Centre, which is up against a plea from Tamil Nadu for contempt of court, agreed to file a draft scheme implementing the court’s February 16 judgment for allocation of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.The Apex court also directed competent authorities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to maintain peace in their states till the court finally approves the scheme for implementation of its judgment on Cauvery water distribution.
8. Odisha Public e-library set up by Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) and Odisha Society of America (OSA) has started functioning from the Berhampur Town Hall in Odisha. The Odisha Public e-library is expected to support the library movement of Odisha and help computer literate students. The library was opened for the public on 4th April 2018. The BeMC will connect with the National Informatics Center (NIC) so that its e-Granthalaya can also be accessed. The library has employed two staff members and one technical worker.OSA (Odisha Society of America) is an association of Odia people living in the US. OSA had offered Rs 20 lakh for the e-library through chief minister’s relief fund.
1. India and Nepal have agreed to boost cooperation in connectivity sector as they decided to develop inland waterways for cargo movement within Protocol to Treaty of Transit between India and Nepal. Both countries recognised untapped potential of inland waterways to contribute towards overall economic development of the region.
2. India and South Korea signed mutual recognition of certificate of competency of seafarers Korea to provide Indian seafarers employment on over 500 Korean ships during four-day visit of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to South Korea. The pact will help in creating job opportunities for Indian seafarers and also pave way for recognition of maritime education and training through various certificates issued for seafarers by governments of both countries.
3. Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on April 8, 2018 claimed a landslide victory in the nation’s general election. Orban will serve a third consecutive term in office, with his party Fidesz projected to keep its key two-thirds majority in parliament. Hungary's National Election Office stated that Fidesz party has won almost half of the vote, with 93 percent of ballots counted.
4. China has banned the export to North Korea of some items with potential dual-use in weapons of mass destruction. The announcement of the export bans comes amid a tightening of exports from China to North Korea. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce gave details of 32 materials, technologies and forms of equipment with potential use related to weapons of mass destruction, including particle accelerators and centrifuges.
5. The United Nations Security Council would be meeting tonight following requests by Russia and the United States after a deadly chemical attack in Syria. Russia called for a meeting of the 15-member council on international threats to peace and security while 9 countries including US, UK and France had called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over an alleged chemical attack in Syria.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran have been blamed for a chemical attack in Douma, Syria that killed at least dozens of people. Both Syria and Russia, however, denied that a chemical attack took place and said they have reached an evacuation deal with the Jaish al-Islam rebels who hold Douma. Under the deal, 100 buses are said to be moving 8,000 fighters and 40,000 of their relatives out of the battered town. Hostages who had been held by the rebels are being set free.
Science and Technology/ Defence:
1. The-counter sale of 14 steroid creams to prevent indiscriminate sale of ointments containing steroids and antibiotics without prescription was banned by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry. The decision was taken following consultation with Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB). These 14 preparations were included under Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 to impose the ban. It also had submitted their recommendations to Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO). Schedule H is a class of prescription drugs listed under Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 which governs manufacture and sale of all drugs in India. These are drugs cannot be purchased over counter without prescription of qualified doctor. It is revised time to time on advice of DTAB.
2. Four kingfisher bird species thriving were recently identified in Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh. They are Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileate) and Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). In India, 12 species of kingfisher bird can be sighted. The four sighted in sanctuary are wetland dependents.
3. A new class of antibiotics called odilorhabdins or ODLs that fights drug resistance have been discovered by the researchers. It was produced by symbiotic bacteria found in soil-dwelling nematode worms that colonise insects for food.
4. The humanity’s first mission Parker Solar Probe (PSP) to the Sun in July 31, 2018 is going to launch by NASA. It is NASA’s first planned robotic spacecraft to study outer corona of Sun. It has been designed and built by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. It is named after solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker, first spacecraft of NASA to be named after living person. It is undergoing final preparations for its scheduled launch on board of NASA’s Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. After its launch, the probe will orbit directly through solar atmosphere — the corona — closer to surface than any human-made object has ever gone.
5. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on April 9, 2018 mooted an ambitious model of a public Wi-Fi grid that aims to slash Internet access cost by 90 per cent and push broadband proliferation in India. TRAI Chairman RS Sharma stated that the regulator's concept involves Public Data Office Providers (PDOs) - much like PCOs that galvanised connectivity. The PDOs will be companies or even small merchants, interested in providing Wi-Fi hotspots to the public using either free or paid model.
1. RBI under its Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework has placed 11 public sector banks (PSBs) out of 21 State-owned banks because of deteriorating performance. Three-four more PSBs are expected to be brought under PCA framework. PCA is process or mechanism to ensure that banks don’t go bust. Under it, RBI has put in place some trigger points to assess, monitor, control and take corrective actions on banks which are weak and troubled. Since PCA framework restricts amount of loans banks can extend, placing 11 PSBs under it will put pressure on credit being made available to companies especially MSMEs. The 11 banks already under PCA framework are IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of India (BoI), Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Dena Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), Bank of Maharashtra (BoM), United Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Allahabad Bank.
2. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in New Delhi. Under it gas connections will be distributed to identified beneficiary women in the national capital. The scheme aims to empower women and protect their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or on fossil fuels to clean cooking gas. In February 2018, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved to enhance target base of PMUY from 5 crore to 8 crore. PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016 with tagline of Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan. It is first social welfare scheme implemented by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
3. SEBI will take action in a phased manner against more than 14,700 entities for non-genuine trades through illiquid stock option segment. According to a SEBI order on April 5, adjudication proceedings have been initiated against 567 entities involved in such trades in the first phase. The market regulator came across violations by 14,720 entities while it was probing 59 entities in a case related to alleged trading irregularities in stock options segment of the BSE.
4. Pradhanmantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna ( PMKVY) was launched by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb in Agartala on April 7, 2018.Under this programme, the state aims to achieve the target to provide training to more than 1 lakh 16,000 youths by 2020. Under it, those who wish to start, especially the small-scale industries, will be provided land, other assistance and security.The state government is also planning to promote industrialisation based on pineapple, bamboo, rubber and jackfruit.The programme is expected to solve the problem of unemployment prevailing in the state.
5. RInfra said that, it has obtained purchase order of Rs 1,081 crore for Common Services System, Structure & Components (SSC) package and allied civil works of Unit -3 and 4 of the Kudankulam project at Tirunelveli District. The contract comprises design, engineering, supply, erection, testing and commissioning of SSC package and allied civil works on EPC basis. This project will be commissioned in 56 months. The contract value is inclusive of taxes and duties and also has imported component of USD 23.2 million.
1. The Indian mixed badminton contingent claimed its maiden Commonwealth Games gold medal on April 9, 2018, thrashing three-time defending champions Malaysia in the final at Gold Coast, Australia. India also swept the Table Tennis team events at the CWG with both their men’s and women’s team bagging the gold medal. The Indian men’s table tennis team matched the women’s team by claiming a memorable gold medal with a 3-0 win over Nigeria in the final on April 9. It is the first time since the sport’s induction into the Commonwealth Games’ program that India has topped both categories.
2. Five-time world champion M C Mary Kom has assured herself a medal on her debut appearance at the ongoing Commonwealth Games. The 35-year-old Olympic bronze-medalist entered the semi-finals in Gold Coast with a 5-0 win over Scotland's Megan Gordon. Her win has assured the Indian boxing contingent of its first CWG medal.